oooh a little physics, and one big honking howler

Continuing my thoughts about time. Time and space, actually–just like special relativity says, it’s pretty clear they are deeply coupled–and in fact even a non-physicist like me can see good evidence that observation of time (objects that move) has strong parallels to the observation of objects, the perception of displacement and size. In the last post I showed another crucial parallel–the asymptotic behavior toward infinity, or toward 1/infinity–how both spatial and temporal observations by a thinking being–in fact the existence of the thinking being–will zoom to a scale in such a way that there may be no such thing as truly empty space (or non-existent motion). Did it–or does it–really happen that way? I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I would say this scenario is the most likely one of how things came into being. But there’s no question that one of the most important questions of reality may be more subtle than traditional philosophical approaches.

Aristotle asked the question, how did something come from nothing, and used subsequent analysis to show there could be no beginning of time (hopefully I have my facts right here as far as Aristotle, but that’s not really relevant, the point is still there). This question may have a more subtle answer, though, because since there is no absolute scale, either spatially or temporally, it sets up a new element to this philosophical discussion. Since the lack of absolute scale appears to be observationally valid (I’m going to put aside the question of whether the speed of light or Planck’s constant define an absolute scale for right now, just with the comment “I don’t think so” and plan to come back to address this later), this leaves an opening for a true infinite range, which opens the door for a way both for objects to form into existence and for motion of objects to occur at some scale of time either infinitely small or infinitely large when there was nothing before. It’s definitely not possible at finite scale ranges–there’s no way to get a finite set of objects from an empty set using finite dimensions. Equivalently, in the time dimension, if nothing ever moves, you can’t find a subdivision where something is moving–in a finite timescale.

Trying to find a way out of this quandary (how did something (our existence) come from nothing) I thought, well suppose there’s a “something” somewhere, and a “nothing” somewhere–but that’s impossible, because in order for both to be true in our existence, you can form a set that includes both–which then means that there is no way to form a true set of nothing. That forces you to divide the existence possibilities to either a true nothing, with no neighboring somethings, or an existence that always had a something somewhere. This line of thinking is the box that caused Aristotle to conclude there could never have been a beginning to time.

But–as soon as your dimension range, either spatially or temporally, goes to infinity (either large or small), then the door opens out of the quandary and a way for objects to form and motion to begin from a true nothing emerges. Not only that, but you might be able to then conclude that a true nothing is impossible in a absolute scale-less existence, but I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I buy that yet. Nevertheless, the lack of an absolute range on either time or distance poses an interesting question for both the existence of objects and the fact that they move.

Now, given that we like that possibility, and thus seeing that the Aristotelean absolute nothing/something universes are too limited in describing what likely describes our existence, let’s take an interesting trip down some science principles. I will generally accept established scientific knowledge as most likely because of the constant peer review/cross checking and experimental verification of the knowledge. I’m going to trot in a couple of philosophical old war-horses here. First, the Lorentz equations of special relativity that describe how objects transform as they are viewed in different frames of reference (moving at a velocity relative to each other). Second, that grossly misinterpreted, over-interpreted, and generally totally misunderstood principle of quantum entanglement. I don’t like to, because of all the baggage people have attached to it–but it really does say something critically important about both time and space, so I need to go there.

Then, I am going to point out something I think is true but science does not (the “howler” of the title of this entry). Here’s where I’ll try to be really clear, and not fool any reader into thinking something is established scientific truth when it isn’t. Here we go–my own pet idea is that electrons and positrons, as well as many other particles, are loops of electromagnetic fields. Oh boy, you’re going to shoot that one down fast, especially if you’ve had any physics background at all, and I accept that. So, since this is my journal, and I hold the magic marker, I’m going to go there anyway, and you can choose to keep reading, or write me off as a crank and dump this journal. That’s your prerogative and your right. But I’ve thought about this for a while, and if you keep reading I think I can give you some interesting thoughts, that come around and seem to be consistent with some currently non-explained phenomena, such as the problem of electrostatic attraction. I’ve actually developed seven different “pillars” that support this loop idea–but I will be very honest with you and tell you that observation in particle accelerators have established a size of the electron and similar particles to be apparently to be infinitely small, apparently refuting the loop idea (note, the loops of string theory, which *is* taken seriously in some physics circles, are far smaller, at the scale of Planck’s constant, and do not involve loops of electromagnetic fields). This is just my idea, and you’ll have to decide whether you want to go along with this part of my thinking. I’ve got lots of other places I want to go in the future that aren’t going to be nearly so controversial that you can visit later if you like.

WHOA, why am I making such a big deal in this journal of particles as loops? Because–if you do that, not only does it appear to explain some hitherto unanswered questions, and not only do I think there are good analytic reasons why experiment appears to refute the idea (but doesn’t really), but it forges a very beautiful picture of what space and time are–and hence form a very interesting and rich picture of the physical nature of reality. So if you can trust that I will be as honest and forthright as I can, let’s step into this world I have drawn and see what appears.

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