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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Science Is Settled … Until It Isn’t

This little bombshell apparently necessitates reexamination of the theories of both Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. In the words of Phys.org’s Thania Benios, it “not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe”.
“Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown — the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren’t bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don’t exist.”
Laura Mersini-Houghton, professor of physics at University of North Carolina has done the math:
“The take home message of her work is clear: there is no such thing as a black hole.”
Next they’ll be telling us the Grand Canyon is the product of a global flood.

7 comments :

  1. Very interesting. Needs to be confirmed, of course. An article on the above had this fascinating blog link (where black holes are still thought to exist).

    https://briankoberlein.com/sitemap/

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  2. I was just curious to know if anyone knew of a complied list of failed scientific theories over the last 30 years (or more). I'm not anti scientific but science is so often used to bash christianity. I find the science used most often to bash are the very theories that are later found not to be true. Having theories and examining them are not the problem, thats the scientific method. Using theories in argument to quash the truth is a huge problem and often has a huge zmount of smuggness to it. I am not I interested in being smug myself in response but to simply lay out a whole series of failed tbeories to clear the deck for furthering the discussion.
    WiC

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    1. You have probably thought of this, but Wikipedia has a page on it:

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

      There's also this:

      http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-famous-scientific-theories-that-turned-out-to-be-wrong.php

      and of course Googling "failed scientific theories" turns up a long string of other articles that I have not investigated.

      But even a cursory glance is enough to tell you that scientific theories -- even those held for significant numbers of years -- have been found to be wrong many, many times.

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    2. Personally I'm fascinated by a couple of largely-undisputed claims about the cosmos that necessarily spring from an evolutionary / aren't-we-clever worldview.

      The first is the existence of something called the Oort Cloud. The Oort cloud is the source of comets that range into our solar system, circle the sun (losing a bunch of mass as they melt in proximity to it) and then zoom back out into the darkness beyond Pluto for a few more years.

      Here's the problem the Oort cloud solves: If the solar system is very old and comets are relics of its formation that gradually dwindle each time they circle the sun, there shouldn't be the comets we routinely see invading our neighborhood - they'd have melted.

      So the Oort cloud is a cluster of these comets far beyond visible detection or measurement. Occasionally a comet breaks out of the Oort cloud for reasons we haven't quite defined yet. It circles the sun a few times, melts and then more follow.

      What is the direct observational evidence for the Oort cloud? None. None at all. But if it doesn't exist, conventional dating of the solar system is facing a big problem. So most cosmological texts I've seen don't speak of the Oort cloud other than to take it as a given.

      It isn't. There is zero evidence - other than "it must be so" that a scientist can point toward.

      Part two below to defeat comment limits...

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  3. The second that I'm amused by is the subject of "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy". Our calculations of gravity's effects don't work when scaled up to encompass the observable solar system and beyond. Things should not hang together as they do or behave as they do without far more mass than we measure.

    So "dark matter" and "dark energy" *must* exist. Or we have to confess that we don't understand as much as we thought. How far off are our calculations? Well, we're told by most scientists that dark matter and dark energy make up more than 90% of the universe's mass. Or - put another way - our calculations work with a beauty and precision as long as you don't mind an error factor of roughly 95 %.

    What's the direct evidence for Dark Matter and Dark Energy? None at all. But it *has* to exist because there's no way we're wrong. Because science.

    Now with that said, for all I know we'll find an Oort cloud and we'll prove Dark Matter and Dark Energy as valid theories. But watch how often you'll see those subjects brought up - without a hint of shame or reservation - and referred to as essentially unimpeachable truths. They are not. They are theories and theories that are entirely without direct observational evidence.

    Links to secular discussions here if you want to know more:

    http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/26132/what-are-the-facts-that-allow-accepting-the-oort-cloud-theory

    http://www.quantumdiaries.org/2013/06/26/does-dark-matter-really-exist/

    (The second link has an awesome chart that is highly amusing - to me at least).

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  4. Thanks btw for the info about theories and errors. As you can see, I was typing on a mobile unit when I sent the above response; sorry for the typos. It wasn't meant purposely to disturb your "editing" mind Tom, lol. Thanks as well Bernie. And Qman, I will get to the article you included as well when I can in the next day or so,
    WiC

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  5. It's funny that Christians are still just discovering what secular academics have generally recognized about science for several decades now...namely, that it neither verifies truth, falsifies error, nor provides an impartial view of objective facts. Rather it is simply the best system we currently have for working with the physical world. But it is badly hamstrung when it comes to describing things like history, and quite useless when it comes to telling us anything about non-physical properties like "self," "personhood," "consciousness," and "values" -- all things which, at the intuitive level, most humans so strongly believe to exist that even the most materialist scientists live and operate upon the assumption that they exist.

    Even when it describes only the physical world, science depends on provisional paradigms and theories rather than a singular set of objectively certified facts. So of course it changes from time to time. This doesn't imply science is bad -- did I not say it is our best method for working on the physical world? But it does mean it is always tentative and revisable, and in metaphysical areas such as those I have listed, or regard to the spiritual world, it simply has no means of investigating anything at the moment, since science requires the voluntary and gratuitous limiting of observation to empirical data, the data available to senses.

    If anything exists beyond that data, science can tell us nothing about it.

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