Intrinsic and Extrinsic Measurements

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Measurements

“EXTRINSECA est, quae mensurat aliquid extra se . . . INTRINSECA mensura est illa . . .” John of St. Thomas (1589-1644)
EXTRINSIC is what measures something outside itself . . . INTRINSIC measurement is itself.

This issue may be at the heart of why science cannot answer some simple, foundational questions.

Extrinsic Measurements
Extrinsic measurements change in different environments. For example, three tomatoes that weigh one pound on Earth will weigh 0.07 pounds on Pluto. On a neutron star they would weigh 14,000,000,000,000 pounds. Extrinsic volume measurements have the same problem as weight. One liter of water at room temperature when heated to steam would occupy about 1700 liters (at 1 atmosphere of pressure). In outer space with almost no pressure, it would expand immensely more. Extrinsic measurements are inconsistent in different environments. Extrinsic measurements are very useful in a uniform environment. However, they should never be used across environments where gravity, temperature, pressure, or other conditions change.

Intrinsic Measurements
Intrinsic measurements are consistent in all environments. Three tomatoes on Earth are still three tomatoes on Pluto or a neutron star (although they would be very squashed). Intrinsic measurements count the pieces. Science uses the intrinsic measurements of mass or moles to measure matter. These are counts (estimated counts) of the number of fundamental particles. Intrinsic measurements never change in different environments.

Meters, Miles, Light Years, Parsecs, etc. Are Extrinsic Measurements
This is the problem. All measurements of space are extrinsic. We know that extrinsic measurements of matter are inconsistent in different environments, but we assume that extrinsic measurements of space are consistent in all environments. Extrinsic measurements of space would only be consistent in different environments if space was absolutely uniform. Is space uniform?

Gravity Warps Space
Science has discovered that gravity warps space. Thus, space near a black hole is immensely more warped than space that is ten light years from the nearest star. What does it mean to warp space? How does gravity change the properties of space? There is only one property that we know space has. Space is a volume. If gravity warps space, perhaps it changes its volume.

Is Space a Substance or Concept?
This question has been debated for millennia. If space is just a concept, then there are no pieces of space to count for an intrinsic measurement. However, if space is a substance consisting of small pieces, then there is a consistent, intrinsic measurement of space. If space is a substance, then using extrinsic measurements of space has likely led to numerous wrong conclusions. Is space a substance? There is strong evidence it is.

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These pages will be expanded considerably in the coming months. These pages are in development. February 2014

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