Membrane Theory (String Theory) And possiblilty of alternate deminsions

By on February 21, 2009 11:45:23 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Attila464

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Discuss. Membrane Theory is basically a theory given to be true in science.

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February 21, 2009 12:10:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Membrane Theory is basically a theory given to be true in science.

No its not. They have not found (to my knowledge) a way to test it, therefore it currently falls under the same catagory as UFOs and creationism.

Not to mention, there are multiple theories contending to fill this particular gap in our knowledge... I'll edit again in a minute with a link to at least one other.

Edit: seems finding the article I was looking for is harder than I expected... but there was a good one on SciAm sometime last year...

Edit 2: Found it! Heres a link: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-self-organizing-quantum-universe

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February 21, 2009 12:35:22 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

 it is not far fetched as creationism  or UFOS not even same catagorey. IMO String Theory is the most viable out of all the other possible soulotions. possible proof Also i suggest you should look up the AdS/CFT connection this further backs up the M theory although it is still a "Theory" It is much more widely excepted then UFO's and more then creationism. 

But i am perfectly up for a respectful arguement as long as we keep it civil.

 

 

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February 21, 2009 12:45:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I hadn't seen that article before. Very interesting.

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February 21, 2009 12:54:05 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

It's a theory that as alway mentioned is currently untestable although it does have a significant basis in mathematics as well as the support of some very prominent physicists. I personally find this theory and the idea of "brane cosmology" that arises from it to be ascetically pleasing. The idea that a single theory can describe *everything* from the smallest to the largest is very appealing.

Even though it is only a theory it does (as far as I know not being a physicist) accurately describe things from the level of the universe (and beyond) down to the level of quantum mechanics. Such a “theory” that can unify all current knowledge and be at least as accurate as the current understanding in each of these fields is more than “just a theory”. Many have described M-theory as “too elegant to be wrong”.

I actually brought up the concept of M-theory (M is not necessarily “membrane”, read the following article and follow a few links) recently in regards to a theological discussion. Not to get into that discussion here but the point is that the idea of a multiverse, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse, as an eternally existing continuous source of new bubble universes seems a lot more reasonable as an origin of all things than the vague idea of an infinitely powerful “creator” that has existed forever without beginning.

Also the PBS special, The Elegant Universe, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/, is a very good survey of these and other related concepts. You can view most if not all of this three hour special online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html.

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February 21, 2009 1:07:46 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Do you believe creationism is more far-fetched than its competing theories (big bang, etc)?

EDIT: Mumblefrantz - is a creator without beginning crazier than a multiverse without a biginning?

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February 21, 2009 1:32:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

It is not untestable. I have read an article (cant remeber where) that outlined several tests they wanted to try. One involved sensors under the Antartic ice looking for particles. And of course CERN will surely cast some light on the Theory.

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February 21, 2009 1:45:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting -OW- Athena,
Do you believe creationism is more far-fetched than its competing theories (big bang, etc)?

EDIT: Mumblefrantz - is a creator without beginning crazier than a multiverse without a biginning?

First of all, creationism isn't a theory. It isn't even a hypothesis. It is utterly untestable and therefore not science.

Also, what is a 'beginning?'

A beginning and end are properties of time. Time is a property of some universes within the multiverse just as space makes up dimensions. Asking about a 'multiverse without beginning' is about the same as asking 'Is this painting longer than the color blue?'

Heres an analogy for thinking about the universe (note, this is a VERY simplified analogy):

Imagine a 3 dimensional pyramid. Now, the 2 dimensions parrallel to the base represent the 3 spacial dimensions of the universe. The third dimension of the pyramid (height) represents time. Now, think about the area over the top of the pyramid. There is nothing there. But how can that be? Since time is a property of the universe, time does not exist without the universe. Therefore, there is no time before the universe. The main difference between time and space is that time has 'causality,' a change which happens at one point of time affects the changes in times afterwards, but not before.

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February 21, 2009 3:01:10 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Do you believe creationism is more far-fetched than its competing theories (big bang, etc)?

EDIT: Mumblefrantz - is a creator without beginning crazier than a multiverse without a biginning?

Absolutely.

Actually I don't think the big bang is really a theory, as far as I know it's as close to proven as one can get if on the off chance it is still technically a "theory".

The problem with pointing to a creator as the source of all our origins only defers the question by the moments hesitation that it takes to ask "then who or what created the creator?". It's a never ending loop. All religions that I know answer this question by stating that the creator existed forever with no beginning. But this flies in the face of every experience that I know of.

Basically the idea is that the most complex and intelligent thing that has ever existed, or will ever exist, has existed forever in a total vacuum until at some point in time he chose to create all that we know. That's not how things work. Things start out simple and gradually over time complexity increases. Also the assumption that an animate being existed with no life support whatsoever for an infinity of infinities before finally creating all that exists is beyond credulous.

I certainly find the idea that an inanimate framework for life has existed forever far easier to fathom over the idea that a supreme being existed without origin before creating everything out of nothing.

I had always thought that the idea of an oscillating universe made the most sense. In other words that the universe that we know contained enough matter to eventually overcome the momentum of the big bang and all matter would eventually fall back in on itself in a "big crunch" until matter was so compressed into a single point that another "big bang" occurred.

The problem is that there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case. The furthest galaxies are accelerating *away* from us the fastest and while some of that apparent motion may be due to the "inflation" of space-time itself, it is clear now that there will be no "big crunch", at least not in this bubble universe.

However in the multiverse that consists of vibrating membranes, every time one membrane strikes another membrane there is the possibility of a “big bang” occurring which itself may cause the creation of another “bubble universe”. Also dependent on the nature of the big bang the so called natural constants (speed of light, et. al.) may vary widely from one universe to the next. Such variation may make life more or less likely or even impossible. Some such bubble universes may even have enough mass to oscillate between big bang and big crunch eternally.

Anyway as far as god, I admit to the *possibility* that one may exist but my own personal belief system involves some kind of inanimate infinite continuous universe generation system in place like the multiverse or an oscillating universe or some other yet to be discovered mechanism. Within this framework life spontaneously formed, evolved, lived and died until at some point in time some form of life evolved and advanced sufficiently and was able to escape from the bubble universe of it’s origin or somehow managed to survive the “big crunch” through to the next “big bang” cycle and whatever that life force was essentially became god.

Whether or not this god then created other universes or merely sought out life wherever found and “helped” it along, I don’t know. But I would think that all life would have entropy as it’s common enemy and I find the idea that life evolves and advances towards a goal that eventually involves everyone attaining some kind of enlightenment and becoming a part of god, an appealing idea.

Either that or we die and that’s the end of it, I don’t really know which.

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February 21, 2009 3:23:46 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

First of all, creationism isn't a theory. It isn't even a hypothesis. It is utterly untestable and therefore not science.
I agree totally. However on the other hand, other than perhaps a literal acceptance of the biblical creation myth, science cannot *disprove* the idea that there was a creator’s hand behind the initial creation of life or that “something” perhaps even guided evolution on it’s path. After all it’s doubtful man could have evolved in competition with T. Rex and so perhaps the comet strike or whatever caused the extinction of the dinosaurs was not random chance.

I do believe that the only thing that we can know for sure is what we can prove to ourselves via the scientific method but there have been “theories” and even things that have been widely accepted as “fact” that were later disproven. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism in both directions.

I do find all of this stuff fascinating but you must admit that at this point it’s really just speculation. In some sense a faith in science is no less a faith than a corresponding faith in religion. I think the most intelligent answer is still “I don’t know”.

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February 21, 2009 3:43:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The only real difference between science and religion is that religion asks for faith and science asks for proof. Faith is simply the act of not asking for proof.

I don't have anything against either but I would tend towards believing science before I believe religion. Scientific theories are the best guess that can be made by the sum of human intellect. Creationism is just a guess and is just as valid as the Flying Spaghetti Monster and using Perpetual Motion to generate unlimited power.

 

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February 21, 2009 3:44:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Mumblefratz,

I think the most intelligent answer is still “I don’t know”.

Indeed it is.

As far as quantum gravity/unified theories/theories of everything go, according to some they are not even possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything#With_reference_to_G.C3.B6del.27s_incompleteness_theorem

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February 21, 2009 5:07:52 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

The only real difference between science and religion is that religion asks for faith and science asks for proof. Faith is simply the act of not asking for proof.
The problem is that if you can't *personally* perform all such required proofs you are in essence taking the fact that something is *proven* on faith. You may be basing that faith on the consensus of scientific opinion but there’s always going to be some level of dissenting opinion. You can also take the stance that although you can’t personally prove every scientific fact yourself you are able to prove a subset of them and you trust that others are able to prove those that you can’t. But that trust is itself a form of faith because you must trust the opinion of others. What is the difference if you must trust the opinion of others in certain scientific endeavors or you must trust the opinion of others in religious endeavors? Faith is faith and whether or not we explicitly acknowledge it or not we all place our faith in one thing or another.

The bottom line is that you still are placing “faith” in science anytime you cannot prove *everything* that science claims is true and since I doubt there is a single person on this planet that can prove *everything* known then everyone has to have some element of faith. The physicist has faith that the geologists know what they’re talking about and so on.

Even if you place all faith in man’s ability to understand the “laws of nature” who is to say that *if* an all powerful god exists that he couldn’t suddenly decided to invalidate maxwell’s equations, or the force of gravity or any other such “proven law”. In my case it would take the invalidation of a “proven law of nature” to irrefutably “prove” to me that god exists, but I cannot rule out the possibility that it could happen.

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February 21, 2009 5:17:44 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

When it comes to parallel universes, I belive that ours is one of thousands of universes that co-exist with each other and are parallel. I have three possible parallel universes to our own.

1. A mirror universe just like the one from Star Trek,

2. A universe in which everyones' genders are opposite.

3. A wierd universe in which everything is just efed up.

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February 21, 2009 5:26:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Emperor_Seth,
When it comes to parallel universes, I belive that ours is one of thousands of universes that co-exist with each other and are parallel. I have three possible parallel universes to our own.

1. A mirror universe just like the one from Star Trek,

2. A universe in which everyones' genders are opposite.

3. A wierd universe in which everything is just efed up.

How do you know we aren't living in the third one?

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February 21, 2009 5:45:38 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

As for the science and religion debate.

Modern Physics has only seemed to reinforce the idea of a supreme being. Bare in mind a supreme being would exsist out side the Universe as such would not be affected by dimensions. Religions say the supreme being always exsisted. This is possible because before the Universe was created there were no dimenions. No space no time. Our brains cant comprehend the universe in non-dimensional terms.

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February 21, 2009 5:50:01 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Mumblefratz,

The problem with pointing to a creator as the source of all our origins only defers the question by the moments hesitation that it takes to ask "then who or what created the creator?". It's a never ending loop. All religions that I know answer this question by stating that the creator existed forever with no beginning. But this flies in the face of every experience that I know of.

 

Acutally there are religions that don't think that God or the "creator" has simply existed forever.  The gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons as most people call it) don't beleive that God has always been the way he is now.  

 

Without turning this into a religous discussion or bash, I wanted to give my two cents on string theory.  I agree that it is the most logical explanation that can tie quantam mechanics and larger physic properties such as gravity together.  Prior to String Theory the two concepts were mutually exclusive due to the change in the behavior of objects based on their size.

 

Unfortunately, technology does not yet exist that can see and measure activity at the string level.  Some day hopefully and it would explain how the big bang could have occured if it did which allows some scienctists to proverbally put another feather in their cap and a nail in creationism's coffin.  Except the fact that creationism will always be able to come back and have the "last word" in regards to a creator making it happen and as Tamren so eloquently put it, "Faith is simply the act of not asking for proof."

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February 21, 2009 6:12:00 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

First off: thanks for not flaming/condescending. Respectful argument ftw! : )

Second: apologies to Attila464 for participating in the hijacking of this thread. Topic is too juicy to pass up ... 

Quoting alway,

First of all, creationism isn't a theory. It isn't even a hypothesis. It is utterly untestable and therefore not science.


Creationism can be tested just as rigorously as the big bang theory - that is, not very well at all. From a scientfic standpoint, all we can do is say: if there were a creator, what would the universe be like? If the universe were generated by nature (of whatever kind; a plausible one was presented Mumblefratz), what would it be like? Then we examine the world around us and compare against what we expected; modify, and so on. Of course, the nature of asking a question like "where does reality come from" really is challenging to science because science cannot observe outside known reality. We can only guess - and we've already seen A LOT of guesses on this thread.

So, what would we expect from a created universe? Most logically, we would find one that indicates design on every level, like an intricate machine. We would look for meaning; indications of things beyond the natural. 

What about a natural universe? We would expect it to obey natural laws (which I'll go into in a second). 

Some may say the unintelligent universe-spawner could have been outside the laws of this universe's reality, to which I say: if you think that belief is more plausible than belief in a creator (who is also outside the laws of the universe's reality), you have very little ground to stand on. You might be able say they're equally plausible, but even that's a real stretch - you're saying an inanimate unintelligent entity spawned something completely unlike itself. Hm ...

Quoting Mumblefratz,

Actually I don't think the big bang is really a theory, as far as I know it's as close to proven as one can get if on the off chance it is still technically a "theory".


Really? Honestly, after years of research in this topic, including speaking before audiences of hundreds on it, I haven't come across any proof yet. I must have missed something ... maybe you can show me?

Quoting Mumblefratz,

The problem with pointing to a creator as the source of all our origins only defers the question by the moments hesitation that it takes to ask "then who or what created the creator?". It's a never ending loop. All religions that I know answer this question by stating that the creator existed forever with no beginning. But this flies in the face of every experience that I know of.

Basically the idea is that the most complex and intelligent thing that has ever existed, or will ever exist, has existed forever in a total vacuum until at some point in time he chose to create all that we know. That's not how things work.


That's an excellent point - it does fly in the face of your (our) experience. But does that disprove it? Creationism contends that the universe came from a being outside of itself. So we certainly can't apply the rules of nature to the creator! 

Never ending loop? What about the big bang/oscillating universe you're talking about? Where did it come from? 

Quoting Mumblefratz,

I certainly find the idea that an inanimate framework for life has existed forever far easier to fathom over the idea that a supreme being existed without origin before creating everything out of nothing.


Why? They're both completely absurd and unscientific. Consider the First Law of Thermodynamics (which, unlike the current debate, has been almost totally accepted by the scientific community ... but if you want to contest it go for it). 

"Energy can be transformed (changed from one form to another), but it can neither be created nor destroyed." 

Energy/matter are constants in nature. The amount of energy/matter cannot increase or decrease. So it flies in the face of science to say that anything - creator or multiverse - existed forever. 

I'm not necessarily trying to tell you creationism has it all figured out from a scientific standpoint: I'm just cautioning very strongly against the notion that science has proven the big bang/evolution theory. 

Quoting Mumblefratz,

Things start out simple and gradually over time complexity increases. 


I couldn't agree more! I just want to correct one word to make it easier to understand: things start out simple and gradually over time DISORDER increases. Or, to quote the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

"The entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium."

This is why, if you leave a shed alone in the wilderness for a year, you wouldn't expect to come back to find it having spawned a second floor. Instead, you'd expect it to be in disrepair. This is why smoke rises out of a pot, and why the universe is expanding. Nature spreads itself out, gets more complicated, and more disorderly. 

This scientific law is absolutely contradicted by a big bang/evolution mindset, which contends that order actually increased over time! In other words, Mumblefratz, you are putting your faith in the idea that everything we know about reality was put on hold when it was generated, and entropy actually reversed. 

Quoting Mumblefratz,

Even if you place all faith in man’s ability to understand the “laws of nature” who is to say that *if* an all powerful god exists that he couldn’t suddenly decided to invalidate maxwell’s equations, or the force of gravity or any other such “proven law”. 


It depends on the God. Muslims, for instance, believe that Allah can change his fundamental nature, and the nature of everything else. As you've probably guessed, I'm a Christian. I think the Muslim view of God is illogical, especially looking at the intricate order and consistency of the universe. 

Christians hold that God cannot change his fundamental nature and more than a triangle can become a square. There are things inherent to God being who he is that are inalterable - for instance, everything he does is good by virtue of the fact that he did it. While God does have power over creation and could technically reverse gravity if he chose, he has provided a fairly detailed description of how the world will end (Revelation) and has also promised that the basic order of things will not change. (Genesis 8:22)

Quoting Mumblefratz,

In my case it would take the invalidation of a “proven law of nature” to irrefutably “prove” to me that god exists, but I cannot rule out the possibility that it could happen.


I do not have faith as strong as you (and many others on this thread) do. For me , it would take irrefutable invalidation of at least 2 proven laws of nature for me to stop believing in a creator. : )

Quoting Mumblefratz,

The bottom line is that you still are placing “faith” in science anytime you cannot prove *everything* that science claims is true and since I doubt there is a single person on this planet that can prove *everything* known then everyone has to have some element of faith. The physicist has faith that the geologists know what they’re talking about and so on.


I couldn't agree more. Fundamentally, science cannot exist in a vacuum. It must draw meaning from faith. We all must put our faith in something. The question is: what?

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February 21, 2009 7:38:06 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Wow this seems to have gone into arguements of creationism and such but then again thats impossible to avoid when talking of the universe but if we can wrap that arguement up and start talking about M-Theory again  that'd be great

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February 21, 2009 10:58:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Science: I think, therefore I am right, I think.

Religion: Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm still right.

---

As to alternate dimensions, I just can't see them being possible. Or at least, travel between them.

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February 21, 2009 11:46:23 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

When it comes to parallel universes, I belive that ours is one of thousands of universes that co-exist with each other and are parallel. I have three possible parallel universes to our own.
Actually there are four levels of infinite universes. Read the Wiki multiverse article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse.

apologies to Attila464 for participating in the hijacking of this thread
I'm sure no apologies are necessary. Anyone that posts a single sentence prefaced with the word "discuss" cannot be too particular about where the thread wanders. Secondly how can a thread involving the nature of the universe not involve religion. Religion is about origins and the nature of our universe is one of its primary concerns.

Wow this seems to have gone into arguments of creationism and such but then again thats impossible to avoid when talking of the universe but if we can wrap that arguement up and start talking about M-Theory again  that'd be great
I don't know what's more to discuss. I think I've pretty much shot my wad on the topic. If you have some other details about it then you should probably bring them up.

Creationism can be tested just as rigorously as the big bang theory - that is, not very well at all.
Really? Honestly, after years of research in this topic, including speaking before audiences of hundreds on it, I haven't come across any proof yet. I must have missed something ... maybe you can show me?
Actually discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation pretty much "proves" that the big bang occurred. The best that can be said of creationism is that a lot of people seem to believe in it and unless someone insists on a totally literal interpretation of the genesis creation myth, it can't actually be disproved by science.

Never ending loop? What about the big bang/oscillating universe you're talking about? Where did it come from?
Both are never ending loops. As I said, I just simply find one that posits an infinite inanimate framework for life far more tolerable than an infinite and all powerful animate life that existed forever in a vacuum. As I said both concepts require some level of faith. You pay your money and you take your chances. The idea that some set of self sufficient "natural laws" exists and vibrating membranes that are simply satisfying those laws through self resonance just make logical sense to me.

Energy/matter are constants in nature. The amount of energy/matter cannot increase or decrease. So it flies in the face of science to say that anything - creator or multiverse - existed forever.
Except that clearly both energy and matter exist today so by your argument they must have existed forever since they can neither increase or decrease. Although you will certainly grant that mass-energy can possibly move from one place to another, as from a sufficiently large vibrating membrane striking another thereby causing a big bang and the creation of a new bubble universe. From the point of view of the new universe suddenly all this new mass-energy has been created, but in the bigger scheme of things it can be seen as mass-energy being transferred from the vibrating membranes to the new universe and conservation of mass-energy is maintained.

I couldn't agree more! I just want to correct one word to make it easier to understand: things start out simple and gradually over time DISORDER increases. Or, to quote the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

"The entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy.

When a system's energy is defined as the sum of its "useful" energy (energy that can be used, for example, to push a piston), and its "useless energy" (that energy which cannot be used to do external work), then entropy may be visualized as the "stray" or "lost" energy whose magnitude over the total energy of a system is directly proportional to the absolute temperature of the system.

In other words an increase in entropy over time means that less and less energy *difference* is available to do useful work.

This is a law of inanimate objects which as I mentioned is the antithesis of life. Definitely we see the inanimate universe move from a state of chaos and variation evermore towards a static state of sameness. An eventual heat death of our bubble universe is the likely outcome. To me that is sameness not disorder. However all our experience of life and evolution involves moving from the simple ever more towards the complex.

Christians hold that God cannot change his fundamental nature and more than a triangle can become a square.
Hmm … I’m having a similar discussion over on Joe User, you might want to check it out, I just don’t know http://forums.joeuser.com/338549. There are a number of christians there that would probably disagree with you on that one at least as far as god having the ability to violate or change natural laws.

I personally am an agnostic as you probably could tell. I was brought up Christian (Lutheran actually) but never could manage to accept things simply on faith even from the early age of 7.

In any case I believe in the primacy of science and as long as god does not contradict that framework I must accept that there is some *possibility* that he does exist, but it’s only that, a possibility. Even then precisely which view of god i.e. which religion is correct, is an entirely different question. Personally I believe that all religion is more a creation of man than of god and therefore fallible. I believe that the differences between religions probably matter less to god than they do to us, assuming of course he even exists in the first place.

We all must put our faith in something. The question is: what?
The only thing that is proven to exist which is ourselves and our own abilities.

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February 21, 2009 11:47:43 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

As to alternate dimensions, I just can't see them being possible. Or at least, travel between them.
They're just a little loop to the left, take the 6th dimension on the right and you're there. Or you might try the 3rd dimension on the left, I hear that's nice this time of year. You do have 11 dimensions to chose from although the four we're familiar with (length, width, depth, duration) all end up in cleveland.

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February 22, 2009 4:10:23 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Mumblefratz,

They're just a little loop to the left, take the 6th dimension on the right and you're there. Or you might try the 3rd dimension on the left, I hear that's nice this time of year. You do have 11 dimensions to chose from although the four we're familiar with (length, width, depth, duration) all end up in cleveland.

There are actually 10 dimensions, the idea of a 0th dimension has been almost simultaneously been agreed upon to not exist.

Look up 'imagining the 10 dimensions' on google video. there is a cool skit that explains the whole lot.

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February 22, 2009 4:42:09 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

There are actually 10 dimensions, the idea of a 0th dimension has been almost simultaneously been agreed upon to not exist.
There are 10 dimensions in string theory that result in 5 separate solutions. M-theory satifies all 5 of these cases and as far as I can tell requires an actual, real 11th dimension. The following is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory.

"The original string theories from the 1980s describe special cases of M-theory where the eleventh dimension is a very small circle or a line, and if these formulations are considered as fundamental, then string theory requires ten dimensions."

"Before the 1990s, string theorists believed there were five distinct superstring theories: open type I, closed type I, closed type IIA, closed type IIB, and the two flavors of heterotic string theory (SO(32) and E8×E8). The thinking was that out of these five candidate theories, only one was the actual correct theory of everything, and that theory was the one whose low energy limit, with ten spacetime dimensions compactified down to four, matched the physics observed in our world today. It is now believed that this picture was incorrect and that the five superstring theories are connected to one another as if they are each a special case of some more fundamental theory (thought to be M-theory)."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_M-theory

In the mid 90s, a string theorist named Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study and other important researchers considered that the five different versions of string theory might be describing the same thing seen from different perspectives. They proposed a unifying theory called "M-Theory", in which the "M" is not specifically defined, but is generally understood to stand for "membrane." M-Theory brought all of the string theories together. It did this by asserting that strings are really 1-dimensional slices of a 2-dimensional membrane vibrating in 11-dimensional space."

And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-theory.

"In theoretical physics, M-theory is a new limit of string theory in which 11 dimensions of spacetime may be identified. Because the dimensionality exceeds the dimensionality of five superstring theories in 10 dimensions, it was originally believed that the 11-dimensional theory is more fundamental and unifies all string theories (and supersedes them). However, in a more modern understanding, it is another, sixth possible description of physics of the full theory that is still called string theory."


Although who's to argue. What's the big difference between 10 or 11 dimensions between friends?

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February 22, 2009 11:30:06 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

(nested quote)The only real difference between science and religion is that religion asks for faith and science asks for proof. Faith is simply the act of not asking for proof.(end nested quote)
The problem is that if you can't *personally* perform all such required proofs you are in essence taking the fact that something is *proven* on faith.

Several times, I've thoroughly pissed off some atheistic science fans with exactly this point. I think it is also very much worth mentioning that faith is an important factor even for people who have a strong faith that there is no singular god, nor a pantheon of gods, nor a specific afterlife plan that will see us all eternally working for the Celestial Bureaucracy. Faith in your fellow humans, whether you like to admit it or not, is essential for both arguing the validity of scientific theories *and* for participating in political systems. But as noted above, faith is a fundamentally individual experience, and your mileage may vary.

I began my political faith quest as a philosophical anarchist, but that philosophy depends on a quality of faith in my fellow humans that I couldn't sustain past my adolescence (successful anarchy basically requires that everyone be at least nice enough to leave each other alone when they disagree). Because I came to believe that our species has not (yet?) evolved past the habit of organizing to do violence to ourselves, I ended up a pluralist democrat (basically Aristotle + Robert Dahl, leavened with Thomas Hobbes).

Like any elite, the scientific establishment is an organization based on creating, maintaining, and expanding social power. But unlike most religions, the scientific method is fundamentally democratic--it is based on the expectation that your hypothesis must be testable by other scientists, and that the 'truth' is *always* a matter of consensus. So, on the whole, I prefer scientific explanations of the origin of the universe(s) to religious ones.

Which is by no means a declaration that They Have It All Figured Out. Life does indeed confuse things with its anti-entropic tendencies, and the question of consciousness is some sort of mental-lubicrant analog to a superconductor--it's very hard to hold on to an idea once you start asking what ideas are. I love seeing steady progress on theories about 'dead matter,' but even more I'm looking forward to a really good testable hyphothesis about the fundamental nature of Minds.

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February 22, 2009 12:21:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I personally see the question of the mind in a way that is somewhat like a 1940 scientist would see a modern supercomputer. They may have some vague understanding of many of the principles involved, but there are gaps in knowledge which renders a comprehensive understanding impossible for the time being. In time, however, we will have enough knowledge to make very accurate laws about how the mind operates. I am fairly sure there are no 'magical fairy dust' parts of the brain which do no follow natural laws, and thus some day complete understanding of the mind will be realized.

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