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Old January 29 2013, 05:19 AM   #19
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Metryq wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
But in the past 20 years, improved telescopes have given us enough hard data to overwhelmingly verify the Big Bang.
"I think you've got it reversed, Mr. Krako." Every new observation creates another problem for the Big Bang.
I don't know what gave you that impression. The microwave background data we've gained from the Cosmic Background Explorer and WMAP probes over the past couple of decades has been a motherlode, greatly refining our knowledge of the universe. We now know that the universe began 13.8 billion years ago, conclusively scuttling alternative theories like Fred Hoyle's continuous creation. Heck, the very fact that the microwave background exists is pretty much direct observational proof of the Big Bang. Sure, we're learning things that raise new questions about the specifics of the theory, things that add new complications, but that's just how science works. It doesn't mean the underlying theory is wrong, it means it's an active, working tool that serves as the basis for new investigation and discovery.

Heck, a generation of string theorists have built careers writing papers about untestable new interpretations of physics.
Untestable theories are not science.
Many skeptics of string theory would agree with you. But the point, as I said, is that the scientific establishment does not feel "threatened" by ideas that challenge conventional wisdom. If it did, then string theory would never have been allowed to get off the ground. Instead, it's sustained a generation of theoretical physicists even without any hard evidence that it's true -- because new ideas that challenge conventional wisdom are the bread and butter of theoretical physicists, the things that give them something to do in the first place to earn their keep and build their reputations.

And how does that differ from an explanation? I never said "why." And you're right, that is for philosophers. Newton did not explain gravity, he only quantified it. Einstein didn't explain gravity either, he added another layer that pushes us one step further from the answer.
I'm not sure what you mean by "the answer," or if it's relevant. General Relativity has been immensely useful. Every single one of its predictions has been verified by experiment -- which is also the case with quantum physics. Both fields of research have produced practical technological benefits. This very discussion is only possible with computer technology based on quantum mechanics. The GPS in your phone depends on the equations of General Relativity to determine its position based on its measurements of the differing clock speeds of the orbiting GPS satellites. And that's just the beginning. We may not have yet figured out how to unify relativity and QM, but each of them individually has provided countless answers about the working principles of the universe and how we can use them for practical gain. Which is not too shabby if you ask me.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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