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Author Topic:   Physical Laws ....What if they were different before?
foreveryoung
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Posts: 879
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Message 1 of 309 (662087)
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


All of nature abides by the physical laws of the universe. Much of creationism is "proven" wrong because its claims violate known physical laws. What if there were a different set of values for all the constants and the equations for forces and fields and energies were slightly different at the beginning than they are today? Isn't it possible to have a functioning universe with a different set of constants and forms of the laws we have today? Are the constants and equations we have today the only possible ones that can produce a universe of matter, energy, space and force? If it is indeed possible for such a reality to exist, wouldn't a change of all the constants and equations to the ones we see today produce a catastrophe of epic proportions? Wouldn't such a scenario make perfectly stable stars turn into supernovas or put them on the path to becoming supernovas? Wouldn't such a scenario make the structure of the original universe undetectable to modern scientific instruments?

This is food for thought for the anti-creationists. It is true that if all the physical laws and constants have been the same as they are today then the claims of creationism are impossible without invoking "poof" type magic. Of course, changing all the laws and constants would be "magic" because there is no physical mechanism that could make such a thing happen. But, what if there is more to reality than the physical world. What is there is another reality that cannot be detected by physical means? If so, such a change in laws and constants would not be magic; it would merely be the result of actions of beings in the non-physical world.

Edited by foreveryoung, : No reason given.


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Admin
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Message 2 of 309 (662088)
05-12-2012 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


Hi ForEverYoung,

I'm going to promote this, but because this touches on several different but related topics I want to list what they are, just for clarity about what this thread's topic encompasses. The topics I see are:

  • Could the physical laws of the universe have been different in the past?

  • If so, could they have been different in such a way as to be undetectable by us today?

  • Could there be such a thing as an alternate reality that is undetectable?

  • If so, could a change in physical laws be effected from this alternate reality?

--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Admin
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Message 3 of 309 (662090)
05-12-2012 8:16 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Physical Laws ....What if they were different before? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Dr Jack
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(2)
Message 4 of 309 (662093)
05-12-2012 8:36 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


They weren't different in the past by any significant amount, we know this from observational evidence.

In essence, the stars are a window into the past because of the speed of light. All stars, everywhere, no matter how different in time appear to operate according to the self same laws figured out right here on Earth.

I can almost hear you thinking "but what if the speed of light was different, that's circular reasoning". No, it isn't. For two reasons, firstly, we can check the speed of light itself by observations of movement in stellar objects and, secondly, the speed of light is not arbitrary. You've heard of E=mc squared, I assume? What this means is that a change in the speed of light will alter the very properties of matter, and that would show up in the behaviour of stars.


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jar
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(5)
Message 5 of 309 (662096)
05-12-2012 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


change leaves evidence.
It's really very simple; change leaves evidence.

As mentioned above, if you change the speed of light you change the amount of energy, and not just a little but rather a great amount.

E=mc2

If you double the speed of light the energy in a given mass doesn't double, it is four times as great.

If you halve the speed of light the energy in a given mass is not half, it is only a quarter of what it is now.

But where would that show up?

In stars of course for one example, but also right here on earth. A great example is the natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon, Africa. There is an example of a natural nuclear reaction that took place about a billion and a half years ago and that went on for hundreds of thousands of years. It produced waste much like what is produced today in modern nuclear reactors and that evidence can be examined to see what energy levels were involved.

How?

One way is by looking at rings produced when various elements radioactively decay. The energy level produced by the decay of a given mass of an element determines the energy level of the particle produced and that energy level determines how far the particle travels before it gets absorbed. The fact that particle emitted by a given isotope of a given element always travels the same distance before being absorbed so that concentric shells are formed is evidence that the energy level of that reaction has remained constant throughout the time involved to create the rings.

When we look at a uranium or radon halo from 1.5 billion years ago it is identical to a uranium or radon halo created today.

The idea that the physical laws were different at anytime during the existence of the Earth has simply been refuted.

It may well be possible to have a functioning universe that has different basic laws but it is not possible to have "THIS" universe if the basic laws were different.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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JonF
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Message 6 of 309 (662098)
05-12-2012 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
05-12-2012 9:13 AM


Re: change leaves evidence.
Setterfield's been trying for decades to find some way of having fundamental constants wildly different in the past (especially c) that isn't contradicted by observations. No luck yet.

Same problem with the RATE group's accelerated nuclear decay "hypothesis".


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NoNukes
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Message 7 of 309 (662104)
05-12-2012 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


Another reality?
I'll let others comment on the physical laws stuff for awhile. If cavediver or Son Goku don't show up, I'll bring the physics later. I'd likely start with a discussion of SN1987A.

But I did want to comment on this alternate reality stuff, because I see a contradiction. You postulate an alternate reality that is undetectable, yet has noticeable and significant impact on this universe. I think such a concept is an oxymoron. Non-physical beings with a physical impact sounds like just magic to me.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


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nwr
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Message 8 of 309 (662123)
05-12-2012 2:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


This is a good topic, in the sense that it is an issue that is sometimes raised.

I rather like the way Admin rephrased the issues, so I will comment on them in that form.

Could the physical laws of the universe have been different in the past?

I'm assuming that this has to do with how the universe works, rather than with how physicists say that it works. How scientists say that it works as changed, as science has learned more.

Yes, sure, in principle it is possible that things could have changed. In practice, this seems very unlikely. I look at the Bible and at other ancient literature. I see reports of people living similarly to the way that primitive peoples still live today. I see reports of animals (cattle, sheep, etc). To me it seems highly implausible that things could have changed enough that the YEC version of creationism could be true, yet that they have changed so little that the same biological organisms (humans, cattle, sheep, doves, etc) could have been well enough adapted to that world to be able to survive.

Could there be such a thing as an alternate reality that is undetectable?

Well that's always possible. Maybe there's an alternative universe with elves, gnomes, tooth fairies and the like. But if it is undetectable, then it has no important effects on the world of our experience, so it has no relevance to us.

Jesus was a liberal hippie

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Coragyps
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(1)
Message 9 of 309 (662145)
05-12-2012 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


There's a Spanish proverb, fev, that goes, "Si su tia tenia cojones, seria su tio." (well, with a few accent signs it goes better....)
That means, "If your aunt had testicles, she'd be your uncle." That is precisely the sort of "what if" you are engaging in here. Creationism is "proven" wrong because your aunt has no testicles and isn't your uncle. The only reason to even entertain the possibility that "laws were different" is a quirky interpretation of a 3000-year-old document. All the evidence we've ever found indicates that the laws weren't different. Only fundy Christian/Muslim/Jewish "true believers" think otherwise - and their opinions aren't even based on science.
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Dr Adequate
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Message 10 of 309 (662149)
05-12-2012 8:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by foreveryoung
05-11-2012 10:44 PM


What if there were a different set of values for all the constants and the equations for forces and fields and energies were slightly different at the beginning than they are today? Isn't it possible to have a functioning universe with a different set of constants and forms of the laws we have today?

Well, we can imagine it. But in science, things that look like universal laws (i.e. the proposition that they are fits all the evidence we have) are taken to be universal laws until someone can show evidence that they aren't.

This is not always guaranteed to lead us right, but it is the only way to do science.

Much of creationism is "proven" wrong because its claims violate known physical laws.

No, not exactly. The creationist hypothesis, after all, involves an omnipotent supernatural being who can violate the laws of nature. This itself may involve you in certain difficulties, but it does mean that you can overlook the fact that what you're proposing is impossible. The problem creationists actually have is an acute shortage of evidence that what they propose is true, in conjunction with a lot of evidence as to what actually happened.

It is true that if all the physical laws and constants have been the same as they are today then the claims of creationism are impossible without invoking "poof" type magic.

But isn't that exactly what the claims of creationism are meant to invoke?. When we come up with naturalistic explanations that don't invoke "poof" type magic, you guys get all cross. The poofing and the magic is just what you're trying to defend.

But, what if there is more to reality than the physical world. What is there is another reality that cannot be detected by physical means? If so, such a change in laws and constants would not be magic; it would merely be the result of actions of beings in the non-physical world.

A distinction without a difference, surely?


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foreveryoung
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Posts: 879
Joined: 12-26-2011


Message 11 of 309 (662153)
05-12-2012 9:48 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
05-12-2012 9:13 AM


Re: change leaves evidence.
It's really very simple; change leaves evidence.

As mentioned above, if you change the speed of light you change the amount of energy, and not just a little but rather a great amount.

E=mc2

I just wanted to comment to let everyone know I haven't just posted a topic and abandoned it. I will address this part I quoted for now. What you have stated would be true if only the speed of light were changed. I am not talking about merely changing the value of one constant. I am talking about changing them all, even the laws themselves. A higher speed of light would not result in greater energy if the mass were less by an amount equal to the square root of its former value. Another possibility would be that energy itself would be required in vastly greater amounts than is current required today to do the same amount of work. The main point is that all of the constants would be different than today and possibly even the laws. Changing those to the values we see today would be the mechanism for a great catastrophe in my mind. It could certainly be the mechanism that would allow great quantities of water to come unlocked in the rocks of the mantle and a great quantity of water that is suspended about the solar system to collapse inward toward the sun and bathe all the planets on the way there.

Edited by foreveryoung, : No reason given.


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jar
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Posts: 28447
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
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Message 12 of 309 (662158)
05-12-2012 10:19 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by foreveryoung
05-12-2012 9:48 PM


Re: change leaves evidence.
The point is any change leaves evidence.

Don't even try going towards some Biblical Flood. That has been totally refuted. The Biblical Flood never happened. Period. See No genetic bottleneck proves no global flood for the evidence that totally refutes the Biblical Flood.

Evidence.

Changes leave evidence. We know for a fact that on this Earth in this Universe at least for the last 1.5 BILLION years that the basic laws have not changed.

Evidence.

If you are going to assert some change to the basic forces and constants then you will have to provide evidence comparable to the Oklo reactor.

Evidence.

We know from the stars that the laws have not changed for the last 14.5 Billion Years. When we are looking at a distant star we are looking at what was happening millions and billions of years ago.

Evidence.

If you reduce the mass by some factor like you suggest it would NOT cause anything to collapse inward, in fact it would send it all flying outward.

Evidence.

If the mass of the Earth is reduced by the amount you suggest, what happens to the distance between the Earth and the Moon?

Evidence.

If the mass of the sun is reduced by the amount you suggest, what happens to the distance between the Sun and the Earth?

Evidence.

If you change the laws you change the universe, you cannot have THIS universe.

Evidence. It's time for you to actually present the evidence.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Dr Adequate
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Message 13 of 309 (662160)
05-12-2012 10:39 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by foreveryoung
05-12-2012 9:48 PM


Re: change leaves evidence.
And once you've found a naturalistic explanation for the flood, you'll want to hear all about these naturalistic explanations we've found for other things such as the formation of planets and the origin of species. They'll be right up your alley.

I am talking about changing them all, even the laws themselves.

Are they still going to be dimensionally correct?

It could certainly be ...

It could certainly be ...?

Where does the certainty come into it?

Changing those to the values we see today would be the mechanism for a great catastrophe in my mind.

But somehow these vast changes in the fundamental laws of physics will leave biochemistry completely untouched, right? It will knock the Earth and the solar system for six, but a more delicately poised system such as an anteater will survive right through it with no help but an implausibly large boat?


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RAZD
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Message 14 of 309 (662162)
05-12-2012 10:47 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by foreveryoung
05-12-2012 9:48 PM


Lokiism
Hi foreveryoung

... What you have stated would be true if only the speed of light were changed. I am not talking about merely changing the value of one constant. I am talking about changing them all, even the laws themselves. ...

What you are talking about is that every piece of evidence is illusion, a trick. Now you cannot point to a time when they suddenly became what we appear to have determined today ... it could have been yesterday, or it could have been millions of years ago.

You cannot trust any evidence at all now. None. Not even any that appeared to come from a book.

The universe could be trillions of years old or seconds old.

The only belief system consistent with this is Buddhism: all is illusion. Or we conclude that the gods are tricksters ....

But if you make the basic assumption that objective empirical evidence allows us to test concepts about reality against the evidence, rejecting concepts that are not consistent with the evidence, then you end up with a universe that is at least 12.7 billion years old and an earth that is at least 4.5 billion years old, with life that is at least 3.4 billion years old.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : ...


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Dr Adequate
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Message 15 of 309 (662164)
05-13-2012 12:36 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by foreveryoung
05-12-2012 9:48 PM


Re: change leaves evidence.
It could certainly be the mechanism that would allow great quantities of water to come unlocked in the rocks of the mantle ...

Are we talking about hydrous wadsleyite?

Again I'd point out that if you're going to tinker with chemistry, you're going to be tinkering with biochemistry too.

... and a great quantity of water that is suspended about the solar system to collapse inward toward the sun and bathe all the planets on the way there.

While fortunately not making the Earth collapse inward toward the sun, because that would be bad.


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