expanding universe

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

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davep
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Post by davep »

joe wrote:Some people like mystery.
Or, more to the point, some people can cope with the idea that we don't know everything and don't need to fill the gaps in our knowledge with, well, anything they like.
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:Firstly I have not yet looked up "orthogonal" possibly when I have I might think differently.

Code: Select all

orthogonal
     adj 1: not pertinent to the matter under consideration; "an issue
            extraneous to the debate"; "the price was immaterial";
            "mentioned several impertinent facts before finally
            coming to the point" [syn: extraneous, immaterial,
             impertinent]
     2: statistically unrelated
     3: having a set of mutually perpendicular axes; meeting at
        right angles; "wind and sea may displace the ship's center
        of gravity along three orthogonal axes"; "a rectangular
        Cartesian coordinate system"
In other words -- although it may cause one to consider the idea, it's really a totally unrelated debate.
Cliff wrote:However, I have a sneaky feeling that we (Joe, Davep and me) may not agree on this one. I get the feeling that you are both pretty confident about your ideas on these issues.
Confident would be the wrong word. Personally I'm comfortable with the idea that we're (and, by "we", I don't really include me, I mean we as a sentient species) working towards an understanding and, as much as possible, doing so by working with the evidence available to us. It's my current understanding that, for the most part, the broad aspects of the Big Bang theory fit pretty well with observations.
Cliff wrote:I cannot get my head round infinity or the idea of everything lasting forever.
I doubt most of us can. We're equipped for living in a middle world.
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Post by davep »

joe wrote:
Cliff wrote:one could argue that a "god" started all equally well
...or a teapot.
Or a Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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Post by joe »

Cliff wrote: Furthermore, Edwin Powell Hubble ......I have read that although he discovered the so-called expanding Universe, he never fully accepted the Big Bang theory.
I think that is totally natural. Often new theories take a while to be accepted even by people who specialise in the field. In fact it is one of the reasons why good theories persist and bad ones are dropped, they are continually being put to the test by the most qualified of scientists. Having read countless books on the subject, as I'm sure you have, challenging concepts don't sound so strange any more and it's easier to bypass the horror and disbelief that black holes, infinite density and quantum fluctuations evoke and concentrate on whether a thing is possible or not. Cosmology has taught me that most of the universe is not what we experience here on Earth.
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Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep et Joe
Well, I did suggest that I did not think we would agree on this topic and I stick with that - at least as things stand.
I still had not got round to finding out what "orthogonal" means so thanks for the clarification Davep. But if I properly interpret what you say, then I think it suggests as I am inclined to still think that never the twain shall meet.
I will be the first to admit that I do tend to wander about.
However, as far as I am concerned when talking about cosmology and perhaps the Big Bang in particular anything and everything goes. To just say something is irrellevant is very dodgey ground to be. It is a bit like telling a devoutly religious person that there is no such thing as god.
I do not believe in god myself, (at least not in what I think of in a conventional sense) but I am loathe to suggest there is definitely not a god.
But funnily enough I tend to think there is no such thing as the devil.
The tend to think the devil is just a human invention to justify doing evil.
"It was not my fault your honour it was the devil made me do it!"
Inflation, dark matter, dark energy, accelerating expansion: I am torn between accepting it without question and saying "Go on now pull the other one."
"Oh! cosmic background radiation, now we found Oh! may be we haven't".
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:I will be the first to admit that I do tend to wander about.
However, as far as I am concerned when talking about cosmology and perhaps the Big Bang in particular anything and everything goes.
Why? Don't you think the range of subjects up for debate under that topic at least require a reasonable reason for being introduced? What I was trying to say is that a debate about if the Universe had a "beginning" and what evidence there is for it (in other words: if it started and how it started) is a totally different debate from any cause (in other words the why of it starting).
Cliff wrote:To just say something is irrellevant is very dodgey ground to be.
It's not that dodgy if it is obviously irrellevant within context. Recognising that it is irrellevant in one context doesn't make it irrellevant in a blanket sense.

Simply put: the question of the existence of an intelligence that is behind the creation of the universe is irrellevant in a debate about if a given version of the Big Bang Theory fits the observable evidence. That's not the same as saying a debate about said intelligence is irrellevant -- it's just pointing out that it's a totally different debate.
Cliff wrote:It is a bit like telling a devoutly religious person that there is no such thing as god.
(assuming, of course, that said religious person is a theist or, at a push, a deist). I think the analogy would make more sense if it didn't matter if that person was a theist, deist, agnostic or atheist. It shouldn't matter what your audience thinks or believes -- a statement should stand or fall based on how you back it up.
Cliff wrote:The tend to think the devil is just a human invention to justify doing evil.
Oddly enough the same can be said for people who believe in other supernatural entities that are used to justify doing good.
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
As I said before, I think that Joe, yourself and I disagree on this topic certainly in some respects and I do not think we will ever agree totally and I suspect there may always be quite a wide gap between us. Unfortunately in the same way I tend to be a bit wandry, I think you tend to be a little pedantic, possibly even very pedantic?.
As far as I recall I did not actually refer to god as doing good. I think you have assumed I meant that by my reference to the devil.
What I am suggesting is that possibly the universe was created. I am not saying it was but just suggesting the possibility. Well if it was created then possibly it was god who created it. However, assuming the possibility of there being a god does not necessarily automatically mean there is a devil.
I am suggesting that there could be a god and no devil.
Another possibility is that there is both a god and a devil, but to be honest that is not something that I am concerned about (certainly not at this time anyway).
I suppose the universe just might have might just have happend!
Personally if the universe was created then as far as I am concerned possibly it was god who did it?
I personally do not have any more difficulty accepting that possibility than any other possibility.
As things stand, or to be more correct from what I have been able to glean myself from reading I personall feel they stand, the more I learn or at least think I do, then the more confusing I think things are. As far as I am concerned the Big Bang theory seems to more and more iffy in some respects the more we learn about it.
Going back a few decades the Big Bang theory seemed the obvious answer to a youg guy like me, but now I am far less confident about it. In some respects I think I would love the Big Bang theory to be correct.
But I think I am less sure than I was about it. If you wear blinkers it becomes easy to accept something like the Big Bang.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codfger Cliff
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:As far as I recall I did not actually refer to god as doing good.
I don't believe you did. I also don't believe I said you did.
Cliff wrote:I think you have assumed I meant that by my reference to the devil.
I was in agreement with that comment and pointing out that it generally applies very well to most supernatural entities that people believe in. You know: "I believe in supernatural entity X whose primary attribute is Y and that's what helps/makes me behave in a Y way".
Cliff wrote:What I am suggesting is that possibly the universe was created. I am not saying it was but just suggesting the possibility. Well if it was created then possibly it was god who created it.
I know. And, being aware of that possibility and being vaguely interested in it I was expanding on it (hopefully with your help). The first and most obvious problem with the "it was god" possibility is (after you "accept" the possibility as a subject for consideration) "define this god". If and when you're out of that mire you've then got to try and decide what, if any, evidence you should expect to see.
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
Thanks for the further comments. It is definitely best to stick with using the forum rather than confusing things with discussions elsewhere.
If I read your recent comments correctly I am pleased that we apparently agree about some points of the discussion. Although I have to say I am far from sure exactly what the agreed points are?
Although you do mention other points you are not happy with.
Let us beg to differ. By all accounts I seem to have misinterpreted some of your coments. I can only say possibly so.
You can put that down to my age if you like. I do not see the point in anybody worrying about it.
With respect to god. Who is them? Meaning it could be one entity or many I would not have a clue. I am sure there is some other inner meaning in that which could cause someone offence.
I just find it convenient personally for there to be a god (or gods), because at the end of the day cosmology seems to get itself in a tangle ( sorry I said that only immediately afterwards thinking about Strings or whatever).
I do not have the mental capacity to understand the deeper aspects of cosmology or particle physics. I read about such things and try to accept what I am told at face value within reason.
However, did you watch BBC TV SKY@NIGHT last night. There is a long way to go before I get anywhere with regards to Dark Matter and worse still Dark energy. Quite honestly if things get much more complicated then I think the Big Bang theory could be in big trouble at least in my limited understanding, if it is not already.
I have to say, that at the moment, I still tend to favour the Big Bang, but god and MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamic) theory are beginning to run it pretty close in my limited little brain. From what I have read Mond which I think originated in the 1980s explains almost all the problems but I must say I am no expert on Mond so anything could happen. I first read about Mond myself in the 1990s and it seemed to me worth considering seriously (even if I could not understand it!)
I certainly do not expect you to agree with any of that, that is your perogative of course.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:I just find it convenient personally for there to be a god (or gods), because at the end of the day cosmology seems to get itself in a tangle ( sorry I said that only immediately afterwards thinking about Strings or whatever).
No matter, it's a nice pun.

How is the idea of a creator convenient?
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
Obviously I can only speak for myself.
I think the idea of a creator can be convenient for those people who feel the need for something to have kicked things off.
Although I tend to go along with the Big Bang myself (as I think I have already said) various things have shaken my possibly one time blind faith in the Big Bang theory.
Fred Hoyle was a brilliant cosmologist, but I could never go along with his Bondi and or Gold's ideas about the universe. I do not think my thoughts with regards Hoyles ideas have changed much, if at all, ever since I first heard about them.
Having said that I am reluctant to disagree with Hoyle because he was such a brilliant man.
To be honest I feel a bit disappointed that the Big Bang theory has apparently got so complicated. From what I remember when I first heard about the Big Bang I thought it was fantastic and so simple.
For those that way inclined the big bang apparently offered the possibility of there being a creator (possibly god) for others the Big Bang offered a nice explanation, but perhaps without some sort of creator "lighting the blue touch paper" there was still perhaps a question mark.
I personally find the ideas that the univers has lasted forever and will go on forever, and another possibilty that the universe had a beginning and maybe an end equally acceptable and equally mysterious.
I suppose there are many other possibilties and I might be pushed to be able to condemn at least some of them.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old Codger Cliff
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:I think the idea of a creator can be convenient for those people who feel the need for something to have kicked things off.
But don't you find it to be a somewhat hollow convenience in that it only delays the problem?
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Davep
Personally I would not disagree with you at all about that.
It may be hollow (although someone who believes in god might be horrified that someone might suggest what they believe in is hollow).
I think I am really sitting on the fence fence with regards to god.
I think I am agnostic. As I think I have said before. I personally cannot get my head round the universe lasting forever. Ironically on the other hand I also cannot get my head round the thought of me not lasting forever. I still tend to go along with the Big Bang, but I cannot get my head round the idea of a big bang happening out of nothing (or even perhaps something that may have once been the size of a grape fruit.
Before I retired I worked as an engineer, so I like to think I had a rudimentary knowledge of science, at least related to some practical applications. But at the end of the day I think the sort of minor work I did mostly highway engineering there was always a need to keep practicalities in mind. Sorry to witter on but I suppose I am trying to say that my experience of science when working has possibly strongly tainted the way I think about astronomy and cosmology.
Incidentally I suspect it has also influenced my feelings about space exploration.
Best wishes from the Grumpy Old codger Cliff
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Post by davep »

Cliff wrote:I personally cannot get my head round the universe lasting forever.
That's the real irony isn't it? If someone were unable to get their head around that and so invoked some form of creator to "solve" the problem they've not solved the problem -- they've just pushed it backwards a little.
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Post by joe »

Cliff wrote:I cannot get my head round the idea of a big bang happening out of nothing
Well yes, to add to Dave's comment, what amazes me Cliff is that the same people who can't get their heads round the Big Bang theory then go on to "get their heads round something" even more bizarre and unbelievable.

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