RE: Moorad's assumed timeline

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Thu May 20 2004 - 15:09:10 EDT

Different disciples are characterized by their subject manner and have their own way to obtain evidence that allows them to establish the truthfulness or falseness of prepositions in their respective disciplines. Historians cannot use the methods of experimental science and physicists have no basis of criticizing other disciplines that deal with unique events. Physics is not the hardest but it certainly is the one that is most mathematical. Historical sciences are sciences because they use experimental science are part of establishing a scenario of past events. Find a post where I have indicated that other sciences are not science. My qualm is with political science, social science, etc. Biology will invariable go the way of physics as it relates the underlying microscopic nature of biological systems to their macroscopic manifestation.



        -----Original Message-----
        From: George Murphy []
        Sent: Thu 5/20/2004 2:09 PM
        To: Alexanian, Moorad; Michael Roberts;
        Subject: Re: Moorad's assumed timeline

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
        To: "Michael Roberts" <>; <>
        Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2004 11:17 AM
        Subject: RE: Moorad's assumed timeline
> The best example to illustrate what I am saying is forensic science. Here
        one collects data that are studied by means of experimental sciences and
        used as evidence provided to the district attorney for possible prosecution.
        The district attorney forms a historical timeline wherein he fits in the
        evidence he has. It is on the basis of that timeline that the prosecutor
        seeks to indict a person by presenting the case in court.
> In cosmology, the timeline is provided by mathematical models based on the
        Hilbert-Einstein equations of general relativity and solved assuming
        symmetries by the Russian meteorologist and mathematician Aleksandr
        Friedmann. In historical geology, evolutionary theory, etc. there are no
        mathematical models and so the workers in those fields fit the data also in
        an assumed timeline.
            Not exactly. A timeline can be established with much simpler models -
        i.e., ones using Newtonian gravity or even neglecting gravity entirely. If
        one puts Hubble's relation v = Hd in the form v = d/t then t = 1/H ~ 14 x
        10^9 yr. The Einstein equations are needed for a more detailed model but
        not for establishing the order of magnitude of what one may cautiously call
        "the characteristic time of the universe."
            By bringing in the Einstein equations you exaggerate the difference
        between the sophistication of what's needed in cosmology & in historical
        geology. Furthermore, there are mathematical models which deal with a
        crucial aspect of the age of the earth, radioactivity & the relative
        abundances of various isotopes.
        & even furthermore, those models are not completely disjoint from our
        cosmological models because determination of ages from isotope abundances,
        at least for things like U235/U238, depend on understanding the formation of
        nuclei in supernovae and other cosmological data.
            Furthermore, while the simplest procedure is to assume spatial symmetry
        & isotropy of the universe, as Friedmann did, there are plenty of
        cosmological models - both exact solutions of the Einstein equations and
        approximate ones which are perturbed versions of the Friedmann models -
        which don't have all those symmetries.
            Moorad, I can argue as strongly as anyone that physics is "harder" than
        other sciences. But this doesn't mean that those other sciences aren't
        sciences at all or that they can't tell us anything about the past. You
        have tried to make such a case several times in the past but it just won't
        work. As a physicist I appeal to you to give it up.
Received on Thu May 20 15:09:27 2004

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