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Sean Carroll at the Atlantic: All physics is local

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Further to Gravitational waves reliably detected – Updated IV, from Sean Carroll at the Atlantic:

Einstein’s gravitational waves rest on a genuinely radical idea.

Einstein’s general relativity is a theory of gravity. It says that spacetime can be curved, and we feel the effects of that curvature as the gravitational force. According to relativity, the speed of light puts an absolute limit on how fast influences can travel through space. The Andromeda galaxy is two and a half million light years away, so it would take at the very least five million years to send a signal there and get a response back.

We’ve all heard about this speed-of-light barrier, which applies to gravitational waves just as much as everything else in the universe. But let’s think a bit more deeply about why there is such a limit at all. That’s where locality comes in.

Drop a pebble into a still pond. Small waves ripple outward in a circular pattern. We naturally think of those waves as “things” that “travel” through the water, but at the same time we recognize that there is a deeper description. The water is made of molecules, and those molecules keep moving around and pushing on other molecules. At this microscopic level of description, molecules in the pebble pushed on water molecules at the location where the pebble entered the water. Those molecules in turn pushed on other water molecules nearby, and those pushed on ones a bit farther out, and so on. It’s the collective action of all those molecules together that gives us the impression of “waves traveling through water.”

That’s the origin of gravitational waves: disturbances in the gravitational field, rippling through spacetime at the speed of light, just like the ripples we get from throwing a pebble into a pond.
The molecules themselves only interact when they are very close by—when they literally bump into each other. The pebble doesn’t instantly affect all the water in the pond. It affects water molecules in one location, which then affect those nearby, in a chain that ripples to the edges of the pond. That’s locality in action: Even though the waves might travel impressive distances, at a deeper level it’s just each molecule talking to others right next door. There is no action at a distance, spooky or otherwise. More.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Well, it’ll certainly be action at a distance when a tsunami arrives. It’s unclear how the fact that the gravity travels locally changes that.

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18 Replies to “Sean Carroll at the Atlantic: All physics is local

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    Sean Caroll is a obviously a crackpot or a clown since quantum physics already proved him wrong time and time again. Einstein was way out of his league. Here are the many ways in which Einsteinian physics is dead wrong:

    1. The universe is 100% local. Wrong: nonlocality is a fact.
    2. The universe is continuous. Wronger. The universe is obviously discrete.
    3. The universe is 100% deterministic. Not even wrong: God enjoys playing dice with the universe.
    4. There is a spacetime in which we are moving. Stupid is as stupid does: spacetime is a block universe in which nothing happens, by definition.
    5. There is a time dimension in which we are moving from the past into the future. The actual humiliating truth: a time dimension makes motion impossible. Only the present exists.
    6. All positions and velocities in the universe are relative. Ouch. This is the ultimate self-referential BS.

    The whole thing would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic and so excruciatingly embarrassing. And this is the physics that predicted gravitational waves? Please.

    We are all being ripped off and lied to by crackpots and con artists. We need a Kuhnian revolution.

    Why Gravitational waves are Nonsense

  2. 2
    wsread says:

    Comments like this don’t exactly help the reputation of UD

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    wsread:

    comments like this don’t exactly help the reputation of UD

    This is precisely why physics is a farce. It is much more about politics (greed, reputation and self-interest) than science.

    PS. If you have an actual reasoned argument against any of the points I made @1, I’ll be happy to shoot it down, Mr Ad-Hominem.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    Comments like this don’t exactly help the reputation of UD

    It’s a blog. We don’t ban people just because they express ideas you don’t like.

  5. 5
    Me_Think says:

    wsread @ 2

    Comments like this don’t exactly help the reputation of UD

    Relax.It takes all kinds to keep the forum/blog going. Censorship is never a good thing.

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    I challenge anybody to refute any of the points I made @1. Otherwise, I’ll assume my detractors are gutless mental midgets.

    Warning: I will shoot down every counter argument without mercy. 😀

  7. 7
    GaryGaulin says:

    Mapou, from the Theory of Intelligent Design (with my name on it)
    http://theoryofid.blogspot.com/

    Nonrandom Behavior of Matter.

    Chemists routinely document the nonrandom repeatable behavior of real matter using chemical equations, charts and tables. In normal atmospheric conditions the overall chemical equation of the acid/base reaction of household baking soda (sodium bicarbonate = NaHCO3) with store bought cooking vinegar 5%-8% acetic acid (CH3COOH) can be written as:

    NaHCO3 (aq) + CH3COOH (aq) —> CO2 (g) + H2O (l) + CH3COONa (aq)

    Every time sodium bicarbonate is dissolved in aqueous (aq = dissolved in liquid water) acetic acid the reaction yields (—>) carbon dioxide gas (g) plus formation of liquid (l) water molecules plus dissolved in the water sodium acetate (CH3COONa). You can test this at home by mixing the two together many times. Every time you do, you will get the same result.

    Also, molecules of water and carbon dioxide react with calcium ions to form crystals of a common mineral calcite, which forms symmetrical crystals. It is one of the closely associated reactions that underlie the formation of oyster shells, coral reefs, limestone rock, stalactites, caves, weathered tombstones, and the gunk that accumulates in the plumbing of your water system.

    H20 + C02 = H+ + HC03-

    Ca++ + 2HC03- = H20 + C02 + CaC03 (calcite)

    Chemical equations such as these are possible because of the nonrandom behavior of matter. If the behavior of matter were random then it would be impossible to exactly predict what a chemical reaction will produce, which would in turn make equations like these impossible to write. Where the organization of matter looks random it is because predicting where each molecule will be or what it will do at any moment in time is too complicated for us to predict, but the behavior of each atom or molecule still obeys nonrandom physical laws, is repeatable.

    Behavior of matter is produced by electromagnetic force created atomic bonds and intermolecular interactions (covalent, polar covalent, van der Waals polar force, ionic, metallic, hydrogen) and follows the laws of physics. This behavior can only respond to its environment one way, such as bonding with another molecule or not. To computer model the behavior of matter only two of the four requirements for intelligence are used (therefore is not intelligent).

    Subatomic processes are analyzable in terms of probability (stochastic processes) where mathematically the system is (sometimes for convenience sake) considered nondeterministic even though in reality what is being modeled is a deterministic or essentially probabilistic process. Quantum Mechanics theory is “probabilistic” (not nondeterministic). Discovering what is missing from current physics models is the purpose of the CERN supercollider and other subatomic experiments. If physics already had a complete theory to produce a model that explains everything with 100% certainty then there would be no need for uncertainty in its equations. Philosophical meanings for the words “deterministic” and “nondeterministic” cannot be used as evidence in a scientific theory. All currently existing scientific evidence indicates the Universe is functionally deterministic.

    String Theory is a computer model of the behavior of matter where there is a hidden dimension of control (analogous to confidence levels) of universal constants. Multiple dimensions together address the resulting state and behavior of matter. Whether that is true of real matter is not known, but String Theory suggests that the algorithm for the behavior of matter may meet at least three of the four requirements for intelligence. Quantum Mechanics theory may seem to suggest a guess mechanism also exists in matter, but a “probabilistic” theory does not prove that randomness (as in God throwing dice to take guesses) exists at the subatomic level.

    Because of computers being inherently deterministic their random generators are more precisely “pseudorandom”. Pseudorandom sequences typically exhibit statistical randomness while being generated by an entirely deterministic causal process. Unless “seeded” to produce a new sequence they repeat the same sequences of numbers every time a program is restarted. The intelligent entity then lives the exact same lifetime over again every time. The intelligent entity still has “free will” and does what it chooses, but in a computer model its lifetime is predestined by the guesses that it takes along the way being the same. Where applied to our reality, turning back time would not change the guesses and mistakes we make, therefore history would not change.

    In “Chaos Theory” the systems that are described are apparently disordered, but Chaos Theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data.

    Electronic memory circuits must be nonrandom. Otherwise we would have computers with memories that continually change. A document you are writing would become a screen of random characters or operating system right away crashes. Brain produced memories are stored by nonrandom altering of the electrochemical properties of brain cells. If the behavior of brain cells and their synaptic junctions that store memories were a random process then it would be impossible for us to remember anything at all. For the same reasons, intelligence can only emerge from predictable (nonrandom) deterministic behavior.

    Computer science and this theory requires deterministic and nondeterministic functions be defined:

    All functions are deterministic or nondeterministic:
    > Deterministic functions always return the same result any time they are called with a specific set of input values.
    > Nondeterministic functions may return different results each time they are called with a specific set of input values.

    Whether a function is deterministic or nondeterministic is called the determinism of the function.

    For example, the DATEADD built-in function is deterministic because it always returns the same result for any given set of argument values for its three parameters. GETDATE is not deterministic because it is always invoked with the same argument, yet the value it returns changes each time it is executed.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u.....(v=sql.80).aspx

    To test whether the Intelligence Design Lab (or Intelligence Generator) computer model is deterministic or nondeterministic the software is downloaded then unzipped to a folder where the program will be started from.
    http://intelligencegenerator.blogspot.com/

    If the Intelligence Design Lab is already installed then make sure the “Seed Random Generator” checkbox is unchecked. When unchecked the program always starts with a “specific set of input values” else Randomize command is used to seed Random generator with a unique number from the system time/timer, for a new set of input values each time restarted. If checked then click to uncheck (clear) then click “Save Settings” command button to save the new startup setting.

    With no other programs running, restart program then note behavior. Look for an event at a certain Cycle number that it would have to be living the same lifetime all over again for it to exactly repeat each time. Or click on the line chart to display foraging success which will show peaks and valleys that can be compared for similarity. End program, then restart again to note whether (as is here expected) the exact same events occur again, indicating that the computer model is deterministic.

    For experimenting with the Baldwin Effect (learned behavior influences speciation) there is a reciprocal pathway (see Causation illustration in Introduction) where a programmatically induced behavior applied to a particle system environment (its landscape) would be seen/heard then possibly mimicked. The deterministic behavior of an unseeded random generator here provides an experimental control where all live the same lifetime each time. The effect of an introduced behavior on a population is detectable by what later changes.

    Warning: I play for keeps.

  8. 8
    Mapou says:

    Gary @7,

    You know where to pack it, don’t you? Arseteroids and all that. 😀

  9. 9
    GaryGaulin says:

    Mapou, being reduced to hurling butt-jokes makes you no better than a caged monkey who believes they are showing how smart they are by throwing their feces at researchers studying primitive animal behaviors.

    Thanks for playing…

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    Dear Gary,

    You’re very welcome.

  11. 11
    Me_Think says:

    GaryGaulin @ 7
    What has all that got to do with Gravitational waves and Locality?

  12. 12
    GaryGaulin says:

    I have to ask what does Gravitational waves and Locality have to do with “theory of intelligent design”?

    Care to share more detail?

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    I just read the Atlantic article by Sean Carroll. I can see nothing in it that is in any way controversial. It certainly does not affect ID in any way. When I first saw the word “locally” I thought it meant that the laws of physics varied by location but that is not what is meant. It means the effects are local and any long range effects is like one billiard ball hitting another till a billiard ball at a far distance is also hit and moved.

    And I am one who is highly critical of Sean Carroll when he steps away from his domain as physicist. But don’t see the relevance of this post.

  14. 14
    Me_Think says:

    GaryGaulin @ 12

    I have to ask what does Gravitational waves and Locality have to do with “theory of intelligent design”?
    Care to share more detail?

    That’s exactly my question. The OP is about Gravitational waves and Locality. How does your comment @ 7 relate to the OP ?

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    If people are interested in what Carrol means about physics being local I recommend the following:

    A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~.....ss/?p=7881

  16. 16
    Mapou says:

    Mung, Carroll is a crackpot because quantum physics has shown that nonlocality is a fact over and over again. Even something like the super-spherical charge of an electron is due to nonlocality. Why? For the simple reason that the photons emitted by the electron, which are responsible for its charge, are point particles that travel in a straight line away from the electron. And yet, these same photons interact with other particles as if they were spread evenly on an expanding sphere around the electron. This is a fact.

    Sean Carroll is not just a crackpot. He’s a liar and a con artist. Physics certainly does not need more jackasses like Carroll. It is already full of them.

  17. 17
    Mapou says:

    Posted earlier:

    I challenge anybody to refute any of the points I made @1. Otherwise, I’ll assume my detractors are gutless mental midgets.

    Warning: I will shoot down every counter argument without mercy.

    I’m still waiting. Any takers? I guess not. You guys are gutless.

    In the meantime, here’s something that is certain to infuriate the usual “everything is local” and “Einstein was right” mental midgets.

    How Einstein Shot Physics in the Foot

    ahahaha…AHAHAHA…ahahaha…

  18. 18
    GaryGaulin says:

    Me_Think wonders:

    The OP is about Gravitational waves and Locality. How does your comment @ 7 relate to the OP ?

    With the OP on down being rather pointless to begin with it became a good time and place to explain the computer science related physics basics required for modeling intelligent causation events.

    The philosophical based junk that turns words like “deterministic” and “nondeterministic” into religious philosophical concepts are a sit-and-spin for those who have fun spinning words that really go nowhere at all in science.

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