Some Basics Of Natural Philosophy


Some people go around, and brandish the “Multiverse”. Of course, the “Multiverse” exists, in one’s brain. The brain, among other things, extends all over imagination. Out there, among the galaxies, in the real world, there is no reason to suppose there is a “Multiverse, whatsoever.

It is basically something to sell books with. Or, just as with evil minded religions, for some physicists to claim they are like gods and can believe in something really absurd, and grotesquely self-contradictory:

There is No Universe, But the Universe:

The Universe is all there is. By definition. By philosophical definition. Just by philosophical definition? Not so. Any logic is associated to a universe. If the “logic” is nature itself (“all of the logic”) the associated universe (in the Logic sense), is, well, the Universe.

If something some would want to call the “Multiverse”, whatever that would be, existed, it would be part of the Universe.

Galaxies Used To Be Called "Island Universes". They Collide; This Is A Much Older Universe Than People Understand

Galaxies Used To Be Called “Island Universes”. They Collide; This Is A Much Older Universe Than People Understand


Age Of The Universe? Really?

Befuddled physicists go around, telling us about the “First Three Minutes” (Weinberg; Electro-Weak Nobel laureate), or the “History Of Time” (Hawking; remarkable survivor-physicist in a wheelchair).

That rests on their perfect knowledge of how the universe evolved.

This, in turn, depends upon ignoring Dark Energy. Dark Energy shows up as an unpredicted acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.

The old theory of expansion of the Universe was established before Dark Energy was discovered.

So they think they know, but I know they don’t really know.

I don’t know if the Universe has an age. But it is aging, or, at least, let’s be more cautious, the Universe is changing.


How Both Physics And Mathematics Became Not Even Wrong:

Mathematics themselves have always been developed in particular directions, in light of what it was felt was needed to understand the physical world. That was certainly true with Buridan, and his students, who developed computational methods, and graphs, to handle what they wanted to do with inertia. That was true with calculus developed for all sorts of engineering and physics explanations.

And so on through the next three centuries. However, in the last three decades, what I personally viewed as extremely erroneous notions in physics became dominant.

Indeed, it had become that clear time was not “relative” (whatever that is supposed to mean). True, time was local, as per Relativity, but it was local in an absolute way. The absoluteness comes from Quantum Theory… And the absoluteness of curvature in cosmology (the focusing of light, by galaxies and galactic clusters is absolute, thus so is time, locally around such focusing objects!).

Efforts were launched towards was felt would be the mathematics of “superstrings” and “field theory”. That would have been wonderful, if the initial meta-axiom motivating the whole enterprise, that nature worked with strings, super, and field mathematics perched on field math, all the way down… had been, roughly, correct.

Mathematics is not “natural”. Or let’s say, not anymore “natural” than the human brain can get contrived. Mathematics is an adventure in what the geometry, the Quantum geometry, of neurology is capable of.

Mathematics is not unreasonably effective (as the famous physicist-mathematician Wigner put it).

Mathematics is reason, manipulated to be effective in a particular way. Correctly determining in advance what the way will be makes the difference between understanding nature, and failing to do so.

Math is just, roughly, neuronal geometry that “works” (“working” here meaning what the brain does, whatever it is, beyond just manipulating electric and chemical signals).


Do We Need To Tour Frantically With Jets? 

In other news, after the crash in France of a Lufthansa A320 plane, pundits will surely come, and claim aloud that air travel is the safest mode of travel.

Is it? It depends upon the method of measurement.

The way advertisers come up with the “air travel is the safest form of travel” statement is by dividing number of people killed by distance travelled.

However, another measure would be to divide the number of people killed by the number of travels they engaged in. This is a more significant measure to think about. And air travel looks much good that way: in just one day in Europe, more car travels happen than all the air travel for the entire world, in a year.

Not to say that air travel should be discouraged. It is not exactly like smoking, with no redeeming value, whatsoever. Families ought to be reunited. Getting to know other countries, encouraged. However one week tourism, far away, thanks to plane travel ought, in my opinion, to be discouraged.

Instead, the projections are that air travel will augment considerably in the next few decades.

Between Barcelona and Dusseldorf, one ought to be able to travel just as fast by rail (not all the high speed lines are built, nor will they be built, thanks to plutocratically imposed austerity, and subsidies to… air travel). Electric trains pollute much less, by more than an order of magnitude, and are much safer.

The global CO2 situation is that bad. Besides, look at that entire high school classroom of fifteen year old that went down with the plane… Just for a week in Barcelona?

Patrice Ayme’


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15 Responses to “Some Basics Of Natural Philosophy”

  1. brodix Says:


    From your Scisalon post;

    “Energy, during the propagation of a ray of light, is not continuously distributed over steadily increasing spaces, but it consists of a finite number of energy quanta localized at points in space, moving without dividing and capable of being absorbed or generated only as entities.”

    It would seem evident that the only way to redshift light of this form would be for the source to actually be moving away. Thus an expanding universe to explain the cosmic redshift.

    On the other hand;

    “electromagnetic energy was absorbed by packets of energy hf (h was Planck’s Constant, f the frequency of the light). That explained immediately the photoelectric effect.

    An electron receiving energy, received a packet hf. If f was too small, the electron could not be emitted: the electron needed some energy, say A, to escape the material. One needed hf > A. Nor could an electron just pile up energy from light until the stored energy exceeded A. Why? Becaue energy was transferred by these packets, and only these packets. It was hf, or nothing.”

    Then could redshift be caused by a source too faint to be absorbed at the frequency emitted and thus is absorbed at a lower frequency?

    My knowledge of the science is very limited, but too many other factors weigh against the logic of an expanding universe, so this information caught my attention.

    Also, from this post, dark energy is needed, not so much to explain an accelerated expansion, as it is to explain an expansion which doesn’t decline at a constant rate, from the visible edge of the universe, but declines rapidly and then slows down. The original theory was that the Big Bang radiated out the universe at the speed of light and then gravity caused it to slow down as it formed, at an even rate. So they needed dark energy to explain why the slower, but more stable expansion of the more recent universe.

    If that is not clear, think of it from the opposite view, from our point of view, redshift starts out slowly and then builds rapidly.

    Now if redshift is an optical effect, say by the ability of receptors to absorb these faint ranges and that effect compounds on itself, then the further away the source, the faster this effect magnifies and so it eventually goes parabolic and when it appears to reach the speed of light, creates a horizon line, over which visible light cannot pass.

    Yet there would remain a full spectrum of infrared light, i.e.. black body light, traveling over this horizon line and that would be the source of the cosmic background radiation.

    John Brodix Merryman

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Brodix (or do you prefer John?).
      Yes, I would say this: from my point of view, there are too much possible alternative explanations of what is observed to be as assured to what is going on as today’s alpha physicists have it.

      A point though: as you put it, people often talk as if the “COSMOLOGICAL REDSHIFT” were a Doppler Shift (source going away emits a wave that is RECEIVED at a lower frequency). But it’s not. In the standard cosmological model, the light is ever more stretched by the cosmological expansion itself.

      • brodix Says:


        That’s the point I keep making. The “cosmological expansion” refers to more lightyears between us and those distant galaxies, not expanded lightyears. Where is the stable dimension of space, as measured in lightyears coming from, if the actual space is expanding?
        According to GR, the speed of light is constant to the space, so that in an accelerated frame, both the frame contracts and the speed of light slows and so they are constant. Presumably if space is expanding, then the speed of light would increase to match, in order to remain constant, but that’s not the theory. Which assumes more lightyears, not stretched lightyears.
        (If the lightyears were actually stretched, there wouldn’t be a redshift. It really is Doppler effect being presumed.)
        Since our most fundamental measure of space is determined by the speed of light, then this is not expanding space, but increased distance and so if there is a stable frame defined by the speed of light, it goes back to the original point for why they say it’s an expansion of space and not an expansion in space; That we appear as the center of this expansion.
        Now if redshift is an optical effect, it would be quite logical that we appear at the center, since we are the center of our point of view.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear John: Actually the length can be computed, in spite of the stretching. It is complicated Finslerian/Riemannian geometry, the integral of infinitesimals length along geodesics. It is standard stuff, but graduate level math.

          In this sort of geometry what one uses is co-moving coordinate frames. That approach was invented by Elie Cartan, who also invented Spinor Space (before WWI). Some of this stuff is still a bit sci-fi, even for mathematicians (Atiyah recently said).

          • brodix Says:


            I’m sure it is all quite complicated, but to ask a very simple question, which is “space?” The expanding metric, based on the redshift of this intergalactic light, or the increasing number of stable units in which that expansion is denominated.
            I like to respect the simple as well as the complex and it seems to me the stable units are the denominator and the expanded distance is the numerator.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            John: You touch here on something interesting I alluded to in previous writings. There is something called conformal geometry which is indifferent to a metric (the “units” you are referring to). Without going all the way there, what is important is how the metric imprints the topology.
            All these areas are highly technical, so technical, most theoretical physicists are not even aware of them. I hope I can write something on it soon. It’s connected to the question of the absoluteness of time. How one can find it, and define it.

          • brodix Says:


            If most theorists are not aware of this topology, how does it resolve what appears to be a question of metrics, that of the distance between galaxies increasing, as measured in lightyears? Presumably they wouldn’t blindly accept theories without having examined all factors. Or would they?

            Here is a post where I put up a number of issues that came up in the news, about problems with the cosmology;
            Jan. 23, 2013 @ 15:57 GMT

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Physicists don’t know that much math. They are a few tricks ponies.

            What I am thinking is that topology can define time absolutely. It has to do with Einstein focusing. I will have to explain that in an essay.

            People do not make successful careers in science by looking at all factors. Quite the opposite.

          • brodix Says:

            For me, the issue is explanation, not definition. To explain would seem to require action, while description is more about form.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            I follow the mathematical model. I sent another comment to reply to Massimo’s present essay (of sort) on Scientia Salon, explaining this a bit more… hmmm… What the word? I would not call that insult, but, when I talk half as robustly as that in a comment, he censors it… 😉

  2. Peltast Says:

    Didn’t einstein stole his fórmulas from a French? I think the name is Poincare.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Einstein (1905) got Relativity (word of Poincare’, 1904) from mostly Poincare’ (he sort of admitted it), Lorentz (got the Nobel for formulas generally attributed to Einstein). Poincare’ even demonstrated E = mcc (1900). Einstein also lifted Poincare”s reasoning… (He said so himself!) Another contributor was Fitzgerald.

      On the other hand the photoelectric effect (discovered by a Frenchman in 1834) was explained by Einstein, but the explanation takes two lines (given these lines, it’s completely obvious). And he introduced the Trojan horse of error, as I demonstrated.

      Poincare’, a mathematician, physicist and philosopher, was a much greater scientist than Einstein. Unfortunately he died, from surgery, at 54.

      Ironically, I DO like Einstein very much. He was right to be anti Copenhagen Interpretation of QM.

  3. brodix Says:


    I think Massimo is not having a good day and I have to say that trying to referee all the various viewpoints and personalities commenting there is a tough situation.

    I see your view as a fairly organic form of mathematical platonism and that is meant as descriptive, not confrontational.

    My view is there really are two sides of this issue, the information/form and the energy. Given that any possible effort to describe or explain reality is inherently information, it is hard to make an arguments for energy, without a very careful consideration of what is being described. John Smith was one of the few commentators to really stress this issue and he has been missing lately. As he would observe, you can’t measure motion precisely, since it is in motion! Only its rate between two points.

    I think this applies to much of everything. Consider a wave; We describe it by its frequency and amplitude, but they are only apparent after the energy has been fully extended.

    Then get to Quantum Theory and it’s all about trying to define the structure of this energy and it’s like a mirage, or a vortex of information that seems just out of sight.

    There is a further aspect of this, that energy inherently pushes/expands, since it is energy! While form has to contract in order to define and so tends toward reductionism and thus the collapse of the energy. Which leads to mass.

    Then that there is no way to really divide these two, as there is no way to have energy without form, since without some pushback or pulling on its source, it doesn’t express energy and without energy it is just a void and so no form.

    So if one takes even a moderate bias toward order and form over energy, which is what our brains have to do, in order to have any sense of solidity, then one will always have that sense of being slightly in the past, behind the curve, because the state of the present is the totality of the energy and much of it remains not fully defined by the form. Such as a wave that hasn’t peeked, so its amplitude isn’t manifest, etc.

    Mass is energy in some stable form, so this is very much a physical dichotomy and not just intellectual.

    Sort of dumping this on you, as it certainly won’t pass muster on Scientia Salon. Can’t push my luck with Massimo.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Will read in detail later. I did not go on Scientia Salon, I was busy doing other things, including a new essay. I don’t understand why Massimo tries to micro-manage all comments.
      Well, actually, I do: it is to keep the academics around. Massimo stopped me several times when I said fully justified things, he admitted himself, but they could be viewed as critiques against the big time professors, and they had suffered enough already, he insisted…

      • brodix Says:

        ” they had suffered enough already”

        Lol. Which goes very much to my point. The more ordered and established a structure is, the more rooted in the past, for better or worse, it must be.

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