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Messages - Gordian Knot

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I was reading an article on a website which suggested that the sun and solar system were born with the Big Bang!!!!!! Now I know I am an amateur, but even I know that is totally bogus.

So I wrote a simplified, abbreviated correction to the site. I'd be grateful for some feedback if what I wrote is mostly accurate as, again, I am no expert.

This is what I sent them:

The information about the formation of our sun is incorrect, and it leaves out a huge portion of the story.

The gas and dust that eventually formed our sun and solar system was not created from the Big Bang. The Big Bang is currently believed to be roughly 14 billion years ago. Our sun is believed to be 4 1/2 billion years old.

A lot happened between the Big Bang and when our sun finally formed. After the Big Bang and expansion of the universe, the first stars to be formed where massive super stars, monstrously larger than anything but perhaps the largest stars currently in existence.

The early universe was filled with these star giants. It was their deaths, as supernovas, that created and released many new, heavier elements that would someday become stars like our own, and also the planets.

Hope this is of some help.

Thank Goodness Yor-On? lol. I was scratching my head trying to figure out what your comment had to do with the question!

As to the rest, I never suggested "moving" Venus, as if we could even do that. Not to mention the probable nasty  gravitational effects on Earth if we could.

I was asking a hypothetical. What if, When the Solar System Formed, Venus had ended up in Mars' orbit and vice versa.

In a colder outer orbit, what are the chances Venus have ended up evolving very similar to Earth?

If Venus had been in Mars' orbit, could it have evolved into an Earth like planet?

With all the information coming out about Mars recently it seems more and more likely that Mars was Earth-like very early on. But it's small size, lack of a magnetic field, etc. caused its atmosphere to be ripped away by the Sun.

But what if Mars and Venus had had the others orbit. Mars one planet closer to the sun and Venus one planet further from the sun than Earth. Venus is roughly the same size of Earth and certainly maintains an atmosphere.

How would Venus have turned out in this hypothetical. Would it likely, not likely, possibly, have  become very similar to Earth?

Though there has never been any evidence for a technologically advanced civilization, I have been fascinated at how we continue to push back the proof of our own species' advancement.

As I understand it, traditionally the oldest "civilized" cultures were in the 3,000 to 5,000 BCE time frame. This being roughly defined as the growth of agricultural societies, the formation of the first cities, megalith building, etc.

The discovery of the megalithic center Göbekli Tepe comes as quite a shock then, as it is estimated to have been built about 10,000 BCE. It has been called the oldest religious center (though personally I find that comment absurd; there is no evidence whatsoever what this site was built for).

It is also different in that it was apparently built by a hunter/gatherer civilization. No farming, no permanent settlements required. Yet it is megalith building equal to some of the civilizations 5,000 years later.

Since that discovery there have been a few other sites found to have been much earlier than our standard model of the rise of civilization. If these sites push back our advancement so far, how much farther back might there be evidence waiting to be found?

It also would seem to make the concept of a truly ancient advanced society a little bit more feasible. Since we haven't apparently even figured out how "old" human advancement is.

Not questioning the time. A curious comment came up in a discussion last night with some friends. When we say the Earth is that old, at what point in Earth's creation are we talking about?

Did the Earth start forming from minuscule pieces of dust and debree 4 1/2 billion years ago? Or do we start the age count after the Earth was more less fully formed?

Pre Thera? Post Thera?

In what stage of its creation was the earth at the "beginning" that we say was 4 1/2 billion years ago.

Thanks as always for the great responses. A few comments. Someone early on mentioned that it would be wrong not to "try" to find a unified theory of everything.

I agree. Wasn't suggesting otherwise. What I was suggesting is that it is not the only course to follow. Is anyone testing the possibility that there are two sets of physics, that of Relativity, and that of Quantum Mechanics? It seems incomplete to test for but one of these two possibilities.

Imatfaal asked a really interesting question about what would happen if there are indeed two sets of physics. Namely what happens at the changeover point?

Some queries first.
Is the smallest observable thing 10 to the minus 10 meters? (An electron microscope).

Lengths smaller than 10 to the minus 15 meters cannot be confirmed (Roughly the size of protons and  neutrons).

Is it correct that most define the beginning of the Quantum Level at 10 to the minus 14 meters?

If these statements are all true, then it seems to me we can almost observe that zone where the Quantum Level is said to begin. So what is indeed happening in that zone? Do we know anything at all?

Science seems to have a fairly good idea of how the Very Big works, with the foundation being Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Science seems to have a fairly poor idea how how the Very Small works, that having been contributions by a host of folks we call Quantum Theory.

There seems to be a desire to bring these two very disparate systems together somehow. A single theory that explains both how the Very Big AND the Very Small works.

My question (finally) is does there HAVE to be such a unified theory? Is it not possible that things simply act differently; that there are entirely different laws for the Very Small and the Very Big???

Which dovetails, JP, quite nicely into my second issue related to this subject. The word "theory" itself is used in too many ways, as part of too many definitions. No wonder the non-scientist is completely bewildered.

I understand, Graham, what you are saying about evolution being a theory in the strictest sense as all scientific understandings are always open to possible revisions or complete rewrites.

However consider this. Both evolution and the existence of strings are called theories. Yet the evidence for the former is substantial while the evidence for the latter is practically zero. There should be a better word for a process we believe to be factually verified enough that we are confident of its truth.

Graham, I'm not suggesting the proposal should be ditched. It IS a way to explain some things in the world of the very small. As such further study is certainly worth while.

My objection is calling it a theory. Maybe we are just playing with words here, but I do not think so. In science above all else we need to be very careful how we identify things. Scientific theory, as part of its definition, requires testing. We cannot test in any direct way for strings.

Mathematics is not a basis to depend on. Mathematics is a tool invented by humans. As such I am not convinced it is dependable, unless results can be verified.

My concern is that science loses a lot of people because of its internal terminology. For example to say that the theory of evolution has been proven to be fact. To a lot of ordinary people that statement is a contradiction in terms. If evolution is a fact how can it still be a theory? See what I mean?

This has been buggin' me for some time. As I understand it a scientific theory is a query that is analyzed through experimentation to achieve an answer. Results must be capable of being duplicated independently to be considered valid.

That is a loose definition, but it will do for my purposes.

Although mathematically, strings seem to answer some basic questions about quantum mechanics, equations are not proof.

Strings, if they exist, are infinitesimally smaller than anything we can perceive by any devices currently in existence. As such, there is no way to test for the existence of strings.

Ergo, ipso, facto, Columbo, Oreo the existence of strings cannot be considered a "theory". Can it?  Wouldn't a more appropriate terminology be the String proposal?

General Science / Re: Are UFOs real?
« on: 15/05/2012 15:26:54 »
Getting back on point. My earlier query:

If it turns out that there is some way past the speed of light limitation, a civilization that advanced certainly does not need anything we have to offer. So why would they bother to come here?

General Science / Re: Are UFOs real?
« on: 15/05/2012 15:23:28 »
It is my understanding that anything within space is limited to the speed of light, but that space itself is not. That space expanded much faster than the speed of light just after the Big Bang. Of course, my understanding has been known to be confused at times!

General Science / Re: Are UFOs real?
« on: 14/05/2012 15:25:11 »
At present the laws of physics do not allow anything to travel beyond lightspeed.

Except space itself, of course. Which I find very intriguing. In an annoying kinda way........

General Science / Re: Does TV numb the mind?
« on: 10/05/2012 02:15:04 »
But Don, that is my point. Reality shows are so common because people want to watch them. It is a terrible waste of what could be a valuable resource.

David I believe the flaw in your theory is assuming there are fair answers to all questions. Your comment "If people would rather be dead than alive, clearly they have a right to commit suicide - to deny them that is to prolong their suffering and is plain immoral. " Is just one of many examples.

This statement is your opinion. One I happen to agree with, by the way, though that is besides the point. Fact is that there are tens of thousands of people, probably more like hundreds of thousands who believe, truly believe, that a person does not have the right to terminate their life. There is no middle ground here. No clever solution that any person or any A.I. can create.

These types of questions are the basis of the human condition. Life is not black and white. And as long as there are differences of opinion, there are going to be problems.

General Science / Re: Are UFOs real?
« on: 08/05/2012 19:38:44 »
If the laws of physics as we currently understand them prove accurate, there simply is no way an advanced civilization would take the enormous power, time, and resources just to come and visit us. I would go so far as to say it is the height of hubris to think we humans are worth a visit!

If it turns out that there is some way past the speed of light limitation, a civilization advanced enough to have that technology, once again, would desire to come to earth why? If they are that advanced they certainly do not need anything we have to offer.

General Science / Re: Does TV numb the mind?
« on: 08/05/2012 19:33:05 »
Much as I have to say about tv, which is almost completely negative, one thing you can't get around is that shows that don't draw an audience will not stay on the air. If we have almost universally awful tv, it is because that is what the majority of people is watching.

No one forces anyone to watch a reality show.

David said "A.I. won't have to force its way on us - it will simply be probably right about everything and be able to demonstrate that it is probably right. To go against its advice would be idiotic, because it would lead to a worse outcome just about every time...."

David, have you been paying any attention to what is going on in the world these days? People will go, and do go against what is in their best interests every day. Even when one can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that something is true, people will still refuse to believe it. Because their desire to believe what they want is more powerful than any truth to the contrary.

For people to behave in how you describe, they would have to be rational beings above all else. I know very, very few humans who are rational above all else.

You have an amazingly rosy view of humanity. I hope that I am wrong and you are right. I would be thrilled to be proved wrong and you right!

I do not know the case you are referring to. I find it hard to believe that the guilt or innocence of someone would be based solely on a dog's scent ability. As a small portion of a much larger proof of guilt, sure. But on the death scent along?

David, in my humble opinion, the Utopian world you describe will never come to pass. People will be paid just for existing? Where will that money come from? What is a "reasonable" wage.

Nor can I see a situation where humans will accept artificial intelligence controlling them. Not willingly. The only way this could happen is if artificial intelligence were capable of forcing its will on people.

If history teaches us anything, it is that automation has not been kind to the human workforce that was replaced. There seems little proof thus far that this situation has changed. Projecting into the future, with more and more automation putting more and more people out of jobs; things do not look rosy for larger and larger percentages of people.

The only hope is some kind of significant shift in human attitudes about what people are meant to be/do. I have not a clue what that shift could be.

Quote from: Gordian Knot
That is, Does one believe that something that cannot in any way be perceived is real?"

But Dark Matter is percieved. It interacts gravitationaly with all matter which has passive gravitational mass.

Clarification, please. Wouldn't the correct statement be that we perceive the results of dark matter at work? It was not my understanding that we can perceive Dark Matter itself.


Dark matter is about 83pct of the MATTER in the universe.  Dark energy is about 72pct of the total MASS/ENERGY of the universe.  Your top unlined phrase is how I understand it.

No scientist would use the terms interchangeable - they are completely different concepts; really only linked by their names. 

Imat, you have explained a critical part of the definition I was misunderstanding. I.E. the "Matter" versus the "Mass/Energy". Looking back at the discussions, the scientists obviously are talking about one or the other of these two concepts, and not using them interchangeably.

Thank you all for your responses. Starting from the bottom up.

I didn't discuss Dark Matter because, as I understand it, it is not the predominant force at work in the Universe.

My personal opinion - Please don't take this personally, okay? :)

Even so it is Dark Matter which is the topic in this thread, not the most predominant force. If you thought it was more important then you should have added what you did as a side line and not the topic of the post/thread.

No offense taken. In my opinion my comments are related to this discussion, although, admittedly indirectly. The question is "Do you believe Dark Matter is real?" That is, Does one believe that something that cannot in any way be perceived is real?" The question pertains to Dark Energy as well in the sense that it is also something we cannot in any way perceive, but is postulated to exist to explain certain dynamics of how the Universe works.

Thank you all for your responses. Starting from the bottom up.

I didn't discuss Dark Matter because, as I understand it, it is not the predominant force at work in the Universe. Dark Energy supposedly makes up some 70+ % of the Universe; Dark Matter roughly 20+ % and the observable Universe the left over. Hence my comments focused on Dark Energy.

Before I go any further into your other questions, I have one about the above underlined statement.

I have heard numerous statements from cosmologists who say Dark Matter makes up 70+ % of the Universe. So I am very confused about the foundation of the theory right from the beginning. So actually I have two questions.

1. Is 70+ % of the Universe Dark Matter or is it Dark Energy.

2. Why do scientists, who tend to be fairly specific in their statements, seem to use the two terms Dark Matter and Dark Energy, interchangeably when referring to that 70%.

(In all instances I am referring to our current time frame. Billions of years ago Dark Matter supposedly made up a much higher percentage of the whole. I'm not talking about that. I am talking about the current state of the Universe.)

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