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Thread: Can (purely) qualitative ATM ideas (in astronomy) be falsified?

  1. #1
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    Can (purely) qualitative ATM ideas (in astronomy) be falsified?

    ... and if so, how?

    One more thread, exploring the characteristics of ATM ideas (as presented here in the ATM section of BAUT).

    Previous threads (not in any particular order):

    * "ATM Science" - is there such a thing?

    * How good are the best alternatives to the Big Bang theories?

    * How good are the best alternatives to modern astrophysics theories?

    * How good are the best alternative cosmologies, in their own terms?

    * Without math, you are not doing physics - you are merely making up stories (currently stalled)

    * How should we determine which of competing theories is most likely correct? (started by Grey)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - Intended scope of this thread - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    "falsified": an explicit reference to Popper's falsificationism; this thread is about whether or not (purely) qualitative ATM ideas (in astronomy) can be falsified, in Popper's paradigm of science.

    "in astronomy": where the only relevant tests are detection and analysis of electromagnetic radiation from the sky. So 'the Moon is made of green cheese' would be OT, but 'Triton is made of green cheese' is within scope. Similarly, 'the IPM (interplanetary medium) is made of green cheese plasma' is OT, but 'the non-stellar component of the Orion nebula is made of green cheese plasma' is within scope. This may need tweaking a bit, wrt neutrinos and cosmic rays.

    "qualitative": not expressed in mathematical or quantitative form. Also includes cases where the core concepts are not defined.

    "purely": no unambiguous way a general BAUT reader could convert the ATM idea, as presented, into even an OOM (order of magnitude) estimate/prediction or set of equations in functional form.

    "ATM idea": as presented in a thread in this, the ATM, section of BAUT. There are nearly 900 threads here, whose last post is later than BAUT's birth, of which I estimate between 300 and 500 are concerned with presentation of an ATM idea (though there are some duplicates and overlaps). I estimate the majority of these likely fall within the scope of this thread.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - Note on moderation - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    I will not be moderating this thread in any way. All posts that I make in this thread are intended to be made as an ordinary BAUT member.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - Some examples - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    The examples presented here serve only to illustrate my intention re scope. The examples do not necessarily accurately summarise the ATM idea, as presented in the relevant thread(s) ... in some cases, they are most certainly NOT accurate summaries.

    "the permeability and permittivity of space are not constant, but a function of the root mean square of all mass fractions in local space" - within scope (key terms not defined, purely qualitative)

    "The Elemental Energy Wave/Particle will have to be the tiniest particle and smallest unit of energy with infinitesimal mass" - within scope (key terms not defined, purely qualitative)

    "When one variable upsets the equilibrium in the smbh or some neutrons try to exist in the same space or some other nasty anomaly…… BOOM" - within scope (key terms not defined, purely qualitative)

    "There is no need for Dark Energy. The reason for the acceleration of the expanding universe is the same reason that a marble on a record deck gets super accelerated near the edges and only moves slowly when placed near the center." - probably NOT within scope (seems to be quite straight-forward to unambiguously make at least OOM estimates of the proposed effect)

    "True science is one that is self-evident, and simple to understand, it is the way of life unfolding, science is about understanding, understanding ourselves, then when we do this we see that true science, is about unfolding the life principle, and revealing the bud, that one day will flower." - within scope

    "Dark Matter Solved. My preliminary calculations show the acceleration of gravity for a flat disk to be about 1+(r/d)(6/pi)+[(r/d)(6/pi)]^2 greater for distances larger than the radius of the galaxy (only a close approximation so far) than the direct mass to distance squared relationship" - NOT within scope (quantitative)

    "time, is it a true dimension? I say not. for time to a true dimension it would have to affect things if it ceased to exist." - within scope (purely qualitative)

    "The paper utilizes the Tully-Fisher Relation. The Tully-Fisher relation is a tight relationship between the absolute magnitude and the rotational velocity of a galaxy. No redshift distances are needed. So the negative redshifts are irrelevant to the distance calculation." - NOT within scope (quantitative)

    "The surface of the sun could be room temperature and still produce fusion hot enough to burn silicon. 2 billion degrees is almost to iron. If you increase the amperage I imagine its scalable to 10 billion degrees." - NOT within scope (quantitative)

    "If the Sun is a glow discharge at the center of a radial electric field, then comets moving on highly elliptical orbits through this electric field will experience increasing stresses that can only be relieved through electrical arcing, removing material and accelerating it away from the nucleus, along the path of solar magnetic field lines." - may be within scope (qualitative, not straight-forward to unambiguously make OOM estimates), or may not be (applicability of the Deep Impact mission, for example)

    "Basically, the core of the galaxy spins and releases stellar material. Because the core is spinning, each subsequent release of material is sent streaming out in a slight different direction, causing the spiral form." - within scope (not quantitative, nor unambiguously capable of being made so).

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    To repeat the questions:

    Can purely qualitative ATM ideas in astronomy be falsified?

    If so, how?

  2. #2
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    First of all qualitative arguments are subjective opinions. "The sky is beautiful" is qualitative, it can not be disproved, because it is an opinion. What is quantitative, it is a statement that can be shown to be right or wrong. The question is does one have to use formulas, numerical symbols and other methods of formal logic to be quantitative. The answer is no.

    Example: The moon is made of Greencheese, is a quantitative statement. It is not an opinion.

    The moon is a real thing with observable properties.

    Green Cheese is a real thing with observable properties.

    We can quantitatively disprove the quantitative assertion that the moon is not made of green cheese. It is not qualitative statement.

    If one said the Moon looks like a big block of green cheese...that is qualitative.

    Qualitative by definition are opinions.

    Quantitative statements are statements about a subject that can be proven or disproven. Just because we do not have the technology or knowledge to discern a particular experiment to disprove a theory does not make is qualitative. The statement of hypothesis is still quantitative, just moot and speculative because of observational shortcomings in science.

    Mathamatics is not limited to numerical formulas and theorums as has become formal and expectied (as in the case of physics they should). But many do not have the educational background to express their ideas in such terms and this does not make them quantitative, it makes them of less scholarship. It would seems that those who hold such scholarship when reading an ATM idea, would be able to decipher what amounts to a worl problem and discuss what its strengths and weaknesses are and point them out as opposed to resorting to the false argument that the ATM is qualitative. You would think a PhD would know the definition of qualitative/quantitative without discussing it repeatedly.

    The definition of qualitative as not expressed in mathematical form is deceptive....ever hear of word problems... Mathematics can be expressed in many way, just because one does not use numbers and formulas does not mean it is qualitative.

    "Global warming is caused by Greed" is a qualitative statement.

    "Global warming is caused by the resistance to lowering profit margins due to abatement cost" is quantitative.....notice there were no numbers in that statement. It could be shown with numbers and would be of better scholarship if it was, but it is quantitative none the less.

  3. #3
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    I agree with bigsplit's definitions.

    Qualitative statements can lead to observations and quantitative statements but on their own they are unsupported assertions and so can't be disproved, only disagreed with.

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    "There are many paths to the mountain top."- Hindu proverb.

    "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."- Albert Einstein.

    And that’s for certain!

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    I think that, if science (or psuedoscience, one supposes) claims that something is a certain thing, that it, by definition, falsifiable; all that is required is to show that, whatever it is, it isn't that. A claim, just to pull an example out of tedious repetition, that the sun has a solid iron surface is certainly falsifiable. All that it takes is being shown that it is impossible for solid iron to exist in solar conditions. (Which, of course, has been done, repeatedly, but never let it be said these people aren't determined.)

    I think what we are looking at here is, "Can dark energy/dark matter be falsified?" Obviously, I'm not qualified to answer this specifically. But it seems to me that if someone proves that existing, detected energy/matter are sufficient to show the effects seen, that's falsifying them.
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    Yes the majority of ideas I have are qualitatively falsified. If I couldn't reject the vast majority of ideas in this manner it would be WAY too much work. Just because the data is qualitative doesn't mean you can't say things like, if this value rises this value should fall by some increasing ratio etc. If you read Einstein's thinking he first developed ideas qualitatively before quantifying the results. He knew exactly what he wanted to define with general relativity before he ever learned how to work with riemannian geometry or even what is was.
    If you think you have a good qualitative model it is your responsibility to quantify the effects, at least to the point of being falsifiable. Beating on other people for not seeing how awsome your qualitative model is is a short recipe for being ignored. Many very good ideas gets little attention for this very reason. Quit beating on people and organizations and do your homework.

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    Just because the data is qualitative doesn't mean you can't say things like, if this value rises this value should fall by some increasing ratio etc.
    If you think you have a good qualitative model it is your responsibility to quantify the effects, at least to the point of being falsifiable.
    Aren't you just saying that you have to quantify a qualitative idea before it's falsifiable?

    I see a qualitative idea as an opinion that you have. It could be correct, it could be wrong, but until there is some specific quantity or attribute that it has, it's still just your opinion. So looking at the idea of an iron sun, how do you disprove this? You could say the measured output of the sun is not consistent with an iron surface but then you're quantifying things.

    I'd say that even if the iron sun idea is wholly qualitative, you can't start arguing against it with other qualitative ideas, you've got to get quantitative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sp1ke View Post
    Aren't you just saying that you have to quantify a qualitative idea before it's falsifiable?
    Yes, but it is often also sometimes possible to falsify an idea on qualitative grounds. The question was can qualitative ideas be falsified? Answer: Yes to to a lesser degree and if it can this is preferable to wasting time analysing it. However to pass scientific muster we must be able to compare the match with actuall predicted values, not just that some values seem to vary together in the right way. Why develop a quantitative theory on something that you can qualitatively rule out?
    I don't mind someone presenting a qualitative idea to me at all. If it passes the preliminary qualitative test (rare) then if I might (time and interest permitting) help get the problem set up in a more quantitative manner, like the word problems in high school algebra on a much bigger scale. Usually it can be ruled out by some basic calculations. It's a process in which qualitative data can often (not always) be just the first step.

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    The problem

    with the world of physics calling arguments or ideas qualitative is that you give those ideas a certain level of legitimacy. You are in fact saying that your opinion that theory x is correct may in fact be true. The opponent of the theory is implying by the qualitative accusation that the theory is an opinion and to a greater or lesser degree all opinions are legitimate. In such cases where they are not legitimate they no longer are qualitative, but shown to be quantitatively false.


    The qualitative argument is a poor tool is debunking pseudo-science. It is the easy way out perhaps, but of poor scholarship none the lessl.

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    Personally I can't see how you can disprove a qualitative theory. I would have thought that even if you assess whether it is internally consistent, I can't think of an example where you wouldn't have to give it quantitative attributes.

    An example could be: "I say the moon is made of green cheese. I also think that green cheese spontaneously explodes." These two statements are incompatible but I don't think that disproves either of them. You need to go on to "How long does green cheese take to explode?" If it's over a thousand years, that doesn't stop the moon from being made of green cheese as long as the moon only came into existence 500 years ago. So again you need to quantify things in order to get to the level of disproving the theory.

    Can anyone else think of a better example where a qualitative theory can be disproved without quantifying it?

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    We have hunks of the Moon. They aren't green cheese. Ergo, the Moon is not green cheese--or at least, it's not all green cheese. Indeed, since very little of the Moon is, in fact, green, it logically follows that it cannot be "made of" green cheese, since "made of" implies that it's all or most whatever-you're-talking-about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    We have hunks of the Moon. They aren't green cheese. Ergo, the Moon is not green cheese--or at least, it's not all green cheese. Indeed, since very little of the Moon is, in fact, green, it logically follows that it cannot be "made of" green cheese, since "made of" implies that it's all or most whatever-you're-talking-about.

    How'd I do?
    One reason why I excluded the Moon from the scope of this thread (moon rocks are not green cheese).

    As to it merely appearing to be not "green" (i.e. astronomy, detection of EM radiation), of course the moon is made of green cheese! Everyone knows that when green cheese is left in the sun, it turns just the shade of grey that the Moon appears!

    How do you falsify this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by my_wan View Post
    Yes the majority of ideas I have are qualitatively falsified.

    [snip]
    Assuming those ideas are astronomy (within the scope of this thread), how did you falsify them?

    I'm keen to know the process, at some level of generality, not the specifics of any particular case (unless it's chosen from one of the several hundred purely qualitative ATM ideas presented in its own ATM thread).

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    Qualitative ideas are merely interesting conjectures until quantified. Most of science started with interesting [qualitative] ideas. But I cannot think of any such ideas that gained traction until they were quantified.

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    Qualitative and Quantitative proofs

    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    ...

    Can purely qualitative ATM ideas in astronomy be falsified?

    If so, how?
    A basic premise is generally qualitative in nature, and can be nullified through a careful qualitative observational experiment:

    Fly larva are spontaneously generated from rotting meat.”

    Likewise, my daughter was able to prove that cave crickets are most likely blind (contrary to published literature), by comparing their behavior to field crickets when exposed to light.

    Many current astrophysical explanations remain qualitative, or at best semi-quantitative:

    The plumes of Enceladus are caused by internal radioisotope decay.

    Or if they are quantified, the quantification often depends upon parametric assumptions:

    The plumes of Enceladus are possible because a mixture of water and ammonia transport internal energy to the surface. The gravity anomalies of Europa are caused by a submerged ocean of water ice.

    When a mainstream explanation requires a parametric assumption, it remains hypothetical. But finding high concentrations of ammonia in Enceladus plumes or seismic measurements on the surface of Europa could support these theories.

    Testing ATM ideas requires the same process as testing mainstream ideas: Comparing observables with predictions:

    the permeability and permittivity of space are not constant, but a function of the root mean square of all mass fractions in local space.

    A little more information is needed here to define the function, so I will provide it:

    The permeability x the permittivity of space is the speed of light. The functional argument is: The speed of light is an inverse function of the local mass, expressed as a absolute vector.

    An analytical test can be constructed by measuring the speed of light with increasing distance from a central mass such as the sun. One direct test metric, is to compare the acceleration of the Pioneer probes with increasing distance from the sun. Since the velocity of these probes appears to be slowing more rapidly than predicted by relativistic gravity theory, a slight increase in the speed-of-light with distance is satisfied by this observation. (The round-trip speed-of-light is used to determine the location of the probes. If the speed of light increases with increasing distance and the time-of-flight of light is used as the metric, the measured distance to the probes is less than it really is.)

    Although this is not the only possible solution, if the probes did not appear to slow faster-than-predicted this ATM ‘qualitative’ description would be proven false…unless an auxiliary hypotheses, such as dark energy, is allowed to explain how the speed of light could increase while the apparent velocity of the probes remained consistent with relativistic predictions. Without independent supporting evidence, Dark Energy cannot be invoked to explain the failed hypothesis.

    This example also demonstrates why Dark Energy is an unacceptable auxiliary used to support relativistic expansion. The Dark Energy auxiliary hypothesis has no roots and no independent metric. It is no more acceptable to bolster up a mainstream position than a new theory.
    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

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    We have hunks of the Moon. They aren't green cheese. Ergo, the Moon is not green cheese--or at least, it's not all green cheese. Indeed, since very little of the Moon is, in fact, green, it logically follows that it cannot be "made of" green cheese, since "made of" implies that it's all or most whatever-you're-talking-about.

    How'd I do?
    Yep, that works for me. And Jerry's examples are good too. I guess I was thinking about how to disprove a qualitative theory in a discussion but of course as soon as you bring observations into play, they do easily disprove a statement (or at least greatly reduce its probability of being right).

    Of course, part of the problem we have disproving some of the ATM qualitative claims here is that any observational evidence then becomes part of the debate ("NASA swapped the real cheese for a load of rocks"). Mind you, this is no better for many of the quantitative arguments either...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sp1ke View Post
    Yep, that works for me. And Jerry's examples are good too. I guess I was thinking about how to disprove a qualitative theory in a discussion but of course as soon as you bring observations into play, they do easily disprove a statement (or at least greatly reduce its probability of being right).

    Of course, part of the problem we have disproving some of the ATM qualitative claims here is that any observational evidence then becomes part of the debate ("NASA swapped the real cheese for a load of rocks"). Mind you, this is no better for many of the quantitative arguments either...
    Don't confuse ATM concepts with conspiracy theories, although there is some overlap. ATM simply means 'not accepted by more than a small sample of the physical science communty'. It also applies to most claims that new physical laws are required to explain what we are seeing. Conspiracy theorists claim evidence is being altered and/or hidden.

    I have been called a conspiracy theorist for stating data that what is not understood is often withheld, or at least faces long delays before being presented to the public. The near-fatal descent of the Mars Spirit probe is a good example - NASA has been very tight-lipped about this. I view this as a normal hesitancy of scientists and engineers to raise their hands and say 'we don't understand this." They would much rather study it until they do.
    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    Assuming those ideas are astronomy (within the scope of this thread), how did you falsify them?

    I'm keen to know the process, at some level of generality, not the specifics of any particular case (unless it's chosen from one of the several hundred purely qualitative ATM ideas presented in its own ATM thread).
    Here is an example;
    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=51654

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanatos View Post
    Qualitative ideas are merely interesting conjectures until quantified. Most of science started with interesting [qualitative] ideas. But I cannot think of any such ideas that gained traction until they were quantified.
    Exactly. I never suggested that a purely qualitative idea should ever get "traction". That is why I suggested it was the originators responsibility to do their homework and quantify the ideas. I only claimed that they can usually be ruled out observationally without bothering to quantify them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by my_wan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid
    Assuming those ideas are astronomy (within the scope of this thread), how did you falsify them?

    I'm keen to know the process, at some level of generality, not the specifics of any particular case (unless it's chosen from one of the several hundred purely qualitative ATM ideas presented in its own ATM thread).
    Here is an example;
    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=51654

    [snip]
    Thanks.

    Unfortunately, I can't see how you, or anyone else, falsified that (purely) qualitative idea The OP certainly doesn't regard anything presented in that thread (so far) as having falsified his idea! And your posts seem to make the opposite case - that unless and until the ATM idea is quantified, ....

    Could you elaborate please?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    Thanks.

    Unfortunately, I can't see how you, or anyone else, falsified that (purely) qualitative idea The OP certainly doesn't regard anything presented in that thread (so far) as having falsified his idea! And your posts seem to make the opposite case - that unless and until the ATM idea is quantified, ....

    Could you elaborate please?
    As I noted on the original post in this thread, "Just because the data is qualitative doesn't mean you can't say things like, if this value rises this value should fall by some increasing ratio etc."

    In the thread you are refering to Dave posted;
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zelenka View Post
    Yes. I now feel that in the whole of galaxies, that the movement of stellar material is more complicated than just a flow from center outward, but I am still think it may be possible that the general flow is outward. It may not be.
    To which I replied;
    Quote Originally Posted by my_wan View Post
    Yes this is the crux of your thesis. That is why I am encouraging you to to limit you analysis to the distribution and motion of the stars in galaxies as we see it now.
    Good Luck...
    To answer your question the age distribution of stars is backwards. The age of the stars themselves are often to great to account for their proximity to the central bulge. Star ages are great enough that spiral structures would have washed out by now if his mechanism was behind them. Plus a few more I have forgotten.

    I didn't specifically articulate every problem with the model in that thread though I did note that I was satisfied that the model was dead. Instead I tried to point to ways to think about it. He is very unlikely to ever be satisfied by anyones qualitative rebuttal till he sees it himself. It is his job to work the problem to his satisfaction. Besides of he actually quantifies the idea he might learn something very important to cosmology even if the original idea doesn't work. Keep adding the truth to any model and it will evolve toward the truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post


    ... and if so, how? ...

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - Intended scope of this thread - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    "falsified": an explicit reference to Popper's falsificationism; this thread is about whether or not (purely) qualitative ATM ideas (in astronomy) can be falsified, in Popper's paradigm of science. ...

    "in astronomy": where the only relevant tests are detection and analysis of electromagnetic radiation from the sky. ...

    ...
    My bold.

    Do we need to learn “Popper” or do you have a qualitative expression of what he said that is pertinent, say in 100 words or less?

    Why do you put “in astronomy” in parenthesis? Can you explain how astronomy differs from particle physics, cosmology, or any other field wrt qualitative ATM ideas?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post
    My bold.

    Do we need to learn “Popper” or do you have a qualitative expression of what he said that is pertinent, say in 100 words or less?
    Not necessary ... at least in the first instance - Popper's 'naive falsificationism' is simply (my summary) 'can be shown to be false'. The main aspect is 'doesn't match observational or experimental results', one minor aspect is 'internally inconsistent'.
    Why do you put “in astronomy” in parenthesis? Can you explain how astronomy differs from particle physics, cosmology, or any other field wrt qualitative ATM ideas?
    It's actually in quotation marks, and that's because I'm quoting from an earlier part of the OP - I am trying to define the scope of the this thread, and, here, what I mean by "in astronomy".

    The difference with particle physics is that one can build a collider and perform controlled experiments involving particles (other than photons); I wish to limit the scope of this thread to only 'sky phenomena' - stuff you can 'see' only via detection of electromagnetic radiation.

    An ATM 'cosmology' idea would be part of "astronomy", if it were not testable by means other than astronomical (detection of EM 'from the sky').

    Gillianren's "Moon is made of green cheese" is a good example: it's beyond the scope of this thread, because we have moonrocks. OTOH, "Neptune is made of green cheese" would be within scope, because everything we know about Neptune is derived from analysis of EM (detected by space probes, by Earth-bound telescopes, etc - even atmospheric profile observations, via watching Voyager's radio signal fade as it 'went behind' Neptune's disk is detection of EM 'from the sky').

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    How about eliptical galaxy M32 is actually a 'white hole'?

    Is that falsifiable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad_Morlock View Post
    How about eliptical galaxy M32 is actually a 'white hole'?

    Is that falsifiable?
    Certainly. You need to state what the observable properties of a white hole would be and then compare them to the observed properties of M32.

    Keep in mind that M32 has actually been resolved into individual stars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Robot View Post
    Certainly. You need to state what the observable properties of a white hole would be and then compare them to the observed properties of M32.

    Keep in mind that M32 has actually been resolved into individual stars.
    So, it's false?

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    Observables... hmmm...

    A white hole should exhibit high blue shift values as both matter therefore spacetime would be expanding at relativistic velocities from singularity.

    'Young' white holes should appear to be massive elliptical galaxies with no spiral formations evident.

    'Older' white holes, having expelled the majority of their mass, should be partnered with spiral galaxies, but still retain their elliptical formations.

    'Young' white holes should have larger gaseous disc through which the expulsion of matter from singularity can be observed as irregularities in the galactic formation.

    'Young' white holes would also most likely have relativistic jets, similar to their 'older' black hole counterparts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    So, it's false?
    Not if the properties of a white hole are essentially the same as an elliptical galaxy.

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    How would you go about falsifying this idea?

    Or proposing a means of 'falsification'?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad_Morlock View Post
    Observables... hmmm...

    A white hole should exhibit high blue shift values as both matter therefore spacetime would be expanding at relativistic velocities from singularity.

    'Young' white holes should appear to be massive elliptical galaxies with no spiral formations evident.
    Do massive elliptical galaxies show high blue shift values?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Robot View Post
    Do massive elliptical galaxies show high blue shift values?
    Like M87, the most massive elliptical galaxy we can see?

    Most definitely.

    It's quite blue shifted.

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    Last Post: 2006-Feb-28, 11:16 PM

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