# Explained: Sigma

##### Feb 09, 2012 by David L. Chandler

It's a question that arises with virtually every major new finding in science or medicine: What makes a result reliable enough to be taken seriously? The answer has to do with statistical significance -- but also with judgments about what standards make sense in a given situation.

The unit of measurement usually given when talking about is the standard deviation, expressed with the lowercase Greek letter (σ). The term refers to the amount of variability in a given set of data: whether the data points are all clustered together, or very spread out.

In many situations, the results of an experiment follow what is called a “normal distribution.” For example, if you flip a coin 100 times and count how many times it comes up heads, the average result will be 50. But if you do this test 100 times, most of the results will be close to 50, but not exactly. You’ll get almost as many cases with 49, or 51. You’ll get quite a few 45s or 55s, but almost no 20s or 80s. If you plot your 100 tests on a graph, you’ll get a well-known shape called a bell curve that’s highest in the middle and tapers off on either side. That is a normal distribution.

The deviation is how far a given data point is from the average. In the coin example, a result of 47 has a deviation of three from the average (or “mean”) value of 50. The standard deviation is just the square root of the average of all the squared deviations. One standard deviation, or one sigma, plotted above or below the average value on that normal distribution curve, would define a region that includes 68 percent of all the data points. Two sigmas above or below would include about 95 percent of the data, and three sigmas would include 99.7 percent.

So, when is a particular data point — or research result — considered significant? The standard deviation can provide a yardstick: If a data point is a few standard deviations away from the model being tested, this is strong evidence that the data point is not consistent with that model. However, how to use this yardstick depends on the situation. John Tsitsiklis, the Clarence J. Lebel Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, who teaches the course Fundamentals of Probability, says, “Statistics is an art, with a lot of room for creativity and mistakes.” Part of the art comes down to deciding what measures make sense for a given setting.

For example, if you’re taking a poll on how people plan to vote in an election, the accepted convention is that two standard deviations above or below the average, which gives a 95 percent confidence level, is reasonable. That two-sigma interval is what pollsters mean when they state the “margin of sampling error,” such as 3 percent, in their findings.

That means if you asked an entire population a survey question and got a certain answer, and then asked the same question to a random group of 1,000 people, there is a 95 percent chance that the second group’s results would fall within two-sigma from the first result. If a poll found that 55 percent of the entire population favors candidate A, then 95 percent of the time, a second poll’s result would be somewhere between 52 and 58 percent.

Of course, that also means that 5 percent of the time, the result would be outside the two-sigma range. That much uncertainty is fine for an opinion poll, but maybe not for the result of a crucial experiment challenging scientists’ understanding of an important phenomenon — such as last fall’s announcement of a possible detection of neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light in an experiment at the European Center for Nuclear Research, known as CERN.

Six sigmas can still be wrong

Technically, the results of that experiment had a very high level of confidence: six sigma. In most cases, a five-sigma result is considered the gold standard for significance, corresponding to about a one-in-a-million chance that the findings are just a result of random variations; six sigma translates to one chance in a half-billion that the result is a random fluke. (A popular business-management strategy called “Six Sigma” derives from this term, and is based on instituting rigorous quality-control procedures to reduce waste.)

But in that CERN experiment, which had the potential to overturn a century’s worth of accepted physics that has been confirmed in thousands of different kinds of tests, that’s still not nearly good enough. For one thing, it assumes that the researchers have done the analysis correctly and haven’t overlooked some systematic source of error. And because the result was so unexpected and so revolutionary, that’s exactly what most physicists think happened — some undetected source of error.

Interestingly, a different set of results from the same CERN particle accelerator were interpreted quite differently.

A possible detection of something called a Higgs boson — a theorized subatomic particle that would help to explain why particles weigh something rather than nothing — was also announced last year. That result had only a 2.3sigma confidence level, corresponding to about one chance in 50 that the result was a random error (98 percent confidence level). Yet because it fits what is expected based on current physics, most physicists think the result is likely to be correct, despite its much lower statistical confidence level.

Significant but spurious

But it gets more complicated in other areas. “Where this business gets really tricky is in social science and medical science,” Tsitsiklis says. For example, a widely cited 2005 paper in the journal Public Library of Science — titled “Why most published research findings are wrong” — gave a detailed analysis of a variety of factors that could lead to unjustified conclusions. However, these are not accounted for in the typical statistical measures used, including “statistical significance.”

The paper points out that by looking at large datasets in enough different ways, it is easy to find examples that pass the usual criteria for statistical significance, even though they are really just random variations. Remember the example about a poll, where one time out of 20 a result will just randomly fall outside those “significance” boundaries? Well, even with a five-sigma significance level, if a computer scours through millions of possibilities, then some totally random patterns will be discovered that meet those criteria. When that happens, “you don’t publish the ones that don’t pass” the significance test, Tsitsiklis says, but some random correlations will give the appearance of being real findings — “so you end up just publishing the flukes.”

One example of that: Many published papers in the last decade have claimed significant correlations between certain kinds of behaviors or thought processes and brain images captured by magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. But sometimes these tests can find apparent correlations that are just the results of natural fluctuations, or “noise,” in the system. One researcher in 2009 duplicated one such experiment, on the recognition of facial expressions, only instead of human subjects he scanned a dead fish — and found “significant” results.

“If you look in enough places, you can get a ‘dead fish’ result,” Tsitsiklis says. Conversely, in many cases a result with low statistical significance can nevertheless “tell you something is worth investigating,” he says.

So bear in mind, just because something meets an accepted definition of “significance,” that doesn’t necessarily make it significant. It all depends on the context.

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##### antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (15) Feb 09, 2012
Good call. This should clear up a few misconceptions floating around out here by peole who think "one fluke measurement invalidates all of science"

Statistics is an art. You have to know what sorts of distributions youre dealing with, what tests are valid, what tests are valid for testing the validity of THOSE tests.

It's an area of research that almost no one likes to delve into, but everyone who publishes a paper sooner or later has to get to grips with the intricacies of statistics.

Not surprising that the layman often misinterprets finding out of sheer lack of knowledge of statistics, statistical significance, distribution types, significance tests, etc.
##### RhabbKnotte
4.7 / 5 (13) Feb 09, 2012
Great article. I hated Sadistics in college and never really got it. I understand more now but a refresher course for us common folk is always a good thing. I love PhysOrg but so much stuff now is Fluff, Filler or Gee Whiz articles that do not say much of anything. I understand the reasoning, but it never hurts to go back over the basics from time to time.
##### Deathclock
3 / 5 (6) Feb 09, 2012
The statistical evidence for the Higgs would add merit to the theory of the standard model but it wouldn't prove it.

It's a fine line.

Nothing would prove it, science is not in the business of proving things.

*edit* it seems the post I replied to has been deleted... for good reason.
##### Doug_Huffman
3 / 5 (2) Feb 09, 2012
Read N. N. Taleb on the abuse and ignorance of frequentist statistics.
##### kochevnik
1.7 / 5 (9) Feb 09, 2012
It's all about chi squared confidence intervals and periodograms, baby. Beyond that, there's Bayes.
If you have truly nothing to say but are paid to say it, like conservatives, try factor analysis. Lots of free weights to rotate to put your BS in a good light.
##### Turritopsis
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 09, 2012
Like I stated yesterday in "Hints of the Higgs - papers are submitted", which this article seems to be in direct response to, an indirect observation is interpretation heavy.

Unless you can experimentally prove the theory, the theory remains a model, which is ok, but it is not definitive proof of reality or our understanding of it.

I'm just trying to show the separation between interpretation (theory) and understanding of reality.

I'm not trying to discredit statistical interpretation, but when you get to the bottom of a theory (which for the standard model happens to be the Higgs boson), a more definitive answer is required than saying that the theory correlates with reality.

The next step, should statistical evidence for the Higgs presents itself, is conclusive experimental evidence.

In this case it would be a direct sensing of the Higgs field itself.

For that a new type of sensor is required.

One more thing: science is all about proof.
##### Lurker2358
3.3 / 5 (9) Feb 09, 2012
Unless you can experimentally prove the theory, the theory remains a model, which is ok, but it is not definitive proof of reality or our understanding of it.

One more thing: science is all about proof.

Finally.

A model is just that, a model.

It is an approximation of reality used to make basic calculations and predictions. Model is not and cannot be equivalent to reality.

And yes, science is all about proof.

anyone denying that is dishonest.

mathematics is all about proof as well. Much of the time you spend in math classes is proving various rules and principles, because if you can't prove the principle, or if you can't prove special cases where there are exceptions to the principle, then it is useless for real world calculations, since you can't trust an unproven rule...
##### antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (12) Feb 09, 2012
And yes, science is all about proof.

No. Science is about what works. Mathematics (and only mathematics) is about proof.

In field that has a connection to the real world science cannot prove anything with final accuracy - only to a certain confidence level (which is where statistics come in).
It can, however, disprove things ultimately (by finding a counterexample).
##### Lurker2358
2.8 / 5 (6) Feb 09, 2012
And yes, science is all about proof.

No. Science is about what works. Mathematics (and only mathematics) is about proof.

In field that has a connection to the real world science cannot prove anything with final accuracy - only to a certain confidence level (which is where statistics come in).
It can, however, disprove things ultimately (by finding a counterexample).

Well, everything "real" works.

That doesn't mean we understand it yet.

The moment you make a theory or model and attempt to test it by experiment, then you are concerning yourself with proof.

You are right, however, in the sense that one need not understand or prove anything in order to make good use out of a process or technology.

Relatively advanced metallurgy and cooking somehow existed before any good atomic theory of matter, or any theory of thermodynamics.

But even metallurgy improved by a blacksmith observing that if we use process A it works better than B, etc...
##### Noumenon
2.1 / 5 (8) Feb 09, 2012
Deductive reasoning is self contained since it follows from starting premises. Absolute certainty is possible with deduction, but nothing new can be learned that is not already resolvable from the premises. Math is deductive. Proof is applicable here.

Science is inductive.

Inductive reasoning is based on a synthesis of individual observations. At best one can obtain only a high degree of probability, and not certainty, but new things can be learned about reality. Hypothesis are true to the extent of probability only. Proof is inapplicable here.
##### Noumenon
3.6 / 5 (14) Feb 09, 2012
Now for example, the atheist demands "proof" of God's existence, but you say science isn't about proof.

Statistically, it's a lot easier and more likely to believe that God created all things, rather than to believe all things are the result of some "one in a googleplex" number of random coincidence.

Science is limited in dealing only with observables and causality relations between them.

Since God is not observable, even though he proposed effects are, science cannot determine a cause and effect relation.

This means that atheist cannot rationally say god does NOT exist, and theists can not say god DOES exist. Both are limited to the standard of belief in this sense.
##### antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (11) Feb 09, 2012
The moment you make a theory or model and attempt to test it by experiment, then you are concerning yourself with proof.

Nope, you're always only making models. But the map is not the territory.

Newtonian gravity was such a model. Einstein relativity is such a model. And tomorrow it'll be something different. There is absolutely no way to tell whether the model you have is the right one (or even the best one). There are good lines of argument that there never CAN be a perfect model

(Short explanation: a perfect model would need to be able to predict the context it works in. That is a logical impossibility as a model always requires an unproven/unprovable context to work from. This even goes for maths. There the unproven/unprovable context is encompassed by the axioms)
##### antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2012
Now for example, the atheist demands "proof" of God's existence, but you say science isn't about proof.

No. We demans evidence. For such an extraordinary and fantastic claim we demand extraordinary evidence. So far none has been forthcoming. say-so isn't nearly enough (that one doesn't even hold up in a court of law)

Statistically, it's a lot easier and more likely to believe that God created all things, rather than to believe all things are the result of some "one in a googleplex" number of random coincidence.

The laws we have are rather simple, and the choices are far from googleplex: They are very few (the fine constant and the gravitational constant among them)

This is FAR simpler than choosing between a googleplex of ludicrously powered, self-creating, god-beings able to exist without any context at all (what do they exist in? How long do they exist in that state? if they exist in something then they're not gods).
##### ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (13) Feb 09, 2012

"Anybody who has been seriously engaged is scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: 'Ye must have faith.'"
"Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve."
"We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up until now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.
Max Planck

A hypothesis test is like a jury verdict, guilty or not guilty. It can't determine innocence.
A 95% CI means that if the experiment is repeated 100 times, 95 results will fall within the confidence interval.
6 Sigma is a process of minimizing the variance, but it can't be eliminated as not every variable is known and not all known variables can be completely controlled.
##### ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (13) Feb 09, 2012
All is heuristic!
"arithmetic was an heuristic! Arithmetic might only be an heuristic, but clearly it was a good and very necessary one. All the while I could not help wonderingIf arithmetic is in doubt, what is not? Slowly, the phrase All is heuristic was born, and this discussion some thirty-six years later is the result."
http://www.me.ute...ory.html
##### TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2012
Now for example, the atheist demands "proof" of God's existence, but you say science isn't about proof.

Statistically, it's a lot easier and more likely to believe that God created all things, rather than to believe all things are the result of some "one in a googleplex" number of random coincidence.

Science is limited in dealing only with observables and causality relations between them.

Since God is not observable, even though he proposed effects are, science cannot determine a cause and effect relation.

This means that atheist cannot rationally say god does NOT exist, and theists can not say god DOES exist. Both are limited to the standard of belief in this sense.
Sorry nou I had to report ya. Your reasoning abilities re; god and the metarealm are not even 1 sigma. This has been demonstrated to 6 sigma time and again.

I am confused about the scientific use of 6 sigma vs the business-related use of it.
http://en.wikiped...ix_Sigma
##### Noumenon
2.5 / 5 (11) Feb 09, 2012
TheGhostofOtto1923, do you care to explain how my post in wrong in detail, rather than making some vague pronouncement as you usually do.

God is not observable therefore science in inapplicable to such metaphysics. How in detail is this statement false?

Are you seriously that ignorant to say science has proven god does not exist?
##### Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (9) Feb 09, 2012
@TheGhostofOtto1923, you rated my first post a 1. Please explain how that post is wrong.
##### Deesky
4.6 / 5 (8) Feb 09, 2012
No. We demans evidence. For such an extraordinary and fantastic claim we demand extraordinary evidence. So far none has been forthcoming.

I agree, but it's even more problematic than that.

First you would have to agree what evidence for the existence god one would accept. How can you do that?

Would you require an entity to appear that can do magic tricks at will? How would you know that the magic tricks aren't just tricks or perhaps some advanced tech? Or that you weren't in a holodeck type simulation? How would you verify that it created the whole shebang? Take its word for it?

As I see it, there really cannot be any satisfactory proof of god evidence, just as much as the entity cannot be disproved (as with any proof of a negative).

IMO, god is just an anthropomorphization of the natural world.
##### Deesky
4.6 / 5 (7) Feb 09, 2012
Moreover, searching for things such as the Big Bang or other origins would be impossible, since you can't possibly know anything at all about what the previous set of forces or laws were before any changes occured.

Various tests for changeable laws have been performed over the years and nothing so far has been observed to back up that hypothesis. Perhaps the biggest change occurred some 6 billion years ago when dark energy started to win over gravity which has led to accelerated expansion of spacetime. However, that in itself, isn't really a change in a fundamental law any more than is the universe cooling with increased age and size.
##### ryggesogn2
3 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2012
many basic assumptions in physics may be totally wrong, even if they appear to be correct.

It was once assumed the planets and sun rotated about the earth. A model was created that accurately predicted the motion of the planets and sun. Of course the model was incorrect but it provided accurate results within certain constraints.
The model was improved by putting the sun in center. Newton and Einstein improved the model even more.
But they are still models. Continuing to understand and explain the errors in such models lead to better models, which may or many not be correct, but appear to be valid.
##### Deesky
5 / 5 (6) Feb 09, 2012
A change in a fundamental law of the universe is undetectable, silly.

Not as silly as you think. If a physical law changed during the evolution of the universe, it would leave a telltale signature which could be tested for. For example, if the speed of light was different in the early universe, as some have proposed, it would leave detectable traces of evidence. This has specifically been looked for and no evidence of variation has been detected.
##### StarGazer2011
2.8 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2012
science isnt about 'proof'. Its about theories supported by observation (experiment) and challenged by attempted falsification. Also generality, explanatory power and that gold standard of science PREDICTIVE POWER!
##### julianpenrod
2.3 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2012
Among other things, for events like tossing a coin that have only two possible outcomes, the distribution of any finite number of events is a binomial distribution. It only resembles a normal distribution, the probability indicated by a standard deveiqation is not exactly the same as for a normal curve. It only comes close to the normal curve when the number of events goes to infinity. Interesting how no one, not even the writer of the article, recognized this. Interestingly, Tchebysheff's inequality can show that, in any distribution, normal, binomial, skewed, and so on, of N events, all the data points should fall within N^(1/2) standard deviations of the mean. Which should not be surprising since, for example, for 100 events, that means all the data points should be within 10 standard deviations of the mean.
##### antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
First you would have to agree what evidence for the existence god one would accept. How can you do that?

The simplest (and probably only) way would be that if such a being manifested itself in a way that would be obvious to all. Being all-powerful that should be easily within the realm of a god's abilities to do.

IMO, god is just an anthropomorphization of the natural world.

I think it's just a psychoogical retreat from the world. The universe is so big and has so many things that we are unable to control that it terminally frightens people. Ehey either go insane or put something in the way (which also means that they go insane - but in a more 'controlled' manner)

Insane here means "not sane" and should not be confused with "crazy".
##### antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2012
Tchebysheff's inequality can show that, in any distribution, normal, binomial, skewed, and so on, of N events, all the data points should fall within N^(1/2) standard deviations of the mean.

No. Chebyshev states that NEARLY all will fall in that range which helps when dealing with distributions other than normal ones. He does not put a hard limit on where values can be (and obviously no one can, since all possible values are possible. Your statement would amount to "some possible values are impossible because they are too far away from the mean")

Indeed, since the Big Bang results from running the universe in reverse until a hypothetical origin, you can see that if the laws have changed at any time in the past

This would easily show up in energy distributions. If the laws changed radically at some point we'd get an energy crest (or trough) right at the event.
##### julianpenrod
2.2 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
antialias physorg is incorrect in their description of Tchebysheff's inequality. Stating that the proability of a value, x, falling more than k standard deviations from the mean of a distribution is greater than 1-(1/k^2), as a law for probability functions, it states the likelihood of points falling certain distances away from the mean. But Tchebysheff's inequality is also derivable based on finite samples, and so, is a descriptor of the overall condition of that sample. In that way, "probability" really means the "proportion of a sample" that satisfies a certain criteria. So Tchebysheff's says that, for a finite sample, the proportion of the sample that falls more than k standard deviations from the mean, or average, is less than 1/k^2. But, for a sample of only N elements, a proportion of less than 1/N meeting a criteria, means less than 1 element meets it, and that means, conventionally, none do. So no elements will fall more than N^1/2 standard deviations from the mean.
##### PamLaw
3 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2012
It's called evolution, change, chaos theory, whatever label you would like to put on it. Things change.
##### antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2012
less than 1/N meeting a criteria, means less than 1 element meets it, and that means, conventionally, none do.

It means that ON AVERAGE (i.e. taking many such distributions) less than one does. This doesn't say anything about any one particular distribution (a quirky distribution with most points near the mean and a small bump at the far side of a tail could have all the points in the bump outside the 10 sigma range)
##### TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2012
@TheGhostofOtto1923, you rated my first post a 1. Please explain how that post is wrong.
"Avoid political and religious discussions: Because of the complexity and ambiguity of this subject matter, political and religious discussions are not allowed."

-Otto gets 10 religion-related posts deleted by the Leaders who Manage physsorg even though otto only tries to save the world in his own little way. AND youre just trying to bait people into another pointless debate about philo-related nonsense. Philosophy was not created to resolve issues; it was designed to provide a source of income for rhetoricians. Who need to be dialecticating all the time or theyre out of a job.

This is why your arguments are neither unwinnable nor unlosable. Nor unendable. It would be bad for business if anything ever got resolved for very long wouldnt it?
##### ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (9) Feb 10, 2012
The simplest (and probably only) way would be that if such a being manifested itself in a way that would be obvious to all. Being all-powerful that should be easily within the realm of a god's abilities to do.

And God never did that. He chose select individuals. Reminds me of Sagan's novel Contact. The atheist/scientist hero couldn't prove she traveled to Vega and spoke to an alien.
##### Turritopsis
2.5 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2012
It would be bad for business if anything ever got resolved for very long wouldnt it?

No. The understaning of reality brings about a whole new enterprise.

Out with the old, in with the new.

(this applies to all fields. the search for the truth ends with an answer. finding the answer is revolutionary. it gives power of control)
##### TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2012
The simplest (and probably only) way would be that if such a being manifested itself in a way that would be obvious to all. Being all-powerful that should be easily within the realm of a god's abilities to do.

And God never did that. He chose select individuals. Reminds me of Sagan's novel Contact. The atheist/scientist hero couldn't prove she traveled to Vega and spoke to an alien.
No, in the real world those missing 15 minutes or so would have been at the center of the investigation from the beginning.

Only in movies and the bible do you get to ignore the obvious for dramatic effect.
##### Turritopsis
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
There is nothing revolutionary about proving the likelihood of the existence of the Higgs field. Whether sigma 2.3, sigma five, sigma six, sigma seven, or sigma ninety-nine.
##### Turritopsis
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
PHYSorg_Support  3 h 51 min ago

One of your comments was removed by the site staff for violation of the comments guidelines. The comment was removed for the following reason: OFF TOPIC

Since I'm not getting a private answer from Physorg_Support I've decide to openly ask how this is OFF TOPIC:

"Prove that God exists!" I said to the priest.

He looked at me and said, "Evidence for God is all around us, just look at the majesty of the world, would the world be this beautiful if God hadn't designed it?"

To which I replied, "Your 'evidence' to me can be written off as pure coincidence. It just happens that your theory of a God created world reflects what you see around you."

Proof for God comes from a direct connection. Indirect evidence may support your theory but that is subjective. Theory is not reality.

The statistical evidence for the Higgs would add merit to the theory of the standard model but it wouldn't prove it.

It's a fine line.
##### julianpenrod
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2012
antialias physorg again misinterpreting Tchebycheff's inequality. The derivation of the inequality can be applied to finite, discrete distributions, the essence lying in a mathematical characteristic of the relationship between the square of the difference between a data point and the mean, and the square of the standard deviation. The derivation can be applied point by point to all the elements in a discrete sample, it doesn't just talk about general properties that will be realized as the size of samples increases, and so it represents that character of that sample individually. The maximum value of a discrete finite distribution falls within N^1/2 standard deviations of the mean.
##### Turritopsis
2 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2012
You can argue that science is not in the business of proving anything but that makes it a soft field, like religion, where no proof is available.

If science is not about proof then it is a faith based system.
##### Noumenon
3 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2012
@TheGhostofOtto1923, you rated my first post a 1. Please explain how that post is wrong.
"Avoid political and religious discussions: Because of the complexity and ambiguity of this subject matter, political and religious discussions are not allowed."

-Otto gets 10 religion-related posts deleted by the Leaders who Manage physsorg even though otto only tries to save the world in his own little way. AND youre just trying to bait people into another pointless debate about philo-related nonsense. [..know-nothing mindlessness..] Who need to be dialecticating all the time or theyre out of a job.

This is why your arguments are neither unwinnable nor unlosable. Nor unendable. It would be bad for business if anything ever got resolved for very long wouldnt it?

My first post of which you rated a 1, was about the difference between deductive propositions and inductive propositions, you bonehead, and so was about method of science and probability. You can't be this ignorant.
##### julianpenrod
1 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
With respect to the presence of God and His acting in the world, among other things, He created this world to act, to an extent, autonomously to perfect qulities in humans. How many people have shown the insight and inspiration to go beyond standard Scripture, to carry out the next expanding of God's message, to say that the day of Prophets and Messengers is not over, and, among other things, invoke the world definable by physical sensors as a kind of boot camp for entry into a larger reality of being of which this universe is only a subset? If God openly operated everything, it could lead many astray to foregoing self reliance and invoking God everywhere! But God will act, for an individual who won't end up calling for God's help everywhere, and who also earned a reward by promoting God's message. That's what many people fail to realize, that you have to deserve God's specially answering a request!
##### Noumenon
2.2 / 5 (10) Feb 10, 2012
Avoid political and religious discussions: Because of the complexity and ambiguity of this subject matter, political and religious discussions are not allowed - GhostOfOtto

This is great news, I hope physorg can keep the bs out. I guarantee you this will not extend to philosophy of physics or logic,.. as your uneducated mind might suppose it should. You're utterly ignorant of the subject but continue to troll after me with your adolescent anti-intellectual drivel.
##### TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
My first post of which you rated a 1, was about the difference between deductive propositions and inductive propositions, you bonehead, and so was about method of science and probability. You can't be this ignorant
My finger mustve slipped. It looked too much like philo I guess.

o hey dont gangrate me unless its upward like you did yourself to get you into the 4s? Quite a feat. Must be a program of some sort?

This is great news, I hope physorg can keep the bs out. I guarantee you this will not extend to philosophy of physics or logic
You have philo in the wrong set as it is a pseudoreligion based on things like the soul and transcendence and the metaphysical. So is harry potter.
##### TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2012
You can argue that science is not in the business of proving anything but that makes it a soft field, like religion, where no proof is available.

If science is not about proof then it is a faith based system.
It is about results, unlike religion or philosophy.

Proof only exists in mathematics.
http://en.wikiped...l_proofs

-When invoked elsewhere it can lead to nonsense such as this:
http://en.wikiped...al_proof
##### julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 10, 2012
Again, with respect to a world of physical laws acxting on inanimate substance, designed by God to act, so to speak, autonomously, although God's hand is behind all, the interpretation of what is seen depends on one's ability to see and understand. Just as being allowed to receive special grace and interaction by God, including to ascend to that level of reality which envelopes the world that physical sensors are able to see, and which many without foresight claim is all there is to see, a world of matter, energy, substance and meaning beyond devices you see in "laboratories", depends on deserving it. It takes being willing to go beyond immediate predictions and rely on confidence and faith. Many mock the idea of faith as "being gullible to what you are told", when, in fact, it means, among other things, "not having the arrogance and contempt that causes the insipid to insist that what they see now is all that there is allowed to be".
##### TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
Again, with respect to a world of physical laws acxting on inanimate substance, designed by God to act, so to speak, autonomously, although God's hand is behind all, the interpretation of what is seen depends on one's ability to see and understand. Just as being allowed to receive special grace and interaction by God, including to ascend to that level of reality which envelopes the world that physical sensors are able to see, and which many without foresight claim is all there is to see, a world of matter, energy, substance and meaning beyond devices you see in "laboratories", depends on deserving it. It takes being willing to go beyond immediate predictions and rely on confidence and faith...
See nou? You are in very good company.

"I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith" (Immanuel Kant)

"I have therefore found it necessary to deny reason in order to make room for blah" (noumenon)
##### Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2012
o hey dont gangrate me unless its upward like you did yourself to get you into the 4s? Quite a feat. Must be a program of some sort?

When I was complaining about FH downrating me for months at a time, weren't you one of the people tellings me 'who cares'? Now all of a sudden you're interested?
##### Callippo
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
This is how the Higgs boson bump appears at real scale. Despite this artifact is apparent, it's surrounded with strong negative signal, so it could be still averaged in wider energy scale range later, when LHC will collect more data. After all, the integral luminosity of Tevatron was twice-times higher and all preliminary signals of Higgs waned when additional data were collected.
##### Deesky
4.5 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
The simplest (and probably only) way would be that if such a being manifested itself in a way that would be obvious to all. Being all-powerful that should be easily within the realm of a god's abilities to do.

But as I stated before, there could be any number of tricks that a highly technical alien could bring to bear to create such an illusion. What exactly would qualify as a 'manifestation that was obvious to all'?

Making a sweeping statement about 'obviousness' is easy, nailing down the specifics that would satisfy everyone is not possible IMO.
##### Turritopsis
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2012
Statistical evidence is enough to solidify a theory as a realistic depiction.

It is not a discovery.

A discovery is a real finding.

Statistical evidence is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Not real proof.

The Higgs field may be more than a model however, the inventor must have conceived it as a real depiction of the space around him.

Statistical evidence for the Higgs boson proves the probable by excluding other improbables. A discovery is the merger of theory and the real world.

Statistical evidence is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
A discovery is direct proof.

##### Turritopsis
2 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2012
Statistics are read into differently by every individual. Statistical evidence causes us to generalize by looking at the mean, the average.

I don't like to generalize.

I like things as simple as they can be, no simpler.

Not that I don't like shortcuts, I take them in math, but I don't lose sight with the reality behind them.

Physical sciences are the realest of the human experiences.

The standard model is safe. Chemistry works in a predictable way and is backed up by real physical proof (aka discoveries).

The search for the Higgs delves further still into the model. It requires a different type of detection if it is ever to be discovered.

It is so very tricky to confirm the underlying mechanics of reality.

I hope the LHC brings us closer to true understanding, and I hope that we may one day truly understand reality.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2012
In the words of Mark Twain...I'm gonna shut up.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2012

Statistics is one of the most useful tools in science, it leads to discoveries, even though it doesn't constitute them.

Statisticians draw really good lines through data, yes, but they also draw little arrow heads on the ends of those lines and lead us to look in the right directions.

Statistics are very important in science but they are a single facet of science as a whole.
##### Turritopsis
2 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2012
You can think of it as a murder scene.

-Statistical evidence:
Knife hole riddled body, shoe prints, DNA evidence,...leads to a man with a bloody knife, same shoes, his DNA matches scene, the blood on knife matches victim.

Guilty or not?
Statistical evidence points to yes, yes? Depends on whether he was framed or not. Most likely yes.

-Discovery:
man in the process of stabbing victim.

Guilty or not? Obviously guilty.
##### Turritopsis
1.3 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2012
To prove the Higgs theory you need to see the Higgs process.

Indirect evidence of the process (decay products (the bloody knife)) signifies likelihood.
##### Callippo
2 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2012
I do agree. The only evidence of electron would be direct observation of electron.
##### Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2012
I do agree. The only evidence of electron would be direct observation of electron.

Which means what? Observation is never of the thing "directly", but is always a measure of the effects of attributes that collectively are categorized and labeled as an electron.

The fact that it can be detected as a wave or a particle shows that it's form is dependent on experimental arrangement, and so cannot be "directly" observed, as it is in itself.

The scientifically valid evidence for the electron lies in a same set of attributes causing measurable effects food repeated empiracal observations.
##### Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2012
[from] repeated empiracal observations.

Edit.
##### Shootist
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2012
And yes, science is all about proof.

No. Science is about what works. Mathematics (and only mathematics) is about proof.

No. Engineering is about what works. Science is about measuring; to see where, and if, the maths fit.
##### antialias_physorg
3.3 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2012
What exactly would qualify as a 'manifestation that was obvious to all'?

Probably enough tricks to convince everybody (or simply warp everybody's mind)

remember: 'Truth' is not part of the universe. Science and math aren't about truth. They are about models we fit to assumptions (math) or observations (science).
So truth is really what we say it is. If we all believe something then it's as 'true' as it's going to get - whether that really meshes with how the universe really is is besides the point.

(Up until the point when observation again clashes with what we believe to be 'true', of course)
##### Noumenon
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2012
Empirical evidence can at best support a hypothesis to a degree of probability (<1), but not ensure its truth to certainty. No matter how high the probability may be, it is not proof in the strict sense, because proof means certainty and only deductive reasoning (math/logic) can attain certainty.
##### Turritopsis
3 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2012
Due to electrons being electromagnetically charged particles, electromagnetic sensors can directly detect them.

The Higgs boson (being the particle responsible for mass of all particles) is not electromagnetically positive neutral or negative of charge. Electromagnetic sensors can't pick up the Higgs boson, they must wait for decay products (theorized to be heavy quark antiquark pairs (top antitop quarks)) to present themselves. This is what I mean by indirect detection.

This would be evidence enough in most cases, and to solidify the model it is, but due to the fact that the Higgs boson is a such an important part of the model, the rules for its discovery must be more strict.

Proving the Higgs model disproves all other models. It is not something to be taken lightly.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2012
Observation is never of the thing "directly"

True but we must assume that what we see with our eyes is real. The detectors at the LHC are just extensions of our eyes.

While the detectors work for most things, finding the Higgs boson with them is like looking for DarkMatter with your eyes. You can't "see" the Higgs just as you can't "see" darkmatter. You can see the effects of the Higgs just as you can see darkmatters effects on galaxies. Indirectly.

Dark matter is not a discovery, it is a mystery.

Finding evidence for the Higgs isn't a discovery, it is a mystery as well.

But maybe we just haven't evolved the ability to see darkmatter yet.

Maybe there is a direct way of "seeing" the Higgs boson.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2012
A dark matter discovery, for instance, would go something like this:

-We've managed to isolate and study a hadron composed of 4 quarks (2 up, 2 down)

-The electromagnetic neutrality of the tetraquark hadron leaves a contained state with no electromagnetic emission.

-the hadron does not decay, no weak force, it annihilates when electromagnetic forces are overcome by strong forces

-strong forces are present and hold the hadron together

-the tetraquark hadron interacts gravitationally with baryonic matter.

---

A Dark matter discovery would be somewhere along those lines.
##### Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2012
All elementary particles are considered excitations of fields. This goes for the electron and for the Higgs.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2012
"-We've managed to isolate and study a hadron composed of 4 quarks (2 up, 2 down)"

LOL. Let's change that to 2 up quarks and 2 antiup quarks
##### Turritopsis
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2012
All elementary particles are considered excitations of fields. This goes for the electron and for the Higgs.

Sure.

The electron is an electromagnetic field excitation.

The Higgs boson is a Higgs field excitation.
##### fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2012
Already a lot of posts on here, but figured I would add a thought anyway.

This article very clearly states why severe science skepticism will never go away. There will always be people who take personal or religious offense to various findings, and it is impossible to prove them wrong because of the fluke possibility.

More transparent and neutral statistics would go a long way toward easing some peoples tension with science. IMHO
##### Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2012
If science is not about proof then it is a faith based system.
Nonsense. As is the statement that science isn't about proof. Both statements are wrong.

Science is about proof WITHIN THE LIMITS OF OBSERVATION.

Math is often fully provable because observation is not relevant.

Science is about a lot things. How things work. Making predictions. How things happened in the past. It is NOT ONE THING.

But is ALWAYS limited to what can be observed and how accurate those observations are.

So would several people here kindly stop claiming science isn't about proof every time some ass demands proof beyond the limits of observation. Just point out that, within the limits of observation, we are reasonably certain and sometimes those limits are more than sufficient to say we have it nailed to the point that all present alternative ideas are utter crap. Things like General Relativity and Evolution and not things like the Higgs.

Ethelred
##### Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2012
remember: 'Truth' is not part of the universe.
Depends on what you consider truth. Reality is inherently true for me.

Science and math aren't about truth.
Again depends on what you meant by truth. Math is about logic but science includes the application of logic and evidence to find out the truth of how the Universe works.

Basically you are arguing about words 'truth' 'proof' and not facts or logic. There is nothing wrong with either of those words as long you keep it in mind that it is WITHIN THE LIMITS OF OBSERVATION.

So truth is really what we say it is.
Bullshit Mr. Orwell. Truth must match reality not definitions or it is just bullshit.

If we all believe something then it's as 'true' as it's going to get - whether that really meshes with how the universe really is is besides the point.
Yeah and man didn't go the Moon and Adolf Hitler is a alive and running an immortality spa in Chile.

Ethelred.
##### Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2012
He created this world to act, to an extent, autonomously to perfect qulities in humans.
And you know this how?

to say that the day of Prophets and Messengers is not over,
They never existed. False prophecies abound. Claims of being a messenger when the message is clearly contradicted by massive physical evidence are just plain silly at best.

Ethelred
##### Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2012

Science is about proof WITHIN THE LIMITS OF OBSERVATION. - Ethelred

The limits of observation preclude one from Proving with Logical Certainty a hypothesis in science.

You are using the phrase "proof" in the weaker subjective sense, as is used in law evidence for example. Of course in such common language, one can "prove" something in science.

But there is a fundamental difference between deduction and induction, the former of which obtains certainty while the latter does not even in principal, ..only obtaining at best a degree of probability. The scientific method is inductive because it is based on empirical evidence.

In logic, proof implies certainty.
##### Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2012
Nonsense. As is the statement that science isn't about proof. Both statements are wrong.

If you are referring to my first few posts, I defined clearly what I meant by Proof, and did so again above. You on the other hand did not, and so just generalized.

Both points of view are correct given the respective uses of the word Proof, common language or logical meaning.

QED.
##### Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2012
So truth is really what we say it is.

Bullshit Mr. Orwell. Truth must match reality not definitions or it is just bullshit.

But definitions and models are all we have, and there can never be a one to one correspondence between Reality and a model, not even in principal.

Such 'scientific realism' is akin to metaphysics.
##### antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2012
Depends on what you consider truth. Reality is inherently true for me.

But reality isn't divisible. There are no parts that don't affect all other parts in at least a circuitous way.

So while the totality of reality might be termed 'true'* ther is no subpart that can be termed true without giving a complete definition of the context (which in turn then equates again to stating that the totality is true).

*'true' in a totality is meaningless as there is no 'false' to contrast it to (everything is true). By the definition of information then that notion of true carries no information whatsoever. It's a meaningless tautology (like: "existence exists").

Truth must match reality not definitions or it is just bullshit.

As long as we THINK it matches reality we will CALL it true. Whether it matches reality is besides the point. There is no arbiter (except us) who tells us what is true and what isn't.
##### ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 12, 2012
Reality is inherently true for me.

YOUR reality may be true for you.
All is heuristic.
##### Callippo
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2012
IMO Higgs field is miniaturized version of dark matter foam, which reflects the symmetry of Universe. Dense aether model models the space-time as a water surface, where the dispersion of energy is similar to both large, both small dimensional scales. The geometry of these fluctuations is self-similar: they can be modeled with system of dense packed hyperspheres, which leads into dodecahedral geometry of density fluctuations. At the case of CMBR this geometry can be observed like the peaks at the power spectrum of CMBR field. My assumption therefore is, the same feature should be observable at the power spectrum of particle collisions, attributed to Higgs field and it's not related to any particular particle.
##### Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2012
The Higgs signal observed at LHC has many problems. It's weaker, than SM predicts. But it appears in larger amount of collisions, at the VBF channel in particular, where only 0,2% of Higgs boson signal is expected by Standard Model. The conclusion therefore is, the signal observed is not a signal of Higgs boson predicted with SM. http://profmattst...article/ http://profmattst...el-higgs
##### lengould100
3 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2012
I think it's just a psychoogical retreat from the world.
Exactly (if spelling corrected). Religion for the leaders of religions isa obviously an easy way to exploit masses. For the exploited, its merely a shield held up to defend against personal insignificance.
##### ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 12, 2012
I think it's just a psychoogical retreat from the world.
Exactly (if spelling corrected). Religion for the leaders of religions isa obviously an easy way to exploit masses. For the exploited, its merely a shield held up to defend against personal insignificance.

Not like the socialist's exploitation of the masses using class warfare? Or the AGWite extorting money and power?
##### Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
The limits of observation preclude one from Proving with Logical Certainty a hypothesis in science.
I said that. What the hell did you think 'within the limits of observation' inherently includes.

You are using the phrase "proof" in the weaker subjective sense,
I am using it in the sense that it fits the evidence better than any alternative. That is as much proof as anyone can ever get.

as is used in law evidence for example.
Nonsense. I am using any legal concept as the legal concept is fuzzy at best because it is based purely on opinion of alleged legal and alleged scientific experts. They don't bother to have a remotely formal process and in the end it is a judge that makes the decision.

Of course in such common language, one can "prove" something in science.
You have problem with any language wasn't from Germans and it isn't intended to create a barrier of unneeded jargon.>>
##### Ethelred
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 13, 2012
But there is a fundamental difference between deduction and induction,
There is a fundamental difference between math and evidence.

But there is a fundamental difference between deduction and induction,
Nonsense. Deductions can turn out to be crap.

while the latter does not even in principal
Tell me something I didn't already cover.

..only obtaining at best a degree of probability.
No shit sherlock.

The scientific method is inductive because it is based on empirical evidence.
As opposed to being based on navel gazing it is vastly better. Actual testing is involved to see if the logic was relevant to this Universe.

In logic, proof implies certainty.
Fantasy. In logic proof SOMETIMES implies certainty within the exceeding important limit that it has no need to fit reality.

If you are referring to my first few posts
##### Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
You on the other hand did not, and so just generalized.
Nonsense. I am trying to get across the idea that FACTS are far important than any silly definition that is not relevant to the facts. Some people, in this case you are included, seem to think that they can play word games and make actual reality irrelevant.

Logic and math can prove all kinds of things that are not based on this Universe. This is due to the use of assumptions/givens which may not have anything to do with reality and it is also possible to go down completely different paths based on assumptions that seem reasonable such as the line through a point assumption that leads to Euclidean vs. Non-Euclidean geometry.

Both points of view are correct given the respective uses of the word Proof, common language or logical meaning.
But that was only HALF my point. The other half is that when you are in a discussion dealing with reality going down a non-reality route is futile and counterproductive.>>
##### Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
QED.
Waste Of Time.

I strongly recommend that you learn how to discuss things with as little jargon as possible.

As in QED=WOT. Quantum Electro Dynamics is only peripherally involved here.

Querulous Equilateral Dimwits are right out.
Quickly Eradicated Discussions is clearly not going to happen.
Quietly Erased Dialecticians have put on weight and don't fit in the box.
Quotidian Evacuated Diomorphs are something I just made up.
Deceased Equines Make Silly Targets EXCEPT when it is clear someone(several someones in this case) is having trouble getting the point.

But definitions and models are all we have,
Wrong. There is something we normally call EVIDENCE but that seems to have escaped you with your attempts to turn a discussion into a waste of words.>>
##### Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
and there can never be a one to one correspondence between Reality and a model, not even in principal.
False assumption. There is no reason for me to agree with that. In principle the Universe will fit some model EXACTLY unless you think the universe is not consistent and that would be your problem not mine and even if inconsistent in one sense, say the speed of light may have varied over time, the change will almost certainly fit some mathematical model EXACTLY.

Such 'scientific realism' is akin to metaphysics.
You do like to abuse the language don't you.

Ethelred
##### Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
reality isn't divisible. There are no parts that don't affect all other parts in at least a circuitous way
And how does that change what I said? Reality, is what is inherently true. Not the other way around. Nothing is inherently true if it isn't real. It MAY be inherently logical but not all that is logical is real.

But reality isn't divisible. There are no parts that don't affect all other parts in at least a circuitous way
See my above posts to Noumenon which is mainly about word games. You want word games FINE.

But I don't want to play Scrabble over the net.

'true' in a totality is meaningless as there is no 'false' to contrast it to (everything is true

*'true' in a totality is meaningless as there is no 'false' to contrast it to (everything is true).
Navel gazing causes brain rot. The totality of the Universe includes Marjon and that is clearly a case of there being things that are not true within that totality.>>
##### Ethelred
3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
Word games. You need to work harder at them but your resistance on this is futile. If you think you can win with them you have lost all that really matters. Besides I have lots of practice.

As long as we THINK it matches reality we will CALL it true.
Thank you George Orwell but your book was fiction and 1984 is long past due.

Perhaps now Noumenon has a clue that he was not the totality of "some people". He wasn't even a part at the time I posted that.

Whether it matches reality is besides the point.
You have lost the point and it isn't over there in the box because your nonsense is so fuzzy it doesn't fit.

There is no arbiter (except us) who tells us what is true and what isn't.
Do you really think YOU are the only inhabitant of the Universe. "Reality is that which remains if you stop believing in it" - Philip K. Dick, an otherwise reality challenged writer.

Ethelred
##### antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2012
[q|]Navel gazing causes brain rot. The totality of the Universe includes Marjon and that is clearly a case of there being things that are not true
I think now you are playing word games (shifting definitions of what you define as 'true' around).

abstract concepts. Not relevant to the univese except as models. the model is not the territory.

. There is no reason for me to agree with that. In principle the Universe will fit some model EXACTLY

Which doesn't make it true. Consider the 5 observations
1
2
3
4
5
An infinite number of (contradictory) models fit this series. Which one is true? We can't know.

No matter how many measurements we take of the universe there are always an infinite number of possible models. Nothing will tell us which one is the true one (we can agree to use the simplest one - but simple does not necessarily equate to true)
##### antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Feb 13, 2012
Do you really think YOU are the only inhabitant of the Universe. "Reality is that which remains if you stop believing in it"

Correct. The universe is. It does not have to conform to our models. You're acting as if your models could force the universe to be a certain way.

If the sun were to turn into a herring tomorrow then all our protestations wouldn't matter. The universe does not need to prove - it just is.

Humans use models because they allow us to minimize the effort for predicting stuff. That is an entirely HUMAN need. The universe does not have a need to be simple, logical, cause-effect dependent, time-linear, or any other models we have come up with (and some of the above have already shown to be not true in certain instances)
##### Noumenon
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 13, 2012
and there can never be a one to one correspondence between Reality and a model, not even in principal. - Noumenon

False assumption. There is no reason for me to agree with that. In principle the Universe will fit some model EXACTLY unless you think the universe is not consistent

A one to one correspondence between Reality and a Model implies determinism. As we clearly see with qm, either the model or noumenal reality itself, is not deterministic, thus no one to one correspondence.

The mind requires a conceptual structure in which to model reality, while reality itself does not to exist. The mind imposes this conceptual form upon reality, and as a result changes it from what it was. It is not possible to disentangle the effects caused by the way the mind synthesizes experience, from our knowledge of reality, to leave reality as it is in itself (noumenal reality).

quod erat demonstrandum (QED)
##### Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 13, 2012
"We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning." - Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy (1958)

"Our perception and the observations upon which our theories are based are shaped by a kind of lens, the interpretive structure of our human brains. - Stephen Hawking"

http://www.physor...lab.html

##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2012
The mass of the Higgs must be greater than the mass of any elementary particle.

The most massive found is the top quark. 171 GeV/c^2.

The Higgs boson must have a mass greater than 2 times 171, or 342 GeV/c^2 or greater.

One must remember that the LHC is not perfect. Perfect would be beam speed of c.

The LHC is designed for max beam speed that is 0.999999991 c.

At the energy levels tested the mass of the Higgs presents itself between 115-130 GeV.

The Higgs boson max mass limit cannot be set. If the universe is finite in size, then the max Higgs boson mass is equal to the mass of the universe or greater.

The Higgs boson is field potential. The kinetic energy in is equal to the field potential. The decay (kinetic out) reflects the kinetic in. The Higgs boson mass is not a constant but a variable.

Theory would say that the Higgs has a mass of 0, because the kinetic energy of the Higgs is 0. The potential mass of the Higgs is infinite.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2012
The reason evidence for the Higgs is present in the 115-130 range is due to the input energy.

You are not measuring the Higgs, FIELD POTENTIAL, but are measuring a fraction of your input energy (whether 1 TeV, 2 TeV per beam or whatever), as it is output from the events.

No Higgs data is being gathered at all.
##### Turritopsis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 13, 2012
A person with a lot of potential has the ability to display it kinetically (through talking, building etc.)

What is that persons true potential?

That persons true potential can only be seen indirectly through his kinetic actions. Taking a kinetic action destroys other potential actions.

The only way to gather potential data from that person would be to share in his potential.

-----

The Higgs boson discovery requires one to see potential energy. What the LHC detectors do is take readings of the decaying potential.

They wait for the Higgs to say: "Hey, it's me. This is what I do."

Finding the Higgs is about realizing the field potential. Collecting potential data after it is fulfilled, collecting kinetic energy data, leaves us with no direct information of the Higgs itself.

The kinetic energy robs the potential.
##### gulfcoastfella
not rated yet Feb 19, 2012
many basic assumptions in physics may be totally wrong, even if they appear to be correct.

It was once assumed the planets and sun rotated about the earth. A model was created that accurately predicted the motion of the planets and sun. Of course the model was incorrect but it provided accurate results within certain constraints.
The model was improved by putting the sun in center. Newton and Einstein improved the model even more.
But they are still models. Continuing to understand and explain the errors in such models lead to better models, which may or many not be correct, but appear to be valid.

Now what we need is a solution to the N-body problem...

## More news stories

#### Promising doped zirconia

Materials belonging to the family of dilute magnetic oxides (DMOs)—an oxide-based variant of the dilute magnetic semiconductors—are good candidates for spintronics applications. This is the object of ...

#### Scientists use X-ray diffraction to image whole, hydrated cells in their natural state for the first time

Most cells exist in a hydrated state and often live suspended in solution. In order to be imaged, cells must generally be frozen or dried, and then stained with substances such as heavy metals. Unfortunately, ...

#### New X-ray method shows how frog embryos could help thwart disease

An international team of scientists using a new X-ray method recorded the internal structure and cell movement inside a living frog embryo in greater detail than ever before.

#### Bringing life into focus

Spinning-disk confocal microscopy is an optical imaging technique that can be used to generate detailed three-dimensional fluorescence images of living cells and their contents. Although a powerful tool for ...

#### New principle may help explain why nature is quantum

Like small children, scientists are always asking the question 'why?'. One question they've yet to answer is why nature picked quantum physics, in all its weird glory, as a sensible way to behave. Researchers ...

#### Mars rover Opportunity examines clay clues in rock

(Phys.org) —NASA's senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is driving to a new study area after a dramatic finish to 20 months on "Cape York" with examination of a rock intensely altered by water.

#### Field tests in Mojave Desert pave way for human exploration of small bodies

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers from the SETI Institute, the Mars Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, and the space robotics company Honeybee Robotics, has successfully completed a first series of field ...

#### US seizes Bitcoin operator accounts

US authorities seized the accounts of a Bitcoin digital currency exchange operator, claiming it was functioning as an "unlicensed money service business," court documents showed Friday.

#### Alaska volcano shoots ash 15,000 feet into the air

(AP)—One of Alaska's most restless volcanoes has shot an ash cloud 15,000 feet into the air in an ongoing eruption that has drawn attention from a nearby community but isn't expected to threaten air traffic.

#### Chinese, Indian airlines face EU pollution fines

Eight Chinese and two Indian airlines face fines of up to several million euros for not paying for their greenhouse gas emissions during flights within the bloc, the European Commission said on Friday.