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What if Black Holes Didn't Exist?
Seed Magazine ^ | 7/21/06 | Richard Morgan

Posted on 07/23/2006 1:05:35 PM PDT by LibWhacker

How an alternate theory of the universe exposes the 'war of words' that underlies modern cosmology.

Theoretical physicists have recently been frustrated by a bold hypothesis concerning black holes—specifically, that they don't exist.

In March, at the 22nd Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif., George Chapline, an applied physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, gave a talk based on ideas he's been incubating for several years. His goal: to amend astrophysics by applying theories of dark energy and condensed matter physics.

His work reinvents black holes as so-called "dark energy stars," which are what is left over when matter transitions to dark energy as it passes a point of no return similar to a black hole's event horizon. That redefinition, if correct, would invalidate much of the intellectual framework of traditional black holes.

Chapline's ideas take inspiration from his colleague Robert Laughlin, a condensed matter physicist at Stanford University who won a Nobel for his work on quantum fluids.

Laughlin is quick to point out that the hubbub he and Chapline's ideas have caused "is a battle of words rather than a battle of science.

"In science, you decide whose theory is right (or wrong) by means of an experiment," he said, "not by polling experts."

Unfortunately for theoretical physicists, experimenting on the nature of the universe is not an easy undertaking. Revisionism of one sort or another is constantly occurring, due to the field's heavier-than-normal reliance on theories based on observation, extrapolation and imagination.

"In some ways our playground is too big," said Leonard Susskind, a theoretical particle physicist at Stanford and an outspoken critic of the Chapline-Laughlin theory.

"Practically speaking, much of our subject matter is inaccessible to direct experimentation," he continued. "It doesn't make the science any less valid—we didn't need to go to the Moon to know that it wasn't made of cheese."

But indirection, inference and, ultimately, guesswork all chafe against some of science's core values. Understandably, some researchers inevitably suggest less-fuzzy alternatives, which is how Chapline and Laughlin see their work.

"George and I made a very plausible case that general relativity, as we have observed it experimentally, could be perfectly true, and yet fail to describe a black hole event horizon properly," said Laughlin. "What would allow this to happen is failure of the relativity principle on very short-length scales."

His and Chapline's model, he argues, fixes violations of quantum mechanics—such as information loss and the freezing of time at a black hole's event horizon— in traditional black hole models. Laughlin notes that the argument may offend his peers, but that they have no valid criticism of his and his partner's arguments. He insists their redefinition is correct.

"The point is that there is no way to tell one way or the other right now," he said. "If there were, there would be no controversy."

The Chapline-Laughlin hypothesis will linger like most cosmological theories, which are only partially or indirectly testable as well as often incomplete and replete with corrections needed to describe the universe we actually observe. The process of pinning on these amendments can get messy.

"This is starting to bug a lot of people," said Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley. "You can end up with a patchwork that's so ad hoc, with so many after-the-fact add-ons and addenda and caveats, that you might as well throw the whole thing out."

Chapline and Laughlin face an uphill battle among the many theoretical physicists who have already devised their own fixes for the quantum violations of black holes either via string theory or a concept called "black hole evaporation," wherein two particles fluctuate at the event horizon of a black hole so that one is sucked in while the other is shot out, making it seem as though the black hole is emitting the particle, or "evaporating."

Samir Mathur, a physicist at the Ohio State University who has his own theories of black holes, which he calls "fuzzballs," has no use for the Chapline-Laughlin theory.

"I feel comfortable dismissing it," he said. "Their model does not account for the entropy of black holes, or for Hawking radiation. These are basic signatures of what black holes are. It appears that what is most appealing to them about their theory is that they are the ones who thought of it."

For his part, Chapline suggests his critics are predictably lashing out at him using what he calls "the first law of physics," where an idea is immediately derided if it questions well-ingrained notions.

"Experts don't like it when you tell them they are not experts anymore, that books they have written are obsolete," he said. "They don't like to have to learn new things."

Luboš Motl, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University, doesn't buy the idea that black holes don't exist. In fact, at Harvard, a NASA/Smithsonian partnership using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has produced swarms of black hole data.

"Who wouldn't want to be the researcher who dismantles Einstein and Hawking?" Motl said. "That is seductive. But this is a matter of ego, not science."


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: astronomy; black; darkenergy; darkmatter; exist; geoffmarcy; haltonarp; holes; outerspace; physics; science; stringtheory
There are numerous embedded links in this article that I haven't bothered with here. So you might want to go directly to the source.

Sorry... The heat's making me lazy! ;-)

1 posted on 07/23/2006 1:05:38 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
"This is starting to bug a lot of people," said Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley. "You can end up with a patchwork that's so ad hoc, with so many after-the-fact add-ons and addenda and caveats, that you might as well throw the whole thing out."

Chapline and Laughlin face an uphill battle among the many theoretical physicists who have already devised their own fixes for the quantum violations of black holes either via string theory or a concept called "black hole evaporation," wherein two particles fluctuate at the event horizon of a black hole so that one is sucked in while the other is shot out, making it seem as though the black hole is emitting the particle, or "evaporating."

Pot. Kettle. Black.

What we have here is a pissing contest to determine whose "epicycles" are the least elegant.

2 posted on 07/23/2006 1:12:52 PM PDT by sourcery (A libertarian is a conservative who has been mugged ...by his own government)
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To: LibWhacker

But enough already about "Star" Jones,..........


3 posted on 07/23/2006 1:15:41 PM PDT by garyhope (It's World War IV, right here, right now courtesy of Islam.)
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To: LibWhacker
"In science, you decide whose theory is right (or wrong) by means of an experiment," he said, "not by polling experts."

You should let Al Gore in on this, Prof.

4 posted on 07/23/2006 1:19:25 PM PDT by Steely Tom
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To: LibWhacker

I dunno - they're going to have to come up with an alternate explanation for the fact that Algore's head bends light...


5 posted on 07/23/2006 1:19:33 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: LibWhacker
What if Black Holes Didn't Exist?

There would be no gays?

6 posted on 07/23/2006 1:39:58 PM PDT by Bommer
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To: LibWhacker

Since they cannot use what they see to adequately forecast the universe they come up with dark matter first and that did not provide enough mass to forecast what was happening so they have come up with dark energy that they say makes up from 75% to 80% of the matter or mass of the universe. The question I asked is how they know there is dark matter and dark energy if one has never been able to see or capture any of it? Or is there some other force that is driving the universe? Or are we a microscopic point on the head of a pin and do not know the difference?


7 posted on 07/23/2006 1:47:36 PM PDT by YOUGOTIT
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To: LibWhacker

This guy Chapline doesn't believe black holes suck. On second thought, maybe he does.


8 posted on 07/23/2006 1:50:13 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: LibWhacker
"What if Black Holes Didn't Exist?"

A lot of Union folks would be out of work, due to a lack of construction projects such as the 'Big Dig'.

9 posted on 07/23/2006 1:52:43 PM PDT by Tench_Coxe
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To: LibWhacker

Black holes are thought to be at the center of every galaxy. Maybe they lead to other dimensions (dimensions unlike our 3 spatial plus time). Maybe they lead to other "universes" where the laws of physics are different.

Maybe that's where Democrats' brains come from.


10 posted on 07/23/2006 1:58:33 PM PDT by pleikumud
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To: LibWhacker

Then we'd have to invent them.


11 posted on 07/23/2006 2:03:35 PM PDT by gotribe (It's not a religion.)
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To: LibWhacker
"In science, you decide whose theory is right (or wrong) by means of an experiment," he said, "not by polling experts."

Except for darwinism

12 posted on 07/23/2006 2:06:57 PM PDT by mjp
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To: LibWhacker

I think black holes do exist.

The nature of the universe without black holes becomes extremely exotic... to the point where just looking through a telescope at local objects might require a reevaluation of the world.

Then again, pointing the telescope up toward the stars might yield a different picture entirely.


13 posted on 07/23/2006 2:07:17 PM PDT by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: LibWhacker
we didn't need to go to the Moon to know that it wasn't made of cheese

Since when ??!

14 posted on 07/23/2006 2:19:36 PM PDT by mikrofon (See Hi-mag)
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To: YOUGOTIT
The question I asked is how they know there is dark matter and dark energy if one has never been able to see or capture any of it?

Well, that's just it; they KNOW it's there because they can measure its influence on the universe's expansion rate. However, they can't see it. Therefore, it must be "dark."

15 posted on 07/23/2006 2:21:28 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
Thanks for posting the article.

"In science, you decide whose theory is right (or wrong) by means of an experiment," he said, "not by polling experts."

One shouldn't determine the validity of a theory by taking a vote - but people keep trying! Michael Crichton has argued that consensus is a virtue of politics rather than science, and I think that is a telling point.

Unfortunately for theoretical physicists, experimenting on the nature of the universe is not an easy undertaking. Revisionism of one sort or another is constantly occurring, due to the field's heavier-than-normal reliance on theories based on observation, extrapolation and imagination.

"Practically speaking, much of our subject matter is inaccessible to direct experimentation," .... But indirection, inference and, ultimately, guesswork all chafe against some of science's core values.


I welcome this acknowledgment that some scientific endeavors are speculative. It’s about time! In economics, micro is better established than macro. Supply and demand is very solid, but I think we have a long way to go in macroeconomics. Certainly some aspects of physics are rock solid, but some aspects are not. Personally, I have my doubts about psychology in general. But none of this is meant to detract from researchers in particular fields. It’s usually the subject matter that is the issue. If you can replicate valid relevant experiments in the lab, that is great. If you can make repeatable observations in the field, without interacting with your subjects, that’s pretty good. But when you have little data, rely greatly on inference, extrapolate greatly, or interact with the observed phenomenon, your conclusions are speculative, and it is O.K. to say so.

16 posted on 07/23/2006 2:23:12 PM PDT by ChessExpert (Mohammed was not moderate)
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To: gotribe
Then we'd have to invent them.

Your post: simplicity+irony=genius

17 posted on 07/23/2006 3:08:17 PM PDT by cj2a (When you're pathetic, but you don't know you're pathetic, that's really pathetic.)
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To: mjp; All

Wow, it took twelve whole posts before someone tried to hijack the thread into CREVO territory. They're practicing more restraint.


18 posted on 07/23/2006 3:08:38 PM PDT by spinestein (Follow "The Bronze Rule")
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To: LibWhacker
"Well, that's just it; they KNOW it's there because they can measure its influence on the universe's expansion rate. However, they can't see it. Therefore, it must be "dark.""

From reading the article from the dark energy folks and others and listening to their story on TV (Science Channel) they added the dark energy to their equation so it would reflect gravity as they and the present laws of physics understand gravity. Some scientist and others do not believe in the dark energy theory and instead think that gravity does not conform to everything as believed. So at present it is a theory which may be proved true or not in the future. However it may be something entirely different that is causing the universe to expand at its present rate. Just as the big bang voided all the laws of physics as it expanded much, much, much faster that the speed of light in the beginning.
19 posted on 07/23/2006 3:17:47 PM PDT by YOUGOTIT
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To: LibWhacker

There was a time, back when I was in school studying physics, when there were no black holes. Neutron stars were on the edge of conceivability and now we not only have black hole stars, we have tiny black holes and black holes with interior structure. Who knows if we live inside a black hole; it has been suggested. If black holes are never found and eventually disappear again due to further discovery, they will go the way of phlogiston.


20 posted on 07/23/2006 3:18:38 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: RightWhale
Get rid of all the fancy telescopes and those non productive leaches groveling for federal grants would go away along with the "black holes".
21 posted on 07/23/2006 3:26:11 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: dalereed
Get rid of all the fancy telescopes

Get rid of the internal combustion engines and they won't be able to get to their supercomputers.

22 posted on 07/23/2006 3:28:38 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: LibWhacker
Revisionism of one sort or another is constantly occurring, due to the field's heavier-than-normal reliance on theories based on observation, extrapolation and imagination.

Oh it's not nearly as bad as evolution, which relies almost entirely on extrapolation, imagination and ad hominem attacks on religion. :-P

23 posted on 07/23/2006 3:30:12 PM PDT by Rightwing Conspiratr1
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To: no one in particular
Why should I care?

Seriously, should I give a flying you-know-what?

Why?

'Cause I really don't.

24 posted on 07/23/2006 3:31:11 PM PDT by ExGeeEye (Sixty-six days (counting up))
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To: RightWhale

Between the two I say destroy the telescopes!

I'll keep my 300HP 65 Chevy PU, hopefully on gas without alcohol.


25 posted on 07/23/2006 3:32:35 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: Rightwing Conspiratr1
ad hominem attacks on religion

Can't do that. Ad hominem requires a person, not an institution on the receiving end. Maybe an ad institutionem.

26 posted on 07/23/2006 3:32:48 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: dalereed

I like telescopes. In fact, I used to work on design of the big ones. If you knew the man who ground and polished the secondary of the big scope we built you would not want him out of work. There was never a less scientific person, but there was never a man with such a touch for glass. He used to say, "You can't push glass," and that's about all he ever said. Everybody else who tried to grind that secondary ended up breaking it.


27 posted on 07/23/2006 3:37:56 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: LibWhacker
Black holes do exist.. they are called socialist governments..
They suck any production from a productive society into them..

And the singularity is/are elections..

28 posted on 07/23/2006 3:49:10 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: pleikumud
Black holes are thought to be at the center of every galaxy. Maybe they lead to other dimensions (dimensions unlike our 3 spatial plus time). Maybe they lead to other "universes" where the laws of physics are different.

Boston is known as the Hub of the Universe, a phrase coined by Oliver Wendall Holmes. And, Boston has a black hole, locally known as he Big Dig. As we speak Mitt Romney, hoping to be president someday, is skipping around the universe using this black hole worm tunnel to cross the heavens looking for ways to restructure the tunnel with cut bolts. He doesn't like epoxy bolts installed by union help. This black hole has sucked about $15,000,000,000 out of our wallets. It ain't gonna stop sucking.

29 posted on 07/23/2006 3:50:11 PM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts (The only good Mullah is a dead Mullah. The only good Mosque is the one that used to be there.)
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To: LibWhacker
The Universe designed for discovery.

Guillermo Gonzalez & Jay W Richards, The Privileged Planet

30 posted on 07/23/2006 3:52:29 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: ExGeeEye

Then why read this thread?


31 posted on 07/23/2006 3:56:30 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: R. Scott

Thought there might be something interesting in it. I was wrong.


32 posted on 07/23/2006 3:57:31 PM PDT by ExGeeEye (Sixty-six days (counting up))
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To: YOUGOTIT

The distances of the stars and between the stars cannot be explained as achievable (enough energy in the big bang or now), given what science knows about the weak force, gravity and the strong force, electromagnetism.

So, mathemetics is used to come up with formulas to explain the discrepancy and the formulas always posit either some additional form of matter, and or/additional energy.

At present science understands the additional matter/and or energy (dark - their term and only because they have no knowledge of how to "see" it) only in the math and science has no way, yet, to devise equipment that would actually detect the additional matter or energy. Like knowing you need an ampmeter but not knowing what "amp" would look like.


33 posted on 07/23/2006 4:07:12 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: LibWhacker

"What if black holes did'nt exist"? Simple:then there would'nt be any!


34 posted on 07/23/2006 4:26:35 PM PDT by INSENSITIVE GUY
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To: LibWhacker

Next thing you know somebody's going to make the TOTALLY OUTRAGEOUS CLAIM that F = MA(!)


35 posted on 07/23/2006 4:37:21 PM PDT by The Duke (I have met the enemy, and he is named 'Apathy'!)
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To: onedoug
Guillermo Gonzalez & Jay W Richards, The Privileged Planet

I enjoyed the book and the DVD.

36 posted on 07/23/2006 4:46:25 PM PDT by ChessExpert (Mohammed was not moderate)
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To: onedoug
You might try The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science by Tom Bethell, which I read and enjoyed.
37 posted on 07/23/2006 4:57:55 PM PDT by ChessExpert (Mohammed was not moderate)
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts

I wonder how many miles of border fence could be purchased for $15 billion.


38 posted on 07/23/2006 6:30:04 PM PDT by pleikumud
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To: LibWhacker

Bump


39 posted on 07/23/2006 6:42:42 PM PDT by quietolong
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Meet the Indian who took on Stephen Hawking
Rediff.com | August 03, 2004 10:06 IST | Rediff.com
Posted on 08/03/2004 1:16:56 AM EDT by CarrotAndStick
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1183887/posts


40 posted on 09/30/2006 11:52:51 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (updated my FR profile on Saturday, September 16, 2006. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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