When I listen to theoretical physicists talking about “black holes” and “dark matter” and “the Big Bang,” I find myself wondering if they have extrapolated their observations so far beyond the limit of reasonableness that they are spouting only nonsense.
Here we are, sitting on little ol’ Earth, apparently millions of miles from where the action is, looking at how things behave on little ol’ Earth … and trying to apply that to the entire universe(!) using nothing but our minds.
Hmmm, I think all those kind of comments that scientists make these days are a bit vague. I mean, most of the evidence for such theories lies in the mathematics and physics observations but I doubt anyone will really know for sure. Until we have visited a black hole and experimented, all these things will remain theories - they just want to make the equations work.
I agree with shbaz on this. We’re not doing science the Aristotle way - argue about it and never check anything - any more. That approach is long dead. We make detailed observations with all manner of instuments and invent theories to explain them and check them with new observations. From decades of observations, black holes are now mainstream scientific theory, I doubt there’s any serious astronomer left who doubts they or dark matter exist. Rember that these equations they are trying to make work have often been tested rigorously by experiment - for example, dark matter comes from equations of gravity that explain the motion of bodies interacting gravitationally extremely well.
Indeed the argument for dark matter is very simple - the outer edges of galaxies rotate faster than they should. It’s exactly what you’d expect if there was more matter surrounding/penetrating the galaxy. It’s not extrapolating beyond reasonableness at all !
(granted, there is a theory of modified Newtonian gravity that would explain this without invoking dark matter, but it has many problems)
I do agree though that scientists can be a bit vague. From the time they get allocated to state their case on the main news broadcasts it can indeed seem like they’re pulling things out of the air. But there’s a lot of experimental/observational reasoning behind it all and not purely maths. I don’t think we’ll ever need to visit a black hole to check, but we do need more observations to really understand what’s going on (we’ve never actually seen the black dot of a hole in an accretion disc, but all the other theoretical models hold very well).
Because if science has one flaw, it is that “it doesn’t know what it doesn’t know.”
That’s not true. There are many unanswered questions : what is dark matter, what is the fate of the universe, etc. Indeed the whole point of science is to understand what it doesn’t know.
People are always quick to say science doesn’t know everything, and it doesn’t. If it did, no-one would be doing science anymore ! People seem remarkably quick to dismiss that is does know an awful lot - given that the modern world wouldn’t exist without it.
That’s sort of what I was getting at. I mean you might as well argue about what God looks like. I don’t think science is baloney, though. Science is very valuable but when it comes to people theorising about black holes or stuff that we can’t experiment on and may never be able to I wonder whether those great minds could be put to better use.
I can’t think of any better use for a great mind than trying to understand the nature of the universe !
Actually though, I read a while ago in New Scientist that it may be able to create a black hole - but one that only affects light - within the next few years. Also if we want to really understand the universe, we can’t just ignore the bits that don’t seem relavent now, we must explore everything.
I think there’s too much emphasis lately on trying to get practical benefits from abstract theories that really have no use. Why can’t we just accept they’re interesting for their own sake ? One day, yes they may be useful. Until then they are “only” part of our current understanding of how the universe works.
What is this talk about “information” anyway? The arrangement of atoms? Is it that the distortions the hole creates will form back into their origninal form if they ever escape?
I think it means the state the particles are in - their geometrical arrangment, their velocities, charges, quantum wave form…
Yargh, that was a longer post than I intended. I’ll shut up now.