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Posted by Nicholas on October 31, 2002 20:48:26 UTC

"If one wants to come up with ordinary everyday solutions to quandaries; then things like 4-D spacetime, curved space, 11 dimensions, quintessence, dark energy, and dark matter have to be looked upon as indicating something very basically wrong with theoretical physics. They are obviously desperation-suggestions, having little support even from the people suggesting them. "

Ok, that last statement is just untrue. You would be hard-pressed to find a physicist or astrophysicist who doesn't believe in a 4-D spacetime or curved space. General relativity is not desperation, but is actually one of the most elegant and simple theories ever formulated. Sure, the mathematics are intense, but conceptually it's a very simple picture that explains many different phenomena. There may be some scale on which GR fails, but it is still an excellent description of the things we currently observe. As for string theory and quintessence, those are still works in progress. It is yet to be seen whether they will stand the test of time.

The problem with the reasoning you give above (as I see it, anyway) is that you are looking for everyday explanations to things that are not in any way "everyday". I would not expect something like a black hole to be easily described in terms of the same things that describe light bulbs and automobiles. When Copernicus first theorized that the sun was at the center of the Solar System, it was a blow to the importance of human beings. It was a lesson that we should be humble when we try to explain the universe. I think the same thing applies here. We shouldn't expect the universe to be readily understandable in terms of everyday "human" concepts.

"Every new astronomical discovery of a new "phenomenon" is greeted with dismayed surprise, because there is no popular Umbrella Theory into
which it fits."

Actually, most astronomical observations are easily explainable with the currently accepted theories. Keep in mind that things are usually only publicized if they are surprises.

"Considering the overwhelming amount of observational data that has been collecting since before Ptolemy, isn't this strange? They
STILL don't have the answer?"

How can one, a priori, assume the universe to be of a certain simplicity? The process of science is the only way we can approach an understanding of exactly how much observation is going to be required to get the "answer".

"There are no solid, agreed-upon theories for...."

-Light - Maxwell's equations (classical scales), quantum mechanics (quantum scales)

-Gravity - Newtonian (classical scales), relativistic (high energies and masses), unknown for quantum scales

-Celestial Body Overall Magnetic Field Generation -There's the magnetic dynamo theory, the basics of which are at least pretty certain.

-Apparent Acceleration of Far-Object Redshift - I assume you're referring to the acceleration of the universe. There is no solid explanation yet, but then it was only discovered a few years ago.

-Spiral Galaxy Stars' Orbital Velocity Curve - All the evidence seems to indicate some kind of dark matter is responsible, but we have not yet pinned down a specific culprit.

Those are the only ones for which I have a lot of familiarity. I don't know exactly what you mean by "electric field constituents".

Clearly, there are many mysteries yet to explain, but I don't see why one would expect to have them explained by now. I don't think you appreciate the difficulty of astronomical observations. It's kind of like looking at a university from a mile away and trying to figure all the students names and what classes they're taking.

As for your thing about gravitational mass being zero while in The gravitational and inertial mass are always the same, as far as we can tell. Measurements have been made down to factors of 10^-11 and no difference was found.

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