Friday, March 8, 2013

Common Criticisms Part 8

A direct link to the above video can be found at This is a discussion of ten proposed reasons for why critics of Imagining the Tenth Dimension are saying people shouldn't watch my videos. See part 1 here. See part 2 here. See part 3 here. See part 4 here. See part 5 here. See part 6 here. See part 7 here.

Reason #8: These ten dimensions have nothing to do with the ten dimensions of string theory.
Really? Certainly I've said from the outset "this is not the explanation for string theory" but that doesn't mean there aren't lots of interesting connections. If my visualization gives you a way to hold important scientific ideas in your mind, in what way is it correct to say that it's all "wrong"? It's a visualization, and that's the point of any visualization: to help you remember something complex by using a simplified image.
String theory's goal is to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. String theory does that in 9 spatial dimensions plus something we call "time", which is not a spatial dimension; while M-Theory achieves the same goal using ten spatial dimensions plus time. By the time we get to this tenth dimension, we're not thinking of it in isolation: we're still also trying to think of the way that it includes all ten dimensions within a logical structure that enfolds the other concepts that relate to these theories.
So what else are we trying to include as we visualize these ten dimensions? If string theory's goal is to include quantum mechanics, then it makes sense to include Hugh Everett III's Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. This means that critics who say the branching timelines representing the different possible outcomes for our unique universe shouldn't be included in my visualization because they're not part of string theory's ten spatial dimensions are wrong. Likewise, if string theory predicts that there are a great many "other" universes that are created from constants that are different from the universe we find ourselves to be in, we need to have visualized that landscape of other completely separate universes by the time we've imagined these ten dimensions.
Finally as I've often mentioned, the logic I use in my visualization is closely related to what's known as the point-line-plane postulate, which is the accepted methodology for imagining any number of spatial dimensions. This can also easily be tied to something called the "garden hose analogy" which you might hear some theoretical physicists use as they try to help people visualize extra dimensions (i.e., "hose as straight line can represent dimension 'x', so ant walking on its inside walls moves through dimension 'x + 1', and fly flitting around inside hose moves through dimension 'x + 2'). So for those who say there's no point in me trying to help people picture these ten spatial (or space-like) dimensions that string theory says our reality is derived from, because that's not something the human mind is capable of grasping, I have to say this: this large idea is like any other. Take it one step at a time, building one idea upon another and you too can have some inkling of this most amazing concept: the "ultimate ensemble" from which our universe (or any other) is derived.

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