Of Particular Significance

At the Naturalness 2014 Conference

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

ON 11/17/2014

Greetings from the last day of the conference “Naturalness 2014“, where theorists and experimentalists involved with the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] are discussing one of the most widely-discussed questions in high-energy physics: are the laws of nature in our universe “natural” (= “generic”), and if not, why not? It’s so widely discussed that one of my concerns coming in to the conference was whether anyone would have anything new to say that hadn’t already been said many times.

What makes the Standard Model’s equations (which are the equations governing the known particles, including the simplest possible Higgs particle) so “unnatural” (i.e. “non-generic”) is that when one combines the Standard Model with, say, Einstein’s gravity equations. or indeed with any other equations involving additional particles and fields, one finds that the parameters in the equations (such as the strength of the electromagnetic force or the interaction of the electron with the Higgs field) must be chosen so that certain effects almost perfectly cancel, to one part in a gazillion* (something like 10³²). If this cancellation fails, the universe described by these equations looks nothing like the one we know. I’ve discussed this non-genericity in some detail here.

*A gazillion, as defined on this website, is a number so big that it even makes particle physicists and cosmologists flinch. [From Old English, gajillion.]

Most theorists who have tried to address the naturalness problem have tried adding new principles, and consequently new particles, to the Standard Model’s equations, so that this extreme cancellation is no longer necessary, or so that the cancellation is automatic, or something to this effect. Their suggestions have included supersymmetry, warped extra dimensions, little Higgs, etc…. but importantly, these examples are only natural if the lightest of the new particles that they predict have masses that are around or below 1 TeV/c², and must therefore be directly observable at the LHC (with a few very interesting exceptions, which I’ll talk about some other time). The details are far too complex to go into here, but the constraints from what was not discovered at LHC in 2011-2012 implies that most of these examples don’t work perfectly. Some partial non-automatic cancellation, not at one part in a gazillion but at one part in 100, seems to be necessary for almost all of the suggestions made up to now.

So what are we to think of this?

  • Maybe one of the few examples that is entirely natural and is still consistent with current data is correct, and will turn up at the LHC in 2015 or 2016 or so, when the LHC begins running at higher energy per collision than was available in 2011-2012.
  • Maybe one of the examples that isn’t entirely natural is correct. After all, one part in 100 isn’t awful to contemplate, unlike one part in a gazillion. We do know of other weird things about the world that are improbable, such as the fact that the Sun and the Moon appear to be almost exactly the same size in the Earth’s sky. So maybe our universe is slightly non-generic, and therefore discoveries of new particles that we might have expected to see in 2011-2012 are going to be delayed until 2015 or beyond.
  • Maybe naturalness is simply not a good guide to guessing our universe’s laws, perhaps because the universe’s history, or its structure, forced it to be extremely non-generic, or perhaps because the universe as a whole is generic but huge and variegated (this is often called a “multiverse”, but be careful, because that word is used in several very different ways — see here for discussion) and we can only live in an extremely non-generic part of it.
  • Maybe naturalness is not a good guide because there’s something wrong with the naturalness argument, perhaps because quantum field theory itself, on which the argument rests, or some other essential assumption, is breaking down.

Some of the most important issues at this conference are: how can we determine experimentally which of these possibilities is correct (or whether another we haven’t thought of is correct)? In this regard, what measurements do we need to make at the LHC in 2015 and beyond? What theoretical directions concerning naturalness have been underexplored, and might any of them suggest new measurements at LHC (or elsewhere) that have not yet been attempted?

I am afraid my time is too limited to report on highlights. Most of the progress reported at this conference has been incremental rather than major steps; there weren’t any big new solutions to the naturalness problem proposed.  But it has been a good opportunity for an exchange of ideas among theorists and experimentalists, with a number of new approaches to LHC measurements being presented and discussed, and with some interesting conversation regarding the theoretical and conceptual issues surrounding naturalness, selection bias (sometimes called “anthropics”), and the behavior of quantum field theory.

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209 Responses

  1. Immanuel Kant said, “Two things inspire me to awe: the starry heavens above and the moral universe within” (Critique of Pure Reason). He promoted the idea that the universe was infinite because time was infinite (having an infinite past and future – Immortality of soul) and the universe existed in the time space dimension. Stephen Hawking says that for Kant and just about everyone else in that period, time was absolute, it was the backdrop to everything. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity changed that.

    A Finite Universe:
    In 1915, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity said that space and time were no longer Absolute. Instead of being a fixed backdrop to everything that happened in the universe, they were dynamically shaped by the matter and energy contained in the universe.

    There is infinite universe, but Finite universe (Mortality) is only relative. Humans experience mortality – so live in unnatural finite universe. The infinite universal is natural. Mathematics governs material. Total artificial intelligence wil eliminate humans ?

  2. Greetings Prof Matt Strassler, thank you for writing this blog, i find it an interesting and entertaining read. My background is in software engineering, but i do love reading up on physics and math too, I was wondering if there were any models that just assumed infinity as a basis, and from those extrapolated up to things like geometry, math, multiverse, physics, instead of the standard approach of what i would term “drilling down”, trying to obtain higher and higher “resolution” of reality? It seems like current math thinking is to shun infinity as an absurd possibility (casual diamond). All reason is based on assumptions, that true is true, that false is false, that true is an inversion of false and vise versa. why not also assume infinity as a start too? i don’t contened that it makes more reasonable sense for oblivion to be a foundation because it’s impossible to reasonably believe in something that can never be observed (no evidence). Infinity is much more likely than oblivion as a foundation. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this. Regards, Adam.

    1. Adam, I think you are new to Dr. Strassler’s blog. Because he is very busy he generally does not respond to (he may not even read) comments after the first couple days of a posting.

        1. No, you aren’t the only one who thinks a finite model of the universe is not satisfactory. The Big Bang beginning has been attacked by some scientists as a creationist model with the creation moved from an unacceptable 6,000 years ago to an acceptable 14 billion years ago.

          Some BB theory supporters speculate that there could have been an infinite series of Big Bangs but that is just speculation without any evidence at all and just something to counter the argument that the BB is a type of creationist model. I think the popularity of the BB theory has to do primarily with our religious/cultural tradition of a universe with a beginning. There are just so many things wrong with the BB theory / expanding universe model. It is just so incredible, one of the most incredible myths man has invented. It has fostered arguments that the universe is finely tuned and is unnatural in the sense of the subject of this thread. Indeed, if we could start over, start with the premise of infinity, we could eliminate much of what is wrong with cosmology and theoretical physics in my opinion.

          1. In nature there seems to be no phenomena that is totally unique. (Things happen again and again in accordance with physical laws.) I see no reason that BB should be a special exception to this. The mechanism that caused it is likely part of a larger construct that can not just produce a single BB, but many. (just like every other construct in nature) I’m glad to hear that others share the view of an infinite cosmos, I certainly don’t have the credentials to personally champion such an endeavor.

            If it would be easier to start over with an infinite foundation instead of nothingness then why not do it? (There is no evidence of nothingness after all, so why is it the default foundation?) Is it just mathematically “purer”, some legacy of history or mathematics, a difference in mental architecture?; in my mind it’s just an assumption, that could just as easily be replaced with the assumption of infinity.

            It’s wonderful to see science/math at a level where it’s almost crossing over into philosophy 😉 Interesting times ahead.

            Infinity contains us by default. Oblivion doesn’t contain anything and never can contain anything, so why would it be our beginning? I’m sure formlessness is all well and good for zen meditation, but it’s utterly useless for math and astrophysics.

            1. Our Universe is a larger version of a galactic polar jet.

              It’s not the Big Bang; it’s the Big Ongoing.

              Dark energy is dark matter continuously emitted into the Universal jet.

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  4. There is only one natural explanation and that is the one where the particle always detected traveling through a single slit is evidence the particle always travels through a single slit; it is the associated wave in the dark matter which passes through both.

      1. We can’t detect anything in another world. If we can’t detect anything in another world we can’t test for it. If we can’t test for it it’s not a theory.

        Many-worlds is unnatural.

        In the Copenhagen interpretation we are not allowed to ask where the particle physically exists in a double slit experiment prior to its detection.

        Not being able to ask where a particle physically exists prior to its detection in physics is unnatural.

        Double slit experiments have been performed with particles as large as C60 molecules. That’s 60 interconnected atoms. In every double slit experiment ever performed with a C60 molecule it has always been detected as a single entity, as 60 interconnected atoms. This is physical evidence the C60 molecule always exists as a single entity. That is the natural explanation.

        In every double slit ever performed the particle always travels through a single slit and it is the associated wave in the dark matter/aether which passes through both.

        1. Many Worlds solves the double slit problem !
          If we assume that we live in one part of a material but CP symmetric bubble of the multiverse, which has at least one entangled anti-,material copy bubble universe. Entangled down to each anti-copy quantum level.
          Bohm and Vigier struggled with the question HOW each particle was guidedalong its natural path. now you are able to know. see:

          1. How do you detect something in another world? You can’t. If you can’t detect something in another world you can’t test for it. If you can’t test for it its not physics; it’s a shared hallucination.

            ‘Fluid mechanics suggests alternative to quantum orthodoxy’

            “The fluidic pilot-wave system is also chaotic. It’s impossible to measure a bouncing droplet’s position accurately enough to predict its trajectory very far into the future. But in a recent series of papers, Bush, MIT professor of applied mathematics Ruben Rosales, and graduate students Anand Oza and Dan Harris applied their pilot-wave theory to show how chaotic pilot-wave dynamics leads to the quantumlike statistics observed in their experiments.”

            The “subquantic medium” referred to by de Broglie is the “fluidic pilot-wave system” referred to by Bush and is what waves in a double slit experiment.

        2. It is not a given that we cannot detect things in “another world”, it’s way too soon to say that. There isn’t even a good reason to say it’s impossible.

          The Copenhagen interpretation does not forbid asking anything, it just reminds us that there’s only somethings we can know. We cannot know precisely where ANYTHING is without first detecting it, and we detect subatomic particles only when they interact with something, which changes their properties (location, energy, etc.)

          You misuse the term “natural”; there’s nothing unnatural about multiverse theories or the Copenhagen interpretation. They might not be intuitive, but they are certainly natural.

          But I should not criticize you too much for your misuse of the term, I have already written that the “naturalness problem” is itself a misuse of that term too (tho’ misuse in a different way).

          sean s.

          1. Of course we can’t detect anything in another world. Every time we detect something we are detecting it in this world.

            Many-worlds only exists as a religious belief you have faith in. It doesn’t physically exist.

          2. Of course it’s impossible. If you detect it it is detected in this world as the experiment to detect it exists in this world.

            Talk about a religious belief. You just accept it on faith that you can detect something in another world without even realizing the whole point of many-worlds is whenever we detect something we are detecting it in this world.

          3. If there is another “world” and it interacts with our “world”, then it’s interactions can be detected in our “world” which means the thing interacting in the other “world” is detected.

            It’s really not hard. It’s like feeling something through a glove, you can feel it even though you are not actually touching it directly. It’s very natural; we do it all the time. Ever pick up a pot with a hot-pad? Ever? Same exact thing.

            sean s.

        3. If there is another “world” and it interacts with our “world”, then it’s interactions can be detected in our “world” which means the thing interacting in the other “world” is detected.

          It’s really not hard. It’s like feeling something through a glove, you can feel it even though you are not actually touching it directly. It’s very natural; we do it all the time. Ever pick up a pot with a hot-pad? Ever? Same exact thing.

          sean s.

        4. The problem is “Quantum decoherence” on the part of empirical evidence – you want to fill the missing link with Monkey. Relativity keeps the doubt in favour of existing evidences.
          Flux, vortex, Newton bucket’s water, photography of a face, all could be duplicated with mathematics (Noether’s theorem). This shows the “Distinct” power of mathematics – what we experience in empirical evidence through “Quantum decoherence” – or it deliberately destroys the other part (to keep conservation law).
          But the “conservation laws” needs the manipulation of this “perfect world (monkey)”, with Axioms. The axioms of quantization, momentum, angular momentum – associated with Gravity (or power of Mass) shows, our empirical world is an illusion – have no meaning without “Relative” to more “Natural” evidence. Example: The vortex does not explain the speed of outer galaxies (dark matter?).
          The absolute of empirical evidences, in one context, shows the world is flat ?

          1. In a double slit experiment the particle travels a well defined path which takes it through one slit. The associated wave in the aether passes through both. As the wave exits the slits it creates wave interference. As the particle exits a single slit the direction it travels is altered by the wave interference. This is the wave guiding the particle. Detecting the particle strongly exiting a single slit destroys the cohesion between the particle and its associated wave in the aether, the particle continues on the trajectory it was traveling and does not form an interference pattern.

          2. s_luke52, Iam not an expert, I understand the “Quantum Reality?” is counter-intuitive. The “Ball (particle) on the Spring (wave)” is only an analogy – as you say?, the ball and spring cannot be separated – they behave as one, and at same.
            Decoherence is the mechanism by which the classical limit emerges from a quantum starting point and it determines the location of the quantum-classical boundary ?
            Out of “interference (quantum state)”, the “Distinct” empiricism have no meaning ?

            1. A moving physical particle has an associated physical wave. When you detect the particle you destroy its cohesion with its associared wave. Destroying the cohesion between the physical particle and its physical wave is what causes there to not be an interference pattern.

              In a boat double slit experiment the boat travels through a single slit and the bow wave passes through both. If you place a bunch of pilings at the exits to the slits in order to detect the boat the boat gets knocked around by the pilings. While the boat is getting knocked around by the pilings it is no longer in cohesion with its bow wave.

          3. The wave of the wave function, however, is not a wave in physical space; it is a wave in an abstract mathematical “space”, which can be represented as ‘configuration space’, or can be represented as ‘momentum space’, and in this respect it differs fundamentally from water waves.

            Probability amplitudes provide a relationship between the wave function (or, more generally, of a quantum state vector) of a system and the results of observations of that system, a link first proposed by Max Born. Interpretation of values of a wave function as the probability amplitude is a pillar of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In fact, the properties of the space of wave functions were being used to make physical predictions (such as emissions from atoms being at certain discrete energies) before any physical interpretation of a particular function was offered. These probabilistic concepts, namely the probability density and quantum measurements (you say as “A moving physical particle ?”) , were vigorously contested at the time by the original physicists working on the theory, such as Schrödinger and Einstein ?.
            It is the source of the mysterious consequences and philosophical difficulties in the interpretations of quantum mechanics—topics that continue to be debated even today. ?

            1. In de Broglie’s double solution theory there is the physical wave which guides the particle and the wave-function wave which is statistica,l non-physical and is used to determine the probabilistic result of experiments.

              It is the physical wave which physically waves through both slits in a double slit experiment.

          4. Historically, Einstein was the one who started in 1905, with the introduction of this wave-particle dualism in radiation theory (mass as emissions from atoms being at certain discrete energies, in radioactivity).
            Relativistic slowing down of moving clocks is subjected to observer (experiment)’s Quantum decoherence – not giving physical reality in ψ = Cv. The particle, precisely located in space at every instant, forms on the v wave a small region of high energy concentration, as moving singularity ?

            1. The moving singularity always travels through a single slit. It is the associated v wave in the dark matter which passes through both.

          5. Mass is not conserved. Particles are only relative.
            Many theories in physics have mathematical singularities of one kind or another. Equations for these physical theories predict that the ball of mass of some quantity becomes infinite or increases without limit. This is generally a sign for a missing piece in the theory, as in the ultraviolet catastrophe, renormalization, and instability of a hydrogen atom predicted by the Larmor formula.
            In supersymmetry, a singularity in the moduli space happens usually when there are additional massless degrees of freedom in that certain point.
            In this case, the mass parameters are brought into mass degrees of freedom at high energies – uniting Naturalness and unNaturalness – making present metastable to stable state. ?

            1. Mass is conserved. Particles of matter are condensations of dark matter. When a nuclear bomb explodes matter evaporates into dark matter. The physical effects calused by the evaporation is energy. Mass is conserved.

              The relativistic mass of an object is the mass of the object and the mass of the dark matter connected to and neighboring the object which is displaced by the object. The faster an object moves with respect to the state of the dark matter in which it exists the greater the displacement of the dark matter by the object the greater the relativistic mass of the object.

          6. Good, it is beyond my knowledge.
            Mass is connected to Gravity and relative. we feel it because it is not conserved locally – which is the cause for mathematically illogical axioms and constants. You are correct because, dark matter reacts with matter by gravity.

            1. Dark matter is displaced by matter.

              Displaced dark matter pushing back and exerting inward pressure toward matter is gravity.

              The state of displacement of the dark matter IS gravity.

          7. Work done to separate the space is the Energy. If it is separated at the speed of light, there is no Charge separation, Mass is not conserved locally (only momentum and energy is conserved) – so photons are massless. If it was separated more than the speed of Light (as in inflation theory), creates magnetic dipole.
            Charge separation, like mass is relative, “in” other frame of reference – less than speed of light.
            If mass is conserved, photons should be massive. Thus at high energy, making “massless” W and Z bosons Massive and making it Metastable – eventually decay to a more stable state, releasing energy (Radioactivity) ?

            1. Mass is conserved. Particles of matter are condensations of dark matter. Particles of matter evaporate into dark matter.

              A change in state of that which has mass is energy.

  5. Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single slit in a double slit experiment?
    A. The particle always travels through a single slit. It is the associated wave in the dark matter which passes through both.

    That is the natural explanation.

    1. Re: “That is the natural explanation.” There are lots of “natural” explanations. It’s the explanations that have been or can be tested that matter; and only the ones that pass their tests that we accept. Your explanation fails on both counts.

      sean s.

  6. If mainstream physics wants naturalness then understand in a double slit experiment the particle always travels through a single slit and the associated wave in the dark matter passes through both.

    If you don’t want naturalness then continue to make up nonsense like many-worlds.

    You can’t have both.

  7. Count me in the “naturalness is not a good guide” given what we know camp. “Naturalness” is to a great extent a function of perspective, and is also presumptuous. If reality seems unnatural, this probably means that we are looking at the question from the wrong perspective or uninformed of some important constraint or process.

    For example, if a fundamental, not yet “discovered” law of nature says that the sum of the square of the fundamental particle masses is equal exactly to the square of the Higgs vev, then the Higgs boson mass looks very natural, and our conception of how the Higgs boson mass arises is wrong (or at least misleading or uninteresting as a perspective), and any undiscovered fundamental particles need to be very light (e.g. sterile neutrinos in the keV mass range) rather than heavy.

    Similarly, if the Higgs boson mass has some natural value like zero at the Planck scale and the value we observe is simply a result of the running of the mass down to the electroweak scale, again, it looks natural when viewed from the right perspective.

    If dark energy has some intrinsic relationship to dark matter then the amount of dark energy in the universe looks “natural” and the fact that it produces a tiny cosmological constant that on its face might be unnatural, is simply a matter of looking at the constant from the wrong perspective.

    The notion can be extrapolated to almost any situation where naturalness applies.

    1. Mainstream physics can’t even understand there is evidence of dark matter every time a double slit experiment is performed; it’s what waves.

      When physics can’t bring itself to realize what waves in a double slit experiment it’s no wonder it can’t explain what occurs physically in nature in a natural language..

      1. I don’t think it is fair to criticise physics for not understanding there is evidence of dark matter through the 2-slit experiment because I do not think there is any evidence at all that dark matter has anything to do with the 2-slit experiment. The 2-slit experiment has its own problems, which in my opinion, are exemplified as follows.

        Either there is or there is not a wave accompanying particle motion. If there is no wave, the 2-slit experiment seems to be a complete mystery. What causes the diffraction? And why does it matter whether you locate which slit the particle has gone through? If there is a wave, then either it matches the particle velocity or it does not. If it does not, then how can it account for the 2-slit experiment? If it does, then it is reasonably easy to show that the energy for the required phase velocity is mv^2. Whether that is the energy of the system, or of the particle plus wave is an interesting question, but either way, the wave must contain energy.

        As you can see, that creates a new problem – where is this wave? I have considered this in terms of what I call Guidance Waves (similar to the Pilot Wave, but as a referee testily put it, it is too different) and I am forced to have it oscillating in an additional dimension, which I know would be considered ugly by many. The one advantage of this alternative interpretation is that it does make predictions that under certain circumstances, you can tell which slit the particle went through and still get diffraction. Unfortunately, the experiments are not that easy to do. The easiest is probably the so-called delayed quantum eraser. All you have to do is block one of the two mixing beams, but unfortunately, because the results obtained seemed really weird (they are) and were what the authors hoped for, they did not do the other obvious test.

        As an aside, this Guidance Wave requires the output of the 2-slit experiment. The square of the amplitude is proportional to the energy (as is every other wave) but the particle nature ensures that the energy not dissipate, and accordingly, once a cycle, the two connect and regenerate each other. When you locate the electron, the wave has to collapse and regenerate then, and the regenerated wave has not gone through the slits.

        1. If I understand the theory correctly, there is no “wave accompanying the particle motion”, the wave is the particle, and the particle is the wave.

          sean s.

          1. Which is unnatural.

            LOUIS DE BROGLIE

            “Since 1954, when this passage was written, I have come to support wholeheartedly an hypothesis proposed by Bohm and Vigier. According to this hypothesis, the random perturbations to which the particle would be constantly subjected, and which would have the probability of presence in terms of [the wave-function wave], arise from the interaction of the particle with a “subquantic medium” which escapes our observation and is entirely chaotic, and which is everywhere present in what we call “empty space”.”

            de Broglie is correct. There is a physical particle and a physical wave in the “subquantic medium”.

          2. … and de Broglie’s evidence (and yours) is— what? That’s what we’re missing here: evidence. A simple citation to an empirical result would suffice.

            sean s.

          3. Sean, it depends on which theory. The de Broglie/Bohm pilot wave and my Guidance wave postulates that the wave is separate from the particle. That is the proposition. Stating it does not make it so, nevertheless it is legitimate to use the proposition to explain facts that otherwise remain incomprehensible. There is clear evidence that the particle goes through one only slit, yet of there is no wave going through both, how can you get the diffraction pattern? You can argue for some “magic” that following probabilities that just happens, get used to it, but I argue that is not scientific either.

            You asked for a citation. Try Kocsis et al. 2011, 332: 1170 – 1173 where weak measurements showed photons went through one or the other slit, and what emerges is two streams of photons, and the interference pattern gradually emerges over several wavelengths. The streams proceed to generate the interference pattern; nevertheless, photons from one stream do not swap into the other stream. What happens is claimed to be exactly what de Broglie/Bohm predicted. Perhaps something else weird is going on, but from Occam’s razor, the presence of a wave and a “particle” would seem to me to be the easiest way to interpret this result.

          4. Ian; I accept the legitimacy of de Broglie/Bohm’s postulate, but as you say, “Stating it does not make it so”. And since I am not a laborer in this field, I can accept the correction, and the qualifications around all legitimate theories. It’s a good day to learn something new.

            What I cannot make sense of is that, if the particle travels through only one slit, then it’s associated wave should also, and the interference pattern produced should be different from one produced by waves that travel through both slits. At least intuitively, which I recognize as a weak objection. Otherwise, waves from different particles would have to be tightly synchronized, with seems even more unlikely.

            I am quite comfortable realizing that words like “particle” and “wave” are just metaphors, that whatever is going through the slits in neither in fact, but something that sometimes seems like one and sometimes the other. What it actually is cannot be captured by our language yet.

            sean s.

            1. Sean, you wrote above: “What I cannot make sense of is that, if the particle travels through only one slit, then it’s associated wave should also, and the interference pattern produced should be different from one produced by waves that travel through both slits. At least intuitively, which I recognize as a weak objection. Otherwise, waves from different particles would have to be tightly synchronized, with seems even more unlikely.”

              Regarding the last sentence, as far as I am aware quantal matter waves are unlike water waves in that they only self-interfere other than in scattering between particles, possibly because prolonged self-interference requires fairly precise phase relationships which are unlikely to be maintained between particles travelling at different velocities.

              In my Guidance Wave picture, which is different from the de Broglie/Bohm picture (and they too may not be the same) I came to the conclusion that if there is a “real” wave then to maintain a phase velocity equal to the particle it had to have energy. Accordingly I see the particle as a very localised entity, and the wave a more dispersed energy field. Being more dispersed, the energy field goes through both slits. This leads to the possibility of what you allude to. Suppose you could fire the particles such that ALL particles strike the barrier to the left of the left slit. The detector sees nothing. Now, very carefully, edge the beam towards the right until something comes through. If this can be done carefully enough, it should be possible to get all, or a predominance of the particles, to go through the left slit. Now, if Kocsis is correct and the particles do not cross over into the other’s domain, I would predict that you get a lop-sided diffraction pattern.

              Strictly speaking, I am something of an amateur in physics, having started life as a chemist. Part of the reason I went off into this alternative view of quantum mechanics is this. Using standard quantum mechanics, in 1928 Heitler and London published the results of two year’s toil between them to calculate the energy of the hydrogen molecule, and got an answer that is about 75% that of observation. Since then there have been many “improvements” and chemical bonds can be computed to a strange accuracy, yet when you see Pople’s Nobel speech, he showed that for hydrocarbons he could get good results when he optimised parameters from 299 experimentally derived energies. For me, that is empiricism. As an undergrad, I found the quantum methodology for chemical bonds as found in books incomprehensible, so I sat down and tried myself, based on the principle that it would be easier to forget about the particle and find the condition for a stationary wave. It took me about 15 minutes to get an analytical answer: leaving aside some minor effects, the bond energy of hydrogen is 1/3 the Rydberg energy. Check it out. That is fairly good, and extraordinarily better than 75%. Since then, I have been fascinated by this energy/wave relationship.

              Finally, I see no connection with dark matter. Either the wave is in dark matter or it has nothing to do with dark matter. If the former, either the dark matter is uniform throughout the Universe or it is not. If it is, then it cannot be that which is responsible for galactic gravitational anomalies. If it is not, then one might expect quantal matter wave experiments to be dependent on the localised concentration of dark matter, and there dis no evidence for this. I am of the opinion that to postulate that dark matter has something to do with this, some form of evidence is required, OR a self consistent theory that explains why dark matter does what it does. Neither are evident to me.

              1. Dark matter is not a clump of stuff anchored to matter. Matter moves through and displaces the dark matter.

                What is referred to as the Milky Way’s dark matter halo is the state of displacement of the dark matter the Milky Way is moving through and displacing.

                The state of displacement of the dark matter the Milky Way is moving through is otherwise referred to as the deformation of spacetime.

                What is referred to as the deformation of spacetime is the state of displacement of the dark matter.

                The state of displacement of the dark matter IS gravity.

          5. de Broglie-Bohm theory is incorrectly named as de Broglie disagreed with it. It should be referred to as Bohmian mechanics.

            LOUIS DE BROGLIE

            “During the summer of 1951, there came to my attention, much to my surprise, a paper by David Bohm which appeared subsequently in The Physical Review [3]. In this paper Bohm went back to my theory of the pilot-wave, considering the W wave as a physical reality* He made a certain number of interesting remarks on the subject, and in particular, he indicated the broad outline of a theory of measurement that seemed to answer the objections Pauli had made to my approach in 1927.3 My first reaction on reading Bohm’s work was to reiterate, in a communication to the Comptes rendus de VAcademic des Sciences [4], the objections, insurmountable in my opinion, that seemed to render impossible any attribution of physical reality to the W wave, and consequently, to render impossible the adoption of the pilot-wave theory.”

            The more correct theory is de Broglie’s Double Solution theory. In de Broglie’s double solution theory there is the physical wave which guides the particle and the wave-function wave which is statistical, non-physical and is used to determine the probabilistic results of experiments.

            In a double slit experiment it is the physical wave in the “subquantic medium” which waves. In a double slit experiment it is the physical wave in the dark matter/aether which waves.

          6. In a boat double slit experiment the boat travels through a single slit and the associated bow wave passes through both.

            The bow wave is the boat’s water displacement wave.

            In a double slit experiment, the particle travels through a single slit and the associated wave in the dark matter passes through both.

      2. Physics can’t bring itself to this “realization’ because it has this obsession with evidence. Since there’s no evidence of what you claim, physicists are reluctant to buy-in. And folks like me too.

        sean s.

          1. How do you know this?

            sean s.

            “The word ‘ether’ has extremely negative connotations in theoretical physics because of its past association with opposition to relativity. This is unfortunate because, stripped of these connotations, it rather nicely captures the way most physicists actually think about the vacuum. . . . Relativity actually says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of matter pervading the universe, only that any such matter must have relativistic symmetry. [..] It turns out that such matter exists. About the time relativity was becoming accepted, studies of radioactivity began showing that the empty vacuum of space had spectroscopic structure similar to that of ordinary quantum solids and fluids. Subsequent studies with large particle accelerators have now led us to understand that space is more like a piece of window glass than ideal Newtonian emptiness. It is filled with ‘stuff’ that is normally transparent but can be made visible by hitting it sufficiently hard to knock out a part. The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether. But we do not call it this because it is taboo.” – Robert B. Laughlin, Nobel Laureate in Physics, endowed chair in physics, Stanford University

            Matter, solids, fluids, a piece of window glass and ‘stuff’ have mass and so does the aether.

            The Milky Way’s halo is not a clump of stuff anchored to the Milky Way. The Milky Way is moving through and displacing the aether.

            The Milky Way’s halo is the state of displacement of the aether.

            The Milky Way’s halo is the deformation of spacetime.

            What is referred to geometrically as the deformation of spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the aether.

            Particles of matter, including ‘particles’ as large as the Milky Way, move through and displace the aether.

            A moving particle has an associated aether displacement wave.

            In a double slit experiment the particle travels through a single slit and the associated wave in the aether passes through both.

          2. Vincent Sauvé,

            Remember, there is evidence of dark matter every time a double slit experiment is performed; it’s what waves.


          3. @s_luke52; I suspect you come from a religious background; I do that only because you treat pronouncements by Great Scientists as evidence. You appear to regard them as Authorities and the opinions of Authorities as Evidence. That kind of thinking is usual in religious communities. But in science it is Invalid. Every Great Scientist has blundered, erred, and demonstrated their fallibility. In science, it’s the evidence that commands, with consensus as a fall-back and authorities taking a back-seat.

            With respect to Dr. Laughlin, his opinion is not controlling, and I still don’t see any evidence in your comment. Lots of argument, but no evidence.

            Where can I find observational evidence of the Milky Way moving through a dark-matter halo?
            Where can I find observational evidence of the displacement of “aether”?
            Where can I find observational evidence of “associated aether displacement waves”?

            sean s.

          4. The evidence is the particle is always detected in a single slit.

            This is evidence the particle is always in a single slit.

            It is the associated wave in the dark matter/aether which passes through both.

          5. Where can I find observational evidence of the Milky Way moving through a dark-matter halo?

            sean s.

            ‘The Milky Way’s dark matter halo appears to be lopsided’

            “Basically, the emerging picture of the dark matter halo of the Milky Way is dominantly lopsided in nature.”

            The Milky Way’s halo is not a clump of dark matter traveling along with the Milky Way.

            The Milky Way’s halo is lopsided due to the matter in the Milky Way moving through and displacing the aether.


            Where can I find observational evidence of “associated aether displacement waves”?

            sean s.

            The evidence is found every time a double slit experiment is performed. It’s what waves.

          6. The paper you cite does not support your opinion that the Milky Way is “ moving through and displacing the aether ”. I found no statement in it referring to the Milky Way moving through the dark matter; nor any reference to “aether” or “ether”. So the paper does not present evidence of what you say it does.

            Your interpretation of it is your business, but without evidence that your interpretation is true, it’s just your opinion. The paper does not support your opinion that the Milky Way is “moving through and displacing the aether”.

            You keep saying that in all double-slit experiments, dark matter is “what waves”. Yet you have not cited even one confirmation of that claim. I suspect you are just making it up.

            sean s.

          7. The Milky Way is not “moving through a dark-matter halo”.

            The Milky Way is moving through and displacing the aether.

            What is referred to as the Milky Way’s halo is the state of displacement of the aether.

            The Milky Way’s halo is the deformation of spacetime.

            What is referred to geometrically as the deformation of spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the aether.

          8. Yet you have not cited even one confirmation of that claim. I suspect you are just making it up.

            sean s.


            I recommend you watch all of the following video. The part having to do with the double slit experiment starts at 2:40:


            There is also the work being done by John Bush at MIT:

          9. Re: “Dark Matter’s New Wrinkle: It May Behave Like Wavy Fluid’” The operative word is “May” as in “could be but we aren’t sure”. Not evidence. Certainly not evidence that dark matter is “what waves” in double-slit experiments.

            Both videos you link to are very tentative, neither claims to settle any question, nor do these models do more that “mimic” quantum behavior. Worse, though the video demonstrates a double-slit experiment, it does not reproduce the results normal seen in double slit experiments.

            Tell us, if the particle is immersed in the “aether” what plays the role of the vibrating surface? When an experiment with particles IMMERSED in a fluid replicate quantum behavior, they’ll have something. So far all they have is a curiosity.

            There’s a lot less to this than you claim.

            Further: If there is another “world” and it interacts with our “world”, then it’s interactions can be detected in our “world” which means the thing interacting in the other “world” is detected.

            It’s really not hard. It’s like feeling something through a glove, you can feel it even though you are not actually touching it directly. It’s very natural; we do it all the time. Ever pick up a pot with a hot-pad? Ever? Same exact thing.

            sean s.

      3. The underlying energy associated with the aether is what plays the role of the vibrating surface. That is why it is considered to be chaotic.

        If this “other world” interacts with our world then it isn’t another world, it’s our world.

        1. I guess now you just need to provide evidence that a particle immersed in a hypothetical fluid will create the same kinds of vibrations that a particle bouncing on a surface will. You offer a source of Energy, but no substitute for the surface effects.

          If there is another “world” and it interacts with our “world”, then it’s interactions can be detected in our “world” which means the thing interacting in the other “world” is detected.

          It’s really not hard. It’s like feeling something through a glove, you can feel it even though you are not actually touching it directly. It’s very natural; we do it all the time. Ever pick up a pot with a hot-pad? Ever? Same exact thing.

          sean s.

          1. de Broglie already figured it out.

            LOUIS DE BROGLIE

            “Since 1954, when this passage was written, I have come to support wholeheartedly an hypothesis proposed by Bohm and Vigier. According to this hypothesis, the random perturbations to which the particle would be constantly subjected, and which would have the probability of presence in terms of [the wave-function wave], arise from the interaction of the particle with a “subquantic medium” which escapes our observation and is entirely chaotic, and which is everywhere present in what we call “empty space”.”

            A “subquantic medium” has mass. The chaotic part is referring to the vibrations.

            Otherwise understood to be the dark matter.

            There is evidence of dark matter every time a double slit experiment is performed; it’s what waves.

  8. First sorry for my english level.

    @ M.Many
    “There are no equation where input is ultimate pure complete nothingness and the output fields and particles .
    2- There are no equation where input are fields and output are laws .
    3-There are no equation where input are chemistry and output are life .
    4- There are no equation where input are electrical activities in brain networks and output are feelings .

    1 and 2, are questions about QFT, as far as I know it is beyond the standart model , it’s very usefull, but “nature” does not “work” that way. So these question don’t need to have an answer.

    3 and 4, I doubt there is an “equation” with these Inputs/outputs, because those issues are very complex. The equations are like the ones we have, easy rules but when large systems and few rules come to play together, we can expect results like “life” or “feelings” ( I think conciousness is deeper than feelings, at the end the feelings only change our behaviour for survival reason, conciousness let the universe think of itself 🙂 ).

    I think, M.Many, maybe you are having the same problem that humans have had all the history. There were Gods for fire, wind, death , life , storms, etc. When we didn’t understand something, the easy way was God. But I don’t know why we allways forget that the existance of Gods it’s rarer than the phenomenon itself.

    It seems we live in a BB universe. It really doesn’t matter for the discucion if the universe has been always here or it had a begining, both ways are equally inexplicable.

    How was the universe created?,and if it wasn’t, what is it? Two questions that we maybe can’t answer.
    God doesn’t solve anything, we can do the same questions, How God was created, and if not, what is God?
    That lead us to the same problem but more complicated because you have to explain God.

    @ sean samis:

    I see you have a lot of patience, and I’ll abuse a little.
    I’m not a physicist, I’m finishing engineering grade, and maybe I have a different relativistic model. I began trying to understand “c” as speed limit as a amateur on my spare times. Now I have a different model.
    I have been working on the math. I have not got many new equations, because it’s hard for me to be sure if I am on the path of my mental model.
    I am able to account for time dilation, space dilation, I can get the energy equation , and the system transformations (slightly different than Lorentz), but I don’t know how to check the validity of this different transformations (What do I have to check?).

    I think it’s easy to check, have some predictions. I think it deserves being checked by someone, just in case it has some value.

    The best results I have are simulations (I can’t do the math at short term) on my PC with a gravity model. I know it’s not perfect ( for example, Instantaneous Gravity force, point like Sun and Mercury) , but got only 22% error on mercury perihelion advance. And maybe it can explain the FlyBy anomaly. ( again simulated, checked similar order of magnitude diferences with newtonian model).

    I would like to write a paper or something, but I feel I need to prove that it’s a valid model. I’m kind of lost. At least, i think is “easy” to check.


    1. Miguel, you are not alone. You may be surprised at the number of people who, upon study, find Relativity less than satisfying. There are peer reviewed journals like ‘Galilean Electrodynamics’ and ‘Physics Essays’ that are actually dedicated to alternatives to Relativity. So if you do work the bugs out of any theory you are thinking of publishing you might want to consider those. There are also a number of books on the subject; ‘Einstein plus two’ by Petr Beckmann and ‘Kicking the Sacred Cow’ by James P. Hogan come to mind.

      I know of one alternative to Special Relativity which predicted a positive result for, and proposed conducting, the Michelson/Morley experiment at orbital velocity on the space shuttle (back in the day when we had space shuttles) or the International Space Station. Easy to check in theory, but pretty expensive in reality. Also there are much more important experiments like observing the mating habits of shrimp in zero g…

      I could say a lot more but it is not appropriate to do so here, so just let me say Good Luck.

      1. The idea of repeating the Michelson Morley experiment in space seems sensible to me. What the experiment claims to disprove (if I understand correctly) is that there is no underlying medium (aether, or whatever) within which light travels at a constant velocity. If the velocity of light is relative to a background medium, it follows (as far as I can see) that it must interact with it. Following Maxwell, that interaction must be through electromagnetism, in which case all electromagnetic fields interact with this proposed aether.

        If electromagnetic fields interact with this aether, then it follows that so too do the electromagnetic fields of molecules. Now, molecules of gas are in rapid random motion, and hence will apply random forces to such a medium. Accordingly, if a planet is travelling through this medium at a velocity v relative to the medium, as the medium gets tangled with the atmosphere, it will be dragged closer to the velocity v.

        This argument is a little like trying to measure the velocity of river flow from an island. If you measure the flow velocity in the nearby reeds, you will get a small result, or even no velocity.

        I am not saying that Einstein was wrong. Personally, I have no reason to doubt him, nevertheless in logic a theory based on the total absence of an absolute velocity should at the very least be tested under conditions where if it were false, at least the error would not be hidden under some other problem.

    2. MiguelCM,

      First, your English is pretty good, much better than my— well anything other than English. I’ve failed to learn several languages. I am a confirmed monoglot.

      Second, like you I am not a physicist. So I cannot provide much help for you on the matter of your transformations. I suggest you take them to a mathematician or a physicist teaching at your University. If you are unsuccessful there, try another school near-by. It’s my experience that teachers love to teach. As long as you present yourself as open to correction, you can probably get one or more to help, or give you the name of someone who could.

      Please remember that your model may be valid in the sense of fitting observation, but if it cannot be empirically verified, or cannot make useful predictions, it probably won’t go far. I have a few pretty but useless theories of my own.

      Please also remember that experiments are expensive and difficult and time-consuming. This is why they tend to focus on theories that are valuable or experiments that produce clear results. No one needs to justify refusing to work on your model; there are plenty of others to work on and life is short. So it will be your job to show experimenters what the value of their effort would be.

      Sdino’s advice is sound; if you get your model far enough, find a friendly publisher. Getting it published may be how you find someone to test it empirically.

      Unlike sdino and other commentators here, I remain satisfied with the “standard model”. I recognize that it is unfinished and may even be overturned. I’m good with that; I’m not tied to the Standard Model but to the search for the Correct Model, whatever that may turn out to be.

      Good luck with your engineering career.

      sean s.

      1. Thanks, I will take your advices.

        At the moment the model has few predictions, for example, measured speed of light at space (higher orbit better) should be slightly slower.
        My best hope is use known data to prove something.

  9. There is evidence of dark matter every time a double slit experiment is performed; it’s what waves.

    Aether has mass. Aether physically occupies three dimensional space. Aether is physically displaced by the particles of matter which exist in it and move through it.

    The Milky Way’s halo is not a clump of stuff anchored to the Milky Way. The Milky Way is moving through and displacing the aether.

    The Milky Way’s halo is the state of displacement of the aether.

    The Milky Way’s halo is the deformation of spacetime.

    What is referred to geometrically as the deformation of spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the aether.

    A moving particle has an associated aether displacement wave. In a double slit experiment the particle travels through a single slit and the associated wave in the aether passes through both.

    Q. Why is the particle always detected traveling through a single slit in a double slit experiment?
    A. The particle always travels through a single slit. It is the associated wave in the aether which passes through both.

    What ripples when galaxy clusters collide is what waves in a double slit experiment; the aether.

    Einstein’s gravitational wave is de Broglie’s wave of wave-particle duality; both are waves in the aether.

    Aether displaced by matter relates general relativity and quantum mechanics.

  10. Dr. Strassler,

    What are books I can use to learn and apply the math that will let me tinker enquire, and predict values upon theories of gravity, particle interaction, and quantum physics? I am currently in medical school but cannot shrug off my interest in your field.


  11. Richard Feyman pledges, Physics will ultimately get rid of Mathematics.
    But the beauties of Axioms (like, inverse square law, conservation law, quantization..) makes the mathematics, the best way to understand the nature.

    Richard Feynman – The.Character.of.Physical.Law -…: http://youtu.be/kd0xTfdt6qw

    1. An equation is nothing more than a statement (e.g. force is equal to mass times acceleration) and like any statement it may be true or false. However, a mathematical statement has advantages in that it is usually far more concisely expressed than a worded statement, and of course it can be manipulated. However, it still has the problem that the terms in the equations, etc, need to be properly defined and retain their meaning consistently. Some of the problems in the physical sciences arise through some using terms in a different way to others.

  12. “We have no idea how the ordered physical, moral, mental, aesthetic and social world in which we live could ever have arisen from the seething anarchy of the elementary particles.” One thing I can add is that, the last time I checked, we don’t even know how genes and RNA manage to control the color of the eyes. We may be able to draw the hereditary chart and point to the right place in the DNA, but we have no idea at all how the genotype turns into the phenotype.
    ——————-David Berlinski
    A man whom i respect .

    1. M. Many; 50 years ago we could not tell you much of anything about DNA, 75 years ago we had no idea of its significance. 100 years ago we had no clue. Science is a moving target; trying to make a point by citing work-yet-to-be-done is both futile, and evidence that you do not even understand how science works.

      sean s.

    2. Berlinski is a buffoon, in math, biology and physics, and the professionals know this.

      To wit: personal incredulity is a fallacy, not a rational argument.

  13. Nature doesn’t care about developing a technological species, or one with advanced language capabilities. We are an evolutionary accident, an extreme exception of natural selection. If we never happened we wouldn’t be here discussing this on a computer.

    For many years I used to read Natural History Magazine while my favorite scientist Stephen J. Gould was still alive. A memorable cartoon that was in one of the magazines showed the sea and a tiny island and four animals. They were a fish and a fish-like reptile starting to crawl out of the water and a reptile and a human. They each had bubbles pointing to each showing their thoughts. The first three animals bubble said the same thing: Eat, Survive, Reproduce. The bubble for the human said: What’s it all about?

    We seek meaning in life. That is our burden for this accidental situation of ours. Most people seek solace in religion. Some of us aren’t satisfied with what religion has to offer and seek answers in science no matter how unpleasant the offerings for our pysche.

    1. Vincent …
      Meaning or eating , that is the problem…..no creature on earth would stop eating to read an article about meaning of life , ….only humans do this ,,what is absurd for me is how an intelligent person like you as an example fail to see that fields and particles and forces can never in principle generate a material blob that reflect about meaning of life or destiny , this is the main fundamental point we are dicussing , it is not a matter of future science , it is a necessary unsolvable problem as we do not need to know SuSy particles or techni-higgs to solve it , the solution is not in arguments about it but in demonstrating the Link , the Bridge that leads from fields to reflection about the meaning of it all … Here there are a huge unbridgable gap that fundamental physics is unable to bridge in principle ,….
      You ask for a principle , this is THE principle , you have to show how FPF of physics can generate mentality , you have to specify the bridge , the task of showing is on your side as for our side the point is a fundamental fact , you are the ones who must prove otherwise .
      Thanks for this very valuble conversation .

      1. M. Many, I have a book to recommend for you. The title is *The Blind Watchmaker*. It is by Richard Dawkins.

        I read it and enjoyed it.

        1. Great …. I ask you to specify your answer for one of the most basic points , then you ignore the point and advice me to read some atheistic selfrefuting nonsense …….
          All arguments of that person ?! are mere rubbish and i am sure you know that ….let me ask you : did you understand that the title itself is contradictory ? If the watchmaker is blind then the watch is junk and this is an obligatory conclusion……so the complete argument of that person ?! fails and collapse , i would never imagine that you accept such an argument but it seems that you did …….very strange indeed.

          1. M. Many; obviously the “blind watchmaker” is a metaphor. No argument is invalidated by a metaphoric title, however poor you think the title is.

            sean s.

      2. M. Many, I wait with eager anticipation for the distant day when you can actually tell us how this principle of yours operates to forbid minds to be the product of mere matter. You describe it obliquely, but not how it works. Given that we know that minds exist, matter exists, no deities are known to exist and no reason why minds cannot be based on material phenomena, we reasonably believe that minds are so based. In spite of your many comments, you have yet to tell us how your principle forbids this conclusion; you just assert it does. I await your explanation of why it works as you claim.

        sean s.

  14. Yes, it is real neat to think about, but I don’t think 4 billion years is a short time for biological evolution to finally produce something like us. We weren’t inevitable. We are an accident of random natural occurances. By the way, we aren’t so powerful that we can guarantee our own survival thousands or millions of years from now. Cockroaches, bacteria, and viruses will surely outlive us I think. Let us hope that we will continue to evolve in good ways harmoniously with the rest of the biosphere.

    1. Yes, Vincent, it is something to think about. I’m not saying this proves the existence of God, of course it doesn’t, but it is a mystery how the dinosaurs could exist for millions of years, yet never develop beyond a survival mode.

      1. Why should they? What benefit is being slightly smarter? A smarter dinosaur may have more success at hunting or spotting predators, but a larger brain is a hungry thing. Ours consumes 20% of our total energy budget and that’s a LOT. I’m not an evolutionist but it seems to me that evolution is a ‘lazy’ process; it does the bare minimum with no plan or order. Intelligence is not a trump cared; like wings or an exoskeleton is has its place.

        1. Feynman says, CP violation is Relative ?
          There is Local charge conservation (also, not mass conservation, but energy & momentum conservation) – not Distinct (like Cartesian dualism), but correlated by Relativity ?

          The miracles of Locality cannot be explained without the Relativity, with the Naturalness ?

      2. Human brains have reptile components. The R Complex, so maybe there existence wasn’t in vain so to speak.

        P.s Great Debate 🙂

        1. Ice melted, Mammoth was unearthed. Nucleation melted spatial dimentions, unearthed Dinosaurs – we may be at higher entropy ? .. Hi…hi..

      3. Tony; Regarding “it is a mystery how the dinosaurs could exist for millions of years, yet never develop beyond a survival mode.”. Not really. Two reasons:

        First, evolving beyond survival mode is not an evolutionary requirement. The wonder is not that they didn’t, but that we did.

        Second, if some species of dinosaur happened to have progressed to the point humans were at a million years ago, then there would be little left to show that. Even if they got as far as early civilization, after 65 million years, there’d be little or no trace of that now. So we cannot definitively say they did not start down this path, just that if they did, Chicxulub (or whatever) exterminated them before they could go too far.

        sean s.

      4. Again, biologists know this. Our kind of intelligence is, as the elephant trunk, unique. Such traits, that do not have reason for convergent evolution (like flippers in fishes, seals, penguins, squids, …), are rare as a result of the process. (Which is based on contingency.)

        Open that biology book…

  15. Don’t you wonder sometimes where the powers of man came from, so seemingly far above what the natural world entails, including, of course, all other mammals or any other animal that has ever existed? The powers of the Intellect in math, the sciences, and in many,many other ways. Nothing else even comes close to what we possess, in power, knowledge and abilities. Where did it come from, and in such a short time? Evolution? Nothing in evolution required what we possess.

    1. Tony; human powers are only seemingly extraordinary. Some birds can count faster than we can. Other animals share some of our abilities. Seems like every month some “uniquely human trait” turns out to be not-so-unique after all. Humans are extraordinary, but so are mayflies. Too much can be made of it all.

      And because other animal share some of tour mental traits, our development was not as brief as it might appear; we did not evolve directly from amoeba, but from other, highly developed mammals. An impressive foundation was laid before us.

      Nothing in evolution required what we possess.” Really? How do you know that? Human evolution remains mostly uncharted territory, especially in the area of how our behaviors and abilities enabled our success (or vice versa?) It’s too soon to say what was “required”. Anyway, the question is not really about evolutionary requirements as much as what evolutionary advantages our mental traits gave us.

      sean s.

      1. Why aren’t more animals, especially monkeys and apes doing Physics? Do you think that apes have to apologize to their mates? There is the infinite monkey theorem where you have monkeys pounding on typewriters for an eternity, eventually they produce the entire encyclopedia, but really, do they understand it? Man does and it didn’t take an eternity but a very short time. Is evolution quick enough for such complicated knowledge?

        1. Tony, for more than 99.9% of the time that we have been humans we weren’t doing physics either, although we and other creatures do make calculations in our head that can be considered to be basic physics.

        2. I don’t know Tony. I have had physics teachers that were clearly monkeys…Seriously though, the G-d hypothesis might carry more weight with me if monkeys and Apes did not exist. Why would G-d want to confuse matters by creating these creatures that are so much like us genetically, physically and mentally? Why would G-d create a fossil record which shows even more creatures (various hominids) even closer to us than the monkeys? Seems like G-d has gone out of his way to place doubt in our minds. Why do that?

        3. Tony;

          Why aren’t more animals, especially monkeys and apes doing Physics?” Because the ability to do physics is not an inevitable evolutionary result. Heck, why are so many humans unable to do physics?

          Is evolution quick enough for such complicated knowledge?” Evolution is quick enough for such an ability. Sure.

          sean s.

    2. Nothing in evolution required the trunk that the elephant possess or the flagellum that many bacteria possess. They, as is our traits, evolved as local achievements in order to survive.

      Open a biology book, you may find it interesting.

  16. Impossible to prove scientifically, in a Creator, simply impossible. Either you believe or don’t. Perhaps that’s the way it should be, at least I think so. Time will tell, death awaits us all.

  17. Vincent, you have not presented a case against the Big Bang theory, at least not here. All you have presented is an alternative, an alternative lacking any evidentiary basis or even some utility. Perhaps you have something on your site “the big bang theory is absurd” but you have not presented anything valuable here. Given your reluctance or inability to give us a reason HERE to take your critique seriously, I’ll put it on my stack of things to do later. I respect your effort to think creatively, and respect your right to do so. But if you think we should treat the product of your effort with greater respect, perhaps you could tell us HERE why that should be. Sterile but pretty ideas are a dime-a-dozen.

    sean s.

    1. Sean, you ask that I should provide my case HERE why I find the BB cosmology unacceptable. This is not the place to do this. Furthermore, Matt has asked me before not to use his site to promote my non-standard cosmology views. If you want to learn why I do not accept the currently popular cosmology you will have to visit one of my websites that review the reasons.

      1. Vincent, I understand Matt’s request, and I’ll do nothing to encourage you to violate his request.

        That said, I will have to look at your site when I can; I do not anticipate it being anytime soon. There are just too many non-standard views.

        sean s.

        1. Sean, a comment only on your last sentence. In my opinion, provided at least two criteria are reached, I would argue there is a shortage of non-standard views. My criteria are:
          (1) Is there any observation that falsifies the non-standard view?
          (2) Does the non-standard view achieve anything that the standard approach does not achieve? (Ideally, this would be a testable prediction, but I think an explanation for something otherwise inexplicable should suffice.)

          If the answer to the first is “No”, and the second “Yes”, then I believe the nonstandard view remains alive as a possible theory. In fairness I should confess to being a purveyor of non-standard views, but as far as I am aware, none of them fail either of those two points.

          I should also add there is a certain satisfaction in seeing an observation that would have been predicted by your view had you thought about it in time, but remains a total puzzle in the standard view.

        2. Ianmillerblog; Regarding “(1) Is there any observation that falsifies the non-standard view?
          (2) Does the non-standard view achieve anything that the standard approach does not achieve? (Ideally, this would be a testable prediction, but I think an explanation for something otherwise inexplicable should suffice.)

          I don’t think your criteria are helpful. They give hope to some non-standard views, but as we’ve seen on this thread, whether something “falsifies” a view is highly subjective. Similarly, what does it mean for a view to “achieve” something?

          If a non-standard view is consistent with current observations, if it is testable in a way that would distinguish it not only from the standard view but also from all the other non-standard views, and if it provides some utility (predictions, ease of calculation, etc.) then it is viable. If all it does is evade falsification without providing significant value, then it may be “viable” but it is also useless. Why would anyone spend valuable and limited time and resources on it?

          sean s.

  18. Vincent …., Sean
    Both of you while adopting the naturalistic materialism stand cannot avoid the fundamental fact of impossibility of even imagining a materialistic mechanism to generate the building blocks of the universe whatever that may be , any presumed mechanism will be built from some kind of building blocks , so you are stuck in infinie regress , and so it be for generating relational behavior of the building blocks …….
    Any materialist depend on what he knows now plus an imaginary hope that in the future science will find the mechanism , ignoring that the mentioned mechanism is an impossibility in principle not temporal , besides ; what if science proved to you in the future that materialism is false ?
    If you are a materialist NOW you must have the proof NOW not in the far future …….. Fair ??
    If fact you failed to refute my 4 ” equations ” since you just assumed that future science will refute them ! , that is prejudice not refutation indeed .

    1. Yes sir, there is no proof that, the middle of material is filled with material – mostly is empty space.
      The energy is, the work done to separate the space – the potential difference. if it was done in an extreme way, extreme + and – created in an involution manner.
      That is why, if we go to extreme temperature and speed we meet the other end. But the infinite space is there, but only relative. If we sit in a photon, we will be in a near quantum state of both infinitesimal and infinite – enormous space in tiny volume ?

    2. M. Many; I have no difficulty at all with imagining that a natural mechanism generated our universe. To some extent, an infinite regress is unavoidable anyway: who designed and built the ones who designed and built us? Ad Nauseum. So even your religious concept cannot escape it. This is why our knowledge will never be complete, under every new discovery are a myriad of new questions.

      You have yet to show that no natural mechanism could (even in principle) produce the universe. You argue it a lot, but your evidence is missing and your logic badly flawed. You have not even shown a credible principle which could tentatively bar natural mechanisms from producing our universe.

      Re: “what if science proved to you in the future that materialism is false?

      This is a very valuable question. There are two responses.

      1. Like any rational person, what I think is true has to be subject to change if new evidence compels it. I doubt science will ever prove materialism is false; incomplete perhaps, but not false. Perhaps it will, but until that day, there’s no reason to treat that as likely, much less a given.

      2. More importantly, your question demonstrates why you cannot treat the unknown and “future discoveries” as out of bounds. Your question acknowledges that current knowledge is incomplete, that future discoveries may dramatically alter our knowledge. This is why we cannot just say “we don’t know NOW so it must be impossible”. If we don’t know now, and if we don’t know now that something is impossible then NOW we need to keep our options open.

      This second point is why you should not tell materialists what they MUST do NOW. Your demand is illogical; your question (above) acknowledges that current knowledge is subject to change.

      Similarly, your “4 equations” try to convert the unknown into proof of something; which it is not. The unknown remains just that: unknown. Your “equations” are self-refuted because they rely on an idea (the completeness of current knowledge) which even you don’t agree with. Your “equations” can safely be ignored; they are certainly not scientific.

      Again, I am not trying to disprove your religious beliefs; I cannot disprove them. But your “science” is simply false. That much is clear.

      sean s.

  19. Regarding the “Big Bang Theory”, there will be a problem with the use of terms. From what I can make out all evidence we have starts at a postulated 300 My after “the start”. (If I have the time wrong, that is irrelevant to this point.) Strictly speaking, we have no idea what happened prior to that, but we know at that point everything behaves as if it is moving away from everything else, so it is natural to extrapolate backwards. One theory has had it that the Universe “cycles”, in which case the “start”, where the collapse stopped and began expanding again, but the problem with that is the argument that the Universe expansion appears to be accelerating.

    That leaves the question, is there really an expansion? From what I understand, the evidence is that the type 1A supernovae, which are believed to act as standard candles, are too faint for their red shift, which is explained through expansion accelerating somewhere about 6Gy ago. This leaves open the questions, is the distance based on luminosity correct, and is the red shift ONLY caused by a Doppler-type effect? What disturbs me about this is there is evidence that the luminosity of the Type 1A is a function of metallicity of the companion star, and it follows that the older the star, the less the metallicity because there will have been fewer supernovae earlier. If that were the case (and there needs to be more data to be sure) then the accelerated expansion and “dark energy” may not be real.

    As far as I can make out, the evidence is properly in accord with the “Big Bang” in general, but there could be some serious defects when we get down to detail. Which is what science tends to be like – all seems well, then there are some irritating details.

    1. Ian, thanks for your comments. You asked “is there really an expansion?” For me good evidence for expansion would be observing distant galaxy clusters closer to other galaxy clusters in the distant universe. If the universe were expanding than in the deep past galaxy clusters would be nearer to each other. Why do I say galaxy clusters? Because everyday things all the way up in size to galaxy grouping have stronger attractive forces that would overwhelm cosmological expansion; In other words, galaxies and gravitationally bound clusters don’t expand under the expanding universe theory. Yet what is actually observed is a homogenous and isotropic distribution in space and time of galaxy clusters up to the point of practical visability. At the furthest reaches of our telescopes it is too difficult to do reliable surveys.

      It seems more reasonable to me that there is stuff in space that interfere and reduce the energy of radiation ever so slightly that over great distances give us the cosmological redshift. There are at least two other known redshift mechanisms. The most commonly known one is the Doppler red (or blue) shift. Another one is the gravitational redshift. Some scientists have proposed other mechansms as well, but I think there are too many faces to be saved and careers and reputations at stake for the community to change their positions and open themselves up to a complete relook at the whole situation. There are many irritating details in the BB cosmology. It would be good if people stopped treating it like it is a fact of the same quality as how we know, for example, the size or distance to our sun.

      1. Oops – careless of me. What I meant was, “is the expansion accelerating?” I never meant to imply there is no expansion. I was questioning the dark energy scenario, and not the expansion of the Universe. I think the correlation with 1A supernovae and redshift up to about 5 Gy ago makes Hubble’s expansion quite self-consistent; it is the failure of the correlation beyond that that to my mind opens up a lot of questions.

        Another possibility for a redshift is “tired light”, in which the light gives up energy to the medium over time, but I dislike the introduction of one new proposition to explain one new fact. But I also dislike the argument that was made for dark energy, and then when the new data comes in relating a drop in 1A luminosity with metallicity that the dark energy scenario is not re-evaluated. Even of there is dark energy, it should have reduced in magnitude with this discovery. This is one of what I find to be an irritating detail that you mention.

        1. Ian, you are assuming that a redshft due to “expanding space” and a redshift due to interaction with the intervening stuff in space would give different results. If light is affected by something in space over the long distances it travels in such a way that its energy is reduced, time measurements will also be affected. The signals sent from a standard clock will be slowed from great distances because of all the interactions along the way. I have heard that if something was affecting light in space, other than the stuff that obscures things that we know about, that things in distant space wouldn’t look as sharp as they do and that therefore there isn’t anything out there that would have that effect on light. I don’t buy that argument because light interacts with many trillions of molecules in our atmosphere before it reaches our eyes and things look pretty sharp. “Tired light” can explain more than just one thing in cosmology. It can explain the cosmological redshift and the increasing 1A luminosity curves with distance.

        2. Vincent, you wrote to Tony that “‘Tired light’ can explain more than just one thing in cosmology. It can explain the cosmological redshift and the increasing 1A luminosity curves with distance.

          Now all anyone has to do is demonstrate experimentally that “tired light” exists.

          sean s.

      2. Vincent; In your comment to Ian, you said that “ For me good evidence for expansion would be observing distant galaxy clusters closer to other galaxy clusters in the distant universe. If the universe were expanding than in the deep past galaxy clusters would be nearer to each other.

        I did some math. Hubble’s Constant says that the universe expanding at the rate of about 67 kilometers/sec/megaparsec. That mean that at a distance of about 30,856,776,000,000 kilometers, an object moving only due to cosmic expansion will be moving at 67 km/s. That means the distance per second is about 2 ten-billionths of a percent of the whole distance (or 0.000000000217132211090362000000%). Although 67 km/s is an impressive speed (241, 740 km/h), at that speed it would still take 16 days to get from earth to the sun, whereas light does it in about 0.006 days.

        This rate of motion is so small relative to the distance that it’s little surprise that objects at galactic distances do not appear crowded together.

        As for whether gravitational forces would “overwhelm cosmological expansion” that would depend on the “escape velocity” from various gravitational clusters. I don’t have those numbers, but I do know that the escape velocity of our solar system is a mere 42 km/s, well below 67 km/s.

        Perhaps you can supply some of these escape velocities, or a better explanation as to why distant “crowding” would be seen.

        sean s.

        1. Sean, I am not interested in debating or providing numbers to an interpretation that I am not convinced about. Edwin Hubble wasn’t convinced either. Hubble wrote that we should tentatively regard the cosmological redshift as a velocity shift: “Meanwhile, red-shifts may be expressed on a scale of velocities as a matter of convenience. They behave as velocity-shifts behave and they are very simply represented on the same familiar scale, regardless of the ultimate interpretation. The term “apparent velocity” may be used in carefully considered statements, and the adjective always implied where it is omitted in general usage. –pp. 122-123 Edwin Hubble, *The Realm of the Nebula*.

          In actual fact, if you read Hubble’s books and papers like I have you will learn that he was a life-long doubter of cosmological redshifts as indicative of velocity. Cosmologists who have a committed career in the Big Bang theory might dismiss Hubble like I have witnessed in a conversation at UC Berkeley, but the fact is that Hubble preferred a “sensibly infinite universe plus a new principle in nature.” Quote is from the conclusion in his *American Scientist* paper “The Problem of the Expanding Universe, Vol. 30, No.2, April 1942.

        2. Vincent; I realize you don’t believe in Cosmological Expansion. My point in all that math was not to persuade you to accept CE, but that the galactic clumping you claim we should see is not actually expected.

          I only asked for your numbers in case you discovered an error in mine.

          Besides my poor math, there are other solid reasons why deep distance galactic clumping it is not expected, so that argument against Cosmological Expansion is a non-starter.

          With all respect to E. Hubble, science generally and cosmology in particular have moved on from his initial discovery. He may have had legitimate reasons to be doubtful back then. New things have been discovered in the intervening years, and there is no good reason to be doubtful now. Science and reason are never bound to the views of the discoverer, they follow the facts wherever they lead.

          sean s.

    2. No, we’re pretty clean on what happened up to the first few seconds; for example the abundance of hydrogen vs helium in ‘primordial’ matter matches that predicted by the BB theory for a cooling and expanding soup of hot protons and neutrons.

      While the expansion of space doesn’t cause (most) galaxy clusters to fall apart it *does* affect the movement of things within. In the same way that stars in galaxies move faster than they should given the visible mass galaxies in clusters move more slowly. They are less weakly held than gravity alone would suggest; it is as if some other force were pushing all the constituent galaxies away from each other. This is beleived to be due to the expansion of space.

      The issue with redshifts are that they are ‘smooth’; something twice as far away is twice as shifted. Doppler effects would require objects to move away from us faster the further they were. It would make us the still point, the center that everything was moving away from. Doppler redshifting should be random, some red, some blue (as things move towards us.) and of differing magnitudes. Indeed we use the doppler shift to detect the speed of things like stars in our galaxy and beyond.

      Gravitational shift depends on mass; it would require that things get heavier and heavier the further from us they were, and also to be much more massive than other evidence suggests they are. Gravitational shifts should be random in magnitude and too faint to detect.

      I am not so sure about careers and reputations; Einstein did not worry about ruining Newton’s reputation and think of what would happen to anyone who managed to prove the BB wrong; they would go down in history as the new Einstein, the new Hawking. We have seen this again and again in science where a new theory rises and I don’t think there is any community more hungry for such things than physics. We seek evidence that the standard model is wrong, we look for evidence of multiverses or that quantum mechanics is wrong. Everyone’s always testing Einstein’s theories to ridiculous precision. If there’s a viable alternative out there it will make itself known.
      Doppler redshift is a problem since it requires things to be moving fast, increasingly fast the further away from us they are. (And why would that be?

      1. That something twice as far away has twice the red shift is usually explained by uniform expansion, as far as I am aware, and I most certainly do not disagree. That is where I get my use of Doppler shifts. Uniform expansion is not an issue for me; I am still unconvinced about accelerating expansion following about 6 Gy BP. For me, gravitational red shifts to explain this would seem to require massive gravitation further than we can see, and I don’t believe that either. I have no intention of defending “tired light” – I raised it because in logic it could in principle be a possibility, but it raises more problems than it solves, and there is no evidence for it. So, that leaves the standard interpretation that the universe is expanding as the only one that makes sense.

        I am happy to accept that the hydrogen/helium ratio is a result of the big bang. Whether it occurred in a few seconds is another matter, but since we cannot test any such proposition, I am unconcerned about that.

        1. Indeed. The standard theory covers things quite well, but it has its holes. I’ personally disposed to think of it like phlogiston theory; on to something and fitting observations quite well, even likely to be close to the ‘final’ theory, but not itself, as yet, ‘the real deal.’

          But as they say, time will tell.

  20. Sean, you are twisting my points around. Ill give you something easier: My proposition is that the universe is Infinite in space and time and that all the supposed evidence to the contrary is mistaken. Questions about what caused the universe to exist are wrong and foolish but popular because of a cultural interest in a beginning or a creation happening at a single moment.

    If you want to believe that the universe had a singular beginning that’s fine. I’m not here to change your mind. I just want people to consider other starting points, particularly one that I favor of an Infinite universe without a singular beginning.

    1. Vincent;

      If I am twisting your points around, it is not intentional. I’m doing the best I can with the words you give us.

      Your easier proposition is that “the universe is Infinite in space and time and that all the supposed evidence to the contrary is mistaken.

      As for any proposition, the question still stands: what evidence do you have? What evidence do you have that the evidence of cosmological expansion “is mistaken”?

      Popular culture may have an interest in the “Big Bang” but that does not change the fact that there’s evidence that it’s true. You say that evidence is mistaken, but I do wonder how you’ve established that claim as something stronger than mere opinion. Cosmological expansion can’t be wrong and foolish just because you don’t like them. There’s evidence behind them; I await whatever evidence you can present for your idea.

      An infinite and eternal universe is not a new idea, it fell from favor because it turns out to be untenable: gravitational collapse would have occurred long ago at least regionally. Efforts to save the idea have failed. If you have something we’ve all overlooked, there’s a Nobel Prize with your name on it.

      I do not object to considering other starting points, but these other explanations are ultimately worthless unless they are supported by evidence or prove themselves valuable in other tangible ways. Brain-storming is good, but a vast collection of nebulous ideas do not outweigh the value of one solid, reliable theory.

      sean s.

  21. Vincent; Now I get to say that your point is meaningless!

    I genuinely don’t care that much about “meaning”, at least as you seem to use the word: referring to nothing more than how intelligent beings think about things. That may be an important topic in psychology, but in physics and cosmology, not so much.

    Your point is (apparently) that nothing mattered until some intelligence was there to admire the scenery; that seems an egocentric idea. Obviously much was happening before we showed up; to declare the universe’s birth to coincide with our interest in it is cosmic egoism.

    As before, why on earth would anyone accept that notion? I see no value to it.

    sean s.

  22. Sean wrote:

    “Something clearly happened to create our universe, but that something was as more likely an accident (or acted unintentionally) than some deliberate act.”

    I agree with Sean, but I have a completely novel alternative explanation for how our universe came about. While I am a strict philosophical materialist, what I’m going to say next may seem like I’m some sort of philosophical idealist, but that is not the case.

    The universe came about with the evolution of creatures with advanced consciousness. A universe of moving matter had always existed, but that universe was utterly meaningless until highly conscious creatures evolved to ponder it.

    Creation in this sense is an ongoing process that has been happening over thousands of years (even millions). Our universe went from small, like when we were rodents, only considering our local environment, to very large when we invented big telescopes or dared to think of the Infinite.

    I don’t buy today’s popular cosmology because the foundations are founded on mistakes in my opinion. For example, many people say that Einstein’s big mistake was the introduction of the cosmological term into his cosmological field equations. This was an *ad hoc* device he introduced to make his incorrect model come into balance. But people don’t see the real mistake in what he was doing. Science writers will say that he entered the cosmological constant term because he (along with his science colleagues of the time) thought that the stars were approximately static. What is often unstated and not understood is that Einstein mistakenly believed that the universe must be finite. His model was of a finite universe. If you apply a finite model with a universe that is not expanding (and that was believed to be the case at that time) then you need to create the fiction of some force to counter balance the gravitation and collapse that should have resulted.

    An Infinite universe model does not need that fiction of a cosmological constant. An Infinite model cannot collapse. There is no center to collapse to. Countless parts of an Infinite universe can collapse but the whole universe cannot.

    Google “Mistakes Cosmologists Make” for more on foundational issues.

    1. @Vincent,

      I have to ask you the same question I asked M. Many: why would I believe your idea? What value does it offer? How do you propose to show it’s true?

      And how could the universe come into existence only AFTER someone reached consciousness? Are these just your version of “deities” in the multiverse? How are you going to prove that’s true?

      Your explanation appears to be precisely the kind of explanation that Ockham’s Razor is supposed to discourage.

      sean s.

      1. Sean, you have missed my point. The key idea here is meaningful or meaningless. A universe without conscious creatures is just as meaningless as a universe that is empty of all matter or of one that is full of matter with no empty space for matter to move. In such imagined scenarios no creature could evolve from it to ponder anything. The most logical starting point is of a universe of matter in motion that has always existed, but that existence had no meaning until conscious creatures evolved from it.

  23. Every event, interaction, seems to have a point of “no return”, (entropy?). So what would the energy per unit volume, say in the LHC, that could create a black hole? I know there was a court case on this subject to prevent the LHC from happening but do scientists know what lies beneath?

    Yes, cosmic rays hold a bigger punch and we get bombarded continuously but they are not concentrated in one specific point.

    1. Oh no, cosmic rays ARE focused on a specific point; they are single particles (Be they photons, electrons, protons or atomic nuclei) possessing MASSIVE amounts of energy. (The most energetic so far was a proton with the mass, the MASS of a baseball. It was rightly named the ‘Oh-my-God particle’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh-My-God_particle )

      The amount of energy\mass per volume needed to make a BH is defined by the Schwartschild volume, r^3 where r = 2Gm/c^2 (In terms of energy r = 2Ge.). This becomes more and more difficult as the energy you have decreases, our galaxy needs to be squashed into .008 cubic light years, the sun into 26 cubic km and Earth into 700 cubic millimeters. (If this doesn’t make sense the ‘energy density’ needed to BH Earth is 100’000’000’000 times greater than that needed for the sun.)

      The smaller a BH the less stable and anything we could produce would exist for such a short time it would be, at best, an interesting particle even instead of a world-ending monster. When things get down to the level of particles questions arise as to whether such a BH can even exist; at some point something must happen to a small BH, when it ‘ends’ but we don’t know what exactly. Perhaps there is a ‘smallest possible BH’.

      All events are reversible, the only question is chance. A broken cup CAN randomly reform into a fixed one, but it’s massively, MASSIVELY unlikely so we never see it. There is some suggestion that this may be the basis of the ‘arrow of time’.

    1. Many, Sean S’ s is again 1600s Cartesian circle (circular arguement) – a Penrose stairs.
      To prove it, we must enter a holographic world without mass/gravity ?

  24. I am bemused by these arguments regarding “naturalism” and physical theories that make it seem that our world is highly improbable. This is ammunition for creationists. They pick up on what physicists say to argue for an intelligent creator. In 2006 I came across a book called The Creation of the Universe by Harun Yahya. The author pointed to numerous physical arguments from scientists that our universe must be fine-tuned, and that it followed that it must be that way because there is a creator (this isn’t the only book like this). I had argued that that idea is wrong in a review I posted to Amazon.com:


    I will not be persuaded by anybody that our world is improbable; rather, I think people, and this includes physicists, often create ideas, or theories, that aren’t right or entirely physical. When the collective of a science field fails to see their own mistakes a huge precarious edifice can be built up on a weak foundation. I sincerely believe that it is the ideas and theories of mankind, built from many mistakes, that leads to these views that some things in nature are extremely improbable.

    I hope I can live long enough to see some of these fundamental mistakes in the sciences corrected.

    1. “Mind of man is sufficient to discover more perfect (immortal) than itself” – because mind discovered, “material things exist and contain the properties essential to them (Mathematics).”

      1. At quantum mechanical ground state, The information isn’t present in the Distinct state (properties essential to them). It’s stored in the correlations among the states, so you have to somehow read all of them at once. ?

    2. @ Vincent : your stand is a kind of prejudice against the fact of infinite willing power creating the universe , let me tell you this : as far as the following creiteria are not met , then that Fact is a fundamental one :
      1-There are no equation where input is ultimate pure complete nothingness and the output fields and particles .
      2- There are no equation where input are fields and output are laws .
      3-There are no equation where input are chemistry and output are life .
      4- There are no equation where input are electrical activities in brain networks and output are feelings .
      These are fundamental facts in principle and as far as they are valid then a creating power is the only explanation…….this is NOT creationism , this is real scientific reasoning since 1 thru 4 are scientific premises .

      1. @M. Many; No, No, No, and No.

        We do not need an “equation where input is ultimate pure complete nothingness and the output fields and particles .” There is no need to think there is or ever was “ultimate pure complete nothingness” so no equation describing this is needed.

        We do not need “equations where input are fields and output are laws.” Physical laws are just our descriptions of how things have been observed to work, they are not objects or ideals or essences. “Laws” is just a term we use to refer to descriptions of the most fundamental behaviors.

        We already have some “equations where input are chemistry and output are life.” This topic is far from complete, but there is no obviously insuperable barrier; we just need time.

        Likewise, we are just started on the hunt for “equations where input are electrical activities in brain networks and output are feelings.” Patience, grasshopper. We’ll get there.

        Nothing in these “equations” (a bad term here) leads singly or in combination to the conclusion that our universe needs a “creating power” which is some kind of person/intellect/intelligence. You characterize your premises as “scientific” but they are not; so the conclusion fails that mark also.

        sean s.

        1. Sean :
          1- can you prove that there were no ultimate nothingness ? No you cannot
          2- Deception : Laws ARE relations imposed upon fields , what instantiated the relations ?
          3- Prove in principle that chemistry generates life , untill you do then there is no equation .
          4- Electrical networks are totalllly different category and rank from feelings
          Just show how in priciple ENW can generate feelings , you cannot ,
          The word ” Equation ” is a metaphor for any physical , mathemathical , chemical , algorithic or you name it where input is of a category that can never generate output category .
          So my premises ARE scientific and the conclusion is GOD .

          1. @M. Many;

            Can I “prove that there were no ultimate nothingness?
            Can you prove there was?
            Can you prove that “ultimate nothingness” is a necessary or likely original state?
            Can you give us any reason to believe this assertion of your is true?

            Since there is no proof either way, and since we have never observed “ultimate nothingness” there is good reason to regard that as likely. Ockham’s razor.

            You asked regarding “laws”; “what instantiated the relations?
            Can you prove they ever were “instantiated”?
            Can you prove they are not just part of the context in which our universe originated?

            Again, since the proof is lacking either way, the reasonable assumption is that they have always been there.

            You wrote that I need to “Prove in principle that chemistry generates life , until you do then there is no equation .

            No. Evidence does not create the thing proved, evidence demonstrates the pre-existence of the thing proved. Science discovers and explains, it does not create the natural order. It’s already there.

            Even though the process of how life arose from abiotic chemistry is not known YET, that does not mean the process does not exist. When this process is demonstrated (as I am sure it will be), it will not have suddenly sprung into existence. There may be several independent pathways for life to arise. Proving there is NO PATHWAY is your job.

            Regarding “Electrical networks are totally different category and rank from feelings” Even if true that would be irrelevant. But in fact, that is an unfounded opinion.

            Can you prove precisely what “feelings” are?

            So you cannot prove that feelings cannot be the product of “electrical networks”.

            You asked “Just show how in principle ENW can generate feelings , you cannot ,

            Well, since neither of us can actually tell what feelings are, the challenge is moot. But in principle, feelings could be just mental states in which the mind experiences certain classes of thoughts and physical states. There’s no reason in principle that these could not be ultimately the result of complex neuronal activity.

            Finally, you wrote: “So my premises ARE scientific and the conclusion is GOD.

            Setting aside the bogus claim to scientific premises; the big enchilada is: WHICH GOD?

            Athena? Baal? Brahma? Isis? Jehovah? Q? Oden? Zeus? Other? There are something over 4,000 gods known in sacred literature. Your assertion cannot establish any one over and against the others. In fact “God” is such a loaded term, that you should use the term “deity”. Because, at most that’s all you got.

            I am sure you mean Your God, which ever that may be. At most your evidence would still not validate your beliefs, which is why you waste your time. But it is your time to waste.

            sean s.

    3. Vincent :
      In your review you mixed the explanation of the causal power responsible for existence of the universe with the properties of the universe and this is a category mistake , science cannot reach to a conclusion that cosmic properties are not necessary for our universe with its laws and building blocks , so you just cannot leave aside generation of the universe and claim that its properties ” proves ” that no creating causal power is required , please see my next comment as unless those equations are valid then properties could never negate creation .

      1. @M. Many,

        If your “causal power responsible for existence of the universe” is some kind of intellect, then your evidence falls far short. If you are referring to some impersonal, accidenntal phenomena in a multiverse, then your choice of words obscures your point.

        Something clearly happened to create our universe, but that something was as more likely an accident (or acted unintentionally) than some deliberate act. If this is your point, you hide it well.

        sean s.

        1. No accedental anything is presumed , what i refer to is very simple :
          When no physical , chemical , mathematical , algorithmic cause fail in principle to generate an effect , then the cause is beyond all of those …..
          Conclusion :
          The cause is beyond the universes no matter how many of them , deny this and you destroy any kind of logic .

          1. @M. Many;

            What you should have written is “IF no physical , chemical , mathematical , algorithmic cause CAN in principle … generate an effect , then the cause is beyond all of those..

            That would be arguably true.

            But since we don’t know that any essential natural effect is beyond all explanation, there is no logical conclusion at all. Since we don’t even have any good reason to think there are essential natural effects beyond all explanation, your “logic” is only opinion.

            Please let me be clear about something: nothing I have presented amounts to proof that there is no deity. All I have accomplished is to show that your “proof” OF some deity is not proof of anything.

            If you want to believe in your God, go for it! No skin off my nose. Just don’t offer false witness by pretending that science proves your God (or any deity) is real. Science has not, and probably cannot.

            sean s.

  25. Today’s coincidental apparent equal size of the sun and moon is an irrelevancy.

    The fossil record shows that a gazillion years ago (actually 430 M) the moon was only 100,000 km away from Earth and covered six times its present area in the sky.

    1. Not necessarily; the fact that the moon’s orbit and thus its apparent size compared to the sun changes is itself an interesting answer to why the moon and sun are the same size. In this case it comes down to mere coincidence. (Though one could of course ask ‘Why NOW when humans can see it?)

      But what if we had found that the moon’s orbit didn’t change? Or what if we’d just dismissed it and never discovered what we know now about orbital dynamics? All questions should be given the consideration they deserve.

      1. Kudzu,

        Imagine a world where the following was postulated:

        Every world bearing an intelligent civilization (already, I’m not sure if Earth qualifies but let’s assume we do) has a moon whose apparent size is about equal to the apparent size of its sun.

        Now imagine that just about everybody believes it.

        Crazy? Idiotic? Disprove it! You can’t, because the only example you have tested the idea on experimentally complies. Test Earth a billion times – it complies.

        Yet just about everyone buys into the equality of inertial and gravitational mass. You may say: ‘That’s because we have tested it a million times.’ But we keep testing the same damn stuff. It’s like testing the postulate above for the Earth, over and over and over again.

        My point is that if we want to make a stab at creating more possibilities at perhaps explaining things like dark matter and dark energy both of which may involve gravity perhaps we should test the gravitational acceleration of something other than u-quarks, d-quarks and electrons.

        Let’s see how antihydrogen falls. Let’s see how positronium falls. Let’s see how muonium (a negatively charged muon moving about a proton) falls

        1. A theory that cannot be disproven is not scientific. The ‘moon theory’ seems to me a lot like the assertions that I hear often about how many aliens must be out there. (There are so many planets they just have to be? Why? They just HAVE to be!) But you would expect people to want to know WHY that was, in science you can’t just say ‘X needs Y’; you have to have some sort of mechanism or at least seek one.

          We (well some of us) think that inertial and gravitational mass are equivalent but we don’t have a reason why. Only an idiot would be going ‘Just because. Problem solved!’ The search for a mechanism behind the equivalence (or possible lack of it.) is a pressing problem in physics.

          I’d also note that protons and neutrons contain more than just u and d quarks due to the somewhat… complex structure. (Quarks and antiquarks of various flavors exist within.) Antimatter has however been gravitationally measured; http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n4/full/ncomms2787.html I will further note that the paper discusses the fact that physicists have long questioned the equality of matter and antimatter and that further experiments are planned, so it’s not like nobody’s trying. And that, at heart is part of what this conference is about; discussing what things can be done, need to be done and even whether the entire concept is even valid.

          1. Kudzu,

            I would agree with your logic concerning alien life. Just going by statistics does not make the case. We still just have only one example of life and until we find others any claims we might make on a statistical basis are suspect.

            With regard to your assertion that: “The search for a mechanism behind the equivalence (or possible lack of it) is a pressing problem in physics.” Perhaps. I would agree based on standard and ever more precise tests of the Equivalence Principle utilizing ordinary matter. However, the situation with regard to antimatter has been abysmal.

            An experiment by Fairbank and Witteborn almost 50 years ago (no typo; 50 not 5) indicated that free electrons fell at the expected rate. Yet, (almost unbelievably) the experiment was never repeated using positrons, which was its original intent!

            In the late 1980’s a proposal to test the gravitational acceleration of antiprotons died for lack of funding.

            The 2013 Alpha experiment you cite was literally an afterthought – utilizing data accumulated in the course of Antihydrogen confinement at CERN. The determination that if antihydrogen falls up it does so at < 65g does not of course disprove the possibility that antihydrogen falls up at 1g.

            Sorry, I don’t call a half-century of NOT doing something “trying”.

            However, I will say that the up-coming AEgIS experiment (2016?) finally qualifies! Time will tell…

            As to Protons and Neutrons being loaded with anti-up and anti-down quarks. Perhaps. However, if antihydrogen falls up, the onus will be on those who insist on 'antimatter within matter' not those who proposed gravitational repulsion.

  26. Hi Prof. Strassler – Thanks for another enlightening article
    In this post you suggest: “Maybe naturalness is not a good guide because there’s something wrong with the naturalness argument, perhaps because quantum field theory itself, on which the argument rests, or some other essential assumption, is breaking down.”
    I read a mainstream media article recently about a mathematical approach referred to as the “Amplituhedron” as a simplified method for calculating scattering amplitudes. To me the article simply seemed to be about a tool that makes calculations much simpler (than say Feynman Diagrams), but the article also seemed to claim that an approach based on geometry had profound implications for locality and unitarity, “on which quantum field theory rests”. is the ‘Amplituhedron’ an example of a possible evolution of quantum field theory or an assumption that is “breaking down”?
    The mathematics is of course beyond me, but I am curious about how a mathematical approach that does not require certain assumptions leads to the assertion that said assumptions are sort of ‘illusory’.
    Any thoughts you have on this would be of great interest.

  27. Matt;

    Regarding your description of the “naturalness problem”:

    “… when one combines the Standard Model with, say, Einstein’s gravity equations. or indeed with any other equations involving additional particles and fields, one finds that the parameters in the equations (such as the strength of the electromagnetic force or the interaction of the electron with the Higgs field) must be chosen so that certain effects almost perfectly cancel, to one part in a gazillion* (something like 10³²). If this cancellation fails, the universe described by these equations looks nothing like the one we know.

    If that is a valid description of the “problem”, then I don’t see the problem. Our universe is not necessarily (or even likely) a “generic universe”. Our universe is what it is. It’s not much different from asking why I am X inches tall or weigh Y kilos. I just do, that’s how it’s worked out. Our universe is more tightly “specified” than my height or weight, but that is no matter. It is what it is.

    If the multiverse concept is valid (in nearly any sense) then our “universe” exists within a surrounding, perhaps enabling cosmos, whose properties doubtlessly influence the properties of our universe. The “naturalness problem” seems less about our universe and more about the surrounding cosmos; we are beginning to infer things about it, or trying to. Perhaps that is unintentional. But people living on an island cannot understand its nature and origins without looking at the sea and the subsea world from which the island arose. We cannot fully understand our physics and universe until we understand the context in which they arose.

    sean s.

    1. @ Sean :
      Then what you say means we can never understand our universe since we can never fully understand the context , i think this point is very essential and for me it is an ipso-facto stand .

      1. @M. Many, we can never fully understand our universe because there will always be something that we discover we can’t explain just yet. That will always be. Every discovery opens up new questions. Science does not offer full understanding of our universe, just a better understanding than alternative methodologies.

        Certainly we cannot fully understand the context in which our universe came into being, but that is a far, far different thing than saying we cannot understand our universe. Either way, some unanswered questions will always remain.

        I am not sure what an “ipso-facto stand” is. I understand the meaning of ipso facto, but what such a “stand” would be escapes me. If you are saying that you think it essential to at least believe that a full understanding of our universe is possible, then I have to disappoint you. It’s not; it never was in the cards. Complete, total, perfect understanding is not possible.

        sean s.

        1. I really mean what you just wrote ….
          Full , Complete , Total , Encompassing understanding of our universe is beyond science and this is what Matt . Just said :
          M. Many | November 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM | Reply
          You can never know that any theory is the final correct one unless you observe the universe from outside .

          Matt Strassler | November 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Reply
          Even then you would not know.

          1. @M. Many, It was not clear to me that you were agreeing! OK. But no matter where you observe the universe from, you cannot acquire full knowledge. We may as well set that aside; it will never be.

            Since there is no “final correct theory”, the “correct theory” is the one that does the best job of explaining the subject of the theory for now. (That answers a question someone else asked.) And yes, today’s correct theory might be jettisoned tomorrow. That’s happened quite a bit in science. C’est la vie.

            sean s.

    2. The problem lies in the fact that science tries to answer questions. If something is as expected (generic) then there’s (usually) no question as to why. When it isn’t a question remains as to why it’s not and science seeks to answer it.

      Asking why you are your height is actually quite relevant, you are (I assume) generically high and heavy. If you are morbidly obese or a dwarf questions arise as to why (And given our understanding of such things we have answers to things like extreme height and weight issues.) If we follow this process for people’s heights and weights, why not the universe.

      The multiverse is a possible answer (and indeed one I see proffered most often in the press.) but it is not confirmed as yet. This is part of what discussion and research into the naturalness problem involves. What if we find there cannot possibly be a multiverse? There’s even some theories that our universe is far *smaller* than it appears. All we can do is seek to answer the questions that arise and go where the answers take us.

      1. @ Kudzu; If your explanation is correct “generic” seems the wrong word; we want to know if our universe is “typical”. As with my height or weight, there’s little reason to ask “why” if I (or the universe) are “typical”.

        The problem is we have no other examples of universes, so we don’t know what “typical” is or even might be. We know that altering some of the parameters of our universe might result in a dramatically different universe, but until we know more about the context of our universe’s origins, we are only guessing at what that means. In the process of creation, does interaction between the forces at play channel the properties of nascent universes? Or does the process produce truly random results?

        These are valid questions, and I do not object to the topic, but I think the language chosen is sloppy and misleading.

        Is our universe “natural”? To most people the alternative is not “generic” nor “typical”; if our universe is not “natural” then they would say it was “artificial” or “designed”. By referring to this as the “naturalness” problem, physics has created unnecessary confusion. You might say that science should not worry about this, but that is equivalent to saying that scientists should not care what laypersons think. Down that path is only trouble for scientists and science itself. We Americans can tell others all about the trouble caused by the “typical” person’s misunderstanding of science.

        I’m not sure at this moment what the right word is (the Precision problem? The Typicalness problem?), but I’m pretty sure “naturalness” and “generic” are not the right words. In fact, a worse choice than “naturalness” is hard to conceive of.

        sean s.

        1. We do not require observation of multiple universes to have an idea of what ‘typical’ is; if you were the only human but enough was known about your dvelopment (For example we can compare your heartrate with your mass, the size of your digits against your limbs. Similarly we think we understand the universe’s development enough to make predictions as to how a ‘typical’ universe should pan out.

          The problem with language is one both of laypersons and science. ‘naturalness’ is a simple term that becomes quite intuitive once it has been explained to you. It has thus stuck in physics and seems unlikely to change and I see little reason for it to because the layman is easily confused (or deliberately misled.) Look at ‘energy’, ‘theory’ and ‘quantum’; we could change those or any concept where we felt that the layman didn’t ‘get it’; but like as not the new labels would also be misinterpreted.

          1. Kudzu; I think that in general we agree, but I think your analysis here is flawed. It may be true (I have doubts) that if “enough was known about my development” that I could determine if I was “typical” without needing other humans to compare myself to. The problem is: how do I acquire “enough knowledge about my development” without having other humans to look at? I might document in excruciating detail my own development, but that does not tell me that I am not significantly unique.

            I don’t think one can reach generalized knowledge of a class based only on information about one sample. If I gave you a single example of some extraterrestrial species, I don’t think you could conclude much about its “typicalness”. You could learn an enormous amount about it, and make a myriad of assumptions about it, but reach actual knowledge of its “typicalness”? I think not.

            I believe calling this problem “naturalness” was a poor choice, but you are probably right that it is a choice that cannot or will not be undone.

            sean s.

        2. Actually it is quite interesting how we may make predictions about a ‘unique’ object. Given a single instance of an extraterrestrial species I could (depending on what it was and how I could study it.) make a number of projections about it.

          Firstly there are physical laws that all organisms must respect, so if its a foot high it’s unlikely that typical individuals are 100 feet tall. Then there are more general patterns that apply to life here and should (but not certainly) apply to extraterrestrial life. As I noted with humans we can make some scarily accurate predictions of what humans should be like given just single measurements like how big our eyes are.

          With the universe the same thing can be done, not just by looking at phenomena within the universe but also within the (much larger) mathematics of all possible universes that are consistent. I do think this is largely an issue of ideology; it crops up again and again in astronomy and related disciplines. How unique is Earth and the life on it? Many scientist’s default position is that we’re nothing spacial; Earth is an average planet around a typical star. Recently there have been some challenges to this, most stars are red dwarfs, ‘hot Jupiters’ and so on, but there is a dogged insistence that earth is nothing special.

          Perhaps we will find in time that our universe is incredibly unlikely or ‘typical’ in a way we don’t think of as typical now, the issue is a thorny one, I hope I live long enough to see it resolved.

  28. Interesting stuff Matt. But what’s Guidice is doing talking about a knife-edge Higgs field? That’s the sort of thing that could shut down the LHC. And if you’ve read A Zeptospace Odyssey, you’ll know he thinks (or thought) that the Higgs sector is the toilet of the standard model. He’s an E=mc² guy, the mass of a body is a measure of its energy-content. Which means the Higgs field is the photon field, and this field has energy, hence the cosmological constant, only it isn’t constant. And IMHO naturalness is not a good guide, but quantum field theory isn’t breaking down, it just needs some input from non-Standard-Model physicists. I watched Nima Arkani-Hamed’s recent lecture, and I am sure of this.

  29. Is it still realistically possible that naturalness works and there are low(ish) mass particles that are produced too seldom for the LHC to see them even if the energy would be high enough?

  30. Prof. Strassler,

    Thanks for your enlightening post. It’s good to see you back blogging on the latest developments in HEP theory!

  31. Very interesting problem. Makes me think of the naturalistic fallacy related to the is-ought problem, examplary for numerous failed economic and social predictions.

  32. To my mind, there is an alternative question: is something else not quite right with one of the theories elsewhere? I do not know enough about the way we get to the standard model to offer anything useful here, but as a general principle in the history of science, one of the best signs that a theory is in trouble is when it relies on really weird coincidence, or extremely tight requirements. On the other hand, the very tight requirement may actually indicate the presence of a deeper physical principle at work. Who thinks we know most of what there is to know about the physical sciences? I may be out of court here, but I believe a fundamental truth in physics has an inherent beauty to it, and head-scratching weirdness to me is ugly.

    1. The augment that “it must be beautiful” is made over and over to justify one’s prejudices. Quotes like:

      “When we physicists look at the equations of Albert Einstein, we cry. We cry because they are so gorgeous.” – Michio Kaku

      “Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity changed forever our ideas about space and time. It is so beautiful, it has to be right” – Stephen Hawking

      You talk about the history of science, but have you learned its lesson? Science changes. Theories come and go, and “beauty” is not a requirement. The only requirement is that the equations of the new theory reduce to the old in the areas where the old was tested. That’s all!

      You probably will not believe this, but a century from now you may find people saying that they can’t believe we thought the speed of light was a limiting velocity or that gravity was curved space-time.

      Your observation that “one of the best signs that a theory is in trouble is when it relies on really weird coincidence” may not be true. Coincidences do happen. We humans tend to be suspicious of them, but they do occur. Matt brought up the case of the total eclipse. I don’t see many people arguing that the apparent equality of size of the Moon and Sun as seen from the Earth is something more than a coincidence.

      Once upon a time there was Bodes Law of planetary spacing…now we recognize it for what it was: a coincidence.

      Today we have the equality of inertial and gravitational mass, surely that is no coincidence. Let’s talk about that after experiments to measure the gravitational acceleration of antihydrogen are performed – just a year or two from now.

      1. Of course theories come and go, and a bad problem is that in forming a new theory, the theoretician has to use words to convey the principles, and sometimes the choice of words can be unfortunate, or for that matter, the way of presenting it. I( do not know whether you have ever formed a theory that does not fit convention, but I assure you there are real problems.

        For me, the equality of inertial and gravitational mass is not a coincidence, but rather it directs us to ask, WHY are they equivalent? Yes, the apparent equality of size of the moon and sun as seen from here is a coincidence,but the point here is, we know why. It is an accident, and it was not always so. Obviously, if something is moving away, the solid angle it makes gets smaller, and sooner or later it will equal some other angle.

        No, beauty is not a requirement, nevertheless in my opinion the most profound theories are also “straightforward”. Worse, theories can be lost for the wrong reason. Take the example of phlogiston, the weightless “fluid” that is transferred from metals and carbon to air. Lavoisier lead to that being rubbished, and while his analytical balance and the use of equivalent weights was a great advance, the dumping of phlogiston set chemistry back almost a century because it buried the chances of finding valence. (Think of phlogiston as electrons.) Similarly, Bode’s law (not that it exactly qualifies as a law) is, according to my theory of planetary formation, NOT a coincidence. What it marks is the temperature variation in the accretion disk, where certain planets only form at certain temperatures. That gives a mechanism and in principle the law could have been a clue – but it wasn’t appreciated generally.

  33. Just out of interest what was Nima’s objections to addressing naturalness problems by using scale/conformal invariance model-building? Do you have an opinion on this approach Matt?

    1. I have strong objections also. These objections were made all the stronger by Gian Giudice’s talk today, in which he made more precise just how difficult it is to actually carry out this idea. Arkani-Hamed’s objections are essentially the same; I think Rattazzi has the same objections, as does Seiberg. Many of these objections were also articulated (with some slight differences) by Schmaltz and Skiba.

      One set of objections are simply that the particles and forces that we know will not fit into this framework [there are scales at high energy that you cannot avoid, killing the idea on line one] unless you add new particles and perhaps forces at or around the TeV energy scale — just as in all other proposed dynamical solutions to the hierarchy problem, including supersymmetry etc. And what Giudice showed today is just how complicated it is to find a set of additional particles and forces that are necessary in order to give this idea even a hint of a chance of working. I was not generally surprised (though some of the details were eye-opening), but in any case it is good to see an explicit study.

      Another set of objections is that even if you succeed at this first stage, the properties of gravity will kill the idea. No proposal for making gravity less dramatic at the Planck energy scale will avoid problems before you get to that scale.

      1. It is instructive to note here that precision measurements of electroweak parameters and of the electron dipole moment (EDM) tend to disfavor new physics at the low TeV scale.

  34. As you know Professor, it is possible to measure the strength of the wind by use of an anemometer, or light a lucimeter as the wind and light shall have a force. But supposing the principal mechanism of this universe does not have any so therefore we cannot measure it. However, but without it we would have no Space for classical physics or SMoP to exist.

    Hopefully next year you will get some clues at the LHC establishment. regards

    1. I am not sure that is possible, anything that has an effect on anything else can be measured. How would something that by definition is responsible for all the effects e immeasurable?

  35. I wonder how well the word “correct” can describe theory. Naturally we strive for elegance and accuracy. Would it not be most surprising if the Universe were operating according to Human logic, and we could arrive at a final, “correct” theory?

        1. I think even inference to best explanation is not a guide since who decide what is ” best ” and who can tell the reference frame to which ” best ” is compared .

  36. 12:31 My story does not have an end, because we still don’t know the end of the story. This is science in progress, and to solve the mystery, we need more data, and hopefully, the LHC will soon add new clues to this story. Just one number, the Higgs boson mass, and yet, out of this number we learn so much. I started from a hypothesis, that the known particles are all there is in the universe, even beyond the domain explored so far. From this, we discovered that the Higgs field that permeates space-time may be standing on a knife edge, ready for cosmic collapse, and we discovered that this may be a hint that our universe is only a grain of sand in a giant beach, the multiverse.
    ———–Gian Giudice
    OR may be a hint that our universe was designed that way …….same rank as the fantasy of multi / meta / hyper / pich your choice / verse !

    1. Well, I have had many conversations with Giudice, even over the last three days, including a half hour on the bus this afternoon. In this particular paragraph, perhaps for literary reasons, he presents himself as sure of this point of view; but in the scientific context, he is not so sure, and indeed, like most first-rate scientists, he considers many points of view, in order to try to see which one makes the most sense.

  37. I am wondering if this issue exists independent of any cosmology? If the solar system was in the middle of an obscuring thing so that we could never have a theory as to whether the universe is expanding or not or is infinite or not, would this problem you are referring to still exist? I’m asking this question because I don’t believe in current cosmological theories.

    1. The problem would still exist; it’s internal to quantum field theory and does not relate to cosmology. But cosmology — standard or not — might bring in a quite surprising solution, or allow the problem to be evaded in a surprising way.

  38. Dear Professor, is emergence and naturalness synonymous? From what I can understand naturalness is the logical progression of events from the simplest to the more complex requiring a law, “force”, to make this happen. Emergence, in my mind, is a bit different in that if you start with the simplest of variables and have enough of them around, high intensity, then a change will happen because of chaos, there is no symmetry. Because cancellation is impossible because we exist and the universe is infinitely large. If cancellation were possible then nothing would exist.

    So I see emergence as a better theory, place the ingredients in a pot, warm it up while stirring and allow it to cook and every time you stop the cooking time you will get a different flavor. Put it back into the pot and repeat the process. Infinite small to infinite large is equal to 1.

  39. I was never enthusiastic about the ‘naturalness’ concept. Reading your articles made me think that my gut reaction was misguided. But in reading today’s post I noticed that you now contemplate the possibility that perhaps following the ‘naturalness’ principle may be misguided [for a number of reasons] INTERESTING!

    1. I have been concerned about whether naturalness was a good guide since 1998, when the non-zero cosmological constant was discovered. I was not alone. [Even today, there is *no* known natural explanation of the cosmological constant.] Many of my colleagues have been wondering about it for quite a while. The number gradually increased as no new particles showed up at LEP and Fermilab, then jumped markedly as the LHC’s first run turned up nothing dramatic except a Standard Model-like Higgs particle.

      However, we cannot yet conclude whether naturalness is or is not a good guide. We need to proceed with open minds, and pursue all reasonable avenues — even rather wild-looking ones — until data provides additional clues. The goal of conferences like this one is to help us make sure we’re exploring in as many directions as possible.

      1. Even today, there is *no* known natural explanation for the gravitational constant.

        Question: Do you demand more of lambda than you do of G?


      2. “Even today, there is *no* known natural explanation of the cosmological constant.”

        I was wondering about that. The other day I saw a 2012 review paper adding up the SM contributions at “tree level” (I guess) and found that the current mismatch is not the oft mentioned 123 oom, but something like 50+ oom. And Arkani-Hamed claims SS would take down the vacuum energy ~ 60 oom by its own mechanism (small ‘quantum’ dimensions sharing quantum fluctuations with spacetime dimensions), I assume additively.

        If so we are short a few oom at worst!? (Of course, that may still be those oom and the SM ~ 30 (?) oom finetuning re naturality.)

      1. The Standard Model (SM) is what is called an “effective field theory”, a low-energy approximation of a “would-be” complete picture of Nature, expected to account for the Dark Sector and gravitational interaction, among other things. There are many unresolved issues surrounding SM and they are all well-documented in the literature,

        1. A “belief” is a state of mind relative to some proposition X in which one is inclined to assent to the truth of X. “Knowledge” is a belief justified by evidence.

          How would we “know” that a multiverse theory is true? When the evidence is sufficient to justify that position. We’ll need to show that the idea is supported by significant evidence, such evidence not due to some alternative idea. Or we need to show that the idea is predictive in a way that alternative ideas are not. Etc.

          Just my two cents worth.

          sean s.

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