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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old February 7 2013, 03:46 PM   #31
Robert Comsol
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The Higgs boson was only inferred by the mathematics, rather than observed in reality, and its existence was not proven--until it was. Dark matter is much the same. Either we will actually find some, or we'll discover something else that's responsible for the same observed effects, and adjust our understanding accordingly.
Or our current science and our way to apply it is not compatible to adjust our understanding accordingly. If I'm not mistaken the issue of "dark" "matter" became a topic in the early 1970's and 40 years have passed since. Just the thought that our galaxy only has 1/10th of visible mass required to hold it together is mesmerizing.

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Either way, science has not failed. It sounds like some people are taking issue with current science not being 100% complete and correct about everything right now, and so their response is to chuck out all current cosmological science and replace it with something that has very little empirical underpinning and no supporting observational evidence.
Science has not necessarily failed, but it has hit a wall. It reminds me a lot of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris and the frustration of scientists not to be able to establish contact with the ocean lifeform. To have come so far but to a standstill is frustrating, understandably. I'm only aware of the popular cosmological science but after 40 years it can't be heretical to ask about alternatives, IMHO.

Bob
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Old February 7 2013, 04:29 PM   #32
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The Higgs boson was only inferred by the mathematics, rather than observed in reality, and its existence was not proven--until it was. Dark matter is much the same. Either we will actually find some, or we'll discover something else that's responsible for the same observed effects, and adjust our understanding accordingly.
Or our current science and our way to apply it is not compatible to adjust our understanding accordingly. If I'm not mistaken the issue of "dark" "matter" became a topic in the early 1970's and 40 years have passed since. Just the thought that our galaxy only has 1/10th of visible mass required to hold it together is mesmerizing.

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Either way, science has not failed. It sounds like some people are taking issue with current science not being 100% complete and correct about everything right now, and so their response is to chuck out all current cosmological science and replace it with something that has very little empirical underpinning and no supporting observational evidence.
Science has not necessarily failed, but it has hit a wall. It reminds me a lot of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris and the frustration of scientists not to be able to establish contact with the ocean lifeform. To have come so far but to a standstill is frustrating, understandably. I'm only aware of the popular cosmological science but after 40 years it can't be heretical to ask about alternatives, IMHO.

Bob
It's nonsensical to suggest alternatives which ask a lot more questions than they answer, though. What's basically being suggested here is that, because we've not yet observed dark matter itself, we must throw out all existing astrophysics and cosmology, even though those do adequately explain most observed cosmological phenomena. That's really the problem. Don Scott pretends that relativity hasn't been empirically observed--but it has. Scott makes an all too typical mistake: an electrical engineer by trade, he views everything through the lens of electricity, while knowing next to nothing of current astrophysics and cosmology.

From what I know of Scott's claims, few of them are even described robustly enough to be tested in any reliable way. Metryq's own dismissal of mathematical approaches makes it clear that "electric universe" proponents have no interest in scientific rigor, they just want plausible-sounding explanations that will win over the uninformed.

Basically, Scott's ideas are not scientific, because they're too vague and lacking in mathematical description to be tested. That puts his claims on roughly the same level as "Intelligent Design."
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Old February 7 2013, 04:40 PM   #33
Creepy Critter
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Science has always hit walls. Breaking through them is how real progress has been made. I don't see any evidence of being seriously stuck for the long term either. On the contrary, our lifetimes have seen significant advances in pretty much every discipline.
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Old February 7 2013, 07:55 PM   #34
Ronald Held
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

All this means is that there is more to learn. At this stage which is preferable dark energy and dark matter or changes to Einstein's equations?
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Old February 7 2013, 09:01 PM   #35
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

I am not a scientist, but I know, that it is not a matter of preferring one over the other.
But that one provides a working model that enables us to make predictions about the nature of the universe.

Ok, we have a pretty simple understanding of dark matter, which we only call that way because we lack a better understanding of "stuff that does stuff to the rest of the observable universe".
But within the model it does the job of confirming our predictions. Did I get that right?

Eventually we might be able to produce whatever that dark matter stuff is or at least simulate it's exact properties to confirm it as matter or discover something new that has the same effects on the rest of the universe and give it a better fitting name.

it is very unlikely that we discover all our models to be entirely wrong and have to start from scratch when they serve us and work so well within the confines of our ability to observe the universe.
In the end it is just a matter of accuracy.
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Old February 8 2013, 11:03 AM   #36
Robert Comsol
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

@ Robert Maxwell

You apparently misunderstood what I had tried to say. I'm not (yet) familiar with Don Scott's theories but I found fault with the tone of the article of Mr. Knop you suggested.

"I am an a) actual and b) real astronomer" (and know what I'm talking about, the others don't)" is such an arrogant, paternizing tone to start (!) an article, that I immediately lost interest in reading it. If your arguments are rock solid and you are a professional you let your arguments speak for themselves, there's no need for slander and/or ridicule.

It's rather a trademark of dogmatism and we've seen in the past the same slander and ridicule at the expense of great people, here are just two examples from the last century:
When Shklovsky presented his calculations of Phobos' orbit the "scientific" advisors of President Eisenhower claimed that the man couldn't do proper math. That's quite some slander.
Interestingly it didn't keep the Russians from sending two (ill-fated) probes to Phobos.

More interestingly, probes sent to Phobos this century revealed that Shklovsky wasn't wrong with his conclusion that Phobos could be hollow. It's a shame that Shklovsky didn't live long enough to see his reputation reinstated. And the current explanations of scientists how to explain the "riddle of Phobos" are "interesting" to say the least (its noteworthy that Arthur C. Clarke possibly had sympathies for Shklovsky - he turned the heretic alternate explanation into a science fiction story...).

To cut a long story short: Open-mindedness is the key to unlock some of the remaining mysteries of the cosmos as we've seen in the (not too distant) past that dogmatism is not the solution.

Bob
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Old February 8 2013, 12:50 PM   #37
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
@ Robert Maxwell

You apparently misunderstood what I had tried to say. I'm not (yet) familiar with Don Scott's theories but I found fault with the tone of the article of Mr. Knop you suggested.

"I am an a) actual and b) real astronomer" (and know what I'm talking about, the others don't)" is such an arrogant, paternizing tone to start (!) an article, that I immediately lost interest in reading it. If your arguments are rock solid and you are a professional you let your arguments speak for themselves, there's no need for slander and/or ridicule.

It's rather a trademark of dogmatism and we've seen in the past the same slander and ridicule at the expense of great people, here are just two examples from the last century:
When Shklovsky presented his calculations of Phobos' orbit the "scientific" advisors of President Eisenhower claimed that the man couldn't do proper math. That's quite some slander.
Interestingly it didn't keep the Russians from sending two (ill-fated) probes to Phobos.

More interestingly, probes sent to Phobos this century revealed that Shklovsky wasn't wrong with his conclusion that Phobos could be hollow. It's a shame that Shklovsky didn't live long enough to see his reputation reinstated. And the current explanations of scientists how to explain the "riddle of Phobos" are "interesting" to say the least (its noteworthy that Arthur C. Clarke possibly had sympathies for Shklovsky - he turned the heretic alternate explanation into a science fiction story...).

To cut a long story short: Open-mindedness is the key to unlock some of the remaining mysteries of the cosmos as we've seen in the (not too distant) past that dogmatism is not the solution.

Bob
Well, your account of Shklovsky shares only broad strokes in common with the account at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos_....22_hypothesis. The account there describes Eisenhower's advisor Singer as being justified in his reservations and criticisms of Shklovsky's ideas about Phobos. The source of error in the values that Shklovsky had based his ideas on, which Singer cautioned about, was in fact found to have existed.

While you could characterize the accepted value of 30% ± 5% for the porosity of Phobos in broad strokes as acceptance of the idea that Phobos is partially hollow, the mechanism by which orbital decay occurs—tidal effects—is not the same mechanism that Shklovsky attributed—atmospheric drag. Since Shklovsky proposed that Phobos is hollow to provide a mechanism for an effect that doesn't actually occur, saying that his ideas have been vindicated isn't precisely correct [granted, you didn't exactly use those words].

In reality he was only partially right, and for the wrong reason at that.

Now, that's not to say that it's right to tarnish his reputation just because one of his hypotheses turned out to be incorrect. But on the other hand, you've also painted Singer's remarks with an unfair brush. Far from accusing Shklovsky of being unable to do math, Singer evidently correctly indicated that the values that Shklovsky was using were subject to error that he hadn't properly accounted for.

While I don't know where your account came from, it certainly seems like its author may have had an ax to grind.
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Old February 9 2013, 07:13 AM   #38
Chaos Descending
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The Higgs boson was only inferred by the mathematics, rather than observed in reality, and its existence was not proven--until it was.
I hope you're aware that it has still not yet been confirmed that the "previously unknown boson" discovered at CERN in 2012 really was the Higgs boson or not. That determination won't be made until mid-2013.

As far as I am concerned, until it's official, its not official.
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Old February 9 2013, 01:19 PM   #39
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Yep, from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6114/1569.full:

The probability of the observed signal being due to a random fluctuation of the background is about 1 in 3 × 10^6. The new particle is a boson with spin not equal to 1 and has a mass of about 125 giga–electron volts. Although its measured properties are, within the uncertainties of the present data, consistent with those expected of the Higgs boson, more data are needed to elucidate the precise nature of the new particle.
The paper reports that certain fermion decay modes, theoretically predicted for a low mass (<135 Gev) Higgs boson, do not yet exhibit a statistically significant signal in the data.
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Old February 10 2013, 06:45 PM   #40
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Re: Basic Science Question - "fabric" of space

Chaos Descending wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The Higgs boson was only inferred by the mathematics, rather than observed in reality, and its existence was not proven--until it was.
I hope you're aware that it has still not yet been confirmed that the "previously unknown boson" discovered at CERN in 2012 really was the Higgs boson or not. That determination won't be made until mid-2013.

As far as I am concerned, until it's official, its not official.
Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
Yep, from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6114/1569.full:

The probability of the observed signal being due to a random fluctuation of the background is about 1 in 3 × 10^6. The new particle is a boson with spin not equal to 1 and has a mass of about 125 giga–electron volts. Although its measured properties are, within the uncertainties of the present data, consistent with those expected of the Higgs boson, more data are needed to elucidate the precise nature of the new particle.
The paper reports that certain fermion decay modes, theoretically predicted for a low mass (<135 Gev) Higgs boson, do not yet exhibit a statistically significant signal in the data.
Whoops! I stand corrected. Thanks, guys.
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