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Flat universe may be the new flat Earth

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posted on May, 20 2009 @ 10:39 PM
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Astronomers seem to be limiting their thinking, they seem to think that the universe would somehow be like the landmass of Earth, a big ball you know with the mantle and all that stuff with the land on top.
I can't imagine why but that is what they seem to be doing.
Seem unable to grasp the idea of 4 dimensional space. *IE up, down, forward, back, left, right and all directions inbetween*
Now, remind me, how exactly does science transcend our limitations again?


Flat universe may be the new flat Earth

FOR centuries the ancients believed the Earth was flat. Evidence to the contrary was either ignored or effortlessly integrated into the dominant world view. Today we dismiss flat-Earthers as ignorant, yet we may be making an almost identical mistake – not about our planet, but about the entire universe.

When it comes to the universe, "flatness" refers to the fate of light beams travelling large distances parallel to each other. If the universe is "flat", the beams will always remain parallel. Matter, energy and dark energy all produce curvature in space-time, however. If the universe's space-time is positively curved, like the surface of a sphere, parallel beams would come together. In a negatively curved, saddle-shaped universe, parallel beams would diverge.

Thanks in part to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite, which revealed the density of matter and dark energy in the early universe, most astronomers are confident that the universe is flat. But that view is now being questioned by Joseph Silk at the University of Oxford and colleagues, who say it's possible that the WMAP observations have been misinterpreted.

In a paper accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (www.arxiv.org/abs/0901.3354), they took data from WMAP and other cosmology experiments and analysed it using Bayes's theorem, which can be used to show how the certainty attached to a particular conclusion is affected by different starting assumptions.

Using modern astronomers' assumptions, which presuppose a flat universe, they calculated the probability that the universe was in one of three states: flat, positively curved or negatively curved. This produced a 98 per cent probability that the universe is indeed flat. When they reran the calculation starting from a more open-minded position, however, the probability changed to 67 per cent, making a flat universe far less of a certainty than astronomers generally conclude.

"It's a reasonable assumption that the universe isn't entirely flat," Silk says, adding that the calculation reveals how strongly astronomers' prejudices can affect their conclusions. David Spergel of Princeton University, the spokesman for WMAP, agrees. "They've developed a statistically rigorous way of examining the question," he says.

The calculation reveals how strongly astronomers' prejudices can affect their conclusions
Silk says astronomers need to achieve a 99.9999 per cent level of confidence on the flat universe, high enough that the case starts to look compelling no matter what the starting assumptions are. It's possible, however, that no measurements will ever be able to get to that level of accuracy.

SOURCE:NewScientist Article




posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:31 PM
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It's surprisingly a hard thing to grasp, although it's graspable, it's definately a stretch of thinking, although i'm sure other paradigm shifts were too, ie thinking the earth wasn't flat.

From what i've seen in general sciene physics, and others, whatever has the higher probability of being so, is almost always not the right answer!

Star and flag, want to see others opinions, and maybe a heated debate or two.


Yep, I can feel it coming on now.


[edit on 20-5-2009 by Republican08]



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:34 PM
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when we say the universe is flat it is not in the same sense that a piece of paper is flat, but rather means that the geometry of the universe is such that parallel lines will never cross, the angles in a triangle will always add up to 180 degress, and the corners of cubes will always make right angles. We call this kind of geometry (the kind you learned in school) Euclidean geometry.

It's easy to make examples in 2D space (ie. a flat piece of paper vs. a curved piece of paper, or the surface of a balloon). It's not so easy to illustrate flat 3D space - since we are 3D! So it's totally understandable that the concept is confusing


curious.astro.cornell.edu...

edit to add source




[edit on 20-5-2009 by constantwonder]



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:38 PM
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So... you're using a scientifically oriented publication, to mock science and scientists?

Science is a self-correcting process, and it's based on evidence. Even if a currently accepted view of the world is wrong, and we know it's wrong, it won't be replaced until a better and more comprehensive theory replaces it. One that better and more completely accounts for the evidence. You don't throw out what works until you have something that works better.

One may see this process as needlessly slow - but it ultimately acts as a safeguard against needless error and provides clear routes of progress and comprehensive understanding.




Now, remind me, how exactly does science transcend our limitations again?


Are you truly so blind as to not see the technologically advanced society we all live in, built on science? Do you not realize that just posting on the internet is an example of untold numbers of limitations our ancestors had imposed upon them that science has helped us to transcend.

Why aren't we farther advanced? Don't blame science. Science isn't what lead us to the Dark Ages.

[edit on 20-5-2009 by Lasheic]



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:39 PM
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reply to post by constantwonder
 


Isn't that more than a bit of an oxymoron? Flat 3d space?
Rather like saying a straight circle.



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:40 PM
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reply to post by Lasheic
 


Weren't paying attention were you?
I know I dared to criticize but please get past that point and look at what I am saying at least, pretty please?

And, to answer your rant, three little words that are a heck of a lot more honest than some of the current existing theory, "We don't know.". I have no respect for sandcastles of conjecture for things we are in no position to know at current.

[edit on 20-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:45 PM
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This is a new article, but the concept of the flat universe isn't a new idea at all. The 'flat universe' discovery was made in 1997. Ollllllllllllllllllllllddddddddd news.

EDIT: I found this article on the flat universe. It's from the end of 1999. Fairly old information if you ask me.

www.lbl.gov...

[edit on 5/20/2009 by Schmidt1989]



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:50 PM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 




"We don't know.". I have no respect for sandcastles of conjecture for things we are in no position to know at current.


Apparently you don't quite understand that "We Don't Know" is the default position of ALL sciences. If we knew, we would no longer need to investigate - thus, science wouldn't exist. Theories and Hypothesis are merely viable explanations, but do not represent absolute truth or confidence. Never have, never will. Because if they did, it would mean an end to science.

So your honest statement of ignorance is the very cornerstone of the scientific method. Just because you chose to ignore that, doesn't mean science should be mocked for an arrogance you project upon them out of... well... ignorance. Do what the scientists do... go look up some basic definitions of science, and the talk to some scientists about what the scientific method is and why it's there. Follow the evidence.



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:52 PM
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here are some illustrations i made please dont heckle them i made them with paint


curved space



flat space




dont we all love visual aids



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 12:02 AM
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reply to post by Lasheic
 


It always amuses me when someone snaps back with what you just snapped back with, ad homs seem to be such a fun fall back defense seeing as to how much they are used. I understand quite well scientific method thank you very much. And I also understand how science works. But even more I also understand how the human animal works and nothing, not his science or his religions transcend his nature or his limitations I hate to inform you. We enshine ideas, it's what a large chunk of us do, even though we are in no position to truthfully back up those ideas. *I believe the term is paradigm?* And strike back hard anyone who questions those ideas. Not knowing something scares us, so we fill in the blanks.

I mean, really, have you looked critically at the history and development of the Big Bang Theory recently?

Oh, and technology, you spoke about it earlier? Nothing really all that impressive if you think about it. What is considered one of our crowning achievements? Nuclear fission or splitting the atom. And what do we do with it, other than create a lovely toy in which to put oursevles into extinction with? Heat water to turn a turbine to generate electricity. Much like all the other types of turbines we have.

[edit on 21-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 12:12 AM
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reply to post by constantwonder
 


Still sounds like they are trying to use paper terms to describe a fishtank. If you get my analogy.



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 12:19 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


imagine a cube. . . now take any tiny slice off of that cube ao that you have a square now put a triangle inside. . . its angles will be 180* so if you project a triangle from any point to any point following the contours of the space it will add up to 180*

inside a sphere any cross section with a triangle that has a line following the contours of any of the curve will be more than 180*

it isnt flat in the flat two d sence but in the if you chop a piece and put a triangle in the piece will it be 180* or not

that is all flat space means forget about dimensions. . . thats why the examples are in 2d its just easier to imagine

its all about wether or not lasers shot into space follow a straigt or curved path gravities input aside so straight or curved in space un warped by mass i guess would be more correct

[edit on 21-5-2009 by constantwonder]

[edit on 21-5-2009 by constantwonder]



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 12:46 AM
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I agree with a flat universe and this is because of my prediction before the flat universe was discovered.

I said if the universe is virtual or holographic the universe should be flat. This is because the laws of physics don't have an objective 3-Dimensional existence.

It's like if you were to design a program and enter laws into the simulation the simulated beings would think the universe had an objective existence. The only way they could tell that they are in a simulation is if the universe is flat. This is because we would think the laws had an objective existence in 3-D space so space should be curved from our point of view.

We have also had some signals from Fermi that the holographic principle might be right. This is also a interesting article.

It's confirmed: Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations

Matter is built on flaky foundations. Physicists have now confirmed that the apparently substantial stuff is actually no more than fluctuations in the quantum vacuum.

The Higgs field is also thought to make a small contribution, giving mass to individual quarks as well as to electrons and some other particles. The Higgs field creates mass out of the quantum vacuum too, in the form of virtual Higgs bosons. So if the LHC confirms that the Higgs exists, it will mean all reality is virtual.

www.newscientist.com...

Essentially it's saying reality occurs in the vacuum. When virtual particles pop in and out of existence it's like 1's and 0's switching on and off. We would be the energy that occurs when the switch happens. So reality would be virtual and the vacuum is like a quantum computer.



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 01:00 AM
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reply to post by constantwonder
 


I have an easier way for you to try to explain flat space and curved space. In curved space you shoot a laser beam eventually that beam will return to the same point in space because space itself is curved. In a flat universe you shoot a laser it will continue in that direction indefinitely and never curve back on itself. saying the universe is flat is another way of saying its expanding in all directions. any plane you choose to shoot are laser will not deviate or curve.




posted on May, 21 2009 @ 01:06 AM
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Thank you both for your contributions and lack of proclaiming me a filthy ignorant heathen herectic.


reply to post by constantwonder
 


Meh, I still some a great deal of presumption in the explaination. Not your wording or anything of the sort. Could just be me and my innate skepticism of well, everything. But, I appreciate the explaination and the manner in which it was given.

reply to post by platosallegory
 


This quote by and large sums up my view on the whole thing.

Arthur Eddington:
Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

But you do present an interesting argument to say the least. And please note I am not arguing against trying. I am arguing for taking ourselves with a grain of salt in our search.



[edit on 21-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 01:16 AM
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reply to post by dragonridr
 


And what if the curvature is so small as to be virtually unnoticable even over vast distances?
And how does flat prove expansion? Just because we cannot fathom an infinite amount of space does not mean it cannot exist after all.

[edit on 21-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 01:24 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by dragonridr
 


And what if the curvature is so small as to be virtually unnoticable even over vast distances?


thats the hiccup in the whole damn thing right there. So your absolutely right to question it on the basis that we cant measure a large enough plane to see the curve. . . but it may just be that its flat
perhaps time will tell



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 01:29 AM
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reply to post by constantwonder
 


Sounds like a question we may never be able to answer to any degree of realistic certainity. I mean, even say we expand lightyears beyond our planet and colonise a great deal of our galaxy. That would still be a pin prick of what is out there and there still could be no detectable curvature, pale blue dot viewish if you catch my drift.

[edit on 21-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 04:27 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 




It always amuses me when someone snaps back with what you just snapped back with, ad homs seem to be such a fun fall back defense seeing as to how much they are used.


Please quote exactly any alleged ad homenim attack I used, and please demonstrate exactly how I was using a form of slander in lue of an argument. I'd really like to know, because I don't see it. You had thus far shown a ignorance of the position of science on matters, and I provided you with a method of correcting that misconception.

Ignorance is not an insult, until you begin to seek comfortable refuge in that ignorance rather than properly informing yourself. As you note, I made mention of science's position of ignorance as well... because you have to admit ignorance about a subject, before you can learn or make discoveries about it.... which is what Science is all about.

If you took offense, then I apologize for that offense. It was not my intention. Let's be clear on that point.



I understand quite well scientific method thank you very much.


I hear that quite a bit from a wide spectrum of people - but I've tended to notice that it's not really true. So I would ask you, in your own words, without copy and pasting, what you believe the scientific method to be. Just to clear up any further confusion.



But even more I also understand how the human animal works and nothing, not his science or his religions transcend his nature or his limitations I hate to inform you.


I'm sorry, but I find your insights into the psyche of the human animal under a shroud of doubt considering you have thus already in this thread misinterpreted a mere statement of observance with an (improperly used) ad homenim attack.

I don't feel as though your gut instinct about humanity trumps the impressive track record of success which science has going for it.



We enshine ideas, it's what a large chunk of us do, even though we are in no position to truthfully back up those ideas. *I believe the term is paradigm?*


Yes, paradigms and paradigm shifts occur. However, they don't occur until the necessary level of evidence necessary is met. This is actually a part of the scientific method you claim to know about already. This gauntlet of skepticism and resistance ensures that new ideas which are accepted are based upon empirical evidence reasoned logic.... because if it isn't, if there are mistakes, then the hypothesis will get torn to shreds in the peer review literature and in the academic arena.

It builds better theories. And while there will always be a stubborn few who cling to their old assumptions and views on the universe - science isn't controlled by a consortium of a few individuals. The better your theory is, the more support it will gather. The more support it gathers, the more research and funding goes into establishing it.



Not knowing something scares us, so we fill in the blanks.


No, it seems that humans are naturally curious animals. It was an evolutionary advantage to us to figure out and understand our world and explore what was beyond the horizon. We have plenty of theories we *think* are correct, or that explain the evidence fairly well, but nobody in science says we have figured something out 100%, and they are never above saying "We could be wrong" or "We don't know". Sometimes the evidence is so strong, such as in the case of Evolution, that you don't need to preface every statement with a "we think", "it could be", or "we could be wrong"... because the probability of us being right is so high that it's rather pointless to preface with a doubt anyone who knows what they're talking about already knows exists but for which there is not currently enough evidence to explore. Until, at least, discussions in that subject drift to a tentative point we aren't so sure about.



I mean, really, have you looked critically at the history and development of the Big Bang Theory recently?


The mathematics support the Big Bang theory. Indeed, the mathematics define it, and we have the evidence to support such an event happened via the cosmic microwave background radiation. What came before? We don't know. Nobody has ever been able to glean any evidence that would suggest what happened before.

Do you have, or know of, an alternative theory which better explains the evidence?



Nothing really all that impressive if you think about it.


A subjective position. You're not impressed because you live with it everyday. Ask a peasant working in the fields 1,200 years ago what they think of modern medicine, water filtration, telecommunications, the internet, automotive transport, etc. Ask a Greek astronomer 2,000 years ago what they think about the images collected by the Hubble Space Telescope. Hell, ask the child of a bushman tribe what they think of those little "whipper snapper" pop fireworks or sparklers.

All of those discoveries made, btw, by scientists shrugging off preconceptions and pushing paradigm shifts.

I'd say it's more a case of you taking things for granted.



Nuclear fission or splitting the atom. And what do we do with it, other than create a lovely toy in which to put oursevles into extinction with?


A scientific discover, is just a discovery. It's knowledge, and it's inert. If you want to argue the morality of of the uses of technology, that's a whole different matter... and we've had that problem ever since the very beginning. Fire... which, very likely wasn't even tamed by humanity - but by Neanderthals, has not only the potential for cooking your food, but your neighbor's flesh as well.

Insofar as the efficiency of gathering energy let off by nuclear fission, I agree we have a long way to go. However, we are only human.

As for a great monument to our technological achievement, I'd say going to the moon - rather than simply sitting on Earth gazing at it, or howling at it, is pretty damned impressive. To say nothing of the feats of calculation needed to send the Cassini-Hyugens probe slingshotting through the inner solar system, back off of earth, out to jupiter, and ultimately through a very narrow gap in Saturn's rings... a distance so vast that it takes even light over an hour an a half to reach... pretty impressive in itself.



posted on May, 21 2009 @ 05:01 AM
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Isn't that more than a bit of an oxymoron? Flat 3d space?

No more than a flat Earth with topography, which is the comparison you're making.

There are oxymorons, and then there are plain ordinary ones.



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