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Thoughts on an article on the concept "universe"? by Alex S.

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In other words, it is what wackos do.

I would ask the moderators to step in and curtail these antics of The Durande. He has consistently misrepresented the views of other posters here, ignored the actual facts and arguments that have been presented, and then offensively and unjustly mischaracterizes those with whom he argues (even though most here have justifiably given up on even trying to have a rational discussion with him). I think he should be free to continue to embarrass himself by presenting his "arguments," but The Durande should not be allowed to continue to misrepresent others views and insult them in the process of doing so.

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I would ask the moderators to step in and curtail these antics of The Durande. He has consistently misrepresented the views of other posters here, ignored the actual facts and arguments that have been presented, and then offensively and unjustly mischaracterizes those with whom he argues (even though most here have justifiably given up on even trying to have a rational discussion with him). I think he should be free to  continue to embarrass himself by presenting his "arguments," but The Durande should not be allowed to continue to misrepresent others views and insult them in the process of doing so.
Second.
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You are exactly right in regard to the mathematical artifact, but I would not describe it as a "bad mathematical description." The mathematics is just fine; the inferences are flawed.

Bad choice of words on my part. That's what I meant: bad description, not bad math (I couldn't judge the math - at my present level!).

I was thinking that math was being used to describe the shape of the universe in the same way equation(s) can describe a surface or a shape, and that was the reason why this or that shape was being ascribed to the universe. So you are saying it's being based on views regarding expansion/contraction of the universe?

Incidentally, what do you think of the idea of the expansion of the universe per se? Versus the existents it contains.

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There's no way to step outside the universe and apply an external force.  It's not as if you could push the universe two feet to the right, because there's no meaning to that "location". 

Darn, I was hoping that's where my missing unmatched socks and gloves were.

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I was thinking that math was being used to describe the shape of the universe in the same way equation(s) can describe a surface or a shape, and that was the reason why this or that shape was being ascribed to the universe. So you are saying it's being based on views regarding expansion/contraction of the universe?

There are many elements involved, but in current terms the kinetic energy of expansion of the universe is balanced by a coupling of the driving force of dark energy and the amount of matter in existence. These relationships are parameterized and different conditions are said to reflect whether the spatial curvature of the universe is flat, positive, or negative, and whether the universe is open or closed (finite or infinite). Some of these parameters are determined from various astronomical observations, and then consequences, such as curvature, are deduced from these. Of course, all of this only makes sense to the degree that the basic premises on which it is built makes sense.

Incidentally, what do you think of the idea of the expansion of the universe per se?

It is utter nonsense. The big bang is a creation event; not an expansion in space, but rather an expansion of space. Cosmological matter is not hurtling outwards into some part of existence, but existence is being created between matter on a cosmological scale. Might as well cut out the middleman and stick with God!

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It is utter nonsense. The big bang is a creation event; not an expansion in space, but rather an expansion of space. Cosmological matter is not hurtling outwards into some part of existence, but existence is being created between matter on a cosmological scale. Might as well cut out the middleman and stick with God!

I'm not sure if you're being literal or ironic in the last paragraph; which viewpoint are you agreeing with? Thanks.

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I'm not sure if you're being literal or ironic in the last paragraph; which viewpoint are you agreeing with? Thanks.

I'm sorry if it wasn't clear. The sentence "Cosmological matter is not ..." is expressing the standard view, not mine. My view is that the expanding universe is an absurd notion. Creation ex nihilo is a religious concept, not a scientific one.

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I will admit my thinking in regards to this thread is probally closest to The Durande's view minus some of his misunderstanding's. From what I can tell so far what some of the other readers of this thread most disliked was the form of his writing which at times does seem a little annoying. But some of his views do seem correct. By stating this do I now also run the risk of being banished from this thread,too?

Sorry Alex, I'm going to challenge your basic hypothesis that the universe is unbounded. And Sorry Stephen my hypothesis is based on the Holographic Principal from String Theory. Contrary to your "beliefs", String Theory is not arbitrary. It is not like say environmentalism which results from bad epistemology. It has merit.

I will shortly defend all this. But I need a little more time to gather my thoughts first. But here's the gist of what my defense will be. When you all look at the world metaphysically, you all just seem to see a big collection of different existants. While all of these are definitly real, you seem to ignore the fact that all these different existants, books, chairs, me, you, while each at the macro level are seperate and each possess identity at the quantum level all emerge from the same basic constituent. Superstrings.

By the way the radius to the boundary of the universe would extend to a length of 1/L (L=the Plank Length)(a very large number but finite) centered of "every" unit of the Plank Area.

I will expand on this later when I have more time

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I will admit my thinking in regards to this thread is probally closest to The Durande's view minus some of his misunderstanding's.  From what I can tell so far what some of the other readers of this thread most disliked was the form of his writing which at times does seem a little annoying.  But some of his views do seem correct. By stating this do I now also run the risk of being banished from this thread,too?

Of course not. Even agreement with Objectivism is not a necessary requirement to participate on the forum, much less agreement with some group of posters. But, anyway, The Durande was not "banished from the thread." As I understand it, he was warned that his insulting and offensive behavior was not appropriate to the forum, and he apparently would not acknowledge his behavior and left the forum on his own accord. Anyone can disagree all they want, but insulting and offensive behavior is not tolerated.

Sorry Alex, I'm going to challenge your basic hypothesis that the universe is unbounded. And Sorry Stephen my hypothesis is based on the Holographic Principal from String Theory.
Alex is a philosophy student -- a first class student I might add -- but he is not a physicist and cannot directly assess technical notions such as the holographic principle. His arguments, however, are philosophic in nature, and those arguments should be accessible to you, because, unlike physics, philosophy does not require specialized knowledge per se. And, in addition, philosophic principles trump any scientific assertions. So, I would suggest dealing with Alex's philosophical arguments, on a philsophical level. However, if you insist on arguing on a scientific basis, then I would suggest you present your arguments to me, because I am fully able to discuss string theory and cosmology on whatever technical and historical level you are capable of.

Contrary to your "beliefs", String Theory is not arbitrary.

First, I do not have "beliefs" when it comes to physics. I have ideas that are based on logical thinking and facts. Second, if you think that string theory is not arbitrary, please tell me the fundamental fact of reality that the theory is based upon.

It is not like say environmentalism which results from bad epistemology.
Actually, in some ways I would say environmentalism is better than string theory. At least environmentalism is based on facts of reality in the physical world, even though its interpretation of those facts is completely wrong. By contrast, the fundamentals of string theory have no connection to physical reality. (This is not to be confused with the mathematics of string theory, which represents one of the most interesting and most challenging mathematical structures in physics.)

It has merit.

I too think it has merit, in the mathematical realm. Unfortunately, it has no connection to physical reality. If you think otherwise, then demonstrate why that is so.

I will shortly defend all this. But I need a little more time to gather my thoughts first.
Fine. When you have arguments to make, arguments that you can support by reference to the facts of reality, arguments that do not contradict fundamental philosophical principles like identity and causality, by all means present those arguments here.

But here's the gist of what my defense will be.

I'll pass on the gist, and wait for the substance.

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It is utter nonsense. The big bang is a creation event; not an expansion in space, but rather an expansion of space. Cosmological matter is not hurtling outwards into some part of existence, but existence is being created between matter on a cosmological scale. Might as well cut out the middleman and stick with God!

ok now I am confused! Stephen do you think that the Big Bang is a creation event? If the universe is eternal, how can there be a "cretion event" when it comes to the universe? My view that if the Big Bang did occur, it was a cosmological event that too pleace within the universe perhaps changing stuff etc

Michael

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ok now I am confused! Stephen do you think that the Big Bang is a creation event? If the universe is eternal, how can there be a "cretion event" when it comes to the universe? My view that if the Big Bang did occur, it was a cosmological event that took pleace within the universe perhaps changing stuff etc

Michael

Stephen can correct me if I am wrong, but I think he meant that the Big Bang is presented as and widely understood to be a creation event.

When I first heard of the Big Bang, it was presented as an explanation for the creation of the universe. Since then I have learned (through Objectivism) that the notion of a created universe is ridiculous. My current position is that IF it happend, it was not a creation of but rather a change in the form of the universe. Furthermore, in my mind this IF is also arbitrary, so I don't spend much time contemplating this issue.

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Stephen can correct me if I am wrong, but I think he meant that the Big Bang is presented as and widely understood to be a creation event.

When I first heard of the Big Bang, it was presented as an explanation for the creation of the universe.  Since then I have learned (through Objectivism) that the notion of a created universe is ridiculous.  My current position is that IF it happend, it was not a creation of but rather a change in the form of the universe.  Furthermore, in my mind this IF is also arbitrary, so I don't spend much time contemplating this issue.

That is exactly my understanding.

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It looks like what I wrote was poorly expressed, and has led to some confusion. Hopefully this posting will makes things clear.

ok now I am confused! Stephen do you think that the Big Bang is a creation event? If the universe is eternal, how can there be a "cretion event" when it comes to the universe? My view that if the Big Bang did occur, it was a cosmological event that too pleace within the universe perhaps changing stuff etc

Michael

What I wrote was meant to express what the big bang theory is, not my acceptance of it. I categorically, unequivocally, irrevocably reject the notion of an expanding universe, i.e., the notion that space between matter is being created out of nothing on a cosmological scale. That is creation ex nihilo, and that is the province of religion, not science.

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What I wrote was meant to express what the big bang theory is, not my acceptance of it. I categorically, unequivocally, irrevocably reject the notion of an expanding universe, i.e., the notion that space between matter is being created out of nothing on a cosmological scale. That is creation ex nihilo, and that is the province of religion, not science.
Stephen, I understand this and agree, but I am wondering what is your view of the red-shift as proof that galaxies are moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance? Is this simply another example of making the wrong inference from the observation?
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Stephen, I understand this and agree, but I am wondering what is your view of the red-shift as proof that galaxies are moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance?  Is this simply another example of making the wrong inference from the observation?

Yes, cosmological redshift as velocity is not an "observational fact" but rather an inference drawn from other observations, and indeed there are other (less well-known and, perhaps, lesser) theories that make different inferences. Someone asked a similar question on this forum several months ago and here is the response I gave.

Probably the most mainstream advocate of alternate redshift theory is Irving Segal from MIT. Segal developed his Chronometric Cosmology, and has published many papers in the mainstream journals on his theory. He wrote a book called "Mathematical Cosmology" which has been used in many courses at various universities. Segal died about five years ago, but many of his students carry on his work.

There is a survey paper which lists more than 20 alternative theories:

Ghosh, A. (1991), "Velocity-dependent inertial induction: a possible tired-light mechanism", Apeiron 9-10, 35-44

I have read proceedings from a Redshift Controversy conference, but I do not have the reference handy.

The problems with most of the "tired light" theories are mostly due to a lack of observed scattering effects. At least one person has developed a theory in which we are awash in a sea of gravitons, and that type of interaction would have neglible scattering effects. One book containing this idea is:

Van Flandern, T. (1993), "Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets", North Atlantic Books, Berkeley.

I believe there is a more current edition available.

Please note that I am not endorsing any of these theories, nor am I catgorically rejecting redshift-as-velocity. Rather, I am pointing out that redshift is not an "observational" fact (as it is often represented) -- it is an inference-- and there is other data which conflicts with the standard view.

Such discrepancies have been published in the literature for decades, and here I list just a few concerns.

1. Observations of high redshift quasars and low redshift galaxies that are clearly interacting and/or connected, yet have extremely disparate redshifts.

2. Companion galaxies that have redshifts higher than their parent galaxy. Both in the Local Group and in M81 there are eleven companions and this has been noted for all. Since the companions are orbiting, about half should have been blueshifted, but are not.

3. Higher redshift quasars have lower measured Faraday rotation than smaller redshift quasars, and the reverse should be true.

4. Galaxy clusters have been found which have as much as a four magnitude range of dispersion from the standard Hubble diagram relating redshift and brightness.

5. There is some evidence that redshifts are quantized, which is inconsistent with expected continuity of velocity. This preference for certain discrete values has been observed in a wide range.

These are just some of the concerns with the traditional interpretation of redshift-as-velocity. The most notable objector to the standard view is famed astronomer Halton Arp, who has campaigned against the Big Bang theory for many years. His latest book has a lot of information that can be gleaned by the non-physicist. The reference is:

Arp, Halton. (1999) "Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology, and Academic Science", Apeiron, Canada.

And, again, I am not endorsing any of these alternate theories -- all are problematic in my view -- but such alternate theories do exist.

Edited by stephen_speicher
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Thank you, Stephen, that is great information.

You're welcome.

And, again, to leave no chance of doubt, I am not saying that the velocity interpretation is necessarily wrong. Rather, that that interpretation is not an "observational fact," as is so often claimed, and that there exists some data which appears to contradict that interpretation.

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2) Given this, I don't see why one must ascribe attributes to the universe as a whole in order to say that it possesses identity.  Just as the axiom of existence does not specify what exists, but only that something exists, so does

the axiom of identity state that A must be A, but does not specify what this identity must consist of (i.e., whether it consists of attributes or not)...

While it is true that the law of identity does not specific what exists, implied in the law is that something exists. That something exists possessing identity, attributes and identity being inseperable.

Using the law of identity (OPAR pg. 6): "To be is to be something, to have a nature, to possess identity. A thing is itself, or, in the traditional formula, A is A. The identity of an existent means that which it is, the sum of its attributes or characteristics". [Emphasis mine]

When this is applied to the Universe, which is a collective noun denoting the sum of existents, or more specifically it is "conceptual algebra" used to mean each and every existent. I conclude that those constituent existents, which are the

referents of the concept Universe, have identity. According to the law of identity, they possess attributes and characteristics.

The universe is an existent and not an entity. Existents have attributes and characteristics, etc. I classify the universe as an existent as opposed to an entity because the sum of existents cannot be brought in totality to the perceptual level.

Just as knowledge is only knowledge when brought to the sensory perceptual level (ITOE pg. 295) so it is with entities (OPAR pg. 13).

To clarify, as I understand the concept, an entity is an existent that is perceived and integrated by a human consciousness (implicitly as a child, explicitly later), where an existent can exist independent of any consciousness to perceive it.

Therefore, the classification of the universe as an existent is correct, and existents possess identity, with identity being inseparable from its attributes. This leads me to conclude that regardless of the classification of the universe (entity v. existent), everything possesses identity with attributes. Identity without attributes is a contradiction.

4) By saying that the universe is finite, I only mean that it possesses identity, and I don't think "finite" should mean more than this.  Yes, it's true that we usually use "finite" to describe (something with) a quantifiable attribute or whatnot. 

But this is also how we usually use "identity," and the universe possesses identity nevertheless.  Some may counter that “finite” is specifically meant to emphasize the quantifiable nature of something, but whereas the universe is not

quantifiable, it should not be described as finite...

I am not clear on your reasoning for expanding the definition of identity (or finite) to include identity without attributes. Identity, as we both agree, includes attributes. With the expansion of the definition to include identity without

attributes, we are contradicting the original definition.

Definitions imply all characteristics while specifying the essential characteristics, therefore refinement of the definition that includes narrowing and/or internal contradictions is not a valid expansion of a definition, in this case identity (OPAR

pg. 98 paragraph 2).(e.g. accordingly, identity means both identity with attributes and identity without attributes, although only one can be correct in any context, this attempts to reconcile identity with non-identity, or existence with non-existence). I object to the expansion of finite to mean identity without attributes in some contexts and identity with attributes in others, as this leads to internal contradictions.

...I’m somewhat sympathetic to this objection, but it leaves one in the position of maintaining that the universe is neither finite nor infinite, and I don’t think that this is helpful...

It is interesting that you mention this. I have reasoned similarly and summarize below:

-- The universe is not infinite, because metaphysical infinity is not possible.

-- The universe is not finite, yet unbounded, because of the contradictions listed above.

-- The universe is not finite, yet bounded, because this implies the universe is with attributes, which eventually reduces to a primacy of consciousness created universe and if the universe was created who created the creator, and other absurdities (e.g. It's turtles all the way down...)

I agree with your statement, the position is not helpful. I would be interested in discussing your sympathies to this position. I reason the solution lies in this direction.

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