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Spherical Cow Universe

Spherical Cow Universe

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Published by Zeynel1
What is the order of simplification of the universe? Physicists simply the universe but they don't tell us how much?
What is the order of simplification of the universe? Physicists simply the universe but they don't tell us how much?

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Published by: Zeynel1 on Oct 22, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Is the universe a spherical cow?
October 21, 2008 byzeynel|Edit  When a givenphysicistsays, “let’s assume a spherical cow. . .” can we quantify how much simplification she is making?Because I want to measure the order of simplification of the universe. When physicists assume anFRW universe how much simplification are they making? Unless this simplification is quantified we musttake physicists’ opinion that their model is an acceptable simplification of the system they are studying.But in physics if it is not quantified it is opinion. You can’t quantify opinion so opinion has no place inphysics.If physicists cannot quantify their simplifications then they are not in the business of science but in thebusiness of playing in the academic physics sandbox. When Wittenwritesa paper about gravity in AdS3toy models, what is the order of simplification of his toy model? Is he proposing a spherical cow AdS3or is he proposing a spherical point AdS3? It may be both, Witten doesn’t say. Thus, it appears that inacademic physics there is no way to tell the simplification threshold of a given theory beyond which thesimplification ceases to be a functional of the simplified. In practical applications engineers use order of 
 
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 Spherical cow universeexplains all the known dark stuff and makes predictions:three more dark thingsawaiting discovery.
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Page 1 of 5Is the universe a spherical cow? « Science10/22/2008http://science1.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/is-the-universe-a-spherical-cow/ 
 
magnitude approximation and that’s invaluable but in theoretical physics where engineering is elasticand plastic and semantic how do we know how much of a simplification a toy model is?Is physicists’ universe a spherical cow simplification or is it, say, a spherical cow with legssimplification? Or is it a tail waving kind of simplification?Can we even know the order of simplification of the universe?I distinguish between cosmos and universe. I define cosmos as a spherical cow. Cosmos is concedingthat we don’t have the tools to investigate the whole system as an entity so we reduce the system to alevel of complexity that we can model as an entity with our present tools of modelling. Therefore, bydefinition cosmos is never the totality. Cosmos is not a functional of totality.In the case of the cow we are the outside observers of the cow so we may be able to come up with aquantity of simplification. But in the case of the universe we are not outside observers so we cannotknow how much we’ve simplified the universe with a particular model. That’s why a cosmos is never arepresentative part of totality. This is a science versus mythology choice. Scientific rationalism either iscrossed and cosmology becomes mythmaking or we accept that we don’t know the totality and weremain boring scientists and the media fails to show any interest in our work.Physicists always choose to give the media what it wants and fail to quantify the degree of simplificationin their theories. I think for physics to be a precise science each theory must be stated with itssimplification error. Not with its philosophical rating stamped with physicists’ authority. After allmeasurement without error is meaningless in physics. Similarly, a theory stated without itssimplification error is meaningless. Simplification error is the measurement error for theories.A most general way to classify a physics model or a theory may be rating its strength as second nature,third nature, fourth nature, nth nature, regarding how well it models first nature, in analogy to SecondLife and order of approximation used by engineers and physicists as in zeroth order approximation, firstorder approximation, and so on.What is the order of string theory? Infinith nature? Or is it 10 to the 250th nature?The order of simplification is better than the current criterion physicists use to evaluate string theory,namely, falsifiability. Since when physics deals with non-quantifiable philosophical notions invented byphilosophers called falsifiability? Physics deals with quantities. Physical theories must be judged byphysical quantities not by philosophical polemics. This is why any discussion of string theory quicklysnowballs into a philosophical polemics on the meaning of falsifiability and ends up by physicistscalling each other crackpots. If we know the nth nature of string theory then we know what kind of theory it is.Any theory with an nth nature number is a scientific theory. Any theory that cannot calculate its nthnature is not a theory at all, it is somebody’s opinion. It makes no different if that somebody has a PhDin physics.The criterion of falsifiability must be eliminated from physics. Falsifiability is a philosophical conceptand makes physics subservient to philosophical polemics. It must be established that the only scientificcriterion to rate a theory can only be a number. This number is the nth nature. A scientific theory cannotbe rated with a non-quantitative philosophical notion called falsifiability which depends only on thePage 2 of 5Is the universe a spherical cow? « Science10/22/2008http://science1.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/is-the-universe-a-spherical-cow/ 
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