The Multiverse

The non amateur stuff. Hawking, black holes, that sort of thing

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Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by Cliff »

Dear Joe
Sorry to be jumping in a bit late about this - but its only having re-read some things a while back in this thread that something just occurred to me.
I have some sympathy with DavidF's earlier thoughts.
I now wonder if some people are now making mathematics (and particularly cosmological maths) a new religion. Some people like myself who have limited understanding of maths, might become believers without really understanding it . A bit like the way religions got their believers in the past. (And some religions possibly still do ?)
Could there be mathematical preaches\priests ?
Best wishes from Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by joe »

Hi Cliff,

I can understand the irritation some people might feel with regards to perceived outlandish hypothesising but other than that there is no similarity between what I saw in that program (and can remember) and religion.

Even the most outlandish hypothesis and the most enthusiastic proponent of it can be destroyed with a simple fact or observation - unlike religion, which relies on irrational thinking and blind faith. Unless Jesus Christ were to return and ruin it for non-Christians.
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brian livesey
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by brian livesey »

Invoking the God-of-the-gaps in knowledge might bring comfort to David and others, but it doesn't solve a particular scientific problem. The latter depends on specific data, always subject to revision.
Science came out of religion :D . The first scientists were the astronomer-astrologer priests of Ancient Mesopotamia. To my mind, nothing connects us to nature more than the natural and social sciences, reinforced by the consolation of the arts. The Latin word religio means literally "to bind together" or to connect.
Knowing how aspects of nature work is a gain not a loss. For example, comets don't scare us these days ( unless there's one heading directly for us :shock: :lol:) because science and technology have revealed what a comet is.
Richard Dawkins made the point that, although science can explain the reasons for a rainbow, the colours are still there: a rainbow is still a bonny thing. Analogous to this would be an oil painting. We know that its constituent parts are canvas and powdered minerals mixed with oil, etc. The finished work, however, means more to us than its constituents parts.
Someone said that when Galileo saw the Moon for the first time through a telescope, it ceased to be beautiful to him. If he'd had better instrumentation, he would have been struck by the Moon's altered beauty, by its "magnificent desolation".
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Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by Cliff »

Dear Joe
I made my previous initial comments on the basis of you not having watched the related TV programme. I then realised you've watched it since. I myself haven't seen the programme at all - so my comments might be considered, biased conjecture.
However, from what I glean from the chat - I don't want to watch it. Amongst other things my hearing is very poor (even using 2 aids) so it would probably be a waste of time.
Incidentally there's a interesting article in New Scientist mag 16th April - "The Unscientific Method by Sonia Van Gilder Cooke.
Best wishes from Cliff
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Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by Cliff »

Dear Brian
You made some interesting points, but I might think of some things differently.
eg Science came out of religion.
I've never really given such things much thought, but I'm inclined to think it might be very much a chicken and egg sort of problem. For one thing I think humans had existed for quite a long time before the Mesopotamian astronomers & preachers came along. How did the first humans manage to continue existing. I suppose the first humans could have used their brains and started eating things - perhaps their scientific minds worked out what to eat & not to eat. Or perhaps they prayed to their God and he told them what to eat. Or maybe the first humans had prior knowledge from whatever species before them humans developed from ???
It seems possible that religion is a human invention devised to control people.
Best wishes from Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by brian livesey »

While it's true Cliff that religion came before science - as a natural need for our species to connect with seemingly unassailable natural forces, and later as an instrument of social control in property societies - the first scientific investigations, wrapped in mysticism, were concerned with the cycle of the seasons for agriculture. The astronomer priests calculated and recorded their observations meticulously. As you know, astronomy is regarded as the "Queen" of the sciences.
Meanwhile, in the frozen North, the Ancient Britons were struggling to count up to ten. According to recent Ofsted reports, we're still struggling.
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Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by Cliff »

Dear Brian
Apparently some birds supposedly navigate using the stars. Could it be said then that such birds have some knowledge of astronomy?
If some birds do actually navigate using stars then it could be said those birds have better understanding of astronomy than the majority of humans. Birds certainly don't seem to need Satnavs. So birds might have invented astronomy.
Incidentally, I forgot to mention that some weeks back I read in "New Scientist" magazine that someone has hypothesised that the Solar System drifted through a cosmic cloud which killed off the dinosaurs. So it seems there may now be three reasons why the dinosaurs had a bad time.
Best wishes from Cliff
PS by the way I'm suggesting humans may have used some crude science before they invented religion.
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by brian livesey »

Crude science, yes! Like getting the shape and weight of the club right for maximum kinetic effect on someone's skull. :lol:
This is expressed in the simple but elegant Neolithic formula: P + K + A = S (Potential Energy + Kinetic Energy + Angle of Swing = Splat!
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joe
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by joe »

I suppose I feel quite defensive about the whole "Science is the new Religion" thing, I've had that argument thrown at me a number of times when discussions with friends touch on theoretical physics.

Frankly I find it quite insulting. It's a kind of lazy comment by someone who doesn't really understand the discussion (I don't include anyone here by the way) and gets annoyed as a result. Not understanding is absolutely fine but at least the discussion involves rational ideas, however improbable. And enthusiasm for the subject is not the same as religious preaching either.

I do understand the frustration but religions are largely created through ignorance, superstition - and dare I say it, deception. Science, even this kind of "out there" stuff, is hardly that.
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brian livesey
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by brian livesey »

What seems to enrage members of the scientific community the most, including, of course, Richard Dawkins ( who writes at considerable personal risk ), is when people deliberately distort science to fit in with their religious or ideological beliefs. For example, Lysenkoism and Nazi "physics", or, as a front for blatant material gain, as with multi-millionaire televangelists.
Thankfully, pseudoscience, whether in astronomy, biology or whatever, fails the test of time. :D
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Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by Cliff »

The hypothesis\theory that a cosmic cloud ended the dinosaurs life also suggests the Earth might have taken a million years or so to pass through the cloud was actually in New Scientist magazine 2nd April 2016 "Did a cosmic cloud kill off the dinos ?" more recently than I thought. Tokuhiro Nimura (Japanese Spaceguard Association) making the claims.
This is just an example of reasons I am\have lost faith in modern astronomy-cosmology.
A few years back scientists discovered and researched the Yucatan asteroid and soon related it to the demise of the dinosaurs. Astronomers seemed united in that claim, although I think at least some palaeontologists strongly disputed that, believing volcanic eruptions (Declan Traps I think) sorted the dinosaurs out. However, after a while some astronomers seemed to compromise a bit - ie volcanoes might have weakened the dinosaurs life-style but the asteroid finished the dinosaurs off. Now we have a possibility that a mysterious cosmic cloud was involved as well.
I think humans need to think seriously again about their chances of long term survival and I'm not convinced better knowledge of cosmology will be a great help.
Best wishes from Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by brian livesey »

If, as you say Cliff, you've "lost faith in astronomy and cosmology", what do you suggest as an alternative field of enquiry: astrology?
Science patiently operates in increments, collecting valid data and discarding outdated data. We only need to look around us to see that science has been a resounding success.
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Cliff
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by Cliff »

Dear Brian
I might have chosen my words poorly I think in saying "I've lost faith in cosmology & astronomy". Perhaps I should say, I've lost some (probably much) of my interest in cosmology & astronomy. There are several things that have contributed to my feelings. One being me giving up night sky observing a few years back. The Sun now being my only active practical astronomy interest. However, I tend to feel (possibly wrongly) that some aspects of astronomy and even more so cosmology, have advanced too rapidly in recent times. Of course it might be argued that my feelings are a result of me simply not understanding the most recent research. However, I also feel a lack of wanting or needing to understand it.
However, I do not think astrology is likely to be of much interest to me.
Best wishes from Cliff
mike a feist
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by mike a feist »

I can quite understand what Cliff is talking about. As another "older" observer, I have turned my telescopes & binoculars to the night sky for many many years but have never been a scientist or mathematician ( I failed a-level physics but passed a-level mathematics ) and am certainly not a believer in either basic religions or the various cosmologies. The attraction was looking at the wonders of the night-sky, understanding basically what they are, how they move and how you can predict their movements. I like/liked to look at the planets and Moon as other worlds, watching the sunrise over the lunar landscape . To see comets appear and disappear and enjoy seeing Moon being eclipsed and eclipsing the Sun. Similarly I follow the seasons here on Earth, the comings and goings of the flora and fauna, and some of the wonders of light in the atmosphere. These are/were all something slightly esoteric and generally outside the everyday crowded world of humanity - and the noisy bustle of everyday life. It is quite contemplative and perhaps rather a lonely past-time. I find the amateur observing side of astronomy (which I generally call "skywatching") has changed a lot over the years and has become quite a strident, "all-together-now" activity with a "the more-the-merrier" motto or a least that is what the media would have us believe. This, of course, rather destroys any of contemplative and calmer considerations of "watching"!
Back to the subject of cosmology, understanding how the universe works/worked, from the beginning to end is, I believe, an impossible goal for the human mind. regards mike.
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Re: The Multiverse

Post by mike a feist »

Added to previous. regards maf
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