Iffy Arguments
by David Ashley

Black holes radiate
There is a principle that entropy in a closed system always tends to a maximum. This is one of the laws of thermodynamics. Applying this law to the entire universe, there comes a problem with black holes. Because no information can come out of a black hole, if you toss something with a lot of disorder into a black hole, the entropy of the universe would then decrease. Therefore, black holes must actually radiate in some way to avoid being a sink of entropy.

That's my vague understanding of the argument. I can't get behind such an argument. We've never experimented with a black hole. We don't even know for sure they exist. The laws of thermodynamics are not laws, they are just theories that seem to always prove out, in our neck of the woods. I think this is an iffy argument.

Even at absolute zero, atoms move around
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that as a result of an experiment we can never know both a particle's position and velocity with arbitrary accuracy -- there is a limit to how accurate we can get. Meaning the product of the uncertainty in position and the uncertainty in velocity has a minimum value, which is Planck's Constant, or something like that. This principle is used to argue that particles inherently don't have an exact position and velocity. It's also used to argue that even at a temperature of absolute zero, particles must move around.

I think these are iffy arguments. If we can somehow extract all the heat from some substance, it would be at absolute zero. We're not conducting any experiments on it. Why can't we know the particles are at rest and at some position? We're allowed to know both, but we just can't verify both, because we'd have to perform an experiment and that would be subject to the uncertainty principle.

There is a circular argument related to astronomy. Looking at the objects in the sky, we see red shifts on stuff. There seems to be a tendency that the bigger the red shift, the further away an object is. This has become a law, seemingly accepted without question. Now, when astronomers or astrophysicists measure the red shift on something, they compute the distance using the above law. This gives rise to the mysterious objects called Quasars. These are objects that have an unexpectedly large red-shift for their apparent brightness.

The explanation is that these are absolutely phenomenonal sources of energy, very, very far away. I don't believe in Quasars. I think they're much closer than is thought, and are just stars. I think their red-shift is due to larger than normal gravity, so the light reaching us has to lose energy on its way out. So we see a strangely large red-shift. I think the whole argument for the existence of Quasars is an iffy one.

Dark Matter
Galaxies seem to be revolving faster than we'd expect, when we add up all the visible matter in them and the expected gravitational influence. Since the stars are moving too fast, there must be some magical new form of matter causing the extra gravity/acceleration. Let's call it Dark Matter.

This is an iffy argument. I don't believe in Dark Matter. I suspect there is just something we don't understand about gravity.

March 2007

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