LATEST UPDATE (JAN. 24) - Lubos is no longer indecisive and attacks Verlinde with a vengeance, here:
The Reference Frame: Why gravity can't be entropic
"Historically, the greatest difficulty in scientific revolutions is usually not the missing piece but the extraneous one - the assumption that we've all taken for granted but is actually unnecessary. Philosophers are trained to smoke out these mental interlopers. Many of the problems that scientists now face are simply the latest guise of deep questions that have troubled thinkers for thousands of years. Philosophers bring this depth of experience with them. Many have backgrounds in physics as well."
.....George Musser, Scientific American Senior Editor
III. In Conclusion
Time. It's a Dimension. It's the 4th of the 4 dimensions we know of. It's also the strangest of them all, due to its apparent uni-directionality. Entropy and The Second Law of Thermodynamics seem to be involved.
First up, Richard Feynman's lecture at Cornell:
And then there's this, by Science Comedian Brian Malow :
"If we are considering the fundamental level of reality, and asking the most fundamental questions about dynamics, we come up against the question “What decides how things change?” At this fundamental level, the physical laws can seem somewhat arbitrary (for example, the amount of charge on an electron). In fact, at this most fundamental level, the only principle which seems likely to describe dynamics seems to come from mathematics not physics: a system will have many more possible disordered states than ordered states, so a system which changes state randomly will most likely move to a more disordered state.
"While the second “law” of thermodynamics is “just” a statistical principle, it is a mightily powerful statistical principle! This is because the basis of the second law – that “disorder will increase” – seems so obvious, and seems to appeal to a fundamental, platonic principle of mathematics. For this reason, the second law manages to appear even more fundamental and unbreakable than the other physical laws, which seem rather arbitrary in comparison. Hence Arthur Eddington’s famous quote: “If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can offer you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”
"At the most fundamental level, I would just imagine physical dynamics are described by change of entropy – I can’t imagine any more fundamental principle which could possibly describe change."
..... Andrew Thomas of "What is Reality?" fame, on "The Arrow of Time"
Gravity. It's a Force. It's the force we've known about the longest, yet, the one we seem to know the least about. It's the strangest of them all due to its weakness, and its range.
Interestingly, Lubos Motl has a blarticle up about Gravity. It's interesting to me because for the first time in a long time, Lubos is actually UNdecided about something ... for a change. The title of the blarticle is "Gravity as a Holographic Entropic Force", and the replies are no less important than Lubos' excellent blarticle. Click here and read it. It won't be "time" wasted, heh.
It refers to U. Amsterdam's Erik Verlinde's January 6, 2010 paper, here, titled On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton.
UPDATE (Jan.11): Peter Woit notes Verlinde's paper along with Sean Carroll's new book and something called "The Entropic Landscape" at "Not Even Wrong" in the blarticle "The Entropy Decade", here.
UPDATE (Jan. 12): Erik Verlinde has received criticism, and defends himself today: here.
UPDATE ( Jan. 14): Verlinde defends himself at Lubos Motl's The Reference Frame: here. It's worth reading the comments section as Lubos finds this new way of looking at things both interesting and vexing.
UPDATE (Jan. 17) - "The Hammock Physicist's" Johannes Koelman's Blog has a very nice History of Verlinde's work spread over 3 articles in Dec. '09 and Jan. '10, which should be read in the following order, including the replies. They are:
1) Dec. 14 - "Holographic Hot Horizons" - Click here.
2) Dec. 17 - "Holographic Horizons Get Hotter" - Click here.
3) Jan. 7 - "It From Bit: The Case of Gravity" - Click here.
They should be read in order, but the replies to 2) above are very interesting, in which Sunu Engineer (not verified) claims Verlinde's work has already been done by another Scientist named Thanu Panmanabhan. It's a bit messy, but their two approaches are different. I don't get into political sparring among scientists. The gossips love it but I find it messy and embarrassing.
UPDATE (JAN. 24) - Lubos is no longer indecisive and attacks Verlinde with a vengeance, here:
The Reference Frame: Why gravity can't be entropic
III. IN CONCLUSION:
Speculative Physicists are falling all over themselves in trying to describe "Time" and "Gravity", sometimes together, but eventually they fall back into Philosophy in trying to defend (cough) excuse me, I meant describe their own individual takes on this stuff.
So my question is, are there any TRUE Philosophers out there who care to weigh in?
Remember, the purpose of Philosophy is to challenge not the math so much, but the ASSUMPTIONS. George Musser taught me that.
So, Philosophers, I ask you ...
Is Time REALLY a Dimension? Or is it something else? A partial Dimension? An illusion? An absolute value or an ever changing thing?
Is Gravity REALLY a Force? Or is it something else? Simple geometry? An illusion, being the reflection of a true force on a supra-dimensional plane? Since it seems to be tied to mass, what is mass, exactly?
I understand all sorts of mathematics work out splendidly when Time is treated as a Dimension and Gravity as a Force, and it is not my intention to get into semantic arguments. I'm just asking.
IV. MUSIC (Ice for the overheated brain)
Music to contemplate by (from "The Continuing Adventures of Paul on the Floor" by Johnny and the Moondogs, at the first ever outdoor stadium concert way back in 1965):
Finally, Ringo requests more Feynman. Here you go, Ringo:
Finally, in my Philosopher buddy Phil Warnell's (see relies below) honor, here is one of the most haunting songs of the 1960's, from a singing duo that rivaled The Beatles in their day. The music is beautiful, it's the lyrics that haunt. They remind me of Paul Dirac, and David Deustch, and ... me. In my (early) teenage years, anyway.
Art Garfunkel (the guy on the right) got his Masters Degree in Mathematics. He was set to go for his PhD., when destiny (Stardom) called.
Finally, and in great honor to my dear friend Andrew Thomas of Swansea, Wales, UK, who saved me from ditching Mathematical Physics entirely, and at the very last moment before I would have done so, thanks to his GREAT Indroduction to Quantum Mechnics website "What is Reality?", and who furthermore doesn't appreciate The Beatles as much as he should, yet DOES appreciate that great "unifier" of Elvis, Beatles and Motown that is Michael Jackson ... I give my personally favorite video of MJ's, the wonderful "Black or White",