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Our tax dollars now tell us that Star Trek's "transporters" are not possible.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jack Briggs, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    It would allow you to say "aha! See? I can believe anything I want, and there are no rules set by you scientists to refute me!" So it goes with everyone who wants to believe a "truth" contradicted by science.
     
  2. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    For the record, I'll take "Interesting post" any day. [​IMG] However, despite the "fame" of my tome (or perhaps because of it), I think I need to clear up a couple of things.

    When Steeve quoted my chess game analogy, I thught, out of context, it appeared that I was claiming that our understanding of the laws of nature is "mature" or even complete. So I checked my original post, and it looked just the same! Drat. I was speaking hypothecally, using the chess analogy to show how it's merely possible to have even a complete understanding of the laws of nature and still be beginners in the technology game. Since there's so much discussion about who's over-/under-estimating what with regard to which under whoozits circumstances, I'll be the first to stick my neck out and state a definite claim (with a percentage, no less!) of where I think we are in our quest to understand the laws of nature. But you have to wait until this evening when I have more time.

    I also don't want people here to think I've made any affirmative statement regarding what I believe about free will or predestination. I haven't. Although many remarkable insights, like Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity, have been produced by nothing more than mathematical thought experiments, mathematical thought experiments don't rise to the level of emperical science. Conclusions, no matter how logical, are not the same as data. So while it is interesting to ponder the consequences of a mathematical thought experiment involving billiard balls and time machines, I wouldn't form or dismiss any fundamental beliefs over it.
     
  3. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Don't worry Brian, I knew what your chess analogy was saying about the advance of science vs. technology. To speak to your "going out on a limb", I have tried to formulate my own (albeit amatuer) percentage, relying on the progress towards the "Holy Grail" or Grand Unified Theory. Being that the scientists have been able to unify 3 out of the 4 forces of the GUT - Magnetism, Strong Nuclear and Weak Nuclear, I would initially say it is ~75%. In recent years, the further linking of the Strong and Weak forces into the same force under certain conditions would add to that number. However, the lack of progress on the force of gravity and the continued search for the elusive Higgs particle(s) would necessitate trimming it back to around 70%. Find the Higgs particle(s) and we'd probably be back over 75%. Either that, or I'm full of crap.[​IMG]
     
  4. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I don't think I "lump" the two together per-say, I understand for instance/of course that without science there would be no technology & not visa versa, but I also don't think I misunderstand what Kaku was trying to foretell (the book is after all a "what if" attempt at foretelling the future of humankind) in his book, basically he was trying to say (amongst many many other concepts) that even though we may one day come to the end of discovery in known science we will always find new ways to alter and apply said science in unique ways to (his words) create new science & therefore the process of human scientific "discovery" both technological and theoretical will continue, perhaps forever. He also has said that as we evolve & learn we will most likely alter our perceptions of traditional "reality" and come to understand (and apply) aspects of "unknown science" that modern man (perhaps) can't as yet comprehend. That's some fairly blue sky ideas in your way of thinking, eh?
     
  5. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    I'll let you out of the time out corner this time [​IMG] , but some theoretical thought experiments are more dangerous than others [​IMG]

    As to the other raging debate, maybe we need to look at some definitions:

    Science - The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

    Technology - The application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives.

    Fantasy - The creative imagination; unrestrained fancy.

    Based on these, anything that deviates from the definition of science is going to be something else. I would say most of the proposals offered on the non-science side of the debate would easily qualify for the Fantasy definition [​IMG] (I am trying not to be arrogant [​IMG] ). This isn't a bad thing but it does mean that you can't justify those ideas as fitting within a scientific frame of reference. The scientist by nature needs to focus on empirical or theoretical activities based on some perception of reality. It is not the scientist's job to investigate the fantastic except where there is a specific phenomenon that needs to be explained. So far only the possibility of these phenomenon has been offered, not a specific phenomenon that needs explanation.

    Kenneth
     
  6. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

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    I couldn't have said it any better.
     
  7. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the book report, Kevin. I'm very glad you came away with the understanding and the sense of wonder and excitement about the future of science and mankind that Kaku undoubtedly intended to convey. I assure you, however, that my way of thinking is fully capable of embracing such notions, despite your backhanded comment to the contrary.
     
  8. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    "Conspiracy" is the wrong word, since I don't think of it that way. It's simply a shared attitude among those who very much want science and scientists to be wrong. The motivation is clear: They want something to be true that science says is false.
     
  9. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I was not going to reply to this, but I think it is fitting to my anecdote:

    So Steeve, how does that "grain of salt" compare to the time you have spent studying the universe? Yet, you are "firm" in your conclusions, such as visitors from other worlds...Darn those arrogant scientists.
     
  10. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

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    This is where you don't get it. I don't have any conclusion about the universe. I just have a belief. How can it be a firm conclusion when I have nothing that supports it? I simply have that belief because, to me, it makes more sense than our current understanding. I might be wrong, I might be right. Nobody knows, at this point. Like I said, I don't care about a theory that would try to explain that. I don't even want scientists to lose their time trying to make a theory about such a concept. We already have a nice Big Bang theory that works with what we've observed so far, and it's not even provable or disprovable. There's no point in trying to create a theory about a chaotic universe. Besides, it would be too complicated anyway, and we know that scientists like simple solution. To answer your question, that "grain of salt" is much bigger than the time I spent to try to prove the concept I believe in. I'll be the first to admit it. But, that's not the point. The point is that hundreds of years of scientific method is still nothing compared to the universe. How can we confidently make a firm conclusion about the universe, such as the physical laws are the same everywhere, when we don't even have all the information from it?

    How do you explain the fact that some respectable scientists admitted that a chaotic universe may be possible? Oh, I'm sure they think it's very improbable and with good reasons, but unlike you/Robert, they're not completely shutting the door on it. You seem to like to criticize me for believing in that concept. Why not, I'm only the non-scientist with no credibility, it's easy to do. But what do you have to say to those scientists that you respect so much? Should they be banned from the scientific community for admitting the possibility of something that has no observed phenomena supporting it? All I want is an acknowledgment about a concept that could be true, and you're not even capable of doing that. I don't even care about the probability. But, somehow, I'm the unreasonable one? Go figure.
     
  11. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    To be fair, the evidence that we have collected didn't just spring into existence 200 years ago (or yesterday). Light from a galaxy 1 billion light years away takes 1 billion years to reach us, so we are currently looking at that galaxy as it was 1 billion years ago. Sure, we've only seen a short period of that galaxy's history, but we have observed other celestial objects distributed thoughout the universe (as they appeared at the time their light left them) and nothing has yet been observed that negates our conclusions about the nature of the universe. Unless your belief presupposes that all of the universe acts in a certain predictable way for around 200 or so years linearly distributed in time and space around mankind's discovery of the scientific method but otherwise acts in unpredictable ways, then I think you have to give credit that the conclusions aren't just based on a grain of salt. Like I pointed out earlier, your beliefs are necessarily confined to the unobserved universe and the future.

    Every time I think I'm out of this discussion they pull me back in! [​IMG]

    Brad
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    .

    I've already said it is "possible", but much less possible than the certainty that I gave for my exercise, basically due to the brains of the people in charge compared to mine and the hundreds of years of looking at the problem compared to my 3 weeks. Yeah, yeah, I know - the complexity of the universe, blah blah blah. Have you ever even tried to look at the complexity of the equations these scientists use, the elegance they derive out of that complexity and the far reaching (yes, even to the edge of the universe) scope of those equations? I have said I do not even have 1/10000 of the ability of these guys (and gals), but I have a good grasp of the math and I know enough about physics to get a B.S. in engineering. If you even begin to look at the stuff they think of, you start to see a glimpse of what some physicists call "a look into the mind of God". That to me is breathtaking, for I have an unadulterated appreciation for those that are greatly talented, thousands of times more talented than me. I bear no ill will towards those types, harbor no resentment and feel no intimidation. Sorry if my sense of your appreciation for these scientists is that it does not mirror mine, for by your own admission it begins at "not too confident" and ends at "they are arrogant". I've always held to the axiom that you are only arrogant if you cannot walk the walk after talking the talk. I forget who told me that, but I assume he was a scientist.
     
  13. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    Steve,

    I think it wasn't always clear from your posts that what you were arguing in support of was a belief. Hard science is not displaced by beliefs but by newer facts or a new way of looking at old facts.

    I believe that Ghosts are real (although there is no concrete evidence to support it). I think that we will someday find that proof by better understanding the human brain (which we still don't fully understand). However, since I don't have proof, it is unreasonable for me to expect others to support my belief.

    Although I (and many scientists) believe there is life somewhere in the universe very few believe that life has ever visited here (I don't believe we have been visited). Just as it is egocentric to think we are the only life in the universe, it is fairly egocentric to think we would be important enough to attract the interest of extraterristrials.

    It has been an extremely interesting debate on both sides though for all the issues, even the hockey [​IMG] Finally, here is one of my favorite Stephen Hawking quotes:

    Not only does God play dice, but... he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.

    Cheers,

    Kenneth
     
  14. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    What I still can't fathom is that Steeve (a Patrick Roy fan) is willing to "take (my) word for it" on an absurdity like Bobby Orr being the best goalie of the modern era and he won't take the majority of physicist's word that the universe is almost certainly governed by the same universal laws. I just don't get it... [​IMG]

    Good Patrick Roy story, from a Boston view. Derek Sanderson, member of the "Big Bad Bruins" of the early seventies, used to do color commentary on Bruins broadcasts. Every time he pronounced Patrick's name, he anglicized it to sound like the "Roy" in "Roy Rodgers", instead of Roo-Uhh. His fellow color man Dave Shea kept insisting he pronounce it correct, lest he cause a Can-Am incident of mythic proportions. Derek got sick of his nagging and finally replied "Dave, you're from this country. I come from north of the border, smack dab in the middle of the Soo. I think I know much more than you aboot how a Canadian pronounces a name and R-O-Y spells ROY!!". Funniest thing Derek ever said.
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Actually, Jeff, I think your anecdote confirms what I said. The manager wanted to believe the risk was too high, and no damn scientist was going to tell him no. Yes, he sounds arrogant, and yes he probably gets emotional satisfaction when you're wrong, but really what he wanted was not to be told his belief was wrong.
     
  16. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

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    Pretty much all the english commentators I've heard were wrongly pronouncing his name. The correct pronunciation is "Roo-Ah".
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Actually, Barrow's official title is Professor of Mathmatical Science, Clare Hall Fellow at Cambridge. His research seems primarily in Cosmology, but his background is thoroughly steeped in Mathmatics and Chaos theory. I've read a couple of his articles and lectures. I love it because of my interest in Chaos, for I deal in this realm all the time in the analysis of randomness in complex systems. However, it stands to reason his "expansion universe" work would lean towards a chaotic universe (not really, but close to what he says); that's where chaos theory leads you. But I find it hard to see how his stating that "vacuum energy and (space) curvature are the brake-pads of the universe that turn off variations in the constants of nature.", when trying to describe why he feels that the universe is stable, while at the same time making the case that it was not always and may not always be. This seems to be no more or less than any other physicist has said. But who am I to argue, I'm a grain of salt to him.

    Interesting read...[​IMG]
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Hey, I'm the one that admitted Fred Flintstone could be real and gave scientific theory and conjecture to back it up. Don't tell me I have not said it is possible. I just said (like others) that only scientists get to say if it is definitively possible and that simply saying "the universe acts differently in different areas" is not enough to be definitive and certainly not enough to start harping on the "arrogance" of scientists. Considering my amatuer attempt at proving Fred Flintstone is real went further than you and was laughed off by me (and ignored by you), I stand by my statements.
     
  19. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    I'm quite amused that Steeve, who loves to say the universe is brimming with infinite unknown possibilities and "if I believe, it could be", would shy away from your Fred Flintsone example. [​IMG]
     
  20. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    It seems like Steeve would like some things to remain unexplained, to remain in the world of "dreamers" and out of the world of science. I can understand the angst that a fan of "magic" or the "unexplained" would feel when scientists show they can break down the wall between reality and fantasy to create an explanation that reduces the thoughts of the "dreamers" to equations on a page. This, of course, assumes only the artists, the poets, the mystics and other non-scientists are able to claim the title of "dreamer". Nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that scientists are required to dream by the rules (whatever they are).
     

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