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Can mankind transcend the fabric of space and time?

  1. Yes

    6 vote(s)
  2. No

    8 vote(s)
  3. Maybe

    3 vote(s)
  1. Jun 16, 2008 #1
    A question that came out spontaneously, what do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2008 #2
    This is not scientific nor philosophical in the smallest regard.
  4. Jun 16, 2008 #3
    Its both to me, is it too hard for you to answer?
  5. Jun 16, 2008 #4
    Following Kant you would be exactly right in saying that it is not a philosophical question.

    I do not see any reason why it is necessarily not a scientific question, according to Popper's definition of science.

    Finally, I am inclined to answer the question in the affirmative, following Sartre who emphasized the meaning of the quote from Dostoevsky, viz "If there is no god, then anything is possible."
  6. Jun 16, 2008 #5
    There is nothing difficult about it. Why do you automatically assume that I am ignorant to difficult questions? I didn't initially feel the need to waste my time with such a question because applying simple logic negates the proposition. Not to mention it was not proposed in a logical and comprehensive manner.

    Posting this shows that you did not fully read the forum guidelines that you agreed to when you registered.

    You did not define any parameters of your statement.

    The question was spontaneous, meaning you didn't give it serious thought before posting.

    What do you mean by transcend?

    How do you mean 'humans transcending'?

    What is the 'fabric of space time' and what is there to transcend to?

    I mean no personal offense. I am dissecting your ideas, not you. So please return the favor and lets keep this civil. If we can answer these questions and reformulate the original then we might have something to discuss, but I imagine this thread will be locked anyway.

    Edit: to crosson: the manner and the premise in which the question was asked is not scientific. As I said above, it might be if really reformulated...
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  7. Jun 17, 2008 #6
    I am very interested in the scientific concepts of space and time, and I should say I fully agree with robertm : there is not much scientific content in this discussion, not even general discussion. "Transcend" can be interpreted in too many ways. What do you mean by "fabric" ? That there is something more fundamental from which space-time emerges ? That we may find technological uses from those speculative theories, such as space-time travel (teleportation and/or time machines) ? See, internet and this very forum transcend space and time in some sense.

    Unless the question is reformulated, I'm afraid it won't take long for this thread to be locked.
  8. Jun 17, 2008 #7
    Transcend: to pass beyond the limits of.

    The phrase "the fabric" in "the fabric of space and time" is redundant, so we could reformulate this as simply "spacetime."

    So the reformulation of the question is:

    Can mankind go beyond the limits of spacetime?

    According to physics our material bodies will never go beyond these limits, but I do not know anyone who can convincingly argue that we are merely material bodies. Our more abstract thoughts already seem to be beyond space and time, so it seems that without our mundane bodily lives we would all be beyond space and time.
  9. Jun 17, 2008 #8
    Yeah its definately possible...using advanced antimatter reactors(which have not been invented yet) you can develop an anti gravity field around a craft, which can be used to warp space-time... This also enables a craft to travel along contours of spacetime while anti gravity stops any influence of other mass, making the craft effectively massless and capable of faster than light travel !
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  10. Jun 17, 2008 #9

    All thoughts occur in your brain, where is the problem?
  11. Jun 17, 2008 #10
    the problem is, that we do not yet know what exactly thoughts are, nor are we in a position to explain why they originate.
  12. Jun 17, 2008 #11
    Thank you, I have a dictionary. I am interested in the OP context of thoughts.
    No it would not be redundant if you say for instance that space-time emerges from loop quantum gravity, or from twistor space, or from any other mechanism you can mathematically define (or at least describe).
    So this is not a scientific question, since by definition (such as Einstein was describing in great details more than a century ago), space-time should be understood as comprehending the entire Universe, including possible extension we are not yet aware of, and which were later suggested by the flexibility of the equations.

    Nobody could possibly convince anybody else either way, provided one has already make up his mind on this question. Once again this is not scientific.
    My abstract thoughts are located in the chemical reactions taking place in the neurons of my brain.
  13. Jun 17, 2008 #12
    I do not know what book you read, but I can tell you I personally talked to people who measure antineutrons fall. Antimatter does not fly away in a gravitational field, this is an experimental fact. There is no such thing as antigravity. This is science-fiction.

    I'm aware that science-fiction can become future technology, and that this has happened often in the past. But it happens more often that science-fiction simply is imagination.
  14. Jun 17, 2008 #13
    Anti gravity is not like gravity at all... All i am saying is that energy evolved during annihilation can be used to create a repulsive force field around the desired object, which can be used to counteract effects of gravity.
  15. Jun 17, 2008 #14
    I think the technics you are referring to in your previous post require negative energy density. Basically, there are Hawking theorems which prove you will not be able to do fancy stuff such as time travel and teleportation (or merely over-speeding light) unless you break some energy positivity condition.

    There has always been around exotic ideas about antimatter/antigravity hiding where we had not done experiments yet.
  16. Jun 17, 2008 #15
    But there is no reason for antigravity to not exist. Of all the four fundamental forces other three attract as well as repell.. so why should gravity just attract?
  17. Jun 17, 2008 #16
    I think the answer to that one will not satisfy you : gravity is always attractive for the same reason that mass is always positive.

    There are many arguments to show that gravity must attract, but in the end, they all reduce to this condition.

    Now there is a way out of this annoying situation. One can insist that antimatter can not fall, but must fly away. For this, one only needs to re-interpret antimatter just as matter going backward in time. Although it might seem foolish, it is quite a useful trick, and it works wonders.
  18. Jun 17, 2008 #17
    You can't literally mean that the thoughts are in my brain, the same way that my brain is in my skull. You must mean that you think the chemical reactions somehow give rise to thoughts. But there is no mathematical or scientific formulation of this idea, and so your idea is just as nonsensical as any other.

    If I type a thought into the computer, that doesn't mean the thought is in the computer, but only a typed symbolic record of it. In fact it would require thought to interpret the typed symbolic record as a thought. Don't confuse the thing that holds a record of the thoughts (computer memory, the human brain) with the thing that has (feels) thoughts.

    By the way, I am a physicist and I also formerly held on to the nonsensical dogmatic belief that "thoughts are identical to the electro-chemical processes of the brain."
  19. Jun 17, 2008 #18
    I am sorry that you have changed your mind, and am interested to know what could possibly have convinced you.

    There is nothing nonsensical about it. No one is confusing the brain with any special magical 'feeling' of thoughts. Your thoughts can not exist without your physical brain. It is that simple. Just because the human brain has the wonderful ability to experience the senses without physical input dose not mean that there is anything magical going on.

    As a physicist, why would you rather assume that an option based on ZERO logical and empirical evidence is in anyway viable? Why would you base a belief, ANY belief on 'feelings' and whimsical ideals? We all know how incredibly subjective 'feelings' can be.

    The bottom line: There is no evidence to support any form of the possible transcendental nature of human thought. There is however a logical way of describing and quantifying with the scientific method the reasons why 'thoughts' which exist only in the imagination of a brain seem so intangible.
  20. Jun 17, 2008 #19
    Gravity is not a force. It is a pseudo force that arises from the nature of spacetime.
  21. Jun 17, 2008 #20
    The way I see it is this: I know my thoughts exist, but I dont know for sure that my brain exists, hence my thoughts are not the same thing as my brain or anything that happens within it. Maybe my thoughts couln't exist without my brain, but maybe my brain couldn't exist without my thoughts.
  22. Jun 17, 2008 #21
    I studied the history of philosophy for a few years. Now it's hard for me to discourse with other physicists, because they are only playing with half a deck.

    In logical discourse the standard for claims of impossibility is nothing less than rigorous proof. This means that your claim is unfortunately based only on a feeling that you have. Stories like this are not totally uncommon, I also know of one involving a graduate student in mathematics who was functionally identical to his colleagues:


    Unless you have had brain surgery or an MRI, it is entirely conceivable that upon your death we will open your skull and find it to be empty.

    Physical input is irrelevant to my argument. The plain fact that we have any thoughts, whether based on a physical reality or not, is enough to ask "what's going on?"

    When all else fails, use connotations ("feelings") and talk louder ("ZERO"). How about this as empirical evidence: "I see the color red."

    According to classical physics the state of my material brain is given by the set of positions and momenta of the various particles in my brain. Tell me, what configuration of these particles could give rise to my experience of the color red? More directly, how could any configuration of these particles give rise to any subjective experience by an individual consciousness whatsoever?

    What is this logical way of describing and quantifying thoughts in terms of electro-chemical processes?

    I agree, that has been our best model so far. But the questions in this thread go beyond our current physical models. Don't you realize that what you are stating as a universal fact is actually a model that has existed for less than 10^(-18) % of the duration of the universe, and has weakly been confirmed by limited observation of the light that is visible from this solitary planet? Remember that cosmology predicts that up to 98% of the mass in the universe is exotic matter that is not to be found on the periodic table, and so we must admit that we have no idea what forces between these particles must be like. Don't let "the quest for the theory of everything" hype affect your thinking about what is possible, we should be willing to admit how much we don't know.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  23. Jun 17, 2008 #22
    ok seeing as einstein was the greatest mind we have ever known and he said that gravity is just mass making a dent in the fabric of space-time which governs everything we have ever experienced, I'd say he was right. So gravity is not an attractive force but just objects "falling" towards other larger objects which create a bigger dent in space-time. Now how do we create anti-matter then? The absense of a dent in space-time? wouldnt that just be space-time? so there would be nothing falling or repelling.
  24. Jun 17, 2008 #23
    Proof by authority is not valid, and Einstein succeeded because of his hardwork, not because of his intelligence. Consider what the great mathematician David Hilbert said:

    "Every schoolboy in Gottingen knows more 4-dimensional geometry than Einstein, but chalk is cheaper than grey matter."

    In other words, Hilbert was saying that what Einstein lacked in pure intelligence he made up for with the amount of chalk he expended while working.
  25. Jun 17, 2008 #24
    haha so your saying einstein was wrong? ask nasa if they agree! or even people in Hiroshima for that matter haha
  26. Jun 17, 2008 #25
    I never said that Einstein was wrong, I just pointed out that he is far from being "the greatest mind we have ever known." You must have low perception if you think I said he was wrong.

    As for your comment about Hiroshima, if you knew about the history or science behind the first atomic bomb you would know that the splitting of the uranium nucleus was first accomplished by German chemists who were not using special relativity in any way. Einstein's only role in the creation of the nuclear bomb was to urge president Roosevelt to construct one, in a 1939 letter. About this I am almost certain that the residents of Hiroshima would say "Einstein was wrong."
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