View previous topic | View next topic

The Theory of Everything

Page 4 of 5
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next


Do you believe that there is a theory that can explain everything in the universe?
Yes
30%
 30%  [ 16 ]
No
41%
 41%  [ 22 ]
There already is one
9%
 9%  [ 5 ]
What's the theory of everything?
3%
 3%  [ 2 ]
Don't care
15%
 15%  [ 8 ]
Total Votes : 53

Davini994
334022.  Sun May 11, 2008 7:22 am Reply with quote

Martina wrote:
A theory of everything is certainly possible

You sound very confident about that. Not everyone is so certain, e.g Mr Hawking.

 
PDR
334277.  Sun May 11, 2008 5:39 pm Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:
Martina wrote:
A theory of everything is certainly possible

You sound very confident about that. Not everyone is so certain, e.g Mr Hawking.


I suspect you're missing the point. It is absolutely and irrefutably possible to postulate a "Theory of Everything". What is more dubious is the probability that it would be a "good" theory which stands scrutiny and makes useful and verifiable predictions. After all, is Creationism not just such a theory (on both counts)?

PDR

 
Davini994
334296.  Sun May 11, 2008 6:36 pm Reply with quote

Yeessss... maybe.

My point was that it's not *certain* that the universe can be described by one self consistent set of rules, i.e. a GUT. It would have been clearer if I'd quoted the full thing rather than paraphrasing, because I've answered with the same definition of GUT as Martina:

Martina wrote:
Strictly speaking there is not one until it [a GUT] is formulated, which it has not been to the extent that we have a cogent theory of everything. A theory of everything is certainly possible, and it's being worked on with serious urgency, but as yet it's not a complete and viable theory.


But I understand what you are saying, and it's a good point. As so often happens, definitions of words are the difference.

What would happen if we 'proved' that such a theory is impossible? (which just as many people are working on as a GUT by the way).

Is Creationism a theory? Is theory not a word specific to the scientific method?

 
PDR
334466.  Mon May 12, 2008 7:34 am Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:
Yeessss... maybe.

My point was that it's not *certain* that the universe can be described by one self consistent set of rules, i.e. a GUT. It would have been clearer if I'd quoted the full thing rather than paraphrasing, because I've answered with the same definition of GUT as Martina:


My GUT states that there are four independant forces, and that all things behave and interact in accordance with the principles of Quantum Mechanics, Newtonian Mechanics or Relativistic Mechanics depending ton their size and/or velocity. This is a valid theory, but not a desperately useful one. It doesn't help much with predicting the fundamental properties like the speed of light, the mass of an electron or the lateness of a woman at a restaurant.

I would suggest that what people are working on is the search for a *useful* GUT, or for the reasons why one cannot be forumlated (the latter would possibly be even more useful - it would certainly be more interesting).

Quote:

What would happen if we 'proved' that such a theory is impossible? (which just as many people are working on as a GUT by the way).


As I said above, if we "proved" such a theory is impossible we would have some understanding of the "why", and that would possibly open up a whole new avenue of physics. Rather like when playing Doom and one move suddenly reveals a new area on the map - an area that might orders of magnitude larger than the previously known universe. I expect this is what happened at several of the cusps in the history of science - the discovery of the microscopic world, the discovery that matter wasn't solid, the first inklings that there was a "sub atomic" level of detail etc etc. It would be an exciting time IMHO.

Quote:

Is Creationism a theory? Is theory not a word specific to the scientific method?


An interesting point. Certainly the "provisional wing" of the creationist persuasion try to promote it as a model of equal merit to more scientific ones, but then they also would insist that it was fact rather than "theory" because it was the WOrd in Th Book. I view the concept of "Theory" as an example of the humility of the scientific mind. Scince is extremely reticent about describing things as "facts", and by calling things "Theorms" always leaves open the possibility of subsequent modification or replacement.

PDR

 
Davini994
334881.  Mon May 12, 2008 3:31 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Quote:

Is Creationism a theory? Is theory not a word specific to the scientific method?


An interesting point. [PDR makes lots of good points]


Yes, I think you've convinced me it is:)

PDR wrote:
My GUT states that there are four independant forces, and that all things behave and interact in accordance with the principles of Quantum Mechanics, Newtonian Mechanics or Relativistic Mechanics depending ton their size and/or velocity.

But that's not *a* theory. It's several, and you have to choose which one to apply depending on the circumstances and the effect you are isolating. The idea with a GUT, which Hawking et al was betting on in the nineties, is that everything can be described with one set of rules, under any circumstances. So a 'complete' theory would be equivalent, I believe.

 
PDR
335085.  Mon May 12, 2008 6:04 pm Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:
PDR wrote:
My GUT states that there are four independant forces, and that all things behave and interact in accordance with the principles of Quantum Mechanics, Newtonian Mechanics or Relativistic Mechanics depending ton their size and/or velocity.


But that's not *a* theory. It's several, and you have to choose which one to apply depending on the circumstances and the effect you are isolating. The idea with a GUT, which Hawking et al was betting on in the nineties, is that everything can be described with one set of rules, under any circumstances. So a 'complete' theory would be equivalent, I believe.


I beg to differ, it *IS* a theory. It is a theory which states that the observed universe is divided into four categories or sub-strata. It is a unified theory because in a single wrapper it covers all four categories - a sub-theory for every possible occaision. Looking at the world through this model is useful for many purposes, and not useful for many others. I appreciate that many scientists have expended a lot of intelectual effort looking for ways to integrate the sub-elements of this theory (like Maxwell did with electromagnetism) but I know my limitations so I'm keeping my theory simple. Besides, there may not be such a solution so the search for one may fail. And I'm really not good at failure - I don't handle it well (ask my wife). So it's definitely a theory - it's just not a very good one ("they are the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order").

Permission to remove tongue from cheek? :0)

As an engineer rather than a scientist (more of an -ility than an -ology) I'm very familiar and comfortable with the practice of using models which describe how things behave even though they hare in no way an attemot to describe what is actually happening - electric currents, the Circulation model of lift, pretty well all of thermodynamics etc. Probably the best example would be Mary Shafer's aerodynamic model using lift demons and thrust pixies (this model can be used to explain and predict lots of observed subsonic and transonic aircraft behaviour, but not even Mary ever suggested that real thrust pixies existed). One of the stumbling blocks for me when I hear the canned "public consumption" version of various new bits of physics is that I'm never sure whether these things are trying to describe an actuality or merely a good way of looking at something. For example were people suggesting that superstrings were something real or merely the necklaces of quark elves?

PDR

 
Davini994
335176.  Tue May 13, 2008 3:54 am Reply with quote

Ok, fair enough. But it's not a grand unified theory, which is what I am trying to convey, what physics was and is chasing, and what Martina was discussing.

And as for string theory...

 
PDR
335213.  Tue May 13, 2008 4:53 am Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:
Ok, fair enough. But it's not a grand unified theory, which is what I am trying to convey, what physics was and is chasing, and what Martina was discussing.


True enough - although I could argue that it is indeed a grand theory because it has been published on hand-made vellum bound in limp lilac leather covers.

My cheek seems to be full of tongue again.

Quote:

And as for string theory...
[image deleted]


ROFLMAO! That's cheered-up a morning that started badly. I shall indoubtedly steal it for future use.

PDR

 
Davini994
335617.  Tue May 13, 2008 3:44 pm Reply with quote

Excellent! I should make it clear that it's not mine, it's xkcd which is repeatedly wondeful.

 
banjaminn
692698.  Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:50 am Reply with quote

I think it is more than only the higgs missing. If I understood it right, its 20 unknown particles, which Lisi suggested in his Lie-Group. Maybe LHC finds them. I hope! It would outclass the academic world again. Like always, when new things are found by single individuals

 
bobwilson
693158.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:22 am Reply with quote

I have a complete theory of everything - unfortunately the space in this margin........

 
jadelicosner89
758630.  Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:51 am Reply with quote

yes the theory and the truth that God created everything in this planet is just enough to explain everything..

 
PDR
758692.  Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:59 am Reply with quote

jadelicosner89 wrote:
yes the theory and the truth that God created everything in this planet is just enough to explain everything..


The trouble is that they're mutually exclusive - that theory and the truth can't coexist in any given reality.

Well that and the fact that it doesn't actually explain anything; it merely says "don't worry your pretty little head about such things" or at best "we'll tell you when you're older, now be quiet while the grown-ups are talking".

It isn't much use for deriving the masses of fundamental particles or the universal constants.

PDR

 
Prolekult
815489.  Wed May 11, 2011 4:20 pm Reply with quote

A Theory of Everything isn't the difficult thing to find, it's finding a Law of Everything that is the problem.

Anyone can come up with a theory, but that doesn't mean it has any basis in reality.

As people have pointed out Creationism does fine as a Theory of Everything, as does String Theory, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and my own little known top secret Prolekult Theory.

I think a Law of Everything is basically unfeasible, like a small child, any answer can simply be countered by another "Why?". No matter how many layers of the onion we peel back we can never be sure there aren't more.

 
samivel
815648.  Thu May 12, 2011 10:46 am Reply with quote

Why?

;)

 

Page 4 of 5
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group