# Thread: why math?

1. ## why math?

My ATM theory is so new, that the math that is needed to make even OOM estimations, has not been invented yet, so don't come to me asking for quantitative answers.
Well, this may be an exaggeration of what is happening now and then, but I am worried about the lack of math that we are getting from the ATM proponents.

Now and then there are people that trying to show some equations, but then get frustrated when they are pointed at errors in their equations. So, in my opinion math is one hot potato. And then there are proponents of ATM theories who freely admit that they have no inclination of math, but a gut feeling tells them that mainstream is wrong and ATM is right.

So, now I wonder, math is supposed to be the language of physics, the only way we can describe in shorthand what is happening. What would we do without it, and can we do research at all without using math?

Do the ATM proponents think that something needs to be changed to the description of physics by mathematics?

One thing comes to mind at this point, and that is that General Relativity reduces to Special Relativity in the limit. Now, describing an accelerating frame as the sum of infinitesimal inertial frames cannot be done straightforward. In Minkowskian space you might get away with it doing straightforward summation/integration, but anything more complex I would doubt it will be that easy.

Okay, just some pondering here on thursday afternoon.

Martin

2. Originally Posted by tusenfem
Well, this may be an exaggeration of what is happening now and then, but I am worried about the lack of math that we are getting from the ATM proponents.

Now and then there are people that trying to show some equations, but then get frustrated when they are pointed at errors in their equations. So, in my opinion math is one hot potato. And then there are proponents of ATM theories who freely admit that they have no inclination of math, but a gut feeling tells them that mainstream is wrong and ATM is right.

So, now I wonder, math is supposed to be the language of physics, the only way we can describe in shorthand what is happening. What would we do without it, and can we do research at all without using math?

Do the ATM proponents think that something needs to be changed to the description of physics by mathematics?

One thing comes to mind at this point, and that is that General Relativity reduces to Special Relativity in the limit. Now, describing an accelerating frame as the sum of infinitesimal inertial frames cannot be done straightforward. In Minkowskian space you might get away with it doing straightforward summation/integration, but anything more complex I would doubt it will be that easy.

Okay, just some pondering here on thursday afternoon.

Martin
One of the problems is that it isn't easy to create high order symbols necessary to post mathematic arguments - especially on this forum.

Another is free parameters - when and how they should allowed to be introduced. Virtually every theory requires them - no one can create an exact model - but whenever an assumption is formalized in an alternative theory, it is jumped all over. Ultimately the argument is usually reducible to weighing which parametric assumptions are valid, and which are not, and that argument is philosophical, not mathematical.

(To a degree, this happens with mainstream theories as well - many of us are jumping all over the Dark Energy fudge factors.)

To a large extent, a concept that is based upon mathematics can be discussed without hairy equations.

Finally, there is the argument that anything can be modeled mathematically. Many computer graphics used in the movies nowdays involve either exact, or stretched physical models. MOND formulas create farely good models of where and when to expect dark matter, but they do not provide a physical root cause for the 'MOND' force. If you can describe consistent attributes of an alternative physical reality, it is possible to create a mathematical model.

3. I have to say, I distrust any hypothesis in science, at least in the physics and astronomy dealt with here, that has no numbers whatsoever. I may not understand the numbers when they're presented, Gods know, but I know they should be there. Often, in fact, even the numbers I would understand--measurements, for example--aren't there. Or when they are, they're completely without context--such as units, sometimes!

4. in the end, it comes down to what people choose to believe.
some people belive what the hard numbers tell them, and some people believe what they either WANT to believe, or are told to believe.
either way, it's all a matter of faith.

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without math you are doing philosophy not physics.

like Jerry said, putting the equations on here is very difficult, which is a real limit on how much explanation can be given. There have been several times where one or two equations could show someone their mistake, but since either the equation cannot be properly expressed, or the person does not understand the math, they cannot be shown there error.

A person should not get frustrated when they are shown their error, they should fix the error. that is another problem on this board.

Math isnt a hot potato. Once you know what it is saying, it is simply a tool, just like the letters I am using here.

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I think there are ways to address any ATM idea that needs math beyond what a simple word processor can handle.

However, pace Jerry, to have the kind of 'math challenge' that requires us to go beyond

a = be2v/t+x1/2, where b = 6.7 x 105

(kind of thing) would be, frankly, a sheer delight.

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Why Math?
Because it gives everyone that wants to try and verify a proposed theory or experiment a level playing field.

Anyone can claim to be the next Einstein. The question is, how do they back up their claim? If they can't show the mathematics behind their work, to allow others to try and verify said claim, then the ideas have no way of beng tested, let alone verified.

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Originally Posted by Metricyard
Why Math?
Because it gives everyone that wants to try and verify a proposed theory or experiment a level playing field.

Anyone can claim to be the next Einstein. The question is, how do they back up their claim? If they can't show the mathematics behind their work, to allow others to try and verify said claim, then the ideas have no way of beng tested, let alone verified.
This is a fantastic quote. Difficult to add anything. Perhaps just the fact that good math is the universal language of convincing others that the ideas are sound.

9. [Moderator Note: the posts quoted by tusenfem have been split out into a separate thread - Sani5's ideas on maths and physics. This is more germane to the original thread].
Originally Posted by Sani5
Originally Posted by papageno
Maths is a discipline of its own.
Yes, and that is THE PROBLEM!

Thank you for clearing this up so concisely!
Well, did I open up a can of worms here?

Math is indeed its own discipline, well developed, and based on a set of axioms etc. And yes it has been shown by Godel (?) that there is now way to prove that it is system is correct within the system itself. That may be troublesome ... HOWEVER ... there is this interesting thing called physics which shows that math as it is, is very good describing what is observed. Although this cannot be seen as a formal prove of the correctness of our mathematical system, it is a very good indication that we are doing something right.

Originally Posted by Sani5
In which branch of philosophy would you get away with free variables like Dark Matter and Dark Energy?
well ... should we go to plato's cave ... talking about a free variable.

One of the interesting things about math is that it develops by itself, and a good thing that it does. Because, now and then the physicists are at a loss how to explain something, but then the problem was already solved in math.

Naturally, theoretical physics is at the base more like math than physics. But we still come up at the same point, ultimately the theories will have to be shown to be valid by doing observations or experiments.

But we need math in physics, because it is the only way that we can communicate our results to other people in any useful way. Does this mean that math is subordinate to physics? No, it does not, we have to make a careful consideration here. Not the math, but the described model is subordinate not to physics but to observations and/or experiments.

But all this does not address why ATM proponents are often not willing to give even an OOM estimate of the effects they are describing. Saying that this board is difficult for math typesetting could be true, you need to use "[ sup ]" for superscripts and "[ sub ]" for subscripts. Furthermore, you can use the LaTeX definitions for math, which most on the board will be able to understand. This difficulty should not be the reason not to give any numbers (which is a problem that a lot of ATM websites also suffer from, and I think if you can put up a website, you can at least give equations and numbers).

So the question remains, why are ATMers so weiry about giving OOM estimates. Could it be they do not understand the theory they are supporting, or is it because the are mathematically illiterate?

10. Originally Posted by Sani5
In which ball park would you put dark matter and dark energy?
I would not put these in mathematics, why should anyone?
dark matter is theoretical physics / cosmology, it is a concept that can be described by mathematics.

Sani5, you need to understand the distinction between mathematics and modelling. The former is a well established research field of tremendous importance not only to physics but also to lot of other areas. The latter is a way of describing what is seen, using the language of math.

Like you're example of a plane being too heavy to fly. The math was not doggy like you say, the model itself did not incorporate all necessary elements to show that a plane can fly.

Like I said, according to Godel math cannot be proven inside of itself, but I think we can safely assume that mathematics is based on a correct set of axioms as it is invaluable for the correct description of physics.

But this whole discussion here has nothing to do with why I started this thread. I just wanted to know why ATMers do not give any quatitative estimate of e.g. an electric comet.

Sani5: Because there is no guarantee that Math based theory will reflect physical reality! Observation and measurement et al should come first.
Math has been show to describe the phenomena that electric cometists say take place very well. They talk about arching and an "electric discharge machining" and whathaveyounots, which all come from regular, and tested, physics, well described in mathematical theory. Naturally, it is your good right to not accept math as a description of reality. Indeed, an equation is not reality. But the math is there, tested and all by numerous experiments (electrostatics, electrodynamics) and the ATMers, IMHO, should use this to give estimates.

(*edited to add last quote and reply)

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Originally Posted by tusenfem
[snip]

But this whole discussion here has nothing to do with why I started this thread. I just wanted to know why ATMers do not give any quatitative estimate of e.g. an electric comet.
Indeed.

I have split out the posts with discussion of Sani5's ideas on maths and physics into a new thread, here.

Please keep these discussion topics separate.

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Well, not being a professional I probably should stay out of this but having technical training and experience and being an ATM'er perhaps some comment is warranted.

Mathematics in of itself says, predicts and does nothing. It can only describe or test that which has preceeded it philosophically. So the idea that math is subordinate to hyotheses is absolutely correct.

My experience has been that most professionals don't like the thought process (don't get angry) but rather like the mathematical analysis of the thoughts of those that do think.

It makes it difficult and extremely limited to have a discussion when only mathematics can be discussed.

13. I disagree. The problem with many ATM discussions is that the ATM ideas are so vague, and their predictions uncheckable and unfalsifiable.
I'll use the Thunderbolts predictions for Deep Impact as a test case (and please, this actual example is not the focus of this thread and has been (and will be) discussed elsewhere, mostly in the EU thread.
They don't give any math, anything checkable, just vague assertions which can easily be claimed to be true or false according to your position, but which can hardly be called scientific or testable.
An abundance of water [...] is unlikely
What is "an abundance"? They should have given some limits, some upper values , like "more than 20% of water is unlikely". I don't think anyone asks of them to say "comets contain 5.2% of water", but something quantitative is needed.
More energy will be released than expected
How much is expected? If they don't know, they can't claim that more will be released. If they do know, they should have given the figure, and given a guess of how much more at least would be released (1 percent? 500 percent?).
Copious X-rays will accompany discharges to the projectile, exceeding any reasonable model for X-ray production through the mechanics of impact.
What is "copious"? What is "any reasonable model"? This is, again, very vague and uncheckable.
The impact crater will be smaller than expected.
Again, what is expected, and how much smaller will it be?

The rest of the predictions are mostly "may" and "could", and follow an "if" statement as well. They aren't quantitative either.

This is, in my view, the kind of ATM theory that most people and this thread in particular argues against.

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Originally Posted by Nereid
Indeed.

I have split out the posts with discussion of Sani5's ideas on maths and physics into a new thread, here.

Please keep these discussion topics separate.
I strongly disagree. If you read the EU/Plasma related sites, they are critical of the abstract theoretical nature of many mainstream ideas, and the obsession with Math.

They stress, by contrast, the importance of working backwards from observation, as opposed to working forward from theoretical starting points!

I wonder if the EU/Plasma proponents will agree with me? If so, perhaps this central issue has been split (marginalised?) too early?

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Originally Posted by MacM
Well, not being a professional I probably should stay out of this but having technical training and experience and being an ATM'er perhaps some comment is warranted.

Mathematics in of itself says, predicts and does nothing. It can only describe or test that which has preceeded it philosophically. So the idea that math is subordinate to hyotheses is absolutely correct.

My experience has been that most professionals don't like the thought process (don't get angry) but rather like the mathematical analysis of the thoughts of those that do think.

It makes it difficult and extremely limited to have a discussion when only mathematics can be discussed.
Good stuff.

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Originally Posted by Sani5
I strongly disagree. If you read the EU/Plasma related sites, they are critical of the abstract theoretical nature of many mainstream ideas, and the obsession with Math.

They stress, by contrast, the importance of working backwards from observation, as opposed to working forward from theoretical starting points!

I wonder if the EU/Plasma proponents will agree with me? If so, perhaps this central issue has been split (marginalised?) too early?
And here is a note on why I made the split:
If all you wish to do is discuss the use of math (or the non-use of math, or anything in between) in connection with EU ideas, then I'll merge this thread with the EU thread.

If you wish to make a broader claim (along the lines of "math is not the be all and end all of science" perhaps), then here's your chance to do so.

The why math? thread is quite specific in its scope; it is about the lack of use of math by ATM proponents (understood to be those who post to this section of BAUT).

As I understand the content of Sani5's posts, per this new thread, the context is very different - an ATM view of the role of maths and physics (or maths in physics perhaps).
On the other hand, if you are seeking to hijack this thread, to discuss EU ideas, then I suggest that would be a bad idea (it's against the BAUT rules).

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Unrestrained mathematics, that is applying formulas without limits imposed by observation or even logic, results in bizzar consequences which should not be taken as physical realities.

Frankly that is what I contend is the root evil with relativity. i.e. - Singularities, reciprocity, etc.

18. ## missing science

Although I cannot read minds, I will venture to guess that most ATMers are in fact mathematically illiterate; they don't do the math because they can't do the math. And they do not believe that math is relevant in any case. They think that math has clouded the vision of mainstream scientists, and that the return to "common sense" (reminiscent of the "return to nature" idea) will set things straight.

But this is not always the case. The EU folks, for instance, base all of their hypotheses on their interpretation of ancient myths. The EU is the "physical" basis for mythological descriptions of luminary phenomena that are interpreted as plasma effects seen by the ancients, much like Velikovsky's planetary lightning bolts. In this case, you don't get much math because there isn't much math to get, because there isn't much physics to make the math out of. But since myth takes precedence over all else in their minds, the math & physics are both considered irrelevant. They see their mission as explaining what they already know to be true, exactly the opposite of a normal scientific course of events.

This idea of what comes first is probably at the root of the missing math problem (should we call it dark math?). If "common sense", or mythology, or politics comes first, science (mathematics included) necessarily comes in 2nd place at best. And maybe that's the real point. It's not just the math that's missing in action, it's the science that's missing, so naturally the math is missing too.

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Originally Posted by Tim Thompson
Although I cannot read minds, I will venture to guess that most ATMers are in fact mathematically illiterate; they don't do the math because they can't do the math. And they do not believe that math is relevant in any case. They think that math has clouded the vision of mainstream scientists, and that the return to "common sense" (reminiscent of the "return to nature" idea) will set things straight.
To some degree you are likely correct. Speaking only for myself I have had the math (upto calculus) and understand the importance of it and the processs, although it has been over 40 years since I have used it and hence don't even pretend to use it anymore.

But that I suggest is not the equivelent of being mathematically illiterate or ignorant in mathematics.

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Perhaps we could get some simple, OOM estimates?

On the first page of the ATM section, there are ~30 ATM threads.

Of these, ~20 are ATM ideas (the others are about ATM ideas, or "mainstream astrophysics must be wrong!").

There are only ~4 of these which unambiguously contain math* (in the sense of this thread): New Cosmology; Arp et al.; length contraction (though, strictly speaking, it's not really and ATM idea, there are two of these threads); and Peter Wilson's idea.

(there are some which are border-line, e.g. Jerry Jensen's idea, Bob Angstrom's idea, trinitree88's idea, 3D time; and Masanov Rainbow Calendar's idea).

There are some ATM threads which are avowedly non-math, as in the OP explicitly states that the thread would not include any quantitative claims, e.g. north's idea; earthly comets; MacM's gedanken experiment; man from kibish's gravity idea; and the EU thread.

So, to a first approximation, half the ATM threads which actually discuss an ATM idea (in the manner intended by this section) contain at least some math or the potential to get into the math, but only half of those seem to actually do so.

*I've included 'numbers' in 'math', in the sense that if the ATM thread includes discussion of quantitative results or predictions, whether or not the math behind those results or predictions is explicitly on the table.

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Originally Posted by Sani5
I strongly disagree. If you read the EU/Plasma related sites, they are critical of the abstract theoretical nature of many mainstream ideas, and the obsession with Math.

They stress, by contrast, the importance of working backwards from observation, as opposed to working forward from theoretical starting points!

I wonder if the EU/Plasma proponents will agree with me? If so, perhaps this central issue has been split (marginalised?) too early?
Working backward from observation has given us dark matter and dark energy. These concepts are very poorly understood. Better understood is superconductivity, which came from observation. Standard model is also mainly observation driven.

Doing the math has given us lasers, semiconductors, GPS, MRI. To a large degree, many of the tech advances of the latter 20th century were due to running the numbers on quantum mechanics, and seeing what came out. many of these effects are not obvious, but only really come out when the numbers are run.

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Originally Posted by Tim Thompson
Although I cannot read minds, I will venture to guess that most ATMers are in fact mathematically illiterate; they don't do the math because they can't do the math. And they do not believe that math is relevant in any case. They think that math has clouded the vision of mainstream scientists, and that the return to "common sense" (reminiscent of the "return to nature" idea) will set things straight.

But this is not always the case. The EU folks, for instance, base all of their hypotheses on their interpretation of ancient myths. The EU is the "physical" basis for mythological descriptions of luminary phenomena that are interpreted as plasma effects seen by the ancients, much like Velikovsky's planetary lightning bolts. In this case, you don't get much math because there isn't much math to get, because there isn't much physics to make the math out of. But since myth takes precedence over all else in their minds, the math & physics are both considered irrelevant. They see their mission as explaining what they already know to be true, exactly the opposite of a normal scientific course of events.

This idea of what comes first is probably at the root of the missing math problem (should we call it dark math?). If "common sense", or mythology, or politics comes first, science (mathematics included) necessarily comes in 2nd place at best. And maybe that's the real point. It's not just the math that's missing in action, it's the science that's missing, so naturally the math is missing too.

Yes, you are correct. And a lot of the math that is posted is wrong.
On the other hand, if this forum allowed LatEx (or, even better, pdf) , the people that know math would have an easier way in refuting incorrect ideas. Just a thought

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Originally Posted by MacM
Unrestrained mathematics, that is applying formulas without limits imposed by observation or even logic, results in bizzar consequences which should not be taken as physical realities.

Frankly that is what I contend is the root evil with relativity. i.e. - Singularities, reciprocity, etc.
You mean the stuff that you don't understand? firstly at the physics level and secondly at the mathematical level? Because you understand neither, this allows you to make the type of broad statements as above? If it were by you would should reduce science to high school calculus (which you readily admit not having used in more than 40 years)?

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If I may blow my own trumpet a little bit,
there was some maths in my "GRB idea" here
last Sep and in General Science, my thread
First glimmerings of relativity had a neat
time dilation calculation I did not even
realise when I first posted! It seems to me
most science is better understood with at
least proficiancy in high school mathematics.
Things like Differential Equations and
Laplace Transforms I took for my College
Qualifications are now a dim distant memory
but simple trig is still there.

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Originally Posted by clj4
You mean the stuff that you don't understand? firstly at the physics level and secondly at the mathematical level? Because you understand neither, this allows you to make the type of broad statements as above? If it were by you would should reduce science to high school calculus (which you readily admit not having used in more than 40 years)?
Do you imply by this that you fully support and argue in favor of the physical reality of "Singularities"? And just how does my rusty mathematics alter such realities?

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Originally Posted by MacM
Do you imply by this that you fully support and argue in favor of the physical reality of "Singularities"? And just how does my rusty mathematics alter such realities?
Singularities are a division by 0. When that happens in real life, wierd things happen in real life. everything about the theory of black holes is applying GR to the area around this division by 0 and seeing what happens.

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Originally Posted by korjik
Singularities are a division by 0. When that happens in real life, wierd things happen in real life. everything about the theory of black holes is applying GR to the area around this division by 0 and seeing what happens.
My point being that the application at such extremes is inconsistant with the generally accepted fact that nothing physical can become infinite. It is more reasonable and productive to forget such conclusions and consider that there MUST be physical parameters which preclude reaching this point in reality.

Such limit would be to view gravity as a consequence of energy and energy being finite in the universe. These are general observations and are not quantitatively supported but are pragmatically mandated. Your post suggests that posters are unaware that infinity occurs as a consequence of dividing by "0". That simply is not the case. Nor is it the case that dividing by zero is generally accepted in mathematics. So why even go there?

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Originally Posted by MacM
Do you imply by this that you fully support and argue in favor of the physical reality of "Singularities"? And just how does my rusty mathematics alter such realities?
I'm not implying, I am stating that you have no clue.

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Originally Posted by MacM
My point being that the application at such extremes is inconsistant with the generally accepted fact that nothing physical can become infinite. It is more reasonable and productive to forget such conclusions and consider that there MUST be physical parameters which preclude reaching this point in reality.

Such limit would be to view gravity as a consequence of energy and energy being finite in the universe. These are general observations and are not quantitatively supported but are pragmatically mandated. Your post suggests that posters are unaware that infinity occurs as a consequence of dividing by "0". That simply is not the case. Nor is it the case that dividing by zero is generally accepted in mathematics. So why even go there?
This is what black hole theory is. you cannot see a singularity, you can only see an event horizon. What GR does is provide how the singularity is screened from the rest of the universe.

By the way, any resonance is a singularity. by your thought, the resonance must not exist, because other factors prevent it. This is both true, in that there are always losses that prevent infinity, but false, in that the division by 0 is still in the equation. GR is the loss process that hides the mass singularity the same way damping hides a frequency singularity.

30. Originally Posted by MacM
My point being that the application at such extremes is inconsistant with the generally accepted fact that nothing physical can become infinite.
And physicists don't like infinite quantities, that's why they have and are trying to work around mathematical infinities.

Originally Posted by MacM
It is more reasonable and productive to forget such conclusions and consider that there MUST be physical parameters which preclude reaching this point in reality.
You seem to assume that physicists do not do so.
Look up renormalization, which is a way to avoid infinities in quantum mechanics.

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