It is currently Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:44 pm


Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:38 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:41 pm
Posts: 1450
Location: 55° 57'N: 03° 08'W
Tooth-ache? A florist or herbalist every time. They have some wonderful
plants to alleviate pain, such as oil-of-clove.

Tooth-extraction? A dentist.


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:08 pm
Posts: 496
Location: UK
I think different people find different aspects interesting. Some people will find the main facts (summaries) fascinating whilst others will want and enjoy going into the details far more. And how much depth people are interested in will depend on each particular aspect (their own nature, abilities, etc). Just because somebody does not wish to explore the complete mathematical arguments surrounding a particular bit of research does not mean they find the conclusions any less interesting.

It has always struck me that one of the great challenges for astronomical research is that one is so limited experimentally. Mainly observation. With so many other disciplines you can make observations, design further experiments, refine your theories based o your experimental results, etc. - but Astronomical research of often more limited. Cosomolgy even more so. One of my great concerns with Cosmology is the "house of cards" problem. A theory is formulated and becomes accepted. Others then build more theories based on that which become accepted and so further theories based on those are formed, etc. But they are all then subject to the truth and assumptions in the initial theory and were that to become suspect, a lot of further work based on that would "all come tumbling down". This is partly why I found the "alpha" measurements so interesting because (as I understand it) one of the more fundamental assumptions in Cosmology is that the Universe in homogeneous. Discover that is not the case and how much more starts to crumble ?

That people assume we can "never know" when it comes to Cosmology - who can say. More work, technology moved forward, more and better observations, etc.. As somebody else pointed out, you don't have to go back far in history and the concept of communicating with somebody over a wireless video link, etc. would have seemed total madness.

Ian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Manchester
Dear Brian
There are experts and experts.
I'm inclined to say that in the hanger example I mentioned above, it seems that the Hebridean RAF sargeant was actually the expert, the supposed experts were ................
In my opinion a real expert realises they probably don't know everything.
Best wishes from Cliff


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Manchester
Dear Ian
I actually agree with most of what you just said.
However, I personally fall into the " we \ humans will never know everything category.
With regards religious beliefs, I suppose I fall into the "agnostic" category.
I tend not to believe in God (in the strict Biblical sense) but I am not absolutely sure, and do not rule out the possibility that one or other religion (including a possible religion not known yet) might be right.
I think the Universe may well be infinitely large and has always existed - which might avoid need for any god or creator.
If the Universe started 14 billion or whatever years back then I'm inclined to think it was created by a creator or god !
If there is a god, I'm inclined to think god ain't too bothered what happens to anybody, but god enjoys watching.
Best wishes from Cliff


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:17 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5275
Location: Lancashire
Our Mike Feist's claim that understanding cosmology is beyond human understanding is a bit of a "medieval" outlook.
Fresh data comes in all the time, and science's success lies in the fact that it's always prepared to ditch long-cherished hypotheses/theories for new ones based on the available data.
Personally, I think that the only things the non-expert can discuss about astrophysics/cosmology are the actual discoveries and insights made, right or wrong, by experts in the field.
We kid ourselves if we think we can arrive at profound insights about the nature of the universe, by musing in bed about it. :lol:

_________________
brian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5275
Location: Lancashire
Thanks for the oil-of-cloves tip, Stella. The snag is that the tooth-ache might indicate septacemia, in which case I would need a florist for the cremation ceremony. :wink:

_________________
brian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:32 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:24 am
Posts: 4375
Location: Greenwich, London
brian livesey wrote:
Personally, I think that the only things the non-expert can discuss about astrophysics/cosmology are the actual discoveries and insights made, right or wrong, by experts in the field.

Jolly banter?

You said earlier, Brian, that there was no point in discussing Cosmology/Astrophysics. The bulk of the discussion in this section seems to be the about the discoveries and insights made by experts. There are a few notable exceptions, however.

_________________
200mm Newtonian, OMC140, ETX90, 15x70 Binoculars.


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5275
Location: Lancashire
Not really jolly banter, Joe. I think Mike was referring to people who purport to have their own astrophysical/cosmological ideas about the universe without prior specialist training and an above-average aptitude in mathematics.

_________________
brian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:43 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Manchester
Dear Brian
We differ in opinions with respect to several fundamental aspects related to this discussion.In particular you seem happy to believe that eventually humans will suss out all the nitty gritty of about the Universe, whilst I am pretty well convinced humans will always fall short of a proper understanding.
So a big difference between us is that in my case it won't matter too much how good we get at doing maths the ultimate answers will evade us.
Indeed maths might actually lead us away from a proper understanding because let's say -
a) part of the problem is not mathematical at all.
b) because we\they get the maths wrong.
c) god; if god created the universe, perhaps he did so in a way only god can ever understand.
d) suppose god used maths but wasn't very good at maths - we\they might never know what math mistakes god made.

It seems to me that there is increasing evidence that d) might actually have happened eg inflation and\or possible changes in the universe's expansion rate.
Best wishes from Cliff
PS I'm an agnostic - I like to edge my bets. Mathematics might not get things right. An (don't know) agnostic stance is unlikely to be wrong.
Arguably I'll be proved wrong when humans fully understand the Universe.
Unfortunately for me I am unlikely to win my bet until humans become extinct.


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:08 pm
Posts: 496
Location: UK
Cliff wrote:
In particular you seem happy to believe that eventually humans will suss out all the nitty gritty of about the Universe, whilst I am pretty well convinced humans will always fall short of a proper understanding.


I suppose I consider all science "an approximation". We study, experiment, etc. then come up with theories, etc. which explain (some/most of) the observations. They are models that enable us to understand things but that does not make them exact. They are certainly useful and are probably very close to truth but there will always be refinement, etc. That they are not exact does not mean they are worthless. They are close enough to allow us to do lots of useful stuff as well as to go on to make further discoveries.

I am quite sure that if we don't destroy ourselves/planet first, that we will go on extending our understanding, again refining and extending and probably never getting 100% "truth" but close enough be be useful.

One thing for sure is that the world in 100 years will be very different from the world today (better or worse is difficult to guess).

Ian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:51 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5275
Location: Lancashire
Mathematics is the best tool we have. Again, Cliff, I'm accused of making statements I didn't make. Knowledge of the universe can never be complete because we are dealing with an evolving entity, so new phenomena are being created for analysis.
The science journals indicate that, at the present time, there's no slowing down in the acquisition of knowledge in general.

_________________
brian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Manchester
Dear Brian
I totally agree that mathematics is very important. If I didn't think maths was important I wouldn't have spent a significant part of my life struggling with maths. I have even actually enjoyed doinf some basic maths very much. At work I used maths for a varirty of things.
However, maths is not the bee alll of everything.
I recently gave up the latest of my several half hearted attempts to understand "relativity". I was a bit reluctant to throw in the towel, but amongst other things it struck me that even if I got round to a better understanding "relativity", there I many other aspects of science I will never get a grasp of.
So I decided to just enjoy dabbling in the spects of science that I find fun and blow the rest.
Cosmology is an interesting subject. I would accept that finding the answer to all cosmology's problems would be a great achievement.
I am still convinced humans will never solve all cosmology's problems.
Some cosmology problems may be NON mathematical which might even cause the best mathematician a few head aches.
Best wishes from Cliff


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5275
Location: Lancashire
The difficulty you have, Cliff, in understanding relativity, reminds me of a comment made by Bertrand Russell many years ago.
Russell said that people who are unfamiliar with Non-Euclidean Geometry, will not be able to understand relativity theory.

_________________
brian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Manchester
Dear Brian
Thanks for the thought.
Fortunately for me there is a relative of Bertrand living just up the road from here. Jack has promised to put me straight with regards to the curvature of space.
Best of luck from Cliff


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:55 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Posts: 5275
Location: Lancashire
Russell was referring to Reimann Geometry, etc. All very esoteric stuff for the uninitiated. :wink:

_________________
brian


Top
 Profile Send private message  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 32 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group