I am Younger because I am Faster!

Space the final frontier.  How many times have we heard this phrase while flipping through the channels on our TV, or watching a Star Trek episode?  Space really is a frontier all by itself, but what really make it interesting are the laws that put it together.  Laws we think we know, laws that we have no idea about, and maybe there are no laws at all.  The one thing that is quite interesting about space/universe is the one law we are so sure about that if it is broken all our other laws mean nothing.  Light, or rather nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  Albert Einstein theorized that it was impossible to travel faster than the speed of light.  Others have said that it would take all the energy in the known universe to travel faster than light, and being that we would never be able to harness all the energy in the universe, in turn would render FTL travel impossible.  I, myself, do not like limits, but if I have to follow one I guess I will follow this one for now.  What I really want to dive into is things that happen when we approach the speed of light.  How time and space actually warp, and how this would affect a society of people, like us.

The first interesting phenomenon that happens when we start traveling extremely fast is space starts to warp.  This would seem understandable to a normal person because it is something we can see in our everyday lives.  The faster we go the weirder things will start to look.  We cannot expect anything to look similar when we are going super fast.  Traveling at 70mph in a car looking at a point out a car window we can start to see some distortion effects.  Things do not look exactly the same as they do if we were standing still.  Another example would be watching light pass through water or thick glass.  Light actually slows down when it passes though different materials and we are able to see some distortion effects.  There are many different examples of light distorting in our everyday environment, but where it gets interesting is time.  When we travel faster and faster not only space gets distorted but time does as well.  Space-time as it is called.  Time warping is something that is difficult for people to get their head around.  This is because it causes some paradox shifts in our society if we really think about it.  Now what do I mean by time warping?  The simplest way to put it is that time is not constant, as so many of us believe.  Time actually does not progress at the same speed everywhere.  The closer we get to the speed of light the slower time progresses.  So if I was traveling close to the speed of light and someone else was standing still it would feel to me like 5 or 10 seconds have passed when actually 5 or 10 hours have passed.  Wow!

The actual reasons why this happens is not exactly known, it could be because of gravity, a force we still do not fully understand, is trying to balance the differential bubble that gets created when objects are not stationary or to simplify the reasoning, light is constant so everything else must fluctuate to function.  Not to focus on the reasoning why time is not constant, the fact that time is not constant is what is really mind boggling.  One example that I have seen of this actually taking place is with satellites orbiting earth.  Satellites orbit our planet at an extremely fast speed, still only a drop in the bucket to the speed of light.  Even though the speed is so much slower than light it is still much faster than our daily lives down on earth.  Each of these satellites have a clock on them and the clock runs ever so slightly slower than the clocks on earth.  So in this example, our GPS systems which calculate our positions by exact time measurements have to be tuned with their velocity in mind so that we can calculate what the actually time difference is here on earth.

So how does this affect us?  Well today it doesn’t because we all are on planet earth traveling roughly the same speeds in the same environment but what happens if we have the ability to travel the cosmos.  The ability to live on different planets, traveling at different speeds, things start to get interesting.  Does a people settled on one planet that is traveling 5 times faster than people settled on another age slower?  It would seem that this is the case.   Which planet would you rather live on?  It would seem that traveling close to the speed of light really shakes up the universal ideas that we as a people accept.  Time is constant, but is it?  To a human on planet earth time appears to be constant but appearances can be, and in this case are, deceiving.

How traveling close to the speed of light will change our society cannot be predicted.  What we do know is that it will cause a paradigm shift in the way the human race understands time, and behaves because of it.  But remember, this will only happen if the theories of Albert Einstein are true.

modern day physics = this man

BIGFIX01

Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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Religion and Aliens Part 2

So back to the religion and aliens discussion. Turns out that the first article I wrote on religion and aliens was quite popular so I thought I would elaborate and bring up a couple new ideas in this new post.

So like I said in the first post do aliens showing up on earth mean that god does not exist? First I tried to show why aliens showing up should effect our belief in god. There was definitely a large amount of people that didn’t believe aliens showing up would have any effect at all on our belief system. The truth that I didn’t bring up in that discussion is that based on what religious ideas are currently, aliens really should not affect religion at all. An alien showing up should have no effect on any religious body based on how their ideals work. But should it? That really is the undermining theme. Should other intelligent beings affect our beliefs?

It is quite hard to say. We have never met intelligent beings other than ourselves so this isn’t a question easily tackled.   We may never meet intelligent beings so what are we to do, just forget the question, blow it off as nonsence?  I hope not.  Now if we were able to meet intelligent beings would their ideas matter? I think the main point of the last article was to point us in the direction for listening to the other intelligent beings.  Currently saying that aliens showing up doesn’t matter in our religious beliefs is saying that we do not take into account their ideas.  Shouldn’t we?  I would say if other beings were able to make there way all the way to earth I think we should listen to what they have to say.  Even if it goes against what our religious establishments tell us to believe.

But do we?  No.  We the great people of earth have it figured out. Aliens could be sent from the devil to break our faith 🙂  Maybe aliens do not understand what we understand about god. What really makes humans the people that get to decide that. Devine knowledge? That seems a little bit circular in argument.

To be truthful there is not a direct correlation between god and aliens. Never has been and never will be. The interesting fact is that our entire religious belief system does not take into account outside presences. Meaning if aliens were to show up and spread there messages we would not have anyway of incorporating them into our religious belief system. People will say that we would have to spread the word of god to these visitors, but that is just nonsense. We do not spread an earthly belief system to another world organism. It is very, and I mean very far reaching to believe that we are the only ones with the knowledge of the almighty. Do people really think that Earth is the beginning and the end of all existence?

The only way we can justify our religion in the presence of other intelligent beings is to say that Earth is the be all, end all of the universe, and if I understand science well then I know that the universe does not revolve around the earth. The universe didn’t start with earth, earth is not any more important than the minuscule block of dust flying through the cosmos at an incredible speed. If human, earthly, science has taught us anything, it is that the universe is a place where anything and everything is possible and everything is equal created from the same source.

So even if that same source is an almighty being there is no evidence, no reason, and no way that Earth is where life originated, where life evolved, and where god made his simple super plan.

BIGFIX01

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 7:42 pm  Comments (3)  
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Back To Science

For this post I would like to come back to a paper I wrote quite a while ago. I think this relates back to my first post on the philosophy of science. I find this paper interesting because it helps illustrate some of the points with real world examples.

Why is something either considered science or not science? There are different ways of looking at a topic and deciding whether it is science or pseudoscience. What we can know for sure is that there will always be competing arguments. In the following I will look at two different topics and decide for myself whether they are science or pseudoscience. The two topics I will be looking at are life after death and the Bermuda triangle. I will start by explaining each of the following topics starting with life after death.

So what do we mean when we explain life after death? It can be summed up in the following question. Is there anything after we die, or does the spirit of a human being live after the physical body dies? Another area is reincarnation, or if the spirit of a human takes residence inside another object when the current resident passes away. They both deal with the spirit leaving the body after it dies.

The area that believes in life after death will make the claim that the spirit lives on after death. They then support this claim by pointing to a few personal experiences. The first is ghosts and poltergeists. They use the logic that if the spirit doesn’t live on then how do we explain ghosts, ghosts being the spirits of the dead. The near death or out of body experience is also used to support life after death. An example of near death experience would be a person who is clinically pronounced dead, but then is revived to explain seeing a great white light and running to it.

Near death experience is used as one hypothesis to explain life after death, so let’s find an opposing hypothesis that doesn’t support near death experiences. One hypothesis that comes to mind is how the brain works. It can explain things like floating out of your body and seeing a white light at the end of a tunnel. Our brain, as it loses oxygen, misinterprets the signals that the optic nerves send back. This is how we explain kids who perform huffing.

Now I would like to explain my next topic which is the Bermuda Triangle. The Bermuda Triangle is a strip of ocean that has been responsible for a large number of ship and plane disappearances. It is claimed that the Bermuda Triangle is directly responsible for the disappearances of these objects. This claim is supported by the fact that this area has a mysterious way of losing ships and planes. A famous example that is used to keep the mystery in the Bermuda Triangle is the disappearance of Flight 19. Flight 19 disappeared in the triangle in December of 1945. Before the disappearance, the flight crew reported that things were not right. The sea looked strange and the sun was invisible (Hines, 226).

How can any of this be explained? Both sides have their theories. A theory from the weird side is that there is a magnetic field that transfers these ships and planes to another dimension. Another more logical theory is that the Bermuda triangle is set up in a volatile weather area. The weather in the triangle can change quite quickly from being perfect to the perfect storm. It is also in an area that is quite dangerous for ships. There are rock formations and reefs that can easily damage the hulls of ships beyond repair. Both of these theories have their believers.

After researching these topics I looked at each of them to find out if they were scientific or just bogus. In both I will use the ideas of Kuhn, Popper, and Lachatosh to explain if they are scientific or not. I wanted to start with the Bermuda Triangle because I think that one is a little bit clearer to define. In my opinion the Bermuda Triangle myth is just that an unscientific myth.

So how did I come to the decision that it is a myth? Looking at the facts about the Bermuda Triangle, there isn’t anything that would point me (for the weird theories) in the direction that there are scientific parts about it. To start out, looking at the so called unexplainable disappearances of aircraft and ships, we see that most of them (contrary to belief) can be explained. Some are blamed on bad weather, others on the cargo that the boats were carrying, and lastly the disappearances can also be blamed on inexperience in the area. There really is not that much mystery in the Bermuda Triangle. If we were to just look at these ways to explain the triangle then I would say that it is scientific. We use this method to find ships all over the world, but this is not the myth of the Bermuda Triangle.

The Bermuda Triangle’s weird believers don’t use scientific means at all. They make up a hypothesis, but that is it. They never really try to prove it. The believers use after effects to try to prove there hypothesis, but after effects prove little to nothing. Oh, a ship has disappeared there must be a magnetic field involved, or aliens. That’s all these people say they never even try to turn up evidence to prove their hypothesis. Poppers point of a hypothesis being falsifiable proves quite useful in this topic. The reason that people never turn up any evidence is because their hypotheses are not able to be proved right or wrong. I also have my own little theory about proving if this is a science or not. I call it the “dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole theory.” It starts out with a hypothesis, and then when someone asks for the holes in the hypothesis to be filled, the person fills them with another improvable hypothesis. That hypothesis will also of course have holes in it and this will go on forever. The so called science will never get anywhere.

What about the life after death topic, can this one be considered a science? I would consider this a pseudoscience. It falls into many of the same traps as the Bermuda Triangle. The first trap life after death falls into would be that it can not be realistically proven. Even if we could kill a person and then bring them back from the dead we still are faced with the dilemma of taking a first person account. First person accounting has been proven quite inaccurate of the centuries. There is yet another problem that is bigger than just being able to prove life after death. The domain of science is targeted at the natural world. Life after death is in no way pointed at the natural world, it is quite the opposite. Life after death is looking at the surreal or supernatural world.

Both of these topics looked at closely would have to be considered not science. There are both similar and different reasons why they are not science. To just look at the similarities we see that both life after death and the Bermuda Triangle can’t be proven. Another similarity between the two is how we try to disprove them. Both of the topics are being disproved by science, real science. I like to look at how the theories are disproved because it can really contrast the weird theories. Just for example, when we explain ship disappearances the scientific way, finding evidence, looking at the area, proving rational hypotheses, it is the complete opposite of how the Bermuda Triangle group goes about solving ship disappearances.

The topics are different in a few respects also. The Bermuda Triangle has parts that look at the natural world and the life and death crew has nothing to do with the natural world. The major differences between the two are really in the way they go about proving their hypotheses. While the Bermuda triangle group doesn’t really try to fix the holes in their hypotheses, the life after death crew really does. They are always trying to find new methods of explaining and documenting where the problems lie. I also feel that they use the scientific method to look at their problem. That’s why I would consider life after death a fake science rather than no science at all. There is justification behind it, rather than just a whole bunch of made up explanations.

Both of these topics have a long way to go if they ever would hope to become a reputable science. While I will always believe that there is no way either could become a viable science, there is no telling what other people will believe.

BIGFIX01

Published in: on February 23, 2008 at 6:56 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Science of Science

For this post I would like to stray away from religion and freewill and examine something more down to earth…science. So who gets to decide what science is? This is an age old question that most people do not even look at anymore. What is science? What makes something science? These are real questions, but these questions get asked less and less now a days. If someone with a doctorate tells us that this is science a lot of us just go along with it. He knows what he is talking about.

Please remember before we get to far into this post we have to take a couple things for granted. To even be able to discuss the philosophy of science we have to believe that there really is something to know. We have to believe that there are laws that the universe is bound to, and we have to believe that we can know what these laws are. If we do not believe these requirements then science as we have come to know it cannot exist and this question is null. So….

How many people that are not religious buffs think evolution is a science? The fact of the matter we really do not have solid 100 % true evidence that evolution is real. There are many different things that point us in the direction of evolution rather than creationism.  What about string theory? If anyone has had the opportunity to read string theory I am sure they have asked themselves the question if this is real science. String theory in its most complex theories is extremely out in left field, but if you ask someone on the street they will probably tell you it is science. Why? So the question is, what defines science? Well, that my friends is just one segment of philosophy.

The problem with this question, like most other questions in philosophy, are there are many different answers. Realists have one answer, metaphysics’ have yet another. The only real concrete answer is with the one who is defining science for themselves. The answer lies with your own beliefs.

Science is defined as knowledge attained through study or practice. A system we use to gain knowledge. The fact of the matter is that this can mean absolutely anything. So if we take this definition what gives us the right to say that someone researching a hollow earth is not doing science. Someone chasing Bigfoot or believing in astrology is not practicing science. Based on this definition we do not have that right.

But astrology is not science right? Well the scientific community does not believe the stars have anything to do with our futures, and in truth astrology is not science. It is not, but why? A certain group of people would say it doesn’t follow the scientific method, others say it doesn’t have laws, and some others say it does not have a group of experts that agree on the basic set of what astrology is. These are all examples of tests that philosophers use to gauge out a science from a non-science. But lets say for a second that it does have laws and it does have experts. Then is it science? A realist would say of course not the fact still remains that the stars have nothing to do with our future. But does that make it right?

There must be a true answer to this question sense we have scientists and we study things like chemistry, right? Well that is up to you to find out.

BIGFIX01

Published in: on January 21, 2008 at 10:07 pm  Comments (4)  
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