Are the laws of physics based on magic?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Mazulu, Sep 8, 2013.

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  1. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    It was Carl Sagan who said, "Any technology sufficiently advanced looks like magic", or something like that. Anything unexplained could be thought of as magic. There are plenty of magicians who can pretend to do magic. But what about the laws of physics? The laws of physics, like the physics constants, do not have any known cause or reason to be what they are. Conservation laws seem intuitive enough with sayings like, "no free lunch", and "money doesn't grow on trees".

    But science is in an awkward position. Scientists do not believe in magic. Yet the physics constants and the general framework of the laws of physics appear to work as if by magic. Maxwell's equations describe electromagnetic fields; we are told that E&M fields employ virtual photons to carry momentum where it needs to go. But there is something missing. Why should virtual photons obey Maxwell's equations at all?

    Another example of the magical nature of physics is space-time geometry. Space-time geometry is this invisible thing that has the speed of light and other physics constants built into it. When it curves (whatever that really means) there are gravitational forces. Gravitons have never been detected, so space-time geometry also works as if by magic.

    There are other examples. My point is that physics exists as if by magic. Is there any hope that science might beyond to weild this kind of magic in ways that can change the laws of physics or physics constants? Will there ever be any physics "upgrades" like that allow us to do things with energy that are not allowed by normal physics?
     
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    It was actually Arthur C Clarke's quote and it went more like.....
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology, would appear as magic"

    The way I see it and going beyond our models.......The BB arose due to a fluctuation in the quantum foam.......other BBs have also happened due to other fluctuations and creating other Universes....Depending on the size and other aspects of these fluctuations, all of the Universes created have different properties....some arose, expanded and recollapsed....others arose expanded too fast and ripped the space/time continuum [much like the bursting of a bubble]....others like our own, arose expanded, starts to accelerate in that expansion rate due to the mass/energy density within space/time lessening with expansion.
    Looking at it in even greater detail, all these original fluctuations in the original quantum foam, are actually BH outpourings from previous Universes, which are also responsible for the physical quantities of the new baby Universes.


    Arthur C Clarke's quote holds true and factual in my opinion, but obviously will be alleviated [the magic perception] in the course of time.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Or to answer more directly, the laws of physics are not based on magic but pure chance. In time what we perceive as magic, will be explained with valid observations.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Another Arthur C Clarke quote also applies to your OP I would suggest.......


    "We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 - and half the things he knows at 40 hadn't been discovered when he was 20"?
    Arthur C. Clarke:
     
  8. MarkM125 Registered Senior Member

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    Incorrect, conservation laws are based on rigorous principle. Namely, Noether's theorem guarantees that for every symmetry respected by a Lagrangian, a conserved quantity results (this principle has uses outside of physics, too). So, for example, time translation invariance results in energy conservation, and space translation invariance results in the conservation of linear momentum. Invariance under rotation results in the conservation of angular momentum.

    This statement is only true if your knowledge of physics doesn't exceed popular science writing.

    All vector bosons satisfy the Proca equation (it's the most general equation that these fields can satisfy). In the massless limit (photons), these reduce to Maxwell's equations. Specifically, the electromagnetic wave equation.

    No, the constancy of the speed of light results because of the geometry of spacetime. Every property of spacetime is a property of Lorentzian geometry, there is nothing "magical" about. I recommend reading some of rpenner's posts on these forums, he explains this fact very well.

    It means that there are non-zero Christoffel symbols, which generate geodesic deviation.

    Gravitons aren't necessary in general relativity. Quantum mechanics demands them, since all oscillators are quantized into modes of E = hν, and this includes gravitational waves. Spectimes geomtry leads to gravity because of the fact that particles trace out geodesics through spacetime.

    No. Physics doesn't care about predicting how the world "really is" (although it does that quite well), it's about predicting experimental results in a coherent manner. Magic doesn't do that.

    Like I mentioned, it only seems like magic if your knowledge of physics consists only of what you've read in literature directed to the general public. The purpose of such books and articles is not to derive or explain why certain things are true, just that they are. If you're actually interested in understanding physics, you need to learn and familiarize yourself with the mathematics.
     
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    As a layman, and an old bastard to boot, my understanding of cosmology and the like certainly springs from reading much literature, making sure it is by reputable scientists such as Kip Thorne, Mitch Begalman, Paul Davis and many others.
    I'm too old to really get into the deep mathematical side of it and it would just go over my head anyway....So I try and digest and understand what I do read, and ask questions about what I don't understand.
    In other words, as a layman, I need to take on faith, most of what I do know and read. Not that I take everything without question.
    I have had some rip roaring debates with a few professional people and have learnt plenty from such debates.
    Where there is some controversy or more then one hypothesis on an idea, I make every effort to weigh up the evidence and pros and cons for and against all Ideas, and then make up my own mind.
     
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure if I understand.....
    The constancy of "c" does not change irrespective of the geometry of space/time...You seem to be inferring different.
    Can you dumb it down some?





    Hmmmmm....Can you also dumb that down please?

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    My picture of the situation is that space/time is the framework against which the mathematics of physics are conducted. That framework is flat [Minkowski space/time??] unless mass/energy is present.
    Then that mass/energy will warp, twist [Lense-Thirring effect] and curve that space/time as evidenced by GP-B, and which we interprete as gravity.
     
  11. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    "Are the laws of physics based on magic?"

    Only the "fictional" ones (and some theoretical ones!) are based on magic, fantasy, ignorance, insanity or imagination.

    The "real" ones are based upon the fundamental principles of "reality" or the "universe" as we currently understand those fundamentals to be!

    So...no magic...although, by knowing them and applying them, you can "appear" to be a "magician" at times!
     
  12. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    You're disagreeing with me for saying that "convervation laws seem intuitive..."? OMG!

    [quote-markM125]This statement is only true if your knowledge of physics doesn't exceed popular science writing.[/quote]
    Physics constants are observed, they are measured values. There is no logical reason why c or G or h or anything else should be that particular value, it just is. In that sense, the physics constants are supernatural in origin; otherwise, you could tell me why they are those particular values. Most people just say that God created the universe that way.

    [quote-markM125]All vector bosons satisfy the Proca equation (it's the most general equation that these fields can satisfy). In the massless limit (photons), these reduce to Maxwell's equations. Specifically, the electromagnetic wave equation.[/quote]
    ...

    Which is an invisible nothingness that has properties, like physics constants, that come from a quantum fluctuation. So how does this nothingness called space-time geometry sustain its properties? Why can't its properties be changed?

    Lorentzian geometry is a brilliant description of space-time. Lorentian geometry describes every (known) property of space-time just fine. But it is magical in the sense that you can't reproduce space-time geometry in the lab, you can't create it. You can't modify it or change its properties.

    I"m sorry, my break is almost over. It sounds like you've gotten into the details of general relativity very deeply. Good for you. But you either don't have the knowledge or the raw (magical) power to create and/or manipulate space-time geometry. If you can only create space-time by chance , then how many times do I have to roll dice until some space-time pops into existence? Or do you have to be God to create space-time? How does the quantum fluctuation set the physics constants? How are the physics constants sustained once they are set?
     
  13. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    Observed principles. You obviously don't have the power to create your own universes.
     
  14. MarkM125 Registered Senior Member

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    They aren't. For example, energy conservation doesn't exist in all cases in general relativity.

    Those aren't fundamental constants, as they are measured in units. For example, in particle physics, it's often taken that c = G = hbar = 1 by using particular units. An example of a fundamental constant is the fine structure constant, which is equal to 1/137, independent of unit system.

    I can't tell you why the fine structure constant has the value it does because no theory has been developed that explains that. If the anomalous magnetic dipole moment of the muon was measured before QED existed, nobody would have been able to explain why it had the value it did. It would seem "magical" or "supernatural" to them. However, QED can predict it.

    You call physics magic, but then suggest that as a possible explanation. Interesting.

    Have you ever dropped something before?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity

    Why would you be able to? I'd consider it rather magical if you could.

    Why do planets exhibit elliptical orbits? How did the earth form? Why do gases exert pressure on their container? These questions were unanswerable before, but were eventually answered. Part of science is admitting that you don't know everything, and realizing that some explanations won't arrive until later.

    BTW, this thread probably should have been started in psuedoscience/alternative theories, it doesn't contain scientific content. At the least, it should have been under philosophy or something, not science.
     
  15. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    "The "real" ones are based upon the fundamental principles of "reality" or the "universe" as we currently understand those fundamentals to be!"

    Mazulu, can more or less agree : "as we currently understand" / "Observed"

    One of those : you say potato...I say potato / you say tomato...I say tomato...Mom and Dad say "shut up, and eat".

    ...Grok'd !
     
  16. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    Yes. As we currently understand them. I totally agree.
     
  17. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    I glanced at the article. Oy vey! It just doesn't get easier, does it?
    Regardless of the units, it's still the same effect. You can only go so fast (as a photon), you can over cover so much distance in so much time.

    I only wanted to make the argument that there are still enormous possibilities for physics. Some day may be we will be able to explore the galaxy, etc, etc...

    By the way, this thread probably should be moved to a more appropriate subtopic. In this thread, I just want to make the point that, as the laws of physics are understood currently, we're stuck in a cage. We can't go anywhere and have way too many problems. I would like to see the day when we have enough technological sophistication that we can alter the laws of physics and physics constants (locally).
     
  18. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Pseudoscience or cesspool, it's a proposition lost on the worst of cranks. Already the ruse has been to represent this as a discussion on physics, and perhaps to capture a forum that's not as active as the one in physics. Who knows where this strategy comes from.

    Mazulu is an established anti-science crank who can't understand freshman science, much less the more advanced principles you've mentioned. His math literacy appears to be at grade school level, so your articulate posts are good reading for normal folks, but beyond his grasp.

    For anyone who hasn't crossed paths with Mazulu: he reports paranormal experiences of the quasi-religious kind, and tries to invade the forums with pseudoscience. Since I've never been able to find any world view other than religious fundamentalism to attempt to rationalize anti-science argument, I'm assuming that most anti-science posters of this sort are covertly attacking from behind some brand of religion. There might be some other game they are playing, but that would seem to border on overt psychopathy. Since "miracles" is synonymous with "magic", the pretext here is ostensibly to strike back with the same complaint science raises against religious cosmology.
     
  19. common_sense_seeker Bicho Voador & Bicho Sugador Valued Senior Member

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    Good thread and well said. Have you ever thought about how the graviton, assuming it exists, actually transfers a force of attraction from one body to another? I have an idea that it's based on the Archimedes screw

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  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Still though, not based on Magic - and indeed, you should also totally agree that this Thread belongs in the Cesspool!
     
  21. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    That really hurts my feelings. Are you always such a mean person?
     
  22. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    I think there is a space-time geometry that masquerades as "nothingness", but really does exist.
     
  23. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    The big bang truly is a miracle, a magic of the greatest kind; as so it is with space-time, this invisible undetectable non-existent thing that obeys laws with absolute precision. It is the deepest form of cynism to call it a mere "quantum fluctuation".
     
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