“Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.” -Thomas Aquinas

Sure, you’ve studied a little physics. You know about Einstein and General Relativity, the quantum nature of the Universe and the fundamental particles and their interactions. You know about the Big Bang, and you’ve read up on the latest theories and ideas. So how did you wind up believing in many (or even all) of these scientific myths out there?

Light and ripples in space; as the light passes through non-flat space, it changes how an observer at any other location perceives the passage of time for the light. Image credit: European Gravitational Observatory, Lionel BRET/EUROLIOS.

Light and ripples in space; as the light passes through non-flat space, it changes how an observer at any other location perceives the passage of time for the light. Image credit: European Gravitational Observatory, Lionel BRET/EUROLIOS.

Are space, time and gravity an illusion? Can we not see farther than 13.8 billion light years since the Universe is only 13.8 billion years old? Was the Big Bang the birth of space and time? Is gravity not fundamental at all? And isn’t it all “just a theory” in the end?

Fluctuations in spacetime itself at the quantum scale get stretched across the Universe during inflation, giving rise to imperfections in both density and gravitational waves. Image credit: E. Siegel, with images derived from ESA/Planck and the DoE/NASA/ NSF interagency task force on CMB research.

Fluctuations in spacetime itself at the quantum scale get stretched across the Universe during inflation, giving rise to imperfections in both density and gravitational waves. Image credit: E. Siegel, with images derived from ESA/Planck and the DoE/NASA/ NSF interagency task force on CMB research.

There’s a reason these are myths; don’t let yourself be taken in by them. Get the scientific truth — as close as we can ever get — instead!

Comments

  1. #1 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    December 20, 2016

    @Ethan: What I think trips up many people (including physicists!) about your myth #1 is that there are multiple different length scales involved, and mixing different scales in the same statement is just wrong.

    What follows is for the readership, not for you!

    The “46 billion light years” you are explaining is the “comoving distance” (type that into Wikipedia!) between us and the CMB (surface of last scattering; type that into Wikipedia as well). That is, how far away is an object TODAY, if it emitted the light we see 13.8 billion years ago. But what we see is the light from 13.8 billion years ago, and at that time that same “object” was much, MUCH, closer to us than it is now.

    So do we want to talk about the comoving distance, or the light transit time, or the original emission distance? Those are three entirely different quantities, and mixing them will lead to nothing but trouble.

  2. #2 Axil
    December 20, 2016

    Regarding the statement:
    “But in the idea of entropic gravity — as well as some other scenarios (like qbits) — gravitation or even space and time themselves might emerge from other entities in a similar fashion.”

    Erik Verlinde not only postulates that gravity emerges from entropic forces, but also the other erstwhile fundamental forces such as the electroweak force.

    Just like gravity can change in strength based on phase space imbalance, so too can the weak force change in strength by an imbalance in phase space. Entropy might turn out to be the primal mover in the cosmos from which all force emerges so that what we now consider as force emerges as a derivative reaction to minimize the entropic phase space imbalance between regions in space/time.

  3. #3 Axil
    December 21, 2016

    Throughout the vacuum, electromagnetic fluctuations are produced at a constant average rate under the purview of the uncertainty principle. The name that tags these fluctuations is virtual particle production. These fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime is called “quantum spin liquid”.

    Quantum spin liquids may be considered “quantum disordered” ground states of spin systems, in which zero point fluctuations are so strong that they prevent conventional magnetic long range order.

    More interestingly, the vacuum as a quantum spin liquid is a prototypical example of ground state with massive many-body entanglement, of a degree sufficient to render these states distinct phases of matter.

    The vacuum is completely entangled at long range as identical patterns of virtual particle emerge throughout the vacuum, with each pattern strongly entangling other identical patterns.

    Just by chance, patterns of virtual particles come into existence at wide spread locations in the vacuum and become connected.

    Quantum entanglement, a phenomenon in which virtual particles as fluctuations in the electromagnetic field, shed their separate identities and assume a shared existence, their properties becoming strongly correlated with one another. The virtual particles act identically no matter how far away they are separated. Normally physicists think of these correlations as spanning space, linking far-flung locations in a phenomenon that Albert Einstein famously described as “spooky action at a distance.”

    Even harder to accept, there is a growing body of research investigating how these correlations can span time as well. What happens now can be correlated with what happens later, in ways that elude a simple mechanistic explanation. In effect, you can have spooky action at a delay.

    These correlations seriously mess with our intuitions about time and space. Not only can two events be correlated, linking the earlier one to the later one, but two events can become correlated such that it becomes impossible to say which is earlier and which is later. Each of these events is the cause of the other, as if each were the first to occur.

    But perhaps most important, researchers are working towards a new way to unify quantum theory with Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which describes the structure of spacetime. The world we experience in daily life, in which events occur in an order determined by their locations in space and time, is just a subset of the possibilities that quantum physics allows.

    Some physicists take this as evidence for a profoundly nonintuitive worldview, in which quantum correlations are more fundamental than spacetime, and space-time itself is somehow built up from correlations among events, in what might be called quantum relationalism. The argument updates Gottfried Leibniz and Ernst Mach’s idea that spacetime might not be a God-given backdrop to the world, but instead might derive from the material contents of the universe.

    In this view quantum entanglement is more fundamental than spacetime because quantum entanglement generates spacetime. Quantum entanglement is not sensitive to the constraints of spacetime, that is, quantum entanglement connects events without regard to walls of matter, distance or the past and future.

    The key to control spacetime and the forces that operate in spacetime is the control of entanglement and coherence. This is what LENR engineering is all about.

  4. #4 Axil
    December 21, 2016

    ​How coherence manipulation produces force.

    In the EmDrive, microwaves setup standing electromagnetic waves inside the metal cone that disturbs the coherence in the vacuum so that virtual particle coherence is reduced. This application of energy to the vacuum is similar to inflating a balloon by increasing the air pressure inside the balloon. There is a unbalancing of the vacuum between the inside of the cone and the outside that remains neutral. This is like a balloon that has a higher air pressure on the inside of the balloon than the outside. An adiabatic inertial reaction force is produced to rebalance the imbalance setup in the vacuum generated by the microwaves. This inertial force attempts to rebalance the uneven vacuum energy distribution that exists between the inside and outside of the cone. The cone is configured to focus this adiabatic inertial reaction force in a desired direction.

    The balloon is not very good. The air pressure inside the balloon is equal throughout the volume of the balloon, but in a metal cone, the standing wave pattern of the standing waves produced by the magnetron are unequal throughout the volume of the cone so there will be less force generated in one given section of the voluum than in another. The unequal distribution of vacuum energy will resolve into a force vector in a preferred direction. The key to optimizing the force produced by the cone is to maximize the imbalance in the emf standing wave distribution inside the cone.

    One way to test this theory, is to demonstrate the reduction of the half life of an radioactive isotope in the regions of positive vacuum energy against the result produce in the regions of negative vacuum energy. The positive vacuum energy should produce a reduction in the half life in the radioactive isotope.

    This experiment can be done in a home microwave with a turntable. Find the zone of maximum microwave resonance and place the isotope there. You should see a reduction of the half life as a result in the amplified strength of the weak force at the point of maximum microwave strength.

    By the way, this amplification of the weak force through injecting energy into the vacuum is how George Egely produces LENR in his microwave LENR reactor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms411WCBEZk

  5. #5 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    Just in case anyone is listening to axil, their words are mostly wordsalad. E.g. “Quantum entanglement, a phenomenon in which virtual particles as fluctuations in the electromagnetic field, shed their separate identities and assume a shared existence” is meaningless babble.

    Entanglement doesn’t work on virtual particles, they don’t interact long enough and there’s no mechanism to tie them together.

    Axil has heard some words and blundered them together to sound as though he knows what he’s talking about, but it only works with someone who doesn’t really understand science, only the media portrayal of it by journalist majors.

    Don’t get scammed. Treat him like Microsoft cold calling and talking computery things to get you to tell the to download their remote assistant program.

  6. #7 Axil
    December 21, 2016

    I have thought for a while now that science has lost its way and is investing in theories that are not valid. That investment is huge. It entails the construction of multi $billions next generation of particle colliders and neutrino detectors to prove the theory of supersymmetry and the grand unification of the fundamental forces. The question that arises resolves down to how to test that an alternative theory of the fundamental forces and Grand unification alternative can be demonstrated.

    That is why I am interested in LENR as an experimental tool that can probe the information theory of reality that is now emerging with such enthusiasm in physics. It seems a waste to invest all those $billions into a nonproductive dead end in physics theory when a desk top experimental platform is there for us at the cost of a few hundred dollars.

    And many of the alternative experiments have already been performed. It’s just a matter of duplicating these experiments and verifying them under proper scientific conditions.

  7. #8 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    “I have thought for a while now that science has lost its way and is investing in theories that are not valid”

    Inventing cold fusion claims and pretending it’s science isn’t how to combat that.

    “It entails the construction of multi $billions next generation of particle colliders and neutrino detectors…”

    Ah, so your REAL complaint is that tax dollars aren’t being spent on cold fusion scams, but on science you think is no longer valid.

  8. #9 dean
    December 21, 2016

    I have thought for a while

    That right there is where you are mistaken.

    • #10 Axil
      December 21, 2016

      An oldy but goody. Now with the advent of the failure of dark matter and dark energy, some rethinking might be in order

      http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue38/einstein.html

      Breaking Through Editorial: The Einstein Myths— Of Space, Time, and Aether
      Originally Published July-August, 2001 In Infinite Energy Magazine, Issue #38
      by Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D.

      Finally, what shall we take as the most important thing to be learned from the almost century-long Einstein hiatus in physical theory? As with cold fusion and LENR, which is for all practical purposes the return of alchemy— proved this time in scientific studies— is that even the most sacrosanct of ideas, Einsteinian Relativity, can be dead wrong. In fact, the late Richard Feynman may have said it best when he identified what he considered to be the most important implication of Relativity, though in the context in which he voiced this, he certainly did not mean that he thought Relativity itself was wrong!:

      What then, are the philosophic influences of the theory of relativity? If we limit ourselves to influences in the sense of what kind of new ideas and suggestions are made to the physicist by the principle of relativity, we could describe some of them as follows. The first discovery is, essentially that even those ideas which have been held for a very long time and which have been very accurately verified might be wrong. . .we now have a much more humble point of view of our physical laws— everything can be wrong!

      As regards physics of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first, Feynman (a.k.a. “Genius,” so-called by author James Gleick) was profoundly wrong about the “humble” part. But indeed, almost everything was wrong, and we must begin anew to correct it, with arduous experiment and new theory.

  9. #11 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    But it *felt* like thinking to axil.

    Good enough to keep a scam going, anyway!

  10. #12 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    FYI, internet, axil is going on yet more content free bullshitting. To whit this:

    “Finally, what shall we take as the most important thing to be learned from the almost century-long Einstein hiatus in physical theory?”

    is a load of unconstructed hooey.

  11. #13 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    Also: Aether.

    ’nuff said.

  12. #15 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    Just remember, axil is still insisting that the aether exists, and as “proof” points to a reporter that doesn’t mention the aether, but claims that it;s why the EnDrive works, in theory.

    HIS LINK DOES NOT MENTION AETHER. But he acts like it does.

    ’nuff said.

  13. #16 Axil
    December 21, 2016

    To speak of the aether these days only brings smiles of contempt from institutional physicists— they have already found something better: the intangible ‘swarming of virtual particles’.” So, will the aether return with a vengeance and an Aether Energy Age soon begin? We shall see.

    The EmDrive is producing force form something…virtual particles? By the way, where does the Higgs field come from? What can it be?

  14. #17 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    So because you don;t know what the EmDrive is producing force from (by the way, Ethan recently did a post on this, two, IIRC), you claim it;s because of the aether….

    And you want people to believe you know what’s going on?

    ’nuff said.

  15. #18 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    “To speak of the aether these days only brings smiles of contempt from institutional physicists”

    Yes, because it’s only spouted as some sort of fairy dust by those who don’t know what’s going on but feel like they know anyway.

    I bet you HATE engineers. EVERY TIME you come to them with an idea for a perpetual motion machine, they laugh at you!

    And as for those patent lawyers…. GRRRRR!

    LOL!

  16. #19 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    ” By the way, where does the Higgs field come from? What can it be?”

    Ask a leading edge particle physicist.

    Michael Kelsey for example.

    But don’t expect anything deep unless you’re willing to read up on field theory first.

    But DO expect a complete lack of any need for aether. NO field theory needs aether.

  17. #20 Axil
    December 21, 2016

    I stated my case in post #4. Now state your case, if you can.

  18. #21 Wow
    December 21, 2016

    axil, when you don’t know what something is, you say “I don’t know”. You DON’T start calling it aether or god or superaliens. Because “I don’t know” is HONEST, whilst the other options are batshit crazy. The first one allows you to FIND out the answer, where the others close off any possibility of finding an answer.

    As to the babble of your post at #4, I addressed that and noted it in MY post at #5. Seemingly I not only COULD state my case, I DID. But you didn’t notice.

    Nobody was surprised.

  19. #22 Wow
    December 24, 2016

    Welp, axil’s had too much egg nog already.

  20. #23 Chris Herring
    Hanover, NH
    December 28, 2016

    On point # 2, the ball-resting-on-a-bed metaphor for gravity always bothers me because gravity itself is used in the metaphor. There’s something pulling the ball down on the bed and curving the surface of it: gravity! In the same way, there is some force pulling mass into spacetime and curving it. From what I have heard, there’s really no explanation for that. It just happens.

  21. #24 Wow
    December 28, 2016

    Yeah, we’ve heard that “complaint” before.

    There’s other problems with the mechanism too. Like for example orbits don’t operate properly on the rubber sheet.

    But, hey, it;’s an analogy. It’s not meant to be accurate. If it were accurate, someone would be insisting that this process there’s gravity pulling space down, therefore the rubber sheet must be aether,.

    But here’s the big problem with that complaint. It’s not meant to demonstrate *how* gravity bends spacetime. It merely shows that in bent space, around a heavy object for example, that stretches space near it more than further away, the paths of things are bent nearby.

    Just like in the analogy of the rubber sheet.

    But, hey, you come up with a better one. I’m all ears.

  22. #25 Peter Grudin
    United States
    December 30, 2016

    This stuff is complicated enough without a lack of clarity in the writing:

    ” Imagine a galaxy that were (“was?”) 10 billion light years away from where we are now 10 billion years ago. Imagine that it emitted light. If the fabric of the Universe weren’t expanding, it would take 10 billion years to reach us. But if the galaxy were ( NO. “is”. “were” means that the galaxy is not moving away from us.) moving away from us, limited by the speed of light, it ( you, mean the galaxy, RIGHT?) could be as far as 20 billion light years from us by time the light gets there (“there,” “where”? Don’t you mean “here”?) And if the Universe were (Once again, not “were” but “is”) expanding, it could be even farther!”
    Tell me if I’ve misunderstood. What we see, in this scenario, the photons our eyes are reacting to, originated 10 billion years ago as photons emitted by a galaxy. The object emitting those photons, however, has moved. Therefore, we are only seeing that object where and as it was 10 billion years ago. We are not seeing it where it is probably is now. If it is now 20 billion light years away, we have no way of seeing it now.

  23. #26 Wow
    December 30, 2016

    “We are not seeing it where it is probably is now. ”

    Yes.

    “If it is now 20 billion light years away, we have no way of seeing it now.”

    Yes.

    20 billion years from now, the light will hit earth that it is emitting now.

    Where/s the problem?

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