X-Message-Number: 11329 Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 11:57:03 +0100 From: (John de Rivaz) Subject: The basis for quantum and other theories A lot of the discussion that goes on in Cryonet and elsewhere about alternative universes and "physics of immortality" is based on a number of branches of science that have at their core the concept of the square root, and the square root of minus 1 and various ratios that cannot be precisely determined, such as Pi and e. I was recently asked to review an number of books by Dr Clifford Pickover on these subjects, and indeed have posted messages about some of them. Admittedly a lot of the maths passed over my head, but it does seem to me that there are quite a lot of circular arguments going on simply because full and complete (rather than specialised) understanding of maths is only available to very few people of sufficient intellect. [Relativity assumes that nothing can go faster than light in a vacuum, and later the maths developed from it "proves" that nothing can go faster than light. - or maybe I have misread it.] Newton and earlier scientists were able to contain almost all of science known at their time in their heads. No once could do that now. The ancient Romans had no concept for zero, hence their arithmetic was very difficult and must have limited many people's intellectual advancement. Zero seems obvious to us, but no Roman ever came up with the idea, despite many of them having the same sized and equally capable brains as people of our time. I wonder whether all the elaborate structures of mathematics built around Pythagoras' theorem could have a simpler basis - like the introduction of zero had on arithmetic after the Romans - that would explain the universe without some of the wierd results theoreticians are throwing up at present. I am not knocking it - I love the wierd results such that time travel may be possible and so on, but is that *desire* for all this to be true any better than the *desire* for there to be life-after-death that supports irrational religions, based on a belief system founded on anecdotal evidence? Pythagoras' theorem, and subsequent solutions for quadratic equations and so on, produces anomalous results. We all learned at school if working out a problem produced two solutions, eg it can take 3 men to dig the trench or -6 men, the we must write "-6 is inadmissible, therefore the answer is 3". But now the scope of maths is so vast, we seem to be able to accept solutions that produce trajectories that take vehicles back in time, generate complete alternative universes every 10^-24 of a second and so on without being able to apply the same judgement that makes -6 men digging a trench inadmissible. Maybe there is no new mathematical concept as profound as the use of zero to be discovered, but arguments in science generally that we now know everything have always been shot down by the march of history so far. -- Sincerely, John de Rivaz Homepage: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR Longevity Report: http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Sauna/3748/lr.htm Fractal Report: http://www.longevb.demon.co.uk/fr.htm PCS - a Singles listing sheet for people in Cornwall http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR/pcs.htm Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=11329