Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

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Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#1

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:10 am

https://aeon.co/essays/post-empirical-s ... -dangerous
Let’s acknowledge that theoretical physicists are perfectly entitled to believe, write and say whatever they want, within reason. But is it asking too much that they make their assertions with some honesty? Instead of ‘the multiverse exists’ and ‘it might be true’, is it really so difficult to say something like ‘the multiverse has some philosophical attractions, but it is highly speculative and controversial, and there is no evidence for it’? I appreciate that such caveats get lost or become mangled when transferred into a popular media obsessed with sensation, but this would then be a failure of journalism or science writing, rather than a failure of scientific integrity.
The article is too pessimistic about falsifiability. It does require skill end expertise of a specialist to see a falsification, true. But testability and falsifiability are key to separating science from metaphysics and from theology.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#2

Post by Don Alvarez » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:45 pm

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:10 am
https://aeon.co/essays/post-empirical-s ... -dangerous
Let’s acknowledge that theoretical physicists are perfectly entitled to believe, write and say whatever they want, within reason. But is it asking too much that they make their assertions with some honesty? Instead of ‘the multiverse exists’ and ‘it might be true’, is it really so difficult to say something like ‘the multiverse has some philosophical attractions, but it is highly speculative and controversial, and there is no evidence for it’? I appreciate that such caveats get lost or become mangled when transferred into a popular media obsessed with sensation, but this would then be a failure of journalism or science writing, rather than a failure of scientific integrity.
The article is too pessimistic about falsifiability. It does require skill end expertise of a specialist to see a falsification, true. But testability and falsifiability are key to separating science from metaphysics and from theology.
The author employed the word "bull@#$%" in the first sentence. I suppose in the context of a scientific column strategic deployment of an expletive is supposed to be an attention grabber, for me it had the opposite effect. I prefer my science reporting be free of bull#$%@ and derogatory notions. I stopped reading Jeff Hester's column in Astronomy magazine for this reason, he couldn't resist taking a stab a religion once too often, and the non-college educated as well.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#3

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:18 pm

Sorry it offended. It didn't bother me as intellectual corruption is a sad sign of the times. I dislike category errors. It seems to be a symptom of the abandonment of logic.

FWIW he did not (as I read it in this article) take a stab at religion. I find that offensive as well, more offensive than a colorful expletive. I have an active religious personal life and a philosophical pov that lets science and religion coexist harmoniously.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#4

Post by Don Alvarez » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:02 pm

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:18 pm
Sorry it offended.
No need to apologize. I'm not offended. Lets just say the introduction struck a note that did not entice me to keep reading. I think if the goal is to sell your own ideas, declaring other's to be BS right off the bat is not getting off to a good start.
It didn't bother me as intellectual corruption is a sad sign of the times. I dislike category errors. It seems to be a symptom of the abandonment of logic.

FWIW he did not (as I read it in this article) take a stab at religion. I find that offensive as well, more offensive than a colorful expletive. I have an active religious personal life and a philosophical pov that lets science and religion coexist harmoniously.
A funny aside about atheists. They will ridicule and debate and not realize in the process they are out there proselytizing just like any other organized religion.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#5

Post by pakarinen » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:36 pm

A very close friend of mine who is also a rabid atheist wears "lucky beads", talks about karma and the "power of the Universe", and has her fortune told by a card reader. It seems humans are wired for some kind of religion, conventional or not.
Why, yes, that is most certainly a ... Stinkfish!
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#6

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:42 pm

Don Alvarez wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:02 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:18 pm
Sorry it offended.
No need to apologize. I'm not offended. Lets just say the introduction struck a note that did not entice me to keep reading. I think if the goal is to sell your own ideas, declaring other's to be BS right off the bat is not getting off to a good start.
It didn't bother me as intellectual corruption is a sad sign of the times. I dislike category errors. It seems to be a symptom of the abandonment of logic.

FWIW he did not (as I read it in this article) take a stab at religion. I find that offensive as well, more offensive than a colorful expletive. I have an active religious personal life and a philosophical pov that lets science and religion coexist harmoniously.
A funny aside about atheists. They will ridicule and debate and not realize in the process they are out there proselytizing just like any other organized religion.
I understand your point about it being off putting. I've been inured by exposure to how folks talk informally. I recall interesting language in school seminars involving supposed luminaries that goes well beyond this milder example. I generally limited myself to adjectives like "handwaving" and "unscientific metaphysical speculation" reserving harsh terms like "intellectually corrupt fraud" for things like MOND.

I can confess to experiencing some schadenfreude at the comeuppance of atheist astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss who in a piece I recall with displeasure announced a "duty" for all scientists to be atheists. It's antiscientific rubbish like flat Earth and other conspiracy theories.

Here's a more reasonable attitude, somewhat different from mine but it's workable.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... cist-says/

Proselytization is unseemly, certainly. Nevertheless, criticism and debate on the merits of a position is necessary and should not be mistaken for proselytization. The difference between science and religion is that between facts (data and the logic of explanatory theories) on one side and values on the other. Devotees of scientism who take only facts as their basis for values are making the same logical error as religionists who take only their own personal values as superior to facts. You don't study law to be a heart surgeon and vice versa.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#7

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:46 pm

pakarinen wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:36 pm
A very close friend of mine who is also a rabid atheist wears "lucky beads", talks about karma and the "power of the Universe", and has her fortune told by a card reader. It seems humans are wired for some kind of religion, conventional or not.
Well... there is a major eastern religious tradition that is explicitly atheist. I dare not name it since discussing a particular religion violates TOS. There is also a strand in a major western religion that permits atheism. It's complicated, as most human things are.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#8

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:28 pm

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:46 pm
pakarinen wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:36 pm
A very close friend of mine who is also a rabid atheist wears "lucky beads", talks about karma and the "power of the Universe", and has her fortune told by a card reader. It seems humans are wired for some kind of religion, conventional or not.
Well... there is a major eastern religious tradition that is explicitly atheist. I dare not name it since discussing a particular religion violates TOS. There is also a strand in a major western religion that permits atheism. It's complicated, as most human things are.
An obstacle to understanding that some religions permit atheism and agnosticism is that it is common (in the US) to make religion only an issue of beliefs. Not all religions are defined by beliefs. Some are defined by adherence to rules or values. Again, being cautious to avoid naming particulars.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#9

Post by Bigzmey » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:32 pm

I tried to read it but the author seems too full of ... himself and takes too long to make his point for my internet trained hamster brain. :lol:

As SiFi fan you can help but contemplate time travel. If you assume that time travel is possible the only way to keep causality intact is to accept time branching which leads to multiverses. What do I miss?
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#10

Post by Don Alvarez » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 pm

Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:32 pm
As SiFi fan you can help but contemplate time travel. If you assume that time travel is possible the only way to keep causality intact is to accept time branching which leads to multiverses. What do I miss?
The part where if you return all six stones to the exact moment when they were taken, said time branches do not occur. So long as you adhere to the rules of time travel - no talking to your former self, no betting on sports events - it'll be like they never left.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#11

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:15 pm

Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:32 pm
I tried to read it but the author seems too full of ... himself and takes too long to make his point for my internet trained hamster brain. :lol:

As SiFi fan you can help but contemplate time travel. If you assume that time travel is possible the only way to keep causality intact is to accept time branching which leads to multiverses. What do I miss?
The fact the author might be full of himself doesn't affect the fact that he's right. Multiverses are unscientific.

I'm a sci fi fan and last night enjoyed on Netflix a movie, "In the Shadow of the Moon" that involved time travel.

There is no way for time travel to keep causality intact, with or without multiverses of which there are several flavors. These include

1) many worlds QM for consistency requires no communication among the many worlds, so it can't be used for time travel
2) string theory multiverses in which the laws of physics are different from one universe to the next
3) Goedel universes in GR are the only consistent causality preserving time travel option in which the beginning of a closed time like path is also its end but are incompatible with observation.

I assume time travel is impossible. It hasn't been observed. ;)
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#12

Post by Bigzmey » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:22 pm

Don Alvarez wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 pm
Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:32 pm
As SiFi fan you can help but contemplate time travel. If you assume that time travel is possible the only way to keep causality intact is to accept time branching which leads to multiverses. What do I miss?
The part where if you return all six stones to the exact moment when they were taken, said time branches do not occur. So long as you adhere to the rules of time travel - no talking to your former self, no betting on sports events - it'll be like they never left.
The very fact of traveling back should mess up the time line, to what degree we may never know.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#13

Post by Bigzmey » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:38 pm

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:15 pm
Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:32 pm
I tried to read it but the author seems too full of ... himself and takes too long to make his point for my internet trained hamster brain. :lol:

As SiFi fan you can help but contemplate time travel. If you assume that time travel is possible the only way to keep causality intact is to accept time branching which leads to multiverses. What do I miss?
The fact the author might be full of himself doesn't affect the fact that he's right. Multiverses are unscientific.

I'm a sci fi fan and last night enjoyed on Netflix a movie, "In the Shadow of the Moon" that involved time travel.

There is no way for time travel to keep causality intact, with or without multiverses of which there are several flavors. These include

1) many worlds QM for consistency requires no communication among the many worlds, so it can't be used for time travel
2) string theory multiverses in which the laws of physics are different from one universe to the next
3) Goedel universes in GR are the only consistent causality preserving time travel option in which the beginning of a closed time like path is also its end but are incompatible with observation.

I assume time travel is impossible. It hasn't been observed. ;)
The way how I imagine multiverse is that for any event with different outcomes, all outcomes happen simultaneously and this is how the time branching occurs. As an example, if you throw a dice all 6 outcomes happen. You see one and 5 of other you see one of them. So if you travel back in time you just add one more of many scenarios already happening. I don't feel that would contradict causality.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#14

Post by notFritzArgelander » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:46 pm

Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:38 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:15 pm
Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:32 pm
I tried to read it but the author seems too full of ... himself and takes too long to make his point for my internet trained hamster brain. :lol:

As SiFi fan you can help but contemplate time travel. If you assume that time travel is possible the only way to keep causality intact is to accept time branching which leads to multiverses. What do I miss?
The fact the author might be full of himself doesn't affect the fact that he's right. Multiverses are unscientific.

I'm a sci fi fan and last night enjoyed on Netflix a movie, "In the Shadow of the Moon" that involved time travel.

There is no way for time travel to keep causality intact, with or without multiverses of which there are several flavors. These include

1) many worlds QM for consistency requires no communication among the many worlds, so it can't be used for time travel
2) string theory multiverses in which the laws of physics are different from one universe to the next
3) Goedel universes in GR are the only consistent causality preserving time travel option in which the beginning of a closed time like path is also its end but are incompatible with observation.

I assume time travel is impossible. It hasn't been observed. ;)
The way how I imagine multiverse is that for any event with different outcomes, all outcomes happen simultaneously and this is how the time branching occurs. As an example, if you throw a dice all 6 outcomes happen. You see one and 5 of other you see one of them. So if you travel back in time you just add one more of many scenarios already happening. I don't feel that would contradict causality.
But it is neither testable nor falsifiable so it's not science. Plus time branching (this is QM "many worlds") is not time travel. All memories or records of observations are of a single branch.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#15

Post by Bigzmey » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:53 pm

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:46 pm
Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:38 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:15 pm


The fact the author might be full of himself doesn't affect the fact that he's right. Multiverses are unscientific.

I'm a sci fi fan and last night enjoyed on Netflix a movie, "In the Shadow of the Moon" that involved time travel.

There is no way for time travel to keep causality intact, with or without multiverses of which there are several flavors. These include

1) many worlds QM for consistency requires no communication among the many worlds, so it can't be used for time travel
2) string theory multiverses in which the laws of physics are different from one universe to the next
3) Goedel universes in GR are the only consistent causality preserving time travel option in which the beginning of a closed time like path is also its end but are incompatible with observation.

I assume time travel is impossible. It hasn't been observed. ;)
The way how I imagine multiverse is that for any event with different outcomes, all outcomes happen simultaneously and this is how the time branching occurs. As an example, if you throw a dice all 6 outcomes happen. You see one and 5 of other you see one of them. So if you travel back in time you just add one more of many scenarios already happening. I don't feel that would contradict causality.
But it is neither testable nor falsifiable so it's not science. Plus time branching (this is QM "many worlds") is not time travel. All memories or records of observations are of a single branch.
And this is why I say "imagine multiverse". :D Obviously time branching would not fly for time travel SiFi since it would make time travel useless. Instead of fixing time you just adding another branch.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#16

Post by AntennaGuy » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:24 pm

Thinking about and debating time travel helps writers generate more material for science fiction (SF) stories. Some time travel SF stories are actually quite good. It helps to not be too picky in regard to the physics involved, however. :)
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#17

Post by frazier » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:10 pm

AntennaGuy wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:24 pm
Thinking about and debating time travel helps writers generate more material for science fiction (SF) stories. Some time travel SF stories are actually quite good. It helps to not be too picky in regard to the physics involved, however. :)
I remember reading, back in the day, several short stories by Roger Zelazny in which he rejected time-travel and FTL drives. Instead, he imagined a galactic civilization in which it took 30,000 years in suspended animation to "ride the bus" from one town to the next. I recommend looking him up if this kind of thing interests you.

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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#18

Post by Don Alvarez » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:56 pm

notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:46 pm
Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:38 pm

The way how I imagine multiverse is that for any event with different outcomes, all outcomes happen simultaneously and this is how the time branching occurs. As an example, if you throw a dice all 6 outcomes happen. You see one and 5 of other you see one of them. So if you travel back in time you just add one more of many scenarios already happening. I don't feel that would contradict causality.
But it is neither testable nor falsifiable so it's not science. Plus time branching (this is QM "many worlds") is not time travel. All memories or records of observations are of a single branch.
Why does it seem I am always observing the branch where I crap out?
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#19

Post by AntennaGuy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:13 pm

Don Alvarez wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:56 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:46 pm
Bigzmey wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:38 pm

The way how I imagine multiverse is that for any event with different outcomes, all outcomes happen simultaneously and this is how the time branching occurs. As an example, if you throw a dice all 6 outcomes happen. You see one and 5 of other you see one of them. So if you travel back in time you just add one more of many scenarios already happening. I don't feel that would contradict causality.
But it is neither testable nor falsifiable so it's not science. Plus time branching (this is QM "many worlds") is not time travel. All memories or records of observations are of a single branch.
Why does it seem I am always observing the branch where I crap out?
Heh. Quantum mechanics actually does have an answer for that last question. The branches in which you "crap out" vastly outnumber the others. Success is generally more difficult to achieve than failure, in nearly all things, for essentially the same reason. If it makes you feel any better, you actually won the great sperm/egg lottery way back when you were conceived. The odds of you doing that were extremely low, yet no one remembers or mourns those that never even formed zygotes. We, the successfully conceived, are all big winners in that game.
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Re: Aeon: multiverses and pseudoscience

#20

Post by notFritzArgelander » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:40 pm

AntennaGuy wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:13 pm
Don Alvarez wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:56 pm
notFritzArgelander wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:46 pm


But it is neither testable nor falsifiable so it's not science. Plus time branching (this is QM "many worlds") is not time travel. All memories or records of observations are of a single branch.
Why does it seem I am always observing the branch where I crap out?
Heh. Quantum mechanics actually does have an answer for that last question. The branches in which you "crap out" vastly outnumber the others. Success is generally more difficult to achieve than failure, in nearly all things, for essentially the same reason. If it makes you feel any better, you actually won the great sperm/egg lottery way back when you were conceived. The odds of you doing that were extremely low, yet no one remembers or mourns those that never even formed zygotes. We, the successfully conceived, are all big winners in that game.
Well, the old Copenhagen interpretation of QM is perfectly adequate and the highly metaphysical "time branching" of the many worlds interpretation is just so much science fiction. Speaking of metaphysics the idea that there is a "person at conception" is controversial within the religious community. It is also a political controversy in which advocates for personhood at conception are mired in self contradictory twists of pseudo logic. For instance if "personhood" is defined as the presence of a heartbeat, then removing life support from a comatose elder should be regarded as murder.

It's a vexing controversial question that we should not try to settle here per the TOS. Facts and logic are insufficient to support any conclusions.
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