August 5, 2004

Weird Science

I don't understand much about physics. Indeed, I'd say that the extent of my understanding of physics is that I know the limits of my own understanding, and that I can usually spot someone who doesn't.

Back in the heady days of Easterbashing, I slapped Gregg Easterbrook for his moronic comments on multiple-universe theories. But if you really want to see the man's utter lack of scientific knowledge ripped to shreds by people who know a lot more than I do, here's the thread for you.

I especially like the digression from the Middle Ages scholar who points out that Easterdolt is not only clueless about scientists, but also about the "medieval priests" to whom he compares them.

[Thanks again to Peter]

Posted by Daniel Radosh


I don't understand physics much either. But
I don't think that the science uses the words
"dimensions" and "universes" interchangably
the way Easterbrook seems to be doing.
"Star Trek" hasn't done much to help matters,
what with its goateed Spocks and confusing
time-travel shenanigans.

My best understanding of other dimensions
(beyond the fourth) is that they exist as
PART of our universe, but we're unable to
perceive them. Think of an
ant crawling across a piece of glass.
The human eye would see it traveling on a flat
(2D) surface. But from the ant's perspective,
the surface is 3D, with hills, valleys, bumps,
etc. And if the glass is a huge globe,
the ant might perceive the portion it's on
as flat and 2D, while a human (able to see the whole globe) sees the bigger, 3D picture.

We can't see the other dimensions because they
are beyond our perception (infinitesimally
small and/or large). As Einstein pointed out...
oh, fuck it. It's all Jesus. Isn't it obvious?

That's exactly right. I touched on this in my Oct. post: "It doesn't help that GE conflates-- rather casually, I must say -- the notion of 10 or so dimensions, which is fundamental to string theory and largely accepted as a realistic model that has met repeated tests, with that of "billions of unseen universes," which is, at this point, merely a theory, and one that even its proponents admit is a leap of imagination."

Ooo...I just thought of more ant stuff.
So this ant (that thinks it's on a flat
surface, but is actually on a huge globe)
walks all the way around the globe and
ends up where he started. If he's a smart
ant, he uses that evidence to figure out
that he's on a 3D surface, even though
his perception of the globe is no better
than before he started his journey.

So too with physicists watching wacky
things happen in their particle accelerators.
They can see EVIDENCE of other dimensions,
even though they can't see the other
dimensions. Ergo: it's all Jesus.

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