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Go to: Turin Shroud resurrected

Colin Coleman's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Colin Coleman

It seems to be a small step between believing something without evidence to believing something despite evidence to the contrary.

I find it impossible to imagine such a warped view of reality, but there are precedents, for example creationist scientists who privately believe the universe is only 6000 years old, yet happily write mathematical papers assuming that it is 14 billion years old.

There is precedent for most forms of aberrant behaviour in humans, but a scientist with such cynical disregard for truth does not merit the title.

Wed, 21 Dec 2011 13:02:20 UTC | #901642

Go to: Higgs boson hunters scent their elusive quarry at the LHC

Colin Coleman's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Colin Coleman

Agreed - the analogy with gravity is limited, but inertia is the force that resists changes in the state of motion. It is desirable to have a physical interpretation of this rather than to treat it as a consequence of an arbitrary parameter called mass.

Sun, 11 Dec 2011 22:13:27 UTC | #897992

Go to: Higgs boson hunters scent their elusive quarry at the LHC

Colin Coleman's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Colin Coleman

Regarding the precision of quantum mechanics, I think that is true for all properties of particles except mass. The simplest quantum field theory has all particles massless, but clearly they are not. The origin of the masses demands explanation or else the standard model has a large number of arbitrary parameters. The mass (or inertia) of particles is interpreted as being due to interactions with Higgs bosons. This is analogous to treating the gravitational force as being due to interactions with gravitons, although there is not yet a quantitatively precise quantum theory of gravity. The properties of the Higgs boson may allow derivation of the masses of all particles, which would be a big step forward. Perhaps the most significant implication of a Higgs mass in the indicated range, however, is that it is consistent with the requirements of supersymmetry.

Sat, 10 Dec 2011 22:33:01 UTC | #897649

Go to: Explosive Studies of Universe's Expansion Win Nobel Prize in Physics

Colin Coleman's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Colin Coleman

See that's exactly the one thing I have trouble with. I am unable to grasp that everything came from nothing. That's as implausible to me as there being a creator.

You are correct that the idea that everything started with the big bang is deeply unsatisfying, but this is not the view in multiverse cosmologies. Many cosmologists take this idea very seriously, and there are good reasons to believe it if the universe is fine tuned, even if it is not falsifiable. In this concept there is an eternal and infinite inflating medium, and 'our' universe (of which the observable region is probably only an infinitesimal part) is only one of infinitely many such with different physical laws. Such an ensemble multiverse neatly gets around two problems, namely "What caused the big bang" and "Why is the universe so well suited to create observers?" The answers being "A quantum fluctuation that caused inflation to stop locally and give rise to low energy phenomena" and "There are infinitely many such regions and we must necessarily be in one with physics suitable for life to evolve".

Of course there is an alternative theory - that a designer set the whole thing in motion. Of course this only leaves us with a much bigger problem of explaining where the designer came from. The infinite and eternal inflating medium has the advantage of being simple (relative to a designer) and it's properties can be investigated through high energy physiscs experiments. This is why Steven Weinberg thinks the multiverse hypothesis is a strong argument against a designer.

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 13:35:47 UTC | #878127

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