Posts Tagged ‘Magic’

Science (and the gods) rely equally on magic

July 3, 2017

The fundamental assumptions of science can be written in various ways but, for me, seem to boil down to four:

  1. The Universe exists
  2. Laws of nature (science) exist
  3. All phenomena are constrained to obey the laws of nature (science)
  4. The laws of nature (science) apply everywhere in the universe

The laws of nature are such that compliance with these laws is inbuilt. If there is any non-compliance it is not a law of nature. If compliance is all that we observe then it is a law of nature. But why the laws are what they are are usually beyond explanation.

Assumptions are not amenable to further question. You could apply an “if” to them or question “why” the assumption is true, but that is futile for there are no answers. They are just taken as self-evident and the starting point of rational thought. They are never, in themselves, self-explanatory except in the trivial form. (Assume that 1+1=2. Therefore 2+2=4 and that proves that 1+1=2).

I apply the word “magic” to all that is inexplicable. And all the fundamental laws of nature (science) are built on a foundation of inexplicable magic. How many fundamental particles exist and why? It’s magic. If the laws of science only apply after the Big Bang but don’t apply at the Big Bang singularity itself, what laws did? It’s magic. If the laws apply to a supernova but not inside a black hole, it’s magic. (Never mind that a black hole seems to be a part of the universe where the laws of science do not apply which violates the assumption that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic (Assumption 4 above). Why are there 4 – and only 4 – fundamental forces in nature? It’s magic. How did time begin? It’s magic. Can empty space exist without even the property of dimensions? It’s magic. Can time be a dimension and not have negative values? It’s magic. Dark energy and dark matter are merely labels invoking magic. All science which relies on fundamental assumptions is ultimately built upon and dependent upon a set of inexplicable, fundamental statements. They are just magic.

A fundamental flaw with the claim of physics, that all of history up to just after the Big Bang is explainable by the laws of science, must also mean that all of the future is also fixed and determined by the laws of science applied to conditions now. What will happen was therefore fixed for all time by the Big Bang itself. And that, too, is indistinguishable from magic.

Religions do not just rely on magic, they claim the magic for their gods. Modern, “with-it” religions, which try to be “compatible” with the latest knowledge discovered by science, merely claim that their God(s) pushed the button which caused the Big Bang. That my God is greater than your God is magic. That there is a life after death, or reincarnation, or rebirth or an ultimate state of grace is also just magic.

Shiva, Kali, Jesus, Allah, nirvana, dark energy, dark matter and the Big Bang singularity are all labels for different facets of magic.

Magic, by any other name, is just as inexplicable.


The speed of light may have been faster

May 4, 2017

I have speculated before that the rate at which time dissipates may not be constant (The Magical Speed of an Inconstant time).

Now come suggestions that the speed of light may have been faster at the time of the Big Bang. That is perfectly consistent with the speed of time being slower at the time of the Big Bang.

In 2015, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) confirmed evidence of gravitational waves. These ripples in space-time, formed by the merger of two supermassive black holes, were exactly what Einstein had described with his theory of general relativity. But physicists studying the LIGO data found evidence of “echoes” that seem to contradict the predictions made by general relativity.

“Theoretical physicists Jahed Abedi, Hannah Dykaar, and Niayesh Afshordi, published a new paper explaining that the group believes they have detected the first evidence of gravitational effects not explained by general relativity in the data,” reported Inverse in the wake of the LIGO announcement. In this way, Einstein’s vindication could also prove his theory’s undoing. And this isn’t the only evidence that could disrupt the theory of relativity.

Physicists studying the early origins of the universe hypothesize that light has not always traveled at the same speed. This directly challenges special relativity.

“João Magueijo from Imperial College London and Niayesh Afshordi of the Perimeter Institute in Canada proposed a new experiment proving Einstein wrong and demonstrating that the speed of light actually isn’t a constant,” Inverse reported in November 2016. “The pair thinks light may have moved faster in the past, around the time of Big Bang, and that it’s actually slowed down since.”

They suspect that the lumpy density of the early universe caused light to behave differently. As the universe expanded and smoothed out, these lumpy areas disappeared. But there still may be some areas at the edge of the universe where the lumpiness persists, and in these areas, faster-than-light travel could be possible.

That’s why Einstein’s theory of relativity, which provides the foundation of most of modern physics, may soon be proven wrong as advanced technologies enable us to peer farther into the expanding universe than we ever have before: Once we finally peer into a black hole, we might find that Einstein was wrong about general relativity.

My speculations about time had to resort to magic:

And so I distinguish between perceived time and eal time. eal time, of course is magical. It is only by definition that we take the passage of time to be constant. Of course this is just perceived time. And we perceive time only as a consequence of change. But eal time does not have to elapse at a constant rate.

The Big Bang does not, apparently, mathematically permit of a time older than 13.8 billion years. Magical eal time, of course, goes back to infinitely long ago. All can be resolved merely by accepting that ℜeal time elapsed at zero rate at the Big Bang and then gradually built up to the rate of elapse we are subject to now. ……

At the Big Bang, even change had to get started. All change, all motion, all vibrations, all oscillations and all radiation had to start from zero. The atoms and the elements had to come into being. Cesium had to have come much later. These cycles of these oscillations of even the very first atoms may be regular now. But they would all have had to start somewhere (somewhen) and start from zero. The speed of oscillation had to build up from nothing (implying an infinite period) to that applying today. Which means that close to the Big Bang as atoms were ratcheting up their oscillations, the period between cycles would have been longer, starting infinitely long and reducing rapidly (in apparent time) to what is observed today. Closer to the Big Bang, eal time, as opposed to apparent time, would have elapsed more slowly and the period between cycles of all radiation would have had to start from infinity. The very speed of time would have been slower.

At the Big Bang, the speed of eal time would have been zero. A perceived picosecond of elapsed time would actually have been after the elapse of many, many trillions of eal time years. The perceived age of the universe of 13.8 billion years of perceived time would have been infinitely long ago in eal time.

Ultimately physics is just magic.


Gravitational “constant” is not constant but varies periodically

February 1, 2016

Newton’s gravitational constant, G, is surprisingly variable and varies periodically. The period is 5.899 +/- 0.062 years which is the same period by which the length of day varies and is also about half the 11 year solar cycle.

The reasons for this are unknown and speculations about currents in the earth’s core and magnetic effects abound.

The simplest explanation is that it is the same magic which causes gravity (and calling it space-time does not reduce its magical qualities) which also causes the solar cycle and is also the same magic which governs the movement of the earth around the sun and the corresponding length of day.

John D. Anderson, Gerald Schubert, Virginia Trimble, Michael R. Feldman, Measurements of Newton’s gravitational constant and the length of day, EPL 110 (2015) 10002, doi:10.1209/0295-5075/110/10002

Abstract:About a dozen measurements of Newton’s gravitational constant, G, since 1962 have yielded values that differ by far more than their reported random plus systematic errors. We find that these values for G are oscillatory in nature, with a period of P = 5.899 +/- 0.062 yr, an amplitude of (1.619 +/- 0.103) x 10^{-14} m^3 kg^{-1} s^{-2}, and mean-value crossings in 1994 and 1997. However, we do not suggest that G is actually varying by this much, this quickly, but instead that something in the measurement process varies. Of other recently reported results, to the best of our knowledge, the only measurement with the same period and phase is the Length of Day (LOD – defined as a frequency measurement such that a positive increase in LOD values means slower Earth rotation rates and therefore longer days). The aforementioned period is also about half of a solar activity cycle, but the correlation is far less convincing. The 5.9 year periodic signal in LOD has previously been interpreted as due to fluid core motions and inner-core coupling. We report the G/LOD correlation, whose statistical significance is 0.99764 assuming no difference in phase, without claiming to have any satisfactory explanation for it. Least unlikely, perhaps, are currents in the Earth’s fluid core that change both its moment of inertia (affecting LOD) and the circumstances in which the Earth-based experiments measure G. In this case, there might be correlations with terrestrial magnetic field measurements.

A set of 13 measurements of G exhibit a 5.9-year periodic oscillation (solid curve) that closely matches the 5.9-year oscillation in LOD measurements (dashed curve). The two outliers are a 2014 quantum measurement and a 1996 measurement known to suffer from drift. The green dot is an estimate of the mean value of G after the 5.9-year periodicity is removed. Credit: J. D. Anderson, et al. ©2015 EPLA

A set of 13 measurements of G exhibit a 5.9-year periodic oscillation (solid curve) that closely matches the 5.9-year oscillation in LOD measurements (dashed curve). The two outliers are a 2014 quantum measurement and a 1996 measurement known to suffer from drift. The green dot is an estimate of the mean value of G after the 5.9-year periodicity is removed. Credit: J. D. Anderson, et al. ©2015 EPLA

Physics is impossible without final recourse to various magics; Big Bang Magic, gravitational magic, weak force magic, strong force magic and electromagical magnetics. There is something very inelegant – bordering on ugly – when modern physics needs over 50 different “fundamental” particles and unknown, unseen, undetectable forms of dark matter and dark energy to make their models feasible.

If there is a fundamental particle then there can be only one and it is called the Ultimion.

The Big Bang theory is just another Creation myth

December 16, 2015

I was listening to some lectures on Relativity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. What struck me, again, was how claims to be entirely rational all contain an element of magical belief.

The concept of “time” is not, I think identical to “the elapse of time”. Suppose that “the elapse of time”, along with space-time and all matter and all energy, came into existence only with the singularity called the Big Bang. Then the Big Bang theory and the Genesis Creation myth are similar in that both ultimately rely on the invocation of Magic. Genesis labels the Magic as “God”. The Big Bang theory either assumes that the singularity just Magically came to be, or claims it was inevitable and due to the laws of quantum physics, which just Magically came to be. Both Genesis and the Big Bang theory begin with “In the beginning….”, which inherently contains the assumption of a concept not only of “time”, and the existence of a “before” and an “after” but also the concept of being “timeless”. The state of “before” applied to “the beginning of time”, can only be a timeless state (stasis) or a state where time exists but does not elapse.

Magic is to the Big Bang theory what God is to the Genesis Creation myth.

Physicists (cosmologists) claim that the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago (definitely less than 15 billion years ago according to Hawking), but I question that. Physicists are being illogical here. The existence of a singularity on the time axis itself requires that a “speed of time” exist. Since, at the singularity the “speed of time” was – must be – zero, it must have subsequently, in the first apparent moments after the singularity, accelerated to the current rate of elapse of time. So the 13.8 billion years ago is only an apparent, perceived point along the time axis where eal time actually goes back to infinity (and must do so).

The Big Bang does not, apparently, mathematically permit of a time older than 13.8 billion years. Magical eal time, of course, goes back to infinitely long ago. All can be resolved merely by accepting that ℜeal time elapsed at zero rate at the Big Bang and then gradually built up to the rate of elapse we are subject to now.

There are those (Stephen Hawking) who say that anything before the Big Bang is indeterminate and indeterminable because all the laws of physics, and even the conservation of matter, break down at a singularity. Therefore, Hawking claims, “time” starts with the Big Bang. He claims that whereas the Genesis Creation myth requires the external imposition of a God, the Big Bang theory is just an extrapolation backwards of the “dynamical laws that govern the universe” and is therefore “intrinsic to the universe, and is not imposed on it from outside”. Really? And pray by what Magic did the “dynamical laws of the Universe” come to exist or to apply? Hawking may be an atheist but he invokes Magic whenever he refers to the singularity of the Big Bang theory (even if he claims not to).

There are others (Alex Filippenko) who claim that quantum theory is the cause of the Big Bang and that the laws of physics are sufficient to bring about the singularity. But Filippenko is a little more honest than Hawking and admits that the “laws of physics” are in themselves Magical.

“The question, then, is, ‘Why are there laws of physics?'” he said. “And you could say, ‘Well, that required a divine creator, who created these laws of physics and the spark that led from the laws of physics to these universes, maybe more than one.'”

“The ‘divine spark’ was whatever produced the laws of physics,” Filippenko said. “And I don’t know what produced that divine spark. So let’s just leave it at the laws of physics.”

What we don’t know lies in the Space of Ignorance. One Magic (and there are surely as many Magics as humans have ignorances) is that which transcends perceived “time” and applies even across singularities such as the Big Bang. But this, let’s call it, “Creation Magic” – like all Magics – lies in the Space of Ignorance. And if some people wish to do so, they can give this Magic (which we are ignorant of)  the label of “God” or of “Nirvana”.


The fundamentals of physics are just magic

Dark energy and dark matter are just fudge factors for cosmic models that don’t work

Physics and cosmology are more magical than alchemy as dark energy goes phantom

Physics invokes magical “stealthy dark matter”

September 25, 2015

Physics is just a branch of the ultimate science – that of “Magic”. All the fundamental unknowns of physics are given special names (in lieu of explanation) and are assumed to have just those properties (often fantastical) which allow theoretical models of cosmology to maintain some credibility and come close to matching observations.

“Spacetime”, “gravitation”, “dark matter”, “dark energy” and even “phantom dark matter” can all just be termed “the mellifluous aether”, “magical attraction”, “magic matter”, “magic energy”, and “even more magic energy” without any loss of whatever rigour exists in Physics.

The methodology is quite simple.

First, invent a theory to explain what we don’t know. Then do some fancy maths to back up the theory. Whenever the theory fails, define a magic particle or event or property which brings credibility back to the theory. Spend vast amounts of money on Big Science experiments to find the magic particle or event or property. Find something other than the magic particle or property or event that was predicted. Claim that what was found was a special case of the magic “thing” that was predicted and due to some new magic particle or event or property. Demand more money to do more and bigger Big Science experiments. Magic demands more magic. And so an ad infinitum.

But magic demands more magic – deeper and more profound.

And so we have a new theory of stealthy dark matter to explain why it is undetectable.

Thomas Appelquist et al, Direct Detection of Stealth Dark Matter through Electromagnetic Polarizability. Physical Review Letters, 2015

Press Release: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have come up with a new theory that may identify why dark matter has evaded direct detection in Earth-based experiments.

A group of national particle physicists known as the Lattice Strong Dynamics Collaboration, led by a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team, has combined theoretical and computational physics techniques and used the Laboratory’s massively parallel 2-petaflop Vulcan supercomputer to devise a new model of dark matter. It identifies it as naturally “stealthy” ( like its namesake aircraft, difficult to detect) today, but would have been easy to see via interactions with ordinary matter in the extremely high-temperature plasma conditions that pervaded the early universe. ……. 

Dark matter makes up 83 percent of all matter in the universe and does not interact directly with electromagnetic or strong and weak nuclear forces. Light does not bounce off of it, and ordinary matter goes through it with only the feeblest of interactions. Essentially invisible, it has been termed dark matter, yet its interactions with gravity produce striking effects on the movement of galaxies and galactic clusters, leaving little doubt of its existence. …….. 

The key to stealth dark matter’s split personality is its compositeness and the miracle of confinement. Like quarks in a neutron, at high temperatures these electrically charged constituents interact with nearly everything. But at lower temperatures they bind together to form an electrically neutral composite particle. Unlike a neutron, which is bound by the ordinary strong interaction of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the stealthy neutron would have to be bound by a new and yet-unobserved strong interaction, a dark form of QCD. …..

But there is something more than a little circular in the argument that “its interactions with gravity produce striking effects on the movement of galaxies and galactic clusters, leaving little doubt of its existence”.

This is just magical mumbo jumbo. (Not that there is anything wrong with the magical incantations of physicists which are just as valid as any magical incantation by a shaman or a High Priest). Various universe evolution scenarios. A universe with too much density collapses in on itself, a critical density universe stays static, while a universe with not enough density keeps expanding at a steady (coasting) rate. However, today’s cosmology puts emphasis upon the cosmological constant, which gives an accelerating expansion. Does this mean that density is irrelevant? Credit: NASA.

The universe is accelerating instead of slowing down therefore “dark energy must exist”. Because objects moving very fast in some clusters of galaxies do not escape the clusters, it becomes necessary to invent magical “dark matter” exercising gravitational effects. The gravitation/speed anomaly is used to postulate that dark matter exists, but actually all it says is that gravitation theory alone is insufficient to explain the observations. We cannot detect dark matter so we generate theories for why it must be “phantom” or “stealthy” now. We infer it and its properties because the magic invoked to explain gravitation (relativity and spacetime) is not upto the task.

Note (diagram above) that all theories about the shape of the Universe have it surrounded by an infinite, unbounded, unknown, unknowable space of Deep, Dark Something. Let’s call it Magic.

Physics appears to come first in the hierarchy of Science. But Magic probably comes before Physics. Perhaps the most fundamental law of the Universe is actually the Conservation of Magic (and energy and mass and the curvature of spacetime are merely facets of Magic). Before the Big Bang there was first a critical accumulation of Magic which caused the Big Bang. And the quantity of magic gives the cosmological constant because of the Deep, Dark Magic underlying simple Magic …….

Physics/Magic posts:

  1.  The fundamentals of physics are just magic
  2. Magic is to physics as Heineken is to the human body
  3. Physics and cosmology are more magical than alchemy as dark energy goes phantom
  4. Gravitation could just as well be called “magical attraction”
  5. Dark energy and dark matter are just fudge factors for cosmic models that don’t work
  6. Physics came first and then came chemistry and later biology

Magic is to physics as Heineken is to the human body

September 10, 2015

Magic already fills all the spaces that physics cannot reach.

Take spacetime (you can just as well call it the mellifluous aether which carries gravitational waves from the sun to the distant reaches of the solar system where other beers cannot reach).

The stretched rubber-sheet analogy to explain spacetime and gravity is just that – an analogy. And not a very good one as xkcd has so well illustrated.

spacetime magic — by xkcd

“Spacetime” is a label for any mathematical model which combines space and time into a continuum. It is just a model. But why that model should apply is magic.

Spacetime is just an imagined structure of the universe and is imbued with mathematically-defined properties such that “spacetime is distorted by the mass of bodies which exist within it and these distortions, in turn, affect the motion of those masses”. A somewhat circular argument which does not explain the “why” or the “how” beyond “it must be so, because it is so”.

Spacetime does not explain the existence of gravity. It merely shifts the need for magic to explain magical attraction (labelled gravity) to another place where physics cannot reach. In a universe where motion is not independent of time, and where the very duration of time can vary as a consequence of motion, even the magnitude of the 3 physical dimensions become variables subject to the observer and his motion. Not to mention that mass can be energy and some of both can be dark. Neither mass nor energy nor momentum can any longer be conserved, because phantom dark energy can be called upon and injected into the equations whenever it is needed to explain the unexplainable. And to have a “phantom” class of undetectable, unobservable dark energy which is doubly undetectable, does seem to go over the top. Rather than just put dark energy and dark matter, and even phantom dark energy into the category of magic, intrepid physicists have invented new classes of  unknown, unobservable, undetectable, sub-atomic particles. Some have charm and some have spin. Some have properties which are as yet undefined but will be sufficient to the explanation required to be constructed. Why not just call them “magic particles”?

Physics no longer goes for the parsimonious explanation. Big Physics seems nowadays to be based on introducing complexities wherever possible rather than looking for the least complicated explanation which is sufficient to the explanation. For every ultimate, fundamental particle that is “found”, but found wanting, two further magic particles have to be invoked.

Of course, there is a Grand Unified Theory which explains electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions and naturally there is a Theory of Everything which even explains gravity. It is quite simple and sufficient to the purpose. It is called Magic and it occupies all the spaces that Physics cannot reach.

It is time for a Heineken. Now if I could only remember the right spell and the right incantation to go with it, ………


The fundamentals of physics are just magic

September 1, 2015

Physicists would like to think that they deal in reality and are cold, rational, objective observers of the physical universe we live in. But deep, deep down, they just rely on magic. The Universe is nothing but a place of pervasive magic. Gravity is just a magical attraction. Spacetime is just an attractiferous aether. Physicists are thus practitioners of magic and may even be able to use the forces of magic, but they have no inkling as to why the magical forces exist.


  1. “gravity” or “gravitation” by “magical attraction”
  2. “spacetime” by “the attractiferous aether”
  3. “electromagnetic” by “electromagical”
  4. the “strong force” by the “strong magic force”
  5. the “weak force” by the “weak magic force”

and the Wikipedia entry for Gravity then reads as follows:

Magical attraction is a natural phenomenon by which all things are brought towards one another – irrespective of size, i.e. stars, planets, galaxies and even light and sub-atomic particles. Magical attraction has an infinite range, and it cannot be absorbed, transformed, or shielded against. Magical attraction is responsible for the formation of structures within the universe (namely by creating spheres of hydrogen, igniting them with enough pressure to form stars and then grouping them together into galaxies), as without magical attraction, the universe would be composed only of equally spaced particles. On Earth, magical attraction is commonly recognized in the form of weight where physical objects are harder to pick-up and carry the ‘heavier’ they are.

Magical attraction is most accurately described by the general theory of relativity (proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915) which describes the force of magical attraction, not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of the attractiferous aether caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy; and resulting in time dilation, where time lapses more slowly under strong magical attraction. However, for most applications, magical attraction is well approximated by Newton’s law of Universal Magical Attraction, which postulates that magical attraction is a force where two bodies of mass are directly drawn to each other according to a mathematical relationship, where the attractive magical force is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. This is considered to occur over an infinite range, such that all bodies (with mass) in the universe are drawn to each other no matter how far they are apart.

Magical attraction is the weakest of the four fundamental magical interactions of nature. The force of magical attraction is approximately 10−38 times the strength of the strong magic force (i.e. gravity is 38 orders of magnitude weaker), 10−36 times the strength of the electromagical force, and 10−29 times the strength of the weak magic force. As a consequence, magical attraction has a negligible influence on the behavior of sub-atomic particles, and plays no role in determining the internal properties of everyday matter (but see quantum magical attraction). On the other hand, magical attraction is the dominant force at the macroscopic scale, that is the cause of the formation, shape, and trajectory (orbit) of astronomical bodies, including those of asteroids,comets, planets, stars, and galaxies. It is responsible for causing the Earth and the other planets to orbit the Sun; for causing the Moon to orbit the Earth; for the formation of tides; for natural convection, by which fluid flow occurs under the influence of a density gradient and magical attraction; for heating the interiors of forming stars and planets to very high temperatures; for solar system, galaxy, stellar formation and evolution; and for various other phenomena observed on Earth and throughout the universe.

In pursuit of a theory of everything magical, the merging of general relativity and quantum mechanics (or quantum field theory) into a more general theory of quantum magical attraction has become an area of research.

Of course it is still not clear if magic is a continuous thing or composed of discrete magical quanta. One theory has it that all things are connected by invisible, undetectable magical strings and it is the elastic nature of these strings which gives rise to the forces of magical attraction.

The reality is that the Universe came into being by magic and the fundamental forces which have governed, and still govern, are all magical. If there ever was a Big Bang it was a magical event. And every sunrise and sunset which occurs is just due to the magical forces of attraction which apply. We live in a world of magic. Magic is normal.

The four fundamental forces of magic

March 4, 2015

From XKCD.

For all we know of why they exist, we might just as well name the four fundamental forces of nature as Magic Forces I, II, III and IV.


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