“When you listen to a lecture, you should not have any idea of yourself. You should not have your own idea when you listen to someone. Forget what you have in your mind and just listen to what he says. To have nothing in your mind is naturalness. Then you will understand what he says. But if you have some idea to compare with what he says, you will not hear everything; your understanding will be one-sided; that is not naturalness.” -Shunryu Suzuki

When we take a look at the Universe, there are a whole slew of things we can measure: densities, masses, couplings, and so on. When these measurable quantities arise from the same physical mechanism, we expect them to be closely related; when they don’t, we expect them to be dissimilar. Yet sometimes, unrelated things are alike in a seeming coincides, while related things are vastly different in an unexplained hierarchy. In cases like this, we look for physical explanations.

The Standard Model particles and their supersymmetric counterparts. This attempt to solve the hierarchy problem for particle masses predicts a whole new spectrum of particles, none of which have been detected. Image credit: Claire David.

Are we going about things all wrong in doing so, though? There may be a physical explanation for such fine-tunings, but it may also be the case that the Universe is simply unnatural in a variety of regards. But if unnaturalness reigns, then even the best science in the Universe may be unable to answer, even in principle, the simple questions of how certain quantities got the values that they have.

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.

Don’t give up on science yet! Come learn what an unnatural Universe is all about.

Comments

  1. #1 Pentcho Valev
    July 5, 2017

    The observer is at rest with respect to the wave source – the waves have speed c relative to him and the frequency he measures is f=c/λ. Then the observer starts moving with speed v (v << c) towards the source – the speed of the waves relative to him becomes c'=c+v and the frequency he measures is now f'=c'/λ=(c+v)/λ. The relation between c' and f' is quite natural and it is valid for all waves … except for light waves. Here a "hierarchy problem" appears. The frequency the moving observer measures remains f'=c'/λ=(c+v)/λ but the speed of the waves relative to him should not be c'=c+v – it should be … c, no matter how silly and even idiotic this sounds!

    We do have an explanation and it is supernatural. There was a divine creature – Albert Einstein – who said that the speed of light relative to any observer should be c – otherwise Divine Albert's Divine Theory would have to be abandoned, Divine Albert worshipers would lose their jobs, no more billions would be wasted and the world would end.

  2. #2 Michael Mooney
    July 5, 2017

    My comment #1 disappeared… or I’m on the wrong page already. (Today’s blog in Forbes. ??)

    I suggested that the blog was in dire need of a definition for both Natural and Unnatural. The meaning of words (especially in the title) matters.

    (Science was once called Natural Philosophy before Einstein made it all about various observers.

  3. #3 skl
    July 5, 2017

    “… perhaps there never was any cosmic inflation…

    … [The Universe] may yet prove to be unnaturally fine-tuned.”

    I hope for your sake that’s not the case, Ethan.
    All the retractions and corrections that would be required.
    It even makes MY head ache!

  4. #4 Pentcho Valev
    July 5, 2017

    According to Einstein’s relativity, unlimitedly long objects can gloriously be trapped inside unlimitedly short containers:

    John Baez: “These are the props. You own a barn, 40m long, with automatic doors at either end, that can be opened and closed simultaneously by a switch. You also have a pole, 80m long, which of course won’t fit in the barn. […] So, as the pole passes through the barn, there is an instant when it is completely within the barn. At that instant, you close both doors simultaneously, with your switch. […] If it does not explode under the strain and it is sufficiently elastic it will come to rest and start to spring back to its natural shape but since it is too big for the barn the other end is now going to crash into the back door and the rod will be trapped in a compressed state inside the barn.”

    Is this prediction of Einstein’s relativity natural or idiotic? If it is idiotic, we have reductio ad absurdum – the underlying premise, Einstein’s constant-speed-of-light postulate, is false.

  5. #5 Pentcho Valev
    July 5, 2017

    David Morin, Introduction to Classical Mechanics With Problems and Solutions, Chapter 11, p. 14: “Twin A stays on the earth, while twin B flies quickly to a distant star and back. […] For the entire outward and return parts of the trip, B does observe A’s clock running slow, but enough strangeness occurs during the turning-around period to make A end up older.”

    Is the “enough strangeness” natural or idiotic? If it is idiotic, we have reductio ad absurdum – the premise behind the twin paradox, Einstein’s constant-speed-of-light postulate, is false.

  6. #6 OMG
    USA
    July 5, 2017

    First of all, the Universe, most fundamentally is a Binary System, with Matter and Space, or Energy and Dark Energy (Dark Energy could be considered Space, or Space-Time/Aether, Zero Point Energy etc) – we are not in 5 dimensions, we are in a 10 Dimension “Bubble” that is part of the Multiverse, and there is an 11th Dimension, but within the 10 Dimension “Universe” we are in, we ARE IN FACT within the 5th Dimension within the 10 Dimensional Universe, which is within the 11th Dimension…

    Needless to say, between the Very Large, or the Macro, and the Very Small, or the Micro, we are within the 5th Dimension, and the 5th Dimension is formed up by the Cosmos itself – the Cores of the Cosmos, the Stars, Planets, Moons, Protoplanets and even Black Holes are all within the 5th Spacial Dimension

    All of these “Cores of the Cosmos” are Naturally Occurring Crystal Core Quantum Computers, and through their connection to the 11th Dimension they build the “Machinery of the Universe” or the “Machinery of the Cosmos”

    To simplify this, Everything in the Universe is either Expanding, or it is Contracting, the Cores of the Cosmos use Quantum Physics to Expand not only themselves, but also the Space they occupy, and so everything in the Universe is expanding and growing

    The Stars and other Cores of the Cosmos that are large enough, as they move around the central Black Sun, or Supermassive Black Hole at the center of the Galaxy, through the very “Motion of Matter” (because of their size,) they are able to to grow themselves and the space they occupy (Motion of Matter Equals Gravity = Energy Plus ~10%) (The Central Black Sun creates the “Pole” for the rest of the Stars in the Galaxy to use as a Central Point to Rotate around, and through the use of “Gravity Assist” they are able to swing around the center, and increase their velocity, and therefore when they increase their Velocity, they increase their Energy and their Mass! – The Further out from the Central Black Sun they get, the faster they are moving and they proportionately gain Mass and Energy and the very motion over the Positively Charged Universe allows them to literally grow themselves. They increase their velocity by perfecting their use of Gravity Waves, and with the slightest exertion of Energy, and Gravity Assist, they constantly move Faster and Faster!) (Swim Swim Faster and Faster, to Infinity and Beyond!)

    The smaller Cores, the Planets, etc can also grow themselves due to their motion, but if they have rocky or even better; liquid surfaces, they can literally create life, and its life’s efficiency that helps them physically grow themselves even faster than they normally would

    So, the very efficiency of Life takes the raw energy within its environment and grows, and in doing so it is growing the planet it is on! Think of it, trees grow the soil around themselves, animals grow the soil with their waist, their hair and their skin flakes, and of course their bones, their skeletons…

    The skeletons of life build the very surface life grows on. And the Consciousness, all Consciousness, is tied to the Cores of the Cosmos, the Crystal Core Quantum Computers that interact with the Crystals within the Center of your Brain, the Pineal Gland – through this Crystal in your Head, you are connected to the Cosmos you inhabit, and with this connection to the Crystal Core Quantum Computer of Mother Earth, and her connection to the Universe, all is connected, and all is within the One Crystal Core Quantum Computer we are all entangled within…

    This, being the Supermassive Black Hole in the in the Universe “above us” – we are within the Quantum Computer within the Black Hole “above us” or, we are a part of the Quantum Computer that IS the Universe

    To understand this, and how the Entire Multiverse, or Omniverse works, you need to understand that the Flesh builds the Cores of the Cosmos, and the Cores Compute the Ever Expanding Infinity, and with their increasing density, there is a perpetual increase of Mass, and this Mass is perpetually falling into an infinite Cascading Universe; into NEW Cores in NEW Universes; just like childbirth, the Universe/Multiverse is in perpetual expansion and creating NEW CRYSTAL CORES ALL THE TIME…

    And it’s the constantly growing Cores that create Black Holes that create new Universes within the Black Holes, and so as Life builds the Cores, the Cores are growing and growing heavier and heavier until they get heavy enough to be black holes, and within their own universe, their time is soo much faster than the time in the Universe they are residing in, and so they are able to use time manipulation and actually grow the mass within themselves, and when they do this, when a Black Hole is able to grow itself, it is able to “spit” matter back up out of itself and actually grow a Galaxy around itself

    So, the “Supermassive Black Hole” is growing itself within, while the stars and black holes of the galaxy it is creating are able to grow themselves; and so, we have the ever expanding eternal Universe, “The Machinery of The Universe” and the integral part not only the physical life forms take, but the Consciousness associated with them – within the Core of the Planet, Star, Galaxy and Universe they are within, these Consciousness eventually become Unique Individuals, or Souls/Sols…

    And the Flesh builds the Physical while the “Soul” learns life’s journey, and it’s the Soul that is harvested to fill the need for Consciousness in the ever expanding Universe, the Cores of the Cosmos within the realms of the new Universes need Consciousness, and it’s your Soul’s journey learning the lessons of life, so that one day YOU can be the Core of the Planet, Star or even Black Hole!

  7. #7 Paul Dekous
    July 6, 2017

    MM & PV,

    Can you guys please stop spamming the comment section. I come here to read Ethan’s articles and comments related to those articles. There’s a line between honest criticism and slander, and you guys are moving more and more in the direction of the latter. Sure one can be rude every now and then, but when it’s day in and day out, it starts to become sickening. You had your chance and the freedom to write what you think, now you guys are only being repetitive and annoying, and posting the same sort of comments, even in unrelated topics. If you want to change science and proof your point be a man and write your own papers and books.

  8. #8 Alan G.
    Perfunctory, SD
    July 6, 2017

    Too bad there isn’t a button that will allow us to roll those comments, on a user-by-user basis, neatly into a hidden eleventeenth dimensional bundle in the intertransitory realm, preferably in or near the 4th cataclysmic rift. That would be nice.

  9. #9 Paul Dekous
    July 6, 2017

    @Alan G.

    Yes, the comment system is ancient. I don’t see why scienceblogs doesn’t do an upgrade to something like Disqus, where you can hide comments and have a voting system etc.

  10. #10 Sinisa Lazarek
    July 6, 2017

    “.. I don’t see why scienceblogs doesn’t do an upgrade”

    sadly, because it’s a failing portal overall. every year it’s going down more and more.

  11. #11 Michael Mooney
    July 6, 2017

    PD,
    My comments have always been honest criticism. Honestly, Earth is nearly spherical, not flattened depending on various observation frames of reference as per SR…. nor do other physical objects shrink in length as above.
    Spacetime is a geometric math model, not a malleable entity in the real world, as constantly represented by GR. I am passionate about honesty in science. If you don’t like it get over it or go away.

  12. #12 colnago80
    July 6, 2017

    Re Alan G.

    There is a way to hide the comments of trolls and other undesirables. There is a Firefox add on called Blog Comment Killfile which seems to work on this site (I think it works on Chrome too but I haven’t verified that). Essentially, it replaces selected comments with a message “Comment by ***” blocked. For instance, I applied it to OMG and all comments by him/her will be blocked.

  13. #13 Bpayne
    United States
    July 6, 2017

    I’m sure the moderator could at least delete the comen’s that serve no purpose of discussing the actual science at hand.. like Mr. 12th dimensional wonderland cosmic crystal core space opera up there lol

  14. #14 Paul Dekous
    July 6, 2017

    @SL

    If you look at the list of Ethan’s posts, they date back from 2008! Almost a decade, this blog is antique ?

  15. #15 Yiorgakis Pantoulis
    Athens, Greece
    July 6, 2017

    Perhaps the mechanism that forces the known values, protects the masses, stretches the Universe’s curvature, suggests a new symmetry that suppresses CP-violation and governs these apparent coincidences and hierarchies is the high-energy field created by the mere act of observation by an Ultimate Conscious Observer. A Supreme Mind that supersedes time-space and knows very well how to keep the secrets of the Energy of His Thought.

  16. #16 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    July 6, 2017

    I actually like the commenting system here more than Disqus.
    For example Quanta magazine website comments were like here before, which was great for me. Later they switched to Disqus. With Disqus reading the comments in their original posting order is a problem, even when you select to sort by Oldest.

    Because when someone answers someone else’s comment, that new comment goes after the answered comment. It does not go to the end of all existing comments.

    Then let’s say yesterday there was 50 comments for an article, and today I can see it says there are 100. And I want to read only the new comments.
    Problem is where are those new comments exactly? Impossible to know, unless you recheck/read all comments again.

  17. #17 Sinisa Lazarek
    July 6, 2017

    @paul d

    we are here because of ethan, and his posts and discussion thereafter, not because of scienceblogs as a site. many good bloggers quit scienceblogs since about 2012 and onwards. if you look i.e. alexa statistics every year SB falls more and more in visits/views/ranking. also the number of contributors is shrinking as well. even ethan is now only posting snippets here instead of whole articles, and maintains presenxe here for the archive and us the community.

  18. #18 Frank
    Omaha,NE
    July 6, 2017

    I think if Disqus people would like to solve the problem, they could provide an option to switch back and forth anytime between linear (timeline) view and tree view.

  19. #19 Paul Dekous
    July 6, 2017

    @Bpayne,

    I don’t mind the ‘Mr. 12th dimensional wonderland’ it can be fun and everyone should be allowed to express their opinion, I have some crazy ideas myself, but someone like MM is more like a heckler, day in day out campaigning. It’s the repetitiveness that’s annoying.

    @colnago80,

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  20. #20 Paul Dekous
    July 6, 2017

    @Frank

    Disqus was just a suggestion, like you point out sometimes the timeline can be confusing. But there are many news sites that have a more advanced comment section. My guess is that there is code that is freely available and shouldn’t be too hard to implement.

  21. #21 OMG
    USA
    July 6, 2017

    @ Yiorgakis Pantoulis – That is the exact concept of the Universe being a Supermassive Black Hole, in the Universe “Above Us” and this Supermassive Black Hole is the “Ultimate Conscious Observer” – or you could refer to it as “God” or even a Quantum Computer – if you know how Quantum Computers work, and you understand at the most fundamental level of reality in this Universe everything behaves like it is in a “Simulation” with “Code” – you begin to understand that the Universe IS a Quantum Computer, and the Cores of the Cosmos become “Nodes” or Independent Quantum Computers of their own, and control the space they occupy with their Electromagnetic Energy and Vibrations, all of this being so advanced for most people to comprehend, its flabbergastingly incomprehensible…

    Supermassive Black Holes lead to new Universes (ala “Whitehole”) – They are Naturally Occurring Crystal Core Quantum Computers; Motion of Matter Creates Gravity = Energy Plus ~10% (aka Positively Charged Universe) The Black Hole Grows a Universe in itself and spits out matter and builds a Galaxy around itself – the Stars in the Galaxy move around the Central Point in the Galaxy that is the Black Hole, and as they move, they use Gravity waves and “Gravity Assist” using the Central Core to spin themselves around faster and faster, and as they move faster and faster their energy increases and they get heavier and heavier and eventually get large enough to leave the Galaxy they are in and they become Black Holes of their own… Create a Universe within themselves and create a galaxy around themselves, in an infinite expansion of the entire universe/multiverse – To Infinity and Beyond! OMG!!!

    • #22 Yiorgakis Pantoulis
      July 6, 2017

      You know OMG that the best way to test the validity of your theory is whether you smile to every person you meet on the streets, whether you are willing to love everyone who heckles you and whether you are willing to turn the other cheek to someone who may slap you.

  22. #23 Elgyn Kvk
    July 8, 2017

    Pentcho Valev: (or John Baez) the problem with the way you state the “barn paradox” is that you violate the underlying model of special relativity, which only describes inertial motion. This means that it simply does not describe a ladder being trapped inside a barn, but only a ladder that is travelling through a barn with both doors open.

    In order to describe the circumstances where the ladder bounces of the barn door, you have to use General Relativity, which describes *accelerated* motions (such as what causes the ladder to “bounce”). As you rightly noted the ladder would have to lose energy, but that energy has to go somewhere – so where does it go? In GR it goes directly into the fabric of spacetime (specifically the Stress-Energy Tensor) warping the inside of the barn to make it big enough to hold the ladder.. So again, there is no paradox, although the conditions are very far from those which are familiar to our intuition.

New comments have been disabled.