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Mainstream science estimate of the 7 biggest unanswered questions in physics
#1
The 7 Biggest Unanswered Questions in Physics

1. What is matter made of? 
2. Why is gravity so weird?
3. Why does time seem to flow in only one direction?
4. Where did all the antimatter go?
5. What happens in the gray zone between solid and liquid?
6. Can we find a unified theory of physics?
7. How did life evolve from nonliving matter?

Other at least as important questions that could be added:

- Why the evident fine tuning of the laws of physics for the existence of life as we know it? Of course, orthodoxy says this is only apparent.
- What is the true nature of consciousness? Of course orthodoxy says consciousness is only apparent, merely the activity of neurons.
- What really is "dark matter"?
- What really is "dark energy"?
- Why is there something not absolutely nothing? (really a metaphysical/philosophical question sneered at by materialists)

It would seem that the true answers to just some of these questions could have paradigm-shattering effects on science, if orthodoxy doesn't suppress any such new understandings. One possibility that needs to be considered is that the answers to some of these questions may be fundamentally unknowable to humans.
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#2
My list would overlap yours quite a bit, but here are a few extras and other thoughts:

1)          In view of Halton Arp's work, can we rely on cosmological distances computed from red shifts. Note that Halton Arp was a student of Hubble.

2)         Tell me more about the grey zone between liquids and solids.

3)         Alexander Unzicker's book, "The Higgs Fake" raises some remarkable issues in relation to the LHC and similar recent accelerators. He points out, for example, that a Higgs particle emerges after electronicall filtering 10^12 (the exact number is contested) collision events! The volume of data is so great that on-the-fly electronic filtering is needed because it just is not possible to store it all. This means that nobody can re-run the analysis, and that the analysis is done with custom made hardware!

4)         The degree of  fine tuning for life has been questioned.
http://cosmos.nautil.us/feature/113/the-...e-universe

5)         I'd rather think of 'dark matter' as a deviation from the law of gravity. This deviation is supposed to explain why galaxies don't rotate like the solar system, but actually keep their structure as they rotate. My problem is that the amount of dark matter would have to be fine tuned to produce that effect - so it isn't a good starting explanation.

6)         I think physics and cosmology should give up their incredible addiction to obscure mathematics. Mathematics should be used to explore the consequences of ideas, not to formulate ideas. For example Newton's law of gravitation is incredibly simple, but you need sophisticated maths to calculate what will happen in complicated situations.


David
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#3
(09-24-2017, 09:07 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: The 7 Biggest Unanswered Questions in Physics

1. What is matter made of? 
2. Why is gravity so weird?
3. Why does time seem to flow in only one direction?
4. Where did all the antimatter go?
5. What happens in the gray zone between solid and liquid?
6. Can we find a unified theory of physics?
7. How did life evolve from nonliving matter?

Other at least as important questions that could be added:

- Why the evident fine tuning of the laws of physics for the existence of life as we know it? Of course, orthodoxy says this is only apparent.
- What is the true nature of consciousness? Of course orthodoxy says consciousness is only apparent, merely the activity of neurons.
- What really is "dark matter"?
- What really is "dark energy"?
- Why is there something not absolutely nothing? (really a metaphysical/philosophical question sneered at by materialists)

It would seem that the true answers to just some of these questions could have paradigm-shattering effects on science, if orthodoxy doesn't suppress any such new understandings. One possibility that needs to be considered is that the answers to some of these questions may be fundamentally unknowable to humans.

In what way shattering? How would it shatter?
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#4
(09-26-2017, 05:25 PM)DaveB Wrote: My list would overlap yours quite a bit, but here are a few extras and other thoughts:

...........

4)         The degree of  fine tuning for life has been questioned.
http://cosmos.nautil.us/feature/113/the-...e-universe

...........


David


I'll just deal with one of your comments at this time:

The linked analysis dismisses as just apparent only a few of the physics "fine tuning" examples of the very many that have been discovered and cited by scientists over the years, and mostly only from the standpoint of stellar formation and element formation. But the author still concludes that he has invalidated and debunked fine tuning as a concept. For just a couple of examples, I wonder what he would say about the apparent fine tuning for life of the exact equality between the gravitational and inertial masses, or of the exact properties of water (which are needed for life), starting with its existence and robustness which seem to be resulting from some finely balanced quantum effects. From a New Scientist article:
"Water's life-giving properties exist on a knife-edge. It turns out that life as we know it relies on a fortuitous, but incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces. ... We are used to the idea that the cosmos' physical constraints are fine-tuned for life. Now it seems water's quantum forces can be added to this 'just right' list." (at https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2...-possible/).

Or some more examples:

- the 1-to-1 electron to proton ratio (makes the universe electrically neutral)
- the electron to proton mass ratio (1 to 1,836) (perfect for forming molecules)
- the electromagnetic force constant (perfect for holding electrons to nuclei)
- the electromagnetic force in the right ratio to the nuclear force

There are a great many scientists, of varying religious persuasions, who accept that the universe is fine-tuned for 
life, e.g. Barrow, Carr, Carter, Davies, Dawkins, Deutsch, Ellis, Greene, Guth, Harrison, Hawking, Linde, Page, Penrose, Polkinghorne, Rees, Sandage, Smolin, Susskind, Tegmark, Tipler, Vilenkin, Weinberg, Wheeler, Wilczek.
They differ, of course, on what conclusion we should draw from this fact (from the survey paper The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life, at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.4647.pdf ).


More instances keep popping up the more deeply the matter is looked into. It looks like this attempt at fine tuning debunking actually becomes an endless materialist whack-a-mole project sort of thing. It is real and it remains a mystery. And it's interesting that the author still resorts to the unscientific multiverse hypothesis to explain the actual physics constants we find in this universe.
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#5
(09-26-2017, 09:05 PM)Steve001 Wrote: In what way shattering? How would it shatter?

For example, if it were to become known that the interactionist dualist view of consciousness is the case, or that there is in fact no possible abiogenic/chemical pathway to the origin of life (meaning it had to be of some intelligent source).
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#6
(09-26-2017, 05:25 PM)DaveB Wrote: My list would overlap yours quite a bit, but here are a few extras and other thoughts:

...................................

2)         Tell me more about the grey zone between liquids and solids.

...................................



David

I just cited the list as food for thought. I don't know that this particular item is of the magnitude that it should have been included.


Quote: Solids and liquids are well understood. But some materials act like both a liquid and a solid, making their behavior hard to predict. Sand is one example. A grain of sand is as solid as a rock, but a million grains can flow through a funnel almost like water. And highway traffic can behave in a similar way, flowing freely until it becomes blocked at some bottleneck.
[Image: 170808-sand-mn-1300_287fd2f022e4d90ff526...24x211.jpg]  A grain of sand is as solid as a rock, but a million grains can flow through a funnel almost like water. Getty Images
So a better understanding of this “gray zone” might have important practical applications.
“People have been asking, under what conditions does the entire system jam up or clog?” says Dr. Kerstin Nordstrom, a physicist at Mount Holyoke College. “What are the crucial parameters to avoid clogging?” Weirdly, an obstruction in the flow of traffic can, under certain conditions, actually reduce traffic jams. “It’s very counterintuitive,” she says.
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#7
(09-27-2017, 07:11 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: For example, if it were to become known that the interactionist dualist view of consciousness is the case, or that there is in fact no possible abiogenic/chemical pathway to the origin of life (meaning it had to be of some intelligent source).

I see. I don't see any connection in that list to dualism. 
Extraterrestrial chemicals of life are abundant.
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#8
(09-27-2017, 08:06 PM)Steve001 Wrote: I see. I don't see any connection in that list to dualism. 
Extraterrestrial chemicals of life are abundant.

Interactive dualism proposes that consciousness is of a fundamentally different nature than matter - it exists independently and still interacts with the physical world through the brain.
Just because "organic" chemicals are naturally present in the universe doesn't mean they can spontaneously come together in just the right way as to form living organisms.
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#9
(09-27-2017, 08:19 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Interactive dualism proposes that consciousness is of a fundamentally different nature than matter - it exists independently and still interacts with the physical world through the brain.
Just because "organic" chemicals are naturally present in the universe doesn't mean they can spontaneously come together in just the right way as to form living organisms.

Still none of those unanswered listed questions are going to answer whether consciousness is fundamental. I wouldn't hold my breath expecting an answer. And by the way, why is proving  consciousness  (human I presume) so important?
Just because pre-life chemicals are so abundant why go looking for some other presumably intelligently directed explanation?
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#10
(09-27-2017, 08:41 PM)Steve001 Wrote: Still none of those unanswered listed questions are going to answer whether consciousness is fundamental. I wouldn't hold my breath expecting an answer. And by the way, why is proving  consciousness  (human I presume) so important?
Just because pre-life chemicals are so abundant why go looking for some other presumably intelligently directed explanation?

A consensus that interactive dualism is the case (that the human spirit is nonlocal in some ways and can separate from the body) would certainly be a paradigm-breaking revolution in science. Of course, for science to change this way is exceedingly unlikely if for no other reason due to the nature of science as a human institution. The answer to whether consciousness is fundamental or not might very well be one of those things that are fundamentally unknowable to humans. 
The appearance of life on earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem. The chemical/abiogenic proposals offered so far to explain life’s origin just don't work. It is more a matter of materialist religious faith that someday the life-originated-spontaneously-from-natural-chemicals answer will be found.
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