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Science is all about religion?


ukgazzer
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It was never an insult, it was a joke. The comment was directly below your post. Why do science-believers take things so seriously?

 

tone does not convey well in this medium. You have to be careful when you write jokes, because they are not always easily identifiable as such. That is part of the reason these things are common: :)

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I wish the 1% of people who are convinced that they understand physics would come out of the woodwork and supply us with a theory of everything!

Have you ever looked up the meaning of the word physics in a dictionary? If not then please see

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physics

a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions

 

You'e confusing the defintion that readily comse to mind when you're talking to physicists to the physics properties of the universe. When you do this intentionaly withot stating so then you are intentionally being misleadingwith you make the above clam.

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  • 1 month later...

tone does not convey well in this medium. You have to be careful when you write jokes, because they are not always easily identifiable as such.

It is not just on here that my humour fails, I think it must be the way I tell them. In my own mind I am the greatest comedian since Einstein, but somehow my jokes always seem to fall flat. One thing physics-believers do seem to find amusing, is a crackpot index; so to court popularity I have come up with my own hilarious version: http://squishtheory....crackpot-index/

 

Thanks to everybody who helped me compile it, and any more suggestions would be very welcome. I have realised that there is some evidence to suggest that not all physics-believers are as highly religious as I had originally thought: the fact that I have repeatedly mocked some of their most prized imaginary beings on this forum, without ever being excommunicated.

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Quite the opposite.

Doubtless that is what you have been taught to believe, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

 

Years ago the BBC showed a clip in which a well-known physicist Rev. Polkinghorne recounted how Einstein had consoled a bereaved mother by telling her that since all times co-exist in relativity, that somehow he son was still alive somewhere in spacetime. Polkinghorne seemed to think it was a valid argument; which suggests he had given up on the idea of heaven because everybody else had, but had no qualms about the more mystical aspects of relativity, because everybody around him appeared to accept them.

 

It is human instinct to want to conform, but also where possible to believe that the universe is mysterious and mystical; and these religious instincts are evident in physics if you choose to look for them.

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Doubtless that is what you have been taught to believe, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

 

Years ago the BBC showed a clip in which a well-known physicist Rev. Polkinghorne recounted how Einstein had consoled a bereaved mother by telling her that since all times co-exist in relativity, that somehow he son was still alive somewhere in spacetime. Polkinghorne seemed to think it was a valid argument; which suggests he had given up on the idea of heaven because everybody else had, but had no qualms about the more mystical aspects of relativity, because everybody around him appeared to accept them.

 

It is human instinct to want to conform, but also where possible to believe that the universe is mysterious and mystical; and these religious instincts are evident in physics if you choose to look for them.

What do human instincts have to do with physical reality?

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...and these religious instincts are evident in physics if you choose to look for them.

Ummm..........NO! Religion is about belief regardless of the facts and science is about the facts regardless of belief.

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Doubtless that is what you have been taught to believe, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

As demonstrated...nowhere, except in your imagination.

Years ago the BBC showed a clip in which a well-known physicist Rev. Polkinghorne

Well-known to whom? I certainly had not heard of him before, and I do have a good amount of knowledge of the area. At most, he's well-known within England.

recounted how Einstein had consoled a bereaved mother by telling her that since all times co-exist in relativity, that somehow he son was still alive somewhere in spacetime.

Somehow, I doubt that. First, because "all times co-exist" is an absurdly ambiguous statement; second, because "was still alive somewhere in spacetime" is literally nonsense. A technically true way to say it is that the is some point in spacetime which is neither in our causal future nor our causal past (i.e. it is not within our light-cone) such that his death is neither in its causal future nor its causal past.

 

Can you find this clip? Because I have the feeling that either the clip doesn't exist or you've seriously misrepresented what it says.

Polkinghorne seemed to think it was a valid argument; which suggests he had given up on the idea of heaven because everybody else had, but had no qualms about the more mystical aspects of relativity, because everybody around him appeared to accept them.

Your prejudices are showing.

It is human instinct to want to conform, but also where possible to believe that the universe is mysterious and mystical; and these religious instincts are evident in physics if you choose to look for them.

It is also human instinct to rebel. To believe that you are the only one who sees that everyone else is wrong. And that, too, is a religious instinct. You have yet to demonstrate a religious instinct within physics - everything is subject to confirmation by quantifiable experiment. However, you have definitely demonstrated "religious aspects" in your own posts.

=Uncool-

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John Polkinghorne

 

Well known in UK and abroad - but mainly due to his dual role, and silly experiments. But that said; they don't give out chairs in mathematical physics at Cambridge to anybody.

 

By the way Dawkins' and Grayling's comments at the end of the wiki piece are well worth reading. ACG was on a bit of a rhetorical bender!

 

He used to be wheeled out regularly on Radio 4 and suchlike when a compromise figure was needed - frankly his religious arguments always struck me as incredibly naive and philosophically stunted, especially from a man with such great insight in other areas.

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What do human instincts have to do with physical reality?

Instincts are just the interactions between electric charges and heat photons in the brain. That is physical reality. Trying to explain human behaviour on that basis is not possible, but we can account for religious behaviour using the theory of evolution. Science is a way of modelling the universe, and when those models can be properly tested they are normally extremely good. In other cases such as particle physics and cosmology, the models are little more than improbable guesses; but physics-believers being religious will not accept this, and instead put the greatest effort into trying to convince people to believe in their most unfalsifiable rubbish like the Higgs and dark matter.

 

Ummm..........NO! Religion is about belief regardless of the facts and science is about the facts regardless of belief.

Some Christians might say they believe that Jesus walked on water, whilst some physicists might say they believe in time travel. But hardly any Christians would claim to be able to walk on water, or to have seen anybody walk on water. Likewise few physicists would claim to be a time traveller or to have met one. Your determination to believe that science-believers are completely different to infidels, is the classic religious behaviour of thinking that your own belief system is the one true faith. But at least you appear to have compiled your own phrase rather than repeating what you read elsewhere.

 

Somehow, I doubt that. First, because "all times co-exist" is an absurdly ambiguous statement; second, because "was still alive somewhere in spacetime" is literally nonsense. A technically true way to say it is that the is some point in spacetime which is neither in our causal future nor our causal past (i.e. it is not within our light-cone) such that his death is neither in its causal future nor its causal past.

The gist of the clip was that the woman found comforting the idea that her dear departed somehow still existed; and Polkinghorne found this agreeable, rather than using it to show how prone people are to believe whatever nonsense makes them happy. The rest of your statement seems to be based on the general doctrine of relativity, that if you make things sufficiently incomprehensible then nobody can argue.

 

You have yet to demonstrate a religious instinct within physics - everything is subject to confirmation by quantifiable experiment.

Like calculating the quantity of unobservable dark matter, necessary to believe that current models of gravity are valid on a galactic level; and then deciding to believe these quantities exist?

 

He used to be wheeled out regularly on Radio 4 and suchlike when a compromise figure was needed - frankly his religious arguments always struck me as incredibly naive and philosophically stunted, especially from a man with such great insight in other areas.

I think Polkinghorne has a greater tendency than many to believe in the supernatural, which is apparent in both his Christian and physics views. Perhaps if you were a Christian and not a physics-believer, you might take the opposite view about which of his opinions were more insightful.

 

Isn't it about time you presented some, then?

Perhaps you could say what kind of evidence you would find acceptable?

Edited by newts
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The gist of the clip was that the woman found comforting the idea that her dear departed somehow still existed; and Polkinghorne found this agreeable, rather than using it to show how prone people are to believe whatever nonsense makes them happy.

You snipped the part of my post where I challenged you to find the clip. I think you are mischaracterizing or misunderstanding what Polkinghorne said. You have mischaracterized sufficiently many times that I am not going to simply take what you say on faith; when you say there is a clip, I expect you to find the clip.

The rest of your statement seems to be based on the general doctrine of relativity, that if you make things sufficiently incomprehensible then nobody can argue.

Do you want me to explain exactly what I wrote? It is not incomprehensible; I just chose to use the exact version of the statement, rather than statements like crappy pop-sci from which you seem to have learned about relativity and quantum mechanics.

 

Basically, I am saying that there are points in spacetime where a ray of light starting at that point would arrive on Earth after the death, but similarly that a ray of light starting on Earth at the moment of death would not reach the point in spacetime, even if you allow reflections. That implies that there is no way to say definitively which one is "after" the other, which is the closest I can get to making your version of Polkinghorne's supposed statement true.

 

Now, if you are going to continue making assertions based on Polkinghorne, I expect you to find the clip so that we can all evaluate it on its merits, not on your probable misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.

=Uncool-

Edited by uncool
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Some Christians might say they believe that Jesus walked on water, whilst some physicists might say they believe in time travel. But hardly any Christians would claim to be able to walk on water, or to have seen anybody walk on water. Likewise few physicists would claim to be a time traveller or to have met one. Your determination to believe that science-believers are completely different to infidels, is the classic religious behaviour of thinking that your own belief system is the one true faith. But at least you appear to have compiled your own phrase rather than repeating what you read elsewhere.

 

Wow, that is a classic strawman. Could you please name some genuine physicists that believe in time travel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Didn't think so...

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Religious adherents often try to set science and religion on the same footing. The don't understand science and so try to relegate it to the status of religion, i.e. unsupported belief.

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Perhaps you could say what kind of evidence you would find acceptable?

First of all, the kind that exists, rather than some vague inference that it exists. Specifically, pronouncements that have no evidence to support them yet are accepted as mainstream science. i.e. examples of actual dogma.

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You snipped the part of my post where I challenged you to find the clip.

I cannot respond to all your points, particularly when there are others posting. You wanted to argue over whether Polkinghorne was well-known, which is something anybody can decide by googling. I videod the clip on BBC2 over a decade ago, so I cannot share it. You could search Youtube.

 

Do you want me to explain exactly what I wrote? It is not incomprehensible; I just chose to use the exact version of the statement, rather than statements like crappy pop-sci from which you seem to have learned about relativity and quantum mechanics.

 

Basically, I am saying that there are points in spacetime where a ray of light starting at that point would arrive on Earth after the death, but similarly that a ray of light starting on Earth at the moment of death would not reach the point in spacetime, even if you allow reflections. That implies that there is no way to say definitively which one is "after" the other, which is the closest I can get to making your version of Polkinghorne's supposed statement true.

We can look up at the night sky and see stars that died millions of years ago. That may be amazing, but it clearly has a logical explanation. However that is very different from believing that the fish you ate for dinner is in some sense still alive.

 

Science should be about trying to make sense of the universe, relativity seems to about trying to make it appear as mystical as possible. I was under the impression that pop-sci relativity was much the same as the official version. However all I have really bothered with, is trying to derive the equations of relativity based on aether theory, which I have managed with special but not general.

 

Wow, that is a classic strawman. Could you please name some genuine physicists that believe in time travel?

 

Didn't think so...

I read that Einstein agreed with his disciples about the possibility of time travel, and certainly Feynman talked about the equivalence of an electron going forward in time and a positron going backwards in time. Hawking and Kaku have made a fortune writing about the subject, so either they believe or they pretend to in order to fleece the gullible.

 

I cannot tell what genuine physicists believe, but I have never heard any of them condemn the fantasists for besmirching the name of physics by using it to flog third-rate sci-fi. So either these genuine physicists do believe, or they think that they have a religious duty not to criticise fellow physics-believers.

 

Brian the Cool Fox goes to great lengths to condemn astrology as nonsense, but turns a blind eye to time travel. How else can you explain that, other than by using the religious instinct?

 

Religious adherents often try to set science and religion on the same footing. The don't understand science and so try to relegate it to the status of religion, i.e. unsupported belief.

Truly religious people are totally convinced that their own belief system is the one true faith, and that all other belief systems are complete nonsense tantamount to believing in fairies; a classic example being the religious extremist Dawkins.

 

If somebody is trying to justify a traditional religion by comparing it to science, then clearly they actually have more respect for science than for their traditional religion. That suggests an open-minded approach to belief. A truly religious person would be very upset to have their own belief system compared to another.

 

First of all, the kind that exists, rather than some vague inference that it exists. Specifically, pronouncements that have no evidence to support them yet are accepted as mainstream science. i.e. examples of actual dogma.

Historically: crystal spheres, epicycles, and phlogiston. Currently: dark matter, quarks, gluons, Higgs, and the constancy of the speed of light relative to the observer.

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I read that Einstein agreed with his disciples about the possibility of time travel...

Citation?

 

...and certainly Feynman talked about the equivalence of an electron going forward in time and a positron going backwards in time.

 

Feynman simply said that the properties of a positron are the same as what the properties of an electron moving backwards in time would be.

 

Hawking and Kaku have made a fortune writing about the subject, so either they believe or they pretend to in order to fleece the gullible.

Just because they write about what scenarios would be required does not mean they believe it is actually possible. Having you any supporting citations to show they actually believe in time travel?

 

Brian the Cool Fox goes to great lengths to condemn astrology as nonsense, but turns a blind eye to time travel. How else can you explain that, other than by using the religious instinct?

 

Another "he doesn't condemn it so he must believe in it" assertion. A false dichotomy and another strawman to boot. Care to try again? Can you actually name any genuine physicists that actually believe in time travel?

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Historically: crystal spheres, epicycles, and phlogiston. Currently: dark matter, quarks, gluons, Higgs, and the constancy of the speed of light relative to the observer.

 

did you just seriously post this? Everything in your 'currently' list is well supported with the possible exception of the Higgs particle, for which very recent evidence is being presented that it too exists. To be fair, the Higgs experiment needs to be repeated numerous times to be sure. The rest have mountains of evidence, if you actually cared to look at it.

 

and certainly Feynman talked about the equivalence of an electron going forward in time and a positron going backwards in time

 

and it certainly is easy to move the goal posts later isn't it? In this very thread, you said that the only time travel that matters is the time travel of H.G. Wells & Star Trek. That is clearly not what is being discussed by Feynman, so really has no bearing on your argument at all.

 

The simple truth is that you are being deliberately obstinate in the face of evidence, and you don't even have the respect to learn about the evidence to give them anywhere near a fair critique. The really silly thing is that there are issues one can talk about each and every thing on your list up there -- very compelling questions about each of them are still open. But to be hung up on some of the basic questions and decry that their belief is just a 'religion' is just ignoring the thousands of papers if evidence presented for them. By its very definition, it is not a religion if there is evidence for belief.

 

So. You've shown that you care about this topic. You've stuck around a lot longer than most, and I think that that shows you care, anyway. What I don't get is why don't you care to learn about what the actual practicing scientists have written on these subjects? Not just the pop-sci generalizations. Why don't you actually learn what the evidence really is?

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I cannot respond to all your points, particularly when there are others posting. You wanted to argue over whether Polkinghorne was well-known, which is something anybody can decide by googling. I videod the clip on BBC2 over a decade ago, so I cannot share it. You could search Youtube.

1) I have searched youtube, as well as the BBC web site; I have found no such clip.

 

2) You are the one making assertions based on the clip; it is therefore your responsibility, not mine, to find the clip.

 

3) Polkinghorne is apparently well-known in Britain, but not so much outside.

 

We can look up at the night sky and see stars that died millions of years ago. That may be amazing, but it clearly has a logical explanation. However that is very different from believing that the fish you ate for dinner is in some sense still alive.

This is quite literally nonsense. It isn't responding to anything I've written, nor does it actually say anything.

Science should be about trying to make sense of the universe, relativity seems to about trying to make it appear as mystical as possible.

"Seems"?

 

You have a very big problem with confusing your perceptions with reality. No, relativity is not trying to make it appear as mystical as possible.

I was under the impression that pop-sci relativity was much the same as the official version.

Pop-sci relativity is at best a bastardization of the theory of relativity. Depending on the exact sources, some get closer to the actual explanations, while some get much, much further away.

However all I have really bothered with, is trying to derive the equations of relativity based on aether theory, which I have managed with special but not general.

In other words, you know only slightly more about relativity than you do about quarks and gluons, and yet somehow you think yourself an expert on the matter.

Historically: crystal spheres, epicycles, and phlogiston. Currently: dark matter, quarks, gluons, Higgs, and the constancy of the speed of light relative to the observer.

1) Quarks and gluons: you have been shown over and over and over multiple experiments which have confirmed quarks and gluons to the furthest extent possible.

2) Higgs: You seem to have been missing a crapload of the recent articles saying that the Higgs has been confirmed to 4.odd sigma.

3) Wow. You are completely wrong here. I can list experiments out the wazoo confirming this.

=Uncool-

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  • 2 weeks later...

Care to try again? Can you actually name any genuine physicists that actually believe in time travel?

You seem to be deliberately setting an impossible task to try to justify your own position. Firstly I cannot name a genuine physicist who believes in rubbish, as by definition a genuine physicist would not believe in rubbish. I can name genuine physicists who rejected relativity: Rutherford, Dirac, Essen; but no current ones, as current physics is too religious to allow dissent.

 

Secondly it is impossible to prove what anybody does or does not think. I do not even have any evidence to suggest that the Cool Fox knows what he himself thinks. But I have shown that he is religious because otherwise he would be challenging existing physics belief, rather than ridiculing stuff that has not been treated seriously for hundreds of years.

 

If you think that popsci 'physicists' just pretend to believe in the possibility of time travel to fleece the gullible; perhaps you would like to condemn the practice? Or is it against your religion to criticise a fellow science-believer?

 

1) I have searched youtube, as well as the BBC web site; I have found no such clip.

 

No, relativity is not trying to make it appear as mystical as possible.

I cannot share the clip, firstly because I do not have a working video recorder. I do not recall what the programme was called; but if you watch Polkinghorne on Youtube, you might see him expressing similar or different views. Perhaps I should not have talked about a clip I cannot share.

 

Relativity experts are aware that the Lorentz aether theory gives the same results as special relativity; so if they did not want to make the universe appear mystical surely they would accept the conceptual simplicity of the aether, rather than turning somersaults to justify Einstein-worship.

 

That is clearly not what is being discussed by Feynman, so really has no bearing on your argument at all.

 

The really silly thing is that there are issues one can talk about each and every thing on your list up there -- very compelling questions about each of them are still open. But to be hung up on some of the basic questions and decry that their belief is just a 'religion' is just ignoring the thousands of papers if evidence presented for them. By its very definition, it is not a religion if there is evidence for belief.

Feynman's comment was probably just a mathematical observation, but it is still in a sense a religious comment because he is showing solidarity with the fantasists. You do not find physicists describing the tides in terms of the sun and moon being in opposition or conjunction, in order to show a kindred spirit with astrologers.

 

Epicycles did actually make good predictions; whilst it could be argued that the fact that things burn is evidence for the existence of phlogiston, or that nucleons sticking together is evidence for gluons. So I guess when I said there was no evidence for these things, what I meant was that there was no true evidence, which just means I do not think they exist.

 

Normally people accept what they are told unless they have reason to disagree. Probably many bible-believers used to think that the earth was about 6000 years old, but now most would accept the sound geological evidence that it is about four and a half billion years old. Many physics-believers accept that the universe is 13.7 billion years old; I consider this a religious belief, because I think astrophysicists' understanding of the universe is so poor that coming up with any kind of estimate is premature. I think physics-believers are far too eager to listen to those physicists who claim that they really understand the universe, especially as all their predecessors who made the same claim turned out to be wrong.

 

What do you meant by issues, surely you either think they are right, or you think they more likely wrong?

Edited by newts
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You seem to be deliberately setting an impossible task to try to justify your own position.

Not at all. I am calling you out to support your assertion according to the rules here. You proffered the belief about some physicists believing in time travel and I want to see you prove it. Provide a citation to back up your assertion.

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I cannot share the clip, firstly because I do not have a working video recorder. I do not recall what the programme was called; but if you watch Polkinghorne on Youtube, you might see him expressing similar or different views. Perhaps I should not have talked about a clip I cannot share.

You can feel free to talk about it. Just be aware that you've destroyed your own reputation to the point where I'm not even sure such a clip exists, let alone whether you've interpreted it correctly.

Relativity experts are aware that the Lorentz aether theory gives the same results as special relativity; so if they did not want to make the universe appear mystical surely they would accept the conceptual simplicity of the aether, rather than turning somersaults to justify Einstein-worship.

Err.

 

First, rejecting the aether in favor of relativity is not "mystical" in any way. Second, there is no "conceptual simplicity" in the aether model as compared to relativity. The reason that relativity is held over the Lorentz aether is that the Lorentz aether is an attempt to take a theory that simply didn't work - that of the original (non-Lorentzian) luminiferous aether - and modify it to fit reality, whereas relativity naturally - in its simplest form - fits reality as it is. The fact is that an aether is unnecessary. Choosing to discard is is not a "mystical" decision; it's a rational one.

 

ETA: In other words, relativity made the predictions that established it as a theory. Lorentzian aether is a postdiction modification to the original aether theory.

=Uncool-

Edited by uncool
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You seem to be deliberately setting an impossible task to try to justify your own position. Firstly I cannot name a genuine physicist who believes in rubbish, as by definition a genuine physicist would not believe in rubbish. I can name genuine physicists who rejected relativity: Rutherford, Dirac, Essen; but no current ones, as current physics is too religious to allow dissent.

 

OK, let's play find-the-fallacy. I see the no true Scotsman fallacy, recast as the no genuine physicist. As a bonus, there's begging the question, in the form of proposing that physics is a religion and then concluding it.

 

You would have to show relativity is actually wrong before you can conclude that belief in it is religious. Otherwise, you haven't eliminated people who accept it because of the tons of evidence in its favor.

 

Secondly it is impossible to prove what anybody does or does not think. I do not even have any evidence to suggest that the Cool Fox knows what he himself thinks. But I have shown that he is religious because otherwise he would be challenging existing physics belief, rather than ridiculing stuff that has not been treated seriously for hundreds of years.

 

Begging the question again. Are you ever going to explain who the Cool Fox is?

 

Relativity experts are aware that the Lorentz aether theory gives the same results as special relativity; so if they did not want to make the universe appear mystical surely they would accept the conceptual simplicity of the aether, rather than turning somersaults to justify Einstein-worship.

 

Relativity experts also realize that Lorentz aether theory is ad-hoc and untestable. Which means it's not science. Support of that would truly be religion.

 

Feynman's comment was probably just a mathematical observation, but it is still in a sense a religious comment because he is showing solidarity with the fantasists. You do not find physicists describing the tides in terms of the sun and moon being in opposition or conjunction, in order to show a kindred spirit with astrologers.

 

And again. Begging the question fallacy.

 

Epicycles did actually make good predictions; whilst it could be argued that the fact that things burn is evidence for the existence of phlogiston, or that nucleons sticking together is evidence for gluons. So I guess when I said there was no evidence for these things, what I meant was that there was no true evidence, which just means I do not think they exist.

 

Epicycles were abandoned because there was a better explanation, which had a physical mechanism. Phlogiston was abandoned because there were example where it got the results backwards, so no, you cant legitimately argue that the fact that things burn is evidence for the existence of phlogiston. That would be ignoring evidence, and that's not valid science.

 

You can't just define true evidence as evidence that convinces you. That's another version of the no true Scotsman fallacy.

 

Normally people accept what they are told unless they have reason to disagree. Probably many bible-believers used to think that the earth was about 6000 years old, but now most would accept the sound geological evidence that it is about four and a half billion years old. Many physics-believers accept that the universe is 13.7 billion years old; I consider this a religious belief, because I think astrophysicists' understanding of the universe is so poor that coming up with any kind of estimate is premature. I think physics-believers are far too eager to listen to those physicists who claim that they really understand the universe, especially as all their predecessors who made the same claim turned out to be wrong.

 

But you haven't presented any evidence that scientists would cling to the 13.7 billion year year value if new evidence came to light. That would make it belief, just as those who cling to the 6000 year age of the earth have religious belief.

 

!

Moderator Note

The fallacies must stop, and evidence presented (as per the rules), or you risk thread closure.

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First, rejecting the aether in favor of relativity is not "mystical" in any way. Second, there is no "conceptual simplicity" in the aether model as compared to relativity.

Employing the Lorentz aether theory, it is a simple mathematical fact that the travelling twin ages more slowly; yet physicists prefer to dazzle people with the complexity of the twins paradox, and its nebulous resolution involving acceleration. Herbert Dingle famously spent months or years arguing over SR, and page after page was written essentially debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The result was that the relativists were almost unanimously voted the winners, and Dingle was held up as an example to others of the ultimate fate of an infidel. All that might satisfy human's witch-burning instincts, but surely the point of physics should be to make the universe as simple as possible for ordinary people to understand, not so bizarrely abstruse that physics professors cannot understand it, and therefore need to be taught to sing from the same hymn sheet.

 

OK, let's play find-the-fallacy. I see the no true Scotsman fallacy, recast as the no genuine physicist.

Surely, if anyone, it is DoG who is using the fallacy. I cited Hawking and Kaku as people physics-believers would class as physicists, and I pointed to their books as evidence that they believe in the possibility of time travel. I thought DoG was arguing that they were not 'true physicists'; but he has never actually answered that point, so it may be that he does accept them as true physicists, but is merely arguing that they do not believe in 'fantasy time travel' but only in 'true time travel'. It looks like my opponents here have created the new 'true time travel' logical fallacy, whereby people argue that they only believe in the true version of nonsensical idea and not the fictitious type, without defining what the true version entails.

 

I do appreciate that you are much more tolerant of views that contradict your own beliefs than most people, but I do not think you are moderating in an even handed manner.

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but surely the point of physics should be to make the universe as simple as possible for ordinary people to understand, not so bizarrely abstruse that physics professors cannot understand it, and therefore need to be taught to sing from the same hymn sheet.

 

I disagree. The point of physics is to make predictions as accurately as possible to agree with measurements.

 

While the "for ordinary people to understand" is a nice-to-have, it certainly isn't a must-have. If that is your bar, there are about a billion other things that also fail to get over that bar. Just a few off the top of my head: television, computers, cars, and light bulbs. The average ordinary person doesn't understand how these work -- should we be letting ordinary people use them?

 

On the other hand, thanks to some fairly complex models, television, computers, cars, and even light bulbs are pretty amazing, ubiquitous, and easy to use. But don't for a second think that the models describing them are simple. But, the physics are pretty good, because we have such good televisions, computers, cars, and light bulbs.

 

In the end, the model with the best agreement wins. Why is this so hard to accept? Science is not a beauty contest -- it was in the Dark Ages, and I for one am glad we're past that. What you consider a beautiful or simple or easy model, I may consider ugly or complex or difficult. This is why agreement with measurement is the ultimate objective measure of how good a model is. Ugly or beautiful in anyone's eyes, if a model has a 0.1% error in its prediction, it is considered better than the model that has 2.5% error in its prediction. It really is that simple.

 

And the examples you cite, the models were rejected in no small part because other models can along and made better and more accurate predictions. I almost guarantee something else will come along and make even better and more accurate predictions than what we have today. Our knowledge today is at least incomplete. Whether that next model is simpler to you or not is almost completely irrelevant, it just have to make more accurate predictions.

 

So, really, I don't understand why you waste all this time decrying how 'religious' science is, when really you should be trying to make your model make as many accurate predictions as possible. You want to overturn the current model? You hate the idea of quarks, and all the other bit of physics as it stands in 2012? Ok, fine, show us a model that makes all the same predictions that the current model does, at least as good as the current model, and you will get attention. You will get people interested in your model.

 

But all this rending of your clothes, gnashing your teeth, and whining about how unfair science is just doesn't help you achieve your goal.

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