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Is it possible that black holes do not exist?

  1. Aug 10, 2010 #1
    Please correct this if a widely accepted answer exists; please forgive my layman's terminology; lastly, forgive me for posting this to two forums but my first attempt got no takers...

    The "infinite" (unaffected by the local gravity effects) observer A knows that a rocket ship carrying passenger B is rapidly approaching the event horizon of a black hole* large enough to have negligible tidal forces in that region. Observer A calculates that passenger B shall cross the event horizon at t = infinity. The typical response to this is that, from B's frame, time passes normally and the cross-over of the event horizon is rather uneventful**.

    HOWEVER (again from A's perspective) the black hole will dissipate due to Hawking radiation in a very, very long (albeit FINITE) amount of time. This means that passenger B's material structure will be calculated to be annihilated before ever crossing the event horizon. If this is true of passenger B and his rocket ship, it is also true of the material entering the black hole that preceded him. In fact, it's true of ALL material entering the region dating back to the very instant of the black hole's formation. In my mind this implies that the black hole is never formed, the event horizon never exists. All matter brought close enough together to form a traditional black hole is essentially "frozen in time" during its journey, being released from its fate in the form of radiation.

    To me this makes intuitive sense as well for the following reason: as mass approaches the Schwarzschild radius it's material can be calculated to experience a velocity approaching that of c, yet relativity forbids any non-zero mass to travel at c. Perhaps Hawking radiation is simply another way of stating the conversion of mass approaching a velocity of c into energy?

    Thoughts? :smile:

    *I use the term "black hole" even though what I am proposing is a "black hole region" in which a proper black hole never quite materializes, yet powerful gravitational forces exist nonetheless.

    ** The point of this post is that B's journey would not be uneventful. In fact, I imagine as he approached the event horizon he would experience more and more frequent collisions with more and more energetic particles which would eventually destroy him and his ship entirely before his journey was complete.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2010 #2
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  4. Aug 10, 2010 #3
    zhermes: I've read it, thanks. Basically, Susskind believes that the separate A and B frames are represented by a split, analogous to a Many Worlds Interpretation of QM. Could you be more specific about the problems with my analysis? It's a given that I am not an expert in this field but even if you do nothing but dazzle me with big words I would have something to research beyond reading another pop-sci book. :wink:
  5. Aug 10, 2010 #4

    George Jones

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    No. According to the book Quantum Fields in Curved Space by Birrell and Davies, pages 268-269,
    This finite amount is negligible for observers freely falling into a black hole.
  6. Aug 10, 2010 #5
    Thanks George.

    I do not understand this. Why would the author claim that the black hole would emit an infinite amount of radiation during this infinite time? The point of Hawking radiation is that the black hole dissipates slowly, essentially shrinking. The whole point of my OP was that the BH would shrink before any material were calculated to reach the event horizon. What the observer on the rocket ship would actually experience is more speculative, and really of secondary concern to me.
  7. Aug 25, 2010 #6
    In 1982 after going through several review articles in A. Held's two volume proceedings General Relativity and Gravitation, I concluded that virtually all work on black holes and all other cosmological singularities after 1950 were the direct result of a deliberate axiomatic warfare tactic initiated by Kurt Gödel. This was in response to the terrible way in which his good friend Albert Einstein was treated by the general mathematical physicist community: They would kiss his feet, but not listen to a word he said. Basically, Gödel sent them into a theoretical black hole with a time reversal twist. After about 40 years they would climb back out, and begin all over at the same place where they began in 1950. After reading the Gödel papers and philosophical comments on relativity, this conclusion appeared obvious. This was before I came to know Stanley Tennenbaum very well, a leading collaborator of Gödel. (Note that the Princeton Library last time I checked was utilizing the well know intelligence dirty trick of listing the Tennenbaum-Gödel conversation notebooks under Tenenbaum.) From 1989 to 1993, Stanley intensively tutored me on various topics. I concluded that my original analysis was quite correct. Chuck Stevens 571-252-0451
  8. Aug 25, 2010 #7
    That is fascinating, cb. It's very interesting to me to read the responses of Physicists, some very well educated, when I ask questions based on logic and common sense. I am not so naive as to believe that common sense is a good guide in QM and Relativity, but it should also not be thrown out the window if possible. I feel like I'm not demanding, simply questioning, whether the emperor is clothed and I am attacked and ridiculed and denounced by multiple PhDs.

    If you want a chuckle check out the finale of http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?p=2608304#101". Do I have a point? I have no idea, I am not educated enough to make that determination. But when my questions cause such drama it makes me think that I'm not the only one with doubts.
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  9. Aug 25, 2010 #8
    Dear Friend, I have discussed this with a wide range of leading authorities and you are the first person to get the chief point: "The Emporer has no clothes!" All black holes are naked singularities. But you take it even a step further by confessing your ignorance and that you have doubts. As Socrates and Cusa demonstrate most rigorously there can be no scientific thinking without first admitting ones ignorance (Docta Ignorantia) or as Cantor might put it, one must first begin with the empty set. As Stanley Tennenbaum taught me, there are always two possibilities when one cannot understand something: 1) you are simply stupid Stevens and must try harder to understand; 2) you are right Stevens, no one can understand that, everyone who thinks he does is simply living in an illusion. Both possibilities must be thoroughly explored. And usually the second is true. The problem with most modern mathematical physicists is they are followers of Newton and Sarpi. According to them principles do not exist in our universe, and in any case should be given short shift in any scientific discussion.
  10. Aug 25, 2010 #9
    Or at least, you shouldn't be the only one with doubts.
  11. Aug 25, 2010 #10
  12. Aug 25, 2010 #11
  13. Aug 25, 2010 #12
    Well, if I started a thread asking whether or not lollipops were the glue that held space-time together I would not expect ad hominem attacks. When I ask a question that only generates replies attempting to establish how stupid I am, rather than address the question, it makes me think that there is a small possibility of self-doubt in the responders.
  14. Aug 25, 2010 #13
    What I was referring to in General Relativity and Gravitation: One Hundred Years after the Birth of Albert Einstein, Vol. 2, Ed. A Held (Plenum Press, New York, 1980), was F. J. Tipler, C. J. S. Clarke and G. F. R. Ellis “Singularities and horizons: A review article” p. 97. You will find that they have an informative discussion of the collapse of the Penrose censorship theorems. Apparently our respondent is not aware of the literature on Gödel and time reversal. You can find a few articles on this here
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=time reversal%
    Or just search in google scholar "Gödel AND time reversal." There are also an interesting range of books on the topic.
    Well my friend with respect to ad hominem, I think you will find that underneath their skin these mathematical physicists act more like berserkers when properly nailed down. Or to put more cordially, they simply refuse to discuss the scientific record.
  15. Aug 25, 2010 #14


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    It seems to me that the OP's question is basically the question that Susskind's idea of black hole complementarity was meant to answer. There is already a sizable literature on black hole complementarity, and it's clearly highly controversial. If you do a little googling, you can find respected relativists saying that the idea is wrong, and others saying that the idea is right. Those who say it's wrong basically seem to think that the paradox it was meant to resolve is in fact a non-paradox. I doubt that we're going to resolve the controversy here. If someone has a favorite review article on this topic that's on arxiv, we could read it.
  16. Aug 25, 2010 #15


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    Cbstevens, rjbeery's question was about Hawking radiation, an idea that dates back to the mid-70's. I, like zhermes, don't understand what you meant by #6, but the dates seem to indicate that it can't have anything to do with Hawking radiation. If you would like to start a separate thread about your take on the classical issues involving black holes, that might be interesting, but this thread is about a quantum-mechanical topic.
  17. Aug 25, 2010 #16
    We could begin by discussing Lawrence B. Crowell, "Generalized Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for Quantum Fields in Curved Spacetime," Foundations of Physics Letters, 12(6), Dec. 1999, p. 585-591. If you have a copy please forward it to chuckstvns@gmail.com. And possibly this: Quantization effects in the plasma universe
    Wells, Daniel R.; Bourouis, Mohammad
    AA(Miami, University, Coral Gables,
    FL), AB(Miami, University, Coral Gables, FL)
    Publication: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
    (ISSN 0093-3813), vol. 17, April 1989, p. 270-281.
    It is suggested that a unification of the morphology of the solar system, anomalous intrinsic red shifts of
    quasars and galaxies, the structure of the hydrogen atom, the Einstein equations of general relativity,
    and Maxwell's equations can be accomplished by a basic consideration of the minimum-action states of
    cosmic and/or virtual vacuum-field plasmas. A formalism of planetary-formation theory is
    generalized to describe relativistic gravitational field theory in terms of a pregeometry. A virtual plasma
    associated with the vacuum state is postulated. It is demonstrated that the relaxed state of the virtual
    plasma underlies Einstein's field equation and predicts (1) the effective gravitational potential
    generated by the Schwarzschild solution and (2) the structure of the hydrogen atom described in terms of
    the Schroedinger equation of quantum mechanics. These concepts are applied to explain the quantized
    anomalous red shifts in related galaxies observed by Arp and Sulentic (1985).
  18. Aug 25, 2010 #17
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12089-do-black-holes-really-exist.html" was pointed out to me on another forum, which I was relieved to see if only for the reason that there is at least one Physicist who was wondering the same thing I was.

    I've read Susskind's book on Blackholes, and I have to respectfully disagree with his take. I am certainly less qualified on paper than Dr. Susskind on the matter, but that alone cannot stifle all curiosity. I prefer a Real, Local interpretation of the Universe which does not allow for dichotomies of experience (or multiple worlds, etc). I don't mean to morph this into a discussion on QM interpretations, but the subject is unavoidable if we talk about Susskind.
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  19. Aug 26, 2010 #18
    My dear friend rjbeery, I must leave you now. I have found what I was looking for, without looking. Keep up the good work of your questions. If you suffer any future PhD ad homenining, please contact me chuckstvns@gmail.com.
  20. Aug 26, 2010 #19
    I think you're misunderstanding what Susskind is saying. It isn't that there's a many worlds type split, in which one person falls into the singularity while another gets spread out over the event horizon. Rather, according to the outside world the infaller is spread out over the horizon, but the infaller experiences this as crossing the horizon towards the singularity. This isn't so very different from two observers finding different lengths for the same object in special relativity. (Not that I necessarily believe it - I'm very suspicious of anything involving Complementarity)
  21. Aug 26, 2010 #20
    Well, if I were to speak purely as a speculating layman, is it possible that the Hawking radiation (or even simply the CBR) could act as a destructive force as the mass of an infalling observer were subjected to near-infinite accelerative forces near the EH? This would resolve the dichotomy, as both local and infinite frames would see the infalling mass destroyed before the EH was reached.

    *edit* Rereading your post, you are saying that Susskind is claiming that there is no dichotomy at all, and that maybe the infaller continues to remain physically viable, even if the infinite frame calculates that his matter has been scattered to all corners of the EH. Very interesting, but it still doesn't really resolve the common sense objections I have.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
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