Science and Antiscience

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Thu Dec 6 22:12:04 MST 2001


Stan wrote:

> Don't accept it.  First there's nothing, then there's everything...
> Nope.

recall though that modern physics has a new view of nothing, and it
aint the nothing you or i may be thinking of casually.

let me give you a hint at this nothing. ("you" being the general
readership here, not just "you stan". i have friends here who are
interested in hearing about and discussing this stuff, though usually
offlist.)

you know when its cold and dry out and you pull a sweater off and you
generate electricity, and if you bring the shirt you're still wearing
and the sweater close to each other, you'll see them pull
together. the electric charges on the two pieces of clothing attract
one another. and that would be true if there was __nothing__ in
between the two items, no air, etc. (you wouldnt see a spark though if
there was no air.)

the union of the theory of quantum mechanics and special relativity
gave more beef to the nothing. if you take two metal plates and hold
them a __small__ distance apart in a vacuum, but you make sure that
you don't generate any static electricity on the plates, and you weigh
the plates to assure yourself of how strong gravity should pull them
together, and then you measure the force between these two plates.

you'd think, because there is __nothing__ between them, and no static
electricity to attract them, and you work as hard as you can to
discount any other known classical force to pull them together, you
find there is nevertheless a force which can NOT be accounted for by
gravity that, by the theory, has its origin in this __nothing__. its
called the Casimir force, and recently someone measured it very
accurately and the comparison of results to the theory were quite
good.

in truth, when physicists say "nothing" they mean this new kind of
nothing where there's stuff happening. the nothing is dynamic, capable
of acting, etc.

by the way, i took some pains in the big bang post NOT to say anything
about the correctness of that theory. only that its structure is not
as complicated as its made out by us bourgeois lackey scientists who
want to impress you enough to get you to accept further funding the
sandbox.

time for bed.

les schaffer


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