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The biggest obstacle of science is knowing before we know

  1. Apr 8, 2008 #1
    The biggest obstacle of science is "knowing" before we know

    The Standard Model, The Big Bang, The Law of Gravity, a finite but expanding universe... all scientific theories widely accepted.. leading to string theory, etc... but how often must new discoveries twist and turn us to different and sometimes opposite directions in the field of science? Please refer to my subject title again at your convenience.

    When mathematics is used to prove physical theories, I see a fundamental flaw that is overlooked in our eagerness to "know", that is that equations will always result in a finite # thus we have a finite universe, in such, math is not capable of defining reality and leaves out possibilities, of an infinite universe that isn't expanding (but looks to be expanding from our little perspective here on planet earth) but may be just moving outwards from us in all direction, as what would be possible in an infinite large universe.. as if space and time (the concept) can somehow have a boundary.. it is our minds that have the boundry. If the universe is expanding then what is it expanding into, nothing? Dark Energy is exponentially pushing the universe outwards, but we don't even know what dark energy is, its just a term to explain something that we don't know but everyone is eager to jump on because it has a nicely packaged name. Its heretical of science to assume something before it knows.. but this seems to be the case many times over, even though our observations add up to neat explanations that work but there is always something missing.. an infinite # of unknown possibilities will cause this as there must be this scenario when we do not have the total picture... but we never will.. why should an infinite universe in space and time with no origin ever be ruled out?

    Where does logic begin to escape us? How can there be multiple universes for one, the universe is a word used to describe something and in this case, the word describes the totality of all things known or postulated, so to believe in multiple universes means we don't even have words that are standardly used in science let alone urbandictionary.com When words don't mean what they mean anything can mean anything so what the heck am I talking about, right?
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  3. Apr 8, 2008 #2


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    What is your justification for this bold claim? It's certainly false for mathematics in general, why should its application to "physical theories" be special?

    "Expanding universe" is a technical phrase and has a technical definition -- before you ponder the ramifications of physical theories, you should first learn what they are actually saying.

    It's hard to study something if you don't have any words for it. I can't figure out the intended point of this comment.
  4. Apr 8, 2008 #3


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    Reads as rambling. Consider making one well-defined point at a time.
  5. Apr 8, 2008 #4
    Yes, I know I was rambling, I made that choice, I'm sure you can still discuss it if you wish, yes?
  6. Apr 8, 2008 #5

    On the claim that math always results in a finite # I was referring to qty not decimal places... as in no equation can result in infinity, as infinity isn't even a number.

    I understand Expanding Universe is a technical definition and yes I know wha tthey are saying, that the universe is continually expanding outwards since the Big Bang.

    My point of the last comment is that the term universe is a misused term in science, there can only be one universe... Its seem to be referred to often as the universe that we can observe only.
  7. Apr 8, 2008 #6


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    Rambling, more or less by definition, is too incoherent for effective discussion.
  8. Apr 8, 2008 #7

    Main Entry:
    1ram·ble Listen to the pronunciation of 1ramble
    Inflected Form(s):
    ram·bled; ram·bling Listen to the pronunciation of rambling \-b(ə-)liŋ\
    Middle English, probably alteration of romblen, frequentative of romen to roam
    15th century

    intransitive verb1 a: to move aimlessly from place to place b: to explore idly2: to talk or write in a desultory or long-winded wandering fashion3: to grow or extend irregularly

    No - actually it has nothing to do with coherency.. after all, you already engaged the original post and hopefully we can further our discussion, but that would be only if you choose to.
  9. Apr 8, 2008 #8


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    Each of the following commonly used number systems contains infinite numbers:
    . Extended natural numbers
    . Projective real numbers
    . Extended real numbers
    . Projective complex numbers
    . Ordinal numbers
    . Cardinal numbers
    . Hyperreal numbers

    Furthermore, there are commonly used non-"numeric" contexts where the infinite is relevant, and could appear in (non-"numeric") equations. e.g.
    . Any (Euclidean) projective line has a point at infinity
    . Any (Euclidean) projective plane has a projective line at infinity
    . Any Elliptic curve in Weierstrass form has a point at infinity
    . The extended Euclidean line has two points at infinity

    (these lists are non-exhaustive)

    Then what, pray tell, did you mean by your query "what is it expanding into"? I can make absolutely no sense of that question, if you are indeed using the correct technical definition of "expanding" in this context.
  10. Apr 8, 2008 #9
    Yes they do contain infinite numbers, but what does that have to do with a mathematical equation that results in infinity, or how math can somehow show us that the universe is infinite?

    My question what is the universe expanding into..... is there another definition of expanding that isn't in Merriam Websters collegiate dictionary?

    transitive verb1: to open up : unfold2: to increase the extent, number, volume, or scope of : enlarge3 a: to express at length or in greater detail b: to write out in full <expand all abbreviations> c: to subject to mathematical expansion <expand a function in a power series>
  11. Apr 8, 2008 #10


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    I though it an obvious contradiction to what I guessed that you were saying.

    Since you do not make precise statements (e.g. an equation is simply an equation; it does not have a "result"), and you do not bother to justify these claims, I cannot point to your error (other than pointing out your claim is wrong), or even be sure I know what you're talking about.

    Yes -- that is (part of) what it means to be a technical phrase with a technical definition.
  12. Apr 8, 2008 #11
    -There is no error, thats why you can't point it out. Essentially, utilizing math to explain the universe will never lead to an explanation that the universe is infinitely large.. only finite in size will be the result.. math cannot be the end all know all of the puzzles of physics and the universe as it omits possibilities.

    -If something is expanding, is it not logical then that there would be something on the outside of said "thing" to expand into?
  13. Apr 9, 2008 #12
    WW_III_ANGRY, You seem to have missed Hurkyl's point, I believe you misunderstand the technical term expansion. I think it is different than everyday use (I do not understand it either and have pondered the same thing you are). It seems the spatial dimensions themselves are actually what are expanding.

    I would do more research before you make such claims the sorts of claims you are making. Also with your dictionary quoting you sound very arrogant and, in turn, look ignorant. Try just asking questions, I'm sure Hurkyl is more then willing to aid in your understanding. I am not an expert by any means but I know better than to speak in absolutes the way you are especially when I am ignorant of the subject I am talking about.

    Here is a link I found which explains it, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_expansion_of_space. Wikipedia is obviously not the best source in the world but I think it will give you a general idea of what it's all about.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2008
  14. Apr 9, 2008 #13
    Your perspective is too simplistic, its not as if there is an equation where the size of the Universe is X, an unknown number to be solved for.

    Why can't math describe an infinite space in three dimensions? Or if you admit that it can, why can't a physicist choose to build a theory out of it?
  15. Apr 9, 2008 #14

    Then it is a movement of galaxies further apart from each other? Then the universe is not growing in size? Thanks for clearing that up..

    I was under the impression since the big bang began at the singularity the universe exploded outwards and is continually doing so. If this is not the case when discussing the universe expanding, then I was obviously mistaken.
  16. Apr 9, 2008 #15
    Yes math can describe it but why they can't, I already stated... it still has to have some sort of finite size, the best science can offer is the soccer ball theory it seems.. if its possible to build a theory out of it, why hasn't it been done yet?
  17. Apr 9, 2008 #16


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    But this is crackpottery. There will ALWAYS be something that we won't know yet. That's the whole point of discovery. You have made a serious faulty assumption that there is a point that we will know everything. If you are in this business of criticizing faulty starting point, then you should also examine YOUR starting point.

    Every single human civilization has lived in a world in which there are things that they did not know of at that period. I can easily point to the FACT that there is a progressionof knowledge as human civilization continues. You cannot deny the fact that there are things we know now that we did not know back then. To demand that we should know everything there is to know about the universe now is like an impetulant child wanting everything all at once. It is a fallacy, and you are using such a fallacy as your starting point.

    Furthermore, let me give you Newton's 2nd Law. Can you show me where there is a finite restriction to it simply because I can write it mathematically as F=dp/dt? Can you show me the finite number of configuration that it can be applied to?

    This is another example where the clear observation of "it works!" is being swept aside in favor of something speculative that hasn't been shown to even exist, much less, work!

    While you're at it, you may want to take a quick peek at the https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5374".

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  18. Apr 9, 2008 #17
    Ok, "science" doesn't know anything even though all popular media sources often claim knowledge and tell us in manners that are direct in frank that science claims. I understand this isn't science, but it is the known popular "science" (not the magazine). For Newtons 2nd law, either I didn't make myself clear or you didn't understand what I was trying to say.. but in any case, I'll leave it at that.
  19. Apr 9, 2008 #18


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    When did we start talking about "popular science", or is this the source of all your information? I would think that you would have at least done a lot of science to be able to make generalized statement about science and how it is done. If not, then aren't you basing your opinion on superficial knowledge? Are you that comfortable with doing that?

    .. and I'll leave it at that.

  20. Apr 9, 2008 #19

    There are many "scientists" who commit to knowledge before it is in all actuality, knowledge.. Claims of theories being fact, accepting the big bang theory for one, while plausible, we now educate this as truth on various outlets including schools, etc. I don't know how many times I here someone say "when the universe was formed" , etc. To make such bold claims, shouldn't we be 100% certain?
  21. Apr 9, 2008 #20


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    No scientists except crackpots "commit" to knowledge.
    No scientists except crackpots claim theories are facts.
    No scientists except crackpots accept the Big Bang as a fact.
    Well now that is a different kettle of fish!
    No scientists (and certainly no one here) except crackpots ever mean anything other than the implicit "...accordingly to currently accepted theory...".

    No. We go with the best theory we have. We are always open to the theories being modified, or being thrown out entirely. The degree to which we are willing to go with a currently-accepted theory is the degree to which the preponderance of evidence favours the theory. In the case of the Big Bang, it's pretty preponderous.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2008
  22. Apr 9, 2008 #21


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    Can you show me which scientist actually claim those things to be 'facts'? If they are "facts", why do we STILL continue to test and make more measurements? The very FACT that we continue to study the validity of our ideas imply that these aren't "facts", and that invalidate your complaint here. Do we have compelling evidence for these things? Sure. But calling them "facts"? Only you did.

    You might want to examine what you are doing and consider what you accept as "fact" might be bogus. There are more evidence in support of the Big Bang theory than evidence to support that you actually know what you are talking about.

  23. Apr 9, 2008 #22
    Please read the below article below and explain how the wordings used to support Big Bang are not putting off the Big Bang as a fact, despite not using those exact words.


    Administration official: “Big Bang” is just a theory
    Sean at 6:21 pm, February 4th, 2006

    You’ve heard, I hope, about NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who the Bush administration tried to silence when he called for reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. Cosmology, as it turns out, is not exempt from the radical anti-science agenda. The New York Times, via Atrios:

    In October, for example, George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word “theory” after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.

    The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the “war room” of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen’s public statements.

    In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word “theory” needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

    The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion,” Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, “It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator.”

    It continued: “This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most.”

    Emphasis added. Draw your own conclusions, I’m feeling a bit of outrage fatigue at the moment.

    Update: Phil Plait has extensive comments at Bad Astronomy Blog. Also Pharyngula, Balloon Juice, Stranger Fruit, Gary Farber, Mark Kleiman, World O’ Crap, and Hullabaloo.

    Update again, for our new visitors: Folks, of course the Big Bang model is a theory, and of course it is also correct. It has been tested beyond reasonable doubt: our current universe expanded from a hot, dense, smooth state about 14 billion years ago. The evidence is overwhelming, and we have hard data (from primordial nucleosynthesis) that the model was correct as early as one minute after the initial singularity.

    Of course the initial singularity (the “Bang†itself) is not understood, and there are plenty of other loose ends. But the basic framework — expanding from an early hot, dense, smooth state — is beyond reasonable dispute.

    It’s too bad that scientific education in this country is so poor that many people don’t understand what is meant by “theory†or “model.†It doesn’t mean “just someone’s opinion.†Theories can be completely speculative, absolutely well-established, or just plain wrong; the Big Bang model is absolutely well-established.
  24. Apr 9, 2008 #23


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    I don't see anywhere that he referred to the Big Bang as fact.

    Seems to me the outrage is due to
    1] the addition of "just a" preceding "theory"
    2] that a theory is just an "opinion"
    3] that intellligent design is claimed to be a legit theory
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2008
  25. Apr 9, 2008 #24

    An example of a scientist who discovers that the universe is expanding. Discovering something means finding knowledge of. Is Johns Hopkins University now being unscientific in their article below or just the author, if so aren't scientists responsible for the dispersing of this knowledge properly to not have others claim they have knowledge? Is silence not guilt in this matter?


    Chasing the Great Beyond

    "Adam Riess discovered that the universe was expanding faster and faster, thanks to a repulsive force dubbed "dark energy" — a breakthrough that has led scientists to reconsider the fundamentals of physics. "
  26. Apr 9, 2008 #25
    Regardless of the void of the word fact, the strong use of words and push for persuasion is entirely present to make it seem as such.

    More generally, on another note but related... is there no such thing as scientific fact?
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