New Data Suggests We Don’t Live in a Void, and Supports Dark Energy

January 28, 2009 By Lisa Zyga, Phys.org feature

Temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, among other data, are helping researchers better understand the accelerating expansion of the universe. Image credit: NASA.
(PhysOrg.com) -- An alternative proposal to dark energy in which the Earth sits near the center of a large void is undergoing scrutiny, and the results show that void models fit poorly with observed data. Nevertheless, scientists say that more research will be needed to determine if void models, dark energy, or something else can accurately explain how the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.

Almost a decade ago, theorists proposed a void model as an alternative to the repulsive force of dark energy, an unknown force that is not well understood. According to the void model, much of the visible universe lies in a giant void that contains very little matter compared to the matter density outside the void, which is difficult to observe. The void’s low density means the gravitational “braking” force is weak in the void. This creates the illusion that the visible universe is expanding faster than it used to; however, the actual change is not a change over time, but over space.

Scientific data aside, void models have an important philosophical implication: that the Earth occupies a special place at the center of the visible universe. This contradicts the Copernican principle, which says that we should not be at a special place, and has been extended to state that the universe is homogenous. The Copernican principle has served as a pillar for modern astronomy, and if it weren’t true, then astronomers could not rely on local measurements to learn about universal properties.

Now a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia has compared new data with the predictions of various void models and standard dark energy models. Post-doctoral fellows Jim Zibin and Adam Moss, along with Professor Douglas Scott, studied supernova, cosmic microwave background, and baryon acoustic data from the early universe, and found that altogether the data fits standard dark energy models much more closely than void models. Their study is published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

“Our study addresses one of the greatest mysteries in cosmology today - the apparent acceleration of the Universe's expansion,” Zibin told PhysOrg.com. “The standard explanation, dark energy, is itself so puzzling that researchers have tried hard to find viable alternatives, but with very few successes. Our study shows that it is extremely unlikely that one such alternative, void models, can be made to work. This strengthens the case that the acceleration is real and is due to dark energy.”

The researchers examined two kinds of void models: unconstrained and constrained (in which the density distribution is limited). They found that unconstrained voids can fit the CMB and supernova data, although this comes at a price of requiring a very low Hubble constant - which ultimately rules out the unconstrained voids. Constrained voids also run into problems, as they require finely-tuned features in order to fit the CMB data. However, standard dark energy models closely match the CMB data. Further, the baryon acoustic data is at odds with the likeliest void models, but agrees very well with standard dark energy models. As Zibin explained, this type of analysis is only possible with the ability to gather very precise data, as in the current era of “precision cosmology.”

“More than about a decade ago, the fundamental parameters that describe the Universe on the largest scales, such as the expansion rate and the amount of spatial curvature, were only known with poor accuracy,” he said. “Since then, precision measurements of the CMB by satellite and massive automated sky surveys on the ground have revolutionized cosmology by pinning those parameters down with high precision. It seemed very surprising to us that cosmological models such as the void models, which are so drastically different from standard dark energy models, could still fit all of this precision data.”

The scientists conclude that it is quite extraordinary that standard dark energy models can describe a wide variety of observations so well, without requiring finely tuned parameters. In investigating the robustness of void models, the researchers have in fact solidified the conventional view that dark energy causes the acceleration of the universe.

“Further refinements in measurements of the CMB and even bigger sky surveys are planned, and will help us to understand the acceleration better,” Zibin said. “It may turn out that even the improvements planned in the next decade or so won't distinguish the simplest form of dark energy, the cosmological constant, from other forms. On the other hand, we may be fortunate and learn soon what dark energy really is.”

More information: Zibin, James P.; Moss, Adam; and Scott, Douglas. “Can We Avoid Dark Energy?” Physical Review Letters 101, 251303 (2008).

Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.

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Nevertheless
3 / 5 (10) Jan 28, 2009
It keeps us humble to know that we are not privileged. Furthermore, it is satisfying to know that Copernicus was right in his fight against dogma while also providing us with a principle that helps us figure out what we are.
Alexa
Jan 28, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
theophys
1.3 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2009
I've never really though about before, but wouldn't the force responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe be just that? A force, not an energy. We should be calling it the dark force, not dark energy.
Anyway, wouldn't the void theory be provable or diprovable by just looking at the relative mass/energy densities of the near universe and the far universe? If density doesn't change significantly at some point within our visual range in every directio, poof, end of theory.
brant
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 28, 2009
Maybe the universe is not expanding.......
MorituriMax
2.5 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2009
If the expansion of space-time is uniform and stays the same as the total volume increases, wouldn't it SEEM like the expansion is accelerating even when it isn't?

In other words if a sphere that is twice as big expands the same amount as a smaller sphere, doesn't the volume increase more? So that it only SEEMS to be accelerating?

Thanks, hope that made sense.
thematrix606
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2009
With regards to the universe 'expanding'... why couldn't it just breathe? Like every other living thing does. So it's increasing now, but will be decreasing in the next few billion years. It had no beginning no big bang, and it will have no end. It just appeared out of nothing and it shall to disappear into nothing. If you were observing the universe from it's outside (where no time/physical realm do not exist) you will get the end result before you start the experiment. To simply conclude, we know so little, and what's beyond our physical universe, we shall never be able to comprehend with these brains since they are based on this physical world. It's like writing code in c# and trying to execute it as a java script, it has somewhat of the same intention, but it will never work.
podizzle
1 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2009
nice idea thematrix606. the universe's acceleration slowed during the early years of expansion. however i tend more to believe that all universes follow a trend of expanding until all galaxies are completely alone. seems boring that way but remember that each black hole may contain a white hole on the other side creating new universes. As far as dark energy goes, I believe it is a property of the vacuum of space. When a galaxy travels through space, the dark energy acts as a fuel to keep it accelerating.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2009
What a letdown! To begin to see that the professors we have worshiped and mimicked as sources of all knowledge just might have been as stupid as we were! Observing an infinite creation from ANY point within it WOULD convince us that we were near the center!


Indeed, to claim that we live in the center of the universe, given all we KNOW (that's KNOW as opposed to SUPPOSE based on a principle which could be wrong on any of a million counts we try to apply it to) is absurd.

Everywhere, and nowhere is the center of the universe. That being said. that fact has very little to do with how rare and special complex intelligent life is in the universe. I used to take it as a given it was common and widespread. Lately I've come to think we're almost certianly the only one's in our galaxy, and perhaps the only ones for billions of light years.
MrGrynch
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 29, 2009
Expanding universe is fiction. When there is no need to explain "apparent" expansion, then the mystery disappears. We need to heed the work of Dr. Halton Arp and others, who show that red-shift is not a reliable indicator of distance nor recessional velocity.
theophys
5 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2009
Expanding universe is fiction. When there is no need to explain "apparent" expansion, then the mystery disappears. We need to heed the work of Dr. Halton Arp and others, who show that red-shift is not a reliable indicator of distance nor recessional velocity.

I don't see why the Doppler effect isn't a good means of determining velocity. Unless you can prove that the Doppler effect is only an illusion and have a better theory that can explain our observations.
DozerIAm
4.5 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2009
I've never really though about before, but wouldn't the force responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe be just that? A force, not an energy. We should be calling it the dark force, not dark energy.


Congrats to everyone who read this quote and didn't reply with a "Star Wars" quote right here.
Modernmystic
2.2 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2009
What if the expansion and the acceleration of the universe are just optical illusions? What if the whole Big Bang model is wrong? That is the claim made in a book called An Alternative to the Standard Model of Physics. The book further claims the universe may well indeed be infinite and if so we would be at the center because everywhere is the center in an infinite universe.


Uh everywhere is the center of a finite spherical universe too.

Ask yourself where the center on the skin of a perfectly spherical ball is...
Modernmystic
1.6 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2009
What if the expansion and the acceleration of the universe are just optical illusions? What if the whole Big Bang model is wrong? That is the claim made in a book called An Alternative to the Standard Model of Physics. The book further claims the universe may well indeed be infinite and if so we would be at the center because everywhere is the center in an infinite universe.


Uh everywhere is the center of a finite spherical universe too.

Ask yourself where the center on the skin of a perfectly spherical ball is...


I did not know an infinite size could have a spherical shape. Well I guess you learn something new every day. How could there be a surface on an infinite spherical ball?


Oh you want to talk about infinite? I was talking about a FINITE universe (which is what the current theory says, if you actually knew anything about the theory you were attacking) if you'd actally read my response carefully. But let's assume the universe is infinite....if everything extends to the infinite in every direction then everywhere is the center of the universe...and nowhwere.

It's really not a hard concept to grasp. Honestly, I'm not kidding when I say my 10 year old cousin understands perfectly.
Mercury_01
1.7 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2009
With regards to the universe 'expanding'... why couldn't it just breathe? Like every other living thing does. So it's increasing now, but will be decreasing in the next few billion years. It had no beginning no big bang, and it will have no end. It just appeared out of nothing and it shall to disappear into nothing. If you were observing the universe from it's outside (where no time/physical realm do not exist) you will get the end result before you start the experiment. To simply conclude, we know so little, and what's beyond our physical universe, we shall never be able to comprehend with these brains since they are based on this physical world. It's like writing code in c# and trying to execute it as a java script, it has somewhat of the same intention, but it will never work.


Kind of like when a gas bomb goes off, expands rapidly, and then compresses again due to recoil? It could potentially do that many times, and each time the epoch is shorter and the expansion/ compression less violent. Just a thought.
theophys
1.8 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2009
I've never really though about before, but wouldn't the force responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe be just that? A force, not an energy. We should be calling it the dark force, not dark energy.


Congrats to everyone who read this quote and didn't reply with a "Star Wars" quote right here.

It makes me sad that nobody took the bait.
What if the expansion and the acceleration of the universe are just optical illusions? What if the whole Big Bang model is wrong? That is the claim made in a book called An Alternative to the Standard Model of Physics. The book further claims the universe may well indeed be infinite and if so we would be at the center because everywhere is the center in an infinite universe.

If the universe were infinite, it would stand to reason that there would be an infinite amount of matter. Thus, there would be an infinite amount of gravity and we would all be quite dead. Also, an infinite universe would suggest that the universe has been around forever(after all, it is spacetime, not just space) in which case light would have an infinite amount of time to come from just about anywhere in the universe and we would be able to see a lot further than we can now. Added to the idea of infinite amounts of matter, there would be infinite stars, with infinite amounts of light energy hitting the Earth. We would be quite dead.
The theory of an infinite universe was shot down in the early twentieth century. It put up quite a fight, but was eventualy slaughtered by a large group of scientists armed with elephant guns and calculas.
Noumenon
1.3 / 5 (23) Jan 30, 2009
My new theory shows that the universe is an infinite sized cube with a knob on one side (j/k). Actually i don't know what sense there is in saying the universe is a sperical ball either; Shape must be in relation to what is other than itself; there is nothing else. Curvature of spacetime within the universe can make sense though. Is this right?
theophys
2.8 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2009
But you are not correct in stating everywhere is the center in a finite spherical universe. No, there can only be one center in that type of universe.

That statement needs some explaining. Why, where, and what evidense? Every basketball I've ever owned tells me you're wrong.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Jan 30, 2009
You are correct that I did miss-read your posting. But you are not correct in stating everywhere is the center in a finite spherical universe. No, there can only be one center in that type of universe.


Oh yeah? Where exactly? Keep in mind the spherical ball is only a mental construct used to allow our limited brains an analogy they can grasp. Our entire 3 dimensional (or more) universe is represented by the "2" dimensional skin of the sphere in question.

So tell me, where is the center of the outside skin of a perfect sphere...I and the rest of the world await an answer.
Noumenon
1.5 / 5 (22) Jan 30, 2009
The hole where the air goes.
Noumenon
1.4 / 5 (22) Jan 30, 2009
?, your not understanding the analogy of the spherical surface. For the 'visual' guide to work, you must disregard the interior of the sphere, and only consider the surface. There is no center!!! The universe did not expand into an existing space,... space itself expanded as a part of the universe, so once galaxies formed they would continue moving away from each other. The interior of the sphere is undefined, meaningless in the analogy.
Noumenon
1.2 / 5 (21) Jan 30, 2009
...if you say that the universe started as a point and so that point is the center you are still wrong.
Noumenon
1.6 / 5 (24) Jan 30, 2009
The term 'spherical' shouldn't be taken literally, as I mentioned above, in order for a thing to have shape, it must be delimited by something else,.. in the case of the universe, there IS nothing else. It's a means of expressing an amount of space-time curvature.

Usually in science ideas impose themselves upon us, given observations. The observations leading one to propose that the universe was much denser than it is now, are based on galaxies all moving away from our vantage point.

Now can you explain that observational fact in a way which will save your infinite universe (?), an idea which by the way is soo 380 b.c.
Noumenon
1.1 / 5 (20) Jan 30, 2009
I'm have not read the book you referenced above. If they explain the expansion as an illusion, is there a way of verifying that through observation; is it based on the defunct void model?
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2009
The book titled An Alternative to the Standard Model of Physics mentions a test which could prove that the red-shift of light from distant galaxies is an illusion. It is not a complicated test and it could be carried out right now.


Hear hear! What's the test?


I would think it is up to you Big Bangers to explain how the universe can be flat and to have started from a point, unless we just happened to be at the center.


No there is EVIDENCE that it started from a point via the red shift. It is up to YOU to present evidence to prove your case...we've Already proved the Earth is round, if you think it's flat you're going to need some good evidence to the contrary. Go fish.

This is highly unlikely. As mentioned earlier in an infinite universe everywhere is the center, therefore we are at the center of the universe.


Do you know ANYTHING at ALL about physics? Do you know anything about entropy or the laws of thermodynamics?? If the universe has existed forever then ALL the stars EVERYWHERE would already have burned out. Since they haven't the universe had a beginning at a finite time in the past.

In short, and put simply in deference to you...the Universe has a gas tank that is finite (in the form of burnable hydrogen) we know this for a fact. And even if the universe were infinite in all directions the universe is also isotropic, which means it looks the same and we see the same conditions in ALL directions we look. Therefore hydrogen is a finite resource even in an INFINITE universe.

Since it has a finite gas tank the engine can't have been running forever, because if it had...we'd be out of gas, and we're clearly not.

Your theory is so full of holes it's leaking like a friggin sieve.
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2009
Oh and one more thing...

As mentioned earlier in an infinite universe everywhere is the center, therefore we are at the center of the universe.


Actually everywhere and nowhere is the center...which in effect means there IS NO CENTER.
theophys
3 / 5 (2) Jan 31, 2009
While you would be correct that the total amount of mass and therefore gravity would be infinite in an infinite universe you miss the point that in any one place there would not be an infinite amount of mass and therefore also not an infinite amount of gravity.
It is really quite simple a graviton cannot carry two units of gravity anymore than an electron can carry two units of charge.

I think you misunderstand the point. Matter is not evenly disperesed everywhere, things homogenous only at a ver, very large scale. On the small scale, there are little bumbs (aka stars, planets, black holes, ect.) that have more gravity than the various pieces of debris and therefore actract the smaller bits of matter. If the universe were infinite in space and time, there would be enough time for one larger mass to have gathered up enough of its surroundings to form a very large mass indeed. Galaxy collision rates would have skyrocketed. Within a few billion years of the begining of infinite, most matter in the universe would be gathered in and around an infinite number of black holes with the masses of several galaxies. Within the 14 billion years that it took for us to come around, all those black holes would be rushing twoward eachother and forming bigger and bigger black holes. Within a trillion or two years, there would be at least one black hole massive enough to draw in all the mass in the entire universe. Anybody left alive would view the universe as contractinf to a point, not expanding indefinitely. Unless you belive that concentration of mass is also an illusion(The sun is everywhere at once!), then there is really no logical reason to believe that the universe is infinite in any respect.
if the center must be disregarded and has no meaning my question to you is what proof do you have we are talking about a finite spherical universe? Leaving out the center means it could be any shape your fancy wants it to be.

Think basketball, not bowling ball. There is no center of the skin becuse inside, there is no skin. The material ends before the center of the sphere, therefore the center is meaningless when describing the material making up the basketball. Same thing for our universe except with more dimensions.
a test which could prove that the red-shift of light from distant galaxies is an illusion. It is not a complicated test and it could be carried out right now

Are you going to discribe this test, or are you just making a plug in hopes of selling more copies of the book? Redshifts, and blueshifts while we're at it, are a proven phenomenon. If the ones that we observe in space are somehow askew, you would also have to claim that all the data on the motions of nearby planets and the sun are false, because we figured all that out with the doppler effect.

I would think it is up to you Big Bangers to explain how the universe can be flat and to have started from a point, unless we just happened to be at the center.

Well, according to our numbers, the universe probably isn't flat. It could be, current data, which is far from complete, suggests that the numbers are extremely close to those required for a flat universe. But we aren't going to say it's flat because very well might not be. You would know this if you had ever read any quality(emphasis on quality) book on Big Bang cosmology, which has actualy been updated to include inflationary theory. Might I suggest, "The Whole Shebang" by Timothy Ferris, or, "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene. Neither are perfect, but they both do a pretty good job describing current cosmology theories in a way that the layman can easily understand.
jeffsaunders
3.8 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2009
The Doppler effect that proves the expansion (based on red shift) of the Universe does not prove the point. Taking observations of the universe over time and looking for a Doppler location shift as the earth and sun travel through the galaxy may show up a shift in observation that could determine relative speeds of an object in relation to us.

The red shift we observe could have other causes two types of possible cause of a red shift come instantly to mind.

1) Degrading wavelengths of light over distance traveled.

2) Interference in wavelengths over time through collisions with different mediums, possibly even gravitational interference.

If we can work to prove that this is not possible (which by the way has NOT been done) then we might be left with expansion which I agree can in fact lengthen wavelengths of light through differences in speed of observers.

We cannot see Doppler location shift for really distant objects based on observation because we do not have recordings of distant objects for long enough period of time. As really distant objects will require a really large base line to observe observational location shift. Not to mention, a very accurate observational directional angle.

The proposed Big Bang idea does explain a few things easily but ever since people have been able to observe the universe more closely it has been having problems.

It is possible the idea was never right in the first place.

Furthermore an infinite Universe may mean an infinite amount of time but the average gravity at any point in an infinite universe would still be zero as it is in an expanding universe and would not cause our demise.

In an infinite universe there would not be infinite light from all directions either because there is an infinite amount of junk that may be located between light source and destination.

Plus, with the light wavelengths shifting towards red and into radio waves etc, past a somewhat measurable distance you would not be able to observe anything at all, not matter how much time you had.
Modernmystic
1.3 / 5 (3) Feb 01, 2009
The Doppler effect that proves the expansion (based on red shift) of the Universe does not prove the point. Taking observations of the universe over time and looking for a Doppler location shift as the earth and sun travel through the galaxy may show up a shift in observation that could determine relative speeds of an object in relation to us.

The red shift we observe could have other causes two types of possible cause of a red shift come instantly to mind.

1) Degrading wavelengths of light over distance traveled.

2) Interference in wavelengths over time through collisions with different mediums, possibly even gravitational interference.

If we can work to prove that this is not possible (which by the way has NOT been done) then we might be left with expansion which I agree can in fact lengthen wavelengths of light through differences in speed of observers.

We cannot see Doppler location shift for really distant objects based on observation because we do not have recordings of distant objects for long enough period of time. As really distant objects will require a really large base line to observe observational location shift. Not to mention, a very accurate observational directional angle.

The proposed Big Bang idea does explain a few things easily but ever since people have been able to observe the universe more closely it has been having problems.

It is possible the idea was never right in the first place.

Furthermore an infinite Universe may mean an infinite amount of time but the average gravity at any point in an infinite universe would still be zero as it is in an expanding universe and would not cause our demise.

In an infinite universe there would not be infinite light from all directions either because there is an infinite amount of junk that may be located between light source and destination.

Plus, with the light wavelengths shifting towards red and into radio waves etc, past a somewhat measurable distance you would not be able to observe anything at all, not matter how much time you had.

Do you have an explaniation (backed by proof that is) how there is still burnable hydrogen and the universe hasn't already reached maximum entropy after an infinite period of time?
luciferbriimstone
2 / 5 (3) Feb 01, 2009
I dont know anything about all this stuff.I never studied physics.But I thought it was generally believed that the universe is made of consciousness and that questions as to whether it is infinite or not are just misleading.I must be living in a hole.
nilbud
4.5 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2009
That is our Human reality but there is also the underlying physical reality which must to some extent shape our meatbag notions.
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (4) Feb 01, 2009
That is our Human reality but there is also the underlying physical reality which must to some extent shape our meatbag notions.


Oh how true. How wise a statement. I don't pretend to know the deepest secrets that lie far above and below our meager kin. All I know is what I know, what is given me by observation filtered by my most limited logic and reason. How can I act or espouse on such concepts I do not know...indeed how can any of us.

What I can do is expound upon that which we DO know at this present time. In this time in which we are emerging from the darkness of ignorance and doubt into the age of reason and light. And this leads me to fervently say that this universe is not infinite. That it too will "die" by the relentless laws of thermodynamics and physics as we understand them.

This is not what I wish, I hate that I'm beaten down by reason and the facts we know. I wish that the universe had a a bright future unbound by such laws and notions that at present we know as fact, and as such can't deny lest we fall back into utter superstition and darkness....

There lies my despair...my quandry. Indeed there lies all our despair, that the universe shall end in a cold, heartless death of maximum entropy and chaos. My only solace is that by these laws too it is impossible that our reality came to be by itself. That by these rules there MUST exist a higher level of reality by which it came to be, and as such all hope, knowledge, dreams, and desires of feeling beings such as ourselves is not in fact lost but is bound to this higher plane whatever it may be....
nilbud
5 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2009
So you're getting depressed because of the heat death of the universe. I suggest a walk, give some money to charity then have a big spliff and a beer.
theophys
1 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2009
That is our Human reality but there is also the underlying physical reality which must to some extent shape our meatbag notions.

Using the term 'meatbag' officially makes you cool. I award you fifty Fonzie points.
the universe shall end in a cold, heartless death of maximum entropy and chaos. My only solace is that by these laws too it is impossible that our reality came to be by itself. That by these rules there MUST exist a higher level of reality by which it came to be, and as such all hope, knowledge, dreams, and desires of feeling beings such as ourselves is not in fact lost but is bound to this higher plane whatever it may be....

Don't go slitting your wrists over it. It has yet to be proven wether the universe will reach maximum entropy, eventualy collapse into a firey ball of death, or continue to expand with maximum entropy as an asymptote. And there are no physical laws suggesting that there needs be anything outside our universe. I suggest you either get really chummy with your fellow man or just enter a permanent state of alcohol induced bliss.
thales
3 / 5 (6) Feb 02, 2009
Modernmystic: melodramatic, cocky, self-important and frequently angry, with a sprinkling of paranoia and religious sentiment. Now that I think of it, he sounds an awful lot like a crank.

http://en.wikiped...f_cranks (wikipedia)
dev2000
5 / 5 (1) Feb 02, 2009
Guys, guys, please. The center of the Universe is whereever I am at the moment. Now stop arguing and get back to your nice, peaceful wave-like states from before.
Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (4) Feb 02, 2009
So you're getting depressed because of the heat death of the universe. I suggest a walk, give some money to charity then have a big spliff and a beer.


If the heat/entropy death of the universe isn't a depressing thought I don't know what is. Should I be giddy over it? It means nothing less than everything is ulimately totallly meaningless...so yeah kind of depressing.

Modernmystic: melodramatic, cocky, self-important and frequently angry, with a sprinkling of paranoia and religious sentiment. Now that I think of it, he sounds an awful lot like a crank.


Brilliant example of one of the most patently idiotic forms of debate...not surprising coming from you though.

http://en.wikiped..._hominem


Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Feb 02, 2009
So you're getting depressed because of the heat death of the universe. I suggest a walk, give some money to charity then have a big spliff and a beer.


If the heat/entropy death of the universe isn't a depressing thought I don't know what is. Should I be giddy over it? It means nothing less than everything is ultimately totally meaningless...so yeah kind of depressing.

And there are no physical laws suggesting that there needs be anything outside our universe.


Yeah unless you count the law of conservation of matter and energy. Are you going to be patenting your energy making machine this week?

Beside the BLATANTLY OBVIOUS philosophical problems with the big bang supposedly needing no help to help to kick start it, there are very serious scientific problems with the proposition too that won't go away by invoking magical vacuum fluctuations (which is a really funny one since no vacuum technically existed to fluctuate) or magical colliding branes...etc etc etc.

Sorry there are serious problems with the current scientific creation myth, that you don't or can't recognize them doesn't make them go away.


Modernmystic: melodramatic, cocky, self-important and frequently angry, with a sprinkling of paranoia and religious sentiment. Now that I think of it, he sounds an awful lot like a crank.


Brilliant example of one of the most patently idiotic forms of debate...not surprising in the least coming from you though.

http://en.wikiped..._hominem

Sorry for the double post, must not have hit the edit button right.
theophys
3 / 5 (2) Feb 03, 2009
Yeah unless you count the law of conservation of matter and energy. Are you going to be patenting your energy making machine this week?

Beside the BLATANTLY OBVIOUS philosophical problems with the big bang supposedly needing no help to help to kick start it, there are very serious scientific problems with the proposition too that won't go away by invoking magical vacuum fluctuations (which is a really funny one since no vacuum technically existed to fluctuate) or magical colliding branes...etc etc etc.

I understand your argument, I just don't recognize it as valid. First off, conservation of mass and energy can be broken according to quantum physics. Secondly, the Big Bang theory does not state that anything magicaly appeared, it just suggests that things expanded from an infinitely dense point. Any part of the theory that comes after that is a neccesary revision or addition to make theory confrom to current observation and knowledge. If you feel the need to find out what happened before the Big Bang, well, that's your problem. Go pick a church and force its dogma to conform with modern cosmology. I personaly feel that asking what happened before time became a linear and measurable phenomenon is rather pointless. I also feel that asking what's outside of measurable spacial dimensions is also rather pointless. The point stands, there are absolutely no physical laws that require anything to be outside the universe and any theories that attempt to include some extrauniversal entity or action had better be able come up with a way of teting it.
Adriab
5 / 5 (1) Feb 04, 2009
Counter-points in arguments tend to be taken better when they don't contain personal attacks.

Just an observation.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Feb 04, 2009
I understand your argument, I just don't recognize it as valid. First off, conservation of mass and energy can be broken according to quantum physics.


No it can't not in any meaningful way, and certainly not on the time scale and sheer scale of our universe. I invite you to show how it can be.

Secondly, the Big Bang theory does not state that anything magically appeared, it just suggests that things expanded from an infinitely dense point.


Sounds like magic to me. Honestly this explanation is no better philosophically than Genesis...it's just less poetic. Everything after that makes at least theoretical scientific sense and I tend to agree with it, but your "answer" is basically a cop out IMO.

Where did the "infinitely dense point" come from? Moreover if it was infinitely dense then expansion wouldn't have made it less dense at all...infinite is infinite. Yet here we are in a universe that clearly isn't infinitely dense.

If you feel the need to find out what happened before the Big Bang, well, that's your problem.


My how scientific. It just "happened"...ooooogiiee booooggggie wooogie" *wiggles fingers*. Little better than "To those who know no explanation is necessary and to those who don't none is possible". Sorry but it's the problem of SCIENCE too, in fact there are a lot of really good theoretical physicists working on just that problem...

The point stands, there are absolutely no physical laws that require anything to be outside the universe


Yes there absolutely are physical laws that do require it, sorry. That's where brane theory came from btw. Most theoretical physicists agree on this point. The problem then is what kinds of properties do these "branes" have and where did THEY come from...

..and any theories that attempt to include some extrauniversal entity or action had better be able come up with a way of teting it.


Indeed. Your church better get busy about it too, that is if you wish to continue to condescend (which sooooo many of you just love to do) to the rest of us in any meaningful way...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2009
Hawking Radiation. If the theory of vaccuum energy and black hole interaction are correct matter and antimatter, and therefore energy, are constantly comming into existance and annihilating themselves. Except when it occurs near a black hole and one participant is pulled into the singularity and the other is shot out [snip].


True, but the black hole loses mass when this happens. Effictively all black holes will eventually "evaporate" in this way. The larger the event horizon the less likely the particle is to escape, the smaller the more likely. A black hole with an event horizon on very small scales wouldn't actually be very black at all, it would be white hot. The smaller they get, the faster the go until...BANG the matter left inside is no longer able to bend space sufficiently to keep light from escaping and it explodes.

http://en.wikiped...adiation

More on your second point later.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2009
On another note, what's to say we weren't expelled from a white hole many billions of years ago, and that's what's causing the expansion. This would also leave us far from the point of origin, possibly far enough away to not be able to see it.


Indeed, who's to say? It's entirely possible, but then where did this white hole come from? Origin is a slippery slope. Once we accepted that the universe couldn't have been eternal we opened a can of philosophical/scientific worms that's not easily resolved. It's a big reason there was such a huge amount of resistance to it in scientific circles initially.
theophys
1.5 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2009
Counter-points in arguments tend to be taken better when they don't contain personal attacks.

Just an observation.

You are completely right and I apologize to modernmystic if he/she felt personaly attacked in any way whatsoever by my words.
Where did the "infinitely dense point" come from? Moreover if it was infinitely dense then expansion wouldn't have made it less dense at all...infinite is infinite. Yet here we are in a universe that clearly isn't infinitely dense.

By infinitelly dense, I mean a finite amount of mass crushed into a point of zero, or at least very near to zero, volume. While it may not actualy be a pont of infinity, it sounds way cooler to say infinitely dense than to say really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, compact.
Yes there absolutely are physical laws that do require it, sorry. That's where brane theory came from btw. Most theoretical physicists agree on this point. The problem then is what kinds of properties do these "branes" have and where did THEY come from...

Yep, and they're all wasting their time. It is impossible to come up with any provable conclusion as to what happened before our universe was. It makes for great conversation and is fun to ponder, but completely useless. When you start talking about extra-universal theories, nothing is more or less plausible than anything else. It's just as reasonable to say that dancing carrots orbit the universe as it is to say that branes are floating around and crashing into eachother. We can get to the point where the universe sstarted. That's it. Finito. Finalment. Nothing else to look at.
I understand your argument, I just don't recognize it as valid. First off, conservation of mass and energy can be broken according to quantum physics.



No it can't not in any meaningful way, and certainly not on the time scale and sheer scale of our universe. I invite you to show how it can be.

Well, as Velenaris said, hawking radiation. But that's only one side effect of the actual phenomenon. The whole thing happens because particles and their antimatter partner spontaneously pop into existence. While it is true that they usually anihalate eachother in prompt fashion, the law of conservation of energy and mass is broken. Something popped into existence and temporarily added to the total mass of the universe. Rule broken. Tada!
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2009
Well, as Velenaris said, hawking radiation. But that's only one side effect of the actual phenomenon. The whole thing happens because particles and their antimatter partner spontaneously pop into existence. While it is true that they usually anihalate eachother in prompt fashion, the law of conservation of energy and mass is broken. Something popped into existence and temporarily added to the total mass of the universe. Rule broken. Tada!


Hawking radiation does NOT violate conservation of matter and energy. The particle that escapes annihilation merely TAKES energy away from the event horizon of the black hole itself. It's merely a mechanism for the mass ALREADY extant and locked up inside the hole to "tunnel" out. The particle that falls into the black hole would have NEGATIVE energy, and hence cause the black hole to actually lose mass. That's just a simplified way to explain it.

You simply don't understand the concept. I'd recommend you do some reading on the subject...I'm not trying to be a condescending ass here, but you REALLY don't get what Hawking radiation is. The link I provided is a good general description.

Besides even if Hawking radiation DID violate conservation it hardly explains how all the matter in the entire universe came into existence in an instant rather than virtual particle after virtual particle...you do realize that in any sizeable black hole the Hawking radiation coming from it wouldn't be enough to power a LED for a billionth of a second. In fact holes with the mass of the Earth would actually ABSORB more background cosmic radiation (at least at present levels) than they would emit via Hawking radiation. Hardly a big bang...

Moreover if we could violate the first law of thermodynamics we wouldn't be talking about fusion, fission, wind, or solar power...we'd be lining up to buy our energy making machines.

Yep, and they're all wasting their time. It is impossible to come up with any provable conclusion as to what happened before our universe was. It makes for great conversation and is fun to ponder, but completely useless.


Well in that case I assume you must know that, by your own logic, you're in NO better a scientific a position to say what there might not be as a religious person is to say what there might be with respect to this subject.

Might want to remember that the next time you look down your nose at someone for their beliefs...assuming you do that kind of thing of course. I don't know that you do, but virtually all atheists, and a fair portion of agnostics do...

In closing I'll leave you with a quote...

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."-Arthur C. Clarke
Modernmystic
2 / 5 (3) Feb 05, 2009
Actually that's not totally correct. The matter antimatter annihilation, referred to as black hole evaporation, releases a great amount of energy which otherwise would not exist. Sum this with the extra proton now whizzing out of the black hole at incredible speed (most likely due to the evaporation energy) and you have an infintesimal "extra" amount of matter. This is part of the reason why Hawking Radiation is not really taken seriously by all of physics as under some circumstances and interpretations, it appears to violate the conservation laws, albeit in an incredibly small manner.


Well V I hope you already know I've the utmost respect for you, you're a very fair minded and well reasoned individual. Here however, we're just going to have to agree to disagree because that's not the way I read any article on the subject at all.

Do me a favor go here...

http://en.wikiped...adiation

...and read the third paragraph of the overview section. I could be totally wrong (God knows it's happened before) but I just don't see how in this case.

Here is another good snippet of an explanation...

http://rationalwi...adiation

All seem to say that the hole loses more mass than it gains via the mechanism. Nowhere have I seen where the first law of thermodynamics is violated or even hinted at being violated. In fact most seem to quite unambiguously state the opposite.

Again maybe I'm wrong...
bluehigh
1 / 5 (5) Feb 06, 2009
There's another aspect to this discussion, a metaphysical, which is seldom mentioned, because science exclusively deals with falsifiable theories, whereas metaphysics is the realm of belief, of those notions which are not falsifiable. (Ever seen the lilac dragon in my garage? Of course not - it's only me who can see it.)

It is the aspect that Big Bang Theory fits very nicely into the world as the monotheistic religions see it. To leave BigBang Theory for good comes very
gruesome for all those believers of "In The Beginning There Was ...". That's why they cling to it so desperately.
A_Paradox
1 / 5 (2) Feb 07, 2009
on 4 Feb 2009 Modernmystic wrote [amongst many other things]:

"... physical laws that do require it, sorry. That's where brane theory came from btw. Most theoretical physicists agree on this point. The problem then is what kinds of properties do these "branes" have and where did THEY come from... "

One way to answer that perhaps is to use the word "existence" instead of "brane". I have not seen this particular idea proposed anywhere else, but I don't get out much so .. who knows?" By existence here I mean an *IS* which is all and everywhere the same and within which there is no separation or change, ie no time. Except there is more than one, so there is IT and the OTHER. I suspect however that there are at least of them.

Let's call them Yin, Yang, and Yoni [which might be Yoni-come-lately who/which big-banged the other two and spawned our place. The critical idea in this is that what we perceive to be space-time and stuff is actually the boundary/ies of Yin, Yang and Yoni. Each existence is different, separate from the others, and always in contact with all of itself but there are boundaries of contact capable of quasi-infinite fractal interdigitation, so to speak. My thought is that Planck's constant, the speed of light, and so forth, are artefacts of this interdigitation which is intrinsically wave-like.

I assume that electrons, quarks, etc, are types of topological knots. What we call empty space is simply where there are relatively few knots. Long distance quantum entanglement, and the fact that physics seems the same both near and far are manifestations of the instantaneous non-distinction and always the same identity of each existence.

Each existence is presumably eternal: they either exist now or they don't.

Hmmm, maybe I only think like this because I've always been a bit on edge ..... :-)
holmstar
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2009
Let's be clear about something...

The Doppler effect does *NOT* prove that the universe is expanding. Expansion is *one possible explanation* for Doppler shift of light from distant objects. It is probably the most likely explanation given current theory, but it is certainly nowhere near proof.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 09, 2009
Let's be clear about something...

The Doppler effect does *NOT* prove that the universe is expanding. Expansion is *one possible explanation* for Doppler shift of light from distant objects. It is probably the most likely explanation given current theory, but it is certainly nowhere near proof.


What's another explaination?
SuperCollider
1 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2009
Howdy!

OK, some outside-of-the-bun thoughts...no further introduction req'd.

I guess I should start with IU arguments and observations .. there is a certain futility in assessing the width and breadth of our U. Were we to travel to the edge and report back our findings .. it would be dated (wrong) info by the time it got to HQ. No way of getting around this time-of-flight "incorrection" (conceptually or otherwise) visa vis - discussion is meaningless. I believe.

OK, let's jump around a little in time-space. I too am not overly convinced of an infinitely small infinitely dense, incredibly hot primordial-verse. Albeit a murky period in our distant past does this model not describe a black hole? I see no compelling reason for spontaneous expansion - no driving force. Did the early primodorial-verse contain all the mass (inertia) of our present-verse? Did mass/inertia not arise at some later juncture through symettry breaking or some such 'cosmological phase transition'?

I think an absolute truth that reigns supreme throughout time-space is that of inherent uncertainty. The Werner Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Which effectivly states that Nature abhors being pinned-down and pigeon-holed. That the ONLY certainty is un-certainty. So nature doesn't like having a fixed address nor fixed boundaries (primordial or present) nor fixed date-of-birth i.e. no 00/00/00 on the cosmic calendar. The universe started and then it didn't and then it didn't again and then it got going. No "on yuor marks - get set - go!" More of a fits and starts sort of thing.

Jumping about again .. I believe it's safe to suggest whatever existed exo-primordial-verse is the same as that found to occupy exo-present-verse.

More food for thought .. to ask what existed before the BB is a non sequitur. Why - you ask? "Before" implies a passage or measure of 'time'. The clock evidently started with the BB. "Before" the BB there was no time i.e no such thing as 'before'. (Full stop).

To suggest the Universe as having a distinct edge is again a violaton of the Werner Heisenberg U.P. No sharp boundaries allowed. This strikes me as especially cogent in dealing with a Space-Time/UNKOWN transition zone. Is it not conceivable that this quantum boundary expresses itself as an underlying expansion in Space-Time i.e. dark energy. An ubiquitous eigen-solution to the boundary-layer problem. Hope this as some what thought-provoking. I encourage your input. Have a pleasant day!



Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2009
V. I've seen the same theory with one difference, that after the big rip that's it. There would be no space time left for gravitons (or any other particle) to act upon.

If we did find out we live in a cyclic universe it would be much more heartening to me, and it would also completely do away with the need for a supernatural (and when I say supernatural here I'm strictly reffering to an agent/existance that existed prior to and is responsible for starting our universe...not angles, faries, or demons :P) component to our origin.

yep
1 / 5 (2) Feb 18, 2009
"The Real Explanation"http://www.electr...xOLD.htm

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