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What about the absence of a unified field?

  1. Sep 16, 2004 #1
    I would like to start a new thread - not on strings, M, or other possible theories of everything that lead to a unified field theory - but to the opposing view: the option that a unified field of forces does not and cannot exist.

    I have some mathematical information that I want to use later (that gave me an indication that a unified field of forces is an impossibility). First I am curious if there is anybody else out there, who has serious doubts about the existence of any unified field theories.

    Much has been said about the ultimate platform on which unification would be possible. In my opinion, not enough attention has been given to the opposite. Can you please articulate why a unified field of forces cannot exist.

    I am going to give one example of a singular platform (our earth) with four active members (North, South, East, and West). Though the platform is (or appears to be) singular, these four active ingredients do not have a common thread; the platform is known, but does not contain unification.

    East and West can go on forever in their direction, but some unification can be found in that they can cover exactly the same spots. Depending on your point of view, a single place can be East or West.

    For such single spot, North and South appear to deliver the same set-up as East and West, but North and South cannot go on forever in their direction. When on the North pole, one cannot go further North. One cannot even go East or West on the North pole. There is only one direction on the North pole, and that is South. To unify North and South in absolute terms is not possible, while it appears possible for East and West.

    These four directions contain a pair of opposition without the possibility of unification (North and South), and a pair of opposition in which unification appears very well possible (East meets West).

    This example may not be scientific enough for everyone. Please use any platform you can think of to denounce (or confirm) the possibility of unification on a single platform.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2004 #2
    I have no doubt on the existence of such a law : as Feynman said, take all the laws you can imagine. They are all LHS=RHS. Here is the TOE : sum[ (LHS-RHS)^2 ] = 0

    The question would be is there a reason why Nature would entirely follow from a simple principle. I do believe this is so. This is a religion.
  4. Sep 17, 2004 #3
    ... plus the fact that history has shown us how much we gained by unifying. Starting with Copernicus/Galileo/Newton : the fact that movements on Earth are the same as movements of planets. There is a whole list following.

    Yet of course, it is very possible that a TOE would be useless. It is also possible that it really would get us closer to what Nature really is. Spinoza rules !
  5. Sep 17, 2004 #4
    I myself lean toward a concept of pluralism and "noncompromise" [Marvin Minsky's idea of agents/forces working independently resulting in an emergent selection where dominant forces are reinforced and endure/equilibrate while lesser forces dissapate]- however pluralistic systems are still kinds of unified frameworks becasue their interrelationships form a collective system which establishes the structure of the world
  6. Sep 17, 2004 #5
    Good answers, but are they delivering?

    I think I see what you are doing, Humanino, with "... all the laws you can imagine. They are all LHS=RHS. Here is the TOE : sum[ (LHS-RHS)^2 ] = 0" but I read in it that they are ultimately balanced, I do not read there is unification between the parts.

    Einstein said that the ultimate theory had to be simple, and I guess we both support that idea. Still, that does not mean it múst be on the condition of unification. I do agree with you that unifying principles have delivered us much insight and knowledge, and as such I have nothing against the idea that unification would indeed be wonderful. Question is: are there any facts to support it? Or to pose the opposite: if there are so many facts against it, why do we believe in it still?

    North, South, West and East are very simple parts of a single spinning planet, yet unification is not delivered (except in the singular spin). Unification appears to exist because almost all spots on earth can be approached from any of these directions; exceptions are, however, the North pole and South pole - they each miss 3 directions. As such I must agree with you, setAI, that "the pluralistic systems are still kinds of unified frameworks because their interrelationships form a collective system which establishes the structure of the world." Similar terms would be 'family' or 'nation.' They are unifying principles, while the members do not necessarily have to agree with each other (except on the principle that they are family or a nation). Does Marvin Minsky deliver evidence/source material for his theory/idea of independently working forces?

    Humanino, can you come up with a different set (or can you deliver the unifying aspect to your sum)?
  7. Sep 17, 2004 #6
    I would argue that simplicity does equal unification. This is perhaps a tautology. If the universe did come from a singularity, then all things were the same thing at that singularity. And divergences arose from this single entity. But if the universe did not come from a single entity, then you have the situation of instantaneous emergence of complexity. This is perhaps the antithesis of a reasonable explanation for all things. Instant complexity defies explanation and thus is the same as suggesting that the creation defies logic.
  8. Sep 18, 2004 #7


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    On the other hand Freeman Dyson, in his recent essay in the New York Review of Books, was perfectly OK with not unifying gravity with the other forces. He would want some addition to GR to permit the development of the standard model within it, but otherwise we have spacetime, and we have quantum theory, and maybe that's it!
  9. Sep 18, 2004 #8


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    This is algebra. I would expect TOE to be a geometric theory. And no unyfied field in the GUT sense.
  10. Sep 18, 2004 #9
    Origin may be unified, result does not need to be.

    I have no problem with accepting that the origin was singular, but the results coming from the origin do not automatically have to be singular. It could be, but nowhere is it prescribed that the result must be singular. But it is an interesting path that you are creating.

    If the result is indeed unified then the result must contain/reflect the origin. On the other hand if the results are all different variations of the singular origin, the results do not require unification between the forces. This latter example requires nothing more than the momentary existence of a single (but absolute) level of separation within the origin right before the start of creation. Both (or more) versions would reflect the original state, but they would do so in their own specific way.

    Arivero, I personally do not mind the use of any platform that may deliver insight into how unification could (or could not) come about.

    SelfAdjoint, thanks for info on Freeman Dyson. I'm looking him up.
  11. Sep 18, 2004 #10
    Agreement from me. I do believe in an elegant formulation. I was just quoting Feynman. We basically reproduced his explanation. I am not certain in which book he wrote this.

    Fredrick : the dummy example of Feynman I quoted illustrates only that unification is a difficult and deep task, from which some expect to gain profound insights.
  12. Sep 19, 2004 #11

    So, Humanino, if I get it correctly, you showed me an open door, which was actually a painted door on a wall, and I tried to walk through it?

    I like the joke! But I don't know if the insight I gained is more than a profound bump on my head.

    If you believe in an elegant formulation, what place would the very option of believing have in that formulation? Said differently, if it is elegant, the freedom to believe or the freedom to theorize - which can basically be seen as a separate area existing next to the facts - must be included.

    In short: do you expect such formulation to include/mention separation?
  13. Sep 19, 2004 #12
    The door was painted by Feynman !

    Once again, when we look backwards, we contemplate a formidable path towards unification, where in each step, understanding how two apparently distinct phenomena are in fact the two sides of the same coin, and this often lead to discover yet other sides (ok, my analogy is poor :wink: ) So, we historically gained so much by unification that we came to the certitude that all phenomena must be explained by only one simple elegant principle, which probably reflect closely the very deep Nature of Reality. That Nature is one, is my belief too. No matter how well we can justify this belief : until we reach our goal, we cannot be sure it exists in the form we conceive it.

    Feynman was pointing that : in the path we could sometime be victims coincidences misleading us, and we have to expect our road to be long and difficult. Even worse : maybe there is no such thing as a single law having more significance than the dummy sum of squares, maybe Nature is twofold ! Maybe Nature is manifold...
  14. Sep 21, 2004 #13

    I like your reply. I don't blame you (hmm) but Feynman. Okay, we disagree on a small aspect, but I have the feeling our minds are not that far apart. Not identical - but not far apart.

    Quoting Feynman: In the path we could sometimes be victims: coincidences misleading us, and we have to expect our road to be long and difficult. What if the road was short, done already, and simple (like Einstein expected)?

    I read the longing for simplicity in your words, and I want to deliver simplicity, though not one that supports (absolute) unification. When probing for the most important information about life, DNA has become the center explanation of it all. DNA has a four-fold mechanism, and nobody is sincerely asking what A, C, G, and T have in common. In my thinking it is the basic difference of at least one level of separation that causes this mechanism to work.

    What do I mean with one level of separation in regards to DNA? Because the segments occur in pairs, I do not see the necessity to conclude that all are absolute separations. It is already possible to say that the difference of four exist when two segments cannot exist in each other's vicinity (if they were to exist all by themselves), but they are able to be in each other's vicinity because they are both accompanied by a different second segment that work as pacifiers.

    I then have a single level of separation that has been bridged by the additional two other segments. Could there be more levels of separation? I guess so, why not, maybe. But without a level of separation, I see not how they could have cooperated and not evolved into one and the same thing. The absolute incompatible difference that exists between (at least) two segments creates a long term stability (for all four segments).

    I am able to deliver exactly the same idea for the four forces — electromagnetic, gravity, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces — where each in themselves may be the perfect representation of what existed before the Big Bang, but at least two of those platforms are absolutely incompatible. The other two may have similarities, congruency, or what have you with one or both of these platforms, and because of their pacifying presence the whole is not more violent than it already is. Two platforms deliver 'stability,' while the two other platforms could not, and would not exist in the same universe all by themselves.
  15. Sep 24, 2004 #14
    Unified field theory requires an equation right? because I have principles that seem to make alot of sense to me lately but no experince in equations.
  16. Sep 25, 2004 #15
    Show us what you've got!

    Hi Enos,

    Threads in PhysicsForums allow for quite an amount of freedom to discuss what you want. Equations or principles, they are fine with me. This thread in particular was set up to discuss the possibility of the absence of a unified field, but the opposite is naturally part of such a discussion. Whatever you communicate is open for discussion in this thread. I am interested to hear what your principles entail.
  17. Sep 25, 2004 #16
    Here's what I got so far.

    These ideas are kinda new so I haven'd had time to add more detail into it. But I'll paste what I wrote so far. Hope it makes sense. Please let me know if you see some wrong with it or have questions on connections. :shy:

    Change Constant and Order + Chaos Principle

    It all started with self-discovery, but as I started to narrow down to answer the reason behind every human action I started to realize that the universe must follow the same laws. Just recently the answer hit me.

    The universe must follow the change constant rule which is governed by Order and Chaos. Which states that all existence must constantly change and do it in the most orderly way possible. But when the choices are limited to where all possible choices have chaotic results, the orderly way would be to choose the lesser chaotic choice.

    Humans follow this rule clearly but I should give it more detail. How I know we follow order and chaos is the fact that pain and pleasure exist. Pain represents chaos while pleasure represents order. There are also two types of feelings which are mental and physical. Physical pain and pleasure isn't that complex, although mental pain and pleasure may seem more complex due to different personality types and life experiences. But all the pain and pleasure we get in life, both physical and mental decide what actions we choose. Certain mental values may exceed the physical pains and get us in a harmful choice. Or certain physical and mental pleasures may exceed the mental and physical pains and get us into bad habits.
    Example: you are cold and there is a fire. To most people getting closer to the fire is the most orderly choice, with the exception of those with mental reasons for not doing it like if they felt they had to prove their bravery or someone who fears fire.
    An example of a chaotic/chaotic choice is a bulimic person. I'll use a female in my example so I don't have to keep saying him/her or she/he. The bulimic female mentally convinces herself that she is fat and that food makes her fatter. So she physically makes herself throw up. To her the physical pain of throwing up is the lesser chaotic choice of the mental pain of feeling insecure and fat.

    Enough about humans, lets get back to the universe as a whole. Big Bang is where many believe our universe began but it is just another part of the change constant - order + chaos principle. Something can only change so much before it changes into something that it already was. The orderly thing for all existence is to unify as a singular being or existence. But to do so would take a long time in our measurements of time because this must be achieved while avoiding chaos. But once absolute order is achieved change constant and order + chaos priciple still applies. That is why the most orderly time of existence is followed by the most chaotic time of existence (Big Bang). Absolute order has no lesser chaotic choice because no order is else where so change constant forces absolute order into absolute chaos. So then the singular existence is no more and order is a part of the rules again in this infinite existence.
    No beginning and no end would mean creation is impossible.

    Just because we manipulate the order of something that has always existed doesn't mean creation was involved.
  18. Sep 25, 2004 #17
    I get the point - but I have some problems handling the information.

    I clearly get the point you are trying to make, Enos. And though I do not see too much wrong with it, I must say that it does not give me enough handles to get to a full understanding.

    First and possibly foremost of all is that your words contain a lot of subjective terms that make it difficult to discuss. With subjective words I mean words that can mean something for one person and something else for another. The most famous one in circulation the last couple of years is the word 'evil.' Though we can certainly all agree on what it more or less means, evil is in the eye of the beholder (just like beauty is). It is impossible to nail down a definition that stands indefinitively for all people involved. American actions in Afghanistan seem brave to me, but for some religious people they are deeds of evil. Iraq is a whole different ballpark altogether. Evil is in the eye of the beholder. Objective words on the other hand can mean one and the same thing (though variation often exist) for all people. Moon, sun, dog, you name it. Many specialist words exist in use only by those of the trade or branche of science. I would like it if you used more specific words, but I do get the image you are portraying, I think.

    I get an idea what you mean with the words constant together with change, order and chaos. So I want to ask you how much importance you give, for instance, to the actual quantity of something. Take water for instance, the amount of water of dew falling off a leaf, and all the water in the Pacific Ocean are not the same. The water may be seen as similar but nevertheless the difference in quantity makes it completely different.

    Or human intervention/interaction. Wouldn't you say human intervention changes the course and therefore the outcome, which is different from how the universe behaves? There is a unique feature involved with life, where a living being can decide to not do something, where a planet or star must continue its path. A bulimic person may decide to give up on either throwing up or on the whole ideal of skinny people. A star cannot stop its path, a human being can (though indeed this may be terribly difficult). We can walk away from situations, or we may get involved. It is a question of consciouness whether we see that there is a choice available to us, that is not available for a meteor or river.

    Was consciousness part of the beginning of our universe. Do you think it will play a role in a possible ending?
  19. Sep 26, 2004 #18
    I don't think I bring up good and evil, I bring up pain and pleasure which everyone feels mentally and, or physically. These principles apply no matter how different their views might be. Because ones definition of order will be someone else's definition of chaos. But the one doing the action is doing the order, the one doing the reaction, Is also doing order. Conflicts arise but it is the orderly thing to do. But because humans have consciousness they also have the power to manipulate the order of things and come to a mutual agreement. But the power to manipulate order doesn't effect the laws of change and order.

    Quantity has importance in how things are ordered. That is why I think our universe is the way it is from the Big Bang. When space began to cool down the particles would have been in different quantities spread throughout the universe. So while some particles sought order with a larger group the conversion of these would have been faster than the particle group with smaller quantities. Then making differences between these particles and unable to convert in an orderly manner. Much like human groups, when different color skins and culture first met order was difficult because order takes time.

    Consciousness, I think is just what comes with beings who are able to feel think and do. Order is done differently by different things. Consciousness is what makes humans and life different from each other. But humans manipulated order, which I am unsure if animals and other types of life do.

    I don't know if the most orderly time of existence will have consciousness but whether or not it does, it doesn't have a choice what to do because the only room for change and order is through chaos because order is no longer a choice once absolute order is achieved.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2004
  20. Sep 26, 2004 #19
    Adam and Eve

    I get the picture. I cannot go where you are going. I think ordering is important, but not that important. At the top I see space for either Chaos or for Order, and within the order I see a lot of variations that can come to the top. A leader who puts him (her)self above everyone else is significantly different from a leader who places him (her)self between everyone else (first among equals). A king can lead, but so can a city manager who got hired by a staff that can also fire the manager. Anarchists say we do not need leadership (though I think basically that under those conditions the biggest ass%^&#@ get the best of it all). In pluralistic democracies nations are organized with weak leadership, but strong individual rights (where a democracy with the two party system often shows the opposite). Top/bottom is steeper in dictatorships and a two party system democracies than in pluralistic democracies.

    I never thought I would talk here about Adam and Eve, but when it comes down to order, then ordering is in question and it must be addressed. There are two versions of ordering and I mention it here because it brings us back to the reason of this thread, which is basically the question: Unification or not.

    With establishing the story that god created Adam first and from Adam god created Eve, an ordering has been used in time. Not to dispell any person's belief that this is true, a different way of ordering exists as well. God could have easily created both Adam and Eve at the same time.

    What is the difference between these two versions? The difference is the ordering in time, and the link that exists (or not exists) between Adam and Eve.

    When god created Adam and from Adam Eve, god established a top and bottom, a first and last, an important and an unimportant aspect, or however you want to frame it. This way a version of ordering has been created that appears applicable to everything; and everything is linked to each other. I think that the truth is not that simple. What is most important for you, is not most important for me. What is the top for you, I regard as not that high of a standard, what is first for me, maybe second for you. You may give importance to leadership, I want everyone to follow their own voice while being respectful to others' voices.

    When god created Adam and Eve at the same time, god delivered two segments that may have a lot in common, but in at least one aspect both have nothing in common: on one level of separation there is no link. Ordering can still be applied but each has their own version of ordering, in which various segments have their own positions. The parts may, but whole picture is not based on ordering because it is based on two equals that are not identical. One can armwrestle and decide who will be the winner, but that does not deliver an order that is natural; it is an order of results only. In this version it is preposterous to mention one of the two as top and the other as bottom, because each is not organized according to the other's principle, but to their own. Same goes for culture. Cultures can never top other cultures as a whole, only in segments. What is great in Western society, may be dummm in other societies, and vice versa.

    Sorry to bring a religious story (Ada & Eve) into a scientific/metaphysical thread, but I am using it because it is familiar to everyone (Christian/Jewish/Muslim or not). It delivers an order, which may have much appeal, but which is not the only way in which everything can be ordered. It lacks information; it lacks options that clearly exist. That's why we have different religions. Some have only one god, others have multiple gods, while there are also a lot of people who believe there's no god(s) at all. I know that nobody can answer that question for everyone, only for ourselves.

    Scientists mention that in nature there are four forces: gravity, electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force. According to me they are organized according to their own principles, which do not dispell the possibility that there may be several links between them, but that at least one level of separation exists within this group of four.
    A few more remarks: Chimpanzees share 99% of our genetic make-up. Not everything humans can do, chimps can do, but to say that we are truly different from animals ignores a significant part of who we are (and who they are).

    I understand that symmetry has a strong appeal, and ordering delivers a strong push for symmetry, but life is not symmetrical. The way we are born and the way we die is as a-symmetrical as it gets. Beginning and ending do not have to correlate at all (a car hitting someone has nothing to do with the conception of that person).

    Can I ask you to reply to this message with regards to our thread: do you believe unification exists or do you believe a separation of at least one level is the norm?
  21. Sep 26, 2004 #20
    I think you misunderstood my statement about the differences in life and humans. I meant that consciousness is what seperates life from each other. Consciousness is what seperates you from me. Like the meteor must stick to its path. Consciousness opens a gateway to change their path. Order applies to both the meteor and the conscious life.
    I believe life is very symmetrical if you look close to why people do what they do. And keep in mind that consciousness opens change in the order. We conscious beings makes it seem more complex because we are the masters of changing our faith.

    A car hitting someone has everything to do with the conception of that person, because if it wasn't for that conception, that person wouldn't be around to get hit.

    I believe that unification and order go together. But I also believe that separation happens after absolute order is achieved because absolute order means only change possible is absolute chaos.
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