How would the Universe change if we grew an extra dimension? (Synopsis)

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.” -Rod Serling

If we take a look at a two-dimensional surface, it’s pretty apparent that we’re pretty omnipotent in comparison. We can draw or erase anything in that dimension, add or remove objects, rearrange their internal structures without leaving them any defense, etc. All of that might lead you to wonder whether there’s the possibility of a fourth spatial dimension out there, and whether that could be part of our Universe?

The four-dimensional analogue of a 3D cube is an 8-cell (left); the 24-cell (right) has no 3D analogue. Extra dimensions bring with them extra possibilities. Image credit: Jason Hise with Maya and Macromedia Fireworks.
The four-dimensional analogue of a 3D cube is an 8-cell (left); the 24-cell (right) has no 3D analogue. Extra dimensions bring with them extra possibilities. Image credit: Jason Hise with Maya and Macromedia Fireworks.

Geometrically, it’s certainly possible. From a historical perspective, there’s no reason a dimension needs to stay the same size over time, either. In 1980, Alan Chodos and Steve Detweiler showed that a Universe that began with four spatial dimensions could have easily evolved into a Universe very much like the one we see today. Building on that, it would be possible for a very small extra dimension to grow large over time. If it did, the consequences would be devastating, but fascinating.

A computer-generated rendering of a rubble-pile asteroid and a debris field of surrounding rubble. Based on a 3-D model of asteroid Itokawa by Doug Ellison, and with data from NASA-JPL. Image credit: Kevin Gill/flickr.
A computer-generated rendering of a rubble-pile asteroid and a debris field of surrounding rubble. Based on a 3-D model of asteroid Itokawa by Doug Ellison, and with data from NASA-JPL. Image credit: Kevin Gill/flickr.

Come find out the full story of what it would mean if the Universe grew an extra dimension!

47 thoughts on “How would the Universe change if we grew an extra dimension? (Synopsis)

  1. On the topic of extra dimensions: Was there time before the Big Bang?

    I’m speaking of the Big Bang as currently thought of, not the primordial atom, but rather the post expansion Big Bang. It has been repeated many times that expansion existed prior to the Big Bang and it went on for an undetermined amount of time. I was wondering if the reason we can’t determine the length of time expansion took place is because we weren’t in a 3+1 dimension universe prior to the Big Bang. Time wasn’t a stand-alone thing in our universe during expansion.

    Much like prior to the universe cooling to below ~246 GeV of equilibrium thermal energy during the quark epoch there were only 3 fundamental forces. There was no separate weak nuclear or electromagnetic force. It was all just electroweak force. I’m wondering if time is like that at the Big Bang. Did the Big Bang mark the point where we transitioned from a 3 to a 3+1 universe?

  2. Ethan,
    There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that our universe has had more or fewer dimensions than it presently has, as everything we can OBSERVE and MEASURE (vs. made up things drawn on paper with a pencil, or paint and canvas, or modeled with a computer) show a universe with three dimensional objects and time. No universe we can observe (our own) has ever been observed ‘growing’ another dimension. Imagining it so does not make it so even when you are Mister Rogers, or have a Ph.D in astronomy. Computer models aren’t evidence of anything, just that you can paint pretty mathematical pictures that have nothing to do with reality whatsoever (you can do this in any medium actually, we call it FICTION), just like you can write blog articles that have no basis in actual science. The only thing Alan Chodos and Steve Detweiler “showed” was that they can imagine things and then model them using math on a computer as a medium. That also isn’t “showing” anything anymore than photo-shopping Big-Foot into your family portrait ‘shows’ he exists in the real world. They just made something up, that’s all. That isn’t evidence, it does not even remotely begin to meet the burden of proof in science.
    .
    You would also seem to be delusional about what constitutes a ‘two dimensional’ object. There aren’t any two dimensional objects in existence you can interact with outside of abstraction (your imagination). If you draw or erase something on a piece of paper, you are scraping pencil lead, (or ink) off on a thin piece of paper or whatever, all of which are three dimensional objects interacting. If you depict something on a computer screen, you are merely viewing the surface of a three dimensional object emitting or reflecting the light your eye (another three dimensional object) is detecting. There actually is no two-dimensional anything going on whatsoever, except as abstract depiction (visual illusion), you are eliding from visual representation (2D perspective or depiction) into reality (homostatization/reifying) which has nothing to do whatsoever with what actual spatial dimensions are or how they function.
    .
    For someone claiming to be a scientist, you are an incredibly sloppy thinker.

  3. The strong interaction is approximately two orders of magnitude stronger than the electromagnetic. The weak interaction is something like four orders of magnitude weaker than the electromagnetic. On the other hand, gravity is a whopping 37 orders of magnitude weaker than the weak interaction! I’ve heard it hypothesised that gravity is that weak because it is already propagating through these hypothetical extra dimensions, while the other forces can’t do so. If gravity couldn’t propagate through these extra dimensions, then perhaps the disparity in its strength relative to the other three interactions might not be so great.

    It seems Ethan discussed this some years back, before I came along:

    http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2015/12/11/the-greatest-unsolved-problem-in-theoretical-physics-synopsis/

    Has there been any progress on that front?

  4. Could our time be a spacial dimension to higher dimensional beings? If you extend your 2D world into a flip book, the flipping of the pages would be time passing for the 2D beings. They exist in in the third dimension, but are just hurtling through it, unable to control it, seeing only one slice at a time. Anyone moving in 3D through the flip book would be a time traveler to the 2D folks.

  5. @ Denier

    ” I was wondering if the reason we can’t determine the length of time expansion took place is because we weren’t in a 3+1 dimension universe prior to the Big Bang. ”

    From standard viewpoint of inflation, no, nothing so dramatic. The reason we can’t determine that time is because inflation “erased” or thinned out to nothing, any and all information about anything before inflation. Sort of like trying to figure original temperature of the water spring, by examining the store bought water in the bottle. Too many things happened in between. Parts that were perhaps causally connected before inflation, are disconnected afterwards. So you can’t (even in principal) get to them and maybe figure out how much time it took.

  6. CFT @#2, Ethan is addressing a common science-layman topic, and describing the realistic implications IF common flights-of-fancy were true.

    In short, he is explaining that there is NO macroscopic “fourth dimension”. Have fun with Dr. Who and sci-fi / fantasy stories, but we don’t have a 4th dimension of any appreciable size.

    I can see you are upset at two specific details in his article, but I don’t understand your anger or what drives your personal disparagement of Ethan.

  7. Denier,
    ‘Before the Big Bang’ makes two universe sized assumptions science can not presently answer. Science depends upon causality and that requires time to allow process or change to be possible. If you wish to go beyond that intrinsic limitation, you are treading into metaphysics which has no basis outside of desire and faith.

  8. @Carl,
    ‘If wishes were horses then beggars would ride’ is a pretty non-existent foundation on which to construct an argument about anything but pure fantasy, and does not illuminate anything about the spatial properties of our universe. Except in the abstract imagination, there is no way two and three dimensional ‘objects’ can change into one another or physically interact at all. Saying something is ‘geometrically possible’ only means you can draw a picture of something diagrammatically sans the time dimension, it has nothing to do with what is possible ‘dimensionally over time’ (whatever that means) much less spatially in reality. When you try to intersect a three dimensional abstraction with a two dimensional abstraction (intentionally or unintentionally) you get an optical illusion like something M.C. Escher would draw:
    .
    https://giphy.com/gifs/day-w9yIu38Qa6Vnq
    .
    Which is not profound or explanatory in any way. It’s just visual sight gag intended to be silly.
    .

    This is just another of Ethan’s poorly reasoned fluff pieces trying to sound ‘sciency’, so I’m treating it as such.

  9. Before speaking intelligently about “extra dimensions,” wouldn’t it be a novel idea to first define what a dimension is?
    Basic high school geometry: A point is a virtual locus with no dimension. A line is one dimensional. A plane is two dimensional. A volume is three dimensional. These dimensions are geometric axes. Since it takes “time” for things to move through space we often call it a fourth dimension, as in the usual 3+1 language.

    If anyone has an interest in a scholarly paper on dimensions, I again recommend Kelley Ross’ piece at
    http://friesian.com/curved-1.htm
    To the point here he wrote:
    “… that for a line or a plane or a space to be “curved” it must occupy a space of higher dimension, i.e. that a curved line requires a plane, a curved plane requires a volume, a curved volume requires some fourth dimension, etc.”

    Now, what fourth dimension (besides “time” as above) is there (empirically verified beyond mere imagination?) Volume is completely described by three axes, as above. Does “beyond volume” have any meaning as a dimension besides imaginary b.s.? No.

    Finally, last call to explain, as CFT put it in previous comments, “…what the hell are you measuring anyway” if reality depends on observation?

    Same for imaginary dimensions.

  10. Nothing wrong with the occasional hypothetical.
    And if exploring the implications of impossible situations proves that they are in fact impossible, doesn’t that teach us something?

  11. @Michael Mooney,
    THANK YOU.
    “… that for a line or a plane or a space to be “curved” it must occupy a space of higher dimension, i.e. that a curved line requires a plane, a curved plane requires a volume, a curved volume requires some fourth dimension, etc.”
    .
    Very beautifully said.

  12. @ Michael Mooney

    now that you’ve grasped euclidian geometry, maybe it’s time to learn that there are others as well. Those that do not behave like euclidian dimensions. When you learn how dimensions behave in those other geometries, maybe you start understanding SR.

  13. Sinisa, I can only presume you have not read or do not understand the Ross paper I linked above. It is all over the historical development and ontology of non-Euclidian geometry and imaginary dimensions. I welcome your scholarly critique and also your take on the empirical science of observing the “behavior” of non-Euclidean “extra dimensions.”
    Ps: Your condescension only degrades the required objectivity of good science.

  14. So mm doesn’t understand mathematics either. So much for years of “studying” relativity. Just another denier or CFT.

  15. “Your condescension only degrades the required objectivity of good science.”

    LOLZ.. you’ve been doing far worse on that part to anyone who doesn’t agree with your crack-pottery… which would be mostly everyone.

  16. @John,
    Flatland is absurdist satire. I have read it. That’s what it is.
    @Sinisa Lazarek, dean,
    don’t be pompous. You aren’t in any position brag about anything, and are far more adept at parroting authority than thinking through logical arguments.
    Now that you have brought non-Euclidian geometry into the picture, why don’t you be a luv and explain the logical hierarchy of dependency of ideas? Those other non-Euclidian geometries are actually logically dependent upon Euclidian geometry to be valid, and not vice versa. To do ANYTHING with non Euclidian geometry, you have to analyze your output in relation to Euclidian geometry as a frame of reference with some kind of transform, As non-Euclidian geometry still depends upon angles and lines etc. to be relevant and to function mathematically. Curvature can’t even be accurately measured or compared without straight lines, which you well know, so ditch the snarky attitude.

  17. I’m not surprised at your lack of mathematical understanding CFT, but it is good to see you demonstrate it.

  18. I have now had enough insults from Dean and Sinisa, so I will not be replying to their further attacks, if any. I cancel my invitation to Sinisa for a critique on Ross and any evidence for the “behavior” of these non-Euclidean “dimensions.”

    If you can not at least be civil, there is no use for further debate.

    Yes, there is a ubiquitous debate at large about the *doctrines* of relativity, now supposed (by the indoctrinated) to be beyond criticism…. all “crack-pots!”

    I’ve witnessed it for decades. Opinions have no place in science. It must be objective. Empirical evidence is part of the scientific method, as “validation” for the relevance of theoretical physics to the real world. If there were no real world there would be nothing to “measure.” Is that not obvious?
    (A little philosophy before I take a break from being insulted here.)

  19. If there were no real world there would be nothing to “measure.” Is that not obvious?
    (A little philosophy before I take a break from being insulted here.)

    Not good philosophy, mind you: ontology is not a prerequisite for methodological naturalism (or anything else, for that matter).

  20. If anyone has an interest in a scholarly paper on dimensions, I again recommend Kelley Ross’ piece

    Oh, man, the lede is an epigraph* from precisely the wrong choice of Hume’s writing. Bonus point for aimless inKantation later down.

    P.S. Four is three too many.

  21. Is it possible to have multiple time dimensions at once? How would you construct the matching 5 vector and the vector product?

  22. MM:

    Empirical evidence is part of the scientific method, as “validation” for the relevance of theoretical physics to the real world.

    I agree. Empirical evidence for SR’s correctness is given by the Michelson-Morley experiment, by the observation of atmospherically produced muons decaying much slower than their half-life would predict, by the SR and GR corrections used by the GPS system, by RHIC projectiles indirectly observed to be ‘pancaked’, and probably numerous other empirical verifications.

    Against this, you offer…what? As far as I can tell just bluster. You offer no explanation for why the results of these experiments are inconsistent with your ideas and fully consistent with relativity. You offer no real alternative hypothesis that can be tested.

    The only vague bit of a hypothesis you’ve ever expressed is the idea that an object’s past acceleration causes clocks to desynchronize, but this (a) confuses SR with GR, (b) doesn’t account for the observed change in rate of time flow and all physical processes, and (c) is empirically refuted by relativistic effects being observed for particles that are produced with a relativistic velocity (in relation to an observer), and thus never having undergone acceleration.

    So while I agree that empirical evidence is important to science as a means of confirming/lending confidence to a theory, it seems to me all the empirical evidence here is on the side of SR, and none of it is on the side of your claim that SR is wrong. By bringing in ontological arguments you are doing the reverse of defending your claims via empiricism; you are actually abandoning empiricism for more deductive, philosophical types of arguments.

  23. Jose:

    If you extend your 2D world into a flip book, the flipping of the pages would be time passing for the 2D beings.

    I believe that was part of the background for the sci-fi book Darwinia. I.e. our entire existence is just stored data, like a CD. We only have an experience of time because one of the users is ‘playing’ our record. The sudden appearance of an alien ecosystem in Europe (in the book’s plot) is explained as another user overwriting some of our storage space with their own preferred stuff. It was an okay book.

    CFT:

    does not illuminate anything about the spatial properties of our universe.

    Yes it does; it shows there are not four equally sized spatial dimensions in which the fundamental forces operate the same. There are either only three, or more with the others being very small and not impacting the fundamental forces. It’s a ‘what-if’ analysis. Those are often very useful in science, as a way of weeding out ideas before we spend money on them. Hypothesize X. Calculate what it mathematically entails. Ask/observe whether reality is consistent with that. If not, reject X…before you waste any significant time and effort trying to test it directly.

    I expect Ethan writes for a lot of people who might ask questions about things like extra dimensions, not just curmudgeons like you. So it seems reasonable to me that he might walk lay people through what a fourth spatial dimension would entail, and then talk about why physicists rule it out as a realistic possibility. That sort of article might not interest you, but there’s nothing ‘sloppy thinking’ about it. Its very much in the same theme as xkcd’s ‘what if?’ series; example.

  24. @eric,
    If your uncle was a women, she would be your aunt. So the hell what? How does that illuminate anything? It doesn’t. If you can make a logically inept comparison between two things which are not mathematically, or structurally equivalent, and then elide from one to the other without any known physical process, you aren’t doing anything helpful, quite the opposite.
    Except when being used euphemistically, or for cheap science fiction, time is not the fourth dimension. I never have said otherwise. I never said it was equivalent to x, y, or z dimensionally, And I most certainly do deny you can put it into such a pointless conjecture like Minkowski space and say it has anything to do with reality. Minkowski space treats your time variable like it was just another spatial dimension like x,y, or z, when clearly it isn’t.
    ‘What if’ all you like. Neither you nor anyone else has ever seen a two dimensional object and never will, except as depicted on a surface as a 2d abstract diagram. It is not even possible to see a two dimensional object if one were possible (don’t ask me how), as there would be nothing for a single cotton-picking photon to bounce off of before it pinged off the cones and rods in the back of your eye. If an object has no volume, you have nothing to look at, or weigh, or in any way measure, or physically interact with macroscopically, or microscopically. Sorry if this eludes you, but it really isn’t negotiable, that’s just the way three dimensional objects in existence are. You are not translatable into two dimensions, crushing you flat with a huge steam press wouldn’t make you any more 2D, just flatter and squished, you would still have a smaller but still positive z (albeit you would also be dead). Two dimensional objects can not carry mass, or volume, they can not contain or interact even with other 2d abstractions, making them absolutely useless for physics, or understanding how three dimensional objects in reality actually behave. In all physics diagrams, the third dimension is often not mentioned, to simplify the math, but it is still present, as objects can not actually fall in 2D, nor can any other physical process occur in 2D.
    .
    Flatland was useless because it implied there was somehow physical interaction (physics) between two and one dimensional objects existing in flatland (a plane with positive x and y, but zero z, treating lines (women) as really sharp pointy sticks interacting dangerously with various other geometric shapes (men). One and two dimensional objects do not interact, they can intersect diagramatically, but that is visual abstraction, not physics. Absurdity goes into overdrive when Flatland minions metaphysically interact with three dimensional objects outside of their 2D plane world entirely (with implied religious overtones), which dimensionally has no spatial or dimensional overlap with their own. Having a z crossection of zero depth doesn’t mean your cross section is very small, or incredibly thin (like something sharp or pointy), it means it’s non-existent. Now do your elementary school math. What is X * Y * 0 =??? No matter how big x and y are, if z is zero, you literally get nothing.
    Sloppy definitions lead to sloppy ambiguous reasoning, lead to atrocious physics.

  25. cft, Flatland was mostly social commentary. The fact that you can’t understand that isn’t surprising, but it does render your opinion nothing but a joke.

  26. Just a quick note on the way outta here, re Eric #25 :

    ” By bringing in ontological arguments you are doing the reverse of defending your claims via empiricism; you are actually abandoning empiricism for more deductive, philosophical types of arguments.”

    FYI: Ontology is the study of “What it is” in the real world. It assumes a real world. This is based on the fact that a real world must exist before it can be observed or measured in any way.
    Empirical science is the ‘backbone’ of ontology. That is how it distinguishes between models, however theoretical or fanciful, and the actual world which a theory attempts to model. Observable evidence.
    I know that is out of fashion since Minkowski invented “spacetime” and Einstein liked it and replaced the force of gravity (“Spooky action at a distance”) with this non-entity (concept)… a curved “fabric” of space woven together with time. (Don’t ask what they ARE… Ontology!!)

    Now of course it remains a rubber sheet with a ball making it sag… in the minds of all good students of general relativity.

    So much for a ‘quick note.’ (The End.)

  27. “Observable evidence.”

    Of course, since the predictions of relativity have been tested, and observed to be valid, your objections are as solid as the notion of aether — that is, completely unconnected to reality.

  28. FYI: Ontology is the study of “What it is” in the real world. It assumes a real world.

    That’s a truly remarkable failure to understand the meaning of a word that one is trying to use for the purpose of argument. Monist idealism is the antipodal ontological stance to monist realism, fer cryin’ out loud.

  29. For Narad on my use of “Ontology”:

    http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/ontology

    “In general, ontology… is the study or concern about what kinds of things exist – what entities there are in the universe.”

    This would clarify what “spacetime” is, if anybody cared. Also “extra dimensions.”

    http://research-methodology.net/research-philosophy/ontology/

    “Ontology: the researcher’s view of the nature of reality or being…
    Identification of ontology at the start of the research process is critically important as it determines the choice of the research design.”

    This is very relevant to discussion of non-Euclidean geometry and the nature of “curved space” as discussed here.

    https://theperformancesolution.com/earth-ontology-epistemology/

    “Epistemology is concerned with the questions “What do you know?” and “How do you know it?”, whilst ontology is concerned with “What is there?”

    So, Is there an entity, “spacetime?”… etc. That would be essential to any intelligent discussion of it. That goes hand in hand with the epistemology of ” What do we know about it and how do we know it?”

    (Nothing to do with your fixation on monism.)

    Now I’ll try again to leave this forum to those adept at insulting “crack-pots”… all critics of relativity… without addressing the above issues at all! (Ethan!)

  30. Sorry about the duplication. Just trying to get around censorship. I am tech impaired. Navigating here is difficult.
    Maybe I’m banned. ? (again.)

  31. So, Is there an entity, “spacetime?”… etc. That would be essential to any intelligent discussion of it.

    The evidence seems to support that conclusion, yes. The evidence does not support the conclusion of a preferred frame of reference, because we have had the capability to detect such a thing since the late 1800s, we’ve experimentally tested for it, and we have not observed it. We have observed the opposite of it, in fact. To the extent that your idea of a preferred frame of reference can be tested experimentally, it fails. What is your explanation for this failure?

  32. P.S. posts with more than one link do not instantly post; they are held for approval (to prevent bots and spammers from filling boards with advertisements). So no you weren’t censored or banned or otherwise treated badly.

  33. MM,

    Fine, let’s talk about ontology. In past threads, you have suggested that the true, ontological shape of the earth is spherical. How do you know this? Presumably, you can only know this by measuring the distance from the center of the earth to various points on its surface, finding that these distances are (nearly) identical and thereby concluding that the earth’s “true” shape is a sphere.

    Another observer, one moving rapidly with respect to the earth, will disagree with your measurements and find that the distance between the center and the surface depends on the direction in which this distance is measured. It is shorter in the direction of motion than in the perpendicular direction.

    My question then is, ontologically speaking, how do you come to the conclusion that the observer that measures the earth to be a sphere is correct and the one measuring a non-spherical earth is incorrect? How do you know that the earth is not “ontologically” pancake-shaped and only appears to us to be spherical because we are not moving with respect to it?

    This may sound like an odd question, but it really cuts to the heart of the matter. By simply assuming that the measurement we do is the only correct one, you have implicitly defined our reference frame as special or preferred. In and of itself, that isn’t really such a big deal. It does, however, conflict with the experimental data that eric has spoken of, which indicates that our reference frame is NOT in any way special.

    I have also tried, by analogy with velocity, to make you see that what you think of as objective reality is not really what is objectively real. From past conversations, it’s clear that you have no problem with the notion that your velocity can “really” be zero, or any other nonzero number depending on who measures it. Right now, (presumably) your velocity is zero when measured with respect to the surface of the earth. It is some much greater number with respect to the center of the earth. It is even greater when measured with respect to the center of the sun or the center of the galaxy, etc. You don’t object that Galileo’s idea of relativity of velocity overturned the notion of objective reality. Why should you make this objection to Einstein’s idea of relativity of spatial distances?

  34. I can’t seem to walk away while the ontology of spacetime and the “shape of Earth” (re: length contraction) issues are still being debated here.
    To Eric, #35:
    Me; So, Is there an entity, “spacetime?”… etc. That would be essential to any intelligent discussion of it.

    Eric: “The evidence seems to support that conclusion, yes.”

    This will require more repetition, since you apparently didn’t read or don’t remember my ontological challenge to Ethan’s post, “What Is Spacetime?” and his reply.

    He said that spacetime is fundamental… that “Spacetime is spacetime.” (I said that was not an answer. No reply.) He said it was like asking What is number 1? I said it was just a number until you designate a referent in the real world… One what?
    Likewise, “Spacetime” is just a word/concept until there is empirical evidence that it is an actual entity.

    We all presumably know that Einstein adopted the concept from Minkowski to explain gravity, since he could not accept it as a force acting at a distance. So instead of such a force holding planets in their orbits, he decided that space and time were entities (coalesced into one entity) curved by mass, and that this compound entity guides planets in their “free fall through curved space.” Yet there is *no evidence* that spacetime is such an entity and no explanation of the mechanics of how “it” guides masses through an imaginary non-Euclidean (model) “curved space” or “spacetime.

    I think an eventual understanding of the Higgs Field will take gravitational theory out of the realm of Einstein’s imagination and his choking on “Spooky action at a distance” … with empirical evidence for an actual field of particles/ energy quanta filling all space and connecting everything in the universe. But that still seems a long way off, considering the technical challenges and the statistical nightmare of sorting it all out, as at CERN.

    Ps: Thanks for the tip on the delay in posting my #33.

  35. To Sean T (#37),
    One last repetition:** All** empirical evidence (observation/ measurement) on the shape of Earth confirms that it is nearly spherical. There is no evidence whatsoever for a “pancaked Earth” (the actual physical body.)

    I have never argued against the theoretical possibility that it might *appear flattened* (in the direction of approach) to a frame of reference approaching at a significant fraction of light speed. That would be an *image* of Earth, carried by light, distorted by high speed, requiring the Lorentz transform to correct for that distortion and find its “proper length” diameter.
    Again… last time for that. Ethan still refuses to clarify his contradictory statements on length contraction… which I refuse to repeat yet again.

  36. For Narad on my use of “Ontology”

    I know what ‘ontology’ means. Do you? This seems highly unlikely, given the mixing and matching of Hume and Kant. Distinguish Bishop Berkely and Hume for me.

    So, Is there an entity, “spacetime?”… etc. That would be essential to any intelligent discussion of it. That goes hand in hand with the epistemology of ” What do we know about it and how do we know it?”

    (Nothing to do with your fixation on monism.)

    “Fixation”? I might as well point to your “fixation” on the word ‘it’, which is really just addle-headed reification, or – properly speaking – begging the question. If you don’t understand that epistemology doesn’t require ontology, you shouldn’t be using the words.

  37. Likewise, “Spacetime” is just a word/concept until there is empirical evidence that it is an actual entity.

    The empirical evidence is that we observe (x^2+y^2+z^2+t^2) to be conserved in all frames of reference, but not x, y, z, and t separately. Thus spacetime is the objective ‘thing’, while x, y, z, and t are mere manifestations of it the same way a magnetic field or electrical field are manifestations of a single EM force.

    with empirical evidence for an actual field of particles/ energy quanta filling all space and connecting everything in the universe.

    Many QM wavefunctions are (in principle) infinite in extent, so I have little problem with your idea. Spooky action at a distance is IMO conceptually easily dealt with in QM by recognizing that a spread out wavefunction is not magically interacting with something it’s not causally connected to, it’s just spread out much further in spacetime than our non-quantum, Newtonian intuitions expect it to be.

    Your particle idea, however, doesn’t address your problem, because even if wide-spread fields and particles are responsible for effects we currently refer to as ‘spooky action at a distance’, those fields and particles still apparently obey the rules of SR, and don’t indicate any preferred frame of reference.

    Which brings us back to my question, which you didn’t answer. The empirical evidence supports SR in every particular. Your non-SR ideas have failed, all experiments that distinguish between a preferred frame and no preferred frame return observations consistent with no preferred frame. What is your explanation for this utter, empirical failure of your hypothesis?

    All** empirical evidence (observation/ measurement) on the shape of Earth confirms that it is nearly spherical. There is no evidence whatsoever for a “pancaked Earth” (the actual physical body.)

    This is again incorrect, and you’ve been given the evidence. Atmospheric muons reach the Earth before decaying when they shouldn’t. Since time in their frame of reference is passing normally for them, the only possible explanation for them being able to do this is if everything in their direction of travel – the atmosphere, the Earth itself, etc. – is foreshortened. From our frame of reference, this same effect appears to be ‘their time is dilated’ That’s only because we are not moving with respect to the Earth.

    Your response to this, IIRC, is to claim all laboratory half-life measurements of muons must be wrong!!! IOW when confronted with evidence that contradicts your idea, you deny the evidence in order to maintain the idea. That’s not empiricism, that kookery.

  38. MM,

    You’re still begging the question. How do you know that you are right when you say the earth is a sphere and that the “spaceship guy” is wrong when he says it’s flattened? What is your objective basis for concluding that you’re wrong and he’s right? Why is your reference frame special? What if spaceship guy has an object he claims is round? You would see it as flattened. Are you still right or is he? How can you tell?

  39. Who here disagrees with the fact that things must exist before they can be observed? That fact alone destroys the SR argument that it all depends on how you “look at it” from whatever frame of reference.

    Narad, read my links and comments in #33, I will not repeat just because you don’t get it.

    Sean T, about “begging the question”: Read my often repeated answer in my first statement above. Also the physics of the formation of stars and planets makes them near spherical. That is objective science. They of course vary in how oblate they are as spheroids, but they do not physically vary with how you look at them.

    Also, Earth’s actual physical atmosphere does not vary in depth/ height as each incoming muon arrives. I cited a critical paper on that once, but of course, being critical of SR, it was immediately dismissed.

    Finally, in fact, an image of an object (variable “to high speed observers”) is not the physical object itself (relatively stable.)

    All of the above is repetition, not that the indoctrinated here get it, as you are too busy parroting standard relativity doctrine.

    I’m (pretty much) done here until/ unless Ethan steps up to the plate and directly addresses the issues I have raised.

  40. Who here disagrees with the fact that things must exist before they can be observed? That fact alone destroys the SR argument that it all depends on how you “look at it” from whatever frame of reference.

    Nobody is disputing that the Earth exists. The question is whether it’s shape and the passage of time on its surface are properties like it’s velocity – i.e. quantities measured relative to some other object – or whether these properties are independent of any frame of reference. You seem to be claiming the latter. Every observation, all of empiricism, supports the former.

    Also the physics of the formation of stars and planets makes them near spherical. That is objective science

    This is because in a stellar cloud most of the hydrogen is moving relatively slowly compared to the other hydrogen atoms and because you’re considering it from the perspective of the star itself. I hesitate to use this word because you’ll misunderstand it and abuse it, but the frame of reference in which an object is considered unmoving is called that object’s proper frame of reference. Yes indeed, in a star or planet’s proper frame of reference, it is basically spherical. But it is not necessarily spherical in some other object’s proper frame of reference. Nor can we claim the ‘proper frame of reference’ is the preferred frame, because every object moving in relation to another object has a different proper frame of reference. The Earth’s proper frame is not a universal proper frame.

    Finally, in fact, an image of an object (variable “to high speed observers”) is not the physical object itself (relatively stable.)

    It’s not merely the image that changes. Go back and look at Sinisa’s little train video again. If we have a 4m train car moving on a track that passes through a 3m tunnel with doors on both ends, then if you get it moving fast enough you can close both tunnel doors with the train inside. Exactly how do you square that with your claim that it merely looks like a 2m train at fast enough speeds? Did the tunnel’s eyes get fooled?

  41. More question begging. The laws of physics give a different result for an observer moving rapidly toward a large object in gravitational equilibrium. That’s rather the whole point of the statement that there are no preferred reference frames. The moving observer applies the same laws of physics as the stationary one and obtains a different result. The moving observer says that the laws of physics imply that the earth should be flattened and not spherical. Both observers are correctly applying the same laws of physics to the situation and getting different results. How do we determine which observer is right and which is wrong? How do we know that the earth is not “really” pancake shaped and only appears spherical to us because of our low velocity?

  42. Who here disagrees with the fact that things must exist before they can be observed?

    You seem to be unable to coherently define the term that I’ve boldfaced despite waving around the word ‘ontology’ like a Chippendale Dancer.

  43. well if we look at the basis form geometry – Dimension – 1D is basically a Dot . The Earth was just that the start.. 2D is a straight line– The Egyptians was in 2D our world was 2 Dimensional, if you look at there images, hieroglyphs, on stone slabs there drawing show only a 2D viewpoint,. they were only able to walk forward and upwards, notice how both eyes are one side of their heads, and never shown front facing images of themselves, they were only drawing front facing when it looked like an Alien scene, with the round head, they thought this was alien when in fact it could of been their future selves from the Higher Dimensions. This is how i think they were able to build those great pyramids, not efort of lifting was possible or needed, they simple had to lay each slab down on the ground,, and wait for night to Fold into Day, and low and behold because the earth then did Not Rotate it couldnt possibly if the earth was flat,.. it simply folded, and they all saw that the slabs they had layed the day before had suddenly become upright high up, so how it would of been impossible for them to do it, they thought a god had somehow done it, so they continued the same again, and layed more down, as night folded into day again, the stone slabs with out fail had stacked up high, ( The folding of the earth in 2D was creating a pryamid with each day pass, on the fourth day it was complete, the sun which never was fully seen had once lingered on a LINE a void, stuck and unseen but the power of the pyramid made the light rays shine on sanded slabs and then creating light all around, much after the invention of the MIrror… which then brought us to the 3rd Dimension.. we was able to observe who we was and see ourselfs for the first time and this whole new perspective and so we was able to be whole… Full living breathing beings.. we no longer needed the use of the 3rd eye.. the penile gland ( this image was drawn countless times) in the past, and is found to be the eye to the spirit world and our ability to tele- communicate, and not even eat food, we had the divine nectar that was produced by the penile gland to feed us.in our world today we have a large population go about there days, with same gland, but calcified over time, locking them into this reality, and closes them off from spirit! IN this new 3D the earth was able to rotate, it became round…there was a time when the gods and monsters ruled the earth and was only seen by the active penile gland the 3rd eye..we are now moving into the 5th Dimension and our world as with basic laws has multiplied in ways that go back to the simple maths Dimensions.. like cells the dimensions grew.. just like there is a secret pattern that runs and lives in the laws of science! its easy to understand if you look at the 5 Dimension .diagram it shows you how things have grown on a physical sense, now imagine what we will be able to do… Fly,teleport,Time travel… the universe is changing and you all better be prepared, many will be enlightened,, the powers getting stronger..we as a world are growing and we duplicate every possible choice and outcome that could ever be… and to think we was once 1D.. a dot… and a person as flat as a piece of paper.

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