The edge of space

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,766
science can not even answer questions that pertain to whats happening on our own planet. So why do we think we can know whats happening light years away? All of it is just theory and theories are like elbows, every one has them.

Just like the "global warming" theories, humans have put the knowing of how things work into us being able to understand and even control it. How do we even know that physics work the same way in all parts of the universe? We don't and can't. To try and use the small and it is very small, amount that we do know, to explain every thing is absurd.

The so called proof and formulas that explain things in the universe are just some ones ideas and taking numbers from no where to make an idea work.

Just my $0.02.
 

steveb

Joined Jul 3, 2008
2,436
Some of the directions this thread has taken are very discouraging for me to see in a forum on physics. I'd find it tolerable in the off-topic section, but some of this kind of talk in our physics forum does not represent us well to the rest of the world. It seems the basics of the scientific method are not well understood by a large percentage of the membership here. I guess that's ok in itself and the physics forum is an appropriate place for people to learn, but when those members that still need to learn come into a physics forum and spout nonsense and rubbish as if it has scientific value, rather than asking questions to learn, we have really lost our way. This thread makes it seem (at least to me) that our physics forum is just a soapbox for pet-theories and sloppy thinking, and not a place to have serious and useful scientific discussions.

I commend the moderators and more knowledgeable members for trying to steer the conversation in a sensible direction, but in my opinion it was not successful in salvaging a thread that started with good intentions. I came close to getting sucked in (as Bill put it), but the older I get, the easier it is for me to ignore people that don't have an interest in learning how the scientific method works, or even in making reasonable steps in logical thought to arrive at a sensible conclusion.

Note that I'm not criticizing people for having alternate viewpoints, because I think that is healthy in general. My criticism is about where we put those viewpoints. The physics forum should have high standards of logical thinking to arrive at alternative viewpoints, particularly when those viewpoints are far out of step with currently accepted science, which has been subjected to rigorous scrutiny, despite claims to the contrary. Most physics forums have strict rules about this kind of thing. In other words, the physics forum is a place for real science. Of course, science is not a perfect tool to find truth and provide a basis for all personal beliefs, but those discussions belong somewhere else: either in another forum at AAC, or in another place altogether, when it would violate AAC policies.
 
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Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,146
The other side of it is there are those seeing things and ideas for the first time. That is what this forum is really about.

I find I am having to dredge concepts I've buried forever and showing how they match together. Much of this science is very old, well over a century, and yet it is not being taught in schools, much of it. And the bureaucrats wonder what is the matter with our educational system.

A very little of it is pretty new, and some of it is over 50 years old. They guys who discovered the background microwave radiation won the Nobel Prize for their discovery.

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

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
429
I can only say that the beauty of science is that all theories are open for debate and our science is based on a formulation of falsifiable hypotheses. That is the beauty of it. I cannot really discuss the topic in depth because I do not study astrophysics or cosmology. My hypothesis is that universe is infinite but not expanding, the expansion we observe is probably changes in its shape - lets say you take a baloon an squish it on one side, it will stretch on the other, has the whole ballon expanded - no, it of course will if you blow it up, but I don't see how that would work. When I have more time I will study this in more detail...

I do not like some of the sensationalism being put to current theories, they are just theories to make things work for us the way we see them, the universe does not care, now with nanotechnology, things work on yet another level... what about all the things we do not perceive? As I wrote above, to make current theories work, 10 dimensions are necessary, OK, how do you verify the 10 dimensions and who is to say that there are no other dimensions?

They should have started with determining whether time is real or not first. If physics cannot determine that, why move on to more difficult things? I say start simple.

One good comes out of it, we can discuss this in the open, nobody gets burned for saying that the world is something other than what is accepted :)

We are bound by who we are - human.
 
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strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,291
@steveb, I would like to direct you towards what shortbus said.

These "facts" you hold so dear, I do not consider to be facts. Therefore this thread is not and never was based on science. It is open to opinion and debate; it should be in the same group with politics and religion. Thats why I've been "spouting off" - have you ever seen me do that in another threat, other than off-topic? I'm always open eared and humble when it comes to matters of fact, but this is a matter of opinion, and I'm very opinionated. Yes, I see this as a matter of opinion and the fact that you try to attribute "fact" status to your opinions is just to strengthen them. So I think we can agree on one thing, this thread should be in off topic.
 

Georacer

Joined Nov 25, 2009
5,182
@justtrying

Be very careful with your words. AAC forums (except Offtopic) are considered scientific. All opinions must be justified and based on referable sources. Anything else must be explicitly declared as hypothesis. This is how science works.

Please keep that in mind while posting in any AAC forum.
 

BillO

Joined Nov 24, 2008
990
The edge of space is something I always think about. We may define space as infinite. When we "rewind" time everything accumulates to a single point that exploded. If the "big-bang" is accelerating as a concentric sphere faster than the speed of light; then there must be a boundary to space, although it is defined as infinity?
I'm just curious if you got an answer to your question? It seems the explanation got off track and you might just be more confused than when you first posted it.
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
429
this is from NASA:

The short answer is that there isn't any "edge" to the Universe... Science fiction and other dimensions aside, the best way of looking at the Universe is to think of the surface of a balloon. Right now the "balloon" is expanding (being blown up) so the distance between any two points on the balloon is increasing. However, there is no edge to the surface of the balloon...Because light does not travel infinitely fast, the farther into the distance that we look, the farther back into time that we look. In astronomy there is something called the cosmic microwave background. This radiation is left over from the "big bang", the event at the start (in time) of our Universe.
Which partially supports my theory (the balloon analogy) but I still have a hard time with the "expanding balloon" mostly because to me, considering entropy and enthalpy it works better if shape changed.
 

BillO

Joined Nov 24, 2008
990
this is from NASA:
Which partially supports my theory (the balloon analogy) but I still have a hard time with the "expanding balloon" mostly because to me, considering entropy and enthalpy it works better if shape changed.
If the shape changes, this unfortunately introduces other problems. While it may be the case, it would be difficult to get the scientific community to accept. It would require a lot of evidence which has so far not been seen. However, I don't think it is beyond reason.

Here is a captivating article from Alan Guth. Definitely an expert on this sort of thing.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,146
Trying to declare that this universe is infinite ignores facts (and they are facts, real, photographed observations with lots of duplication and verification) of the hydrogen fog, early galaxy data (which gives us lots of spectrograph data, which is part of the photographs) of the early universe. Not to mention the microwave background, and several other items of data (data is measured, real observations, not opinions).

Trying to declare them as not facts is very akin to arguing the earth is flat while looking at photos from rockets showing the curvature of the earth. The evidence is there, and may not be ignored. If you choose to ignore it then you put yourself in the position of declaring faith takes precedence over evidence, in which case no evidence will convince you, because your mind is made up.
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
429
it is not so much about ignoring data but about reconciling the vast amount of information that is available:

The WMAP spacecraft can measure the basic parameters of the Big Bang theory including the geometry of the universe. If the universe were flat, the brightest microwave background fluctuations (or "spots") would be about one degree across. If the universe were open, the spots would be less than one degree across. If the universe were closed, the brightest spots would be greater than one degree across.
Recent measurements (c. 2001) by a number of ground-based and balloon-based experiments, including MAT/TOCO, Boomerang, Maxima, and DASI, have shown that the brightest spots are about 1 degree across. Thus the universe was known to be flat to within about 15% accuracy prior to the WMAP results. WMAP has confirmed this result with very high accuracy and precision. We now know that the universe is flat with only a 0.5% margin of error. This suggests that the Universe is infinite in extent; however, since the Universe has a finite age, we can only observe a finite volume of the Universe. All we can truly conclude is that the Universe is much larger than the volume we can directly observe.
above is from NASA
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,766
If there was a Big Bang and expanding universe, unless its still going on at this time. There should be a empty space with nothing in it, where the bang took place. To my small knowledge of this they have mapped a very large, very old universe and haven't found any empty spot.
 

steveb

Joined Jul 3, 2008
2,436
@steveb, I would like to direct you towards what shortbus said.

These "facts" you hold so dear, I do not consider to be facts. Therefore this thread is not and never was based on science. It is open to opinion and debate; it should be in the same group with politics and religion. Thats why I've been "spouting off" - have you ever seen me do that in another threat, other than off-topic? I'm always open eared and humble when it comes to matters of fact, but this is a matter of opinion, and I'm very opinionated. Yes, I see this as a matter of opinion and the fact that you try to attribute "fact" status to your opinions is just to strengthen them. So I think we can agree on one thing, this thread should be in off topic.
I disagree with the final statement that the thread should be in off-topic. They thread started off fine and was in the appropriate place. It is the comments that some people added later that belong in off-topic. There are still some acceptable posts going on even now.

The above quote reveals exactly the nonscientific viewpoint I'm talking about. Science is not about opinions. It's about doing your best to come up with theories that fit the facts as well as possible. Some areas of science are difficult and so there is much more uncertainty and debatability about the accepted theory or theories. So, it is obvious that the final word is not in about cosmology, origins and properties of the universe etc. I don't care if someone wants to doubt current theories and keep an open mind. I do that myself on this subject. But that doesn't mean that the uncertainty should derail us from following the scientific method in order to move forward and provide validation and modification to useful theories.

When people that have not taken the time (and that includes you that has already admitted to not studying this subject in the past and stating that you have no intention of studying it now) make claims that accepted theories are opinions and don't fit the data, and then propose old theories that have been shown to not fit the data, they are acting non-scientifically, which puts their comments in the wrong forum.

If someone wants to say that a given theory is not substantiated enough to be proven, that's fine with me if all the data has been reviewed and understood. But, that's not what has happened here. Here, ignorant people (ignorant by their own admission, by the way) are making unsubstantiated claims. They are rejecting a theory that requires understanding of quantum field theory and general relativity, as well as knowledge of a huge body of measurement data that has been reviewed over the last century by the greatest minds the human race has produced. Yet, they have not even the basic understanding of any of this, as revealed by naive statements, but still feel bold enough to label it all as murky crap no better than a host of random theories that clearly do not fit the facts at all. There is a huge difference between subscribing to a theory which violates most known data, and working with the best theory you have that does fit most of the data. The latter is the stuff of science and is something useful that allows progress to be made. The former is nonsense and is the stuff of worthless forum threads.

By the way, I have not made any statements about the validity of current theories, nor have I tried to support or give evidence for those theories. While I feel I have a basic understanding of general relativity, quantum field theory and cosmology, I'm not an expert, and don't feel qualified to go down that path. Similarly, I don't feel qualified to propose alternative theories because there is too much data I'm not aware of, and any theory I come up with should fit the data better than the presently accepted theory or theories. However, I'm a scientist and engineer that understands the scientific process, and I can recognize when it is being violated grossly, as in some places in this thread. I also have enough understanding to recognize when it is being violated marginally, as it sometimes is in this area of physics (out of necessity to make progress). Speculating in science is allowed to some extent, as long as the speculation is clearly labeled as such. Further, I also have enough knowledge to see the enormous holes in some of the suggested ideas in this thread. Also, the sloppiness and boldness with which it is offered just boggles my mind. I expect and normally see much better than this at AAC.
 
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strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,291
@ steveb - You have made a series of good points there, none of which I can logically disagree with. You have shown me the error of my ways; now that I consider what you said and I reflect on what others said, they were saying the same but it didn't sink in. Maybe just the way you worded it did not immediately put me on the defensive, so the message was able to sink in. I realize that I have made a mistake in discussing this topic as if it were a political or religious debate and when I have very limited knowledge to go on. I was talking out of my rear. I would like to apologize to yourself, BillO, Bill Marsden, and anyone else who may have taken offense to my witless chattering. I hope I have not done any damage to AAC. I would print a retraction if I could, but my naive words are already in the history book. I just hope they are buried quickly. I am embarrassed.
 

steveb

Joined Jul 3, 2008
2,436
@ steveb - You have made a series of good points there, none of which I can logically disagree with. You have shown me the error of my ways; now that I consider what you said and I reflect on what others said, they were saying the same but it didn't sink in. Maybe just the way you worded it did not immediately put me on the defensive, so the message was able to sink in. I realize that I have made a mistake in discussing this topic as if it were a political or religious debate and when I have very limited knowledge to go on. I was talking out of my rear. I would like to apologize to yourself, BillO, Bill Marsden, and anyone else who may have taken offense to my witless chattering. I hope I have not done any damage to AAC. I would print a retraction if I could, but my naive words are already in the history book. I just hope they are buried quickly. I am embarrassed.
Don't be embarrassed. We are all learning and I would be lying if I said I never fell into the same traps, or that I will not fall into them again. I have tremendous respect for you or anyone else that would say such words as those you said above.
 

BillO

Joined Nov 24, 2008
990
If there was a Big Bang and expanding universe, unless its still going on at this time. There should be a empty space with nothing in it, where the bang took place. To my small knowledge of this they have mapped a very large, very old universe and haven't found any empty spot.

This is not a valid assumption. The big bang was not an explosion in the sense of a bomb going off.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,146
There has not been any offense on my part, though I will admit to some frustration. However the theories twist and turn will have to take the past evidence into account, but there is always the chance for real and significant new evidence that could change everything. This is the nature of science, in a nutshell.

That makes it all the more interesting.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,291
There has not been any offense on my part, though I will admit to some frustration. However the theories twist and turn will have to take the past evidence into account, but there is always the chance for real and significant new evidence that could change everything. This is the nature of science, in a nutshell.

That makes it all the more interesting.
Yes, I imagine you would be the one most frustrated; You said the same thing more times than I care to count. Sorry I was too dense to see the meaning in it.
 

thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
Just remember in this discussion we can't know all the answers. Also remember that we do know some of the answers. Complete denial or belief without all the evidence is called faith, and enters into the realm of religion, which in some ways this thread resembles. Not surprising given the questions.
From the number of replies and the implied "certainty" of some of them, I would say this is a Religion thread.

Religion is defined by a large group of people sharing in a belief. (3rd definition down on dictionary.com)
 
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