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Why you don't have a new theory of the universe

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I just posted this to a locked sticky, but there might be some desire to discuss it, so here it is

 

http://physics.open.ac.uk/~sserjeant/faq.txt

Scroll down to "I have a new theory of the Universe"

 

Many of the points have been made here before, but it really underscores the point that the typical "I have a new theory" poster woefully under-appreciates the complexity of science, and how myopic their view of it is. Also how "I've got the basic theory, but need someone to do the math part for me" is really a non-starter

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I love the tests before reading - we may have to adopt those (could you come up with some equivalents for atomic physics?). I think what adds to that fairly light-hearted faq is that the author is an acknowledged academic who works in an environment dedicated to teaching students who did not progress through education/university in the more normal fashion (The Open University has practically zero barriers to entrance, is distance learning as much as possible, tends to be more mature students, and attracts the most diverse group of students imaginable). As Dr. Sergeant hints - don't spend years developing a "theory" with foundations of sand take the option of making the hard yards and do a maths/physics degree

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I wonder what percent of our typical speculators even know what a Christoffel symbol is...

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Does that apply to Quantum Theory?

Quantum theory actually has quite a bit of math behind it, so what's your point?

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I was that idiot, no not really an idiot; more a victim of what the general public (we) perceive to be gaps in 'our' understanding; therein lay the problem, knowledge does not equal understanding, however much the illusion persists. Dunning and Kruger's effect is quite enlightening on the subject and is, perhaps, the reason for so many failed attempts to enlighten our fellow man/woman with what only those that truly understand could critique properly.

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didn't einstein have a friend who did the heavy lifting on some of the math work in his early career? As a child riding his bicycle in italy, there was little overt math involved......yet his imagination machine was started there with concepts of riding a beam of light....and what about examining the processes that created the maths? You can't use math to analyse something that existed before math existed......at some point physics will have to be supplanted with philosophy......unless and until a pre-mathematical language can be deduced, a sort of "logic-latin" that was used to develop logic and act as a supporting creator of the maths, and then was either abandoned as a "dead" language, or was subsumed into proper mathematics.....edd


if this logic latin was subsumed within mathematics, then some artifact of it's existence may be evident in the present day maths....like a sort of CMB in the theoretical framework of the maths.

Edited by hoola

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Einstein was mathematically gifted from a young age. He struggled a bit with differential geometry, which he learned as part of his efforts in developing general relativity, and he consulted with others as part of this learning.

Most (all?) of physics that can be intuitively discovered has been discovered already. Modern theory relies heavily on mathematics, and an idea presented without mathematical backing is unlikely to be of real substance.

I'm not sure the phrase "something that existed before math existed" necessarily makes sense. While we do choose the axioms and rules of inference on which to build mathematical systems, these are typically justified (at least in the case of mathematics used to analyze physical systems) by how reality seems to work. In some sense, then, the conclusions drawn in mathematics are properties of reality itself, i.e. they have been the case for at least the entire history of the universe.

Edited by John

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Quantum theory actually has quite a bit of math behind it, so what's your point?

My point is that maths makes a distinction between "0" and 1". This makes normal computers work - each "bit" is either 0 or 1. So we know what numbers the bits represent.. And can do mathematical calculations accordingly.

 

That's clear, but it doesn't seem to apply to computers which supposedly operate by QT. In these computers, apparently the bits are "0" and "1" at the same time.

 

And that's what puzzles me - how do we know what numbers the bits are representing? I'd appreciate your guidance.

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If someone's theory about something in physics has no math, it is certainly pseudoscience.

 

Many (now) famous scientists from the past did so. f.e. Avogadro didn't said what is Avogadro constant.

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I think the mathematitians amongst us are trying to say , " that unless a new conceptual idea perhaps drawn from some form of observation and reasoning does NOT have maths either stamped all over it from the start, in its infancy, it wants throwing to one side "

 

I personally think this is a mistake. New embryonic ideas can be observed, thought about and reasoned on by NON mathematicians and should be given space during the embryonic stage of the ideas development.

 

True later , if there is some room for imposing or recognising a mathematical element in the idea or concept then fine. No doubt it will enhance and help in the ideas ' consolidation.

 

Mike

Edited by Mike Smith Cosmos

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My point is that maths makes a distinction between "0" and 1". This makes normal computers work - each "bit" is either 0 or 1. So we know what numbers the bits represent.. And can do mathematical calculations accordingly.

 

That's clear, but it doesn't seem to apply to computers which supposedly operate by QT. In these computers, apparently the bits are "0" and "1" at the same time.

 

And that's what puzzles me - how do we know what numbers the bits are representing? I'd appreciate your guidance.

They can represent a few different things, but most basically 0 = off 1 = on. The off/on sequences can mean different things depending on the size, pattern, timing, etc.

 

 

I think the mathematitians amongst us are trying to say , " that unless a new conceptual idea perhaps drawn from some form of observation and reasoning does NOT have maths either stamped all over it from the start, in its infancy, it wants throwing to one side "

 

I personally think this is a mistake. New embryonic ideas can be observed, thought about and reasoned on by NON mathematicians and should be given space during the embryonic stage of the ideas development.

 

True later , if there is some room for imposing or recognising a mathematical element in the idea or concept then fine. No doubt it will enhance and help in the ideas ' consolidation.

 

Mike

Thought experiments may be nice at first, but that is not a theory (a lot of the time it's not even a hypothesis). To have an actual physics framework one must make precise, accurate, testable predictions, and that takes math. Without that all one is doing is armchair science, and that is no better than any other new age guru you see selling books.

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. Thought experiments may be nice at first, but that is not a theory (a lot of the time it's not even a hypothesis). To have an actual physics framework one must make precise, accurate, testable predictions, and that takes math. Without that all one is doing is armchair science, and that is no better than any other new age guru you see selling books.

Some of your thinking " new age guru's " have gone on to take part in social improvement enterprises ,to make the world a better place.

 

Others thinkers have looked out at the world and seen beauty, art, variety, kindness, love, passion, the palethers of delight in nature and come to hypothesise that not all by half of the world is working to a different mechanism than determinism. Even quantum mechanics has an uncertainty HALF to its very core .

 

Trees are not symmetrical , rabbits skip about a field , people fall in love with strangers, beauty surrounds us, the astronomic heavens is full of the most beautiful and wonderful happenings.

 

True another observer may see the order aspect of the cosmos with its mathematical rigor holding fabric together, but there is this other aspect which is as much a mechanism thus subject to a physics explanation even if it has the hallmark of apparent disorder. This aspect may still be subject to hypothesis and theory , even though it's image is less tidy!

 

Mike

Edited by Mike Smith Cosmos

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I wonder what percent of our typical speculators even know what a Christoffel symbol is...

A what?

 

wink.png

 

 

The article talks specifically about astrophysics/cosmology, the sentiments apply across the spectrum of physics.

 

There is just no way that mathematics cannot be essential. It may be a bit hidden, say in the statistics of the experiment, but it is there. Usually it is more obvious than that as experiments are trying to pin down some terms in a theory, such as the mass of a particle, or the post-Newtonian parameters or verify some weird effect predicted by quantum mechanics. The separation of physics from mathematics is just not clear.

Edited by ajb

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My point is that maths makes a distinction between "0" and 1". This makes normal computers work - each "bit" is either 0 or 1. So we know what numbers the bits represent.. And can do mathematical calculations accordingly.

 

That's clear, but it doesn't seem to apply to computers which supposedly operate by QT. In these computers, apparently the bits are "0" and "1" at the same time.

 

And that's what puzzles me - how do we know what numbers the bits are representing? I'd appreciate your guidance.

 

The qubits do not exactly represent 0 and 1 at the same time - they represent a particular combination or superposition of 0 and 1 at the same time. In quantum computation qubits work on complex numbers so they already have a real and an imaginary component - so they existing in a complex vector space. We then think of 0 and 1 as orthogonal (that is at right angles - so that no amount of 0 changes 1 and vice versa) vectors within complex vector space. The combination of orthogonal vectors - which we give the notation |0> and |1> - is the best way to think about a qubit representing a superposition; so rather than representing a number the qubit represents a unit vector (ie one that is one unit long) from the origin in some direction.

 

Once you represent qubits in this manner it is a case of simple matrix linear algebra to set up operators that manipulate the qubits (by in essence changing the direction of the vector) and a handful of operators is enough to perform most computational tasks. The magic of superposition is that if the initial state is set up correctly then you can "ask a question" of every possible combination in one fell swoop - of course it isn't quite that simple, but that is the idea. Building one of these computers is at the very first stage - ie less than ten qubits

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Some of your thinking " new age guru's " have gone on to take part in social improvement enterprises ,to make the world a better place.

 

Others thinkers have looked out at the world and seen beauty, art, variety, kindness, love, passion, the palethers of delight in nature and come to hypothesise that not all by half of the world is working to a different mechanism than determinism.

Worthwhile as those things might be, they are not science.

 

 

Even quantum mechanics has an uncertainty HALF to its very core .

 

An uncertainty which is precisely defined (and derived) mathematically.

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I think the mathematitians amongst us are trying to say , " that unless a new conceptual idea perhaps drawn from some form of observation and reasoning does NOT have maths either stamped all over it from the start, in its infancy, it wants throwing to one side "

 

I personally think this is a mistake. New embryonic ideas can be observed, thought about and reasoned on by NON mathematicians and should be given space during the embryonic stage of the ideas development.

 

True later , if there is some room for imposing or recognising a mathematical element in the idea or concept then fine. No doubt it will enhance and help in the ideas ' consolidation.

 

Mike

 

Your position on this is well-documented in another thread, but that's not the point of this discussion. The point here is that if you haven't done the math part, you aren't done with the development of your idea. The attitude of many people with an idea is that the math is just the finishing touch, but the reality is you aren't even close to being done, and insistence that your idea is ready to be accepted anywhere is misplaced. And that your confidence that you are right is not justified.

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My point is that maths makes a distinction between "0" and 1". This makes normal computers work - each "bit" is either 0 or 1. So we know what numbers the bits represent.. And can do mathematical calculations accordingly.

 

That's clear, but it doesn't seem to apply to computers which supposedly operate by QT. In these computers, apparently the bits are "0" and "1" at the same time.

 

And that's what puzzles me - how do we know what numbers the bits are representing? I'd appreciate your guidance.

They're not really 0 and 1 at the same time (at least not as I understand it. They have both the probability of being a 0 and the probability of being 1 at the same time. Once the probabliity waveform is analzyed, they resolve themselves from a probability to a discrete value.

 

Just remember that pretty much everything in quantum mechanics is based on the probability of this or that state being the most prevalent, of this electron appearing here or there. once the probability waveform is analyzed, it collapses into a final, discrete state (which in the case of quantum computer, represents your answer). The actual machanics behind it (if your interested) can be found on the web, as well as more in depth information on how qubits work.

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Greg H say:
"They're not really 0 and 1 at the same time (at least not as I understand it. They have both the probability of being a 0 and the probability of being 1 at the same time."
The lay man say this has open the door of absurdities in physic.

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Greg H say:

"They're not really 0 and 1 at the same time (at least not as I understand it. They have both the probability of being a 0 and the probability of being 1 at the same time."

The lay man say this has open the door of absurdities in physic.

 

Which is exactly why we trust in maths and not in what the layman reckons.

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Some of your thinking " new age guru's " have gone on to take part in social improvement enterprises ,to make the world a better place.

And what does that have to do with their ideas being correct or scientific?

 

Others thinkers have looked out at the world and seen beauty, art, variety, kindness, love, passion, the palethers of delight in nature and come to hypothesise that not all by half of the world is working to a different mechanism than determinism. Even quantum mechanics has an uncertainty HALF to its very core .

Just because something is probablistic doesn't mean that it isn't determinate. It's uncertain, not completely random.

 

Trees are not symmetrical , rabbits skip about a field , people fall in love with strangers, beauty surrounds us, the astronomic heavens is full of the most beautiful and wonderful happenings.

 

True another observer may see the order aspect of the cosmos with its mathematical rigor holding fabric together, but there is this other aspect which is as much a mechanism thus subject to a physics explanation even if it has the hallmark of apparent disorder. This aspect may still be subject to hypothesis and theory , even though it's image is less tidy!

 

Mike

all_i_see_are_equations.png

Nature is a wonderous thing, learning the workings of it just makes it that much more amazing. That math makes you see more, not less.

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And what does that have to do with their ideas being correct or scientific?

 

 

Just because something is probablistic doesn't mean that it isn't determinate. It's uncertain, not completely random.

 

all_i_see_are_equations.png

Nature is a wonderous thing, learning the workings of it just makes it that much more amazing. That math makes you see more, not less.

When I was younger, I thought comics/statements like that were jokes or exaggerations. Then I learned more and the world became a very different and increasingly more fascinating place.

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the topic being "why don't you don't have a new theory of the universe" can have the answer..... Of that it is impossible to have a complete theory of this universe. Eventually physics will have to give way to philosophy when it can no longer point to a state previous to the earliest reasonably evidenced state. In this case that limit (so far) is the big bang. A series of theories starting with the anchient greeks have done a fantastic job of getting us to the big bang, and with the math to back up relevant evidences. But, if the universe is indeed arisen from the maths, as Information Describing Reality, then there must have been an origin to the maths, non-derivable from the maths themselves. Only logic, using whatever supporting evidence available to us which points to a most likely candidate as to how the maths were formulated, or somehow formulated themselves....can get to a final minimum state from which things progressed to now. I propose a thought experiment that the Big Bang is an approximate "middle-point" in the overall evolutionary history of this universe. As much change occurred prior to the big bang, as has occurred post......edd

Edited by hoola

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I have to say that while I agree that history has shown that people very often put misguided faith in their own theories, this does not mean that a purely linguistic theory is useless.

 

If Einstein had not used equations would that have meant his intuition of space-time was wrong? If he could put into words his theory, would it have been rejected simply because he wasn't being 'mathematically smart' enough?

 

Just seems like elitism to me. It's as if scientists will only entertain an idea if the author has a high IQ. Instead, we should be aiming to collaborate creativity with high IQ.

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