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RE: [ufodiscussion] Six Numbers In Search Of A Theory

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  • Jahnets
    Isn t time a dimension too? I thought we live in four dimensions, 3 of space and 1 of time. So right off the bat he is off... and I may be off here but if I am
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30, 2006
      Isn't time a dimension too? I thought we live in four dimensions, 3 of space
      and 1 of time. So right off the bat he is off... and I may be off here but
      if I am thinking correctly as it is late, I read an article just recently
      where a scientist in India had proved that Einstein's theory was only
      correct when speaking in terms of nuclear particles and that matter can be
      created. So that means ?=1 is not 1=1. And for that matter how do they
      know that the excess matter in our universe isn't flowing out in some manner
      to create other universes?

      -----Original Message-----
      From: ufodiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:ufodiscussion@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Light Eye
      Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2006 11:19 AM
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      Subject: [ufodiscussion] Six Numbers In Search Of A Theory

      Dear Friends,

      Lee says that we need to think "outside" the box. Re-member this - when
      you think outside the box, the box goes away...


      Love and Light.


      Six Numbers in Search of a Theory
      By: MICHAEL SHERMER, The New York Sun

      '); } //--> As the public spokesperson for the Skeptics Society and
      Skeptic magazine, I participate in a series of collegiate debates around the
      country with theologians and intelligent design advocates on the existence
      (or lack thereof) of a deity or intelligent designer, which may or may not
      be one and the same. In my opinion, the single best argument my debate
      opponents have is the apparently fine-tuned characteristics of nature.
      Indeed, they quote no less a personage than Sir Martin Rees, Britain's
      Astronomer Royal, who argues
      in his 2000 book, "Just Six Numbers," that "our emergence from a simple
      Big Bang was sensitive to six 'cosmic numbers.'Had these numbers not been
      'well tuned,'the gradual unfolding of layer upon layer of complexity would
      have been quenched." These six numbers are:
      ? = 1, the amount of matter in the universe, such that if ?? were greater
      than one, it would have collapsed long ago, and if ? ? were less than one,
      no galaxies would have formed
      e = .007, how firmly atomic nuclei bind together, such that if epsilon
      were .006 or .008, matter could not exist as it does.
      D = 3, the number of dimensions in which we live, such that if D were 2 or
      4, life could not exist.
      N = 1036 , the ratio of the strength of gravity to that of
      electromagnetism, such that if it had just a few less zeros, the universe
      would be too young and too small for life to evolve.
      Q,= 1/100,000, the fabric of the universe, such that if Q were smaller,
      the universe would be featureless, and if Q were larger, the universe would
      be dominated by giant black holes.
      l = 0.7, the cosmological constant, or "antigravity" force that is causing
      the universe to expand at an accelerating rate, such that if lwere larger,
      it would have prevented stars and galaxies from forming.
      Change these relationships, and stars, planets, and life could not exist.
      Thus, this is not just the best of all possible worlds, it is the only
      possible world.
      One answer to this argument comes from string theory, which holds that the
      fundamental constituents of matter are vibrating strings of extremely small
      scale, perhaps even at the unimaginably small Planck length, or 10-35
      meters. According to one model of string theory, there could be 10500
      possible universes, all with different self-consistent laws and constants.
      That's a 1 followed by 500 zeroes possible universes (12 zeroes is a
      trillion!). Also, through string theory there may be an underlying principle
      behind all the fine-tune equations and relationships that will be
      forthcoming when the grand unified theory of physics is discovered. In a
      unified theory there will not be six mysterious numbers, there will just be
      For many years now I have invoked string theory as my authority from
      whence this unification may come. I may now have to look for another source.
      According to two new books, there is much to be skeptical about in string
      In Not Even Wrong (Basic Books, 291 pages, $26.95), the Columbia
      University mathematician Peter Woit invokes Wolfgang Pauli's famous critique
      of a paper: "This isn't right. It's not even wrong." String theory, Woit
      argues, is not only based on nontestable hypotheses, it depends far too much
      on the aesthetic nature of its mathematics and the eminence of its
      proponents. In science, if an idea is not falsifiable, it is not that it is
      wrong; it is that we cannot determine if it is wrong, and thus it is not
      even wrong. In an engaging, albeit challenging, narrative, Woit recounts the
      history of string theory, concluding: "Since 1973, the field has failed to
      make significant progress, and in many ways has been the victim of its own
      Woit is not alone. No less a physics god than the late Cal Tech Nobel
      physicist Richard Feynman cautioned, "Now I know that other old men have
      been very foolish to say this is nonsense. I am going to be very foolish,
      because I do feel strongly that this is nonsense! I can't help it, even
      though I know the danger in such a point of view. So perhaps I could
      entertain future historians by saying I think all this superstring stuff is
      crazy and is in the wrong direction." More succinctly, Feynman quipped:
      "String theorists don't make predictions, they make excuses." What did he
      mean by this stinging rebuke?
      I don't like that they're not calculating anything. I don't like that they
      don't check their ideas. I don't like that for anything that disagrees with
      an experiment, they cook up an explanation - a fix-up to say, 'Well, it
      still might be true.'For example, the theory requires ten dimensions. Well,
      maybe there's a way of wrapping up six of the dimensions. Yes, that's
      possible mathematically, but why not seven? When they write their equation,
      the equation should decide how many of these things get wrapped up, not the
      desire to agree with experiment. In other words, there's no reason
      whatsoever in superstring theory that it isn't eight of the 10 dimensions
      that get wrapped up and that the result is only two dimensions, which would
      be completely in disagreement with experience. So the fact that it might
      disagree with experience is very tenuous, it doesn't produce anything; it
      has to be excused most of the time. It doesn't look right.
      That was in 1987. According to Woit, not much has changed since. Echoing
      Feynman, Woit concludes: "The fundamental reason that superstring theory
      makes no predictions is that it isn't really a theory, but rather a set of
      reasons for hoping that a theory exists."
      If anyone would be sympathetic to the struggles of bringing to fruition a
      revolutionary idea like string theory it would be Lee Smolin, the Yale
      University and Pennsylvania State University physicist who went on to
      co-found the innovative Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, located
      in Quebec and "dedicated to extending theories of space, time and matter."
      In The Trouble with Physics (Houghton Mifflin, 392 pages, $26), Smolin
      argues that string theory has unjustly used up a disproportionate amount of
      time, resources, money, and young physicists, which, at this point, could be
      put to better use on other topics that have a better chance of bearing
      experimental fruit. "String theory now has such a dominant position in the
      academy that it is practically career suicide for young theoretical
      physicists not to join the field."
      The failure of string theory "is not so much a particular theory but a
      style of doing science that was well suited to the problems we faced in the
      middle part of the 20th century but is ill suited to the kinds of
      fundamental problems we face now." According to Smolin, there are five such
      fundamental problems for which we need a new style of science to solve:
      1. Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that
      can claim to be the complete theory of nature. This is called the problem of
      quantum gravity.
      2. Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by
      making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that
      does make sense.
      3. Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be
      unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single,
      fundamental entity.
      4. Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of
      particle physics are chosen in nature.
      5. Explain dark matter and dark energy. Or, if they don't exist, determine
      how and why gravity is modified on large scales.
      "These five problems represent the boundaries to present knowledge. They
      are what keep theoretical physicists up at night. ... Any theory that claims
      to be a fundamental theory of nature must answer each one of them." String
      theory, says Smolin, has failed to do so.
      Yet, for Smolin, the deeper problem is not string theory per se; it is in
      the social structure of science itself. In a penultimate chapter on "how
      science really works," Mr. Smolin sings the praises of thinking outside of
      the box, including and especially the staid and delimiting box of academia.
      The system is set up to create scientists who are risk-averse, and granting
      tenure doesn't help: "Too much job security, too much power, and too little
      accountability for older people. Too little job security, too little power,
      and too much accountability for younger people in the prime of their
      creative, risk-taking years."
      Smolin concludes that we must do two things: "We must recognize and fight
      the symptoms of groupthink, and we must open the doors to a wide range of
      independent thinkers, being sure to make room for the peculiar characters
      needed to make a revolution." How can you spot one of these young
      revolutionaries? Easy. Find someone already doing science this way, or "find
      at least one accomplished person in the candidate's field who is deeply
      excited about what the candidate is trying to do," and, just to be sure,
      "find at least one professor who thinks the candidate is a terrible
      scientist and bound to fail."
      This brings to mind the first of Arthur C. Clarke's famous three laws:
      "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is
      possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is
      impossible, he is very probably wrong."
      But is he not even wrong?
      Michael Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine (www.skeptic.com) and
      a monthly columnist for Scientific American. His latest book is Why Darwin
      Matters, available from Times Books.
      The New York Sun

      ┬ęThe Evening Bulletin 2006

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