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Thread: Do electrons, protons, neutrons, REALLY exist???

  1. #1 Do electrons, protons, neutrons, REALLY exist??? 
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    This could be philosophical questions also. What I want to know is: Do electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, anti-quarks, i.e. all the particles in the standard model, REALLY EXIST??? Or is it the "Best" model to explain the tiny particles (which make the universe) in the Universe??

    Although quantum physics says about the probability of particles to be in one place (according to my understand) QP does not say anything about the mass, charge, spin and, basically "existence" of particles, right?? Or am I wrong??

    Some people in our country says that knowledge about the universe is "created" and NOT discovered as they say in Western Science?? So, is the standard model and all those particles, including "anti" particles, REALLY just a "model" to explain things or are they "REAL"??? These people really hate Europeans and all they stand for and detest everything European. They say Europeans have forcefully put Western Science down our throats. They say there are "other" views of the universe and other sciences (like Chinese Science, Sri La_nkan Science (I am from Sri L_anka BTW), Indian science etc.) which explain the universe. My problem is that I don't see any other science which does explain the universe. The local anti-Western "intellectuals" here use Buddhists text to explain things about the universe. One of the things they use regularly is the "four-fold" circular system of logic and say Europeans and their science inferior and they don't understand the universe because of their "inferior" "2-fold" linear system of logic.

    According to them, knowledge is created respect to the people's religion, culture and sense organs and there is no ABSOLUTE TRUTH but only relative truths. According to them you can create any amount of models (according to them) about the universe and many truths. One of the arguments they bring is the negation of Newton's gravitation lows by Einstein. According to them this is a perfect example to show that knowledge is "created" and not discovered. According to them, Newton "created" his model of the universe (gravitation) and later 200 years later Einstein came and said that is wrong and gave a different model.

    My argument is that there won't be an Einstein without Newton and Einstein's "model" is only an extension of Newtons. i.e. you "discover" deeper truth about the universe, rather than creating a new model.

    Although these people say there are many sciences, I have not come across any other "science (Indian, Chinese etc.) that explain the universe as Western science. To me there is only one absolute truth and there is only one science (which we called Western science) that is closer to it most. I mean, do Chinese, Indian, Muslim or other have an equivalent to the Standard Model or Quantum physics. They don't do they.

    So what exactly are your views on this. Is there or is there not an electron?


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    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    Although quantum physics says about the probability of particles to be in one place (according to my understand) QP does not say anything about the mass, charge, spin and, basically "existence" of particles, right?? Or am I wrong??
    We can observe and measure [the effect of] all these particles. It is pretty easy to observe a single electron, for example, using a cloud chamber.

    I don't know what you mean by "QP does not say anything about the mass, charge, spin" of particles. Of course it does.

    The rest is philosophy and therefore I have no comment.


    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    This could be philosophical questions also. What I want to know is: Do electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, anti-quarks, i.e. all the particles in the standard model, REALLY EXIST??? Or is it the "Best" model to explain the tiny particles (which make the universe) in the Universe??
    Yes, they really exist, but not the way they're often portrayed. Quarks were called "partons" by Richard Feynman, and I prefer this name myself because it gets across the way a quark is a part of a proton rather than a little billiard-ball thing. I like topological quantum field theory too.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    Although quantum physics says about the probability of particles to be in one place (according to my understand) QP does not say anything about the mass, charge, spin and, basically "existence" of particles, right?? Or am I wrong??
    I'm afraid you are. The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics talks about the probability of particles being in one place. Quantum Field Theory talks of them as "field excitations". Think of them as waves, not little point-particles. And note that waves aren't "local". To appreciate what I mean by this, imagine an ocean wave. You might think of it as a bump of water a metre high and a metre long moving at a metre per second. But there's a lot more to it than that. Look under the surface and the wave motion continues down into the water. See this image. There's not much in QP about mass, but there's plenty about spin. I'm not sure about charge. Maybe somebody else here can give you a better answer on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    Some people in our country says that knowledge about the universe is "created" and NOT discovered as they say in Western Science?? So, is the standard model and all those particles, including "anti" particles, REALLY just a "model" to explain things or are they "REAL"???
    The particles are real, and the standard model is a model. It's a partial model in that it doesn't cover everything, and it's a work-in-progress rather than the final word. Physicists like to show solidarity about the standard model, but if you're sharp you can find out what they really think. For example read A Zeptospace Odyssey: A Journey into the Physics of the LHC by Gian Francesco Giudice a CERN physicist. He describes the Higgs sector as "frightfully ad-hoc" and as the "toilet" of the standard model. That's not to say the standard model is wrong, but IMHO what he's saying is that the Higgs sector needs replacing in order to improve the model.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    They really hate Europeans and all they stand for and detest everything European. They say Europeans have forcefully put Western Science down our throats. They say there are "other" views of the universe and other sciences (like Chinese Science, Sri La_nkan Science (I am from Sri L_anka BTW), Indian science etc.) which explain the universe. My problem is that I don't see any other science which does explain the universe. The local anti-Western "intellectuals" here use Buddhists text to explain things about the universe. One of the things they use regularly is the "four-fold" circular system of logic and say Europeans and their science inferior and they don't understand the universe because of their "inferior" "2-fold" linear system of logic.
    The world is full of people who say "don't listen to those other guys, listen to me". They give all sorts of reasons to try to justify this. What you should do is listen to everybody, see how what they say compares with the evidence, and think for yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    According to them, knowledge is created respect to the people's religion, culture and sense organs and there is no ABSOLUTE TRUTH but only relative truths. According to them you can create any amount of models (according to them) about the universe and many truths. One of the arguments they bring is the negation of Newton's gravitation lows by Einstein. According to them this is a perfect example to show that knowledge is "created" and not discovered. According to them, Newton "created" his model of the universe (gravitation) and later 200 years later Einstein came and said that is wrong and gave a different model.
    I've read the original material concerning Newton and Einstein, and in my opinion their models of gravity aren't quite as different as people say.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    My argument is that there won't be an Einstein without Newton and Einstein's "model" is only an extension of Newtons. i.e. you "discover" deeper truth about the universe, rather than creating a new model.
    I agree with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    Although these people say there are many sciences, I have not come across any other "science (Indian, Chinese etc.) that explain the universe as Western science. To me there is only one absolute truth and there is only one science (which we called Western science) that is closer to it most. I mean, do Chinese, Indian, Muslim or other have an equivalent to the Standard Model or Quantum physics. They don't do they.
    Not as far as I know.

    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    So what exactly are your views on this. Is there or is there not an electron?
    Yes, electrons exist. You can see an electron beam. Have a read of the wikipedia Cathode ray article.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    This could be philosophical questions also. What I want to know is: Do electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, anti-quarks, i.e. all the particles in the standard model, REALLY EXIST??? Or is it the "Best" model to explain the tiny particles (which make the universe) in the Universe??

    Although quantum physics says about the probability of particles to be in one place (according to my understand) QP does not say anything about the mass, charge, spin and, basically "existence" of particles, right?? Or am I wrong??

    Some people in our country says that knowledge about the universe is "created" and NOT discovered as they say in Western Science?? So, is the standard model and all those particles, including "anti" particles, REALLY just a "model" to explain things or are they "REAL"??? These people really hate Europeans and all they stand for and detest everything European. They say Europeans have forcefully put Western Science down our throats. They say there are "other" views of the universe and other sciences (like Chinese Science, Sri La_nkan Science (I am from Sri L_anka BTW), Indian science etc.) which explain the universe. My problem is that I don't see any other science which does explain the universe. The local anti-Western "intellectuals" here use Buddhists text to explain things about the universe. One of the things they use regularly is the "four-fold" circular system of logic and say Europeans and their science inferior and they don't understand the universe because of their "inferior" "2-fold" linear system of logic.

    According to them, knowledge is created respect to the people's religion, culture and sense organs and there is no ABSOLUTE TRUTH but only relative truths. According to them you can create any amount of models (according to them) about the universe and many truths. One of the arguments they bring is the negation of Newton's gravitation lows by Einstein. According to them this is a perfect example to show that knowledge is "created" and not discovered. According to them, Newton "created" his model of the universe (gravitation) and later 200 years later Einstein came and said that is wrong and gave a different model.

    My argument is that there won't be an Einstein without Newton and Einstein's "model" is only an extension of Newtons. i.e. you "discover" deeper truth about the universe, rather than creating a new model.

    Although these people say there are many sciences, I have not come across any other "science (Indian, Chinese etc.) that explain the universe as Western science. To me there is only one absolute truth and there is only one science (which we called Western science) that is closer to it most. I mean, do Chinese, Indian, Muslim or other have an equivalent to the Standard Model or Quantum physics. They don't do they.

    So what exactly are your views on this. Is there or is there not an electron?
    There is a huge difference between protons and the other particles mentioned. We have a vast amount of evidence concerning the mass, charge, size, etc. and character of protons. Although we know the charge and mass of an electron we do not know its physical size since it is mathematically considered a point particle. So protons, neutrons, electrons, and positrons are known to be long lasting particles, even though it is only theory what they might be really comprised of. Quarks, on the other hand, have never been independently observed and are strictly theoretical. Although we know atomic particles exist, their exact form and character are at best theoretical. We know that particles also have waves associated with them, but why this is so is strictly theoretical.

    Anti-particles also really exist but the longevity of anti-protons in intergalactic space, for instance, is strictly theoretical.

    It is also true that our models and theories are just one perspective of reality, and that many other equally valid perspectives can and do exist. For the same reasons it could be said that there is no absolute truth to reality, just different possibly ways of observing and explaining it. This is the essence of philosophy. As far as using the words "deeper truths," I expect that it would be more valid to say that in time there generally is an increase of knowledge and understanding of reality but not just one "absolute truth" to it. Religions are generally unrelated to science. Those in science come from all over the world; there is not just a western version of it. The methods of science are generally the same everywhere.

    I wouldn't bet the farm on present theory today either. Quantum physics, for example, has had over 70 years of observations to formulate their equations, but much of what is expressed verbally, has been and continues to be very contentious.

    Yes, there is such a thing as an electron, but the possibilities of their configuration/ form/ characteristics continues to be only theory.
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    Quarks, on the other hand, have never been independently observed and are strictly theoretical.
    That's not quite accurate. While there have never been free quarks observed, collider experiments at SLAC as far back as 1969 have shown inelastic scattering effects which could only have been produced by quarks. So they're not strictly hypothetical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    We can observe and measure [the effect of] all these particles. It is pretty easy to observe a single electron, for example, using a cloud chamber.
    The important bit here is ( and I am glad that you inserted it ! ) the phrase "the effect of". We never see an electron in a cloud chamber, we only see what kind of effect the electron has on its environment, and the same goes for all other particles as well. Quantum objects are by its very nature not part of our world of experience, we cannot directly perceive them, only their effects. The rest is indeed philosophy - something clearly is there, because the effects we observe in particle experiments are very real. What that something is on its deepest level of existence is still open to debate, I dare say.
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    Asian philosophies, such as buddhism are not science and don't use the scientific method. They couldn't prove the existence of 'qi/chi' to save their lives. Although the asians particularly the chinese developed some impressive engineering achievements - it appears these were not grounded in an understanding of physics or chemistry so much as the development of a body of knowledge from practical experience.

    oh yeah and thank whatever god or gods there might be that the indians, phonecians and europeans developed and refined the alphabet!!!!!!!!

    ALPHABET <3 For the Win!!!!

    woohoo baby
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    Of course protons and neutrons do exist. And if you will pull up some images from the hubble telescope and some of the images of protons, electrons and neutrons you'll notice the amazing simularities between them. Thus saying that we have larger images of our space around us (the earth) and images of much smaller particles. Does this give anyone else any ideas.....
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    Huh? Hubble has no images of Protons, electrons, and neutrons.
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    I believe he means compare images of protons, electrons, and neutrons with images from the Hubble.
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    Well that's even sillier...
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    No what I mean is compare the images from the hubble telescope of galaxies and stars to images from micro scopes. And sorry for the slow reply I got too busy all the sudden. When you do, make sure that you take into consideration the the images from the microscopes are back lit. And what I am concluding is that if it's the natural order of things that they are made of smaller particles. Then why wouldn't that work both ways, meaning that we are but just part of an object and smaller than the larger thing we are a part of. And that is why I say that also there are many smaller universes in the things all around us. Think about how time would factor into this idea. Time for a smaller object would be highly exelerated, and the time for which our universe would exist would be but a few seconds (example) in a larger object. My explanation of our universe fits into to everything which we know to be simple facts. You see I am but a simple carpenter who has been building things for over 34 years, and I do understand that all things are built from smaller parts which are placed in the right fashion in order make something larger. And I am saying that this idea makes tons of sense is all... We will never ever be able to prove this nor discredit this idea. And I will be starting a tread on this subject as soon as figure how to....Lolz and good luck with all your endeavors....
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    If it can't be proven or discredited, it doesn't belong in the Physics forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    The important bit here is ( and I am glad that you inserted it ! ) the phrase "the effect of". We never see an electron in a cloud chamber, we only see what kind of effect the electron has on its environment, and the same goes for all other particles as well.
    And, of course, the same is true for everything around us, tables, chairs, trees, people .... I'm not sure why one would doubt the existence of electrons, etc. but not doubt the existence of the chair they are sitting on. (It is only the interaction of electrons that make the chair feel solid, after all.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post

    Some people in our country says that knowledge about the universe is "created" and NOT discovered as they say in Western Science?? So, is the standard model and all those particles, including "anti" particles, REALLY just a "model" to explain things or are they "REAL"??? These people really hate Europeans and all they stand for and detest everything European. They say Europeans have forcefully put Western Science down our throats. They say there are "other" views of the universe and other sciences (like Chinese Science, Sri La_nkan Science (I am from Sri L_anka BTW), Indian science etc.) which explain the universe. My problem is that I don't see any other science which does explain the universe. The local anti-Western "intellectuals" here use Buddhists text to explain things about the universe. One of the things they use regularly is the "four-fold" circular system of logic and say Europeans and their science inferior and they don't understand the universe because of their "inferior" "2-fold" linear system of logic.

    According to them, knowledge is created respect to the people's religion, culture and sense organs and there is no ABSOLUTE TRUTH but only relative truths. According to them you can create any amount of models (according to them) about the universe and many truths. One of the arguments they bring is the negation of Newton's gravitation lows by Einstein. According to them this is a perfect example to show that knowledge is "created" and not discovered. According to them, Newton "created" his model of the universe (gravitation) and later 200 years later Einstein came and said that is wrong and gave a different model.
    The difference between science and myth is often misstated. Science appeals to probability. It's the art of betting with the odds instead of against the odds, or without regards to the odds.

    The reason we know Newton's theory of gravity is true is because he predicted that an object would accelerate by 9.8 meters per second. Exactly that number. If we were dropping objects and got a wide range of numbers, we would not try and make-believe that each test had just been a fluke and the number was still 9.8. Instead we would discard the theory or try and come up with another.

    That's the test for nearly all theories in physics. You predict a formula that gives an exact number, then run tests. For gravity, the test is to drop objects from many different heights and see if the result is always the predicted result for that height. The odds of it turning out to match by chance would be very poor. For particle physics, we use similar tests, accelerating particles in particle accelerators, and letting them collide, and measuring how much heat or other forms of energy the collision yields. If they match our extremely complicated mathematical formulas, the odds of that happening by chance would also be very poor, just like in the gravity example.

    Once the odds of something being false have been narrowed to a very small chance, science accepts it.


    My argument is that there won't be an Einstein without Newton and Einstein's "model" is only an extension of Newtons. i.e. you "discover" deeper truth about the universe, rather than creating a new model.

    Although these people say there are many sciences, I have not come across any other "science (Indian, Chinese etc.) that explain the universe as Western science. To me there is only one absolute truth and there is only one science (which we called Western science) that is closer to it most. I mean, do Chinese, Indian, Muslim or other have an equivalent to the Standard Model or Quantum physics. They don't do they.

    So what exactly are your views on this. Is there or is there not an electron?
    The problem, of course, with their "sciences" is that they don't subject them to these probabilistic tests. If they did so, then their perspective would be equally valid to that of western science. That is the sole basis of comparison. No other comparative basis matters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rohandesilva View Post
    This could be philosophical questions also. What I want to know is: Do electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, anti-quarks, i.e. all the particles in the standard model, REALLY EXIST??? Or is it the "Best" model to explain the tiny particles (which make the universe) in the Universe??
    This gets too deep into the philosophy of physics to get into in a forum discussion. I'll say this. So far, the world behaves exactly as if those things really do exist. That's about the best way to describe it that I know of that can be placed in a single post. And I prefer not do get into debates about this kind of thing so that's al I have to contribute to this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    And, of course, the same is true for everything around us, tables, chairs, trees, people .... I'm not sure why one would doubt the existence of electrons, etc. but not doubt the existence of the chair they are sitting on. (It is only the interaction of electrons that make the chair feel solid, after all.)
    You are absolutely correct.
    I didn't mean to doubt the existence of these objects ( sorry if it came across that way ), I am only saying that quantum objects by their very nature aren't directly observable. I would never dream of doubting their actual existence - clearly something is there that is causing the effects we are observing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    You are absolutely correct.
    I didn't mean to doubt the existence of these objects ( sorry if it came across that way ), I am only saying that quantum objects by their very nature aren't directly observable. I would never dream of doubting their actual existence - clearly something is there that is causing the effects we are observing.
    We have clear existance of a chair through our senses. We don't have that with sub-atomic particles, which ave to be infered through experiments.

    I read an article on something like this once regarding photons. It was called The Anti-photon, W.E. Lamb, Appl. Phys, B 60, 77-84
    Abstract. It should be apparent from the title of this article that the author does not like the use of the term "photon", which dates from 1926. In his view, there is no such thing as a photon. Only a comedy of errors and historical accidents led to its popularity among physicists and optical scientists. I admit that the word is short and convenient. Its use is also habit forming. Similarly, one might find it convenient to speak of the "aether" or "vacuum" to stand for empty space, even if no such thing existed. There are very good substitutes for "photon", (e.g. "radiation" or "light") and for "photonics" (e.g. "optics" or "quantum optics"). Similar objections are possible to use of the word "phonon", which dates from 1932. Objects like electrons, neutrinos of finite rest mass, or helium atoms can, under suitable conditions, be considered to be particles, since their theories then have a viable non-relativistic and non-quantum limits. This paper outlines the main features of the quantum theory of radiation and indicates how they can be used to treat problems in quantum optic

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    We have clear existance of a chair through our senses.
    I am sorry to appear harsh (it has so far been a very trying day) but this is not even English. Do you perhaps mean "we have clear evidence of the existence of a chair through our senses". What senses? You must be specific

    Perhaps you mean "a chair clearly exists because we can observe it, sit on it etc"

    We don't have that with sub-atomic particles, which ave to be infered through experiments.
    So suppose a person blind from birth (I know one well) who has never seen a chair. He knows it exists by experiment - if he goes to sit down and lean back and he doesn't fall supine on the floor, he "infers the existence of a chair by experiment"

    How is this different from the excellent responses given by Strange and Markus?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    You are absolutely correct.
    I didn't mean to doubt the existence of these objects ( sorry if it came across that way )
    It didn't (which is why I used "one" )

    I am only saying that quantum objects by their very nature aren't directly observable.
    Right. And it can be argued that nothing is directly observable. Depending on one's definition of "directly".
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    We have clear existance of a chair through our senses. We don't have that with sub-atomic particles, which ave to be infered through experiments.
    I don't see any fundamental difference between looking at a chair (which we only see because photons interact with the electrons in the material of the the chair and then interact with the chemicals in our retina, which then send electrochemical signals to our brain, which then fools us into thinking we can see a thing we call "chair") and looking at any other effect caused by an electron in an experiment (which has to go through the same long chain of indirect effects until we think we have seen it).
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    We have clear existance of a chair through our senses. We don't have that with sub-atomic particles, which ave to be infered through experiments.
    Sorry about the error in that statment. Let m rephrase;
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    We have clear evidence of the existance of things like chairs directly through our senses. We don't have that with sub-atomic particles, whose existance has to be be infered through experiments.
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I don't see any fundamental difference between looking at a chair ......
    Let me give you an example to illustrate my point; Nobody has ever doubted the existance of water. No expriment can ever prove that it doesn't exist. Now consider photons When the term [n]photon[/b[ was first defined it was clearsoon clear that didn't exist. Physicists later hijacked the term from its original usage and then redefined it to its current definition as the particle that is the quantum of light. But the essense here is knowlege obtained through direct experience as compared to knowledge obtained through infered existance.

    Other than that, each to their own I say.
    Last edited by pmb; June 2nd, 2012 at 06:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    But the essense here is knowlege obtained through direct experience as compared to knowledge obtained through infered existance.
    Except there is no such thing as "direct experience".
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb
    Nobody has ever doubted the existance of water. No expriment can ever prove that it doesn't exist. Now consider photons
    Your example fails - no sighted person denies the existence of light. No experiment can prove it doesn't exist.

    What requires more thought - and experiment - is to show that water comprises molelecules, which themsevles are comprised of atoms (oxygen and hydrogen).

    So it is with light and its "atomic" i.e. quantum, nature.

    Or consider carbon dioxide. One only knows it exists and has properties different from those of air or oxygen by, say trying to burn a candle in it (or even survive a few minutes trying to breathe it). Does any sane person deny the existence of this gas?

    This last example is apposite - Einstein discovered the light quantum by modelling radiation in a confined volume as an ideal gas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb
    Nobody has ever doubted the existance of water. No expriment can ever prove that it doesn't exist. Now consider photons
    Your example fails
    Experimental obsevation doesn't mean that an individual is solely resposible for running all the experiments. Science is a community of people. It's not what a single individual accomplishes. If I can't see then I ask someone who can see. If I can't see a couch I can sense it otherwise. Someone might help me like when a blind person goes out to eat, his friend will pull out the seat and then the blind person know the seat exists. He can sense it by touch. A blind person can tell when someone is in front of them. The ambient noise in a room or ouside changes depending on what's there. If a blind person has something in front of him he can sense it by echo location. Hearing becomes more attuned when you're blind.

    In essense, no. My example doesn't fail. Expand your thoughts to include the community of science rather than what an individual can deal with. Science is not determined by a single observer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    But the essense here is knowlege obtained through direct experience as compared to knowledge obtained through infered existance.
    Except there is no such thing as "direct experience".
    What exactly do you think of when I used the term direct experience? It doesn't appear that we're using the same term to mean the same thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    What exactly do you think of when I used the term direct experience?
    I have no idea; some kind of direct transfer of information about "external reality" (whatever that means) into your "consciousness" (whatever that is) without the use of intervening senses?

    But if it will cut the argument short:

    Of course we know chairs exist without having to worry about the fact that we rely on fragmentary information our senses provide which is then interpolated and interpreted by the brain.

    And, of course, adding one more level of indirection before we an detect an individual electron makes all the difference.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Expand your thoughts to include the community of science rather than what an individual can deal with. Science is not determined by a single observer.
    Then I am sorry, but you have no idea how science works.

    The fact that in practice scientific advances are made by a community of like-minded people does NOT imply that in principle any or all advances could not have been made by one and only one individual given "world enough and time".

    Your logic is crackers. It is also irrelevant to your earlier assertion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    snipped rude comment
    Your post has been reported as being a rude comment which I understand is against forum rules.

    Sorry but I don't respond to people who flame. It's sad to see a moderator flaming members. I'll leav i like this and not respond to you again in this thread - I've been a physicist for over 25 years. I went to graduate school at North Eastern University in physics. I studied the phisosophy of science as an undergradute (where I got a very nice grade). It doesn't sound like you're a scientist so there was no call for being rude.

    Please learn from your mistakes, i.e. please learn not to insult people when you disagree with them.
    Last edited by pmb; June 3rd, 2012 at 12:58 PM.
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    So it looks like you cannot respond to my points as to your factual and conceptual errors. Fair enough.

    Look, I fully accept that I expressed my criticism forcibly. So what? Is that "flaming"? a term which is in any case ill-defined

    If you (or or anyone else for that matter) feels I am am abusing my moderator status, the solution is simple: PM to an admin with a complaint about me - admins are currently Admin, Kalster and Harold.

    Have fun with that!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    What exactly do you think of when I used the term direct experience?
    I have no idea;
    It's simple. Go to your kitchen and touch a metal pan. It will feel cold. Now place your hand on a wooden cabinet. It will feel slightly cold. Now take a thermometer and place it on the metal pan. It should read room temperature. Place the themometer on the pan. It will also read room temperature.

    When you placed your hand on the pan that was direct experiece of the temperature.

    Ask someone to walk into the kitchen and tell you how many chairs are in it. Now go into it and count them for yourself. When your friend tells you how many chairs are there then that's indirect experience. When you look for yourself that's direct experience. When you touch it then that too is direct experience. If you closed all the curtains in an empty room and place a chair in the room then you could find the chair by echo location. The sound of the empty room s different than when there is a chair in the room. The sound from ambient noise or even your breathing can create a soud which bounces off the chair and someone with great senses can tell if there is something in the room. This is indirect experience. Touch it. That's direct experience.

    Now that we know of examples of direct experience we might be in a position to define it. But I'm having a bad back pain day. Gotta go.

    Then again I might not come back. I'm in search of a forum where the flaming is at a minimum or is absent. I found one but there's not much action during the summer. Gotta go.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    So it looks like ...
    What part of I don't respond to flamers don't you understand? Trying to provoke me as you have into responding won't work.
    Last edited by pmb; June 3rd, 2012 at 01:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Quarks, on the other hand, have never been independently observed and are strictly theoretical.
    That's not quite accurate. While there have never been free quarks observed, collider experiments at SLAC as far back as 1969 have shown inelastic scattering effects which could only have been produced by quarks. So they're not strictly hypothetical.
    ....inelastic scattering effects which could only have been produced by quarks. So they're not strictly hypothetical.
    Observations of collider remnants indicate that protons are made up of parts, but such scatterings do not explain many characteristics of these parts or if they could be theoretical quarks. Yes, quark theory presently has no serious rivals other than generic string theories. There are alternative mainstream models as well as seemingly countless other possibilities that could be suggested by the imagination concerning alternative configurations, constituent quantities, internal behavior and other theory, that could not presently be disproved.

    Quarks and gluons are asserted to be non-observable outside the bounds of particles. A theory (or hypothesis) that cannot be disproved, also cannot rightfully be called a theory either.
    Last edited by forrest noble; June 3rd, 2012 at 02:26 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    PM to an admin with a complaint about me - admins are currently Admin, Kalster and Harold.
    Okay. I sent them a message. Let's see if they act according to forum policy.
    Last edited by pmb; June 3rd, 2012 at 04:10 PM. Reason: I thought I could be more polite
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    I see nothing rude in Guitarist's reply to you pmb. He's not nice, but that's a far ways from rude.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    I see nothing rude in Guitarist's reply to you pmb. He's not nice, but that's a far ways from rude.
    This is subjective. He knows I'm a physicist so when he claims I don't know science I take that as an insult. I'm sure that any physicist would tell him to go to hell if he said that to them.

    If he makes the same comment to you, let me know and we'll discuss it then. In the mean time I have absolutely no reason to converse with a person like him whom so many people here are saying is very rude.
    Last edited by pmb; June 3rd, 2012 at 06:12 PM. Reason: trying to make it more pleasant.
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    Both electron and photon theory could have theoretical problems. Electrons mathematically are considered point particles, and observationally their physical characteristics are unknown if they are not point particles, which I expect they are not. Photons are known to be particles of light but the nature of their physical character, if any, is unknown. Do electrons really exist as particles, probably so. Are photons really particles of some kind (rhetorical)? We do know that EM radiation really consists of waves. We also know that their is a digital character to EM radiation as Einstein via related experiments, modern science and technology have shown. Do we really understand electrons, protons, neutrons, other particles, and the nature of matter and EM radiation? I would bet even odds that particle theory, quantum theory, quark theory, and EM radiation theory within 20 years will all be changed, if not completely replaced.
    Last edited by forrest noble; June 5th, 2012 at 02:50 PM.
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    Guitarist's point was strongly made, but I would hardly classify it as "flaming". I would ask pmb to be a bit more thick skinned on this forum, as discussion often does get intense, the heights of which, before we need to step in, this isn't even close to reaching yet. If we were to dole out warnings and punishments every time anyone expressed criticism as forcibly as this, this forum (and most other science forums I know of) would grind to a halt. Guitarist's quip was not a personal comment, rather a comment on the idea expressed. Also, Moderators and Admins generally post and take part as regular members. When Mod or Admin actions are taken, we generally use a different font colour. Guitarist's comments have nothing to do with him being a mod.

    Pmb: I do hope you can get past this. Someone with your experience can be a very valuable resource on a forum such as this and we'd hate to lose you over something as relatively silly as this. Please feel free to PM me if you have any further concerns (or even open a thread in the Site Feedback section) so we can discuss it further. I'd prefer this post to be the last not directly concerned with the OP.

    Thanks
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Pmb: I do hope you can get past this. Someone with your experience can be a very valuable resource on a forum such as this and we'd hate to lose you over something as relatively silly as this. Please feel free to PM me if you have any further concerns (or even open a thread in the Site Feedback section) so we can discuss it further. I'd prefer this post to be the last not directly concerned with the OP.

    Thanks
    All I said was that I think he was rude in his response. All the rest is people getting carried away. If people keep challanging me then of course I'll stick to my belief that he was being rude. Let's not keep making more of this than it is, okay?

    I'll PM you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    We can observe and measure [the effect of] all these particles. It is pretty easy to observe a single electron, for example, using a cloud chamber.
    The important bit here is ( and I am glad that you inserted it ! ) the phrase "the effect of". We never see an electron in a cloud chamber, we only see what kind of effect the electron has on its environment, and the same goes for all other particles as well. Quantum objects are by its very nature not part of our world of experience, we cannot directly perceive them, only their effects. The rest is indeed philosophy - something clearly is there, because the effects we observe in particle experiments are very real. What that something is on its deepest level of existence is still open to debate, I dare say.
    I do believe sub atomic particles exist.
    However, I am not prepared to just dismiss a question about their existence. I think it is legitimate to ask in what sense something "exists" if we only have knowledge of its "effect" or behaviour.
    Last edited by Halliday; June 5th, 2012 at 03:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    However, I am not prepared to just dismiss a question about their existence. I think it is legitimate to ask in what sense something "exists" if we only have knowledge of its "effect" or behaviour.
    I think this is more philosophy than physics.
    From a purely physical point of view I think it is acceptable to say something exists based on it having a measurable effect on its surroundings.
    The real question with fundamental particles is not whether they exist, but what their true nature really is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    From a purely physical point of view I think it is acceptable to say something exists based on it having a measurable effect on its surroundings.
    The real question with fundamental particles is not whether they exist, but what their true nature really is.
    I would agree with these statements.
    My view on whether we will discover the "true nature" of fundamental particles is positive . I am certain science/physics will eventually provide a complete "picture" or description of these entities.
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    Me too. But it will take a while. People and institutions with reputations to protect have a nasty habit of getting in the way of scientific progress. Once it finally breaks through, all the resistance gets swept under the carpet as if it never happened. If you're sharp you can spot examples of this. Check out Graham Farmelo's Dirac biography The Strangest Man where on page 53 you can read this: "At that time, Cunningham and Eddington were streets ahead of the majority of their Cambridge colleagues, who dismissed Einstein's work, ignored it, or denied its significance". That's 1923. Also see The Confrontation between General Relativity and Experiment by Clifford M. Will and read this on page 6: "Although special relativity itself never benefited from the kind of “crucial” experiments, such as the perihelion advance of Mercury and the deflection of light, that contributed so much to the initial acceptance of GR and to the fame of Einstein, the steady accumulation of experimental support, together with the successful merger of special relativity with quantum mechanics, led to its being accepted by mainstream physicists by the late 1920s." In addition check out The Golden Age of General Relativity to read: The golden age of general relativity is the period roughly from 1960 to 1975 during which the study of general relativity,[1] which had previously been regarded as something of a curiosity, entered the mainstream of theoretical physics".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    I think this is more philosophy than physics.
    Rohrlich once wrote "You can't do physics without doing philosophy." and I believe him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    From a purely physical point of view I think it is acceptable to say something exists based on it having a measurable effect on its surroundings.
    That doesn't mean that electrons exist.

    We've seen the outcome of an exhastive set of physical experiments which implies that there is a particle with certain properties. We've given that entity a name; electron. In that sense it exists. But its also quite possible that there can be another explanatiipn. One that we simply can't comprehend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    The real question with fundamental particles is not whether they exist, but what their true nature really is.
    I some sense I agree. But to what extent do we go through? When do we say "Well we didn't know that there was this other property which had those same properties but for which had other different properties which were not previously detected?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    However, I am not prepared to just dismiss a question about their existence. I think it is legitimate to ask in what sense something "exists" if we only have knowledge of its "effect" or behaviour.
    I think this is more philosophy than physics.
    I think this is the belief of many in science concerning unanswered questions in physics such as all the "why" questions.

    Philosophy defined: The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.


    From a purely physical point of view I think it is acceptable to say something exists based on it having a measurable effect on its surroundings.
    The real question with fundamental particles is not whether they exist, but what their true nature really is.
    "What is existence?" is a philosophical question. But once the definition of existence is agreed upon then whether something has "existence" in a certain state is a question of science. For instance if we have knowledge of an effect but speculate as to its cause, should we presume its nature; dark matter and dark energy come to mind. Effects that seem to be gravity related, should we necessarily assume that its source is "matter" such as dark matter (rhetorical)?. We do know of gravitational-like effects that are not necessarily caused by matter, black holes are one example, large galactic voids are another, where the EM radiation pushing influx into the void is greater than the outward EM radiation resulting in an inward pushing force. Since it is an unseen entity having an effect similar to gravity should we assume theoretically that it is matter. Wouldn't it be equally logical to suspect gravity formulations? or that something other than matter might be causing the effect, or possibly both?

    Because we cannot understand why type 1a supernova are not at the distances they are supposed to be we assume the universe has been expanding at different rates. Seemingly a simpler and better suspicion might be that the Hubble formula used to calculate galactic distances may need modification. Just an 11% change of galactic distances might explain away dark energy as being non-existent. We assume and then theorize that galactic redshifts are caused by expanding space which would directly imply an expanding universe. Concerning observations of the local cluster, galaxies do not appear to be moving away from each other. We are aware of other causes of galactic redshifts such as relative motion away from the observer and gravitational redshifts. Some have realized and theorized many other possible explanations for galactic redshifts different from the expansion of space. Most other possibilities would imply that the universe is not expanding.

    The same thing applies to assumptions and theories about matter. Electrons and/ or photons may not be particulate in nature, and protons and neutrons and/ or other particles may be very different from our present ideas of them -- not that I think our theories are that bad. Surprises of theory are too common to eliminate the consideration of other possibilities, especially for those theories that often need changing or for those that by their tenets cannot be disproved. A theory or hypothesis that cannot be disproved does not rightfully qualify as being a theory or hypothesis, whether it is mainstream or not.

    The real question with fundamental particles is not whether they exist, but what their true nature really is.
    I would agree with your opinion, that the nature of fundamental particles is probably one of the most important related question in particle physics but realize that our present theories of fundamental particles may be completely wrong. A valid reason for at least some skepticism, I think, should be because quarks and gluon have never been observed, and present theory asserts that they never could be separately observed. The same reasoning should apply to the idea of electrons and positrons as point particles; theory also asserts that they never could be directly observed.
    Last edited by forrest noble; June 6th, 2012 at 04:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    What exactly do you think of when I used the term direct experience?
    I have no idea;
    It's simple. Go to your kitchen and touch a metal pan. It will feel cold. Now place your hand on a wooden cabinet. It will feel slightly cold. Now take a thermometer and place it on the metal pan. It should read room temperature. Place the themometer on the pan. It will also read room temperature.

    When you placed your hand on the pan that was direct experiece of the temperature.

    Ask someone to walk into the kitchen and tell you how many chairs are in it. Now go into it and count them for yourself. When your friend tells you how many chairs are there then that's indirect experience. When you look for yourself that's direct experience. When you touch it then that too is direct experience. If you closed all the curtains in an empty room and place a chair in the room then you could find the chair by echo location. The sound of the empty room s different than when there is a chair in the room. The sound from ambient noise or even your breathing can create a soud which bounces off the chair and someone with great senses can tell if there is something in the room. This is indirect experience. Touch it. That's direct experience.
    So if I devise an instrument that is capable of measuring the number of chairs in the room on my behalf, and then use it to measure the number of chairs instead of counting them myself, that is not direct experience? What if I take the instrument, and have it cybernetically grafted to my body, and hook wires up so it can connect directly with my brain, making it effectively part of my body. If I use the instrument then, is that "direct experience"?

    How are artificial instruments different from the human eye, which was created by evolution instead of artifice but is otherwise still an instrument. If a person's eye were replaced by a cyborg camera eye, would they no longer be able to consider it a reliable means of observation because it's not natural? What if they just have corrective eye surgery? Does that count as making it too artificial to rely on then?

    What is our criteria for drawing the line between "direct" and "indirect"?
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    So if I devise an instrument that is capable of measuring the number of chairs in the room on my behalf, and then use it to measure the number of chairs instead of counting them myself, that is not direct experience? What if I take the instrument, and have it cybernetically grafted to my body, and hook wires up so it can connect directly with my brain, making it effectively part of my body. If I use the instrument then, is that "direct experience"?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    How are artificial instruments different from the human eye, which was created by evolution instead of artifice but is otherwise still an instrument.
    I was addressing the difference between direct and indirect experience. Let's go back to the temperature one. Whn I touched those two things, metal and woon, and sensed that one "felt" cooler than the other then I was making a mistake. A temperature measuring device like a thermometer is more reliable in those cases. In the number of chair case it migbht be that the measuring device is flawless and can accurately measure the number of chairs. It's possible that the person was drunk and was seeng two of everything.

    In both situations the person could have made mistakes. Whether the apparatus made a mistake is also possible It'salso why many different runs of an experiment are often executed.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If a person's eye were replaced by a cyborg camera eye, would they no longer be able to consider it a reliable means of observation because it's not natural?
    We're getting too deep into philosophy. That's a place which has more questions than answers. You're now at a place where you'll be questing everything in a line of reasoning. That's what a philosopher does. I didn't come to this forum to discuss philosophy. When you get into questions like "What is direct experience" then I really shouldn't have responed since that's a question regarding philosophy. Good luck!


    What is our criteria for drawing the line between "direct" and "indirect"?
    Why ask me? Don't you have your own answers? This is a physics forum. Your questions belong in the philosophy forum.

    I do love philosophy but I know where my weaknesses are. It's been decade since I've studied it. I'm trying to get back to it, that's why I bought Popper's text The Logic of Scient ific Discovery. The book is almost 500 pages long. I'm n page two. When I finish it then I'll start peeking my head into the philosophy forum. Until then I'm staying in the sciences forum. Mostly the physics forrums.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Quarks, on the other hand, have never been independently observed and are strictly theoretical.
    That's not quite accurate. While there have never been free quarks observed, collider experiments at SLAC as far back as 1969 have shown inelastic scattering effects which could only have been produced by quarks. So they're not strictly hypothetical.
    (bold added)

    Inelastic scatterings implies that protons have an internal geometry. This could be explained by a string-like configuration of protons or some other form with space within it like knot theory. It could have internal parts which could explain this scattering, but hypothetical quarks and gluons is only one of almost countless other possibilities of quantity, configurations, etc.

    In string theory, for instance, atomic particles are made up of strings. Not all versions of string theory adhere to the quark gluon idea, nor do all have extra dimensions to them.
    Last edited by forrest noble; October 23rd, 2012 at 06:20 PM.
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    Inelastic scatterings implies that protons have an internal geometry.
    The inelastic scatterings showed that there were three internal pieces.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Inelastic scatterings implies that protons have an internal geometry.
    The inelastic scatterings showed that there were three internal pieces.
    Three quarks, and maybe eight mass-less gluons, right? I think you are wrong on this idea. The three quark idea comes from theory, which cannot presently be contradicted by observation. There are supposedly three different scattering patterns which is believed to represent three different particles.
    Last edited by forrest noble; October 13th, 2012 at 12:26 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Inelastic scatterings implies that protons have an internal geometry. This could be explained by a string-like configuration of protons or some other form with space within it. It could have internal parts which could explain this scattering, but hypothetical quarks and gluons is only one of almost countless other possibilities of quantity, configurations, etc.
    Have a look at topological quantum field theory and take note of this kind of thing:

    Although TQFTs were invented by physicists, they are also of mathematical interest, being related to, among other things, knot theory

    Then take a look at a trefoil knot. Start from the bottom left and go round it anticlockwise calling out the crossing-over directions: up down up. Ring any bells?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Inelastic scatterings implies that protons have an internal geometry. This could be explained by a string-like configuration of protons or some other form with space within it. It could have internal parts which could explain this scattering, but hypothetical quarks and gluons is only one of almost countless other possibilities of quantity, configurations, etc.
    Have a look at topological quantum field theory and take note of this kind of thing:

    Although TQFTs were invented by physicists, they are also of mathematical interest, being related to, among other things, knot theory

    Then take a look at a trefoil knot. Start from the bottom left and go round it anticlockwise calling out the crossing-over directions: up down up. Ring any bells?
    It reminds me that you are trying to sell your own self-published book, despite not being able to do any of the mathematics in these things that you cite.

    As Strange said, "It is hard to imagine what motivates people like this. Deluded? Jokers? Scammers?"
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    PhysBang,

    It reminds me that you are trying to sell your own self-published book, despite not being able to do any of the mathematics in these things that you cite.
    As Strange said, "It is hard to imagine what motivates people like this. Deluded? Jokers? Scammers?"
    Since I have talked with a number of mainstream-theory dissidents surprisingly I see little difference between their personalities and others. Maybe a larger number are generally more skeptical of things in general. Anyway I think they vary in their personalities as much as theoretical proponents and I think their sincerity is equally as strong. Deluded? anyone can be deluded regardless of their theoretical inclinations, but alternative theorists maybe less likely since they generally may tend to be more skeptical. Skeptics of theory are many, but those knowing what they are talking about are maybe less numerous than knowledgeable proponents. This, I think, is related to the education system which naturally promotes mainstream theory, often only with brief mention concerning alternative theory.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    the education system which naturally promotes mainstream theory, often only with brief mention concerning alternative theory.
    Education often teaches alternative theories (when the exist). The sort of things you promote are not "alternative theories". They are not theories. They are not even science.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Inelastic scatterings implies that protons have an internal geometry. This could be explained by a string-like configuration of protons or some other form with space within it. It could have internal parts which could explain this scattering, but hypothetical quarks and gluons is only one of almost countless other possibilities of quantity, configurations, etc.
    Have a look at topological quantum field theory and take note of this kind of thing:

    Although TQFTs were invented by physicists, they are also of mathematical interest, being related to, among other things, knot theory

    Then take a look at a trefoil knot. Start from the bottom left and go round it anticlockwise calling out the crossing-over directions: up down up. Ring any bells?
    Yup, looks like a threefold quark system concerning knot theory and even topological quantum field theory, both having three aspects to their physicality.
    Last edited by forrest noble; October 13th, 2012 at 05:04 PM.
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    I believe they explain a lot in atomism and sub-atomism but that doesn't mean that we understand it. To quote Richard Feynman, " You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. " Basicly I think they exist but we don't understand them.

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    Some people do. See the last paragraph of this Bristol University press release entitled Tying Light in Knots. It features a somewhat cryptic comment by Mark Dennis:

    “The study of knotted vortices was initiated by Lord Kelvin back in 1867 in his quest for an explanation of atoms”, adds Dennis, who began to study knotted optical vortices with Professor Sir Michael Berry at Bristol University in 2000. “This work opens a new chapter in that history.”

    Mark Dennis was one of the organisers of ABB50/25 held at Bristol University in December 2009. See the program page. Note it's under the IOP banner, that's reputable. See where Sir Michael Atiyah is listed? He's a famous mathematician. Now look at Topological Quantum Field Theory There's Atiyah again. And note this: "Although TQFTs were invented by physicists, they are also of mathematical interest, being related to, among other things, knot theory". In the ABB50/25 program you can access the "poster session". A poster is a very small paper. One of them, P25, was The Electron, twisted photon, and knotted light by Qiu-Hong Hu. Atiyah chatted to him about what sort of knot/optical vortex the electron is, and whether there ought to be an extra entry in the knot table. A lot of people in optics/condensed matter/electromagnetism know full well that the electon is a standing-wave optical vortex with a "trivial knot" topology, and that the proton is a trefoil. Atiyah knows this too. But you don't get to hear about it in case it damages HEP and is "bad for physics". Intentions are noble, but nobody has stepped up to the plate, and meanwhile the public and politicians grow disillusioned and funding pressures mount as physics withers on the vine. It's an impasse right now, but rest assured, it will be broken. The future of physics is at stake. Keep a sharp eye out for CERN and quantum optics.
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    Dear Rohandesilva...

    I personally think that sciene-theories (as well as religious believes) are a way to DESCRIBE the world. But all we know about the world is a description and it is always subjective. But things have effects on other things or react to other things, which can be seen in an objective way. There are maybe different theories about how and what and why things are happening...but they only leave limited space for interpretations. Especially at those points that are very well backed.
    So, about your question: Yes, I think that electrons exist.
    I think you are totally right on what you think about science and how the universe can (or can not be) explained.
    Science is the only way to discover truth. So a muslim or hindu or jewish scientist, will have the same results if he is honest.
    But it is unfair (and from a european perspective arrogant) to call it "european" science and I guess this is a major problem people in non-western countries have. This was exactly the same problem europeans had before enlightenment. Lots of arabian or asian scientistic stuff was banned because it didnt fit in our culture or religion and didnt matched our traditional thinking. I guess you know about the trouble different scientists had with the church throughout european history.
    What is called "science" is simply to get rid of all cultural, religious or other factors that influence what you find out about the world.
    Science is just about beeing perfectly honest.
    This pure science have been developed all around the world. There would be no Newton without some arabian astronomer I (sadly) never heard of, and before him there was a astronomer from India....and so on...and so on.
    The problem for sicence is that many power structures are based on tradition and that no culture in the world ever had the balls to say: "We simply dont know". So...there are a lot of answers to almost any question that are connected to tradition or religion, that contradicts modern science. Religions fear that people say...Oh wait a second...they are wrong on all that stuff...so maybe they are wrong about moral stuff, too.
    Of course Western countries sometimes use that extra knowledge to destabilize or change power structures in foreign countries. I think thats what your "Anti-Western" Intellectuals are really worried about. If f.e. nobody believe in the buddhist creation story but in modern biology than...some day people will leave temples abandoned like they leave churches abandoned in Western countries. If I where a buddhist monk or hinduist priest I would be scared to death loosing reputation, wealth and influence, by children learning things that contradict my views. And of course I would fight it, and be superignorant. And yes...I admit that it have many disadvantages for a society to become "western" or get rid of traditions and religion. But also advantages, of course.
    But even if there is only one truth I wouldnt say that all science is the same. Of course...if I dont follow the basic sicence principles...it is not science. But what differs could be the questions we ask and the way we describe things. Maybe some of that old knowledge describes some scientific facts, that have been discovered or that are yet to be found.
    The idea of Atoms is kind of old. Epicur (one of the first guys who claimed that the world is made out of unsplittable parts) couldnt prove shit in his time...and I doubt that he did some research that would be called "scientific". But people kept that idea in mind and someday Atoms really have been discovered. Not as a surprise...but because this idea taught scientists to look for it. Of course there are such ideas in religions and traditions, as well. I dont know much about asian culture...but isnt there a lot of talk about "energies". So f.e. a scientist that grew up in asia could search for some kind of energies present in the human body.
    Old texts dont have to be wrong. In many cases they describe things in another way (or at least could be interpreted that way).
    Some of the elders who wrote that text could be described as scientists...or at least truthseekers that had not have enough data.
    On the other hand they imagined a lot of things...but imagination can inspire scientists as well. Just think of Jule Verne.
    Science and Religion can be reconciled in many cases. Of course we cant say..."Oh it is in my religio there have to be some proves in science for it." But at least we could say: "It is part of my (or many) religions...so maybe there is some solid knowledge that can be extracted."
    BUT honest science must always have the balls to say: "Religion is wrong on that one" and (I think) religion should simply accept that. Not by changing but by saying..."this was meant as a metaphor not literally". It's working quiet well for most christians. You can believe in your religion AND dont have to ignore reality.
    But what (should) make every scientist humble is, that he could be wrong, as well, even if he was working with scientific principles because he may not have enough data or not good enough measuring methods.
    And of course science can be used to manipulate power-structeres as well as religion. Just think of those "scientists" who "discovered" the supremacy of aryans in 19 century. If somebody would have said: But my religion teaches that all human are equal he would have been right even if it would have been a case of science vs. religion. Later science found out that religion is right and that every race have the same potential to do stuff, and that cultural things decide wether or not some race seems to be good at a special thing. That wasnt honest science, but how to say if a scientist is honest if you are not a scientist (and expert on the same topic)? Maybe some discoveries are only the product of some carreer plans or a try to support the personal worldview of the scientist. That is a big problem with science. I think the critics of "western"-science are right at this point.
    But Science have a way to deal with it. Scientists allways try to debunk other scientists. So...the ones that cant be debunked or shown to be dishonest or biased...define reality for the moment. Science is what survives. And sometimes some things (like 2 honest theories) live side to side. But both are a part of the same science, because they are based on the same facts and methods. As soon as reasoning or concluding is a part of a theory, things can differ.
    But if we allready KNOW that someones scientific work is related to a special worldview, (like trying to make the bible or some buddhist scriptures fit) we should have a very very very critical view on his work. Like I said...in the end science is to accept anything nature is telling us and try to clean our ears again and again.
    -
    I admit I dont know shit about Sri Lanka and I surley cant tell what kind of influence is needed or harmful. After all, it looks very modern...at least on TV. : )
    What I want to know is how science is told in schools?
    Would you say science is generally exerted?
    How strong are those Anti-Western interlectualls in your society?
    ...
    Thx for reading and pardon my english.
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