Where is "here"?

So what's really going on?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Greta » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:16 am

Obvious Leo wrote:Inevitably this is what the unification model for physics boils down to. Einstein was a genius without question because he could see that time and space were mutually exclusive in the ding an sich but he nailed his colours to the wrong mast. Minkwoski modelled time as relative to the Cartesian space but all this does is model the holographic world of the observer which exists no longer. In the ontological underpinning of this epistemic world it is in fact space which is relative to time because the space lies in the observer's past, along with the events which occurred in it.

When Einstein said "Bullshit, the moon is still there whether somebody is watching it or not" he was right, even though QM says otherwise. The moon is always still "there" whether somebody is watching it or not but the space between the observer and the moon is not. The space between the observer and the moon only exists when somebody is actually looking at the moon because the space exists solely in the consciousness of the observer.
That makes no sense. There are clearly a range of distances between the Earth and Moon that defined by the Moon's current orbital path. Those distances are not an observer effect but ontologically real. That orbital distance - the space between Moon and Earth - can vary. Any variation of that distance would have profound effects most organisms on Earth - including many that know nothing of the Moon and have never observed it.

The claim that space is relative rather than absolute is a very different claim to saying that space does not exist, which is how you usually frame it ... at least until challenged, in which case you revert to "of course there is relative space but ...". People are confused by the shifting goalposts.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:21 am

By the way, raw thought, you absolutely DON'T know what logical positivism means as it applies to physics. I noticed it early on in your posts and I drew attention to it because I could see that this misunderstanding was leading you astray. You have clearly been well schooled in philosophy, although not specifically in the philosophy of science, and you also have a good layman's knowledge of physics, which is enough.

What logical positivism means in physics is that when physicists speak of an expanding universe they intend this statement to be taken literally. When they say that a beam of light follows the trajectory of a curved space this is to be understood as a physical statement. This is not the way that Einstein intended his theory to be used in physics and he took pains throughout his life to stress this point. Albert knew bloody well what SR and GR could and could not tell us about the universe because he was under no illusions that all he'd done was to embellish the Newtonian space rather than replace it. He knew his model would forever be non-mechanical because replacing Newton's instantaneous action at a distance for gravity by his own light-speed action at a distance for the same phenomenon would fix nothing. A non-Euclidean geometric space has no more physical properties than does an Aristotelian absolute space and no amount of clever mathematical shenanigans can obscure this fundamental FACT. Empty space cannot be a causal agent for anything without violating simple human reason, to say nothing of the laws of reciprocal action.

Albert Einstein died knowing perfectly well that he had NOT answered the question about the existential nature of space and time. He was embarrassed throughout his life about the cult of celebrity which grew around him because he often felt that he was a fraud who didn't deserve this because he knew he'd got something badly wrong. He KNEW it. He was a beautiful man and none of this was his fault. Science owes it to this genius to get its head out of its arse and acknowledge that making sense in science is not a trivial inconvenience. It's the entire point of doing it.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:38 am

Greta wrote:Those distances are not an observer effect but ontologically real.
This is an aether theory and was disproven my Michelson-Morley. Why can't these simply be time intervals which are spatialised in the consciousness of the observer. You are speaking of cause and effect relationships and these are temporal phenomena, not spatial ones.
Greta wrote: The claim that space is relative rather than absolute is a very different claim to saying that space does not exist, which is how you usually frame it ... at least until challenged, in which case you revert to "of course there is relative space but ...". People are confused by the shifting goalposts.
I am not shifting goalposts at all. I have many times said that space does not physically exist and I intend that this statement should be taken absolutely literally. Furthermore this is NOT a bleeding edge hypothesis but has represented the mainstream position of most of the major mathematical philosophies in human history. It has been empirically proven both by Michelson-Morley and the EPR paradox.

Just so there can be no confusion about this I'll state it one more time.

Three-dimensional space is an artefact of human consciousness and NOT a physical property of the universe.

When we imagine we are observing a space what we are actually doing is spatialising a time interval, which is exactly what Hermann Minkowski did to Einstein's Special Relativity. By spatialising time Minkowski modelled a holographic universe instead of a real one.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:52 am

Greta. If space is physically real then how do you propose to account for Einstein's comment about the moon? It is an inescapable fact from QM that the moon does not exist unless somebody is observing it. If QM is literally true then the conclusion which Einstein drew from it is also literally true and you'll not find a physicists in the world who will dispute this. If QM is literally true then it is also literally true that the moon does not exist unless somebody is observing it.

The reason why this conclusion shook Einstein so deeply is this. If SR is literally true then QM is literally true. Einstein did what any man of sense would do and instantly concluded that SR cannot be literally true, although he'd already proven this in GR without realising it.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:29 am

In the formal logic of metaphysics the resolution to Einstein's dilemma about the moon is very easily resolved. When Albert looks at the moon he sees it as it was 1.3 seconds ago so what he's looking at no longer exists. The notion of a physical space extending between an observer and a non-existent entity is a metaphysical absurdity but on such a contracted time scale this is not so intuitively obvious.

Imagine yourself looking at a distant star in the night sky. You could be looking at something as it was 1000 years ago and what you are looking at may quite literally no longer exist. ET may have purloined it as a drive for his starship for all you could possibly know. If it does still exist it most certainly won't be where you are observing it to be and it won't be the same object as the one you're looking at. What possible ontological meaning can you attach to the space between you and this stellar object? NONE. If this is true for a far distant star it is just as true for the monitor you're reading these words on.

PoeticUniverse
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:11 am
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by PoeticUniverse » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:32 am

Hello, Greta. I am Leo's echo.

The moon and everything else changes approximately one jillion times a second. There is often enough semblance as well as a sufficient appearance of continuity to more or less say that the moon is still the moon and that it is still there when you turn away from it, and even when you are looking at it. Technically, it comes and goes and comes back, etc., and you can imitate this somewhat if you blink your eyes real fast when looking at it; however, someone on this romantic moonlit beach may think that you're winking/flirting with them.
Last edited by PoeticUniverse on Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:41 am

Think of the "cosmic egg" picture, Greta, the one of the CMB. This is the universe as it was only 380,000 years after the big bang. Is the cosmic egg actually 13.8 billion light-years away from you or is it just 13.8 billion years in your past. You can't have it both ways.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:55 am

While I'm trying to twist your mind into a pretzel try this. You're looking down your gee-whiz telescope at the cosmic egg 13.8 billion "light-years" in the "distance". About 13 billion "light-years" "away" from you between you and the egg lies an intervening galaxy, a fiery primitive thing full of exploding stars, lethal radiation and only the simplest of matter. No planets, no people, no internet forums or reality TV.

Is this intervening galaxy actually closer to the egg than you are, since this is what you observe, or is it now exactly the same "distance" away from it as you are, perhaps now complete with planets, people, internet forums and reality TV?

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:11 am

Let's keep going right past the cosmic egg and on into the Stygian pre-photonic blackness. 380,000 "light-years" further "distant" from the cosmic egg lies the main event itself, the great BIG BANG. We will never be able to observe this event but let's pretend we can. Will we see the universe suddenly bursting into existence from a zero-volume point? No we will not. What we would observe is the universe vanishing back into a zero-volume point because what we've been watching is the history of the universe being played in reverse. Looking into the distance simply means looking back in time and the further into the distance we see the further back in time we see. The big bang no longer exists so to say that it lies 13.8 billion light years in the distance is simply a stupid and misleading statement.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:37 am

PoeticUniverse wrote:Hello, Greta. I am Leo's echo.

The moon and everything else changes approximately one jillion times a second. There is often enough semblance as well as a sufficient appearance of continuity to more or less say that the moon is still the moon and that it is still there when you turn away from it, and even when you are looking at it. Technically, it comes and goes and comes back, etc., and you can imitate this somewhat if you blink your eyes real fast when looking at it; however, someone on this romantic moonlit beach may think that you're winking/flirting with them.
This defines the moon as a process rather than as an object and when we break the moon down to its constituent sub-atomic parts we can then identify the moon as a process which is occurring at the speed of light. However Einstein's confusion doesn't end there because he also forgot about himself as the observer. Moon-stuff and Albert-stuff are just much the same stuff organised somewhat differently so Albert is also a process occurring at the speed of light which means he's actually looking at the moon from the inside of the universe looking out while he imagines that he's looking at the moon as if he were outside the universe looking in. Newton was barking mad but he wasn't stupid and he knew this perfectly well because as far as he was concerned he was modelling the mind of god. However when you're inside the universe looking out there's only one vista before your eyes and that's the one looking backwards down the arrow of time.

No wonder many philosophers seek solace in red wine and recreational herbs.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Greta » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:43 am

Leo (and echo) I spent an hour constructing a critique but deleted it to like to keep things simple, given that the discussion is quite convoluted.

The first pretzel I'd like to untwist is your "space does not exist" meme:
Obvious Leo wrote:I am not shifting goalposts at all. I have many times said that space does not physically exist and I intend that this statement should be taken absolutely literally.
We discussed the idea of relative space earlier. I talked about being directionally challenged and how when I am lost, the SPACE between my home and me is real. Your reply was:
Relatively real, Greta. Your spaces are real relative to each other and relative only to the observer's perception of them
You then talked about how that distance between me and home would be perceived differently by observers on a distant planet. Sure, everything is relative - things appear and manifest differently at different scales. The relative nature of phenomena does not render them unreal, only relative in nature and existent only by definition of the relationships. However, since those relationships exist, the phenomena exist.

As raw_thought suggested, without space everything would be mashed together in a infinitely small area. Yet we are not. Yet this is the only possible conclusion one can come to based on the statement "space does not physically exist". That probably describes an earlier state of reality, but not the current one.

I'll try to unravel more pretzels later, depending on how this one untwists or not.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:32 am

Greta wrote: However, since those relationships exist, the phenomena exist.
The central thrust of any process philosophy is that the phenomena exist AS relationships which is all about the structure/function divide. In a way it's simply a matter of asking the right questions of the world around us. When we interrogate a physical system instead of asking what it is we ask what it is doing, which means the universe is only definable in the language of its changes. The notion of the "object" has an epistemic currency in the consciousness of the observer but no ontological currency whatsoever because an object is actually an event.

This is the entire central point of relativity. If differently located observers observe a different distance between you and your home then how are we to determine which is the "correct distance"? Galileo, Leibniz, Poincare and Einstein were in lockstep on the point that there is no valid reason why one observer's referential frame be preferred over that of another? Ironically modern physics accepts this as well which is why distances in theoretical physics are ALWAYS measured with a clock and then translated into a spatial co-ordinate system. The REAL distance between you and your home is a time interval and the duration of this interval depends on the relativistic motions of you and your home and nothing more. The most precise way to measure this would be by timing an E/M signal and this is exactly what physicists do.
Greta wrote: without space everything would be mashed together in a infinitely small area.
This statement is meaningless. Without space the concept of area is not a physically valid construct. This has created a lot of difficulties in sub-atomic physics where it is only possible to model particles as dimensionless point-like entities. Notions such as "area" and "volume" are completely invalid at the sub-atomic scale so at what arbitrary level of scale should they suddenly acquire some significance? The question is a rhetorical one because the answer is obvious. "Area" and "volume" only have an epistemic meaning in the mind of the observer of them and we cannot directly observe the sub-atomic world. We can only observe space on the macro scale.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Greta » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:31 am

Greta wrote: However, since those relationships exist, the phenomena exist.
Obvious Leo wrote:The notion of the "object" has an epistemic currency in the consciousness of the observer but no ontological currency whatsoever because an object is actually an event.
I find the "it's a new you every Planck interval" line of thought too reductionist and I think our difference seems more semantic than ontological. The semantic of the the word "object" suggests something unalive, immovable, unchanging and fixed in time, which of course is an ideal, not reality. Despite the constant incremental change at the Planck interval, it's still me, the dog, a rock or a table tomorrow as it has been so far today.

There is surely some scale of time and space where everything we know is basically an immediately dissolving blip in reality or entirely invisible but in all other cases each scale of reality has its own objects.
Obvious Leo wrote:This is the entire central point of relativity. If differently located observers observe a different distance between you and your home then how are we to determine which is the "correct distance"? Galileo, Leibniz, Poincare and Einstein were in lockstep on the point that there is no valid reason why one observer's referential frame be preferred over that of another? Ironically modern physics accepts this as well which is why distances in theoretical physics are ALWAYS measured with a clock and then translated into a spatial co-ordinate system. The REAL distance between you and your home is a time interval and the duration of this interval depends on the relativistic motions of you and your home and nothing more. The most precise way to measure this would be by timing an E/M signal and this is exactly what physicists do.
Physicists are trying to create models that are efficacious on a range of scales. I'm not - I'm trying to get home from "here".

Those models, as you say, aren't reality. No physicist would argue that the distance to my home was not x kms, with x describing either the distance as calculated by GPS or the arc of the Earth's surface between two points - take your pick. Given that such a small distance wouldn't require reference to light speed, physicists would not refer to that distance in terms of time because they wouldn't know my speed of travel.

You can fairly say that spatial dimensions are not what we think they are due to their relativistic nature, but you can't say that they are not reality. I don't see why entities should need be significant or noticeable at all scales in order to be considered real.
Greta wrote: without space everything would be mashed together in a infinitely small area.
Obvious Leo wrote:This statement is meaningless.
Yes, but that's what your words evoke, and not just in met.
Obvious Leo wrote:Without space the concept of area is not a physically valid construct. This has created a lot of difficulties in sub-atomic physics where it is only possible to model particles as dimensionless point-like entities. Notions such as "area" and "volume" are completely invalid at the sub-atomic scale so at what arbitrary level of scale should they suddenly acquire some significance? The question is a rhetorical one because the answer is obvious. "Area" and "volume" only have an epistemic meaning in the mind of the observer of them and we cannot directly observe the sub-atomic world. We can only observe space on the macro scale.
Space is present at quantum levels, hence electron orbitals. My understanding is it's Planck scale where space is supposedly meaningless.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:46 pm

Greta wrote: I find the "it's a new you every Planck interval" line of thought too reductionist and I think our difference seems more semantic than ontological. The semantic of the the word "object" suggests something unalive, immovable, unchanging and fixed in time, which of course is an ideal, not reality. Despite the constant incremental change at the Planck interval, it's still me, the dog, a rock or a table tomorrow as it has been so far today.
The notion of an "object" having a temporal extension only is the antithesis of reductionism because it means an emergent entity is only definable in terms of it's behaviour rather than in terms of its structure. Indeed the very notion of structure becomes a purely epistemic one, although none the less useful because of it. Instead of thinking of an atom as being structured in a particular way we instead think of it as being maintained in a particular stable state by the processes occurring within it. The physics is the same but the conceptual emphasis is slightly different and we think through the various emergent hierarchies in the same way. My dog is the same dog today as she was yesterday not because she is physically composed in the same way because she simply isn't. She is the same dog because her dogginess is being maintained in a stable state by a complex hierarchies of emergent processes within her, each of which are likewise being maintained in a stable state. This is the essence of an autopoietic or self-creating system.

Did you read that Capra/Luisi book I recommended for you?
Greta wrote: There is surely some scale of time and space where everything we know is basically an immediately dissolving blip in reality or entirely invisible but in all other cases each scale of reality has its own objects.
Yes. As long as the objects at each scale are understood to be emergent entities and therefore constructs of the consciousness of the observer. This is the story of the quark being a quark only because that's what we've all agreed to call it. In an ontological sense there is no such thing as a quark and in a generation from now the geeks will be smiling indulgently at the quaint ideas of today's geeks. Such is the epistemic nature of science but what we seem to see nowadays is the interminable conflation of the map and the territory. The SM is not modelling an objectively real entity but a particular procedure of thought inferred from our observations of the sub-atomic world. In turn these observations are determined by the way we interrogate this world.

"It is the THEORY which determines what the observer will observe".....Albert Einstein.
Greta wrote: Those models, as you say, aren't reality. No physicist would argue that the distance to my home was not x kms, with x describing either the distance as calculated by GPS or the arc of the Earth's surface between two points - take your pick. Given that such a small distance wouldn't require reference to light speed, physicists would not refer to that distance in terms of time because they wouldn't know my speed of travel.
True. At such a scale distances are calculated for convenience as distances but a metre is nevertheless officially defined as a time interval on a light clock. All the models of physics are regarded as effective models only and therefore approximations only. I'm often critical of the procedural flaws in academic physics but not usually of the physicists who wield the tools. In general they know perfectly well that the models they work with are only predictive tools which have no explanatory authority, so what pisses me off is that they seldom bother to make this clear to the general lay public, many of whom then see science as a belief system no different from any other.
Greta wrote: You can fairly say that spatial dimensions are not what we think they are due to their relativistic nature, but you can't say that they are not reality. I don't see why entities should need be significant or noticeable at all scales in order to be considered real.
I think this is simply an issue of semantics and making a distinction between that which is fundamentally real and that which is emergently real. At the Planck scale my dog is just little informational bits being processed at the speed of light. Although this is the ding an sich of the dog it says nothing about her dogginess, which is a property which emerges at a far higher level of informational complexity. However all the interwoven informational hierarchies which constitute the dog cannot be said to be objectively real because as observers we can change them simply by choosing to model the physical insides of the dog differently. The reality of the dog is specified by the observer of it.
Greta wrote:Space is present at quantum levels, hence electron orbitals. My understanding is it's Planck scale where space is supposedly meaningless.
No. Electron orbitals are purely mathematical objects. They are generally defined as a probability function of three different components, these being energy, angular momentum and a particular vector component. In a physics popularisation you might occasionally see a geek say something spatial like an electron is to its nucleus as Pluto is to the sun but this is very bad imagery and a rather foolish thing to do. It actually makes no sense at all to speak of the dynamic relationships between the various sub-atomic particles as spatial distances when in fact what counts is the time interval between one event and the next. This is why the absence of gravity in the SM is such a serious problem because time and gravity are the same thing at the Planck scale.

raw_thought
Posts: 1636
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:16 pm
Location: trapped inside a hominid skull

Re: Where is "here"?

Post by raw_thought » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:03 pm

“Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non¬religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.’
FROM
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/dec/10 ... nt-creator
I guess I won’t receive a Nobel Prize! Obvious syllogisms have been thought of many times before.
1. Our Universe is outrageously fit for life.
2. This can be because it is
A: fine-tuned which implies a God
Or
B: not fine-tuned.
The only reasonable explanation for how “B” can create a universe so outrageously fit for life is the multiverse theory. If there are trillions (perhaps even infinite) amount of universes, most would not have constants capable of allowing life. However, a tiny percent will. Obviously, we must be in that tiny percentile. It is nothing miraculous. For example, if I toss a coin one hundred times and it is heads 100 times that is vastly improbable (similarly, if there is only one universe, it is vastly unlikely that that universe will have constants exactly suitable for life.). However, if I toss a coin 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 times it is very likely that at some point there will be 100 heads in a row.
……………………
Obvious Leo’s theory that only time exists, is only a mathematical construction. * We experience empirically the reality of space every day. I know that my house is 5 miles from work. My computer screen is 2 feet from my face. If Leo is correct, then not only is there no separation between objects (there is no distance because space does not exist), volume (space) also does not exist. There is also no such thing as movement. Speed is measured by comparing space units to time units. For example miles per hour.

* Why is time so special? Why am I allowed to say that 4 hours have passed by and I cannot say that I am 6 foot 2 inches tall?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ginkgo, RCSaunders and 1 guest