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Thread: Without math, you are not doing physics - you are merely making up stories

  1. #31
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    I think part of the, uh, let's call it confusion, is due to the fact that many ATM theories "predict" results that are vastly different and easily distinguishable from current mainstream theories. So, of course, to "prove" the ATM theory right, all you have to do is look. The evidence should be purely qualitative.

    But what about an ATM theory that predicts similar (but not identical) results? How does one determine if such a theory has merit? Or what about competing ATM theories with similar results? A qualitative observation may show us that the mainstream theory is wrong

    For example, say no particle is predicted to be emitted, but there is one. Clearly the current theory is wrong. However, we have two competing theories that do predict the particle emission. Both theories are fundamentally different at the core, but both predict a particle. Unless you do the math to figure out the properties of the emitted particle predicted by the theory, you can't tell. You need the quantitative prediction of theory -- which implies the qualitative properties of the particle -- to compare with quantitative and qualitative measurements of the emitted particle.

    But it's really very easy to stop and rejoice once you see that particle, isn't it?

  2. #32
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    Wink Do not use this math for your Ph.D thesis!

    Math is a tool, much as any tool used to build, such as a carpenter might use a hammer and saw. But if the tool is used wrongly, no matter how good the tool, the end construct will not hold together. Reality, what we are able to measure empirically, is still the final arbiter of what the mathematical tool describes, no matter how pure and elegant that tool may be. The trouble is with the final construct, the story created with this tool, that I hear challenged here on ATM, such as space inflation and the Big Bang, that some find objectionable. The end product is a house that does not stand up straight, so the story is not to be believed, though the tool used for its construction was perfect.

    For example, I showed the math to apply Milgrom’s MOND to our solar system here, and here computed the end result which approximates, however broadly, the Pioneer Anomaly. But I do not know that the math (which thus far remains unchallenged) is truly describing what is happening. The math postulated on a variable G, growing by a rather large measure of 1G per 1 AU with distance from the Sun, shows mathematically what happens with distance for a delta of acceleration (towards the Sun), but until this is measured empirically, it is just a story. A story made up mathematically is still just a story, until measured to verify its predictions. My math shows the Pioneer Anomaly, per modified MOND, predicts this acceleration delta is –a = 8.415E-7 m/s^2 (vs. –a = 8E-8 cm/s^2 for Pioneers) so not an exact match, but one which at least warrants a look. However, to date we have no measurements of what G is for the outer solar system, since we postulated Newton’s G to be a universal constant and measured ALL distant observations with this postulated G. Our mass measures, per Equivalence, may be off if G is not the same as here on Earth, but this would not show up in orbital dynamics, though it would show up in planetary density, something easily measured in atmospheric density. Why would Titan’s atmosphere, for example, be ten times taller than Earth’s atmosphere, when Titan is smaller than Earth? So the story, using math as a tool with a constant G is one way, while math using a variable G makes the story another way. Which is true? This is easily resolved with an empirical measure of G away from Earth’s known G. Then perhaps the story built up mathematically will have some more credence as a story.

    I bring this up not to push for a variable G, but to illustrate that even with math we can weave any stories we like, as long as the math is right. But math is only a tool, and not in and of itself an a priori justification for theory being right. Theory is still just a story, until it is verified empirically, not within the domain of the math used, but with a ‘double blind’ test type measurements, where the measurements are verified independent of the math used. That’s when the story gets interesting. Copernicus, Keppler, Brahe, Galileo, all made our former stories of astronomy obsolete with real observations, supported by the math. The trouble I see, expressed by many on these ATM pages, is when the math paints the story first, and then is used to prove the story, the story gets muddled. Remember the Ptolemeic epicycles within epicycles? There were mathematically correct, but the story came out wrong, much to regret for all those who bought into the original story. It took empirical evidence, independent of the mathematical epicycles, to finally get the story right. That said, I agree that any story in physics, or astrophysics, must in the end find mathematical expression, since that is the only way we can use it for predictability of physics phenomena.

    BTW, if G is variable with distance from the Sun, as I suspect (1 G per 1 AU), then at very great distances from the Sun, or any star and galaxy ‘hot’ energy, say 50,000 AU and beyond, the G would be very high, and high enough to ‘gravitationally’ redshift all cosmic light passing through the gases and molecules of intergalactic space at about the Hubble constant. Take one hydrogen molecule per cubic centimeter of space and gravitationally redshift it per light year with G = ~10X-6, and see what you get. I worked out the math on these boards, like here and here, and it comes in pretty close. Still, even if the math is correct, the whole idea of a variable G may be no more than a fine fiction. But if we accept a priori that all distant cosmic redshift is due to Doppler effect space expansion, are we not entertaining a similar fine fiction? How do you ‘double blind’ test for space expansion? And if we don’t test for an independent verification, independent of the math used, then how do we know it is real? BBT may be no more than another story, awaiting another Copernicus type to blow it away, with the math of course! All we have to do is test empirically to see if the tools used were right for the story.

    Cheers, Ivan

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Angstrom View Post
    The theories of relativity began with Einsteinís seminal idea at the age of fourteen that, if you could travel at the speed of light, a light wave would look like a straight line. The math and observations came later. Much, much later. This is the natural order in the evolution of any complex theory. Should we fault the young Einstein for thinking ahead of the math and observations?
    No, because later on he learned and applied the mathematics necessary to flesh out and describe his ideas. Something the ATMers don't bother with.

    Fred
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Angstrom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid
    The theory of General Relativity (GR) superceded Newton's theory of gravity ... based on the quantitative results of experiments and observations designed to test the quantitative predictions of that theory. Cosmology today is based on GR, and some of the most stringent tests of GR are astronomical.
    The theories of relativity began with Einsteinís seminal idea at the age of fourteen that, if you could travel at the speed of light, a light wave would look like a straight line. The math and observations came later. Much, much later. This is the natural order in the evolution of any complex theory. Should we fault the young Einstein for thinking ahead of the math and observations?
    Much to discuss here Bob Angstrom, for example:

    * If there were no Einstein, would we have had a theory of Special Relativity (SR)? (A: almost certainly yes, and almost certainly about the same time)

    * If SR hadn't proved itself, would Einstein have gone on to develop GR? (A: this one is probably un-answerable)

    * At any point, did Einstein regard it as unimportant to convert his ideas into hard numbers and equations? consider that his ideas were exempt from the scrutiny that theories in physics (of his day) were subject to? that quantitative tests of his ideas were either misplaced or anti-thetical to them? (A: no, on all counts)

    But perhaps this thread isn't the place to have such discussions; after all, the central questions are, as I re-cast them:
    1) Do the proponents of non-quantitative ATM ideas feel that these ideas are exempt, somehow, from the kind of scrutiny which the rest of astronomy is subject to?

    2) That a re-writing of all of astronomy is possible, to put it on a purely qualitative basis?

    3) That vague, qualitative ideas are somehow superior to detailed numerical models built from quantitative physics theories?

    4) What is the realm - within astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - within which an insistence on maths, numbers, equations and stuff is misplaced, or even downright antithetical to science?

    5) How can ATM ideas - in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - be tested, other than by quantitative means?
    And wrt to these questions, I can't see how a historical account of how Einstein developed his ideas into SR, and later GR, is relevant ... but maybe you can?

  5. #35
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    As a quick OT, I can say that neutron stars have been confirmed, since the 70's. I was actually in a class discussing some of the current research methods with a pulsar astronomer at my college, Prof. Rankin. On Arxiv, there are volumes of research that discuss qualitative and quantitative findings on pulsars, and several observatories (Jodrell Bank, for instance) that routinely do observations on neutron stars.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    Excellent observations!

    However, they are not relevant to this thread! :surprised

    To repeat, this thread's scope is how one can do astronomy, today, without being quantitative*.

    Let me repeat, and number, the questions I asked in the OP:

    1) Do the proponents of non-quantitative ATM ideas feel that these ideas are exempt, somehow, from the kind of scrutiny which the rest of astronomy is subject to?

    2) That a re-writing of all of astronomy is possible, to put it on a purely qualitative basis?

    3) That vague, qualitative ideas are somehow superior to detailed numerical models built from quantitative physics theories?

    4) What is the realm - within astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - within which an insistence on maths, numbers, equations and stuff is misplaced, or even downright antithetical to science?

    5) How can ATM ideas - in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - be tested, other than by quantitative means?

    Would you like to attempt to answer any of these five questions?

    *or, if you prefer, without using even arithmetic
    There seems to be a certain 'with us or against us' mindset in this notion that anything which isn't fully mainstream goes against all fundamental principles of logic and math. Math is a tool. It is extremely necessary for the intellectual process, but it's not a gift from some higher realm. Can you think of any mathematical symbol which cannot be otherwise explained in normal language? What it does is provide a medium for taking large amounts of logical constructs and reducing them to a quantity which the human mind can effectively manage. High end math is like a bulldozer to the shovel of basic math, but it is still a tool.

    I recall a discussion on a usenet forum in which various mathematicians were having a contest as to who could come up with the best proof to show that 1=0.

    It is natural for people who have spent their lives laboring under a particular paradigm to try and fit every bit of information into the framework of that model. Since their fundamental point of reference is that model, nothing which supports it could be considered illogical. If they need to prove that 1=0, or black is white, or that space expands, but the speed of light doesn't increase, then it is simply a task to be done. Occasionally though, the model will crack and some of these disciples turn into the most effective critics.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by brodix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid
    I guess the 'good news' here is that we are getting close to understanding this 'logical inconsistency'* (in another thread), and it is (to me) looking increasingly likely that it is (simply) a misunderstanding of GR.
    Presumably you meant to link to an earlier thread. I only introduced that argument in the second to last post and the last post was mine as well, so there was no response to it yet. The only earlier solutions to it I recall basically involved saying they were simply two different coordinate systems. Which may be true, but they are both determined by properties of light. (The Arabs and the Israelis use two different coordinate systems to define the Middle East, but it's still the same ground.)
    Indeed.

    Without coming to grips with what 'distance' is, and how it can (in principle) be measured, I doubt that your apparent inconsistency can be further addressed without getting into the nitty-gritty of 'distance in GR' (and possibly much more besides).

    Or, to put it another way, on the scale of the universe, one's intuitive ideas of distance (etc) can lead one badly astray ... at least in a GR-based universe ...
    The other part ("[t]his habit of proposing massive additions to reality") is more worrying - if you're doing astrophysics or cosmology, what do you do with observations that don't fit the current theories? Ignore them? or develop a (quantitative) extension to the theory (or a new theory), and then go test it? However, I think we should explore this in another thread, perhaps "ATM Science" - is there such a thing?
    You can propose any number of extensions you wish, but the more speculative they are, the more caveats should be attached. This makes it more likely that all possible alternatives will be considered and not have the establishment gravitate to whatever supports the current model, because the result is politics, not science.
    (my bold)

    Aye, but there's the rub (and the link back to this thread): if any of those alternatives is not quantitative (and noting that the extensions on the table, today, are), why should they (the non-quantitative alternatives) be exempt from the scrutiny given to the mainstream (quantitative) extensions? why are vague, qualitative ideas superior to detailed numerical models built from quantitative physics theories? how is an insistence on maths, numbers, equations and stuff misplaced (wrt these ATM alternatives), or even anti-thetical to science?

  8. #38
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    Well Nereid, if you are handing out sticky
    golden stars here I would like a couple to
    be going on with

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by brodix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid
    Excellent observations!

    However, they are not relevant to this thread!

    To repeat, this thread's scope is how one can do astronomy, today, without being quantitative*.

    Let me repeat, and number, the questions I asked in the OP:

    1) Do the proponents of non-quantitative ATM ideas feel that these ideas are exempt, somehow, from the kind of scrutiny which the rest of astronomy is subject to?

    2) That a re-writing of all of astronomy is possible, to put it on a purely qualitative basis?

    3) That vague, qualitative ideas are somehow superior to detailed numerical models built from quantitative physics theories?

    4) What is the realm - within astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - within which an insistence on maths, numbers, equations and stuff is misplaced, or even downright antithetical to science?

    5) How can ATM ideas - in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - be tested, other than by quantitative means?

    Would you like to attempt to answer any of these five questions?

    *or, if you prefer, without using even arithmetic
    There seems to be a certain 'with us or against us' mindset in this notion that anything which isn't fully mainstream goes against all fundamental principles of logic and math. Math is a tool. It is extremely necessary for the intellectual process, but it's not a gift from some higher realm. Can you think of any mathematical symbol which cannot be otherwise explained in normal language? What it does is provide a medium for taking large amounts of logical constructs and reducing them to a quantity which the human mind can effectively manage. High end math is like a bulldozer to the shovel of basic math, but it is still a tool.

    I recall a discussion on a usenet forum in which various mathematicians were having a contest as to who could come up with the best proof to show that 1=0.

    It is natural for people who have spent their lives laboring under a particular paradigm to try and fit every bit of information into the framework of that model. Since their fundamental point of reference is that model, nothing which supports it could be considered illogical. If they need to prove that 1=0, or black is white, or that space expands, but the speed of light doesn't increase, then it is simply a task to be done. Occasionally though, the model will crack and some of these disciples turn into the most effective critics.
    I'm not sure how any of this post addresses any of the five questions you quote - could you please clarify?

    In particular, you seem to have created a strawman not dissimilar to that which galacsi made, earlier in this thread - this thread is NOT about whether intuitions, qualitative ideas, etc do (or don't) play a role (or even a very important role) in the development of modern astronomy (etc); nor is it about the potential abuses which use of math (etc) may lead to; nor ... it is about whether any BAUT member thinks that a good case can be made for 'you can do astronomy, as a science, today, using purely non-quantitative methods' (or something similar).

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tensor View Post
    While that's true, wouldn't Poisson's objection be the result of a quantitative analysis?
    Hey, I'm not arguing against math, I just laid that out there as an example of what Nereid was asking for.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    Excellent observations!

    However, they are not relevant to this thread! :surprised

    To repeat, this thread's scope is how one can do astronomy, today, without being quantitative*.

    ::snip::

    *or, if you prefer, without using even arithmetic
    Thankfully, you have still left us the alphabet, or I wouldn't be able to post!

    Another good example is just amateur observers--say, one is looking at their favorite constellation, and sees a smudge. An hour later the smudge has moved, and they report it to the powers that be, and the new comet is named for them. Are they "doing astronomy" Is it in any way quantitative?

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    While we might have a very interesting discussion of your (stated) (dis-)belief, I think it would be OT for this thread.

    More generally, if that's so, and you are not prepared to defend any such claims galacsi, may I conclude that you have no interest in participating in threads which cover cosmology?
    I am not sure i undestand well what you mean but :

    No I dont participate in thread which are pure Cosmology.
    About ATM theory , I am just interested in the electric sun and electric comets.
    More a sympathiser that a believer.
    Sun and comets , i feel related to them , they can impact our life in more than one way. I give an example : If the sun is not powered by fusion in its heart ; then the whole world and my country spend all that money with Tokamaks and ITER for nothing.
    Last edited by galacsi; 2006-Dec-28 at 07:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristophe View Post
    I think part of the, uh, let's call it confusion, is due to the fact that many ATM theories "predict" results that are vastly different and easily distinguishable from current mainstream theories. So, of course, to "prove" the ATM theory right, all you have to do is look. The evidence should be purely qualitative.
    Actually, a lot of ATM arguments fail precisely because they are "Look at the picture" arguments, ignoring that you have to understand the physical context of the image, which usually is highly quantitative: What is the scale of the image features? What is/are the temperatures of the image object(s)? How is this determined from the image data? What is the density of image objects? What, based on physics (thermodynamics, gravitational force, etc.), can we deduce from this image? And so forth.

    Further, many (most?) images are not simple photographs, but are processed, manipulated data, which is, of course, a quantitative process. Unfortunately, in many arguments these images are treated as simple photographs. Also, a great deal of data is not available in image format and has to be considered quantitatively to understand.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    Another good example is just amateur observers--say, one is looking at their favorite constellation, and sees a smudge. An hour later the smudge has moved, and they report it to the powers that be, and the new comet is named for them. Are they "doing astronomy" Is it in any way quantitative?
    If the amateur is going to report something funny in the sky, he has to be able to tell other people where to look. Just saying "a little west of Sirius" isn't good enough. Any comet-hunting amateur worth his sodium chloride is going to have the setting circles set correctly and will be able to report right ascention and declination, as well as his location, the time(s), and estimated speed in degrees per hour (or whatever). Thus, mathematics.

    A rank amateur (one without setting circles, like myself) may be able to accurately describe the location, but someone who knows how has to confirm the location.

    Fred
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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Actually, a lot of ATM arguments fail precisely because they are "Look at the picture" arguments, ignoring that you have to understand the physical context of the image, which usually is highly quantitative: What is the scale of the image features? What is/are the temperatures of the image object(s)? How is this determined from the image data? What is the density of image objects? What, based on physics (thermodynamics, gravitational force, etc.), can we deduce from this image? And so forth.
    You mean a bit like neutron stars... presumably based on the chemistry/physics which shows that free neutrons are unstable with a half life of about 15 minutes, and atomic nuclei are unstable when there are more than about 150 neutrons present.

    Regards,
    Ian Tresman

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    Quote Originally Posted by iantresman View Post
    You mean a bit like neutron stars... presumably based on the chemistry/physics which shows that free neutrons are unstable with a half life of about 15 minutes
    A bit over 10 minutes, actually.

    , and atomic nuclei are unstable when there are more than about 150 neutrons present.

    Regards,
    Ian Tresman
    A neutron star is not a nucleus. Gravity dominates, and yes, math is very important in determining the parameters of neutron stars.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

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  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by iantresman View Post
    You mean a bit like neutron stars... presumably based on the chemistry/physics which shows that free neutrons are unstable with a half life of about 15 minutes, and atomic nuclei are unstable when there are more than about 150 neutrons present.

    Regards,
    Ian Tresman
    Not chemistry, rather quantum physics, as applied to electrons, neutrons, and protons ... of course, it's quantum physics with (special) relativity included ...

    Would you like some references to the relevant physics?

    In fact, I'll start a Q&A thread on it ...

    [ETA: Done]

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by nutant gene 71 View Post
    Math is a tool, much as any tool used to build, such as a carpenter might use a hammer and saw. But if the tool is used wrongly, no matter how good the tool, the end construct will not hold together...
    Case in point: duality. Duality is missing-in-action from the mainstream.

    What good is the model if duality is not included?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Wilson View Post
    Case in point: duality. Duality is missing-in-action from the mainstream.

    What good is the model if duality is not included?
    Wave/Particle duality? Or are you referring to some other (presumably scientific) form of duality? And what model does not include it? How is math involved (or not)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nutant gene 71 View Post
    Snip
    So the story, using math as a tool with a constant G is one way, while math using a variable G makes the story another way. Which is true? This is easily resolved with an empirical measure of G away from Earthís known G. Then perhaps the story built up mathematically will have some more credence as a story.
    Snip
    All we have to do is test empirically to see if the tools used were right for the story.
    Cheers, Ivan
    Hi Ivan,
    I think there is an interesting parallel example to the MOND case you presented, that has gone to the next step. I am talking about the the claim of evidence for a non velocity component of redshift. The ability to now obtain an independent measure of distance has allowed a test for which "tool" is right for the story.
    The independent measures now available are Cepheid distances and Tully Fisher Relationship distances for spiral galaxies.
    In the recent discussion of the Russell paper in the Arp et al forum, the ATM concept of a non velocity component was demonstrated quantitatively while the oppostion to the idea was presented in only qualitative terms by the mainstream proponents. I believe this is an example of how old ideas are displaced/modified by ideas that become mainstream.
    TomT

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    Pictures/Sketches

    Nereid,

    Do pictures/illustrations and geometric examinations count as math because I find that I can not always determine the math needed until after or during the drawing of a picture/illustration?

    Right now I am contemplating the geometric implications of relativistic beaming - I think I can develop a reasonable idea of what I want to convey via graphics (but the graphics will also need math to be accurate) but until I get a graphic idea my math skills, feeble as they are, will not be useful.

    Also, a good word picture of the idea is quite useful - sort of like a story problem from math class except ATMers tell the story first and, hopefully, realize the math that is needed after the story is told.

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    I think qualitative methods can be a useful tool in describing something in a preliminary sense - an abstract description combined with a diagram - can be useful to get a general idea. Quantitative methods are good for getting into the mechanics of a theory, math within research represents the nuts and bolts of the research efforts, results that can be scrutinized closely with glee and fervor. If there is a mathematical mistake, someone *will* find it and call the researcher on it. Many graphs in astronomy are the result of observations that have had math applied to it, some show a relationship in observations. The H-R diagram I think is a good example of this. It was originally a series of qualitative observations, and then a relationship was found that could be quantitatively scrutinized and described, mainly the relationship between mass and luminosity. As I said, I think most initial observations and hypotheses are qualitative, but are then backed up and reinforced with strong quantitative observations and measures. My calculus sucks, but I truly understand the importance of higher-level math within physics and astronomy.

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    1) Do the proponents of non-quantitative ATM ideas feel that these ideas are exempt, somehow, from the kind of scrutiny which the rest of astronomy is subject to?
    No.

    2) That a re-writing of all of astronomy is possible, to put it on a purely qualitative basis?
    No.

    3) That vague, qualitative ideas are somehow superior to detailed numerical models built from quantitative physics theories?
    No.

    4) What is the realm - within astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - within which an insistence on maths, numbers, equations and stuff is misplaced, or even downright antithetical to science?
    None.

    5) How can ATM ideas - in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - be tested, other than by quantitative means?
    Huh?

    When Inflation theory and Dark energy are fully explained and proven, I'll surrender.

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    A latecomer to the thread, but I feel compelled to post Heinlein's observation (in his character Lazarus Long):

    "Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe and not make messes in the house."
    --Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love", (Robert A. Heinlein)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
    Any comet-hunting amateur
    In my example (I get to make up the details), they weren't comet hunting, they just happened to find a comet. That's still astronomy, isn't it?

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    Kant

    With the 18th century work of Herschel, Laplace, and the ensuing efforts of 19th century astronomers, both theoretical and observational cosmology crossed the threahold of a new era. The discovery of a supernova in the Andromeda nebula (1880's) came as a surprise to some, to others it was confirmation of what they had suspected all along: Our galaxy was not unique. Immanuel Kant had written about this possibility in his influential Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755).

    Following suggestions from a certain Mr. Wright of Duram__who regarded the fixed stars as a system with the greatest resemblance to that of the planets, rather than a randomly scattered swarm__Kant wrote of the stars in our Milky Way as forming a circular plane. Furthermore he wrote "I consider the species of nebulous stars, of which De Maupertuis makes mention in his treatise "On the Figure of the Fixed Stars" which present the form of more or less open elipses: and I easily persuade myself that these stars can be nothing else than a mass of many fixed stars...And I further saw that that, on account of their feeble light, they are removed to an inconceivable distance from us."

    [snip]

    "We see that at immense distances there are more of such star-systems, and that the creation in all the infinite extent of its vastness is everywhere systematic and related in all its members...The plan of their revelation must therfore, like themselves, be infinite and without bounds." Kant, 1755)

    Kant was 31 years old when he wrote what is often credited to E. Hubble: the discovery that galaxies (nebula) are star systems that lie beyond the Milky Way, and thus enlarging our view of the heavens.

    Hubble, Einstein, de Sitter (and others) were almost certainly familliar with Kant's theory (which by the way introduced several aspects of what would later find its way into relativistic cosmology, from SR to the big bang: He had written about "the power of expansion poportional to the heat...the most violent conflagration...the most volatile matter" with obvious Newtonian influence). M. Friedman noted that reference to the Kantian framework was almost necessary arbitration in all debate of the foundations of physical science up until the early 1930's.

    I don't recall seeing one equation in Kant's seminal work(s).

    Coldcreation
    Last edited by Coldcreation; 2006-Dec-29 at 01:02 PM.

  26. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coldcreation View Post
    I don't recall seeing one equation in Kant's seminal work(s).
    There were page numbers

  27. #57
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    I note that your questions donít deal so much with ATM ideas as with the attitudes of those who present their ideas and I often suspect there is a gulf of misunderstanding between the qualitative and quantitative presentation of ideas.

    One person will run a half baked idea up the flag pole just to see if it waves. They might say, "I think the moon must be made of green cheese."
    Another person replies, "Show me the math."
    "I donít have the math."
    "Then get the math."
    "I donít see how math would make any sense. Itís not a math problem."
    "Then you should study astronomy, physics, calculus and Einstein."
    "What do they have to say about green cheese?"
    "Read them and find out."
    "But thatís a lot to read."
    "So what? I did?"
    "And what do they say about the moon being made of green cheese?"
    "I canít answer that until you show me the math."

    Those who present their views in a non-quantitative manner are usually looking for a non-qualitative consideration of their views and I donít find this to be an unreasonable expectation. They are not asserting the supremacy of that point of view they are just looking for an answer they can understand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    1) Do the proponents of non-quantitative ATM ideas feel that these ideas are exempt, somehow, from the kind of scrutiny which the rest of astronomy is subject to?
    I donít think proponents of non-quantitative ATM ideas feel that their ideas are exempt from the usual scrutiny.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    2) That a re-writing of all of astronomy is possible, to put it on a purely qualitative basis?
    I canít imagine anyone ambitious enough to consider rewriting "all" of astronomy- quantitative or not. Unless you mean "all" as an enormous exaggeration. But there are many who would like to have a non-mathematical understanding of astronomy and leave the math to the mathematodes. Or they may know the math but would also like to know how to explain it to someone who doesnít.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    3) That vague, qualitative ideas are somehow superior to detailed numerical models built from quantitative physics theories?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    4) What is the realm - within astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - within which an insistence on maths, numbers, equations and stuff is misplaced, or even downright antithetical to science?
    Teaching astronomy is one realm where a non-mathematical (in addition to the mathematical) grasp of the subject is essential.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    5) How can ATM ideas - in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or space science - be tested, other than by quantitative means?
    You could also ask the question from another point of view. If quantitative means are the only test of merit, does that mean that rationality, common sense, simplicity, consistency, symmetry, and other tests do not apply?

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    But to some, maths can be a real barrier. (There is a version of dyslexia that applies to numbers) So perhaps you should ask those who have not produced quantative evidence, how they are at maths?

    Somethings both have an observable qualitive effect but also has a quantitive follow up. E.g the doppler effect. We can demonstrate it qualitively by going to any roadside and listening to any passing emergancy vehicle, but there is also quite a bit of maths there to calculate what the perceived frequency should be, If there is a difference between the signal going out to that coming back, what speed has the police clocked you at all require maths. I had to look at this in the 1980's and I would have to look it up now. Doing it from first principals can be quite hard, and if your maths are not up to scratch it is worse.

    Hense my belief that some of those who do not give quantitive evidence may have maths problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coldcreation View Post
    I don't recall seeing one equation in Kant's seminal work(s).

    Coldcreation
    Which may explain why we don't use the whole of Kant's ideas anymore. Those parts that we do use, have survived primarialy due to numerical analysis showing (and expanding on Kant's original idea) how that idea matches observations better than another idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Angstrom View Post
    I note that your questions don’t deal so much with ATM ideas as with the attitudes of those who present their ideas and I often suspect there is a gulf of misunderstanding between the qualitative and quantitative presentation of ideas.

    ...snip...

    You could also ask the question from another point of view. If quantitative means are the only test of merit, does that mean that rationality, common sense, simplicity, consistency, symmetry, and other tests do not apply?
    Very good points. Note that one may run the risk of concluding from mathematical aberations, especially when dealing with zero's and infinities, that 'defects' like magnetic monopoles, false vacuums, cosmic strings, super strings, extra dimensions, branes, nonbaryonic supermassive particles, BHs, SMBHs, etc. (the list is extensive), actually exist, even though none have ever been observed in nature, and are not likely ever to be observed. There is thus no direct empirical basis, by any strech of the imagination, that can justify the equations.

    That is what is called 'new physics,' even though it is neither 'new' nor 'physics.'

    I am, though, as most of you likely are, of the opinion that logical theoretical reasoning (based preferably on fundamental laws of nature, etc), empirical evidence (observational, experimental) and mathematical solutions to the data combined will ultimately lead to a sound cosmology.

    Coldcreation
    Last edited by Coldcreation; 2006-Dec-29 at 08:20 PM.

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