nonsense

nonsense

Postby Daniel » Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:56 pm

As an almost graduated student of high energy physics (which includes subjects such as cosmology and string theory) I feel the urgent need to warn people about the utter nonsense that is displayed on this site. Not only are the concepts of four-dimensional space-time poorly explained, the rest of the presentation about the remaining six dimensions contains no truth value whatsoever.

It is very hard to falsify somthing that consists almost exclusively of pure nonsense (one would not know where to start) but I have the feeling that I should add some argument to my statement.
String theory is still a higly theoretical theory. It is not known if or how the extra dimensions are folded. It is not even known if string theory is a feasible theory for that matter, since up till now no contact has been made with experiment.
Furthermore the author of this site seems to think that we can attribute certain concepts to a single dimension and thereby forget the basics such as gauge invarance which is presupposed by the relativity of these postulated dimensions.
I could go on like this but I don't want to.

Now that my anger about this foolishness has subsided i am left with a profound sympathy for all those deluded souls that believe in this abhorring pseudoscience.

Sorry, I feel a bit like a prick to express my opinion so strongly but I feel that it should be said without mercy and without relent because as physicists we must endeavour to reveal the truth about the universe without holding back.
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science/philosophy

Postby Rob Bryanton » Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:08 am

Hi Daniel, I appreciate you taking the time to write. This site presents a "new way of thinking" which has its uses, and which has a strong resonance for some people, but if you visit the Preamble button from the Navigation menu or spend any time reading the forum you will see that I make it very clear that I'm not a physicist and I'm not pretending to be one. I direct people to books by the established experts who have written about string theory at a level that can be appreciated by the general public.
This "new way of thinking", as I say in the opening text on the home page, is part philosophy and part science, and a serious student of the math behind string theory will have no problem keeping the two schools of thought (established string theory and my approach to Imagining the Tenth Dimension) separate from each other in their minds. The fact that both methodologies arrive at ten spatial dimensions may well be nothing more than a coincidence, or it could be that there is some way in which this new way of thinking interprets the data which is not mutually exclusive but complimentary. As you say, string theorists have many competing ideas, and whether the higher six dimensions are curled up on themselves at the Planck length or whether the concepts such as those presented in Lisa Randall's excellent "Warped Passages" rise to the forefront, all I am hoping to do here is to promote discussion about the nature of reality.

Thanks for writing,

Rob
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Postby String Theorist » Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:25 pm

This video is pernicious rubbish... The author of the video is clearly confused as he is always dealing with 4 dimensions and no more... For example, what he refers to as "different futures" which he claims to constitute different paths in 5d are nothing but different paths in 4d connecting different events (i.e. points in 4d space-time)! The extra 6 dimensions of superstring theory are purely abstract and cannot be thought of in terms of time and 3d space, how ever hard you try!
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Postby Speedwell » Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:16 pm

String Theorist wrote:The extra 6 dimensions of superstring theory are purely abstract and cannot be thought of in terms of time and 3d space, how ever hard you try!


Purely abstract? Surely, if the remaining six dimensions exist and are meaningful, they aren't purely abstract. You had to learn about them, after all, unless your Kryptonian genes came pre-loaded with the information as a pure matter of instinct.

Know what? Not everyone here is under the impression that Rob's framework is The Truth About String Theory, you know. Some of us are perfectly aware that the subject is best treated in the language of mathematics. I, at least, am thankful to Rob that he did attempt to bring the magic fire down to earth a little instead of sticking his nose so far up the rump of a bunch of academic mandarins that he forgot what knowledge was for. It is for something, you know.

I have a friend who is a mathematics professor. Even though he delights in the abstract, he does not forget the needs of his students and their common love of mathematics. He does not play the role of a Dungeons and Dragons wizard who lives in sheer terror that some unworthy commoner might learn his esoteric secrets. He calls that sort of selfish, contemptible behavior "polishing the ivory tower." I'm sure you get the drift.

Or, to be even more blunt about it... since you're so intellectual and all, Mister Sooper Genius, suppose you vouchsafe to the stinking, despicable rabble a mere sliver of the higher truth that you clutch so desperately to your hollow chest? Or are you not quite smart enough to figure out how?
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Postby blueskiwi » Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:10 am

So... these 10 dimensions aren't the same as the ones used by string theory. Fine... there still seems to be an intuitive sort of truth about them.

What are dimensions anyway but abstract ideas, ways of describing and understanding reality. I mean, it's possible to arbitrarily create 'dimensions' just by measuring various properties of any system and plotting them on a chart. eg a graph of 'Population in China' over Time... suddenly you have 3 spatial dimensions (where your pen is drawing the graph on paper), 4th of time and *shock* a 5th dimension - the Chinese population.

Anyway, what I really wanted was to ask Rob if he has come across any books etc which deal with the 'official' 10 dimensions of string theory in as clear and straightforward a fashion as he does with his. I mean, those extra 6 dimensions must represent features of the real universe, even if they're derived mathematically rather than observed, and those features are esoteric proporties of quantum particles etc.

Cheers, interesting and thought provoking site. Almost like a model for deriving an infinite number of sci-fi novel premises...
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books

Postby Rob Bryanton » Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:30 pm

In the Preamble I recommend the three books I have read that probably most people in the general public already interested in string theory will also have read, they are by Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, and Lisa Randall. Perhaps because Randall's is the newest, the discussions she gets into about the latest theories do seem to be the most wide-ranging (her book is "Warped Passages"), but all three books do an excellent job of presenting the basic concepts in a format that is entertaining yet challenging.

What I present here is essentially a much, much simpler idea than what a university student majoring in string theory has to wrestle with, so I completely understand attacks by someone who thinks I am trying to mislead the public into an assumption that my animation tells you how to understand string theory. What my animation (and my chapter one in the book) does is tell you a way to imagine ten dimensions, a huge idea which most people would have thought impossible. As I've already said in this forum, if that then leads somebody into wanting to know about the established thinking around cosmology and string theory then I think that's a wonderful thing.

Thanks!

Rob
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Postby Sting Theorist » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:21 pm

Speedwell wrote:
String Theorist wrote:The extra 6 dimensions of superstring theory are purely abstract and cannot be thought of in terms of time and 3d space, how ever hard you try!


Purely abstract? Surely, if the remaining six dimensions exist and are meaningful, they aren't purely abstract. You had to learn about them, after all, unless your Kryptonian genes came pre-loaded with the information as a pure matter of instinct.

[...]

I, at least, am thankful to Rob that he did attempt to bring the magic fire down to earth a little instead of sticking his nose so far up the rump of a bunch of academic mandarins that he forgot what knowledge was for. It is for something, you know.


They are abstract, and mathematicians don't picture them. Maths is a language that allows one to deal with abstract notions that are not conceivable to the human mind!

This video has NOTHING to do with string theory and moreover it is blatantly WRONG. I am being kind by pointing out that one should avoid pondering too long on this flacious video (unless of course you don't mind accumulating erroneous ideas in your head about the way the world works) and probably spend some quality time reading a very clear and CORRECT account of the 10 dimensions in string theory written by a string theorist who knows what he is talking about, e.g. "the elegant universe" by Brian Greene is a beautiful vulgarisation of modern physics which I thoroughly recomend.
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narrow thinking

Postby String Theorist 2 » Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:11 pm

To the person calling themselves "String Theorist": shame on you. Anyone who writes into this site claiming to be a real String Theorist and then advises visitors here that Brian Greene has the definitive final version of string theory clearly knows nothing about the latest work being done in the area. Many of the conclusions of "Elegant Universe" are old thinking now, in string theory terms, which Brian Greene would be the first to admit. Research moves on, and new ideas continue to be advanced.

Personally, I think this site makes it very clear that it is has been put up to promote free-ranging discussion about a very wide range of topics, and I like the unusual mixture of different disciplines that have been blended together in the flash presentation.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either string theory is talking about the basis of reality, which this site is promoting discussion about, or the higher dimensions are a mathematical abstraction which is purely theoretical and in no way connected to reality, in which case it's hardly worthy of conversation. If your world is really so painfully narrow that you can't afford to spend a few minutes considering a bit of alternate speculation then I pity you. Ideas and creative thinking can certainly exist beside straight-laced academia without causing it to topple over, and I applaud the author of this site for giving us some new angles to think about. You should really try to get out more, and quit inventing "flacious" new words while you're at it.

String Theorist 2
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Postby KewlerThanU 2k6 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:12 am

Speedwell wrote:I, at least, am thankful to Rob that he did attempt to bring the magic fire down to earth a little instead of sticking his nose so far up the rump of a bunch of academic mandarins that he forgot what knowledge was for. It is for something, you know.


You're right. Knowledge is there for knowing things. True things. Rob has not brought any magic fire down to earth. He has created his own fire, using kindling that he found down here. He isn't some angel bringing truth from heaven, he's an arsonist spreading falsehoods on earth. I know that this wasn't his intention, as he said in the preamble, but the fact that you and many others seem to think that his views are just "an easy to understand" or even an "alternative" view of quantum physics means that you believe that his views have some basis in reality. They do not.

String Theorist 2 wrote:You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either string theory is talking about the basis of reality, which this site is promoting discussion about, or the higher dimensions are a mathematical abstraction which is purely theoretical and in no way connected to reality, in which case it's hardly worthy of conversation. If your world is really so painfully narrow that you can't afford to spend a few minutes considering a bit of alternate speculation then I pity you. Ideas and creative thinking can certainly exist beside straight-laced academia without causing it to topple over, and I applaud the author of this site for giving us some new angles to think about. You should really try to get out more, and quit inventing "flacious" new words while you're at it.


If something is so abstract as to be indescribable in normal language, there isn't really a point to make up some description so that it can be. Why would you want to spend your time thinking about something that is completely untrue? Just because this guy is giving an "accesible" description of higher dimensions doesn't make it meaningful in any way shape or form.

And furthermore, even if something can only be described in the abstract, that doesn't mean that it "has no connection to reality". Just because a concept isn't understandable by any known human doesn't mean it's useless.

Think about it this way. If you just told a three-year-old "F=ma=mg", he would probably think it to be pretty abstract, but that doesn't mean that throwing him out a fifth-story window wouldn't kill him. Same sort of thing, just at a different level of understanding.
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Postby KewlerThanU 2k6 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:17 am

Also:

Speedwell wrote:
String Theorist wrote:I have a friend who is a mathematics professor. Even though he delights in the abstract, he does not forget the needs of his students and their common love of mathematics. He does not play the role of a Dungeons and Dragons wizard who lives in sheer terror that some unworthy commoner might learn his esoteric secrets. He calls that sort of selfish, contemptible behavior "polishing the ivory tower." I'm sure you get the drift.


Nobody is trying to hide any secrets from you. There is nothing to hide. Not everything in life is simple and easy. Some things are difficult. You're perfectly capable of going out and learning about the currently accepted theories on your own, but instead you've chosen to sit back and buy into this easily digested bullshit.
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New soft drink?

Postby riknard » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:12 am

I guess I missed the release of a new flavor of cola: Pepsi Vitriol. Seems to be all over the online here... (although if one reads the ingredients of Pepsi (or Coke, for that matter), and the definition of "vitriol", one could wonder, couldn't one?)

When Quantum Mechanics first became conceived, it was radical and contested, even among the discoverers and proponents. In the next 50-60 years, it has had effects that touch our lives (lasers and transistors, specifically), but still isn't something that Joe BagO'donuts can tinker with at home, really, in a quantum fashion, and is thus relegated to the imagination of those who are drawn to it. Even the engineers that make lasers and transistors (or their descendants, ICs and microcircuits/chips, etc.) don't do quantum stuff, they merely use techniques to put together components that do use quantum properties and processes.

So, the intensity of the detractors of this site sort of surprised me, as I don't see string theory being commonly used around the house very soon. This site merely asks us to exercise our imaginations outside of our everday experience (waaaaaaay outside, I'll admit), and in doing so may exercise a muscle that in the future might be used in a different manner to assist in envisioning the abstract that will be forged by those lofty scholars that pioneer our definition of who and what we really are. A good mathemetician can work with the abstract easily at those high levels, but the folk at less esoteric levels work in a more visual fashion and are able to accept that easier when they can "see" it. I really don't see a plea for funding studies presented in vitriolic manner garnering much support from those who aren't so able to consider the abstract. (Flies, vinegar and sugar???) Take what you need and leave the rest.

Addition: I guess what I'm thinking about here is Quantum MECHANICS, as opposed to Quantum Theory... and the argument above would apply to String Mechanics, should such a field ever develop.
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Not Even Wrong

Postby Allison deForest » Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:37 am

http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even-Wrong-Co ... 0224076051

I'm wondering if there are any string theory experts visiting this site who could give us their response to new mainstream books such as Peter Woit's "Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory & the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics", or Lee Smolin's "The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next"?

Is String Theory not the holy grail after all?

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