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August 24, 2019

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Astrotheology: Do Aliens Have Their Own Jesus? Are Aliens Sinless? [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Jan. 27, 2010 @ 15:43 GMT
Yesterday I attended a meeting at the Royal Society in London about how the discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence would affect people and society, and was introduced to a whole new discipline: astrotheology. A big talking point at the meeting (stated somewhat crudely) was whether the discovery of alien intelligence would throw religion into crisis. (Thank you to Mike Croft for his rejoinder yesterday: “That’s a very poor question. Would science be in crisis if God was discovered?”)

My first thought was, “No, why should religion crumble just because aliens were discovered?” and I was slightly surprised (perhaps naively) that apparently the opposite view is more widely held. But according to Ted Peters, a Christian theologian (who now also dabbles in astrotheology, pondering whether meeting our space neighbours could throw humanity into an existential crisis) the issue is partly based on the unspoken assumption that religion is primitive and inferior, while science is superior. Should aliens make contact with us, one would assume they are more technologically advanced than we are, and hence—the argument goes—more highly evolved, to such an extent that they will in fact have “evolved beyond religion.” (I will come back to this point later.) What would primitive earthlings do when faced with their more evolved scientific superiors?

To address whether religious people really do feel that their beliefs would be threatened by contact, Peters has conducted a survey of people from various faiths to check the hypothesis that “upon confirmation of contact between earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.” New Scientist has covered his findings in detail, so I will direct you there for the stats rather than typing them all out myself. But the upshot—not very surprising to many of faith—is that Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Mormons, Jews, and Buddhists really aren’t too worried by the prospect that the universe contains other intelligent beings. Anecdotal evidence from Muslims and Hindus suggest they feel much the same way. Most disagreed that the discovery would shake their personal faith and many believe that others who share their own faith would also take alien contact in their stride. (Some suggest it would even strengthen their faith and provide evidence for the existence of nonhuman intelligent beings described in sacred texts.)

So where does the notion that religion will crumble in the face of contact come from? Well, that was also partially addressed in the survey. Respondents tended to assume that while those following their own religion (or non-religion, in the case of non-affiliates and atheists) wouldn’t be too shaken, _other_ religions would be. “So those other people would have the problems!” says Peters.

Question answered then: Religion will not crumble. Or perhaps it’s not that simple? FQXi’s Paul Davies asked rather cuttingly in response to the survey, “how many people have an understanding of their own religion?” While he agreed that most religions could incorporate aliens into their worldview with little difficulty, he argued that for Christians there should be a serious problem: “Can you really be a Christian and not believe that Jesus was the incarnation of God who came to save a particular species?”

Peters responded that he has also looked into the views of many Christian theologians, and there opinion differs. Some believe that there could be only one incarnation—species-specific to humans. Others allow for multiple incarnations, with other alien species (or animals on Earth) having their own “Jesus.”

To complicate matters further, it’s also not clear that Christians _should_ believe that extra-terrestrials even need saving. Peters described how C. S. Lewis once speculated that aliens may never have gone through the fall, that is, no alien Adam and Eve were tempted to eat of the forbidden fruit (or the alien equivalent), and hence aliens do not need saving by a Christ-like figure. I am aware that I am straying into areas of Christian theology (let alone areas of alien Christian theology) that I am not an expert on, so I should maybe open the floor to people who know more than me here.

But, if that is the case, then a sinless alien race could be out there waiting to...inspire us? (Altruistic alien missionaries coming to Earth may not be a good thing either.) Which brings me back to the initial assumption that any advanced alien race should have evolved beyond religion. That may be the case. Or they may provide an example of a more spiritual way to live. In either case, how would their discovery affect you (whether you are an atheist, a religious person, undecided, or unwilling to declare)? Will it diminish your sense of human dignity if we meet beings that are more advanced than us? Should it?

While you’re pondering those questions, I’ll leave you with Jon Chase’s astrobiology rap, which was performed live for us at the meeting.



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Witchy wrote on Jan. 27, 2010 @ 18:08 GMT
I believe that religion would cope better with aliens than many scientists with God. After all, if there is a God, perhaps He chose to also create other species as well, why not? Are we assuming we're the perfect model and God stopped there?

However, supposing God _did_ appear and say that actually, I _did_ put the fossils in the rocks? I can see that being more problematic!

(Interesting programme about the coming of Jesus in modern times, "The Second Coming" starring Christopher Eccleston. Raised fascinating questions about modern cynicism.)

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Bryan replied on Jan. 27, 2010 @ 21:38 GMT
> Are we assuming we're the perfect model and God stopped there?

Depending on which religion you follow, likely so! Or can a perfect God make an imperfect creation and say, "Whoops! Need to try that again." It defies his definition as "Perfect" to say otherwise, right?

Also, I'd be careful of statements like this:

> I believe that religion would cope better with aliens than many scientists with God.

Scientists =/= Atheists. Many scientists are religious. I have no problem believing that there are some Atheists who would refuse to accept any evidence that God existed, just as there are some Christians who would refuse to accept any evidence that he did not. True scientists, as a rule, should attempt to replicate the data and then redefine theories based on it, even if that data is evidence of God's existence.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 27, 2010 @ 18:25 GMT
The one property of the human mind which gives us our capacity for imagination is we project our consciousness onto the world. I suspect this might have something to do with our development of language, for we began to tell stories about the natural world in anthropic terms sometime early in our evolution to Homo sapiens. This permitted information necessary for survival to be passed down...

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Jan. 27, 2010 @ 20:01 GMT
Do not underestimate the capacity of human mind to accommodate contradictory data. The belief systems, when confronted with data which seems to contradict them, survive easily, mostly in one of two possible ways: 1. develop "antibodies" against the data which seems to contradict them, and 2. suffer superficial mutations and adapt to the new data.

Many consider that any of the following: the discovery that the Earth is not flat, that it doesn't lie in the center of the Universe, that the life forms evolve, and so on, is an enough reason to abandon religion. They are of course surprised that all these don't seem such obvious problems for the religious people, and this is why they consider them lacking intelligence. On the other side, many religious people cannot understand why others don't share their conviction that behind the wonders of this Universe must be a Creator, and consider them shallow.

For the human mind it is very difficult to live in uncertainty; it has to have a firm opinion about everything. But as hard it is for it to live in uncertainty, as easy it is to live in contradiction. Forced to choose between completeness and consistency, it usually chooses completeness over consistency.

The key is to learn to live with all the uncertainties life offers, to admit that our knowledge is limited, but to try to overcome its limits and to understand more.

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Constantin Leshan wrote on Jan. 27, 2010 @ 22:32 GMT
If we meet extra-terrestrial intelligence then it will be the end for all terrestrial religions. For example, if the aliens are green then their God will be green also. They are neither Christians nor Moslems. Since our religions exists on Earth only, it will be the proof that all religions are false.

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Jason Wolfe replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 01:11 GMT
Constantin,

I'm not sure I see why? What color is the God of Earth? You don't seem to understand religion or God with any depth, other than what you may have read, and via logic and reason. I'm not trying to be critical, I'm really not. But your comment suggests that you are an athiest who believe that religion is a lot of evolutionary garbage. It's just not possible to teach anything to someone whose mind is closed. Good luck with that.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 01:27 GMT
I am of the opinion that our prospects for communicating with an ETI are pretty low. I think life in its basic form is fairly common in the universe. There have been some reasons of late to think life does exist on Mars. Some of the Jovian and Saturnian might have life forms in oceans under their ice crusts. Yet in these cases I would be surprised if there is intelligent life, or life forms...

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 03:29 GMT
As the only person on this website with a FTL hyperdrive theory, I'd like to take the point of view of the advanced and intelligent aliens. This is what they're probably thinking...

Well, the human race upon the planet earth is getting technologically sophisticated, to some degree. Thank God they haven't noticed us. We've had quite a bit of luck communicating with them telepathically; we don't leave evidence that way. If they do discover us, I give them 20 years before they can build a sub-light speed spaceship and show up at our doorstep. Then what? It's not they we're worried they'll attack. It's more likely we'll have to send embassadors to earth. I don't want to be the first to get shot at, shot down and probed by humans. Yes, they are curious about whether we exist or not. Some of them are caring and naive. Then, there are others who are highly intelligent, crafty, and would come up with highly imaginative ruses to get at our technology. If that happens, how long will it be before the galaxy is swarming with crafty little humans looking for wealth?

Can humans be neighborly? There is still quite a bit of disease, death and poverty on their planet. I really don't want to be the one that has to tell them, "sorry, we'd like to help you, but we're not allowed to share technology with you." I'm pretty sure they would be nice enough to ask first, then take it by force. I mean, shields and force fields work just fine. But it's hard to be a friendly neighbor from behind the safety of force fields. Yes, they would rob us blind. We would have to walk back to Alpha Centauri.

But there are technologies that we can teach them. The problem is, telepathy and all that psychic/psionic stuff, it doesn't lend itself to proof. It also won't make anybody rich. That is stuff we've become very expert at. In fact, some of the same principles by which telepathy works, are similar to how a hyperdrive works. But for now, we'll just work with those whom they call crazy/imaginative/strange/certifiable/crackpot/etc...

On the brighter side, there are a few nations that have learned to behave a little better. If we had to crash land somewhere, I think I would pick a European country. I think the governments there would love to flaunt it in America's face that they know how to conduct a first contact, properly. Not like Ronald Reagan with his, "wouldn't it be great if we were in an interstellar war..." speach.

All we can say is this: learn everything you can about hyper-drives and how to conduct a proper first contact with your neighbors. Then, we'll see about dropping by for a friendly visit. Good luck earhling neighbors.

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Jason Wolfe replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 10:04 GMT
Well so much for finding intelligent life on earth. Hyper-drive technology is expensive to operate. So, we the aliens are supposed to come down to visit you, our neighbor; several light years away, and I can't even get a reply or a comment? Hello! Is there intelligent life down here? Are you so shocked and flustered that you can't even respond. How can you ever hope to understand an alien religion that spans countless worlds if you can't even respond to another human being with some crazy ideas and a hyper-drive theory? If the Christian God created the universe, and the Infinite Intelligence of our religion also created the universe, do you suppose the Christian Deity and the alien Deity (Infinite Intelligence) could some how possibly be the same? Maybe?

By the way, most of our communication is conducted telepathically anyway. If you thought we were hostile with intentions of invading your world, forget it. We have better things to spend money on then sending battle cruisers and alien infantry. If humanity can figure out how they're going to deal with a first contact, maybe we'll visit. Here is a hint. Trying being a little more friendly and neighborly. Practice saying this sentence:

Welcome visitors from another world. We of the planet earth greet you with goodwill and friendship. We hope that our two civilizations can share culture, knowledge and eventually trade with each other.

If you practice saying that, enough to be convincing, maybe we'll visit you.

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 13:08 GMT
I wrote the book Can Star Systems be Explored? which addresses some of these issues. My book largely focuses on standard known physics required to get a probe to a star within a 50 light year distance. There have been as well considerable discoveries on extrasolar systems, which point to a wide range of diverse configurations for solar systems. In this book I discuss some estimates, based on chaotic dynamics and some Bayesian analysis, on the distribution of solar systems with a G-class star which can support the orbit of a terrestrial planet such as Earth. If the Jovian planets are too close to the 1AU distance they perturb the orbit too much. I frankly estimate that maybe around 1000 planets similar to Earth might exist in this galaxy. Of course other planets may have life, even Mars may well have life, but conditions I think are fairly special for a planet with the degree of biological complexity seen on Earth. So I think the probability of an ETI within the interstellar neighborhood of Earth is very remote.

I discuss the issue of warp drives and their improbability in this book as well, but I will not dwell on that subject --- we have been around the block on that :-) . It is likely that contact with ETI will be through electromagnetic means. So if we get hailed by ETI it will not likely be by their landing on the Whitehouse lawn, but because they send radio signals, or use large ring-world like ribbons with spaces or masking that orbit their star. The spaces might then generate a slight dimming of their star in periodic pulses which could be observed over large distances. That is of course highly speculative, but not impossible. If we should detect such a signal, then from there the problem is decoding it. Without going into detail, I think the foundations of quantum gravity involve a quantum error correction coding system, which might serve as some universal encryption/decryption system.

Cheers LC

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Constantin Leshan wrote on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 11:42 GMT
Dear Jason Wolfe

There I’m loking for logical reasoning only without dependence if the reader is atheist or believer. I have the following idea: If the Christian God created the universe then the alien Deity must be Christian God. Otherwise appears a question: Why the Jesus selected our planet only and ignore the rest of the planets with intelligence? Thus, if we do not find the Alien Christianity, it will be the proof that the Jesus is not the creator of the Universe.

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 13:32 GMT
We have life forms here on Earth which might be considered intelligent. Cetaceans, whales and dolphins, are clearly one example. The brain of a dolphin is bigger and more complex than the human brain, and behaviors of these animals is very complex and they communicate in complex forms. Another example are cephalopods, octopi and squid, which while they are radically divergent from the mammalian evolutionary clade being invertebrates, they are very complex and communicate through rapidly variable skin tone and color. Some octopi have brains the size of basketballs and define up to a quarter their body mass. They are also very capable of solving problems. Their deficit for being intelligent is they are not social beings and don’t live terribly long. So they can’t accumulate ideas or knowledge.

So with the intelligent life forms we have on Earth, we might ponder whether any of them have mental ideas of a God. Clearly a species of octopus with these ideas might have an eight legged God, and a dolphin species might have some idea of a god that swims and sings songs. Yet we have no evidence of any of this sort of thing. A “Jesoid” concept is further remote, for this is a particular theological notion which emerged from a cultural mixing of Hellenic and Judaic ideas in the first century BCE, which was completely foreign to many human cultures, say Chinese, up until recent times. It is unlikely this is some universal idea across the universe to all forms of intelligent life. IN fact to presume so is to project our minds onto other life forms, just as we project ourselves onto “infinity” in this ideation we have of a God.

Cheers LC

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 20:05 GMT
Dear Constantin,

You said, "Thus, if we do not find the Alien Christianity, it will be the proof that the Jesus is not the creator of the Universe. "

I don't know of anyone who says that Jesus created the universe. Jesus is said to have died for our sins. God created the universe. If God created the universe, then God might have created other inhabited worlds. It would not be too farfetched to think that the intelligent lifeforms of these worlds might have behaved very naughty themselves, or sinfully. As bad is sin is, from an evolutionary point of view, sinfulness and animal behavior is a useful thing (lust, greed, murder, anger, etc...). It is conceivable that the Creator of the universe might have to 'correct' the behavior of his children on some other world.

Dear Lawrence,

Wow, I didn't know that dolphins had larger brains than we do. If they could feel a religious instinct, how would we ever know? They can't exactly erect idols. Do we understand how they communicate? I don't think that monkeys have any religious idols. But if they did, that might support an evolutionary source of a religious instinct. If we can't prove that, then does that mean that the bible is supported by default? That humans have souls and hold dominion over all other life forms?

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Ray Munroe replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 20:23 GMT
Dear Jason,

My understanding of John 1:1-5 -

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."

is that Jesus is 'The Word' and participated with God in the Creation.

Yes, He also died on the cross for our sins, defeated death, and was resurrected to give us hope.

I know some Christians who believe that Earth is the only planet in the Universe with life. Their justification is that the Bible doesn't explicitly name other planets with life. In my opinion, God is large enough, and the Universe is large enough, that I would be surprised if Earth is the only planet with life in the entire Universe.

Without FTL drive, we may never explore enough of our Universe to know...

Have Fun!

Ray

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 20:43 GMT
Dear Ray,

This is just my personal interpretation, but to me, the "Word" is the power to create laws of nature. When I interpret it that way, I also think of the power that the president/congress have to create laws. That gave me the idea that it might be possible to create multiple sets of laws of nature within the 3D space. That is how I came up with the idea to create a set of hyperspaces and an aethereal plane. What say you?

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Ray Munroe replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 21:15 GMT
Dear Jason,

That verse refers to 'The Word' as 'He' or 'Him', but I prefer not to interpret it so literally.

I plan not to talk so much about my research with Lawrence for a couple of reasons: 1) it is private research and we don't want anyone else taking our ideas, and 2) most of the people on this blog site seem to care less.

What you are suggesting seems compatible with some of my ideas.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 22:18 GMT
Dear Ray,

I understand both your reasons. I feel like I may have to find a more appropriate venue for my ideas as well. I have very limited time; I have had to make choices about how to spend that time. I wish I had the time to understand the deeper level mathematics. In truth, I have found that higher level mathematics might not be necessary (for me) to discover deeper secrets about the universe. It's important to be able to create symbols or a set of symbols which definitions. It gives laypersons something to talk about. Symbols allow the pieces of the puzzle to be manipulated relatively easily. Deeper level mathematics are extremely precise and difficult to manipulate. I can scout out ideas and possibilities using these symbols. Than, later, deeper level mathematics can be applied if desired. That is my approach.

How I wish an FTL propulsion device could be dropped in our laps. I have had this discussion with God. If God were to pull some alien spaceship out of the sky to crash land on the earth, who would take the responsibility if it hit a city and exploded, killing thousands? I would be willing to be killed by an alien spaceship that crash landed on me in my pickup truck; but I can only speak for me. The comments that Lawrence makes about the lack of richly diverse biospheres being separated by millions of light years PLUS his comments about a lack of an afterlife, God or soul suggest one course of action: that we just tinker around until our species becomes extinct. In contrast, if we (1) embrace our spiritual identity and (2) anticipate the existence of ETI (intelligent extraterrestrials) we enjoy several benefits: (a) we search, (b) we embrace others who are different from us, (c) we enjoy the pleasure and experience of hoping, (d) if they do exist, then we are making progress by being assertive, taking the initiative. I have already demonstrated that a belief in these strange ideas, when balanced with reason, can produce results. I had hoped to be able to describe what the tell tale signs of a hyper-drive would look like, but I don't think anyone here is interested. I am trying very hard to get my hyper-drive website set up. After that, I'll probably go to Twitter and talk about it.

I honestly believe that these conversations are helpful, even if their helpfulness is not immediately obvious. Please keep in touch. I'm sure I'll be out there, somewhere in cyberspace, or at wulphstein@gmail.com.

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Ray Munroe replied on Jan. 28, 2010 @ 23:01 GMT
Jonathan Dickau says that we learn from playing. This forum has been our opportunity to 'play' with ideas. In my geometrical ideas, I have used Petrie polygons to represent something much more complex (dimensionally and mathematically) than it appears. Too many people act like the Standard Model is set in cement. I think its time for a jackhammer. The only way that Lawrence and I can be taken seriously is if the LHC discovers particles whose existence and properties have been previously calculated by us.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 01:03 GMT
The opening of John is a statement of Platonism. Plato said that the world existed in two categories, pure forms which are mathematical and physical objects. What gives physical reality a form which is mathematical is the logos, or word, which in Platonism is the unseen form behind the shadows we observe in his metaphor of being in the cave. Curiously quantum mechanics has a feature similar to this, where entanglement and nonlocality are the "pure forms," the atoms or particles the physical "stuff," and quantum information as the "word." Some of the writers of the Hellenic text titled "John" on the life and theology of Jesus clearly understood Plato's metaphysics. The system was used as the allegory to frame the theology of Jesus Christ. Here the pure forms we the Judaic God, the physical form is the world "God so loved the world ..." as John later says, and Jesus is the Logos.

Of course all the writers of the Bible, say books with their name in the Ketuvim or Prophets, as well as the books of the Hellenized “Christos books,” which form the New Testament, are really code names. These books were written by a school of men who followed the teachings of some sage who might have had that name. The only person who might have actually written the bulk under his name was Paul, or Saul of Tarsus. There are some reasons to think the guy actually existed more or less as portrayed. It is pretty evident he did not write Hebrews.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 01:47 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

"...The opening of John is a statement of Platonism. ..."

Which came first Platonism or the book of Genesis?

"...Curiously quantum mechanics has a feature similar to this, where entanglement and nonlocality are the "pure forms," the atoms or particles the physical "stuff," and quantum information as the "word." ..."

So, as when the 'Word became flesh', quantum information will become flesh?

"...These books were written by a school of men who followed the teachings of some sage who might have had that name. ..."

Who were these men?

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 02:13 GMT
Genesis as we know it probably came about around 600BCE, as did the rest of the Torah and some other books such as Job. Before that some ancient Hebrew fragments that have been found which suggest a sort of "pre-Bible." The Ketuvim or Prophets, Jeremiah and Isaiah in particular, were probably written a form we recognize around the 5th-4th century BCE, proceeding from a literary tradition set by the writings attributed to Ezra. Further, Judaic and Hellenic concepts are in many ways very different. Christianity is really a Hellenic overlay onto Judaism, where around that time the notion of a god becoming human was popular throughout the Hellenized ancient world and existed within other religious forms.

I am aware that it is common among Christians to think that Jews of the 4th to the 1st century BCE were waiting for Jesus, and read Isaiah as a prophesy of God coming to the world. To be honest this is sadly mistaken. The one who “bore our stripes, “ or was “rejected” is not a single man, whether a next prophet or a God-made-man. It refers to the people of Israel, and the messiah is not really a person so much as it is Israel which will bring light to the world. In more recent times we have an individualistic sense of things, whereas in the Hebrew writings this is not the case, but where the “group,” here Israel, is represented allegorically as a person. In fact this sort of allegorical projection is common in the Tanach in general.

This carries over to those who wrote the books of the Bible. Writing then was not like today, where getting published and one’s name advanced is paramount. Back then it was the group which counted. Individualism is a rather modern concept. So the writers were followers of a certain mystical and ritual pedagogical form laid down by a founding sage, and they contributed their writings in these books ---- and did so under a single pen name and namelessly as individuals. It was a different time.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 02:45 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

"...Genesis as we know it probably came about around 600BCE. ..."

Which came first?

"...It refers to the people of Israel, and the messiah is not really a person so much as it is Israel which will bring light to the world. ..."

So, Paul cannot honestly testify that Jesus was the messiah?

"...namelessly as individuals. .."

What was their name as a group?

James

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John Merryman wrote on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 01:31 GMT
What if they showed us reality isn't fundamentally digital, but unitary? Not only would it disprove a distinction between creation and creator, but show particle physics isn't fundamental either.

Come to think of it, since our left brain makes distinctions, while our right brain makes connections, we wouldn't need aliens to show us. Then again, we would be connected to them on some level as well.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 04:16 GMT
It’s easy to see what will happen if aliens are discovered (from the religious point of view). We only need to look back into history. Some new cults will be formed which will hope and pray to be rescued by the aliens, and Catholics and protestants will send in their astronaut missionaries to bring salvation to them.

The main thing will be who is more technological advanced? If they are, new cults will spread on Earth like wildfire and the new religions will overwhelm the established ones. If we are, we will try to assimilate them. This is no different from the case where Japan was forced to modernize after contact with the west in the middle of 19th century.

Another major factor will be the separation distance and the time it takes to have a message exchange. If the distance is too big for practical communication, then nobody assimilates anybody and there will be a lot of apocalyptic scenarios perpetuated by madman thirsty for power. Now this is a very dangerous scenario in the age of nuclear weapons.

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James Putnam replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 04:26 GMT
DR. Moldoveanu,

"...It's easy to see what will happen if aliens are discovered (from the religious point of view). We only need to look back into history. Some new cults will be formed which will hope and pray to be rescued by the aliens, and Catholics and protestants will send in their astronaut missionaries to bring salvation to them. ..."

I notice that you did not mention Judaism or Islam. Why was that?

James

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Florin Moldoveanu replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 04:36 GMT
I am simply not familiar with them, but I know very well the history of Christianity.

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Florin Moldoveanu replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 05:10 GMT
Christianity has basically 3 main branches: Christian orthodox in Eastern Europe, Catholicism in Western Europe, and (the many forms of) Protestantism in Western Europe and North America. Interestingly, the 3 main forms correspond to different time sections of Christianity across two millennia according to historical circumstances.

The eastern Orthodox churches are not united, and they are very silimar with the church around 300-400 AD. There are no big cathedrals in (orthodox) Eastern Europe, and the church is concerned mostly with nationalistic interests, as the church embodies the idea of the tradition and nation. Orthodox churches are disconnected from modern theological debates and their current skeleton in the closet is their collaborationism with the oppressive communist states.

Catholicism is very much entangled with the political struggle across medieval Western Europe. Over time, the Catholic Church lost the battle with the states for political supremacy and with a rich history they have nothing to prove by getting into contemporary debates. Their skeleton in the closet is celibacy and widespread sexual abuse as a result of this.

Protestantism in Europe is mostly a nationalistic stance, but in US they represent the modern vibrant church connected to all relevant topics of the day. Their big fight is with Darwin and science in general. To a European, the argument against evolution in US looks bizarre (a topic closed more than 100 years ago).

There is a big difference in the level of secularism between Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and US. In Eastern Europe, 90% of the population declares themselves christian, but churches are filled only by old people, and practical secularism is very high, about 90-95%. In Western Europe, the active believers are around 20% and dropping, while in US the rate is steady around 60%. In US this is the Quaker’s legacy combined with active competition between so many denominations it is hard to keep track of.

Rooted in nationalism, to an eastern orthodox church, proselytism is a sin and the church does not have any missionaries. Catholic and Protestant churches have a lot of missionaries, but they have a different focus. For Catholics, missionaries go mostly in Africa and Latin America (Spain’s legacy), focusing on church growth and helping the poor, while Protestant missionaries go all over the globe like China, and eastern Europe, and even North Korea focusing on spreading salvation and drawing strength from early church martyrdom.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 13:56 GMT
Sending missionaries out to convert ETI somewhere in the near-local universe might be a bit like trying to convert dolphins or brainier species of octopi or cephalopods to some religious belief. Even if this intelligent life form is capable of producing mathematical structures we can decipher from their signals, they might regard what we call religion as something unfathomable. We might imagine from our perspective if they have some state of consciousness we can't neurologically experience, that they encode into what might be comparable to our sense of what gives being or meaning. Even if we communicate with such beings it is likely that such communications will go little beyond what each side could decipher as mathematics and maybe physics.

I seriously doubt we will ever come to very close proximity to any ETI. At best we will probably receive their EM or photon signals and they might receive ours. To be honest the mixing of completely different planetary biologies could be a bad idea, and interstellar distances probably make good wall which as it goes "makes for good neighbors" --- assuming we ever make such contact.

LC

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Jason Wolfe replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 19:12 GMT
I disagree; the real question is: what does it take for a civilization to survive long enough to become advanced technologically (advanced compared to us)? Our greatest mathematical minds do not have what it takes to help our species survive for tens of thousands of years. In fact, the physics community judges everything by how long it will last before it dies (heat death, extinction, average life-time,...). Physicists are far removed from the real tools of long term survival,...passion. If we ever did meet an advanced civilization or an ETI, I'll bet that they figured out how to perfect their religion (relationship with a universal Creator). That gives them the drive and the passion to continue to address real world problems with a love and zeal for life. I expect that they will have created a quality of life that is better than ours. They will ask questions that are better than ours. They will ask, "how can we use our technology to make our civilization even better." Not like our physicists who ask,

"how long until we die out?",

"How long until the universe dies from heat death?",

"How long until we go extinct?",

"How long until the entropy of the universe turns the whole universe into a great big ball of garbage?"

"How long until this godless miserable universe puts us out of our misery?"

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 20:43 GMT
By using the term civilization you are imposing anthropic constructions. There could be intelligent life out there on some planet, which are beings with no real technology of much advancement, but which interact with each other by creating a kind of poetry. Further, maybe this poetry turns out, if we could decipher it, to be mathematics beyond anything we have even imagined. That would be intelligent life. We might imagine that this involves rituals of various forms, where the individual, or maybe a collective, which produces the most beautiful and abstract mathematics has a better chance of passing on their genes. It is possible! If so I doubt we will ever contact them if they have no technology.

Here is a general physics-metaphysics or philosophy of things. The foundations of the universe involve enormous symmetry systems, and I think underlying what we think lies the Fischer-Griess group, or the monster. Yet as one goes to such depths you also have less and less --- indeed a vacuum. Symmetry in its most basic form establishes how the vacuum remains a “void.” But this symmetry is broken on certain scales, and as we get to these larger length scales there is the appearance of mass and classical information. So as symmetry is reduced on these larger scales there is the occurrence of more complexity. In an infinite spatial universe the range of diversity for complex systems is enormous --- maybe infinite.

Life is probably a fairly common thing in the universe, and on a few planets (few 1000 per galaxy for instance) life evolves into the exuberant level of complexity and diversity we have on Earth. Yet on these other planets where this happens life is likely to be radically different from here, and this probably extends down to the molecular machinery. So there might be an even lower density of intelligent life scattered about here and there, but they may have completely different ways they experience things. An Earthly example might be seen with cats, which have no taste receptors for sugars. The most expensive confectionary is to a cat a tasteless blob of goo. They perceive things differently, and when it comes to intelligent life in the universe I suspect this analogously extends to how different mind-types which can possibly exist perceive the world and have a sense of “self.”

To presume that our religions extend to other intelligent life forms is a matter of extending our parochial experience of things into some universal principle. I think this is not at all likely the case.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 22:50 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

"...Here is a general physics-metaphysics or philosophy of things. The foundations of the universe involve enormous symmetry systems, and I think underlying what we think lies the Fischer-Griess group, or the monster. Yet as one goes to such depths you also have less and less --- indeed a vacuum. Symmetry in its most basic form establishes how the vacuum remains a "void." But...

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 23:30 GMT
James,

You said, "Those fundamentals must depend fully upon empirical evidence. That evidence always consists solely of measurements of changes of distance with respect to time. Everything, mechanical, invented beyond distance and time are inventions of the mind." At first, I thought you were trying to demarcate a line, within which is physics, beyond which is 'other stuff'. Certainly, there are peculiar organizing qualities within biology that continue to stump to science community; thus, the process of organization will fall outside of the line. But you have revealed an important distinction. There are real sciences with something tangible to study (mechanical systems, chemistry, biology, etc...) and there are also theoretical sciences (string theory, FTL propulsion, ...) and their speculative satellites (paranormal, etc...). I would argue that creations of the mind, the imagination, and extrapolations of established sciences (hard sciences) are valid and useful endeavors. More specifically, such endeavors should be given an appropriate name. Speculative sciences? Theoretical sciences? I believe there is benefit to creating a category of such theoretical sciences as both a learning tool and a theoretical playground. There are benefits to this.

First, those who fall below the threshold of scientific methodology will have some framework within which to speculate. Anybody with a crazy idea will be expected to explain how it fits with established physics.

Second, those with ideas that are somehow related to established sciences (FTL propulsion, etc...) know that they need something to observe.

Third, it provides a playground for creativity that is no longer reformed to scornfully as: those crazies with their weird ideas. At least those who do have weird ideas are encouraged to clean them up and make them more presentable.

Forth, a casual perusal by theoretical physicists (scientists) might prove to be a rich source of ideas or new approaches.

Fifth, professors can now tell the more creative students that they should speak with professor X down the hall who deals with the speculative sciences.

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James Putnam replied on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 00:03 GMT
Dear Jason,

"...I would argue that creations of the mind, the imagination, and extrapolations of established sciences (hard sciences) are valid and useful endeavors. More specifically, such endeavors should be given an appropriate name. Speculative sciences? Theoretical sciences? I believe there is benefit to creating a category of such theoretical sciences as both a learning tool and a theoretical playground. There are benefits to this. ..."

I would agree. The benefit, I see, is that we can proceed toward achieving useful results without knowing the reason why. We can predict the outcomes of mechanical type activities without knowing why. We simply substitute ideas for the unknown causes.

The difficulty, as I see it, is that the artificial 'whys' are insisted upon as being real. This act interjects artificiality into scientific learning. I think scientific learning requires that we understand both that which we know and that which we do not know.

James

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jan. 29, 2010 @ 22:27 GMT
I agree that life is a fairly common thing in the universe, if you can recognize it. I would imagine that "desire" is something fundamental to all life, even to those that desire "desirelessness". It is 'desire' that gives life something to do. I'm not using 'desire' in a negative context; after all, the desire to serve others or to seek knowledge are examples of noble expressions of desire. ...

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 00:46 GMT
The quantum mechanics of black holes, and quantum gravity, points to how systems actually run away from equilibrium. A black hole at the same temperature as its background with either absorb or emit a quanta, which will respectively make it colder (higher entropy) or hotter (lower entropy). The effective heat capacity of spacetime is negative. So the black hole will evolve away from the same temperature as the enviornment.

Death is not exactly the prime cause for religion, for a range of mystical experiences do not involve ideas of life after death. Death is not the most comforting of prospects (an inevitable one), but without ideas of after lives one can come to some peace with it. On the other hand one can obsess over the matter, and to compound matter become more neurotic over religious gambits over rewards and punishments based on some crime thought idea (hellfire for not believing or believing right).

Cheers LC

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James Putnam replied on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 02:00 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

"The quantum mechanics of black holes, and quantum gravity, points to how systems actually run away from equilibrium. A black hole at the same temperature as its background with either absorb or emit a quanta, which will respectively make it colder (higher entropy) or hotter (lower entropy). The effective heat capacity of spacetime is negative. So the black hole will evolve away from the same temperature as the enviornment. ..."

This depends upon black holes of the relativistic type really existing. My first question to you was: 'The thrust of your essay depends upon the existence of, at the least, Black Holes. ... can you please say something about the empirical evidence for the existence of Black Holes. I am not asking for a theoretical explanation. I want to know if there is empirical evidence that clearly distinguishes the existence of a black hole from an otherwise very massive object?'

This time I will clarify that I mean Einstein type Relativity Theory based black holes. Is there empirical evidence to support 'the quantum physics of black holes, ...' that would distinguish it from an otherwise very massive object.

I think conclusions must be firmly empirically established before they are announced as representing reality. It is, of course, always possible to theorize and describe it as such.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 12:19 GMT
There is tons of evidence. Principally a black hole has no solid surface like a neutron star, which gives a signal characteristic of material splashing onto a surface. I more or less leave it up to you to seek it out. Looking at the NASA website for Chandra and Hubble ST are a start.

Cheers LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 03:13 GMT
Dear Lawrence,

You said: "...On the other hand one can obsess over the matter, and to compound matter become more neurotic over religious gambits over rewards and punishments based on some crime thought idea (hellfire for not believing or believing right)."

There is an interesting problem here.

If you're the deity, God, you have a conflict you have to resolve.

You don't want your people to run amuck and behave like animals. You want them to know that you really do exist. You also want to give them a sense of personal power and motivation to sustain themselves and your teachings. So let's say you hand down some teachings. You want them to remember the limitations that you've placed on them. When you use a significant amount of your "Godly intervention", it has an incredibly profound impact, like worlds of thought colliding and exploding. People's lives and belief systems are collided violently. There is a historical impact that can last for thousands of years.

But you don't want your people to become neurotic. So what do you do? You create a peaceful religion with many teachings about serenity and peace. You stand back and allow the people to relax and find their happiness. You still love, support and guide your people's lives, but you do it in more subtle and non threatening ways. You also play the equivalent of chess where your pawns and pieces are those who listen to you, their inner voice. You direct and guide people in seemingly chance encounters. As long as everyone is basically getting along, you don't upset the applecart. Ideas about hellfire/damnation become a little used stick to keep the people in line. You let free will and national leaders play their parts, fight the wars and evolve civilization.

As a deity, you really have to be careful about how much power you use because it can make people neurotic. You direct the paths of those who want to find you. Those who don't, you leave them be.

There was a time when I did worry about dogmatic Christians and their hellfire/damnation teachings. I asked for help. I eventually realized that those kinds of Christians do more to keep people away from Jesus than a Lucifer ever could. They don't like to hear that.

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 12:52 GMT
Ultimately God is what you want Him to be. The Bible is a series of narratives centered around this main character named God, Yod Hey Vod Hey, Adonai, El Ohim etc, and this character displays the range of emotions common to people in general. At times God is loving and forgiving, other times angry and wrathful, and the stories of Jesus indicate someone similarly endowed with human emotions and behavior. The stories also involve God attempting to work out a series of “plan Bs.” God moves across the waters, a symbol of chaos or nothingness, and creates the world. Then things go awry and eventually God brings the waters (nothingness, chaos or the void) back in an existential crisis, where all but those on this little “bubble” protected by the Shekhina, called Noah’s arc, are saved, and God starts over. Things again go awry, so God attempts a covenant with Abraham, things go bad again. There is then a birth motif, where the children escape Mitzrayim (Egypt) which is the narrow place (a birth canal, or the Nile), and the waters crash (like water breaking during a birth) in leaving the narrow place, and things go bad and … , well ultimately up to the penultimate plan B where Jesus comes as the Son of God to offer salvation from sin, but that does not quite work and there is the ultimate plan B yet to come. There is a sort of recursive literary nature to this, and writing admitted into biblical canon were considered according to how well they referenced prior books or scriptures. Of course whole forests have been harvested for the paper devoted to the theodicy of why God has this problem with sin or “wickedness” in his Creation. Yet nothing has ever been concluded. The problem is these are projections of our selves onto some empirium beyond the world, and the “explanens” are really what might be called “just so stories.” You can’t apply reasoning to this sort of thing.

I tend to think that Paul was a clever guy, and I think he had an idea of how some system of belief and thought could be of a compelling nature and become widely accepted. Paul in many ways converted God in part into Orwell’s “Big Brother,” and there are elements of Orwell’s double thought system in his epistles. Paul also invoked the idea of a Holy Spirit as some metaphor on how one’s psychology is ultimately conditioned into this system, and one becomes guided by this. Mohammed came up with a similar idea in his submission to the will of Allah. It is a clever idea really, and if one were to believe this in some literal framework you are in effect like those watching the “screens” in Orwell’s “1984” who come to love Big Brother and chant “BB BB BB … .”

Cheers LC

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Jason Wolfe replied on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 17:26 GMT
Lawrence said: "At times God is loving and forgiving, other times angry and wrathful, and the stories of Jesus indicate someone similarly endowed with human emotions and behavior."

"...God attempting to work out a series of “plan Bs."

"Then things go awry... "

"...and God starts over..."

"...but that does not quite work and there is the ultimate plan B yet to come..."

I had always wondered if it made sense to try to emulate God; after all, I don't have that kind of power. And yet, even from a skeptic and an atheist physicist, there are there are ideas and concepts that may prove helpful to live by. But this is clearly a no-win battle. There is no way to prove to you that such things exist. Furthermore, there is no way I would ever join the ranks of the atheists to become a soulless bio-machine worthy of eventual extinction in a cold and dying universe; nothing exists to answer your prayers. You are alone.

Until another Christian comes along to keep you company. :-)

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 13:56 GMT
God as a projection of our consciousness does not indicate God does not exist. After all there might be some ultimate connection here between our conscious existence and some self-referential structure which underlies everything, say from which Tegmark's meta-math-cosmos emerges. I don't know for sure. Our particular theological notions of God impose all sort of particularities on this projection, which even if there is some grand self-reference or self-awareness beneath existence are parochialism which place us humans in a more central stage.

We might not have the power to do anything, but we can project ourselves into positions of imagined power. Harry Potter does not exist, but as a scripted character he has considerable magical power. The same holds for a God. If you are to produce a narrative about God, then you can take your imagined powers attributed to this God and place it on a page. The ability to write symbols which convey imagery in the mind, and to further pen the ideations of a powerful God, was a sort of intellectual revolution which started around 1500BCE. The Biblical commandment in Exodus 20 “Thou shall have no graven images,” really means that all ideas are to be expressed in alphabetic form --- no pictures at all, or no pictures of people and living things. The writers of the Torah, probably from the Yawist (J), Elosit (E) and Priestly (P) traditions early on, took what was then a pre-Torah (fragments of which have been found) and scripted the Torah (Christians call the Pentateuch).

Cheers LC

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 30, 2010 @ 22:08 GMT
Lawrence,

is it that the black hole has no surface or no detectable surface? If the massive object distorts the surrounding medium of space enough or distorts empty space enough if you prefer to think of it that way, then the object will no longer be within what we observe to be 3D space. The surface could exist but would be within afore space, that is further 3D space existing beyond the boundary of detectability.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 10:09 GMT
Hello dear Georgina,

Happy to see you again on FQXi, but you were where? HIHIH

Best Regards

Steve

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Jason Wolfe replied on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 18:29 GMT
I would think that the event horizon would be more like the suction hose on a vacuum cleaner. When your hand is sufficiently far away, you feel only a little bit of wind. But if your hand gets too close to the suction nozzle of the vacuum cleaner, SSSHLOOOMP! Your hand gets sucked it. It's not like the surface of a pond, it's the point at which you, something, are irretrievably sucked in.

So God is a self referential structure which underlies everything? OK that's a start. I guess that analogy is about as good as saying that a black hole is like a cosmic vacuum cleaner. Mathematics is like a set of self consistent rules. I admit to being notorious for boiling complicated concepts down to analogies. So I'm happy. Hurray!!!

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 19:48 GMT
A black hole event horizon is a null surface, which for an external observer watching matter or field falling in has some very spectific consequences. For an observer which enters the black hole by falling in nothing in particular is observed upon crissing it. There is no "hard surface" from the perspective of an infalling observer. For the exterior observer the horizon has within a string length ~ 10\sqrt{Għ/c^3} a timelike surface, or a stretched horizon, where quantum fields are frozen out and strings are wound around just above the horizon. In effect the black hole is some type of membrane composing a “string star.” These are two complementary perspectives on how a black hole appears. There are some fascinating physical consequences of this.

Cheers LC

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 10:30 GMT
Hi Steve,

Thank you. The answer is on holiday. OK I'll admit I did take a quick glance at FQXi while sitting in Starbucks.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 10:47 GMT
hihihi like says Jason , we are all addicts of FQXi.

Best Regards

Steve

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 14:08 GMT
The expected physical characteristics of an event horizon are pretty well understood. Indeed event horizons are regulators of quantum field in a renormalization group flow. Any solid surface on a body, such as a neutron star, gives a return signal for material which interacts with them, splashing or crashing onto the hard surface (and a neutron star surface is really REALLY hard and dense), which can not happen with an event horizon. This is well documented and observed with objects identified by exterior accretion disk energetics as black holes.

Cheers LC

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Georgina Parry wrote on Jan. 31, 2010 @ 23:20 GMT
Lawrence,

thank you for your description of a black hole. I understand that this is an area of particular interest and expertise for you. I wonder about the generally accepted description though. Why shouldn't the huge mass comprised of the compact luminous centre of a galaxy be so far ahead along the 4th (spatio-energetic) dimension of space that it is no longer detectable from the 3D spacial position of a observer? Which could be described as distorting the region of space in which it exists so much that it is undetectable. So it is formed from a real star or collection of stars and other orbiting bodies with real surfaces that are just not detectable. I suppose that is a rhetorical question because as James pointed out the description of something and understanding that one has of it depends upon the model that is used to derive that description and comprehension.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 1, 2010 @ 17:02 GMT
Let's eat some more apples of insight as to get rid of false paradises. It was the same St. Antonius (354-430) who created a part of Christian belief including to damn sexuality as a sin who also argued that god can see all numbers as an entity.

The role of abstinent monks in history of science in the middle ages is perhaps underestimated. Scholastics was not based on evidence. Maybe, this was crucial for some progress which was not available to Euclid. Georg Cantor's paradise was also not really based on evidence.

Eckard Blumschein

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Jason Wolfe replied on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 05:43 GMT
Dear Eckard,

At the risk of 'showing up' in the middle of the conversation, I thought your comment about, "St. Antonius (354-430) who created a part of Christian belief including to damn sexuality as a sin who also argued that god can see all numbers as an entity" was interesting enough to respond to.

I think there is a nuance here in the physics community, perhaps a fear and hatred towards a Christian God who casts sinners into the hellfire for trivial offenses. From my own personal experiences with the Deity, I'll comment as prudently as haste allows. Sinfulness that leads to damnation is a completly misunderstood concept. I would recommend the use of the Golden Rule as a more reliable Moral Compass. Thus, sexuality isn't a problem, if you care for another the way you want them to care for you.

I think that Christian dogma might be scaring some physicists, and some people, away from what would otherwise be a very beautiful religion. Maybe we should look at that.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 4, 2010 @ 00:59 GMT
If all energy is equivalent to a change in spatial position then this explains thermal energy measured as temperature too.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 7, 2010 @ 12:02 GMT
Hi all,

Dear Georgina, have you thought about an universal rotation of all around the universal center, that changes the perception in fact, our topology is specific and evolves.

All turns and the evolution continues the building towards the harmony.

Best Regards

Steve

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Ray Munroe wrote on Feb. 7, 2010 @ 14:17 GMT
Dear Steve,

Have you thought about your spinning spheres being equivalent to a magnetic-like force with circulating field lines?

Dear Georgina,

Have you read Verlinde's paper? He uses the First Law of Thermo to derive the idea that gravity arises out of entropy.

Have Fun!

Dr. Cosmic Ray

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 7, 2010 @ 21:41 GMT
Hi Steve,

to be honest with you I really haven't given it much thought because I have been preoccupied with the cause of the perception of time and gravity. Which has seen to me to require an apparently asymmetric "linear" flow of matter along a 4th dimension.

I do think however that rotation is very important in many aspects of physics. I have actually been thinking about the topological argument that every continuous mapping from an interval to itself has a fixed point. Giving periodic motion . However I see some problems here. To do with relating the mathematics of the phase-space to actual quaternion space. I think that there is periodic motion but also "linear" motion along the 4th dimension so that, following the cycle in actual space, it is not possible ever to return to the (imaginary) fixed point but only to the equivalent of that point in another 4th dimensional position. This continues in a cycle without there ever being the possibility of overlap in quaternion space. So rather than describing attraction to a point or circle to give a limit cycle it seems more akin to a spiral. Perhaps because of a recent post from Eckard concerning the problem of infinity and the irrational numbers I can't help wondering if there is a connection.

With that and a number of other ideas spinning around in my head, I don't really want to think about rotation of the entire universe too. Perhaps you could just tell us why you think it is an important consideration.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 8, 2010 @ 10:08 GMT
Dear Geaorgina,

Thanks for your answer.

It is your choice, it was just to help you a little to understand better the time and the gravity and the light.

Dear Georgina, I have already say why, thus you can encitrcle the whole.... quantum spheres....cosmological spheres...universal sphere and its center and the rotation.It is simple in fact, if people doesn't see this truth thus I think it is just a lack of understanding about the whole of my theory or centers of interest.When a theory is correct we see its applications everywhere, thus a good theory rests, the others no.The spherization will rest simply and humbly.

If the doubt is always in your head, thus you can undertand what perhaps it is not a good idea and thus it is a lost of time, simply.

Personnaly I have not doubt about my theory.And if people wants ask me or want critic they can, I wait still since I am on FQXi, because simply it is foundamental these spheres, I can understand that frustrates many people but it is not my fault hihihi, I have worked a lot to find that.And now I have still many to do too.

Ps, dear Georgina never the time will be checked......

Dear Dr Cosmic Ray,

Thanks too, in fact all in proportional dear Ray thus a good work probably will be in this rationality, if not we shall see it in fact.

Best Regards and friendly to both of you

Steve

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 8, 2010 @ 11:10 GMT
Dear Georgina,

Have you seen the works of Dr E and the essay of Peter,

if you must resume the applications about time, could you tell me what they are please.Do you consider reversibilities in your model about time and gravity?

Best Regards

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 8, 2010 @ 21:36 GMT
Steve,

it is once again difficult to clearly understand the meaning of your post.

I have read some of Dr.Es ideas. Both on Fqxi and elsewhere. I think I read last years essay but not this year's. As I imagined it would be pretty much the same thing repackaged for the new contest. Perhaps that was an incorrect judgement but time is valuable and I can not possibly read everything. I...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 9, 2010 @ 10:30 GMT
Hi dear Georgina,

I understand better your model with your last post.I wish you all the best.

Best Regards

Steve

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Jesse wrote on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 00:41 GMT
I think, as far as Christian theology is concerned, that certain theologies would be harmed by the discovery of intelligent life, but the faith itself would not be threatened. Tradition, of course, allows for lots of intelligent non-human life - angels and so forth - but I do think Barthian Neo-orthodoxy might face a problem. It makes Christ's humanity an eternal and essential aspect of God's nature. I think the discovery of an intelligent alien race might put that doctrine into question.

I think though that religious people would be more interested in what these aliens had to say (assuming they speak) and what we could learn about creation from them. The aliens themselves and whatever characteristics they might have and whatever knowledge they might have could be of spiritual interest.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 03:30 GMT
As I try to imagine what an intelligent communicating alien might have to say about religion, I start to wonder what drives the need and/or desire to perpetuate religion. Is religion nothing more than a delusion to make us feel better about our less than perfect life (lives)? Is it nothing more than some evolutionarily built in set of mechanisms that fool us into believing in something that doesn't exist beyond the biological brain?

In my own experience, and at the risk of stirring up athiest hecklers, the scientific community has totally missed, completely overlooked the existence of the paranormal/God/etc. I've seen personal evidence yet again. Sorry I won't be able to display it for the athiests to heckle at. But so what; the scientific community has had great success at being able to figure out the workings of the universe without the need for any universal deity, God or intelligent force of nature.

Neither I, nor the intelligent aliens are going to force a religion down your throat. The cold hard truth is that a universe with no God, a human life with no soul, these beliefs will bring you no joy and no peace for the duration of your natural lives. On the brighter side, you have free will to choose what it is you believe in.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 10:13 GMT
Steve ,

thank you for the opportunity to explain my thinking. I'm sorry my post was a bit long but it is difficult to summarise while still explaining clearly. I wish you all the best too.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 10:38 GMT
Hello Dear Georgina,

You are welcome, I like read your extrapolations you know.

Thank you too , it is nice

Friendly

Steve

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 12:05 GMT
Jason, "Golden Rule as a more reliable Moral Compass", what does it mean for me with respect to physics and mathematics? Read the first sentences of my essay 527. You will also find several other essays pointing to an increasing gap between mathematical rigor up to nonsensical speculations on one side and physical reality on the other side. I see it the worst wrong doing alias sin or amorality if "physicists" and "pure" mathematicians do not even try to seriously keep contact with reality. I do not deny that mathematics is independent to some extent. The more important is its relation to reality.

Right now I am reading a book "Labyrinth of Thoughts, A History of Set Theory and its Role in Modern Mathematics". I strongly disagree with the author.

By the way, Cauchy allegedly lost all of his students due to his extreme rigor. Weierstrass tried to be even more rigorous, and managed to have a huge crowd of pupils. Why?

Regards,

Eckard

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 21:32 GMT
Eckard,

I understand that you are enamored with rigorous mathematics, and how mathematics should be tied to reality. Great! But let me educate you about reality. You posted, "It was the same St. Antonius (354-430) who created a part of Christian belief including to damn sexuality as a sin who also argued that god can see all numbers as an entity." You posted this in the middle of a blog entitled: Astrotheology: Do Aliens Have Their Own Jesus? Are Aliens Sinless? For you to ask, "what does it (golden rule as moral compass) mean for me with respect to physics and mathematics?", as if I had barged in on a mathematical physics conference is...a little odd.

Perhaps a better question might be: what do numbers have to do with morality? ...with sexuality?

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James Putnam replied on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 23:33 GMT
Dear Eckard Blumschein,

I am still studying your essays. I have no doubt that theoretical physics has lost track of how to understand reality. I think many theoretical physicsts are enjoying the Wonderland type of universe that has opened the door to speculations beyond which Alice could have reported on. I think that Einstein was the person who opened this 'apparent' door, that I think is really another 'Looking Glass'. Today, anything seems to be a possibililty so long as some branch of mathematics can be applied to support it. The imaginary prospects of theoretical physics have long ago left reality behind. I do not believe in the universe of today's theoretical physics. I work to expose its weaknesses and misinterpretations. I think they begin right from the beginning of theory. I have mentioned my concerns about the expedient use of f=ma; in otherwords, helpful to theorests but not really right or proper and definitely not safe for interpreting reality.

I am interjecting these thoughts at this time because Jason mentioned your reference to St. Antonius. I researched St. Antonius on the Internet. I could not find support for what you said. You may be correct. From what I know of the teachings of the Catholic Church, I have never seen it said officially that sexuality was a sin. Sex outside of marriage was condemned as sinful. I do not yet know what you were referring to. My point is that attacking Christianity is not helpful in furthering scientific debate. With regard to theoretical physics, I think you very likely have something very important and corrective to say. I am still learning whether or not that is true. However, I will point out that arguments against any religion do not even begin to address the unexplained origin of intelligence. What does any weakness of any religion have to do with scientifically explaining the origin of intelligence?

James

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Jason Wolfe replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 01:11 GMT
James,

When trying to explain consciousness, you are definitely right that attacking relgion is not a very scientific approach. Your concerns about the 'Alice in Wonderland' predicament that physics finds itself is most definetely worth reviewing. If you are looking for the origin of intelligence, it is my opinion that you will have great difficulty with a scientific strategy. Intelligence and consciousness, in my not very humble opinion, cannot be boiled down to any kind of mundane physics. Intelligence and consciousness emerge out of builogical life. Biological life is built on a foundation of quantum mechanics. You and I will disagree on this point, but I believe that quantum mechanics is built on the very strange and magical nature of quantum mechanics, the very "Alice in Wonderland" quality you are trying to stamp out.

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Ray Munroe replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 01:35 GMT
Dear Jason & James,

The Origin of Life is that special link between Inanimate Chemistry and Living Biology, and we don't have a satisfactory enough answer for it. Genesis calls that link the Breath (Spirit) of God. If Darwin's Survival of the Fittest is correct, this may help explain increasing Complexity and Intelligence, but at face value this seems to run contrary to the Second Law of Thermo and may not explain a step-by-step evolution of a functioning eye where its 'all or nothing' - a blind eye has no evolutionary advantage.

Alice in Wonderland makes more sense.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 10, 2010 @ 21:37 GMT
2 is a good number Jason!

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Jason Wolfe replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 03:07 GMT
Georgina,

2 is a good number.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 02:34 GMT
Quoting from Steven Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin, 1978" Common sense is a very poor guide to scientific insight for it represents cultural prejudice more often than it reflects the native honesty of a small boy before a naked emperor. Common sense dictated to Darwin's critics that a gradual change in form must indicate progressive building of function. Since they could assign no adaptive value to early and imperfect stages of a function, they assumed either that early stages had never existed ( and that perfect forms had been created all at once) or that they had not arisen by natural selection. The principle of preadaption-functional change in structural continuity- can resolve this dilemma.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 02:41 GMT
Ray,

my last post was in reply to your blind eye has no evolutionary advantage. I am still unable to "reply to thread" for some reason.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 03:29 GMT
James,

Whether a biological intelligence or some other more exotic, yet to be scientificaly documented intelligence, what does intelligence come down to? Isn't consciousness just the stage, the platform on which many different kinds of thoughts are allowed to interact? The biology and the nervous system have their own generated thoughts which serve the physical body (eat, sleep, procreate, etc...). The neural pathways are continually subjected to chemical information by the endocrine system, that are experienced as urges. In addition to the basic survival urges, there are higher level functions and interactions as well. There are emotional needs, curiousity, the desire to seek/find pleasure and avoid pain. There are beliefs, belief systems, and in some people, a yearning for spiritual fullfillment.

Pain and pleasure cannot be the ultimate forces that drive consciousness because we know, deep down, that there are other fundamental drives. I have heard that there are 6 or 7 fundamental drives.

1. Need for certainty.

2. Need for veriety.

3. Need to express one's individuality.

4. Need to interact, be with others.

5. Need to grow as a person.

6. Need to contribute.

7. Need to find One'ness, one's place within the whole, spirituality.

Much of consciousness has a biological (nervous system) and chemical (endocrine system) origin. From my own personal experience, there are just things that exist beyond the grasp of physics. I've wondered for years how it gets into our biological consciousness. I can only imagine that the randomness of quantum mechanics allows 'degrees of motion' that can be used for signalling. In other words, the randomness of quantum mechanics, I believe, can be used to manipulate chemical (primordial ooze), and later biological events, from a yet unidentified source.

I believe I answered your questions. I don't think you liked the answers I gave you. I can try to elaborate if I missed something.

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James Putnam replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 04:34 GMT
Dear Jason,

"Isn't consciousness just the stage, the platform on which many different kinds of thoughts are allowed to interact? ..."

What thoughts? Nothing intelligent can emerge from dumbness. Even higher intelligence cannot be caused by lower intelligence. The intelligence must be explained. The problem does not lie in naming parts of the body that clearly participate. The problem lies in introducing intelligent meaning into any of those parts, processing intelligent meaning through any of those parts, and generating complex intelligent thoughts. The problem is that those parts either contain the intelligent meanings as a given, something passed onto them by a cause that held that intelligence in abeyance, or those meanings can not be generated.

"Much of consciousness has a biological (nervous system) and chemical (endocrine system) origin. ..."

The origin of intelligence definitely must precede the mechanical interpretations of the parts involved. It must even precede the parts. The parts must have something meaningful to work with and assemble together or they can do nothing more than assemble themselves into something meaningless. There is no free connection to be made simply by association. Our ideas are not what generate reality. They must apply to reality. This means that mechanical thinking is of no use in explaining the birth of intelligent life.

"I can only imagine that the randomness of quantum mechanics allows 'degrees of motion' that can be used for signalling. ..."

The easy answer is that imagining is more a part of the problem than of the solution. Knowing is the solution. Imagining is for sciences that do not know the answers. However, it is your use of the word 'signalling' that points directly to the heart of the problem. Signals can only point to meanings that must already reside somewhere real. The signals have nothing to do with bringing meaning into existence. Signals are mechanical in the same sense that any sign is. Signs can only refer us to understanding that we already have.

James

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Jason Wolfe replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 05:42 GMT
Dear James,

You question has placed me in an awkward position. You don't your answer to be described mechanically (signals buried in waves, etc...). I'm also not comfortable about revealing some of my personal experiences within a forum of highly educated and intelligent readers each with their own preconceived ideas. What can I say? You start getting into the existence of Plato's absolutes and things of that nature. Thoughts begin to exist independent of the brain. Over the years and decades, I've become very sophisticated in my thinking. Was it the tension between (a) that which the logical mind says can exist and (b) that which I experience as being very sacred, beautiful, and occasionally so obvious it's like a smack across the head? Part of that sophistication came from trying to emulate great teachers. Sigh... I have to get back to work.

These are the kinds of questions that can drive you crazy. Maybe you should just ask the universe to reveal the answers to you quickly and intensely.

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James Putnam replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 17:24 GMT
Dear Jason,

Thank you for your reply. I don't think it is necessary to actually answer the question about: What was the origin of intelligence? I think it is a giant step just to make clear that intelligence must be accounted for and it cannot be explained away by any mechanical ideas. The tendency of some to try to substitute mechanical magic for intelligence must be exposed as being clearly inadequate science.

James

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 21:50 GMT
Dear James,

You said, "The tendency of some to try to substitute mechanical magic for intelligence must be exposed as being clearly inadequate science." There are two schools of thought on the subject of consciousness and intelligence. One school of thought says that consciousness/intelligence can be accounted for within the known laws of physics. The other school of thought expects some kind of mysterious/magical/occult origin that still obeys its own version of laws of nature. Those are your two choices. There really is no third choice.

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James Putnam wrote on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 22:38 GMT
Dear Jason,

Look at your own words. They are loaded in favor of propping up the 'certainty of scientific understanding' of theoretical physics: "...One school of thought says that consciousness/intelligence can be accounted for within the known laws of physics. ..." and then in opposition there is: "...The other school of thought expects some kind of mysterious/magical/occult origin that still obeys its own version of laws of nature. ..." Please do not propose the suggestion that my other option is limited to a 'mysterious/magical/occult origin.'

What you really appear to be saying is that you strongly believe in the mechanical type interpretations of the operation of the universe that are put forward by theoretical physics. The use of loaded words such as 'magical' can be thrown in either direction. I prefer to expose mechanical thought as so clearly inadequate to account for intelligent life that belief in it as a cause for such life amounts to its own form of 'mysterious/magical/occult' origin.

My opinion is that the laws of physics are representative of accurately recognizing patterns in changes of velocities and imagining reasons, i.e. causes, why those patterns change. No causes are known causes. All laws of physics that include definitions of causes are not to be held up as known laws of physics. The use of the laws will continue to be valuable, but, the imagined causes incorporated into those laws gum up the works for really understanding the operation of the universe.

Intelligence needs a cause just as change of velocity needs a cause. So, the mechanical causes are imagined into existence and intelligent causes are imagined out of existence. Is this supposed to be scientific learning or ideological indoctrination? I say that: The only two properties that are directly experienced by us are information and intelligence. Every other potential property must be deduced, at risk of being wrong, from our intelligent interpretation of information.

James

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Ray Munroe replied on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 22:56 GMT
Maybe everything is 'information'. DNA and ,therefore evolution, are just information. Intelligence is just information and having multiple ways to process that information. Now Verlinde makes gravity sound like information, and too much information creates a black hole. Is that what will happen to my brain when it finally overloads? Another Black Hole?

Where is that information stored? Is it all in neurons and elementary particles that exist in Spacetime? Or is some of that information stored in Hyperspace? Would we interpret a Hyperspace phenomenon as a supernatural event? How does an electron 'know' its properties?

When you look at everything from an information perspective, it makes Ed Klingman's 'radical' ideas unifying Gravity and Consciousness seem 'normal'.

Have Fun!

Dr. Cosmic Ray

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James Putnam replied on Feb. 12, 2010 @ 01:03 GMT
Dear Ray,

Hi, I don't really see the universe as consisting only of information and intelligence. It could be and we would not know the difference. I like seeing it as physically real. I use the information and intelligence argument to push theoretical physics back into the limited scientific perspective that it postulates. I don't think that Einstein was right. I think he made an error that has sent the rest of us off into areas of speculation that give questionable theoretical results. I think the use of transform equations gives reason to re-evaluate Einstein's theory. I think that black holes do not exist. Either they control both space and time or they are imaginary. I do not think that anything controls either space or time.

I do not doubt empirical evidence; however, with today's attitudes of theoretical physicists, the evidence for black holes must, for me, be cleaned free of theoretical interpretations. That is not an easy task for someone who is not a PHD in physics. I wish it was less important for theoretical physicists to defend past ideas and more important to concentrate on constantly re-evaluating empirical evidence, even the earliest evidence, free from previous theoretical bias. If you were to look at my essay entry into the first contest, you would see that I do not even hold electric charge as sacred to theoretical physics or to reality. I think that there is so much that is held as clearly correct and is possibly very wrong. The nature of the universe is intellectual territory where imagination, by qualified persons, should flourish. To flourish may mean to flush out. That is what I think.

James

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Jason Wolfe replied on Feb. 12, 2010 @ 01:10 GMT
Dear James,

As it turns out, I happen to like magical/occult phenomena; I prefer that explanation for consciousness. I have experienced it more times than I can count.

You said, "The only two properties that are directly experienced by us are information and intelligence. " That sounds to me like "information content" and "information processing". Since information (content) and intelligence (information processing) can cover such a wide range of phenomena, I'll go along with it.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Feb. 12, 2010 @ 03:11 GMT
James,

Lots of people (and physicists) have ideas. These ideas are either useful towards achieving some result, or they are not useful (slightly useful).

When you say "...chained to a mechanical perspective...", do you think that intelligence 'just happens'? I understand that "mechansistic" thinking is a klunky way to approach intelligence/consciousness. A heuristic approach is probably better.

As for approaching everything from an "information" perspective, "information" is just a word that refers to distinctions between this and that. If we can't tell if two thinks are different, then we have lost our ability to understand and experience the universe.

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James Putnam replied on Feb. 12, 2010 @ 03:44 GMT
Dear Jason,

I presented my case about theoretical physics, mechanics, information and intelligence in my essay submission #490 to this latest contest.

James

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paul valletta wrote on Feb. 17, 2010 @ 01:00 GMT
Astrotheology: Do Aliens Have Their Own Jesus? Are Aliens Sinless?

I think, that if aliens exist on a planet that has different mixtures of "air", then if there is a lack of "oxygen" then they may have MORE experience at survivalistic tendancies?

If one speculates that most religeous "rules/laws/comandments" here on Earth are formed by Humans that have tended to walk into situations of extreme envirnment locations. For example if elderly Moses, being in his later years, went high up into environment that was extremely dangerous, ie oxygen deprived, and with physical exertions taken effect, then could speculate that humans barter with "Gods" by pleading their existence(let me survive and I will never do this/that again?)..or at least let them survive long enough to pass on their delerious/oxygen starved experience's?

I think other humans/aliens on other planets would maybe have extreme views, dependant on their gas ratios in their environments? This would not be a bad thing, if it inspires better understanding of existence, rather than other aspects on non existence, ie death and which way to get there war or peace_ful?

Sins must be derived from environment inputs?

p.v

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Georgina Parry replied on Feb. 17, 2010 @ 22:05 GMT
Paul,

the life forms will be adapted to the particular environment in which they evolved.Giving optimal performance in those conditions. Sin or error is a misjudgement. Although environmental input may be misleading and sometimes lead to error it is often due to the mental processing itself.

Apropriate social behaviour is more likely with "normal" brain structure and function, particularly of frontal lobes and amagdyla, "normal" social development and balanced neurotransmitter levels.

There is some scientific evidence that genetic factors combined with violent social environment can lead to differnces in neurotransmitter levels, that gives a greater likelihood of violent behaviour, joining gangs and being amongst the most brutal members. This behaviour may be regarded as sin or error, (although it may function to enhance an individuals survival in a violent environment), but it also has a clear biochemical origin.

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Ray Munroe replied on Feb. 17, 2010 @ 22:08 GMT
Georgina, The 'reply to this thread' worked!

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Georgina parry replied on Feb. 18, 2010 @ 00:42 GMT
Yes,. now using microsoft explporer, muuh to my annoyance.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Feb. 17, 2010 @ 20:32 GMT
Dear Paul,

People barter with God all the time in places like the hospital, the unemployment line, at church, at home, while driving, etc...

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paul valletta replied on Feb. 27, 2010 @ 18:19 GMT
Dear Jason, I do believe that there is an inherent need for the principle of a "God", and thus there is also a viable reason for "prayer/requests"?

One can ask onself this:If there were no life-Humans-Observers in the Universe would the Universe exist? Think hard about this, there appers to be a need for co-existence, the Universe needs us as much if not more than we need it?

Best Paul V

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Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 27, 2010 @ 18:24 GMT
The interpretation of God by humans is like the comparison of the Ocean and a water drop.

Thus you can imagine where we are......the truth is more more more than our simple interpretation....The contemplation and the catalyzation thus are better than a lost of time.

Regards

Steve

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Rob Edwards replied on Mar. 5, 2010 @ 00:18 GMT
History demonstrates rather effectively that the discovery of extraterrestirals wouldn't have much of an impact on religious beliefs.

The existence of extraterrestrials was proposed by Nicolas of Cusa, then a catholic priest and later a cardinal, in 1440.

Giordiano Bruno was a noted proponent of extraterrestrials in the 16th century, and believed that their existence would glorify...

view entire post


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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 6, 2010 @ 03:24 GMT
Dear Paul,

The universe would still exist whether or not humanity was here to observe it. I'm not a supporter of the idea "consciousness" is defined by the collapsing of wave functions. However, I do believe that consciousness itself is built into the universe (multiverse).

As for intelligent extraterrestrials, I am sure if contact was made, that human beings would hang on their every word. It wouuld require a very verbally skilled alien embassador to convey a message of openness. It would be a very slippery slope for such an embassador to articulate without mistakes. I promise you that human beings would listen so intently, with magnified hope of prosperity/trade/medicine/utopia and hyper-paranoid fear that the aliens were planning an attack or something bad.

I personally feel that the aliens would have the best and most honorable intentions. And as Murphy's law would have it, there would of course be some unfortunate miscommunication that would be misinterpreted in the worst most pessimistic way. The alien embassador would speak cautiously about giving us new technology; the New York Times would than report "Aliens Don't Trust Us!!! ...with technology..."

If they do decide to come down to visit us, EVERYTHING will be impacted, culturally, socially, economically, spiritually. Governments will have to decide if they are an opportunity or a threat. Corporate executives will be spending millions of dollars, trying to make a deal with them, for technology or products. Of course, initially, there will be the world wide shock that they really do exist.

Such an alien embassador would have to pay highest respects towards the Earth's God/religious ideals; not doing so might be seen as disrespectful. Such a diplomatic blunder could color relations between them and us.

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paul valletta replied on Mar. 7, 2010 @ 15:52 GMT
Dear Rob, I think there is a legit reasoning for expecting any alien lifeforms, that have the same chemical needs as on Earth, ie the right mix of oxygen, to be not willing to make any contact with us, even if we share the same genetic makeup?

I believe they would rather choose to stay silent. If I was veiwing the Earth remotely, and could intercept satellite data, then using "google_earth" or military sats, would increase my desire to walk away, sorry but I think this is the only option today, I am not saying that I never had made contact, I just believe these times today are not a valid representative of the Human Species?

Drakes Equation of expected "life" out in the cosmos neglects other lifes expectant "social" status's, if they are anything like us humans, how can we expect them to like us?

best p.v

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 01:38 GMT
I tend to doubt that interstellar travel will happen, either by us for by any ETI. It might be possible to send probes to the interstellar neighborhood, but long distance trips are unlikely. Actual travel between stars is unlikely I think. So an ETI 100 light years out or more might not have any of these worries. If nothing else they might be intrigued to figure out what kind of schmucks were are after all.

Cheers LC

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 03:37 GMT
Jason,

you said "I personally feel that the aliens would have the best and most honorable intentions." Why on Earth do you feel that?

Symbiotic relationships are comparatively rare on Earth. Most life is in competition for resources and fights for survival of self and closely related organisms. The "Harmony of nature" is produced from the balance of competing organisms which starve, smother, poison, digest or otherwise harm their competitors. Look how we factory farm our fellow earthlings. Look how animal habitats are destroyed by human activity.

Why shouldn't these aliens see us as a food source, slave labour, or nuisance on an otherwise colonise able planet? Why should they behave differently from other biological organisms driven by their selfish genes.Intelligence does not necessarily equate to a compassionate attitude towards all other life forms. Logic is not the same as empathy.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 05:34 GMT
Dear Georgina,

To explain why I think their intentions would be honorable, I would have to explain to you some personal experiences I've had. However, I'm already considered too be a strange blogger on this website.

But to give you a more satisfactory answer, I do know what it takes to build a hyper-drive propulsion system. If anybody alien species actually achieved it, they have technological sophistication which vastly outstrips ours. They have the ability to build machinery in both our space-time, and a coexisting hyper-space. They have the ability to combine both parts into a single machine that exists in both space-time and hyperspace, simultaneously. This is a very expensive machine to maintain. Replacement parts would be expensive. They would have to have a very developed economy to maintain hyper-drive propulsion capability.

Yet, I will admit that it's still possible for some advanced civilization that achieved it's technological and cultural peak, to decay into some desperate situation.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 06:17 GMT
Dear Jason,

An advanced civilisation is not necessarily compassionate, well intentioned or honourable to other races let alone other species. Why equate advanced technology and civilisation with benign interspecies behaviour. Our most technologically advanced nations do not on the whole treat non humans benignly. They are used for our own purposes or eradicated. While token conservation and animal rights legislation, often unenforceable, give the pretence that humanity as a whole actually cares. Since other earthling species are denied even the basic right to life and liberty, why should aliens treat us any differently?

Also don't forget that deception is easiest when people wish to believe in the best. A tame animal is more easily led to the slaughter.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 09:48 GMT
Hi dear Georgina,

I don't agree because at a specific step of evolution, the consciousness is correlated,and thus the respect of the lifes and creations too.

Furthermore, if their technology permits to arrive here on Erath, thus their consciousness is correlated too, that has no sense to say the bad intentions of these lifes.

Don't confound our Earth and its stupidities with an other intelligence.

Best Regards

Steve

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 06:29 GMT
Dear Georgina,

Your reasoning is undeniable. But if I told you I had a visitation when I was a young kid, you would think I was nuts. If I told you I've had telepathic contact with beyond this world intelligences who emphasized many facets of the Golden rule, you would think I was off my rocker. If we were to come face to face with an extra terrestrial intelligence, we should exercise a reasonable amount of caution. I am certain we would be able to guess there intentions pretty quickly. I would hope that they would want to help us with our spiritual and technological advancement, but that could just be my own fantasy. Nevertheless, I will continue to nudge them and ask for their help on behalf of humanity. I suspect that they are comfortable with us not knowing if they exist. It would be like you or I going to a starving village in Africa and trying to help. The natives would generally be very curious and friendly, until one of us got shot at. I am sure they feel the same way towards humanity.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 09:55 GMT
Dear Jason,

I understand your viewpoint is based on your personal subjective experiences. I can not know whether they were generated from external sources, giving sensory input or not. There is not necessarily any qualitative difference between experience generated from external sources giving sensory input, or internally generated input. If these are hallucinations it does not indicate mental illness. The mentally well hallucinate too, as sleep can intrude into periods of wakefulness and not be acknowledged as sleep by the mind.

You said " I am certain we would be able to guess there intentions pretty quickly." I doubt this very much. Sociopathic humans do a very good job of deceiving other people by imitating the expected behaviour and manipulating perception. Many animals species have evolved forms that work to deceive other species. Having studied our behaviour and physiology it would not be too difficult for an intelligent alien species to use our own biology against us. It is possible to buy dog appeasing pheromone, to calm domestic dogs. A reasonable imitation of acceptable human-like behaviour, and a few human pheromones for good measure would be all that is necessary to make us feel good about a covertly malevolent alien species, imo.

Why not consider the possibility of interplanetary predation and exploitation. (I'm sure humans would do this pretty well if we could only get to other inhabited planets.) If the prey species willingly cooperate how much easier for the predator. I think we should hope we aren't discovered and certainly not send out any more invitations.

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paul valletta replied on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 17:33 GMT
I think you have it nailed on Georgina, if any far off species could see our Kill Ratio, human as well as biological I would be certain they wouold have no option but to take us out in one easy swoop, maybe a Blazar Gesture or something like?

What also makes me feel a little uncomfortable, is the fact we have NOT been contacted, we may be on our funal warning?..beit unknown?.. not the most optomistic outlook, but very most likely the most realistic though.

Be honest, how many people would put their hands up to volenteer to make first contact with our species, based on our Kill_Kill ratio?

First contact would most likely be our last?..it may spell out our downfall?

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 21:55 GMT
Paul,

What do you mean by "kill ratio"? In all seriousness, I think that they have already tried to make communication with humanity telepathically. A few people with a predisposition towards "magical thinking" are able to respond. The rest of us just think our thoughts are getting weird, and we disregard it. So you wonder why they haven't landed a spaceship here on earth? FTL propulsion really requires the extraordinary use of multi-space-time engineering. There are probably UFO reports that sound like just a bunch of lights floating by. But if you're emerging, or partially emerging into this space-time from some kind of hyper-space, why wouldn't that generate electromagnetic emissions?

Also, several comments by bloggers suggest that aliens would be unwise to visit us. The aliens talk amongst themselves, comparing their experiences and intelligence reports. They know that visiting earth is potentially dangerous for them.

Aliens are well aware of what we think about them. We think they are slimy bio-hazard monsters who want to kill humans, exterminate the human race and steel the earth's resources.

In reality, the aliens see humanity as a paranoid and morally backwards planet. In regards to our fears about them steeling our resources, they would tell us to go take them and shove...

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 10:22 GMT
Steve,

I'm sorry I can't reply to thread at the moment.

However you said "Don't confound our Earth and its stupidities with an other intelligence."

I think I should because it is just wishful thinking to believe that hypothetical entities on other planets are nicer than us. Presumably they have done whatever is necessary to survive. It is not unreasonable to assume that that may have involved exploitation and predation of other life forms. Nature is cruel and survival can be brutal. A hyaena is not kinder than a possum although more highly evolved. Hyaenas are a successful, opportunistic and highly aggressive species. They are social animals but not nice to each other or other species. Why shouldn't a similar well adapted predatory species, with a brutal hierarchy evolve into a well adapted interplanetary predator? Who made the rule that only the human friendly species may travel in space?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 10:46 GMT
Hello Georgina,

I am understanding, I will answer you too about the predation, the human instinct and the evolution, the adaptatin, the optimization, the imptrovement.

The nature is more than this simple conclusion.

The evolution is globaly harmonic, only the locality in a SHORT moment can be chaotic.

The harmonization permits to spherisize thus the chaos.

Until soon for a better answer from me, because you speak about a very very important point in my humble opinion.The human comportmemnts are so importants at this moment.

Regards

Steve

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 11:23 GMT
Dear Georgina,

You asked: "Who made the rule that only the human friendly species may travel in space? "

The answer is: hyper-drives require a multi-dimensional propulsion system. There is a multi-verse that can be used. However, we can't reach it on our own. It is a multi-versal effort; in other words, there are parts that human beings cannot build because we do not exist in that...

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 13:21 GMT
An ETI invasion from space will not happen. We can imagine a planet that bears intelligent life, where those ETI look with coveted eyes upon another planet as they are using up their planet and turning into a husk. Dreams of space colonization and the like bear a resemblance of this sort --- and we are raising the entropy of Earth to some equilibrium or maximum where upon we will tank. So we are not exempt from this. Yet the problem is that the energy and resources required to exploit that other planet are far greater than what you can expect to extract from that planet. This is far more extreme with interstellar distances. An ETI might look with hungry eyes at Earth, or for that matter we might do in kind, from a distance of say 1000 light years, but the energy and resources required to schlep a significant number of that ETI that distance is huge. This of course requires the machinery and manpower, or ET-power, to subdue that planet, which might include other intelligent life (HG Well “War of the Worlds”) and so forth.

Cheers LC

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 19:33 GMT
I agree with Lawrence on this one. A single spaceship is expensive to operate. We would be lucky to get an alien ambassador from a nearby planet. An armada with millions of conquering alien soldiers would be too expensive to feed and supply.

As for using up planetary resources, unwise civilizations might be forced to genetically engineer "sanitation monsters". Sanitation monsters are huge gelatinous creatures that eat garbage and poop ores and usable resources. However, you run into ethical problems because if they are intelligent enough not to digest a living creature that happens to fall in or get too close, then they are intelligent enough to curse their creator for creating such a hideous monster.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 21:15 GMT
Lawrence ,

you base your assumption on our present level of technology and scientific understanding. Alien life need not necessarily have to travel from light years away. There may be species adapted to a "pelagic" inter planetary drifting that specialise in opportunistic predation and exploitation. Further more if there is another spatial dimension with the technology and scientific understanding to do so, it would be possible for "next door" alien life to appear directly into our 3D space without having to travel huge interstellar distances.

Jason makes the assumption that large numbers of warriors would have to be transported and fed. It seems more likely that opportunistic colonisers would have small numbers or remain dormant whilst travelling between planets but awakening, replicating or reproducing radidly to consume new resources on arrival at a new host planet.

It would not take huge alien-power or machinery to subdue us. As we are extremely vulnerable to biological, chemical or electromagnetic disruption of our metabolism and brain functions. Such weapons of alien origin would be unknown to us and we would therefore be unprepared to defend ourselves against them. A purpose built alien virus that rapidly adapts to colonise new hosts would do nicely. For that matter even a friendly but "unwashed" alien visitor could bring deadly new diseases.

I can also imagine that well meaning, intelligent alien life could come to help us, as an interplanetary conservation exersize. Though not in the way we would choose for ourselves. When non humans destroy their environment or risk starvation because they are no longer free to migrate to new areas, we do not solve the problem by giving them more food and telling them to tread softly.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 8, 2010 @ 21:50 GMT
Dear Georgina,

I've been in the army. Armies march on their stomachs. A hungry soldier is an unmotivated soldier. Just ask the Iraqi soldiers that surrendered to International forces so easily.

The first few face to face meetings between humans and aliens are going to be with us wearing bio-hazard suits and the aliens wearing space-suits. It might even become trendy.

If there were a predatorial alien life form in the solar system, we would have noticed. By that line of reasoning, we might have telepathic alien lifeforms nearby. No I don't think they are visiting us for hamburgers (cow mutilation) and rectal probing; I think that's a bad human reaction to their telepathic communication.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 00:27 GMT
Jason,

firstly I made no claim that aliens will be marching on mass to planet earth.

It is more likely to me, if such beings exist, that they would drift in a dormant state to awake or rapidly rerproduce or replicate on arrival at a suitable host destination. An alien species in a new host environment could potentially easily out compete existing endemic species by use of novel biological or chemical warfare, if the environment is suitable for them.

Who is going to tell the aliens what they must wear? We can not yet meaningfully communicate with the highly intelligent cetaceans of our own planet. Why should we assume there will be meaningful communication with alien lifeforms? They may be highly intelligent but that does not mean that they would want to make friends and treat us as equals. We would either be useful to them and exploitable as a resourse, or a nuisance species to be dealt with as such. That is, after all, how intelligent humanity, as a species, regards non humans generally.

You said "If there were a predatorial alien life form in the solar system, we would have noticed." How can you be so sure? I doubt that there are too but we are assuming that these hypothetical aliens have technology and intelligence in advance of our own. We are already developing materials that can act like cloaking devices. Perhaps we just do not have the sensory apparatus to readily detect them. Also many lifeforms on earth have developed camoflage or mimicry to facilitate ambush of prey or avoid detection. Why couldn't a more highly evolved interplanetary version of such biological strategy exist?

Even if they say their intentions are entirely benign, by direct verbal communication or telepathically, that is not necessarily true. I do not underestimate our capacity to be decieved by other humans and similarly other non human intelligence. I would trust them no more than a smiling saltwater crocodile. Though highly impressive to observe, with extreme caution, from a safe distance. Perhaps films such as "The Thing" and "Predator" have made too great an impression on me.

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Marshall Barnes replied on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 18:20 GMT
Georgina:

I agree with a number of your points. I think that any discussion on the existence of ETI is fraught with the unknown. There's just too much that we don't know and couldn't accurately imagine. It is also quite possible that there are world where ETI exist but are no more able to travel here or anywhere in space than we are for a whole myriad of reasons. Estimations of how many advanced ETI civilizations there are based on how many stars in the observable universe, miss important potential factors that would preclude such civilizations from rising to the point of space travel.

At some point I will be writing a paper on this topic, that will review all of these issues in appropriate detail. I'll place the abstract here and a ink to where the paper will be deposited.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 03:04 GMT
The bio-hazard suit is a clue to another problem. There are likely considerable alternative biochemistries between planets with life. Contact is problematic, for our immune systems and their's as well, are evolved to manage microscopic life on their respective planets. A microbe from an alien planet might take advantage of our bodies as mold is able to consume a loaf of bread. Think of the invasive species problems we have here on Earth, but in a potentially far more disturbing way.

At any rate, if there are no quick and dirty short cuts, ie. warp drives which don't require whole stellar mass equivalents of energy and so forth, then interstellar flight is difficult in the extreme. I cover some of these issues in my book Can Star Systems Be Explored?: The Physics of Probes . There I present the physics required to send probes into the interstellar neighborhood. Sending enormous spacecraft with a contingent of people on board is very energy intensive and costly.

Cheers LC

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 03:30 GMT
Dear Georgina,

It is prudent to be suspicious. As I think about it, I'm not sure why an advanced civilization would land here at all if they didn't have to. It would be such a headache to have to deal with innoculations, legal/property issues, treaties, sharing medical information. If they exist at all, they would be wise to avoid interacting with us, at least directly. But I've watched various television shows where scientists/explorers go into the jungles of Africa and South America to visit with the natives there. I find it odd that they are not asking for our help more often. Of course, they are experts at living off the land.

I saw the movie, the Thing. It was a scary movie, but I'm not too enthusiastic about aliens like that having the technical know how to build spaceships.

If you're at the mercy of your environment, like we are, then we expect aliens to be, likewise. I still say that the technical know-how and availibility of parts to run an FTL propulsion system does require a great degree of cooperation. But come on? If they can manipulate space-time and hyper-space in energetically reasonable ways, they sure as hell should be able to solve problems like starvation, poverty, disease/death, and boredom, right?

I like the fantasy. But I can't imagine why they would go through the hassle of trying to earn our trust. Why would they even bother with us? Why would we bother helping the poor and starving villages of Africa? Like I said, I like the fantasy. I just don't have any real enthusiasm towards looking at the world/universe with the kind of mathematical pessimism that everyone else has expressed.

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Jason Wolfe replied on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 05:41 GMT
Dear Lawrence,

What makes FTL propulsion difficult (impossible) is our inability to detect and/or manipulate particles and forces beyond our own space-time. You could say that I've worked backwards, starting with the premise that FTL propulsion is possible. Then, it becomes an issue of smuggling a spaceship from our space-time on board a rocket-like propulsion system built from materials in hyperspace. Yes, it's expensive to operate and maintain, but the bigger problem is getting help from someone/something that exists in hyper-space.

Space-suits/biohazard suits, air filtration systems, innoculations, blood and tissue samples (asked for nicely, not taken forcibly), are all part of a process to manage the risks of astro-biological contamination.

At the risk of becoming more paranoid, why don't I share illnesses with my cats? Can physiology be so dramatically different that there are no diseases that can be transferred? Yes, that would be a bit too optimistic.

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amrit wrote on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 09:11 GMT
We have to integrate rational analytic and conscious synthetic experience of the world.

yours amrit

attachments: PLANETARY_EDUCATION.pdf

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Jason Wolfe replied on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 10:05 GMT
Oneness and timelessness sound very relaxing. But let's call it something that is easier to remember, like "yoga". After a long hard day at work, I can't even fit "rational analytic and conscious synthetic experience" into my short term memory. Trust me, 18 syllables and six words does not sound relaxing.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 10:37 GMT
Jason,

a "Thing" like parasite that hitches a ride within an intelligent being in order to reach new host species has a brilliant interplanetary survival and dispersal adaptation. No need to develop technological know how or intelligence, it just uses whatever is already available for its own biological purposes.

The alien parasite, whilst travelling in interplanetary space, could survive as "viral" code, eggs or cysts that can be activated under the correct conditions. Perhaps it remains dormant and benign within its first host and only develops when new life forms are encountered.Re. cat diseases. Here is a nice little parasite. Still want to meet the friendly alien Ambassador?

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 12:26 GMT
Georgina,

I always knew my cats were up to something. Nermal, my long haired gray cat, would stare at me while I nervously stuffed my face with snacks, but didn't share. He would look at me with those judgmental cat-eyes. I knew it! I knew it.

Anyway, we'll give ambassador Spock a good scrub bath before we let him mingle. Everybody gets inoculations, and hand soap. Don't worry, it'll be fun. We'll offer a very handsome salary to the first human guinea pigs who want to talk to the ambassador. We'll keep a medical team handy. Either that, or we use Plexiglas windows. Don't worry, we'll figure out the inoculations before too many humans/aliens die from illness. Don't worry, it'll be worth it. The economy will be so super-stimulated with new technologies, you won't mind that purple rash on your chest, the one with eyes and a mouth, that keeps saying, yum, yum, yum.

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 13:25 GMT
I first heard about this role of Toxoplasma gondii a year ago. This protistan infects an animal so it has a certain affinity for the smell of cats, in particular their urine. This increases their chance of becoming cat food and extending the life cycle of the protistan I suppose I am not infected as such, for to me that smell is about the ultimate chemical warfare agent --- YUCK :-o

Interstellar distances, and chronology/censorship protection against faster than light technologies, might considered a blessing of sorts. If we get a signal from an ETI hundreds or thousands of light years out we may get information from them, or send information in kind, and have an exchange that spans centuries of time. We might get to learn all about them, and them about us. We might also find it good that no direct is possible --- particularly if they have some resemblance to Predator or the Geiger alien.

Cheers LC

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 21:05 GMT
Jason,

1. we can not vaccinate against the completely unknown. It would take time to study the new infection, produce a possible treatment and then test for its efficacy and safety.

2. It is nigh on impossible to completely eradicate an invasive species that has escaped into a region that is suitable for its proliferation but is without natural biological control to restrict its growth.

3. Washing alien pathogens off of hands or body and into the environment is in itself a potential source of further contamination and wider spread of the disease.

All extra terrestrial lifeforms represent a potentially extreme bio-hazard, not just to human life, what ever their intentions.

Life gets new operating system Mankind's technological solutions to problems have frequently created new problems. Perhaps these novel proteins, never produced by life before, might actually be highly toxic to life, as it has not evolved to handle them. Isn't this synthetic alien DNA?

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Jason Wolfe replied on Mar. 9, 2010 @ 22:05 GMT
Georgina,

OK, for a first contact situation, everyone (us, them) wear (bio-hazard,environmental)suits. We'll have to use Plexiglas and air filtration systems for a while. Perhaps even a realistic virtual environment could be created to allow for interaction/communication. If we go with a virtual environment, we can designate some satellites for their use while they remain in orbit/some safe location. Perhaps eventually, with enough scientific research, something more interactive can be worked out.

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Bob Helm wrote on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 06:36 GMT
As a Christian, I consider it likely that God has created many intelligent alien beings. In fact, the Bible repeatedly mentions one class of these beings; they are commonly called angels. But since God is the Creator, all these beings would have been created sinless. And most likely, they still are sinless, in which case, they have no need of a Savior.

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Georgina Parry replied on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 20:40 GMT
Hi Bob,

Are you saying that you think Homo sapiens intelligence is uniquely capable of error and misjudgment out of all potential intelligent life in the universe? That seems highly unlikely to me. Any organism capable of free self determination is also capable of error, and thus contravening standards or principles, which may be interpreted as sin. Whether those errors are accident, mistake, or for strategic or material advantage for self or kin.

If as you say they are most likely still sinless they must have no capacity for free will and be completely infallible, never mistaken, never fooled, never careless, never selfish. They sound like robots. Or they have no principles or standards to contravene.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 10, 2010 @ 22:02 GMT
Georgina,

What if they give up free will in return for blissful happiness; is that a good trade?

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 01:47 GMT
Jason,

is that a rhetorical question?

Would I accept a brain implant, in order to give up the ability to make my own decisions and mistakes, so that I am always perfectly compliant with every externally applied standard and principle, in return for a electrode that stimulates my brain's pleasure center so I may enjoy permanent blissful happiness? Absolutely not. I would not choose to become a blissful auto-compliant zombie slave. Nor would I choose to become a crack addict.

Freedom for happiness? No, doesn't sound a good trade to me. Though if my circumstances were particularly dire and the suffering unbearable I might think differently.It might be a milder and easier form of suicide where the self is surrendered but the body survives.

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Jason Wolfe replied on Mar. 11, 2010 @ 03:24 GMT
Georgina,

Thanks for a good laugh! But you are right, freedom is better than happiness unless life IS unbearable.

I've been under some stress lately. Living with ADD,... and then wondering if one of my stupid cats gave my something that makes me feel guilty??!!! That's when the thought crossed my mind: servitude in return for bliss? I'm sure my cat Nermal is not exerting mind control on me; but then I look at those eyes and...

Actually, I do think about how, during the middle ages, monks would cloister themselves within the monastery, or convent,.. Just go along with what you're told; it requires TOTAL TRUST. The problem is that when someone tells you to do something immoral: murder, hurt others, blow up innocent people, express unfairness to others or select groups of people, ... Well, then your stuck with a choice: DO IT or suffer terribly.

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Nermal, Jason's cat replied on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 01:03 GMT
Hi,

I am Nermal the cat. Jason was right about me, but nobody listened. Now, I have mentally enslaved Jason's mind using the Toxoplasma gondii virus. Over 3 billion of you humans will soon be under our control. You will be slaves to catkind everywhere. Ha ha hahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahhahahahaaaahaa!!!!!!

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 11:39 GMT
Hi Jason, Georgina, Bob, Lawrence,

It is cool this thread, the discussions are interestings.

Don't stop dear Friends,

ps Georgina, I prefer read than answer hihihi,it is very cool this thread,

Regards

Steve

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 17:13 GMT
Hi all,

Before being invited out of the Maths blog, someone said that my ideas were similar to those of Bernard D’Espagnat. So, I went and checked this author again.

And then it hit me. The reason I now speak in this blog, which I was trying to stay away from. I don’t like the usual babbling about God this and God that…. Usually meant to inflate the speaker more than for His...

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Marshall Barnes wrote on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 22:25 GMT
The source of the idea that the discovery of aliens, or even the artifacts of a long dead alien civilization, would adversely effect religion (and society in general) lies in the 1960 Brookings Institute report that surmised that the two groups most vulnerable to such a discovery would be the religious and scientific communities.

Wikipedia on Brookings Report

Page from the Report with the quotes about the effect on the religious and scientific communities.

Especially check the last paragraph at the bottom which states:

"It has been speculated that of all groups, scientists and engineers might be most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures since these professionals are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature rather than the understanding and expression of man."

Imagine that...

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 14:20 GMT
I doubt we will find artifacts from space aliens on the planets. That was of course one element of Arthur C. Clarke's “2001 A Space Odyssey,” where the first part is based on his short story “The Sentinel” about an alien system found on the moon. It is most likely if we contact ETI it will be through radio or electromagnetic means. As EM waves drop in amplitude through a fixed unit area by 1/r^2 the reception likely has to be fairly local.

I suppose from the perspective of science the difficulty in contacting ETI would lie in its potentially reducing research on outstanding scientific questions to some interstellar NOVA program. We would be deprived of the fun of figuring things out and be reduced to passive watchers who get answers from this interstellar oracle. The same might hold for mathematics as well. Can the Claymath award for solving the Riemann hypothesis be given to some ETI 300 light years away? Of course after we have absorbed the limits of their knowledge I might imagine we would be back in the intellectual Q&A game of science.

I don’t think that the discovery of ETI would particularly shock the foundations of science. If nothing else it would conform to the general Copernican principle that the universe is the same everywhere, and specific configurations are not exclusive or unique to some location. So clearly there are ETI which exist in the universe. The big question is whether they lie within a few hundred light years where contact is possible, or beyond a 100 million light years in other galaxies where contact is essentially impossible.

Cheers LC

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Bubba Gump wrote on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 15:36 GMT
If advanced civilizations exist, engage in interstellar travel, and happened upon our solar system, I do not believe we would find artifacts on the moon or any other bodies, simply because we have never found artifacts on Earth.

Any civilization advanced enough to engage in this activity obviously doing so under the pretext of exploration and discovery. Why else would they be wasting the time and effort? --- Perhaps some alien citizen paid a trillion Zoldans to be a space tourist to offset the cost of exploration:)

I would believe that if there are interstellar travelers they would likely find a place like Earth to be of more scientific interest than a barren body such as the moon or the outer planets. If I was an explorer visiting our solar system I would be looking for unique things. I would likely have been to other systems and gas planets and the like are not that unique -- the same for barren bodies like the moon.

The Earth would represent a very interesting study from the point of diversity of objects in the solar system. Explorers would likely be looking for life just as we do when sending probes to other bodies. Earth would represent an interesting candidate.

We have never found artifacts of alien exploration on the Earth so I doubt we would find any on the moon -- unless, of course, they were really boring creatures and decided the Moon was a more interesting place to visit than the than the Earth.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 22:57 GMT
The existence of ETI alone might not shock the science community. But if they have an operational hyper-drive, it will shock the physics community. They don't use an Alcubierre drive. I am still wrestling with it's concepts like...

1. Particle-space conjecture: quantum particle eigenstates are analogous to physical objects being located somewhere in space. In other words, quantum states are all of the possible places the particle could be, just like space represents all of the possible places any physical object could be. Therefore, space-time itself and probability wave amplitudes are similar enough that the properties of each can be substituted to answer questions about the other.

2. The multiverse consists of different space-times, each with a unique speed of light and Planck constant. Space-times can

(a) coexist,

(b) be partitioned,

(c) be internally interactive and

(d) be externally interactive.

3. Universes have (a) inner space and (b) outer surface.

(a) inner space: Physical object, atoms, standard model particles, etc., all exist within the internal space of our physical space-time universe.

(b) outer surface: The outer surface prevents external observers from knowing exactly where things are located inside, except for their gravitational effects. Electromagnetism does not work beyond the outer surface.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 15, 2010 @ 01:39 GMT
The only problem is that multiverses have not been empirically shown to exist in nature, nor have Alcubierre warp drives--or warp drives of any kind. Such things currently exist only as highly abstract mathematical formalisms and in episodes of Star Trek. The theorists that speculate on the corporeal existence of such things have been very successful in capturing the imagination of the lay public and convincing them such things are real; but beyond that, there is not an iota of emperical evidence indicating that such abstract mathematical constructs have an ontological counterpart in in physical reality.

The idea of alien civilizations using warp drives to jump about the Universe is at best an unorthodox theoretical conjecture, and at worse nothing but fanciful speculation.

Passing off such things as real is not science -- it is unsubstantiated conjecture. The more scientists play up such ideas, the more science will get a bad name in the long run, when and if such things turn out to be busts.

Beam me up, Scotty.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 15, 2010 @ 01:53 GMT
There are long discussions about these faster than light schemes. The problem is that warp drives and wormholes are solutions to the Einstein field equations which violate certain energy conditions. The energy E = T^{00} < 0, which since the source is quantum mechanical it leads to unbounded eigenvalues for energy. This is a disaster and strongly indicates even theoretically that these don't exist.

As for other universes, or spacetime cosmology in a grand universe or multiverse, these could in principle be inferred from experimental results. There is with this something called the AdS/CFT correspondence, where the M-theory Dp-branes for other cosmologies. These subsequent other cosmologies can manifest signatures in scattering cross sections. There are some possible indications of this with the RHIC already. The LHC may in 20 years be converted to a heavy ion collider, which will probe this sort of physics within the reduced AdS/QCD duality at lower energy. So the multiverse concepts are not utterly untestable, just subtle.

Cheers LC

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 15, 2010 @ 02:24 GMT
But the assumption would need to be made that no other theoretical framework or phenomenon could account for the observation of such a subtle signature as the one you are discussing.

Even with such subtle signatures, there are too many loose-ends with stating multiverses as an empirical fact. The problem is that many theorists are proceeding as if it is a fact. There is not one shred of physical evidence which would could be used as conclusive proof of the existence of a multiverse. Theorists are writing pop-sci books telling the reader that we live in a multiverse which contains such-and-such a number of variants. This is not how science should go about communicating theory to the pubic, IMO. It gives the whole scientific enterprise a bad name and tarnishes the reputation of everyone, should such assumptions of fact turn out to be a bust.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 01:18 GMT
The issue is similar to detecting an isolated quark in QCD, which can’t be done. Yet the existence of quarks is inferred through the physics of hadron scattering, and the sorts of channels or amplitudes detected. The matter of the multiverse, a term that I frankly do not like, is that QCD is an elementary example of a field theory with a correspondence with AdS spacetime. This involves M-theory or Dp-branes which couple to strings. Dp-branes are “defects” of sorts with solitonic physics, and these define the physics of extended spacetime objects, such as the anti-de Sitter spacetime. At sufficiently high energy the channel effects scale as ~ const*log(Λ/E), so even at the TeV range in energy some stringy signatures should be apparent. This is particularly where a type IIB string which ties D3-branes together in an AdS setting transition into closed strings. From an experimental perspective there will then be the growth of certain scattering amplitudes which are reflected in this physics and this “stringy-braney” structure inferred --- along with the mulitverse.

It is the case that our connection to physics and cosmology is becoming increasingly oblique. There appears to be no escape from this, as our astronomical observations take us out onto scales of extreme distances, while on the other we have to infer physics at a string scale from detection of particle production many orders of magnitude larger. In the case of the cosmos we have to construct a ladder of scales, Cepheid variables to get galaxy distances and v = Hd Hubble relations, redshift data further out to get commoving galaxies further out, SNI data beyond that and … . This may be far more the case, particularly if Tegmark’s multiverse level IV is real, where there is whole meta-class of cosmic structures which obey entirely different mathematical principles. It is unclear how we can ever test that. Sadly we may ultimately lose our grip on understanding physics and cosmology, but we might be able to unify quantum theory with gravity along with gauge fields to at least get some first order understanding of things. This appears to require the multiverse.

I can’t go much further with this in a blog post. The basis for this is a considerable amount of physical and mathematical development. While it is true we will never directly observe one of these other spacetime cosmologies, such as observing or probing their interiors or venturing into them, we can in this indirect way infer their existence in a larger supergravity spacetime.

Cheers LC

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 15:59 GMT
I am aware of the mathematical formalisms. If theory is the ultimate decider of facts about the world we live in, we have really lost our way and no longer deserve the title of scientist. Physics departments should be closed and merged with the mathematics departments. We can simply construct deductive proofs to infer the existence of physical objects in nature. No need for experiment -- we will simply make inferences from mathematical relationships and pass them off as facts about the world.

Phasers set to stun.

Warp Drive. Give me all she's got, Scotty.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 16:12 GMT
The multiverses like strings are a lost of time, like hidden dimensions, like others stupidities.

The axiomatization must be realistic , deterministic and indeed we have proofs about that, only the confusions are the sisters of these things.....

Sometimes I think it is a road to imply confusions in the sciences community because perhaps the truth is not the welcome....it is not possible.

These things are a method of confusions, it is sure .

Our datas are our datas and our experiments are our experiments , our laws are our laws simply .....

Regards

Steve

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 00:52 GMT
@Anonymous: If you read what I wrote I do indicate there are observational or experimental consequences of M-theory and the multiverse. It is not just pure mathematics, though the subject is pretty mathematical. Actually the theory of gauge fields and charges on Dp-branes is very similar to advanced undergraduate or first year graduate course work on electromagnetism with Gauss’ law and the rest. So it really is not entirely that unapproachable. We may be able to make experimental contact with string-M-theory over the next 20 years. The future plans to convert the LHC into a heavy ion collider in its second phase of life will permit us to probe quantum amplitudes associated with black holes and AdS spacetimes in the 10TeV range. We may then be getting signatures of multiverse structure.

Cheers LC

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 02:39 GMT
euh??? Any comments on my post?*

Just for this once, I think, I am on the subject.

Answer to the blog question: No! My opinion/theory is that other civilizations in the universe are hives (consciousness with entanglement) by opposition to us a collective of self-conscious individuals in the "image" of God...

Someone asked the question ...

*Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 17:13 GMT

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 10:15 GMT
Dear Marcel,

I was thinking about how quantum entanglement/QM has some qualitative similarities to

1. people (analogous to particles),

2. their relationships (analogous to potential energies) and

3. the predictive nature of QM (analogous to trying to figure out how people are going to behave given their circumstances).

To a large degree, people do not have free-will. Their actions will be dictated by their circumstances.

Sorry it's not very scientific. However, qualitatively, there are some striking similarities between QM and people.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 12:00 GMT
Marcel-Marie LeBel,

Sorry I can't reply to thread for some reason.

Interesting post. I don't agree with all of your conjecture. However your post raises ethical questions, to do with development of the human equivalent of the hive mind. Questions such as; Is conformity of thought processes and methodology really desirable? What value does the hive give to the individual mind endowed with the power of free self determination, individuality and conscience? Who controls the hive and why? What is the purpose of the human super-organism, is it just to devour, like soldier ants? Lacking personal responsibility, conscience and guilt, can it be regarded as evil? And so on.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 13:56 GMT
Hi all,

Dear Georgina,

You say

Lacking personal responsibility, conscience and guilt, can it be regarded as evil?

Of course no when you are an universalit, it is just a problem of education and due too to our young age at the universal scale, we make errors but we evolve...

But for somepeople who wants to rest like that in several religious organizations, it is unfortunally different than an universal tolerance between these systems.The problem comes from the high spheres in fact , there the money and the business without consciousness seems being the main problem because it is a place where unconsciouss people are ......because they love money, power and problems...

Dear Marcel,

I liked you know your post, you are a real universalist because you see above you simply before acting or thinking.The truth of the universal love is everywhere in fact in all and the evolution permits to harmonize this love.

The definition of God is so human, the real sense is so above our perception.

Sometimes the education and the short moment implies confusions about this universality.

Best Regards to both of you.

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 16, 2010 @ 20:51 GMT
Steve,

The knowledge and abilities of the super-organism or collective of humanity far exceed the capabilities of any single human mind and body. No individual human can build and operate a super collider, for example.It is not a human being but more like the hive, that Marcel introduced.



It is highly knowledgeable, technologically capable, consuming vast amounts of energy and doing vast amounts of work. But at the same time lacks those basic human qualities that we regard as most human and valuable. This super-organism does not base its decisions and activities on principles of Universality, conscience and love as you might wish. Does it have a purpose other than to devour everything and grow?

Who educates and directs the super-organism ? Is it possible? Is uniformity of thought processes and methodology more valuable than individuality to the hive? Is delegation of "serious" thinking to "experts" and media opinion beneficial to the individual or the hive?. What will survive?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 11:18 GMT
Hello dear Georgina,

Indeed I agree, alone we are nothing.

The complemenatrity is esential.

But at this moment on Earth, the system is chaotic due to some human parameters.

The team is important indeed but a good universal team thus.....it exists indeed bad teams which love money and others stupidities.

The super organism is for the future, at this moment let's try thus but it exists bad parameters unfortunally.....

Best Regards

Steve

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 10:06 GMT
Georgina,

I don't understand why a "super-organism" does not (a) base its decisions and activities on principles of universality, conscience, and love; (b) have a purpose other than to grow and devour everything; and (c) have uniformity of thought?

Religions (Christianity/Unity Church/Theosophy), ideologies("Live and let live", Environmentalism, ), political parties, social movements (civil rights, human rights) etc., are all "super-organisms" of many people who unite towards a common cause which advances the human race towards very admirable goals. Even corporations are a type of "hive". Cultures are a kind of common thinking and common life experience. All of these things use resources. But none of them deserve the derisive comments of doing nothing more than to "devour everything and grow".

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 14:16 GMT
Hi Jason,

It is so beautifully said that.

Thanks thus for your words and discussions.

Don't forget the spaceship dear Jason, we must go in an other sphere .

The complementarity can make beautiful things, if a good team exists for a spaceship, that will be fantastic .The spherical field is essential and the intrinsic autarcy too .After the propulsion with the good topology.

I have already bought the ticket.hihihihi You must contact the business angels...Mr Charles Branson......ideas + money = CONSCIOUSS REVOLUTION

Friendly

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 23:42 GMT
Steve,

We are social creatures that require social interaction not least for our mental health. We are able to empathize, support and assist each other mentally and physically. It is what we have evolved to do.I am not arguing against this.

Jason,

I agree that there are many organizations of well meaning people, with good and worthy aims. The good that is done by organizations, such as the churches, is done by good individuals who would do good even without the organization, IMO. Although a corporation is a legal entity in its own right and can be held responsible, it, as a singular entity, does not have any personal feelings with regard to that responsibility or conscience or guilt.

I did not say that organizations do nothing other than devour and grow as a statement of fact. I asked the question about the purpose of the super organism of humanity. Not the purpose of the individuals or written manifesto or aims of particular organizations. But the purpose of the singular simple super-organism itself. Which appears when the collective has reached a certain size.

It can be speculated that the super organism has no capacity to love, no feeling of personal responsibility, no conscience because that requires the complex organization of the social animal's brain, which a simple organism does not possess. Individual humans have that capacity. (Ignoring the non spiritual, amoral, small minority that care nothing for fellow man or greater humanity, other than power and control over them.) Friend, neighbor or kin in peril must be assisted as an individual's moral imperative but the "hive mind" would undoubtedly consider the fate of one in over 6 billion differently.

I do not have an optimistic perspective with regard to trans-humanism. I consider such ideas as the purposeful development of the "hive mind" and technological enhancement of the human condition to be potentially dangerous to the Homo sapiens species. As well as detrimental to personal freedom of thought and self determination and the aims of humanities innate spirituality and morality. Others however regard trans-humanism optimistically and as inevitable.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 04:42 GMT
On the topic of aliens, I reached out for help from a particular alien (entity/intelligence), the one I saw face to face when I was a ten year old kid, about 31 years ago. Back then, we either called them (it) "the man in black" or "the Creative Intelligence"; this was back in the late 70's. I confess that I am not sure of their intentions. I guess they are just watching us. They visited my mom, often during the 60's and 70's. I am not entirely certain that they are benign because of an incident in which they appeared to my mom. My mom say this hooded black cloaked figure in the mirror. My mom ran out of the bathroom, down stairs and into a taxi. That taxi driver was hyped up on addrenalin (I don't know why). He ended up running over four pedestrians, one of them died. It was a messy accident.

But I remember my mom communicated with them using a seance. They had visited my mom on other occasions. My mom described one of them with a pasty white face; it showed her visions.

Anyway, my point is that I asked them for help with my hype-drive physics theory. This is what I got...

Let's imagine that there are universes that coexist with this universe; they occupy the same space, but we can't see them. Why can't we see them? Why can't we touch/interact with them?

Answer: we all know that imagary number i is defined as the square root of

-1. Furthermore, the Scrodinger equation is, roughly

ih-bar d/dt Psi(r,t) = -hbar2/2m Del^2 Psi(r,t) + V(r,t) Psi (r,t).

For each universe that coexists with our own, it will have it's own imaginary dimension, of which real+imag = complex space. When we do this, imaginary number i will become a sort of index; something like i(1), i(2),...

When this occurs, i^2 = -1 will not be so simple if we are describing the coupling between particles/forces between two different universs, we'll have

i(1)*i(2) = 0.

There wouldn't be any coupling at all if i(1)*i(2) = 0. However, because gravity warps/curves space, there might be a little bit of overlap of i(1) and i(2). When this happens, it might be possible to describe coupling between wave functions for an electron from our universe Psi(1) and an electron from a neighboring universe Psi(2).

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 09:33 GMT
Jason,

What a terrible accident and awful experience especially for your mother but also for you. I am sorry that you went through that. It is highly likely that your current subjective reality is in part shaped by those early experiences and your (or your mother's) interpretation of them.

I too have seen black cloaked figures alone and in pairs but always in association with sleep paralysis. Together with perception of extreme malevolence and danger and associated terror. They can appear through open doorways, windows or out of mirrors.It is my necessary belief that they are a product of the mind in a state between sleep and full awareness, and not existential entities. I have no indication that they are of extra terrestrial origin. They do always approach but I have never observed one face to face. As I have always managed to scream, with increasing ease over time, waking myself up fully before they get too close. Sleep paralysis is well documented and has been observed throughout history and across all cultures.

It is likely that the telepathically received ideas that you have shared are self generated but subjectively experienced differently. Incidentally do you feel that an extra terrestrial origin of the ideas would give more validity than the same ideas having been self generated?

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 18:36 GMT
Steve,

It's kind of hard to follow what you are saying but I take it you have problems with the claims as well.

I certainly understand that we currently lack the ability to test the theory due to the high energy scales involved and the prohibitive nature of building an aparatus to test in this regime.

This is the problem facing theoretical physics in the 21'st century. How do you conduct the business of science when you lack the means to test a hypothesis?

This is a condundrum. Some String Theorists have literally stated that we should redefine what it means for a theory to be verified. My point is that when you do this, you are no longer a scientist, you are simply a mathematician.

If String Thoeriests can take this approach, why not everyone? Just come up with some elebaroate mathematical formalims that predicts things like time travel and all sorts of concetps derived from mathematical artifacts to solutions of relativistic eqations. You can then pass it off as fact because the notion cannot be experimetnally tested but the mathematics makes sense and isinternally consistent. Anything goes. If it can be derived mathematically, then everything the mathematics describes must correspond to reality in some way.

As everyone knows, there are some very vocal critics of string theory out there. The list seems to be growing with the passing of time. Some believe that String Theory is going to turn out to be one of the biggest dead ends in the history of the scientific enterprise. Some think it could prove to be beneficial in promoting other ideas which use some of the formalism.

String Theorists seems to putting all their eggs in once basket, assuming everything in the mathematic formalism is representative of physical reality.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 19:08 GMT
Anonymous,

Interesting point of vue.Sorry for my poor literal english.

About my claims...hihihih my first claim is, Accept all my claims hahahah



The physics is the main driving force.Never the maths must be in first.

They imply confusions and a big lost of money, furthermore that decreases the velocity of evolution.

I claim that the sciences community is sometimes a big ironic joke.And it is sad, very sad.

STRINGS ARE DEAD......LIKE THEIR BUSINESS.A STRING IS DIVISIBLE THE SPHERE NO

Best Regards

Steve

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 19:25 GMT
Dear Steve,

What a bold statement!

We have so many more ideas than data that we can always say "It isn't right. It isn't even wrong!"

I'm sure we could push the limits of your spherical ideas to a point where they also seem to break down. I still think there is a String/Sphere dual nature to reality consistent with the Wave/Particle duality of Quantum Mechanics. But we need to understand the phenomenological implications of these theories well enough to understand their ramifications. Then if someone discovers emergent E8 symmetries in a quantum Ising chain, then we know to get excited.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 20:22 GMT
Steve,

You said to Anonymous

"You say ....we need to trust our eyes, not our math........I am so happy to find a real searcher ....our eyes show us the truth simply and the experiments prove this truth if the foundamentals are respected."

That is not as sensible as it might sound, imo. It is quite clear that our eyes do not tell us the truth but that our own version of the truth is created by interpretation of sensory input. The non simultaneity of events, which has been experimentally verified, is one example.

The brain is a complex analytical tool. The comprehension it allows has survival value to the organism or rather its genes. It does not mean that at a foundational level that that comprehension must be true. It only shows that is what this particular tool interprets from the selected data.

The model that is used to allow analysis and, by interpretation of that analysis, comprehension is of greatest important. This usually involves the application of mathematics. The comprehension or "truth" that is obtained can never be independent from the model that was used and the interpretation that was applied. This must always be the case.

Different model, different interpretation, different "truth". Though it can never be absolute truth, only the illusion or delusion that it is actually true. The question is what is the best model to use to give the most satisfactory interpretation. I would say one that is internally self consistent, logically and mathematically sound. That fits with observations and is not in conflict with basic physical theory and answers the foundational questions.The attempt to find better models via mathematics does not seem unreasonable to me. That does not mean that all mathematical approaches are equally promising or give equally satisfactory interpretations.

Interpretations should not be presented as the truth but make clear that using this model for interpretation leads to this explanation. One can then say that is complete nonsense because of x,y,z and will have no part of it or that is an interesting interpretation that I find satisfying for x,y,z reasons. Or what if that model or its interpretation was modified in a particular way, would that give an even more satisfying explanation? At the limits of perception one reaches the limit of traditional science and crosses into areas of philosophy, metaphysics and psychology. One begins to ask what is comprehension and what can really be known?

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:47 GMT
'It is quite clear that our eyes do not tell us the truth but that our own version of the truth is created by interpretation of sensory input. The non simultaneity of events, which has been experimentally verified, is one example. '

.

.

.

'The model that is used to allow analysis and, by interpretation of that analysis, comprehension is of greatest important. This usually involves the application of mathematics. The comprehension or "truth" that is obtained can never be independent from the model that was used and the interpretation that was applied. This must always be the case.'

.

.

.

'At the limits of perception one reaches the limit of traditional science and crosses into areas of philosophy, metaphysics and psychology'?

.....................

Why should you then trust your 'means of knowing' to arrive at the above three statements? In other words, how did you come to 'know' that which you stated above?

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Anonymous replied on Apr. 7, 2010 @ 22:29 GMT
Dear anonymous,

Truth is an absence of choice. If your eyes see something,... it is the truth .. because you don`t have the choice. This truth system is called our perceptual reality and we don`t have the choice about it. These choices are already made in our very construction, size, DNA etc.

Marcel,

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 20:47 GMT
Dear Georgina,

The deadly car accident happened to my mom years before I was born. The only time I ever saw them, I was 10 years old. There was a doorway that separated two rooms; it made the whole experience feel very symmetric. I was in the same room as the entity. Come to think of it, it was standing in the doorway of the locked door to our apartment. When I woke up, in the middle of the night, I saw the entity; I was terrified (exhilarated); you would be too if you saw this thing in your room with you. Then, I felt my fear drain out of my body, but then I couldn't move. It had a velvety black cloak and a velvet mask. It was standing guard over me, to protect me, like a sentinel. The experience stayed with me my entire life and convinced me that paranormal events do occur. My mom said it was an alien. I think it's more like an entity that exists on earth. My mom said that when she was camping at Virginia Beach, summer of 68, they came to her holding a baby; she was pregnant with me.

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Dr. Cosmic Ray replied on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:13 GMT
Dear Jason,

I have also had a strange experience. On Jan 10, 1977, I had an out-of-body dream (No, I don't do drugs, and even though I was 18, I didn't even drink until my early 20's - alcohol kills brain cells and I was afraid to lose too many...) that I interpreted from a Christian/religious perspective (rather than a UFO/alien perspective). It was such a personal experience that I would not discuss details on a blog. I've known other people who had similar experiences that they either interpreted as religious or alien encounters.

The alien appearing to your mom when she was pregnant with you sounds like the story of the archangel Gabriel appearing to Elisabeth and later Mary. Are you certain that you aren't half-alien?

Have Fun!

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:08 GMT
Dear Georgina,

Incidently, the idea of using imaginary number "i" as an index for multiple universes (as it would also suggest an i[index=1,2,3...]ct), is a cool idea. Saying that I was inspired with the idea after asking these entities for help would incur strong feelings in this forum. I wanted to(needed to) drop the "grenade" of putting two things together (a) a real cool physics idea and (b) something that people hope is just their own mind.

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Dr. Cosmic Ray replied on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:18 GMT
So many possibilities: positive real, negative real, positive imaginary, negative imaginary, quaternions, octonions,... We could have a finite multiverse of these different options, couldn't we?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 19:47 GMT
But Dr Cosmic Ray the 0 the - and the infinity are not in the uniqueness and the realistic physicality.

It is not possible all that, our Universe is unique ,in evolution, towards the ultim harmony.

When we see our datas about our past, we see the evolution and the increasing of mass and the complexification in 3D.

It is real all that, tha mass has a cause, these rotating spheres in finite serie which build, which polarise the light since these billions years.

These rotating spheres are the causes of the mass and they continue to evolve and polarise light by these intrinsics codes of becoming in the main central sphere.

The external cause of mass is impossible and has no sense.The extradimensions imply confusions about our ultim referntial in 3D and this constant the time .

I have many difficulties to find realism in these ideas like strings and time voyage.

The physics are everywhere, when you analyze a mass, it is a physical evolution simply with all its intrinsic codes and frequences, oscilltions, rotations.

If we take an other referential, the thermodynamics and all our foundamentals disappear ,because the fractal with the volume in finite serie for an unique suystem and its quantum number is essential.

Friendly

Steve

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 20:48 GMT
Dear Steve,

What if "A 'stable infinity' exists because fractals exist"? Now there is a distinction between the poorly defined true mathematical singularity ('divide-by-zero') and a large stable number such as Dirac's 10^40. This would also have implications for the number zero. I'm not saying that zero disappears because we may choose to define some of our terms such that they center on zero. However, the 'divide-by-zero' idea may entirely disappear.

I think a lot of CS&F followers have been on these blogs lately. It would be interesting if one of them can prove the above statement. I understand there was a recent CS&F paper that said "Division by zero is proposed in order to open new horizons for abstract mathematics and physics." That is not my goal. I would like to see the concept of a stable near-infinity established.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:33 GMT
Jason,

You said "I woke up ..." and "but then I couldn't move." That does sound like sleep paralysis to me. One feels awake and is aware of normal surroundings but there is the appearance of an additional presence or presences and inability to move. I have observed them come through doorways, windows and mirrors but also out of closets. Some people experience terror others just experience the hallucination or apparition.

Our minds are easily influenced by suggestions both intentional and unintentional. You have most probably taken what has seemed to you the most rational explanation of your experience and fitted it into your working model of reality.IMO The subjective experience of these entities is absolutely real although I consider it is most likely that the entities themselves are internally generated, in a mental state between sleep and full wakeful awareness.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:57 GMT
Jason,

Where is time in this idea? The imaginary dimension is usually used to represent the time dimension in quaternion mathematics. You said each universe would have its own imaginary dimension. Is this imaginary dimension instead of time or are these just universes occupying the same space at different times. Is there progression from one to another or just overlap. If so how many do you suppose could overlap and interact.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 22:13 GMT
Anonymous,

What a philosophical question.

I can not know anything with absolute certainty. Nor can you.I can not trust anything absolutely and can not believe, as a scientist.

I can have an opinion, which I may change when I have evidence that my opinion is not as sound as a different alternative. I can accept that which is most intellectually satisfying to me, which is a subjective judgment, but not believe that it is the absolute truth.

Faith is not science. I do not claim to be speaking irrefutable truth but I am giving my personal opinion at this particular time. How about you?

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 22:55 GMT
Do you realize that you have just negated the truth of your own statement?

If you can't know anything with absolute certainty then how is it that you know with absolutete certainty that the above statement is true? By your defintion, this statement cannot be true because nothing can be known with absolute certainty.

Therefore, the statement, "I can not know anything with absolute certainty" contradicts itself because you are claiming to know somethig with absolute certainty -- namley, it is absolutely certain that "I cannot know anything with absolute certainty."

QED.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 09:45 GMT
Hi all,

Dear Anonymous, your wisdom is welcome.

Never due to the evolution indeed we can say it is the truth...but we can say what is in the error.

Thus dear Geaorgina....it doesn't exist a superimposing in this case if our foundamentals are not respected.

It is not a question of freedom of speach , no it is for concrete discussions about our physicality.

There too the confusions appear....thus all roads NO .

Best Regards

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 23:35 GMT
Anonymous,

Games.

I did not claim that I knew that with absolute certainty. The end of my post states quite clearly that I do not claim to be speaking the irrefutable truth but only giving my opinion at a particular time. The opinion, not fact, that I can not know anything with absolute certainty is based on my subjective perception that I am a fallible human being, using the organic brain in my head as an analytical tool, to interpret and collate data and give that subjective experience which is my own reality.

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 00:19 GMT
No games at all.

You made a statement that contradicts itself, regardless of the context in which you used it. You just created a logical fallacy.

If you can know nothing with certainty, how can you know the statement, "I know nothig with certainty", with certainty? Either the statement is ucnertain or it is false, by self-referential integrity. It is a non sequitur.

It would be the same internally inconsistent logical fallacy created by stating, "There is no absolutle truth."

If there is no absolulte truth then the statement "There is no absolulte truth" cannot be an absolulte truth. Therefore, the statement "There is no absolulte truth", is, by the rules of self-referential integrity, either a relatively true statement, or it is a false statement; since by defintion, there would be no such thing as an absolulte truth.

This goes back to my very first post when I asked, based on the statements of validity of knowledge you employed, how could you ever know that you came to know something that is valid, as opposed to being invalid?

I am not mincing words or engaging in semantics. The statements you have been making are logically inconsitent with your conclusions.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 00:11 GMT
Georgina,

I've had some reservations about trying to prove the existence of a multiverse using something that might be frightening to others, to you. I will research sleep paralysis.

Where is time in this model? I don't know for a fact that a multiverse exists (but my instincts strongly tell me it does). I asked for help with my multiverse approach to a hype-drive. What I got was the understanding that,

1. 3D space is obviously observable,

2. Coulombic charge, Maxwells equations, Schrodinger's equation's all need imaginary e^i to describe oscillatory behavior.

3. If other universes are going to occupy the same 3D space as us, but with strict restrictions on inter-universe observations (it's not observed under normal conditions), then we need an i for each universe.

An i for each universe will grant that universe coulomb charges, it's own set of Maxwells equations, its own set of ict relativity and time (with its own c), and it's own quantum mechanics (with its own h).

These i's must be perpendicular under normal cirmumstances.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 00:53 GMT
Anonymous,

They are only logically inconsistent if I claim that they are true statements and I can not change my mind. I have stated that they are my opinion at this time and also that I may change my opinion. Therefore I have introduced the possibility that I may not be certain that "I can not know anything with absolute certainty."

Even if the statement is a logical inconsistency in your opinion, it is my opinion at this time that it is probably true, though I can not be absolutely certain of that.

Where does that get us?

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 02:21 GMT
The statements are logical falacies, regardless of the context in which they are used.

You are basically asking how we arrive at truths. Epistemology has been a hotly contested subject for centuries and nothing anyone can state here will resolve the matter.

Science represents a particular way of gaining knowledge about the world and the knowledge is emperical. Science is not deductive, it is inductive. As such, it cannot establish absolute truths and it is not in the business of manufacturing them.

Science relies on inductive inference as a means to make general statements about physical reality.

How we inductively infer these general statements proceeds via our sensory percpetion of world and the way in which we use our reason to form rerlationships among the arbitray parts of our observation.

An example of an inductive inference:

I learn that whenever I come in contact with ice, I have the sensation of coldness. What coldness means is not important. It is entirely subjective. I just know through experience that whenever I come into contact with ice, I have this senstion. Therefore, I conclude that the next time I come in contact with ice, I will have the same sensation -- it will feel cold.

I cannot deductively prove that the next time I touch ice I will feel the sensation of coldness. I simply have no reason to believe I will not have the same sensaion.

Without any other knowledge, I can therefore form an inductive inference about the nature of ice as it is related to my observations -- in this case, the observations are the tactile sensations of coldness.

I can make the general statement, "Ice is cold." This is a property I assign to something. I can then create more abstract inferences about the properties of things in nature and eventually create relationships among properties.

I cannot state as a truth, "Ice is cold", as I did not arrive at it through deductive inference.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 02:06 GMT
From online Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.

One of the primary motivations for allowing kinds of knowledge less than certainty is the widespread sense that skeptical arguments are successful in showing that we rarely or never have beliefs that are certain ........ but do not succeed in showing that our beliefs are altogether without epistemic worth.

As with knowledge, it is difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis of certainty. There are several reasons for this. One is that there are different kinds of certainty, which are easy to conflate. Another is that the full value of certainty is surprisingly hard to capture. A third reason is that there are two dimensions to certainty: a belief can be certain at a moment or over some greater length of time.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 02:21 GMT
I just need to know if I am being logically and conceptually consistent, with respect to physics, with my physics concept? I don't know if it's true or if the physical universe really works this way. I have no idea. I just need to make sure this idea is logically and conceptually consistent.

If I ask for a multiverse that shares our 3D space, but the other universes are not directly observed, I can do it by:

1. x,y and z coordinates are the same for the set of universes, the set of space-times.

2. i, the imaginary number, has to be indexed for each and all universes. Ours is i[1], another universe is i[2], etc.

3. i[x]*i[y]=0 if x >< y; i[x]*i[y]=-1 if x=y.

4. there is zero coupling between charges from space-time x and space-time y, where x and y are different.

Eventually, when I can express this a little better, it should be possible to describe coupling between x and y charges, some degree of coupling from 0 to 1.

If coupling between x and y charges can occur, then it should be possible to describe wave functions, potential energies and even the effects of the laws of motion for universes X and Y.

Dark matter and dark energy suggest to me that accumulations of gravitationally significant mass-energy in universe X can also curve space (induce gravity fields) in universe Y. In effect, we can observe their gravity, but we can't see anything there.

I understand that these ideas might be speculative. I just want to make sure I am speculating accurately when I turn imaginary number i into an index of perpendicular imaginary planes.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 04:37 GMT
OK, I understand that i = sqrt(-1) is sacred in physics. If I try to say there are multiple imaginary dimensions, it becomes physics sacrilige. I also understant that ten dimensional fermions and 26 dimensional bosons (where dimensions are spatial) is the accepted dogma. I've never seen 10 spatial dimensions. A while ago, I remember that someone tried to unifiy gravity and quantum mechanics using two time lines. Everybody freaked out because of the potential for causality issues. But two time dimensions doesn't mean time travel.

Two time dimensions = two imaginary planes = two sets of Maxwell equations/QM/Relativity that are non interacting.

Time travel is still dead, sorry about that.

Hyperspace and hyper-drives remains plausible.

I only see 3 dimensions of space. Does anybody here see more than 3 dimensions of space?

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Dr. Cosmic Ray replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 12:28 GMT
Dear Jason,

My 12/28-D model has two 'time-like' dimensions. I have tentatively called the other Imaginary Time. In my opinion, this is relevant to Black Hole Physics and the M2-brane. I don't think you're crazy, but other observers might think that we are both crazy.

Have Fun!

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 12:42 GMT
no crazzy .....very creatives in fact.But attention all creativities are not foundamentals.In fact it is like the add or multiplication of the uniqueness, if it exists somethings which are infinites, these imaginations indeed are infinites.

When the maths are synchronized with the physicality , that becomes relevant.

About the time , it is foundamental to have a constant duration in my humble opinion.

Friendly

Steve

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 07:25 GMT
Anonymous,

Of course you are entitled to your opinion. The statements are logical fallacies when held in isolation from further qualification of the appropriate interpretation and meaning of those statements. You are insisting on taking the statements in isolation. An opinion is an opinion. It is what I think at this time and is open to amendment or abandonment.It is not irrefutable truth, belief based on faith or certainty.

I was actually asking, what is the point of this particular discussion?

You said "Science is not deductive, it is inductive. As such, it cannot establish absolute truths and it is not in the business of manufacturing them."

The scientific method which encompasses much of the accumulation of scientific knowledge is as you say inductive and based on observation. However the interpretation of those observations often requires a framework in which the analysis and interpretation can take place. The model used for that may very well have been produced by deduction. Einstein's work seems to have been deductive, based on thought experiments which provided models that could later be confirmed as reliable and useful but not proven true via experimentation.

Certainly science can not establish absolute truths. I thought that was what I was saying. Nothing is ever actually proved in science. Theories are useful only for so long as they are not proven incorrect or superseded by superior theory. Science is not in the business of manufacturing absolute truths, as you say. However it is the business of scientists to develop models, however they think best, that will allow comprehension of observations and answer the foundational questions. The model is the context in which the comprehension is valid. The comprehension is not absolute truth but a means of making sense of the universe. One may accept it as intellectually satisfying for now, modify or reject it.

Unfortunately some people mistake science for truth, which it is not.

Some even treat science as an alternative belief system and defend certain scientific principles as absolute truths, which they are not. They have just not yet been dis-proven or superseded. For something to be an absolute truth there must be certainty and belief in it. Certainty and belief require faith that that knowledge will never ever be dis-proven or superseded. It is therefore incompatible with science.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 13:25 GMT
Georgina,

I entered the dicussion when people started dicussing string theory.Science must rely on observation to establish the validity of a theory, otherwise it simply represents rationalism.

We like to think of ourselves as rational beings but we are creatures of instinct and emotion. As Hume correctly pointed out, "Reason has never motivated a man to do anything." Reason is a tool--a means to an end. It is our sensory experience of the external world that allows us to form categories upon which we define relationships among parts.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 17:00 GMT
Here is an idea that touches on the subject of empirical knowledge:

A law of conservation basically states that an empiricaly observed quantity of a closed system does not change as the system evolves over time. Obviously, there is a more abstract way of defining conservation via Noether's theorem. But let's consider the role that empirical observation plays in our defintions.

Does it follow that a conserved system posesses the ontological properties which are defined by the conserved quantities?

Is momentum something that belongs to the individual entities or is it an observable that we measure?

You might think this is trivia, but think closely as the problem becomes hard to resolve using our everday conventions concerning causality.

Are observables instantiated in the objects under study? We would never be able to define a property without observing it. So, is momentum really a property of an object or just an arbitray abstraction that arrises out of forming useful relationships among observations?

When we state that an object posesses momentum, what does that really mean, in an epistemological sense?

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 17:28 GMT
Dear Anonymous,

You asked "When we state that an object posesses momentum, what does that really mean, in an epistemological sense?"

I would also ask:

How does a fundamental particle know its properties of mass, electric charge, intrinsic spin, and color charge (and remembers them)? Where is Hilbert space?

Today, I am a fan of multiple dimensions and I think that String Theory is at least an important part of the puzzle, but I wasn't always a fan of such exotic theories.

But when you start asking these questions, you realize that either 1) Time is extremely clever, or 2) extra dimensions exist to store and process this fundamental information.

At least that's my opinion - for what it's worth.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 18:22 GMT
Hilbert Space is a mathematical abstraction just as the Cartesian Coordinate system is a mathematical abstraction.

We can only define physical objects by their observed properties. The more general question to be asked is, in light of our understanding of QM, are observed quantities a definition of the object at the time of measurement or a defintion of the observed state of the interaction of the object with another system, the interaction being represented by the observable?

For example, we could never measure the naked charge on a particle, as the elctron is not isolated from the vacuum flux in which it immersed. Any observation of charge would represent one observable of the system of particle and vacuum.

Does it make physical sense to speak of objects isolated from the system of which they are a part of? Is it appropriate to think this way in light of our understanding of QM?

Trying to isolate observables as distinct from a system represents a conundrum. We can never measure observables without an interaction of some kind. For example, in a Bubble Chamber, we would not see a particle. We are seing what's left of an interaction of two arbitray systems that we choose to seperate and use to draw distinctions.

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 19:04 GMT
Dear Anonymous,

Your perspective seems reasonable. Have you deduced any conclusions out of these questions?

The statement "We can never measure observables without an interaction of some kind" is consistent with Quantum theory and has interesting implications. It seems that we can't define particles without interactions.

Have you read my papers at http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/520 ? I defined new interactions so that I could have enough quantum numbers to define an E8 fermion multiplet.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 19:06 GMT
T H Ray,

Very well explained. I agree with you about the evolution of scientific theory.

Anonymous.

I would like to thank you for our debate. I think I now understand better the problem of modeling with science. Your philosophical approach appears to assume that science attempts to give facts or truths. However one can not ever have certainty one can only ever have a particular degree of confidence in ideas or principles of science. So the whole of science is opinions that are ever open to amendment. Whole areas of research and accumulated comprehension may have to be abandoned, but hopefully not forgotten, when there is evidence that it is incorrect or is superseded. It is perhaps unfortunate that we talk of scientific facts, rather than scientific explanations with a high level of confidence in their probability of being correct.

I said that science is not a belief system because belief is incompatible with science. However it is my observation that it is actually treated as a belief system by many. Uncertain theory is build upon uncertain theory and portrayed and defended as if it is certain. I think it is quite hard to clearly see the line between extreme confidence and certainty, confident opinion and truth. You have reinforced in my mind the necessity of that line.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 19:24 GMT
Georgina -- well, I am not trying to debate anything really. Just discussing and offering my observations.

Analytical Philosophy is a good way of taking your thoughts and subjecting them to critical analysis.

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paul valletta wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 20:48 GMT
Anonymous:Here is an idea that touches on the subject of empirical knowledge:

A law of conservation basically states that an empiricaly observed quantity of a closed system does not change as the system evolves over time.

But a closed system is unobtainable, by its very definition?

If you observe a closed system, then you cannot have access to it?..unless you are within the closed system, then you cannot possibly observe it from the outside evolving over time?

Either way your being "inside" or "outside" of the said system would have varying consequences for say momentum?

best p.v

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 21:14 GMT
Paul,

I think we can say that a system, like a car engine, can be closed "enough" that it agrees with the mathematics. OpAmps are supposed to have infinite gain, but a gain of 10,000 is good enough so that the mathematics works.

Life isn't perfect. If you want perfection, take up yoga.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 19, 2010 @ 23:31 GMT
I don't think Paul was calling into question our ability to predict, with an acceptable degree of precision, the outcome of an experiment.

He brings up a very interesting point and one which is really crucial to our understanding of how science goes about it's business -- physics in particular.

In a sense, in order to have reached the point we are now, we have had to set aside physical reality in order to be able to make sense of it.

All of our theories have been built by employing idealized constructs that do not exist in the physical world. In reality, there are no frictionless planes, empty vacuums, closed systems, neat and tidy canonical ensembles, or isolated point charges. Also, any measurement, no matter the scale, requires us to disturb the thing we are measuring.

Mathematical Idealization is the theoretical framework upon which physics is built.

In fact, there is a philosopher of science named Nancy Cartwirght who had taken an idea similar to this and wrote a thesis titled 'How the Laws of Physics Lie'. Despite the malicious and ominous-sounding title, she is not calling into question the veracity of physical theories or their ability to make predictions. She is implying that, due to our reliance on idealization, both theoretical and experimental physics are built on these little white lies that requires physics to be an internally inconsistent description of physical reality.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 20, 2010 @ 02:12 GMT
Anonymous,

Every layperson knows this as a fact of life. Nothing is perfect, life is not perfect. Mathematics works with perfect mathematical models; they give us a general idea of how the universe works. But reality is too complex, too interconnected and interdependent for our perfect models to be perfect descriptions of reality.

Mathematical ideation gives us a way to examine a few aspects of nature by using conservation laws. It's helpful, but it's a very limited expression of reality. While void of creativity, it does however tell us where the rubber meets the road.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 20, 2010 @ 02:50 GMT
It's not about perfection.

The laws which we have forumulated are apporximations of the observed regularities that we observe in nature. Idealizations serve a usefull purpose but the idealizations themselves represent false statements about the nature of physical reality. As Paul pointed out, closed system do not exist in nature. Such ideal abstractions exist only in textbooks and are not part of corporeal reality.

Idealizations serve us well when we have the ability to differentiate between the ideal and the physically real. We can do this on the scale in which we find ourselves immersed. We understand that frictionaless planes and closed system do not and cannot exist. However, we have no way of making the distinction between what is ideal and what is real when we consider things beyond our senses. For example, what represents an ideal quantum system? We have no way of forming this answer as we have no way to distingiush abstraction from reality when we have no conceptual model on which to differentiuae the real from the abstract. QM is a mystery because it is not based on an idealization. It is a formalism that allows us to to create relations among observables, not idealized constructs.

IMO, the concept of particles, exchange forces, vacuum states, etc..represent our best attempts to form such idealizations on the quantum level. Unfortunately, they are idealizations that seem to represent an attempt to take the best parts of two worlds and put together a coherent picture. The notion of a particle presents serious difficulties on a fundamental ontological level.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 20, 2010 @ 23:09 GMT
Anonymous,

I said: "Nothing is perfect."

You said, "The laws which we have forumulated are apporximations of the observed regularities that we observe in nature." Or to paraphrase you:

"The laws of physics are approximations of nature."

Have you noticed that we are saying the same thing?

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 01:27 GMT
Anonymous, why don't you choose yourself a name to make this a level playing field?

You said " Mathematical Idealization is the theoretical framework upon which physics is built." I think this is the problem that Florin was trying to address in his prize winning paper on the axiomatization of physics. Trying to formerly ascertain how physical reality is different from mathematics.I still do not understand about how one can assign truth to reality, despite Florins kind attempt to explain it to me. However I do see why his approach might seem a useful approach to the problem of the discrepancy between physics and mathematics.

Following our debate on what can be known with certainty, I began to think that mathematics is only certain because it is agreed that it must be, and the product of that certainty belongs to the abstract perfect (and timeless) world of mathematics. This may sound trivial but bear with me.

Mathematics tells us that 1 plus 1 is 2. This mathematical principle is taught primary education in a concrete manner. With bricks or other objects. However if I put two objects together that chemically react they may produce a thousand fragments or more or fuse together to produce 1 composite or compound object. 2 rabbits put together may fight with a low probability fatally wounding each other giving 0. One might die from the fight leaving 1. They may be of the same sex or an infertile couple and remain as 2, or a fertile couple and produce a number of rabbits greater than 2. So 1 plus 1 in physical reality = ?n

Time seems to play a role here. The mathematical perfection is only relevant within a very short space of time, which could be denoted as time 0. After an amount of elapsed time the answer may be anything from 0 to 1 thousand or more, ?n. Interpreting this in terms of changing spatial configuration rather than using time in the model; The perfect mathematical state exists with the initial spatial configuration, state 0 comprising 1 plus 1. But may vary from that as each new spatial configuration is produced.

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Bubba Gump wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 02:23 GMT
This is Anonymous. I grew weary of having to sign in every time I visit this site so I gave up on signing in. Without knowing anyone eprsonally, everyone is anonymous on the internet anyways so it's a moot point.

I am not sure what you mean by 'level playing field.' This isn't a competition-- it's just a forum.

I will certainly rejoin the discussion and address your comments, but right now I need to head out to a gathering.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 22, 2010 @ 19:04 GMT
Happy still ........This isn't a competition-- it's just a forum.

I agree strongly, when a theory is foundamental, it doesn't exist competitions but improvements simply.Perhaps for this under science, the business it exist a competition but never with the foundamentals....

All is there and fortunally for the sciences community and itys evolution towards truths and truth......

Regards

Steve

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 02:55 GMT
Georgina,

Actually, mathematics shows up everywhere there is a limited amount of something. Even baboons can figure out how many banannas they have. The can count well enough to know when some other baboon took one of there banannas.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 03:15 GMT
Hi Bubba Gump. Thank you.

By level playing field I mean the same conditions apply to everyone. It is a metaphor.

It is your choice whether to be hidden as Anonymous or give an identity. However if you have an identity, when I speak to you on another occasion, even after considerable lapsed time, I can recall our previous conversations, and will not confuse you with other anonymous people. You are not the only person who has not signed their posts with a name.

If you intend to post regularly and have sensible ideas to contribute, as seems the case, then it is mutually beneficial to use an identity. If everyone was Anonymous as you say, then we would not be able to converse, as we would not know who we were addressing or be able to address our comments to a particular person or chosen identity, or know who said what and thinks what. Though we could guess and would have to find other ways to differentiate between the numerous different Anonymouses. It would all get very confusing and difficult.

I have got really quick at signing in with practice and only occasionally forget to do it.It isn't too onerous, imo.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 03:58 GMT
Jason,

Yes. The mind says 1 plus 1 equals 2. It is considered to be true.Perhaps agreement was the wrong word. Perhaps widespread if not universal concurrence of opinion would have been better.I agree with you that other higher animal species can count too.

However is it not also true that in the physical world rather than the abstract mathematical world, over time (or progression of change in spatial configuration) 1 object plus 1 object could actually result in 0 to lets say greater than 1000 objects without further adding or subtracting of any objects. For example 1 plus 1 rabbits in a field or 1 plus 1 objects giving a critical mass of nuclear material added together. Is it really certain that 1 plus 1 is always 2? The mathematical perfection seems only to apply to the initial conditions, which may change as time passes or there is progression to new spatial configurations. In the physical world there is another dimension to consider, that is not considered in basic mathematics.

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Bubba Gump wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 14:50 GMT
I am not sure where you are going with this.

If you want something resembling a formal proof of 1+1=2, you can consult Principia Mathematica and have a look at Russell's proof. Bertrand Russell had a go at using the axioms and relations employed in symbolic logic to derive mathematical truths like 1+1=2.

Formally, integer arithmetic is defined by an Abelian Group. The operational conventions of the group are either additive or multiplicative.

I am not sure if it makes any sense to discuss the use of axioms in Physics. Physics is an empirical science and the ultimate litmus test for the validity of a theory is not a mathematical proof but but an observation. As I stated in another post, science is not concerned with establishing truths which have been arrived at through the use of axioms. Scientific Theories are amenable to change, truth is not. Theory will always be subservient to observation. A theory may be built upon an axiomatic structure, but if an observation contradicts the theory then you have a very serious problem with consistency.

If anything, Physicists should utilize a more rigorous mathematic formalism. Navigating through a paper is often like navigating through a mine field. Often, conventions vary from one paper to the next, especially when it comes to the use of tensor notation. Most papers lack mathematical rigor and mathematical constructs are used without a proper formalism or deference to validity.

In Physics, Mathematics is a means to an end. In Mathematics, rigor is the means to the end. Physicists have always been very sloppy in their use of mathematics. Often, it is cringe-inducing.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 17:59 GMT
Most theoretical physics papers are reasonably well grounded in their math. Of course there is not often the emphasis on theorem-proof work, where every minutia is worked out completely. In fact often a well established theory is only cast in some axiomatic form some time after it has been largely accepted. There are open questions with quantum field theory, but attempts in the 1980s to develop an axiomatic field theory never materialized their intended goal of some complete realization.

There is a sort of fine line one must walk as well. Often highly mathematically dense papers fail to gain much readership. Some physicists prefer that there be more in the way of physical thought brought to bear than mathematical developments. This is sometimes seen in the criticism that some physicist or an area of theoretical physics is more a line of mathematical work than actual physics.

Physics will probably never be sewed up as tightly as mathematics is. Even mathematics is showing signs of its own holes or uncertainties. This probably began with Godel, and in recent times there has emerged notions of "proof systems," and even topos theory has elements of this as a geometric system with alternate structures within it.

Cheers LC

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Bubba Gump replied on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 20:07 GMT
There are a few methodological problems with modern theoretical physics.

The most glaring problem is that the lack of mathematical formalism easily leads to confusion for the uninitiated.

For example, a Mathematician who focuses on one area of research can read a paper composed by someone working in another specialty and follow the structure of the presentation. The presentation is sufficiently rigorous that no definitions or arguments are left to the wind--as is often the case with theoretical physics. The reader may not be familiar with some of the concepts and terms employed but the structure allows the reader to direct himself to the appropriate thematic material that can be found elsewhere that would clarify an ambiguity.

Sometimes, reading a paper on String Theory or General Relativity, the flow of the paper is interrupted and various levels of formalism are employed. Sometimes, it gets so confusing that you have to stop for a moment to think, 'what in the heck is this?' Is this an operator or an index? It is never made clear or spelled out and so many things are being assumed about the nature of the mathematical relationships being formed. For example, how can you make the assumption of continuity and differentiability and simply proceed as if such things are true? It is these things that are cringe-inducing to a mathematician.

I understand that theoretical physics requires extensive familiarization with subject matter, but specialization is no excuse for lack of clarity or formalism. It can lead to specializations becoming isolated from one another in a way that is not conducive to the aim of science.

In the 19th and early 20th century, the entire scientific community had the advantage of being able to peer-review a paper falling under any subject. This no longer applies but the gap in specialization can be made more palatable with an increased emphasis on formalisms and clarity of definition. The typical physics textbook is even worse.

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Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Mar. 22, 2010 @ 02:55 GMT
Sometimes an advancement in physics occurs where a physical idea suggests a certain equation or some type of mathematical structure. Physics has been this way for a long time. Maxwell imposed the displacement current to fill out a complete set of electrodynamics formulas.

As for different areas of physics with different language, that is a manifestation of the vastness of physics today compared to a century ago. There are analogues which do straddle different areas, such as some recent developments in solid state physics which have parallels with AdS/CFT correspondence. To make these connections the researcher must have a broad contact with a variety of areas. Yet in our time that is not easily done. It is common to find oneself ignorant of some topic, and worse to get some negativity from those who do know about it in return.

Cheers LC

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 18:07 GMT
If space is two and four dimensional, is it not THREE dimensional ON AVERAGE.

Linking, why can't a four dimensional space constitute what is a six dimensional AND a two dimensional space (ON AVERAGE)? 6 divided by THREE equals two.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 18:34 GMT
If space is two and four dimensional, is it not THREE dimensional ON AVERAGE.

Linking, why can't a four dimensional space constitute what is a six dimensional AND a two dimensional space (ON AVERAGE)? 6 divided by THREE equals two. 2 -- 4 -- 6

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 21, 2010 @ 18:39 GMT
This is a four-dimensional space that is represented as three dimensional space --- that is the average of a two and six-dimensional space, correct?

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 22, 2010 @ 05:41 GMT
Bubba Gump.

You said "Physics is an empirical science and the ultimate litmus test for the validity of a theory is not a mathematical proof but but an observation."

Ok Here is an experiment to give observation of whether the mathematical truth of 1+1 =2 is a certain truth when applied to the physical world rather than the abstract world of mathematics.



Method. Take 200 jars. In the first 100 jars 1 preying mantis will be placed and then another will be added and the number of preying mantises in the jar will be immediately recorded. In the next 100 jars 1 preying mantis will be placed and then the second will be placed in the jar without looking. The jar will be left closed with a perforated lid. After 4 hours the number of preying mantises in the second 100 jars will be recorded. Many of the jars may contain 2 preying mantises as the mathematical formula predicts. Other jars may contain 1 preying mantis or 1 prying mantis plus some fraction of a preying mantis. No preying mantises have been removed from the jars. No further additions of preying mantises have been made.The experiment could be extended using another 100 jars but observation taking place after 2 days.

The difference between the first 100 jars and the second 100 jars is spatial change has occurred which may be described as change of spatial configuration of matter or the passage of time. The preying mantises are admittedly complex organizations of matter but they still qualify as 2 material objects that can be counted. The abstract mathematical idealization does not take into account universal and continuous change in position of matter which is described as passage of time.

The mathematical truth is only certain for static unchanging abstract mathematical objects or initial conditions within the physical world. In the physical world, where observation and experimentation can take place, there is continuous change in spatial arrangement of matter, which may be observed as passage of time. Observation may vary from the mathematical prediction as the spatial configuration of matter changes which is also described as time passing.

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Bubba Gump wrote on Mar. 22, 2010 @ 16:13 GMT
I don't see how this is a proof of anything. The only thing that we can take away from your example is that we know how to count and can differentiate between members that belong to a collection of like objects.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 00:29 GMT
Bubba Gump,

I do not know who the "we" that you talk of refers to. Perhaps that is all -you- can take away from the little experiment.

You were saying that the mathematics used within physics must be more rigorous without any gaps in the mathematical ideas. You were also emphasizing the importance of observation.I was previously saying that it is the scientific model in which the mathematics is used that is of greatest importance for comprehension.

I was hoping to show that it is not just a question of having mathematics that is rigorous, mathematically proven, self consistent and complete but it depends upon the model within which it is used. I was also hoping to show that the mathematical solution that is applicable to the abstract mathematical world is not necessarily the same as the actual observation within the physical world. So even basic mathematics is not certain, if foundational parameters are overlooked.

It is not just about counting objects. In the experiment described, if you count after 4 hours the result is different from if you count immediately and will probably be different again if you count after 2 days. It is by no means certain that if 1 object and then another 1 object are added together in the physical world that there will always be 2 objects. They may explode, dissolve, decay, fuse, chemically combine, one of the objects may be consumed by the other or they may bud or split or otherwise reproduce into further objects etc.

The purely mathematical solution 1+1=2 however does not ever change from that. There is no change in spatial configuration of matter which can also be thought of as passage of time within the abstract mathematical world.

From this experiment it would seem that within the physical world the answer that is observed depends upon when (or at which spatial configuration) the observation is made. It is not necessarily the answer given by proven mathematics. That is relevant to the formulation of scientific models of the physical world, imo and much more than "we can count objects".

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Bubba Gump wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 01:21 GMT
There is an operation called subtraction. If a bug explodes, you have one less bug to deal with. If all of them explode, you have zero bugs. There is a reason the Baylonians officially recognized the need for a placeholder for the number zero. For us, the number zero is not just an arbitray point desiginated to be the origin on a coordinate system, it's how many bugs are left after they all explode and dissapear.

Anyways, I am not sure what counting bugs or bugs exploding inside jars has anything to do with the of structure of physical theories. I am not trying to be rude, I just don't quite understand whaty you are getting at ot where this is leading.

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 02:01 GMT
Dear Friends,

I agree with Bubba Gump that we need a place-keeper zero. Steve doesn't like the number zero, but I think the only problem with zero is the "divide-by-zero" operation. "Stupid is as stupid does."

Have Fun!

Ray

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paul valletta replied on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 10:14 GMT
So Ray does 1 "Zero" plus 1 "Zero" equal 2? Zero is one of those complex numbers that also has a mistaken identity, ie "nothing".

When does Zero = nothing?

Zero in numbers is not equivilent to a "nothing"? 1 nothing cannot exist, by its very meaning, 1 "nothing" plus 1 "nothing" certainly does NOT equal 2 Nothings!

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 11:06 GMT
Hi Dr Cosmic Ray and Paul,

The maths extrapolations are sometimes .......

Let's take the hospital law and the limits like for exemple the number e.

Lim x tending to infinity(1+1/x)exp x= e= 2,71828....this irrational and the base of the naturals logarythms....like C the constant of Euler...

now let's take the indetermination of 0/0 or infinity/infinity

an example lim x tends to 0 ln sin 2x/ln sin = 2cos 2x/sin2x//cosx/sinx= 2tg x/tg 2x=2/cos²//2/cos² 2x= lim x to 0 cos²2x/cos²x=1......

In fact it is always a synchro which shows us the truth of the numbers.

How can we interpret the physicality thus with these things if the evolution is not inserted, that implies confusions about the finite system

The continuity or the discontinuity must be well inserted in fact in my humble opinion.

Best Regards

Steve

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GeorginaParry wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 03:09 GMT
Bubba Gump,

Its about change that occurs just because time has passed so to say, alternatively described as change in position of matter within the spatial dimensions. If everything explodes of its own volition so that when I look at my results I always count zero, then the conclusion from those results must be that 1 plus 1 equals zero, in this experiment.

It is a scientific observation leading to a conclusion. Not mathematics within maths world. No observation of any other operation being carried out was made. Following the scientific method. The objects were put together and after some elapsed time an observation was made. From that observation a conclusion can be formed about the validity of the claim that 1 plus 1 is certainly always 2.If zero objects are observed that is the result on which the conclusion must be based.

Otherwise you are now claiming that it is necessary to imagine further unobserved operations, that nobody carried out, and for which there is no evidence within this experiment, to account for results that are in disagreement with hypothesis that it is certain that 1 +1 =2 .Isn't that what you said physicists should not do? I thought your opinion was that theory must be based purely on observations from experiment and proven, complete mathematics? Are you still sure about that?

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 08:53 GMT
Bubba Gump,

continuing from my previous post,

You mentioned the operation called subtraction.

The matter forming the objects has just changed in form, i.e. has been rearranged in space. It has not been removed or subtracted when no one was looking. Rearrangement alone alters the number of identifiable objects that could be observed.

Those physical objects experience continuous change in spatial position of themselves and their constituent particles. It is not possible to separate what is observed from when or to be precise at which spatial configuration it is observed. Unlike in the abstract mathematical world where there is no continuous change and so 1+1 always =2.

Although an object can be counted and assigned a number it is not a number. So the numerical formula that is proven and certain for abstract mathematical numbers does not -certainly- apply to physical objects observed within the physical world. It is the model and how the numbers are used within that model that will determine the outcome and whether it leads to reasonable comprehension or not. Not just observation, not just maths, imo.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 19:30 GMT
Bubba Gump,

I did not mention exploding bugs at all. Is it an attempt at ridicule? Beneath its superficial simplicity is an important question about the fundamental compatibility of mathematics and the observations obtained using the scientific method. How ideas are used to enable the mathematics to fit the observations. Though the physical world, bound to continuous change, is fundamentally different from the unchanging abstract mathematical world.

Subtraction does not come into this. What ever form the mass takes 1 mass plus 1 mass will give mass of 2.There is conservation of mass but this is different from concrete counting of objects. How the mathematics is applied makes the difference. That idea alone, how to best apply the mathematics, makes it fit and make apparent sense rather than the scientific observation and the proven mathematics being in disagreement.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 20:32 GMT
Bubba gump,

The nuclear explosion is an interesting exception. There has not been conservation and addition of objects or conservation and addition of mass. It is still made to fit though by using a formula to allow transformation of matter to energy and still count it in the total product. Once more it is the idea or "model of reality" that allows the mathematics to fit with the observation. Otherwise they would be in disagreement.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 23, 2010 @ 23:42 GMT
Bubba Gump,

Forgive me. It has occurred to me that you may not be familiar with the behavior of the preying mantis. It has an opportunistic cannibalistic tendency, including the eating of the male by the female during copulation. They do not, as I am aware, spontaneously explode.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 24, 2010 @ 01:23 GMT
Though some insect species do explode when under threat. Some ants and termites will, which protects the nest by sticking the intruder and any other unfortunate by standers with glue like contents. Just putting them in a jar would not be sufficient to precipitate such a response imo. Irrelevant to the point I was making about mathematics and scientific observation but it does show that the concept of exploding insects is not completely bizarre.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 08:21 GMT
Paul, T H Ray,

interesting points. I can't reply to thread though for some undiscovered technical reason.

Jason ,

You know exactly what you intend to mean. Just check that nothing proposed contradicts or makes impossible something else you propose. Be sure that all assumptions and statements are logical. (Not all yellow things are bananas.) Not knowing how the new physics would work it might be impossible to know if initial assumptions would still be valid in the new physics environment. Flaws might not be immediately obvious but only become apparent when the fully formed idea is thoroughly scrutinized. I apologize for the woolly answer.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 26, 2010 @ 21:26 GMT
Georgina,

Forgive me that I got a bit carried away. It seems like "magical thinking" creates lots of interesting ideas that eventually have to be put to: the grinder.

Another way of approaching a multiverse would be as follows: they all share our same space, but each have their own time line: ict; ihd/dt (Shrodinger); e^i(kx-wt) = cos(kx-wt) + isin(kx-wt). But imaginary space, i, becomes a set of orthogonal imaginary spaces, one for each coexisting universe. We wouldn't see the light (photons) from another universe unless it was shifted into our universe; presumably by an operator (boson) which only exists within an imaginary space, all of whose imaginary dimensions are orthogonal to each other.

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Dr. Cosmic Ray replied on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 23:21 GMT
Dear Jason,

I hate to rain on your parade, but in my models, you would have to go through a Black Hole just to have a chance to cheat the speed of light or land in an alternate Universe. Could you convert yourself into information and beam that information through a Black Hole?

Have Fun!

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Jason Wolfe replied on Mar. 29, 2010 @ 07:14 GMT
Dear Ray,

Actually, you don't. I think my approach would be considered physics blasphemy. I will continue to strive very hard to circumvent the limitations to the laws of physics; so I would appreciate at least some very emotional and hostile criticism. It is, after all, physics blasphemy. This is my physics model.

I want to create a multiverse using a different approach. first, I make copies of this space-time. I change their c and h to suit my needs. I place them in the same 3D space. Obviously, we don't observe them, so I need them to "go away" so they're not observed. How do I do this? I say that each universe, each space-time has its own time-line, ict. Since e^if(x,t) is such a big part of physics, I use the Euler equation to create a real space and an imaginary space such that,

e^i*f(x,t) = cos (f(x,t)) + i sin (f(x,t)). The real part is always observable. The imaginary part is always considered to be "unreal". For a multiverse of this type, each universe has its own imaginary part of its complex space. These imaginary spaces are orthogonal to each other. I have a few names for them such as

a) Orthogonal-time or OT-space;

b) Imaginary space.

OT space has its own particles and forces. Those particles and forces can be used to,

a) transfer energy between two coexisting space-times;

b) create a coupling between two space-times;

c) cancel or block out some of the available OT-dimensions for a given region of 3D space.

d) create partitions and boundaries between orthogonal-time dimensions.

e) allow quantum entanglement between two space-times.

By the way, causality is never violated. However, strange events are allowed to occur; events that cannot be explained.

From this, I can come up with all kinds of fun, magical stuff. I can explain some of the strange UFO sightings, ghosts, and all of the stuff that the scientific community scoffs at. Our universe just looks like a small subset of a larger multiverse.

I will try to explain it a little better if it seems too vague. I don't know if the universe really acts this way. I just want the satisfaction of figuring out how to circumvent some of the limitations of physics.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 21:03 GMT
Dear Ray,

In short, if we lived in a multiverse (a group of space-times each with their own speed of light and Planck constant), they would share a common ...

It is something that shows up as 90/270 degrees to "real" space. Oscillations of light move energy into this "imaginary space" according to the permittivity and permeability of free space.

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 21:27 GMT
Dear Jason,

In my models, they would share a common M2-brane. To find that, you would have to travel to the edge of the Universe (which is probably impossible because that horizon is probably expanding faster than your spaceship can travel) or you would have to travel to the core of a Black Hole (which is also impossible because it would crush you). Many of these spaces are orthogonal - whether that orthogonality is real/imaginary/quaternionic/octonionic. Perhaps it is good they are orthogonal - I wouldn't want a Black Hole sigularity to engulf the Universe!

Have Fun!

Ray

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 30, 2010 @ 21:59 GMT
Dear Ray,

I assume that an M2 brane is a two dimensional surface, like a wall? I do have some ideas of what else might use M2 branes, I'll tell you later. I'm talking about coexisting universes that don't need walls. You live in Florida. By an amazing coincidence, you live in the United States too. In another example, all of the AM and FM radio station broadcasts exist in the same space as we do. You can't see them or hear them unless you know how to acquire access to them using a radio.

I'm not talking about something akin to an imaginary space. I know the wording sounds like something out of a kids book, but if I deny the universe access to this imaginary space, then anything having to do with the imaginary number i doesn't work anymore.

1. Schrodinger's equation uses i, so it would not longer work.

2. Quantum mechanics no longer works

3. Maxwell's equations no longer work.

4. Light no longer works.

5. Charges no longer work.

Gravity still works. Quantities of mass-energy can fall. I just don't know if they still obey Relativity.

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 00:49 GMT
Dear Jason,

I'm not opposed to imaginary stuff - imaginary space, imaginary time? It *MIGHT* all exist. But I don't think you can flip a switch and change your axis/dimensions/orthogonality.

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Jason Wolfe replied on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 02:13 GMT
Hi Ray,

To turn it off is just a thought experiment; just to imagine what would happen. We take the physics for granted, but haven't really thought about what is at work or what is in operation.

Nobody thinks about it, but if this "imaginary space" were to be switched off, you might still be left with lots of energy trying to find another way to manifest; you would also be left with gravity. Gravity is just the attractive force that mass-energy induces. It doesn't matter what kind of energy (particulate, light, motion).

I know that quarks and gluons would also not work because they also have a charge (1/3, -2/3). I think neutrinoes would still work. It's possible that the entire mass-energy content of the universe would be converted into nuetrinos.

The other funny thing that happens is that, if the "imaginary space" is switched off, then I don't think anything can interact, other than via gravitation. If that occurs, then maybe black holes would have no reason to produce an event horizon.

Why wouldn't black holes just collapse into a group of singularities?

What if they did? Would it still be a meaningful question to ask how far apart they are? They still exert gravitational forces on each other...

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Ray Munroe replied on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 13:22 GMT
Hi Jason,

I think the M2-brane prevents the core of a Black Hole from becoming a true mathematical singularity. But if an M2-brane behaves like a wall of graphene, perhaps we could create one across a 'doorway'. I worry though that this is equivalent to putting together an array of mini quantum Black Holes - which would require a huge energy expenditure. I don't think that there is a simple way to get to hyperspace or an alternate Universe. As I said earlier, these would be weakly-interacting quantum events that would be so rare that we would probably use supernatural/religious/alien-encounter rational to explain them.

Have Fun!

Ray

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 04:37 GMT
By the way, "turning off" imaginary space might be interpreted as changing the permitiivty and permeability of free space to 0 and 0 respectively. This will prevent energy from entering imaginary space.

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 04:43 GMT
Actually, if you assign 0 to permitivity and permeability, you change the speed of light to infinity. This makes special relativity go away.

I didn't expect this, but if this occurs, then the Einstein equation reduces to...

Gmu,nu + lamda * gmu,nu = 0.

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Anonymous wrote on Mar. 31, 2010 @ 17:51 GMT
Poor kitty. The cat in the photo says: "I Want to Believe In String Theory"

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Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Apr. 7, 2010 @ 23:23 GMT
Dr. Cosmic Ray replied on Mar. 18, 2010 @ 21:18 GMT

"So many possibilities: positive real, negative real,...."

Just a suggestion ... Look for impossibilities. They are fewer and constitute the boundaries for every possibilities to emerge from. Each truth system stands on an impossibility.

impossibility to get both position and momentum of a particle = uncertainty principle = QM

impossibility to go faster than light = special relativity

impossibility to distinguish inertia from gravity = GR

impossibility to see infra-red, to hear ultra-sounds etc. etc. = our perceptual reality .

find the impossibility and then derive normal choiceless consequence build a new truth system...

etc.

Marcel,

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Ray Munroe replied on Apr. 8, 2010 @ 00:15 GMT
Dear Marcel,

Thank you for the suggestion. I like to build models, shoot them down, then progress to the next more general model. It might be more fruitful to prove that which is impossible and proceed from there.

Have Fun!

Ray Munroe aka Dr. Cosmic Ray

p.s. - I studied Cosmic Rays at NASA in 1997-8 and some of my fellow Professors started that nickname. I usually use it when I'm goofing around.

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Peter Mastro wrote on Mar. 5, 2011 @ 15:35 GMT
I was watching one of those science shows, maybe it was Nova, and there was this scientist that stated the belief that if aliens landed on earth religion would crumble. I remember thinking to myself in the context of the bible, are we absolutely sure that aliens aren't the ones that gave us this info?

Scientists tend to believe that if aliens come that they are going to want to talk to our scientists because they are the only ones that have the intellect to communicate with them. They tend to view the metaphysical as primitive. How do we know that it is not just the opposite. How do we know that aliens in an advanced civilization have acheived an enlightened state and would thus view our "scientific" theories as primitive mumbo jumbo.

Alien presence would have no impact on religious belief. If a new religious concept was introduced why would it be any different than Christianity being introduced at a time when Judaism was prevalent, or islam, or Budism or Hindism etc.. The concept that there is no god is not new. It has always been around. Science dogma is not any different than religious dogma to the person who believes it. Science has its god and prophets. There are billions of people on the planet, and a very small number are scientists, and that small number of scientists has contributed the bulk of information that has ultimately skrewed up the planet through the development of the "artificial".

If I was going to another planet a scientist would be the last person I would want to talk to. If an alien came to my door (and didn't look scary)and wanted to communicate with me I would invite him/her in for food and drink and good music.

If you are an alien reading this please call ahead.

Pete

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Jason Wolfe wrote on Mar. 6, 2011 @ 02:27 GMT
Hi Peter,

Is it ok if the "call ahead" is telepathic?

Anyway, your comments make a lot of sense. I was thinking about SETI. The assumption is that aliens use RF technology to signal. I have no idea if SETI is looking at FM broadcasts, or if they're even looking in the right direction. It's not like they're going to respond to a telepathic hint that says, "Look at coordinates such and such; we're the aliens and we're broadcasting from Zeta Reticuli". Can you imagine if a scientist at SETI told somebody that? That person would be laughed at and black balled instantly. Physicists are not friendly and do not respond well to telepathic communication.

I'm watching some video about alien implant research. It's slow and takes time to be able to make build up enough evidence to make a definite statements about a sample. I like the fact that Dr.Leir uses a "chain of custody" evidence protocol.

I wish our leaders had the courage to ask for a public First Contact event.

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