# The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Theoretical Physics

“Science enhances the moral value of life, because it furthers a love of truth and reverence—love of truth displaying itself in the constant endeavor to arrive at a more exact knowledge of the world of mind and matter around us, and reverence, because every advance in knowledge brings us face to face with the mystery of our own being.” –Max Planck

Our standard model of elementary particles and forces — with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson now behind us — has now had every expected particle within it discovered, and we can explain where the elementary particles get their masses from.

Image credit: NSF, DOE, LBNL, and the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP).

That’s great, but it’s not like science ends now that we’ve finished one part of the puzzle: an important question is “what comes next?” I’d like you to consider the following part of the standard model chart, above.

Image credit: NSF, DOE, LBNL, and the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP).

On the one hand, the weak, electromagnetic, and strong forces can all be quite important, depending on the energy of the interaction. But gravitation? Not so much. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of hearing a couple of talks from Lisa Randall, who spoke at great length about this puzzle, which I would call the greatest unsolved problem in theoretical physics: the Hierarchy Problem.

Image credit: Universe-review.ca.

Gravity is literally forty orders of magnitude weaker than all the other known forces in the Universe. (That means the gravitational force is a factor of 1040 weaker than the other three forces. Or — and I’ll write it out just this once — we’d need to increase its strength by 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in order to have it be comparable to the other known forces.)

You can’t just “make” a proton weigh 1020 times as much as it would normally; that’s what it would take to make gravity bring two protons together, overcoming the electromagnetic force.

Image credit: Chemistry Daily, content licensed from Wikipedia.org.

Instead, if you want to make a reaction like this happen, you need something like 1056 protons held together through gravity; that’s the minimum mass of a successful star.

That’s the way our Universe works, but we don’t understand why. Why is gravity so much weaker than all the other forces? Why is the “gravitational charge” (i.e., mass) so much weaker than an electric or color charge?

That’s what the Hierarchy Problem is. Thankfully, we have some good ideas as to what the solution might be, and a tool to help us investigate whether any of these possibilities could be correct.

Image credit: CERN / LHC, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy.

So far, the Large Hadron Collider — the highest-energy particle collider ever developed — has reached unprecedented energies under laboratory conditions here on Earth, collecting huge amounts of data and reconstructing exactly what took place at the collision points.

Image credit: the ATLAS collaboration / CERN, retrieved from University of Edinburgh.

This includes the creation of new, never-before-seen particles (like the Higgs), our old, familiar standard model particles (quarks, leptons, and gauge bosons), and it can — if they exist — produce any other particles that may be beyond the standard model.

There are four conceivable ways — i.e., four good ideas — that I am aware of to solve the hierarchy problem. The good news for experiment is that if any of these solutions are the one that nature has chosen, the LHC should find it!

Image credit: the CMS collaboration / CERN, retrieved from Prof. Matt Strassler's blog.

I’m not one to pull any punches, and so I’ll just come out and tell you that other than the single Higgs boson whose discovery was announced earlier this year, no new particles have been found at the LHC. Not yet, anyway. Furthermore, the particle that was found was completely consistent with the standard model Higgs; there is no statistically significant result that strongly suggests any new physics has been observed beyond the Standard Model.

That said, what are the possible, reasonable solutions to the hierarchy problem?

Image credit: DESY in Hamburg.

1.) Supersymmetry, or SUSY for short. Supersymmetry is a special symmetry that would cause the normal masses — which would be sufficiently large so that gravity was of comparable strength to the other forces — to cancel to a high degree of accuracy. The symmetry also entails that every particle in the standard model has a superparticle partner, and (not shown) that there are five Higgs particles (see here for why) and five Higgs superpartners. If this symmetry exists, it must be broken, or the superpartners would have the same exact masses as the normal particles, and hence would’ve been discovered by now.

If SUSY is to exist at the appropriate scale to solve the hierarchy problem, the LHC — once it reaches its full energy of 14 TeV — ought to find at least one superpartner, as well as at least a second Higgs particle. Otherwise, the existence of very heavy superpartners would create yet another puzzling hierarchy problem, one with no good solution. (For those of you wondering, the absence of SUSY particles at all energies would be enough to invalidate string theory, as supersymmetry is a requirement of string theories that contain the standard model of particles.)

Image credit: Matt Strassler.

2.) Technicolor. No, this isn’t a 1950s cartoon; technicolor is the term for physics theories that require new gauge interactions, and also that have either no Higgs particles or unstable/unobservable (i.e., composite) Higgses. There would also be an interesting new slew of observable particles. Although this could have been a plausible solution in principle, the recent discovery of what appears to be a fundamental, spin-0 scalar at the right energy to be the Higgs seems to invalidate this possible solution to the hierarchy problem.

There are two other possibilities, one which is much more promising than the other, and both involving extra dimensions.

Image credit: Cetin BAL, as far as I can tell.

3.) Warped Extra Dimensions. This theory — pioneered by the aforementioned Lisa Randall along with Raman Sundrum — hold that gravity is just as strong as the other forces, but not in our three-spatial-dimension Universe. It lives in a different three-spatial-dimension Universe that’s offset by some tiny amount — like 10-31 meters — from our own Universe in the fourth spatial dimension. (Or, as the diagram above indicates, in the fifth dimension, once time is included.) This is interesting, because it would be stable, and it could provide a possible explanation as to why our Universe began expanding so rapidly at the beginning (warped spacetime can do that), so it’s got some compelling perks.

What it should also include are an extra set of particles; not supersymmetric particles, but Kaluza-Klein particles, which are a direct consequence of there being extra dimensions. For what it’s worth, there has been a hint from one experiment in space that there might be a Kaluza-Klein particle at an energy of about 600 GeV, or about 5 times the mass of the Higgs.

Image credit: J. Chang et al. (2008), Nature, from the Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter (ATIC).

This is by no means a certainty, as it’s just an excess of observed electrons over the expected background, but it’s worth keeping in mind as the LHC eventually ramps up to full energy; a new particle that’s below 1,000 GeV in mass should be within range of this machine.

And finally…

Image credit: Universe-review.ca.

4.) Large Extra Dimensions. Instead of being warped, the extra dimensions could be “large”, where large is only large relative to the warped ones, which were 10-31 meters in scale. The “large” extra dimensions would be around millimeter-sized, which meant that new particles would start showing up right around the scale that the LHC is capable of probing. Again, there would be new Kaluza-Klein particles, and this could be a possible solution to the hierarchy problem.

But one extra consequence of this model would be that gravity would radically depart from Newton’s law at distances below a millimeter, something that’s been incredibly difficult to test. Modern experimentalists, however, are more than up to the challenge.

Images credit: Cryogenic Helium Turbulence and Hydrodynamics activity at cnrs.fr.

Tiny, supercooled cantilevers, loaded with piezoelectric crystals (crystals that release electrical energies when their shape is changed / when they are torqued) can be created with spacings of mere microns between them, as shown above. This new technique allows us to place constraints that if there are “large” extra dimensions, they’re smaller than around 5-10 microns. This means that if there are large extra dimensions, they’re at energies that are both inaccessible to the LHC and that do not solve the hierarchy problem.

Of course, there either could be a completely different solution to the hierarchy problem or there may be no solution at all; this could just be the way nature is, and there may be no explanation for it. But science will never progress unless we try, and that’s what these ideas and searches are: our attempt to move our knowledge of the Universe forward. And as always, I can’t wait to see what — beyond the already-discovered Higgs boson — the LHC turns up!

1. #1 AJKamper
September 19, 2012

Great post on this, thanks!
One question: I’ve gathered that SUSY can take a lot of forms. Say we manage to find just one super particle partner; how much will the properties of that single sparticle tell us? Will we need to find more (with a bigger collider) in order to firm up our knowledge?

2. #2 crd2
September 20, 2012

Where these susy particles supposed to be exactly? are they bouncing around with all the other stuff? are they components of the particles we observer currently? are they supposed to be in this dimension alone or in another one, or in both at the same time? I don’t really understand much of what the other particles are or where they are thought to reside or what their interactions with the other particles are.

3. #3 Wow
September 20, 2012

They’re virtual particles, crd2.

September 20, 2012

crd2: IIRC none of these particles exist in normal space at the energy levels we have now. Thats why it is so hard to coax them into excistance in enough numbers to be certain of detection.

At current energy levels, we have the proton, neutron, electron, the neutrinos, foton (and maybe graviton). Everything else needs to be created in more extreme conditions (collider, stars, supernovas, etc) but they do not survive for long, just like most of the heavier isotopes.

This is from a physics-drop out, so take it with a grain of salt. 🙂

5. #5 Bjoern
September 20, 2012

@crd2: Possibly all the supersymmetric partner particles are unstable, and all the ones which originally existed have long decayed, so that now only virtual ones exist (as Wow said).

But quite a lot of physicists think that at least one of these particles still exists, the so-called “neutralino”. These particles could make up the Dark Matter in the universe. (so, in a sence, they are really “bouncing around with all the other stuff” – but in another sense, they don’t, because they probably interact with other matter only very weakly or even not at all; and no, they are definitely not components of other, “normal” particles)

I don’t understand what your question “are they supposed to be in this dimension alone or in another one, or in both at the same time” is supposed to mean. Particles don’t exist “in a dimension”, that makes little sense…

Regardless if these particles really exist in the universe or only virtually – if their existence is possible at all, the LHC should be able to create them. 🙂

6. #6 Wow
September 20, 2012

“Possibly all the supersymmetric partner particles are unstable”

It is more like there are so many things that these particles CAN decay in to and these decay products release energy. Since this is energetically beneficial, it does so.

Because so much energy is released, it does so with alacrity.

7. #7 Prem
September 20, 2012

but why is gravity considered as a force? all the other 3 fundamental forces have particles, while we know that gravity is a curvature of space time. which means it is a property of our universe and not a force. then why consider it to be a fundamental force?

8. #8 Joe
September 20, 2012

crd2,

The SUSY particles are supposed to be regular particles which will very rarely exist in nature because they are so heavy.* It may be that the only SUSY particles likely to exist in nature is the superparticle of the neutrino, and therefore it would barely interact with anything. What is important is, in a sense, whether SUSY particles are allowed by physics, rather than whether they exist as real particles in any significant numbers.

If SUSY particles are allowed by physics, they will have effects as “virtual” particles all over the universe.

Quantum mechanics is statistical: you get probabilities, not answers, and you calculate what happens by considering every possibility. (Well, in theory, until the math becomes intractable).

QM follows the time-energy uncertainty principle. What that means is that the energy of an interaction cannot be perfectly defined. And the shorter the time period of an interaction, the more the energy could hypothetically be. If you are trying to figure out the results of an interaction in quantum mechanics, you need to consider the possibility that the energy will condense into a “virtual” particle for a short time under E=MC2. And that possibility could cancel out other possibilities.

I’m assuming from what Ethan said that virtual SUSY particles would almost exactly cancel out the gravitational mass of the regular particles. That would solve the Hierarchy Problem (though it might create its own “why is supersymmetry only so very barely broken” problem).

*The caveat is the possibility that there are lots of neutralino SUSY particles, but they don’t interact with us at all.

9. #9 Wow
September 20, 2012

“but why is gravity considered as a force?”

Because it generates a force. It really is as simple as that.

“all the other 3 fundamental forces have particles,”

So does gravity: the graviton.

“while we know that gravity is a curvature of space time”

This is called “reification”. We don’t know gravity IS a curvature of space time. We have a model of what gravity does and that model (or, rather, one of those models) is that it curves space time. However, the model is not the thing it is modelling.

As long as the model is useful, it remains true (as in “true enough”).

However, reification is the one big honking problem trolls like chelle have. They make an analogy or hear someone’s analogy and then make it THAT analogy.

And when that breaks, insists that science is all wrong.

10. #10 Rick DeLano
magisterialfundies.blogspot.com
September 20, 2012

@Wow 9:24am:

“We don’t know gravity IS a curvature of space time. We have a model of what gravity does and that model (or, rather, one of those models) is that it curves space time. However, the model is not the thing it is modelling.”

>> That is very well stated.

But it is not the “trolls like chelle” who have decided to imbue these reifications (including dark matter/energy- that is to say 96% of the universe) with the status of “real stuff”.

The problem is that the scientists have followed their excellent method to the frontiers of metaphysics, and have crossed over in fact.

The ad hoc, “just so” epicycles are mushrooming, and that is an historically reliable indicator that science has, in fact, gotten it wrong in some very fundamental way (unsurprisingly- after all falsification *is* the wonder hammer of the most excellent scientific method).

But the defensiveness, the snarling dismissal of challenges to the consensus, is not good.

Understandable, but not good.

11. #11 Wow
September 20, 2012

“The problem is that the scientists have followed their excellent method to the frontiers of metaphysics, and have crossed over in fact.”

That fact needs corroboraton.

“The ad hoc, “just so” epicycles are mushrooming”

That empty statement needs explaining.

“dismissal of challenges to the consensus”

If you’re sockpuppeting chelle, then dismissal of challenges THAT ARE COMPLETELY ASSININE AND WRONG is entirely correct, good and required.

12. #12 Wow
September 20, 2012

I mean, what the fuck?

If some dipstick comes along and says “I have a new idea: Pi is actually 192 exactly!!!”.

Are you REALLY saying that dismissal of this and lambasting a continual and aggravating restatement of this (along with snarling dismissal of the mainstream science, which oddly for your concern isn’t actuall of any concern to you, funny that…) is proof that the mathematicians have the value of pi wrong?

Yet more new-age bollocks.

13. #13 Wow
September 20, 2012

And may I point out that you are internally inconsistent in more than your fake concern over dismissal of a point of view in that you maintain that the fact of multiple explanations in fundamental science is proof it is wrong, yet insist on YET MORE “explanations” of fundamental science MUST be included.

Do you see the disconnect here?

14. #14 Wow
September 20, 2012

PS Rick, did you know the single biggest mass murderer of children of ALL TIME, EVERY SECOND is?

God.

That’s right. God.

Because 80-90% of fertilised eggs don’t manage to settle in the uterus or be brought to the zygote stage, being aborted naturally.

Two thirds of pregnancies that cause menstruation to halt are naturally aborted.

Both causes are nature which for you means God Did It.

15. #15 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

I made the serious miscalculation of concluding from your very wise explanation of space time curvature that you were a reasonable person, Wow.

You do not exhibit wisdom in your subsequent blunderbussing.

I will keep an eye out to see if there is anything you might say in future that is intelligent.

16. #16 Wow
September 20, 2012

From someone like you, that’s a compliment, Ricky.

17. #17 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

Concerning your venture into theology above, Wow, it is much more serious than you imagine.

You see, even if those 10-20% of zygotes successfully attach, and even if they manage to escape the foreceps of our health care professionals, and even should they pop out ruddy faced and bellowing, each and every one of them will share, in the end, exactly the same fate of the 80-90% who didn’t make it.

You are not angry at God.

You are angry that this is not heaven, and conclude from this observation that God must therefore be a mass murderer.

It is a simpleton’s caricature of theology- broad strokes, primary colors, and it has the distinct disadvantage of yielding absolutely nothing valuable to humanity.

It neither usefully addresses the question of God, nor does it usefully address the question of evil.

Like most scientific types today, we must fervently hope that you are a better scientist than you are a philosopher.

This hope is to be balanced, alas, with the recognition that, ironically, it is the scientists who have been reduced to constucting w physics where 96% of our Hubble bubble consists in entities never observed, and the rest of the universe consists in domains we can never observe, even in theory.

Metaphysics.

18. #18 Wow
September 20, 2012

“each and every one of them will share, in the end, exactly the same fate of the 80-90% who didn’t make it.”

What? God is going to kill them too???

“You are angry that this is not heaven”

No. I’m annoyed that bronze age mythos is still making people call out for death because they think their fiction is real.

But not at all bothered that this isn’t heaven.

Since your screed has all this hate against abortion calling it “mass murdering our children”, you should be VASTLY more apoplectic with rage over the biggest killer of these same “children”: God.

Me? I don’t think that this is a problem at all, since God doesn’t exist (he can pop round any time to say he does exist, I’m not going to kick him out of my house if he turned up).

Then again, I don’t call the death of some pre-sentient larvae child murder, so even if he did exist, I wouldn’t call him a murderer.

Yet you do for both cases.

Why?

Is it because you don’t think it IS murder, or that you don’t think there is a god?

19. #19 CB
September 20, 2012

Challenging consensus is something most scientists aspire to do. Doing so — successfully — is how you make a name for yourself in science. Einstein, Newton, Feynman, Maxwell, etc etc. — the only reason you know their names is because they in some way up-ended the status quo.

The reason why most scientists *don’t* end up challenging the consensus is because the consensus is the consensus for good reason, and has a lot of evidence for it. Evidence that can’t just be ignored. Coming up with the new, better way of thinking that also matches the evidence both new and old is tough.

The idea that “challenges to the consensus” are dismissed merely for being so is ludicrous.

The idea that “challenges to the consensus” are in the majority ill-informed rubbish, and so are dismissed on their lack of merit, is reality.

20. #20 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

It is neither, Wow.

As before, you have pre-assumed what you have not bothered to demonstrate; that is, God does not exist, and therefore this world is all there is, for as long as it lasts, and then nothing.

It is a deeply unsatisfying theology, of course, which is why it failed in history and will fail again this time around.

It does not adequately express the truth about reality- in fact it acquires its blustering swagger precisely by insisting that all of humanity has wasted its time from the inception of history in pondering these questions in the first place.

There is a God, that much I hold to be certain as a matter of basic logic.

The confirmation is abundant, and nowhere moreso than in the spectacle of prominent mediagenic physicists writing books called “A Universe From Nothing”, which contain the intelligence that Nothing is actually Something, but the Something is Nothing, so there you creatard fun dies.

It is astonishing in its impotence.

Since God is the Giver of Life; that is, since the life comes from Him and returns to Him, there is no question of murder involved insofar as He is concerned.

Murder involves the intentional deprivation of human life by human intention and premeditated assault.

Like in the case of abortion.

21. #21 CB
September 20, 2012

@ Wow: Yes, because everyone dies. That was what they were saying.

@ Rick: That is not what “metaphysics” means. Sorry you have a problem with things that can only be inferred through other observations, and that other things may actually not be observable at all, but your dislike of the idea doesn’t make it not good science.

22. #22 Wow
September 20, 2012

“Yes, because everyone dies. That was what they were saying.”

Well, since those aborted pregnancies isn’t changing anything either, then why do the whacko xtians get so het up about it and call it “mass murdering of children” when women are allowed to have rights at least as prominent as an unborn fetus?

23. #23 Wow
September 20, 2012

“that is, God does not exist”

Yes, that’s correct.

God doesn’t exist.

Just like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause and the Bogeyman.

If you think otherwise, where is your proof?

24. #24 CB
September 20, 2012

“There is a God, that much I hold to be certain as a matter of basic logic.”

Faith. A matter of faith. There is no logical proof of God. There is no possible such proof. Men of much greater mental capacity — and faith — than both of us have tried to prove God must exist and found only that such is not provable. But God asks us to have faith, not to construct logical proof. So don’t belittle faith by trying to transmute it into logic.

25. #25 Wow
September 20, 2012

“Murder involves the intentional deprivation of human life by human intention”

Why only human intention? Why not immortal intention? E.g. Satan. Or God.

Of course, if the only intellect able to demonstrate definitive intention is humanity and either there is no God or it doesn’t do anything other than be there, then it can’t intend to murder.

This, however, isn’t the xtian god.

26. #26 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

@CB 12:35:

“The reason why most scientists *don’t* end up challenging the consensus is because the consensus is the consensus for good reason, and has a lot of evidence for it. Evidence that can’t just be ignored. Coming up with the new, better way of thinking that also matches the evidence both new and old is tough.”

>> Especially when credentials and funding are preferentially directed toward the approved avenues of research.

But each and every scientific consensus is, of course, false, and will be falsified, experimentally, in the natural course of things.
This is the great secret of the success of the scientific method.

It is times, like these, where a given consensus has reached the terminal breakdown stage (e.g. 96% of the observable universe consisting in hypothetical, never-observed entities, all the rest of the universe consisting in domains forever inaccessible to scientific observation even in theory) that the “circle the wagons” approach is exactly wrong.

But it is to be expected that a consensus will fight to retain its privileges, again in the natural order of things.

It’s understandable, but it’s not good.

“The idea that “challenges to the consensus” are dismissed merely for being so is ludicrous.”

>> It is not ludicrous. It is in fact the history of science in a nutshell.

Every true scientific discovery of a new principle has, by definition, involved a challenge to something which at the time was regarded as certain by the well-established consensus.

“The idea that “challenges to the consensus” are in the majority ill-informed rubbish, and so are dismissed on their lack of merit, is reality.”

>> Very true,.and that is why worldview-neutral, experimental evidence is to be preferred over metaphysical speculations.

If the observations contradict the consensus- to the extreme extent, even, that the maintenance of the consensus requires us to propose that the observable universe consists 96% in unobserved hypothetical entities, and the rest of the universe consists in domains which can never, even in theory, be the subject of scientific observation………

Well.

At this point we are doing metaphysics, and it should be assessed as such.

27. #27 Wow
September 20, 2012

Of course the sensible believers who believe there IS a god would suggest that the unborn are not children. After all, their god would not kill so many children, he’s not that daft. Maybe we only grow one as we age. Maybe when we get a sense of self (around two years old, isn’t it?) is when we get a soul.

That way the massive loss of fertilised eggs isn’t the horror the scum of humanity like you, Rick, insist it to be (so that you can live out your snuff fantasies?), and their god doesn’t partake of it.

28. #28 Wow
September 20, 2012

“But it is to be expected that a consensus will fight to retain its privileges, again in the natural order of things.”

You mean like the xtian consensus fighting against secularism?

29. #29 Wow
September 20, 2012

“e.g. 96% of the observable universe consisting in hypothetical, never-observed entities”

100% of the gods ever considered to be existent are hypothetical never-observed entities.

30. #30 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

Seems to me like that in this age the Church has done a fair deal more in seeking a modus vivendi with science, than science has done in seeking a modus vivendi with the Church.

This is again understandable- science having enjoyed one heckuva run, and understandably intuiting that its method is adequate to explain all of reality.

But it can’t.

That is why the next heckuva run will be in philosophy and metaphysics.

After all, its hard to make progress in a physics which solemnly concludes that science can tell us not one thing that is true about the universe as a whole, even should the missing 96% of our own little neighborhood manage to turn up at some point.

31. #31 Wow
September 20, 2012

That seeming is because you’re blinkered.

It is also false balance. It is like saying to two people one of whom says 1+1=2 and the other insists it is pineapple that they should agree that the truth is somewhere inbetween.

“its method is adequate to explain all of reality.”

As opposed to religion which has been unable to explain ANY of reality?

32. #32 CB
September 20, 2012

“Especially when credentials and funding are preferentially directed toward the approved avenues of research.”

And they are approved on the basis of their potential to falsify existing theory. You don’t think the LHC was built because it had no chance of proving the Standard Model wrong, do you? You must, otherwise the single most complicated machine built in the history of many directly contradicts your baseless assumptions.

On a smaller scale I’m reminded of a project that was approved for the Keck Interferometer — the combination of two of the largest telescopes in the world — to make observations that would falsify WIMPy DM theories.

‘Cus that’s how science rolls.

“Every true scientific discovery of a new principle has, by definition, involved a challenge to something which at the time was regarded as certain by the well-established consensus.”

Yes, and those challenges were measured based on their merits. Your suggestion that they are rejected merely for being challenges and never considered on their merits is completely a-historical.

“Very true,.and that is why worldview-neutral, experimental evidence is to be preferred over metaphysical speculations.”

The closest thing to “metaphysics” here is your distaste for the idea that large parts of the universe may be unobservable. Do you actually have any *evidence* that the universe must be observable in its entirety? Or are you lambasting “metaphysics” while engaging in such? Praising “worldview-neutrality” while having nothing of the sort?

And “observable” is not the same as “not observed yet”. I imagine you having the same objection you have with the “not yet observed” part of the universe with the W and Z bosons, or the Higgs. The evidence that suggests that much of the visible universe consists of the “not observed yet” is actually recent, and itself represented a major change to the consensus.

If you have an evidence-based challenge to this, please present it. Many well-regarded physicists have tried (because that’s what scientists do, your assumption to the contrary notwithstanding), and they have failed.

You probably think of the Big Bang as another metaphysical epicycle, rather than yet another evidence-based victory for a challenge to the consensus. Every time this happens, you just point at the new consensus and claim nobody is being allowed to challenge it. Even as it continues to happen. Even as we discuss right here in the article multiple ways both the consensus is being tested, and multiple ways to challenge it.

33. #33 Wow
September 20, 2012

CB, when he says:

“Especially when credentials and funding are preferentially directed toward the approved avenues of research.”

he’s talking about the entire AGW scam that is only perpetuated so that the scientists who agree that humans are screwing up the planet can get funding.

I.e. he’s a denier with the conspiracy meme in full swing.

34. #34 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

@CB 1:18pm:

I am delighted that an experimental apparatus like the LHC was constructed, or like WMAP and Planck.

That is exactly what the operational side of science is supposed to be about- observational evidence.

But the interpretation of the observations is, of necessity, obtained through the lens of a metaphysical world-view.

The most foundational of all of these, in cosmology, is the Copernican/cosmological principle, and it has been observationally falsified, since 1991 COBE, confirmed and enormously extended by WMAP.

The CMB multipole alignments with our equinox and ecliptic constitute, exactly, an evidence-based challenge to the foundational assumption of consensus cosmology, in fact if this principle if falsified then the entire FLRW universe is falsified.

So there’s one.

As for the Big Bang, it is in serious difficulty, obviously, since it requires epicycles in the form of the inflaton, dark matter, and dark energy, the first and third of which have no even remote speculation as to particle physics identity, and the second of which has never been observed despite fifty years of experimental effort.

At a certain point it becomes reasonable to propose that a wrong turn has been taken somewhere along the line.

As a wise man once said, if our theories continually return non-physical results, perhaps its time to check the theory.

35. #35 CB
September 20, 2012

“Seems to me like that in this age the Church has done a fair deal more in seeking a modus vivendi with science, than science has done in seeking a modus vivendi with the Church.”

Yes, because the Church has mostly accepted the empirical realities revealed by science, while science has essentially no opinion on God (other than, “no evidence exists” and “it’s an untestable hypothesis).

But so what? All that means is that the Church realizes that ignoring reality is bad for publicity (in many parts of the world).

“After all, its hard to make progress in a physics which solemnly concludes that science can tell us not one thing that is true about the universe as a whole, even should the missing 96% of our own little neighborhood manage to turn up at some point.”

Well gee, if those parts of the universe are unobservable (and the *evidence* suggests they are), then it sure would be hard to gather any *evidence* about those parts of the universe, wouldn’t it?

We can still get an idea if we *assume* that our bubble universe is not special and the universe as a whole is largely similar and follows the same rule. But proper scientists must recognize that this is an assumption.

But now I hear you saying “Forget what the evidence says, let’s just philosophize” and that metaphysics is going to be the “next heckuva run”?

Well now everything you said makes more sense. “The scientific consensus is wrong because I have a philosophical objection to it, and scientists reject my objections merely because they are contrary to the evidence” is a much more consistent position than what you previously espoused.

36. #36 Wow
September 20, 2012

The biggest indicator that the church had decided that science was more reliable than religion was when they put lightning conductors on their churches.

When it comes to their buildings, they’re not willing to risk damage if the science says there’s a risk. If it’s someone else at risk (e.g. contraception and AIDS), then they’re not so worried about the evidence.

37. #37 CB
September 20, 2012

“But the interpretation of the observations is, of necessity, obtained through the lens of a metaphysical world-view.

The most foundational of all of these, in cosmology, is the Copernican/cosmological principle, and it has been observationally falsified, since 1991 COBE, confirmed and enormously extended by WMAP.”

What a perfect example of your point — the interpretation of this data via a worldview that wants to see the Copernican principle dis-proven (even though the non-Copernican view fails so many other observational tests), and thus does not consider whether the observation is actually of statistical significance. And it’s not. And if you do a better job accounting for our own galaxy’

I bet you thought the Pioneer Anomaly proved all physics was wrong, too.

38. #38 CB
September 20, 2012

Oh, and someone interested in evidence would probably see that the amount of Dark Matter predicted by the Big Bang, and the amount of Dark Matter required to explain galaxy rotations and extra-galactic gravtitational lensing from many, many observations, end up actually agreeing, is a point *for* both models.

But nope, misapplication of the concept of “epicicyles” (hint: “epicycles” were when two explanations of the evidence gave *exactly the same* results, but one required a multiplication of entities to maintain the “pleasing” nature) and metaphysical objections trump evidence.

39. #39 Wow
September 20, 2012

Well, no formulation of epicycles would have satisfied the observations and accuracy required by Kepler.

It is not possible to arrange elipses in the manner of circles and get a planetery orrery that matched the observations.

At that point, even if the heliocentric model had been the only contender, it would have had to have been dropped.

However, heliocentrism had been a theory with as much evidence as the opposition for as long recorded history. It was only because of an adherence to the myths of a bronze age story, personal pride and hubris, and the inculcation of a screed with the earth and humans as the REASON for *all* of creation that gave the geocentric system any legs for as long as it had.

40. #40 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

“(even though the non-Copernican view fails so many other observational tests)”

There is no such observational test.

Hawking and Ellis are explicit on this point, and Hawking puts it this way:

““……We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe.”

If you have observational evidence to the contrary I would be highly interested in examining it.

The observational evidence of which I am aware; that is, COBE and WMAP, explicitly contradict the assumption of isotropy and homogeneity which lies at the heart of consensus cosmology.

41. #41 Wow
September 20, 2012

“There is no such observational test.”

Oh really?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_parallax

42. #42 Wow
September 20, 2012

PS care to fill us in in what you missed out in the elipsis there, ricky?

43. #43 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

I am sorry, Wow, stellar parallax does not disprove Relativity as it would have to do were your advance of it in this context correct; that is, if we should find it possible to establish a preferred frame by means of parallax.

Obviously, we do not.

In the heliocentric model the sun and stars are taken as fixed, and the Earth orbits the Sun, providing us the observed parallax.

In the geocentric model the Earth is taken as fixed, and the Sun and stars orbit the Earth.

The same observations result under either hypothesis.

44. #44 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

Happy to do so, Wow:

“Friedmann’s second assumption is the universe looks the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy too. We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe.”

—–Stephen Hawking, “A Brief History of Time”

45. #45 Wow
September 20, 2012

“stellar parallax does not disprove Relativity”

I know.

It does disprove your assertion I quoted though.

“In the heliocentric model the sun and stars are taken as fixed”

In the 16th century, the heliocentric model is done so. However, modern astronomy does not.

I would suggest you read a book on astronomy before showing up your ignorance any further. A wiki link will lead you to many places to try to educate yourself:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliocentrism

46. #46 Wow
September 20, 2012

This nearby location may also help you understand how dismally you’re doing:

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/09/18/how-the-earth-moves-and-how-do-we-know/

47. #47 Wow
September 20, 2012

“Happy to do so, Wow:”

Hmmm. Seems you forgot this bit:

“Now at first sight, all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look in might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. In particular, it might seem that if we observe all other galaxies to be moving away from us, then we must be at the center of the universe. There is, however, an alternate explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy too. ”

From: Why the big bang: Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

48. #48 Wow
September 20, 2012

” that is, if we should find it possible to establish a preferred frame by means of parallax.”

We can’t and it isn’t necessary. Parallax shows that non-Copernican systems don’t agree with observations.

If the earth were the centre of the universe, there would be no parallax.

Tychoean or Egyptian? Same problem. No parallax for them too.

So a copernical solar system with the sun the centre of our system is the only view that accords with our observations.

49. #49 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

I am sorry to say, Wow that yours of 3:10 pm might ring up some points in the sneer department, but as a matter of physics you are simply wrong, and your stellar parallax claim is answered.

Please specify *exactly* what the difference is, between stellar parallax attributed to a fixed earth around which the Sun and stars rotate along the ecliptic, and stellar parallax attributed to a fixed sun and stars, with the Earth orbiting the Sun along the ecliptic.

50. #50 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

@ Wow 3:21:

1. You admit that we can’t establish a preferred frame by means of parallax (parallaxes are *observations, of course).

2. You state parallax “shows that non-Copernican systems don’t agree with observations.”

You have just told us that parallax both can and cannot established a preferred frame based on observations.

Which is it?

51. #51 Vince Whirlwind
September 20, 2012

Lucky Rick wasn’t involved in computing the trajectories for the Mars landing.

Science works.

Religion is left with the untestable.

52. #52 Ethan Allen
Seattle, WA
September 20, 2012

Wow, heated debate going on here today!

53. #53 Ethan Allen
Seattle, WA
September 20, 2012

Sorry… not talking to the person named Wow…. just say “wow!”

54. #54 Rick DeLano
magisterialfundies.blogspot.com
September 20, 2012

Hi Ethan:

Wow was kind enough to supply a link to your recent post on geocentrism.

I am enjoying it so far and might have a thought or two after I’ve finished going over it.

55. #55 Rick DeLano
September 20, 2012

Vince Whirlwind:

1. Are you saying it were impossible to compute solar system spacecraft navigational problems from within the geocentric frame, or merely that it is more convenient to do so?

2. If the former, then your argument is a non sequitir. Obviously computations are done from within whatever frame suits the task at hand. No claim of absolutivity is reasonably attached to any such choice of reference frame.

3. If the latter, then you face a conundrum. Since GPS *and* deep space probe navigation is handled by JPL navigation software which does the entire calculation in the geocentric frame, by your own standards above we should be forced to conclude that the geocentric frame is the preferred frame for all near earth as well as solar system navigation.

The underlying fallacy of course is to implicitly assume that merely because a given frame renders a given calculation feasible, that therefore it is established to be a preferred frame of reference.

It hasn’t.

56. #56 Wow
September 21, 2012

1. Easier.
2. No it isn’t/
3. No we don’t.

You’re wrong.

57. #57 Wow
September 21, 2012

“1. You admit that we can’t establish a preferred frame by means of parallax”

What the fuck is this “you have admitted” crap? It was never in doubt before you brought it up.

“2. You state parallax “shows that non-Copernican systems don’t agree with observations.””

Yes, I do.

“You have just told us that parallax both can and cannot established a preferred frame based on observations.”

They aren’t saying you can and cannot establish a preferred frame of reference respectively.

Parallax shows that the earth isn’t the centre of the universe.

You religious fuckwit.

58. #58 Wow
September 21, 2012

Are you chelle’s nutcase religious brother, ricky?

Because your “thought” processes are remarkably similar.

59. #59 Wow
September 21, 2012

” heated debate going on here today!”

That’s what you get when a religious fundie pretends to be a scientist to “show” science is wrong and you need to turn to faith to get answers (which is true as long as you don’t care whether the answers are true or not. Religion can answer ANYTHING.).

60. #60 James McDonald
September 21, 2012

To illustrate the discrepancy with gravity vs. electromagnetism,
consider what would happen to the moon’s orbit if you put one gram of protons on the earth and matching electrons on the moon.

61. #61 Sinisa Lazarek
September 21, 2012

@ Rick

far from me to try to change your beliefs in god and church. It wouldn’t be an appropriate thing to do, nor would I succeed.

My only question to you is this: which god exists? The jewish YHWH, the egiptian Ra, hindu, muslim, native indian, aztec? I would be much obliged if you could answer that, and in case only one of those exists, provide the explanation and proof why others don’t exist.

62. #62 jdejuand
September 21, 2012

http://www.jdejuan.webs.com/standard.htm

63. #63 DavidL
September 21, 2012

“Parallax shows that the earth isn’t the centre of the universe.”

Not strictly true Wow. Surely it is possible that most of the rest of the universe is filled with tachyonic objects undergoing unimaginable levels of acceleration in response to infinite levels of otherwise unexplained forces.

64. #64 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@Sinisa:

“far from me to try to change your beliefs in god and church. It wouldn’t be an appropriate thing to do, nor would I succeed.”

>> If you possess truthful knowledge concerning God and the Church, and you refrain from making it known to me, I would ask why?

We are both human beings, we face the same circumstances- we are alive, we will die, what shall we do in the meantime, and does it make any difference what we do in the meantime?

If you possess truthful knowledge in this area I ask you not to withhold it from me.

S: “My only question to you is this: which god exists?

>> The Blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is certain knowledge, confirmed by an irrefutable Sign.

Jesus Christ has confirmed His gospel by His resurrection from the dead.

If He is risen, then the question is answered.

He is risen.

S: “The jewish YHWH,”

>> Christ confirms that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is His Father, YHWH is God.

S:the egiptian Ra, hindu, muslim, native indian, aztec? I would be much obliged if you could answer that, and in case only one of those exists, provide the explanation and proof why others don’t exist.

>> Thank you for inquiring.

The evidence consists in the historical fact of the ministry, prophecies, miracles, and teaching of Jesus Christ.

As above, the proof is in the historical fact of His resurrection- there is no comparable Sign in all of history to this one.

My only question to you is this: which god exists? The jewish YHWH, the egiptian Ra, hindu, muslim, native indian, aztec? I would be much obliged if you could answer that, and in case only one of those exists, provide the explanation and proof why others don’t exist.

65. #65 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@CB Sep 20 1:18:

“The closest thing to “metaphysics” here is your distaste for the idea that large parts of the universe may be unobservable.”

>> I have no distaste for such a possibility. To the contrary, it simply proves that the wonder hammer of science is not capable of hammering all the nails.

Nothing against science, mind you.

It is the wonder hammer.

Wherever would we be without it?

But it is, as you suggest above, limited to its proper domain, just as philosophy, metaphysics, and theology are limited to theirs.

CB: Do you actually have any *evidence* that the universe must be observable in its entirety?

>> To the contrary, the evidence seems to strongly suggest it cannot be observed in its entirety.

Not even in its material aspects.

CB: “Or are you lambasting “metaphysics” while engaging in such? Praising “worldview-neutrality” while having nothing of the sort?”

>> I do not lambast metaphysics.

I lambast metaphysics all dressed up as if it were science, since that sells better these days.

CB: “And “observable” is not the same as “not observed yet”. I imagine you having the same objection you have with the “not yet observed” part of the universe with the W and Z bosons, or the Higgs. The evidence that suggests that much of the visible universe consists of the “not observed yet” is actually recent, and itself represented a major change to the consensus.”

>> If ever there existed a consensus that all of the universe could be reduced to material components, that consensus was erroneous a priori.

If ever there existed a consensus that even its material components could be observed in their entirety, that consensus was never scientific in the first place, but rather metaphysical.

It has not been falsified, but it seems highly dubious.

66. #66 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@ DavidL:

Wow struggles with the concept of “center”.

It seems that if a gyroscope wobbles, Wow considers this proof that it cannot have a barycenter.

I believe this notion can be falsified without any necessity of having recourse to tachyonic objects undergoing unimaginable levels of acceleration in response to infinite levels of otherwise unexplained forces.

67. #67 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@CB September 20, 12:45 pm:

There is a God, that much I hold to be certain as a matter of basic logic.

CB: “Faith. A matter of faith. There is no logical proof of God.”

>> There is a logical basis upon which to conclude that God necessarily exists.

Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, as you imply above.

CB: “There is no possible such proof.”

>> This assertion is false. In fact, the existence of God can be known with certainty by the light of reason alone, entirely apart from supernatural Faith.

CB: “Men of much greater mental capacity — and faith — than both of us have tried to prove God must exist and found only that such is not provable.”

>> To the contrary, the great genius Thomas Aquinas has provided “proofs” (more exactly, motives of credibility) which stand unrefuted to this day.

CB: “But God asks us to have faith, not to construct logical proof. ”

>> Again, your argument requires us to accept an hermetic separation of the domains of Faith ond of reason.

This assumption has not been demonstrated by you in any way at all, and is in fact false.

CB: “So don’t belittle faith by trying to transmute it into logic.”

>> So don;t belittle logic by trying to suggest it is irrelevant to questions of Faith.

68. #68 Aquanerd
September 21, 2012

This is insane that this argument is even happening..

I mean Ricky D. just quoted scripture as his “proof”. Think of the arrogance not to mention the delusional capacity of a person who thinks they have discovered something in contrast to the greatest minds of the last 400 years.

69. #69 DavidL
September 21, 2012

Rick you may “believe this notion can be falsified without any necessity of having recourse to tachyonic objects”, but please explain it to us

70. #70 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

Well, Aquanard, you have advanced an interesting argument here.

It appears you mean to suggest that nothing in contrast to the greatest minds of the last four hundred years can be true.

The assertion refutes itself.

All of the great advances of those greatest minds involved the overturning of some thing considered established by others of those greatest minds.

71. #71 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@jdejuand:

72. #72 Wow
September 21, 2012

“It seems that if a gyroscope wobbles, Wow considers this proof that it cannot have a barycenter.”

No Wow does not consider it that.

I guess when your only ideas are dumb the only recourse to winning an argument is to write both sides.

73. #73 Wow
September 21, 2012

“Surely it is possible…”

I think Chelle has infected you David!

🙂

You’ll notice that those who fall back on “surely it is possible” never consider that their ideas are probably wrong.

74. #74 Wow
September 21, 2012

“There is a God, that much I hold to be certain as a matter of basic logic.”

That your premise entails a continuing spiral of more and more special pleading to keep that premise alive is the actual “multiplying epicycles” that you first turned up to show as proof that the theories of science were dying.

Your god theory is dying. Indeed, died a couple of hundred years ago, starting with the inclusion of lightning conductors on church buildings.

75. #75 Wow
September 21, 2012

“If you possess truthful knowledge in this area I ask you not to withhold it from me.”

We’ve been trying to pass on the truthful knowledge to you, but you stick your fingers in your ears metaphorically and go “LALALALALALA! THERE IS A GOD! NOT LISTENING!”.

76. #76 Wow
September 21, 2012

“Jesus Christ has confirmed His gospel by His resurrection from the dead.”

So where is he staying?

And isn’t he just stealing the works of this earlier guy:

http://www.farvardyn.com/mithras2.php

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cv/pch/pch71.htm

77. #77 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

Wow:

You have an unanswered question to deal with, above, in my post to you of Sep 20 3:53pm.

If not, then thanks for the exchange.

78. #78 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

DavidL;

Certainly.

See my post to Wow, 3:53 Sep 20.

Perhaps you can help Wow out here.

79. #79 Aquanerd
September 21, 2012

Ricky

Not you and your feeble mental capacity or your washed up religion can or ever will refute scientists especially ones as great as those whom have paved the way towards where we are now. Those great men will forever be remembered while you and your sorry website will fade into irrelevance shortly.

80. #80 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

Wow:

I am afraid your links are not relevant to the question at hand.

It is Jesus Christ Who has risen from the dead, this is an historical event susceptible of historical assessment.

If you wish to attempt to refute the historicity of this event, I warmly invite you to try 🙂

81. #81 Wow
September 21, 2012

“I am afraid your links are not relevant to the question at hand.”

Really? The obvious theft of the creative story of Mithras as the genesis of the fantasy story about this jesus character is irrelevant to the question at hand but this:

“Jesus Christ has confirmed His gospel by His resurrection from the dead.”

Is?

I guess it’s only relevant if you accept it, huh?

How very stalinist of you.

He was a godbotherer too. Trained to become a priest and all.

82. #82 Wow
September 21, 2012

“If you wish to attempt to refute the historicity of this event, I warmly invite you to try”

What historicity of the event?

ABSOLULTEY NO CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT of Jesus Christ exists.

The ONLY (non contemporary) text has the birth of this character IN TWO DIFFERENT TOWNS. The accounts also disagree by at least four years in time between each other. And refer to events that have NEVER been documented, though they would have been.

There is no historical record of this jesus christ bloke. Just hysterical.

83. #83 Wow
September 21, 2012

Matthew 2:1
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king.

Luke 1:5
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

Herod the Great died in 4 BCE.

+++

Luke 2:1
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

Quirinius became governer of Syria in 6 CE, nine years after king Herod’s death.

84. #84 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

I am afraid you do not grasp the magnitude of your difficulty here, Wow.

We have historical evidence of Jesus Christ in extra-biblical sources.

We have no such evidence for Mithra from non-Mithraic sources.

Perhaps you can supply us a remedy for this?

85. #85 Wow
September 21, 2012

“We have historical evidence of Jesus Christ in extra-biblical sources.”

You mean some bloke *born* TWO YEARS after this guy is supposed to have been nailed to the tree?

And the only place that says he rose from the dead is that book which LITERALLY proves itself wrong.

86. #86 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@ Wow:

“ABSOLULTEY NO CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT of Jesus Christ exists.”

>> Bunk. We have the gospels, we have Suetonius, we have Tacitus, we have Flavius Josephus, we have Pliny the Younger, we have Trajan, we have Hadrian.

What do you have?

Wow: The ONLY (non contemporary) text has the birth of this character IN TWO DIFFERENT TOWNS. The accounts also disagree by at least four years in time between each other. And refer to events that have NEVER been documented, though they would have been.”

>> All of your above assertions are, regrettably, unaccompanied by evidence.

Wow: “There is no historical record of this jesus christ bloke. Just hysterical.”

>> Refuted.

87. #87 Wow
September 21, 2012

I note that you have no evidence of the science being wrong.

It seems you demand based on your desired prejudice, not your honour.

Because you have none.

88. #88 Wow
September 21, 2012

“>> Refuted.”

Yup, this mystical dude who rose from the dead has been refuted. The one book that says he did so refuted.

You would have thought a zombie invasion with hundreds or thousands of dead punters walking about would have hit the local gazette as a bit of a headline story, but no.

89. #89 Wow
September 21, 2012

Refuted.

90. #90 Wow
September 21, 2012

“>> All of your above assertions are, regrettably, unaccompanied by evidence.”

Since the evidence for that discrepancy is the New Testament Bible, I’m glad to see you consider this no evidence of anything.

You are making progress.

91. #91 Sean T
September 21, 2012

Rick,

You claim that logic has proved not only the existence of a god, but the existence of the Christian God. Please point me to your logical arguments that proove this. All logical arguments for the Christian God that I’ve ever seen are just as valid and sound with reference to Vishnu, Ra, Zeus or any other deity you’d want to name.

Further, you provide “proof” of the Christian God by virtue of the “historical record of Jesus”. You realize, right, that the Gospels of the New Testament are really the only “historical records” that you’re basing this on, and that these were likely written 100-200 years AFTER the purported death and resurrection of Jesus. Further, these weren’t exactly neutral sources doing factual reporting of events. The Gospels were written by those who believed in Christianity and wanted to spread the religion. It’s tough to regard the Gospels as a true historical source.

You may be able to find other sources that show that a man named Jesus of Nazereth lived during the appropriate time period and that this Jesus claimed to be divine and was crucified. I’d be hard pressed to believe, however, that any RELIABLE source (not the Bible) would document his resurrection. Without the resurrection, there’s no evidence that Jesus was anything other than a human who believed himself to be the son of God. If that’s your standard of evidence, then there are plenty of “Jesuses” around today; just visit any mental hospital and I’m sure you’ll meet one or two.

Finally, claiming that the Scripture in any way is proof of God’s existence is a fallacy. I know it won’t register with you because you are a believer, but the argument from Scriptural authority is self-evidently circular. You basically are arguing that God exists because the Bible is accurate. The argument for the accuracy of the Bible goes something like: The Bible is accurate because it’s the word of God. We know the Bible is the word of God because it says so in the Bible. Obviously, then the accuracy of the Bible rests on its own authority and not anything outside of the Bible. If I wrote a book that completely contradicts the Bible, but I say in it that it’s the word of God, the same argument would apply. I’m sure you wouldn’t be convinced, so why should that argument convince you about the Bible’s accuracy?

92. #92 Wow
September 21, 2012
93. #93 Wow
September 21, 2012

Here are some other words from god:

http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/texts.htm

Apparently there is no actual god, just oneness with the universe, as told by someone who went there.

Seems legit.

94. #94 eric
September 21, 2012

the absence of SUSY particles at all energies would be enough to invalidate string theory, as supersymmetry is a requirement of string theories that contain the standard model of particles…

Ethan, given that you spend a couple paragraphs before this quote stating that we have found no such particles, and that they would have energies we could find, was this a subtle way of saying you think string theory is wrong? (And for the record, IANA physicst, so I’m not asking about some pet theory of my own.)

95. #95 Wow
September 21, 2012

Since we haven’t looked at all energies where such SUSY particles could reside and still retain the standard model, their lack of appearance is merely we haven’t shown string theory right yet.

Neither have we shown it wrong.

Yet.

96. #96 DavidL
September 21, 2012

@Rick See my post to Wow, 3:53 Sep 20.

This post seem to address resolving between a geocentric and heliocentric system using parallax, and I agree it is not possible on this information alone. But the parallax exists, and if it is not due to our motion, then it requires the rest of the universe to do some pretty nifty footwork.

97. #97 Ethan
September 21, 2012

eric,

I wouldn’t say I think string theory is wrong as much as I think it’s very important to approach it with a large degree of skepticism. It is a highly speculative theory with very few predictions that are testable even in principle, as most of its predictions require energies that were not reached at any point in the history of our (post-Big Bang) Universe.

One of those predictions, however, that ought to be testable is that SUSY particles should exist. They don’t need to exist at energies of 100s of GeV ~ a few TeV, which is where they would need to be to solve the hierarchy problem, but they need to exist at some energy.

I would say that a lack of SUSY at the LHC would be a strike against string theory, but not a nail-in-the-coffin. Now if we could use the optimal energies from ultra high energy cosmic rays (up to 10^11 GeV) and rule out SUSY at those energies, then string theory would be in trouble. But physics, as we currently understand it, really ought to have some new physics before that point, because that begins to be the energy at which the standard model — with a 125 GeV single Higgs — begins to break down.

98. #98 eric
September 21, 2012

Okay, thanks for the response. I think I misread your OP as saying something like: “If its right, we should see A-Z. We’ve looked for A-E and haven’t seen them.” But if I understand what you and Wow are saying, its more correct to say: if its right, we should see some member of the set A-Z. So not seeing A-E doesn’t rule it out yet, though it isn’t good for string theory, obviously.

99. #99 OKThen
Need for Comment Policy
September 21, 2012

A quick search of the name Rick Delano brings up web pages titled
-Galileo was wrong
-Rick Delano crafts a conspiracy theory
-Getting information from creationists is like pulling teeth

Which (if any) of the 13 Rick Delano’s on LinkedIn is the Rick Delano posting on this blog is irrelevant.

Rick Delano commenting here is an internet troll with an anti-science agenda. Please take notice in his first post that I am aware of to Start with a Bang (above September 20, 10:39 am)

Rick says, “But it is not the “trolls like chelle””

How does Rick know about Chelle?

Well yes he is either Chelle or another Chelle who happens to be Rick Delano.

His intent like Chelle’s is to disrupt discussion on this blog.

You see what we have here is an ochestrated tag team of anti-science internet trolls targeting good science blogs.

My previous recommendations to Ethan regarding Chelle; apply to Rick Delano.

100. #100 OKThen
Keeping on topic
September 21, 2012

“The good news for experiment is that if any of these solutions are the one that nature has chosen, the LHC should find it!”

This is really good news.

As well, I would add that there are thousands of theoretical physicists and mathematicians working on this problem. This is a great investment. Because funding theorists is very inexpensive relative to a big accellerator like LHC. But they need the feedback from the LHC. Every time an experiment (even a null experiment in which no new particle is found) theorist have to tune their theories.

Whether tuning theories is like adding epicycles or not is really beside the point. Because at some point there are too many epicycles and the only explanation left standing is a revolutionary insight. And new physics is then build upon that revolutionary insight.

The 4 theories Ethan that you describe;
– Supersymmetry
– Technicolor
– Warped extra dimensions
– Large extra dimensions
are such possible revolutionary insights. And I am sure there are a few other possible revolutionary physics theories out there.

Good post Ethan

101. #101 Aquanerd
September 21, 2012

I agree.. It’s curious that we haven’t heard from Chelle this entire discussion.

102. #102 Wow
September 21, 2012

You had to make her change dresses now…

103. #103 citicrab
chicago
September 21, 2012

Rick, obviously science can not provide answers to those fundamental questions (a more “tangible” one may be that of “free will”. There seems to be no explanation for it other than “supernatural”. Alternatively, it does not exist – in which case a justification for our existence is even more in order.) Wow and his ilk just prefer not to engage at this level.

Another feather in your cap is the fact that there are very serious modern scientists who are religious, including Christian. And the existence of even one of them refutes Wow’s screams. To me, science is interpreted (and life is lived) based on a worldview, a more or less a priori phenomenon, a matter of temperament. This is from an atheist who has made a very concerted effort to acquire faith (if only not to be in the same company as Wows :), and failed.

104. #104 Wow
September 21, 2012

“There seems to be no explanation for it other than “supernatural””

Nope. That’s an unjustified assertion. Argument from personal incredulity.

“Alternatively, it does not exist”

I thought you just said there was “Supernatural” as the only explanation? Make your mind up.

“in which case a justification for our existence is even more in order.”

Why?

Really. Why does there have to be a justification for our existence? And why would the lack of free will make this need even greater?

You’re long on assertion, short on thought.

Then again, the illogical screed you cling to demands you obey unthinkingly (which is ironic given your need for explaining free will), so you’re just habituated.

105. #105 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

citicrab:

You have given me a good chuckle and a bit of hope besides.

Please do not be in any way offended when I say that I will pray for you.

106. #106 Wow
September 21, 2012

Tell you what, I’ll pray to Gandalf for you too.

107. #107 Wow
September 21, 2012

And he’ll put in a word to Mr Snuffleupagus for you too.

You’ll know when he has because something bad won’t happen to you.

Unless you did something wrong.

108. #108 Rick DeLano
September 21, 2012

@DavidL September 21, 7:56 am

“This post seem to address resolving between a geocentric and heliocentric system using parallax, and I agree it is not possible on this information alone. But the parallax exists, and if it is not due to our motion, then it requires the rest of the universe to do some pretty nifty footwork.”

>> Completely agree on both points.

But then the universe is already doing some pretty nifty footwork under current theories, for example, the planet’s obey Kepler’s Laws (approximately) while galaxies ignore them (drastically).

The question can only be settled by metaphysical preference at this stage.

109. #109 Wow
September 22, 2012

” while galaxies ignore them (drastically).”

Only in the same way as the flight of the bumblebee disobeys the rules of the road. They’re not supposed to be obeying them.

“The question can only be settled by metaphysical preference at this stage”

The question has been proposed only by a blowhard at this stage. First we need to see if the question is valid.

110. #110 William George
September 23, 2012

111. #111 Wow
September 24, 2012

At least we now have quarrantine for the undisputable trolls.

112. #112 OKThen
Confused-land
September 24, 2012

Can someone clarify my confusion.

So string theory explains gravity very well, i.e. it is supposedly easy for the math to generate a spin-2 massless particle.

And string theory also needs some version of supersymmetry (at least a Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model).

But the standard model doesn’t include gravity and hence SUSY doesn’t include gravity.

So do any of these 4 leading theories include a graviton
– Supersymmetry (No?)
– Technicolor (no?)
– Warped extra dimensions (doesn’t seem to?)
– Large extra dimensions (No or maybe?) But not from LHC from the ﬁrst-generation Stanford microcantilever experiment (Ethan’s link)

And all four of the above seem to me to be some type of string or M-theory or somehow linked to string or M-theory. Or am I missing something here. Can these all be stand alone theories without strings?

So it seems to me that the LHC may identify some knew particles useful but not really solving the hierarchy problem because we haven’t got a graviton.

So aside from the LHC, where else can physics look for a graviton?

But then I see that wiki says ” if supersymmetry is to solve the hierarchy problem of the Standard Model, the gravitino cannot be more massive than about 1 TeV/c2.” and I see Ethan above that ” the LHC — once it reaches its full energy of 14 TeV — ought to find at least one superpartner,”. so it seems that LHC has already reached 1 TeV (assuming using c = 1 units.

But LHC has not seen the gravitino yet.

So it seems we really don’t know anything yet. Which is OK. But then I really want to know which knew experiments are capable of testing for the quirks of various M-theories or other theories.

So it seems to me like a really difficult situation.
What am I missing?

Oh and is there any progress on the Calabi-Yau manifold front yet? or something else?

And my final bit of confusion is about the size of extra dimensions in a string theory with T-duality. My question if extra dimensions are of size 1/R R being a very very big dimension in our visible universe; then from an extra dimension point of view isn’t their extra dimension very big and our 3-D space very small?

OK that’s some of my rambling confusing.
Any clarification will be appreciated.
Thanks.

113. #113 Wow
September 24, 2012

“once it reaches its full energy of 14 TeV — ought to find at least one superpartner,”. so it seems that LHC has already reached 1 TeV (assuming using c = 1 units.”

Those 14TeV is the energy given to the beam, but not the energy that can be extracted from a collision.

I think the differnce is less with most designs of a linear accelerator, but a cyclotron isn’t very efficient.

Rather like a car engine. 1400kW of burning fuel, 200kW of motive energy resulting.

114. #114 Mark McAndrew
September 24, 2012

14 TeV (tera electron volts) is per particle. The entire beam has a lot more than that, being (of course) made up of trillions of particles.

PS. WTF is religion doing in the comments? Piss off!

115. #115 Wow
September 25, 2012

Yes, but thats not what you get out of the collision.

If they whacked straight together, you’d get full whack, but this doesn’t happen.

I can’t tell you what the actual total figure is, but the CERN site will.

116. #116 forrest noble
Los Angeles, California
October 1, 2012

@Rick DeLano,

Seems like I’m kind of late to the party but agree with much of what you have said, especially concerning failures of present-day theory.

Concerning the article above, I think the problem above relates to problems with today’s theories. I agreed with Einstein when he proposed that gravity is not a force, even though I did not agree with his proposal or reasoning concerning the so-called warpage of space-time as being the cause of gravity. I think, however, by his proposal that the idea is now might be considered that none of the forces of nature necessarily have to be ‘a priori’ forces, that there may be a mechanical explanation for all the supposed forces. Aether was assumed by Maxwell when he derived his equations. This was an aetherial mechanical theory of magnetism. Such models of gravity have also been proposed but the best mathematics of the time was Newton’s inverse square law.

I’m sure a mechanical model of the Strong and Weak Force could be developed via string-like entities having mechanical nuclear connections.

There then would be no force differences to explain, there being no forces-of-nature in the first place. Such a standard model, I think, could made to be far simpler than the standard model, and the same physics could be used with different justifications. Formulations could be changed, as needed, in accord with the new model and observations.

117. #117 Wow
October 2, 2012

“but agree with much of what you have said, especially concerning failures of present-day theory”

What about his own crack-based “theory”?

118. #118 Idiotic Climate Skeptic Moron
October 5, 2012

And here I was under the impression that the LHC has not yet fully determined the spin of the Higgs Boson, and that there is the (off-chance) possibility that the LHC will find it has an non Standard Model spin. IIRC the option 2 for the spin is still on the table.

119. #119 D D Patil
March 28, 2013

Pole star will reset the whole universe in next 5 years which is coming near to earth. Earth’s two poles will be became as single monopole. The most all mysteries of Universe will be get open to all mankind and the creator of Universe. Just wait for time. Time will give answers to all questions.

120. #120 Wow
March 28, 2013
121. #121 peter cameron
May 8, 2013

a possible simple solution is here
http://vixra.org/abs/1211.0052
and related papers are here
http://vixra.org/author/peter_cameron

122. #122 Ken
September 22, 2013

This was pretty interesting until this social misfit and self displaying lunatic, WOW, started in.

Its always an insecure atheist. It always someone so brewing with hate cause of the fear of going to hell that he can no longer reason. You need to check the ground you’re standing on make sure its stable. Be confident in your unbelief–remember its only those who are unsure that resort to this belligerent scratch and clawing of mindless accusations that an amoeba could refute.. You cant possibly continue to live like this and the world simply cant adsorb all of your stupidity at once.

Lashing out 5 embarrassing posts in a row to one comment as if you were De Niro in taxi driver is unbridled fear. Thanks for ruining the topic.

123. #123 Sean Doyle
The Quantum Firmament
November 5, 2013

124. #124 Wow
November 6, 2013

“Its always an insecure atheist.”

Projection.

It’s always projection with you concern trolls, isn’t it?

125. #125 Jonathan Boone
West Plains, MO 65775
May 14, 2014

Just wondering; is it possible for someone at the age of 18 to be able to figure out Quantum Physics? And Hypothetically, is it possible for them to solve the Hierarchy Problem? If so, than how would they go about doing that? It would be extremely helpful to know all of this; you know, just in case.

126. #126 Pocket Stardust
My Place
December 7, 2014

Don’t you know about water. I feel the solution is being sought in another part of the barn. The least corner of it
has the tool you are looking for. Why does Water present itself in so many ways? Liquid, Solid and Gas. ! I had to ask my Beloved wife for help before I continued this ,always ask
for guidance:
The solution to the Equation may actually be,
Do the math three times, as a liquid ,as a solid and as a gas
Also , a Venn diagram may point to some things for clarification.
Lastly, my best insights have come from idiots like me.
Do the water test, I am sure you will call me.

127. #127 Pocket Stardust
December 7, 2014

115, P. Table has been just listed, Personally ,I don’t want any more heavy elements. Where do we put it ?.

128. #128 Pocket Stardust
December 7, 2014

john ,
Yes, you may have the something ,that others don’t.
A desire to learn, A good heart for Knowledge.
And age is no matter. I have had three year olds put me in my place , and Humbled by the child. Go, solve the equation.

129. #129 Wow
December 8, 2014

“Why does Water present itself in so many ways? Liquid, Solid and Gas. ”

Well, so does Carbon Dioxide.

130. #130 Pocket Stardust
My Place
December 9, 2014

I did a search on DuckDuckGo .com for the three forms of gravity. You might find interesting what came up, since we were talking about three forms of stuff. So maybe gravity doesn’t have to be 40 times stronger, because it’s 40 times
more expansive.

131. #131 velea
suly
January 9, 2015

can any one tell me does energy or matter asks about them selves ????????

132. #132 Wow
January 9, 2015

They don’t.

They don’t experience qualia of “self”.

133. #133 paul t e cusack
March 4, 2015

y=0.8534 @

y=e^-x x=0.1585

y=y’

y=e^x y=sin 1=cos 1

see Cusack’s Model of the Universe Astrotheology the missing link.

134. #134 dean
March 4, 2015

133: perhaps you should learn basic arithmetic-your blog site clearly demonstrates that you don’t – before you make any more foolish comments about a “model of the universe”

135. #135 Dave
NJ
April 12, 2015

Matter and energy within a given point of space induce a warping of space through quantum-mechanical interactions, which in turn causes that region of space to accelerate. The acceleration of space itself is what produces the force of gravity, as space itself is what is moving massive objects towards each other as opposed to massive objects passively following the curvature of warped space-time as proposed by Albert Einstein. Particles of matter gain mass through their quantum-mechanical interactions with the Higgs field. By interacting with the Higgs field particles of matter slow down and dissipate their energies. The energy released through this interaction does not go to waste, but instead contributes to the acceleration or warping of the surrounding space. This is why more massive objects cause surrounding space to accelerate with greater magnitude and therefore generate more intense gravitational effects. Space is therefore a dynamical structure that plays a very active role in the emergence of gravity at the quantum level. Dark matter and dark energy warp or accelerate space in a different way from regular matter and energy. On the largest scales, the universe is expanding because space itself is accelerating (repulsive force due to dark matter and dark energy) and carrying everything in it with it. On the scale of stars, planets, and galaxies (regular matter) space is being told to accelerate in a different direction (attraction), and that is gravity. It seems that anti-gravity is predominating the universe as there is a lot more dark matter/energy than regular matter/energy. Space can therefore behave differently depending on what kind of matter and energy is in it.

136. #136 Michael Kelsey
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
April 12, 2015
137. #137 Joe Potch
West Sacramento, California
March 11, 2017

I am a believer of quantum field theory (QFT). I find all the comments deal in particles. I do not subscribe to the particle theories. I feel your questions would be better answered by a QFT Advocate then a particle theorist. I don’t have an answer to your questions or comments. But I do feel they would be easier to explain and possibly understand if the idea of field theory was used and considered. I welcome any comments.
Thank you