Rob & Tom,
Rob brought up some interesting issues on "something" and "somewhere" on the Fluctuations, Schmucuations blog and I asked if Rob were a something or a somewhere or both? I now post this as a dialogue hoping it will bring out any new insights...
The State Vs. Tom McEachern
Judge: May Prof. Tom McEachern step into the dock. Please be reminded that you are on oath to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Tom McEachern: Yes, your honor.
State Counsel: Please introduce yourself.
Tom McEachern: I am Tom McEachern, a citizen of the FQXi community and professor of theoretical physics with many years experience in continuous and discrete theories.
State Counsel: Are you a "something" or a "somewhere"?
Tom McEachern: I am a "something" and not a "somewhere".
State Counsel: Our witnesses, Mr. Tongue, Ms. Liver and Baby Kidney say you are their residence, do you still say you are not a "somewhere"?
Tom McEachern: Okay, if that is what you mean, I am a place so I am a "somewhere".
State Counsel: Given that you were not here 100 years ago, and you will not be here 100 years from now, will you agree that you are also a "sometime"?
Tom McEachern: Under the circumstances, yes.
State Counsel: So, "something", "somewhere" and "sometime" can refer to the same place at the same time?
Tom McEachern: Yes.
State Counsel: Have you then heard of objections to the marriage of "somewhere" and "sometime" under the family name, space-time?
Tom McEachern: Yes, I have and I take many of the objections as due to misconceptions arising on the macroscopic view.
State Counsel: Can you as a "somewhere" and a "sometime" be separated from each other?
Tom McEachern: That is not possible.
State Counsel: Is the universe, a "somewhere" and a "something"?
Tom McEachern: I believe so.
State Counsel: Is it a "sometime"?
Tom McEachern: Given, my professional experience that there is a beginning to the universe's existence from nothing, which we call a big bang and an end to its existence, which we call the big crunch, I testify to that possibility.
State Counsel: Just as with you, can we separate the universe's properties of "somewhere", "something" and "sometime"?
Tom McEachern: I think it's all one package.
State Counsel: If we continue dividing a length, which is a "somewhere" can we reach a smallest possible "somewhere" or is that smallest geometric object a 'no-where with zero dimension'?
Tom McEachern: (takes a sip of water) A part of me says Yes, there will be a smallest possible "somewhere" and a part says No, such an endeavour will end up no-where.
State Counsel: For the part of you that says No, we seek an adjournment for further questions. For the part that says Yes, is that limit a "something"?
Tom McEachern: It has to be.
State Counsel: Is it a "somewhere"?
Tom McEachern: I think that follows as well since it has the property of locus.
State Counsel: Will that limit also be a "sometime"?
Tom McEachern: (takes a while) If the universe can be a "something", a "somewhere" and a "sometime", I don't see how a part of it will be denied its constitutional rights to enjoy all three privileges. Yes, I don't see why not.
State Counsel: You claim to be an authority in discrete reality…
Tom McEachern: Yes, I do.
State Counsel: What will lie between any two of your length limits? That is between the limit of "somewheres"?
Tom McEachern: There can be no other "somewhere" so it has to be Nowhere.
State Counsel: If that is the case, would you not then say at the limit, the "somewheres" are continuous?
Tom McEachern: A part of me says indeed that would be the case and there can be no talk of discreteness on that basis as the separation cannot be spatially implemented.
State Counsel: Does your other part have a contrary view?
Tom McEachern: Yes, it has.
State Counsel: And what is this?
Tom McEachern: Even though there can be no other "somewhere" or a "something" to separate smallest lengths/space limits into discreteness, remember that the limits are also "sometimes". I suggest this is what does the separation and results in discreteness as the "sometimes" are not equally shared. Time ("sometime") and Space ("somewhere" and "something") would thereby underwrite our existence, our meaning and our function as Wheeler suspected.
State Counsel: Do you have any authority for your claim?
Tom McEachern: Yes, fluctuation on the quantum scale is a modern day description demonstrating the co-existence of "somewhere", "something" and "sometime". Again before this, Leibniz
(paragraph 6) had also come to the conclusion that the one and only
change Atoms of nature, which to the Pythagoreans is the geometric Point, the unit of extension, the limit of place and divisibility…, the only change available to them is annihilation and emergence from nothing, not being composite things.
State Counsel: No further questions today, your honor.
Judge: Yes, I think I have had enough for today. The court shall adjourn for further cross-examination of Prof. Tom McEachern, if requested.
view post as summary
If you like putting science on trial, you might enjoy this book Paradigms Lost
A typical dictionary definition for "somewhere" is: "in, at, or to a place not known, named, or specified"
Since I am known, named and specified, I am not somewhere.
I guess I must be some sort of mysterious quantum superposition; simultaneously everywhere, but, alas, nowhere to be found. But that's only a guess. ;)
report post as inappropriate