20191113

Quantum weirdness could allow a person-sized wormhole to last forever?


PSI Blog 20191113 Quantum weirdness could allow a person-sized wormhole to last forever?



Wormholes have been a staple of science fiction for decades
L. CALCADA / EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Egads! New Scientist continues to be a treasure trove of regressive nonsense:


Note: No real scientist would believe such outlandish stuff no matter what his math said. Hint: Go back and check your original assumptions!

20191106

Why does the universe exist?


PSI Blog 20191106 Why does the universe exist?

The answers to this age-old question are reviewed in this 17-minute TED talk by Jim Holt:


Of course, the correct answer is that it is impossible for the Infinite Universe not to exist. As an idealist, Jim does a fair job on the subject within the limitations of that indeterministic philosophical position. But once people get off their idealistic high horses, the answer becomes obvious.

Nothingness and perfectly empty space are equivalent. They are the same idealization. All things in the universe exist on the continuum between perfectly empty space and perfectly solid matter. The empty space and solid matter endmembers do not and cannot exist—they are idealizations. All real things have properties akin to each of those ideals. The doorway does not have to be perfectly empty for us to leave the room while not crashing into the not perfectly solid wall.

Like all the other “Big Questions” religious folks denigrate science for its inability to give answers that might satisfy their quest for idealistic eternal life. Sorry, the Infinite Universe can produce an infinite number of things, but perfectly empty space and eternal life are not among them.

20191030

Reality an illusion?


PSI Blog 20191030 Reality an illusion?




Among the stupidest ideas in regressive physics is the claim of UC Irvine prof Donald Hoffman that was highlighted by New Scientist recently:   https://go.glennborchardt.com/Reality

Of course, this is nothing new, just plain old immaterialism—the blurb by Chopra is the kiss of death.

If you wish to read the book this came from, here it is: Hoffman, Donald D., 2019, The case against reality: Why evolution hid the truth from our eyes: New York, Norton, 272 p.

Apparently, the well-worn central thesis of this mess is that perception is never perfect, and therefore we can not trust it completely. Well, that is how the Infinite Universe is. The materialist view is that reality is quite simple. Our perception is usually good enough to tell the difference between a wall and a doorway. Neither is an “illusion.” It they were, we would have been dead long ago. Granted, there are an infinite number of complications both to the wall and the doorway. Univironmental Determinism (e.g., evolution) has taught us to focus only on the important features of our world. That does not make either the important or the unimportant characteristics any less “material.” Shame on New Scientist for publishing such claptrap.


20191023

The nonexistence of quarks


PSI Blog 20191023 The nonexistence of quarks




By adhering to quantum mechanics, regressive physicists have a tendency to be hoisted on their own petards. Now comes a new theory that quarks do not exist. They were supposed to be the building blocks of all reality—the finite particle all idealists dream of. But this was a “reality” not too believable, what with their necessity to have partial “spin” and “color” that is not color.

Whether you are into Finite Particle Theory or not, you may find this recent article in New Scientist to be of interest:

What the quark?! Why matter's most basic building blocks may not exist

Quarks are the subatomic particles thought to make up nearly everything we can see. Now it turns out they could be an illusion created by quantum trickery

PHYSICS 2 October 2019


The article is well written and a fairly understandable review of the subject even though the whole quark phantasmagoria is not. It is behind a paywall, but here are a few salient quotes:

“The hunt for matter’s most basic constituents is millennia old. The Greek philosopher Democritus coined a new word to describe fundamental units of matter: atomos meaning indivisible. While physicists today would agree with Democritus in principle, history has played a nasty joke on his terminology. Our modern understanding of atoms suggests that they are composed of particles called electrons that orbit a nucleus made of protons and neutrons. And those latter two are actually made of quarks (see “Nature’s Lego bricks”).”

“The practical applications are only part of the story. Komargodski’s work also raises profound questions about the nature of quarks. If there are circumstances under which quarks seem to be emergent rather than fundamental, does that mean that all quarks are little more than abstractions? If so, what is reality really made of?”

And finally:

“Rho sees it differently. “The fundamental nature of the quark essentially loses its meaning in a highly correlated system like dense matter,” he says. “Quarks are not fundamental any more, I think.” Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most physicists think that the standard model of particle physics doesn’t capture the full truth about reality, not least because we don’t know why it is like it is. Quarks may represent another rung on the ladder of reality, but we haven’t reached the bottom yet. We may be right back at the beginning.”

Of course, readers know that Infinite Universe Theory implies there can be no finite particles, as we made clear in one of our previous books.[1]





[1] Puetz, Stephen J., and Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Universal cycle theory: Neomechanics of the hierarchically infinite universe: Denver, Outskirts Press, 626 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].

20191016

Many-worlds nonsense of Quantum Mechanics


PSI Blog 20191016 Many-worlds nonsense of Quantum Mechanics

Regressive physicists and cosmogonists are slowly coming to their senses (or not). This just in from Nature: a skeptical review by Robert P. Crease of the latest apologetics for QM (Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime) by Sean Carroll:



This quote from the article sums it up:

Six decades on, the theory is one of the most bizarre yet fully logical ideas in human history, growing directly out of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics without introducing extraneous elements.

In other words, GIGO (garbage-in-garbage-out).

“Nevertheless, non-scientists might have lingering problems with Carroll’s breezy, largely unexamined ideas about “reality”. Like many physicists, he assumes that reality is whatever a scientific theory says it is. But what gives physicists a lock on this concept, and the right to say that the rest of us (not to mention, say, those in extreme situations such as refugees, soldiers and people who are terminally ill) are living through a less fundamental reality?”

I like the reviewer’s last sentence: “What a wacky idea.

20191009

Review of Hassani’s “Massless is Not Nonmaterial”


PSI Blog 20191009 Review of Hassani’s Massless is Not Nonmaterial


Among the quandaries faced by regressive physics is Einstein’s ad hoc involving his claim that light particles were massless. Now, light is motion—a wave in the aether. Motion, like time itself, is not material—it is what matter does. Matter exists; motion occurs. Motion does not have mass; only the things in motion have mass. Einstein’s youthful denial of aether required his adoption of the particle theory of light. This objectification of motion was his greatest error.[1] That is where all the paradoxes and contradictions of relativity come from. Today, as always, the theoretical choice is clear: photons or aether.

Of course, to be accepted as a respectable mainstream physicist, one must believe in photons and deny aether. The aether hill constructed by the Einstein propaganda is just too difficult to climb. Even especially materialistic physicists such as professor Sadri Hassani have difficulty reaching the top of that massless mountain. Dr. Hassani’s website, https://skepticaleducator.org/, is one of the best at combating misbegotten attempts to use science in support of religious dogma. He is an expert on the immaterialistic woo common to what he calls “Post-Materialist” science.[2] That is why I was shocked to see his overtly strange title starkly indicating what Einstein had done to physics. If any mainstream physicist could straighten that out, it would be Hassani. Unfortunately, as his title suggested, I was to be deeply disappointed.

Why Massless Particles Cannot Exist


We first need to get a few definitions straight. Be mindful that Hassani and other professional physicists subconsciously use definitions more in line with traditional indeterminism and immaterialism. In particular, you will notice their professionally obligatory assumption of finity is at the heart of their confusion.

Mass: The resistance to acceleration. We measure mass by trying to accelerate an object. You can do this yourself by trying to push a small car or a large truck. Both have stuff inside them that makes it difficult, but sometimes not impossible to accelerate them. And that is the key: mass requires an object to have stuff inside it.

Matter: An abstraction for all things, which are xyz portions of the universe containing other things and being surrounded by other things. Readers familiar with neomechanics will recognize these portions as “microcosms,” with their insides consisting of “submicrocosms” and their outsides consisting of “supermicrocosms.”[3]

Obviously, a microcosm with nothing inside it could not have mass. If we accept the above definitions, we would not accept the idea that anything could be “massless.”

According to Special Relativity Theory, if you accelerate a particle with rest mass, mo to a velocity, v, then the moving mass is supposed to be equal to:


                                             quora.com
  
The mass approaches infinity as the velocity of the particle approaches c. Einstein realized this would never do, so the rest mass of his imagined light particle had to be zero. In other words, the photon had to be perfectly empty, just like the space that surrounded it. This is the point in the history of science where the idealism of mathematics replaced the realism of physics.

Now, on to some of the “logic” Hassani tries to use in support of the claim made in his contentious title. Right away he states: “the myth of nonmateriality of massless particles is just that—a myth.” He then mentions some things that actually are nonmaterial: ghosts, gods, spirit, energy, field, etc. Eschewing a proper Basic Science meter,[4] Hassani uses three simple criteria he thinks will do the job:

The sensuous test:

Putting on his empiricist/positivist hat he writes: “what is common among them is that they cannot be seen, heard, touched, or subjected to any quantitative measurement.” In other words, he assumes infinite subdividability is impossible. For if that were true instead, there would come a time when his empirical criteria would fail. There would always be a particle smaller than what could be detected. He relies on the by-no-means certain criterium “that nonmaterial objects are not detectible.” He then expands on detectability as measured by our senses, with one notable mistake in which he writes: “sound…is material because it is transmitted to our ears through material air.” This, of course, is false. Sound is wave motion in a medium filled with matter. Above all, it is motion, not matter.

The interactive test:

Here he mentions the causes for events, the interactions between things. This is good because it is an amplification of Newton’s Second Law of Motion (F=ma). In other words, a “cause” is defined as the effect one thing has on another. If there is no acceleration or deceleration, the hypothesized thing does not exist. In other words, this interactive test detects the collisions of material things with other material things. Thus, wave motion in the aether produces collisions with your eye, proving aether’s materiality in the same way nitrogen in the air produces collisions with your ear drum, proving the materiality of nitrogen. Light is the motion of aether particles in the same way sound is the motion of nitrogen particles. In other words, both light and sound are motion. They do not exist; they occur. Unfortunately, Hassani’s imagined massless photons do not pass the interactive test. If the mass of a photon was zero, then F=ma also would equal zero. A massless particle cannot accelerate anything.

Microscopic:

This is where Hassani gets off the deep end reiterating: “Light consists of photons, which are massless particles. And the supposed matter-antimatter annihilation (or the decay of certain elementary particles) into photons, falsely identified as “pure energy,” [that] gives mystics and pseudoscientists of all denominations the opportunity to exploit E=mc2 and claim” support of the immaterial soul crucial to most religious thought. Of course, there is no evidence that either “antimatter” or photons or souls actually exist. As readers know, the physical meaning of E=mc2 requires the existence of aether. It simply involves the transmission of internal motion to the environment.[5] Ironically, the hypothesized photon would not be subject to that famous equation.

We wish Dr. Hassani well in continuing to slay those religious dragons as they continue to attack the ship of science. Maybe he will devise a better BS meter to do the same for physics, but don’t hold your breath.




[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Einstein's most important philosophical error, in Volk, Greg, Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 18th Conference of the NPA, 6-9 July, 2011: College Park, MD, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, v. 8, p. 64-68 [10.13140/RG.2.1.3436.0407].
[2] Hassani, Sadri, 2015, ‘Post-Materialist’ Science? A Smokescreen for Woo: Skeptical Inquirer, v. 39, no. 5, p. 38-41. [https://skepticalinquirer.org/2015/09/post-materialist_science_a_smokescreen_for_woo/].
[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The Scientific Worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/]; Borchardt, Glenn, 2017, Infinite Universe Theory: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 343 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/IUTebook].
[4] Borchardt, 2017, ibid, Ch. 13.4.  
[5] Borchardt, Glenn, 2009, The physical meaning of E=mc2, Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance: Storrs, CN, v. 6, no. 1, p. 27-31 [10.13140/RG.2.1.2387.4643].








20191002

The universe just got 2.4 billion years younger according to Big Bang cosmogonists


PSI Blog 20191002 The universe just got 2.4 billion years younger according to Big Bang cosmogonists

From George Coyne:

“Glenn,

Until September 2019, orthodox astronomers who believe in the absurd Big Bang theory assured everyone that they were certain that the   Big Bang took place 13.799 billion years. Ago. with a lowest possible age of the Universe as 13.7969 billion years and the upper limit being 13.801 billion years.

Then in September 2019 this all changed with Big Banger astronomers now assuring us that the Universe is only 11. 4 billion years old:


This makes the “Methuselah star”, (scientifically called HD 140283) with a known age of 14.5 billion years even more difficult to account for by Big Bang theorists.

My question to you, which completely mystifies me, is " Why does anyone in the general public give any credence to the Big Bang theory in light of the incontrovertible facts?"”

 [GB: Thanks George for the heads up. Your skepticism is right on. But it seems most folks don’t care one way or the other. I bet they think astrophysics is too difficult to understand (because it is mostly nonsense) and better left to the “experts.” Then too, most are religious and quite accustomed to paradoxes and contradictions. The propaganda glorifying Einstein continues unabated despite his recantation of relativity and the aether denial that plagued his youth. Here is the latest, called “Chasing Einstein.” The audience gave it an 89% rating. Don’t get too discouraged. The more irrational this stuff gets, the more desperate these so-called “scientists” appear to be.]


20190925

Big Bang regressives and reformists compete for cosmogonical superiority in Nature and New Scientist


PSI Blog 20190925 Big Bang regressives and reformists compete for cosmogonical superiority in Nature and New Scientist



I guess “Nature” was trying to outdo “New Scientist” in pandering to the latest cosmological nonsense on August 14.

Here is the latest regression from Nature:

Radioastronomers look to hydrogen for insights into the Universe’s first billion years."

Here is the latest reform attempt from New Scientist:

There is no good evidence that our universe even had a beginning, a startling proposition that means the cosmos could collapse in about 100 billion years"

You can read these or not, depending on how confused you wish to be. They are instructive as comparisons of the regressive approach and the reformist approach.

We define regressives as those who have fallen for relativity and the Big Bang Theory hook, line, and sinker. The Nature article does that by pursuing Kuhn’s “ordinary science” as if the regressive paradigm had no flaws whatsoever. And who knows? They might find something useful, just like the Microwave Background and dark matter that must be taken into account in Infinite Universe Theory as well. It makes sense to start with hydrogen, which is small enough and ubiquitous enough. Maybe they will even survive the shock of their eventual discovery that hydrogen is being produced as this is written.

We define reformists as critical thinkers who accept part of the mainstream paradigm but not other parts. The New Scientist article rejects the assumption that the universe had an origin. Strictly speaking then, the proposal brought forth is not a cosmogony. But like the mainstream regressives and the Steady State Theorists, it accepts the universal expansion hypothesis. The author obviously has no qualms about Einstein’s eight ad hocs that kept the particle theory of light and the expansion ideas from their deserved demise. Of course, the cycling idea, like the oxymoronic multiverse ideas both depend on magical causation just like the Big Bang Theory itself.

20190918

Dark Matter older than the universe?


PSI Blog 20190918 Dark Matter older than the universe?
 

Big Bang illustration (stock image).
Credit: © Andrea Danti / Adobe Stock


PSI Blog 20190918 Dark Matter older than the universe?


Thanks to Luis for this heads up:

Here is the latest Big Bang Theory contradiction:

“Dark matter, which researchers believe make up about 80% of the universe's mass, is one of the most elusive mysteries in modern physics. What exactly it is and how it came to be is a mystery, but a new study now suggests that dark matter may have existed before the Big Bang.”

Note that Dark Matter is a mystery only to cosmogonists and other aether deniers. According to Aether Deceleration Theory, it is simply decelerated aether that surrounds all baryonic matter after it produces the acceleration called gravitation.[1] The “discovery” (actually only a calculation) is no contradiction for Infinite Universe Theory. 





[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2018, The Physical Cause of Gravitation: viXra:1806.0165.


20190911

Big Bang Theory wastes tax dollars on the search for nonexistent “Dark Energy”


PSI Blog 20190911 Big Bang Theory wastes tax dollars on the search for nonexistent “Dark Energy”



The atom interferometer. Credit: Imperial College London

“Dark Energy” supposedly drives the universal expansion assumed in the Big Bang Theory. Only one problem for researchers looking for this particular Big Bang ghost: “energy” does not exist. Energy is a calculation; energy neither exists nor occurs. Energy is a matter-motion term we use to describe matter and motion. The E=mc2 calculation requires a material carrier for it to be valid. If m=0, then E=0. That is why matterless motion is impossible and energy cannot exist. What does exist is the material carrier and what does occur is its motion. But there is no material carrier for Dark Energy. It is not the well-established “Dark Matter,” which is the decelerated aether that surrounds all baryonic matter as a result of gravitation.[1]

Failing to find a particle for their phony Dark Energy, regressives now hypothesize an equally mysterious “Fifth Force.” This they mistreat in the same way as “energy.” Force gets to be some magical matterless ghost pushing things around. Those pushes require a material pusher. They will never find that either because the universe is not expanding (unless you believed in Einstein’s matterless particles with perpetual motion).

Despite all the public money wasted on the search for nonexistent Dark Energy, the whole brouhaha serves as a great example of the importance of proper theory. It is only the tip of the monetary iceberg engendered by the ridiculous Big Bang Theory and its genuflecting to the religious idea the universe had a beginning. It is time we put a stop to it.




[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2018, The Physical Cause of Gravitation: viXra:1806.0165.

20190904

Pierre Berrigan’s French translation of Infinite Universe Theory (Théorie de l'univers infini) now available


PSI Blog 20190904 Pierre Berrigan’s French translation of Infinite Universe Theory (Théorie de l'univers infini) now available




Many, many, many, thanks to Pierre Berrigan for translating IUT into French. As far as I can tell, he did a wonderful job. I met Pierre through a response he gave on Quora. It turns out that physicist Paul Marmet was his uncle. Professor Marmet was one of the early dissidents, having written 30 papers and books refuting the Big Bang Theory and the solipsism of quantum mechanics. One of my favorites is:

Marmet, Paul, 1990, Big Bang Cosmology Meets an Astronomical Death: 21st Century, Science and Technology (P.O. Box, 17285, Washington, D.C. 20041), v. 3, no. 2, p. 52-59. [https://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/bigbang/index.html].

Another is his self-published book:

Marmet, Paul, 1993, Absurdities in Modern Physics: a Solution, or, A Rational Interpretation of Modern Physics, Éditions du Nordir; 1st edition (January 1, 1993), 144 p. [https://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/heisenberg/index.html]. [This is a collector’s item, with hard copies selling for up to $900. Lucky you. Most chapters are available for download at the above link. An excellent 5-star review is on the Amazon sale page.]

Pierre apparently caught the bug from Paul in that he also has been critical of the Big Bang Theory for a long time. Pierre recently retired as an IT consultant and has answered over 160 questions on Quora. If you have any French-speaking friends, “Théorie de l'univers infini” might be the perfect holiday gift.

20190828

A star older than the Big Bang universe


PSI Blog 20190828 A star older than the Big Bang universe


“Methuselah star”, or scientifically called HD 140283 (Image: NASA)

Thanks to James Nelson for this heads up:

Among the many contradictions encountered by the Big Bang Theory is Methuselah, a star older than the supposed age of the universe.


The title of this report is: 

"Have we been wrong about the age of our universe all along? Astronomers are trying to understand why the universe appears to contain stars older than itself."


And from Fred Frees:


Big Bang theory wrong? Star older than Universe discovered - threat of ‘scientific crisis’


https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1162808/big-bang-theory-how-old-is-universe-physics-news-astronomy-space-2019


Right. Good luck with that and what we predict will be even older galaxies and stars when the Webb telescope supersedes the Hubble after 20210301. This “star older than the universe” conundrum has occurred before, and like the “inflationary” universe has been cured with some special “Dark Energy” ad hoc to make it go away. Remember that the inflationary idea had to be brought up when cosmological redshifts indicated galactic recessions hugely greater than the speed of light.                                                                                                                                       





20190821

General Relativity Theory “confirmed” by cosmogonists once again

PSI Blog 20190821 General Relativity Theory “confirmed” by cosmogonists once again




An artist's rendering of a supermassive black hole. NASA-JPL-Caltech

From George Coyne, Vancouver PSI Director:

“Glenn, 

Astronomers claim General Relativity Theory (GRT) is confirmed from monitoring the star S0-2 orbiting the super massive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.  They base their conclusion on GRT's prediction of gravitational redshift, which proposes that light is distorted by gravity. 

You have written on how redshift is misinterpreted. You may wish to respond in a blog on the flaws in this study's conclusion that this proves Einstein's GRT is correct.


Here is another NBC news article on the same study.



An Einstein glorification video on the same topic (this one from National Geographic):


 [GB: Thanks so much George. As you know, unlike other theories well-accepted by the mainstream (e.g., heliocentricity, evolution, and plate tectonics), there have been doubts about relativity for over a century. So-called “confirmations” are brought forth habitually to give it credence it does not deserve.  This black hole misinterpretation is one of the major Einsteinisms used to “prove” “Einstein is always right.” It is spread all over the news almost every time light from a massive cosmic source is found to have experienced “gravitational redshift.” In GRT (General Relativity Theory) Einstein predicted that, in struggling against the force of gravity, light particles would lose energy whenever they left a massive light source. The phenomenon was proven experimentally by Pound and associates at Harvard.[1]

The data from cosmic light sources are likewise unquestionable. The only problem: The interpretation is incorrect. One of Einstein’s major ad hocs in Special Relativity Theory was the assumption that light was a massless particle. It could not be affected by gravitation and would never satisfy Newton’s famous equation (F=GM1M2/r2). Another ad hoc was his famous assumption that light always traveled at c.

Now, as I emphasized in Infinite Universe Theory and my recent manuscript,[2] light is a wave in the aether. Its velocity depends on the properties of that medium. Aether pressure (and light velocity) increases with distance from massive bodies. The “gravitational redshift” occurs because light waves increase in velocity as they travel away from their source. Although the effect is tiny, light’s wavelength increases in the same way it does when light leaves the water medium at 225,000,000 m/s and enters the air medium at 300,000,000 m/s. Remember that red light has a wavelength of 488 nm in water and 650 nm in air, with no change in frequency, which is responsible for its color.

This Einsteinism, like the one in which refraction was mistaken as “proof of curved empty space,” will be with us until GRT finally succumbs to the needed philosophical change, finally and quietly entering the “dustbin of history.”]


[1] Pound, R.V., and Rebka, G.A., 1960, Apparent Weight of Photons: Physical Review Letters, v. 4, no. 7, p. 337-341. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/PR60]; Pound, R.V., and Snider, J.L., 1964, Effect of Gravity on Nuclear Resonance: Physical Review Letters, v. 13, no. 18, p. 539-540. [http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.13.539]; Pound, R.V., and Snider, J.L., 1965, Effect of Gravity on Gamma Radiation: Physical Review, v. 140, no. 3B, p. B788-B802.

[2] Borchardt, Glenn, 2017, Infinite Universe Theory: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 343 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/IUTebook]; Borchardt, Glenn, 2018, The Physical Cause of Gravitation: viXra:1806.0165.




20190814

“Universal expansion” confuses cosmogonists


PSI Blog 20190814 “Universal expansion” confuses cosmogonists

The “Hubble Constant,” assumed by cosmogonists (but not by Hubble himself) to be indicative of their made-up universal expansion, keeps being inconstant. The latest measurement does not agree with two previous measurements that were at odds.

Even so, that amounts to yet another propaganda opportunity for regressive physics courtesy of the journal Nature:   


How fast is the Universe expanding? Cosmologists just got more confused


Of course, readers of Infinite Universe Theory know that the universe cannot expand and does not have any massless particles with perpetual motion to do so.

Here is the latest article. You might want to read it, but don’t get too confused:



20190807

Anti-Kuhn paradigm


PSI Blog 20190807 Anti-Kuhn paradigm

  



Thomas Kuhn generally is a hero among dissidents. Along with his explication of what it all meant, his invention of the word “paradigm” was his greatest achievement. A paradigm forms the body of data, assumptions, and interpretations guiding a discipline during a particular period. A paradigm cannot be overthrown by anyone whose livelihood depends on it—only outsiders need apply for that infrequent function.

Here is an interesting interview “Thomas Kuhn Threw an Ashtray at Me” with Errol Morris, who was kicked out of Princeton by Kuhn to go on to become a famous documentary film maker (The Fog of War) and writer of a new book critical of Kuhn (The Ashtray).

Although he tends to throw the baby out with the bath water, I tend to agree with Morris’s major criticisms. In particular, that Kuhn erroneously assumes:

1.   There is no objective truth. Truth is determined by subjects, not by nature.
2.   Science is not progressive. The same data are interpreted differently at various times.
3.   There may be no such thing as reality.

Morris puts it this way:

 “The truth is central to the human enterprise. What stuck in my craw was Kuhn’s underlying belief that there was no such thing as truth, perhaps no such thing as reality, no such thing as progress. It struck me then, and still strikes me now, as a postmodern and pernicious idea.”

Remember Kuhn’s great work was first published in 1962, although not much changed in the 50 years subsequent.[1] Like most “philosophers of science” he was actually a “historian of science.” That occupation is to report on what scientists think and have thought, not what they should think as we do in “scientific philosophy.” He had studied the Copernican Revolution[2] in which the math worked pretty much as well as in the geocentric Ptolemaic system. Like our current struggle to get rid of the Big Bang Theory, it was all a matter of perspective and interpretation that would ruffle the fewest feathers among the ruling class. As Bruno and Galileo found out, the ruling class in 1600 was the church.

As scientists, we must adamantly oppose Kuhn’s idea that there is no objective truth, while agreeing that interpretations vary. Kuhn was confused because the Einsteinian regression in physics had confused most everyone. Kuhn’s second point that there was no progress in science did not seem otherwise at the time. Eventually, physicists might give up their obeisance to math and come to their interpretive senses as they did with Copernicus. The cyclic theory of history surely would prevail. Truth would once again be whatever people thought it should be, just as the postmodernists were beginning to claim in the late 50s.

Is there progress in science? Is there human progress at all? Of course a regressive period tends to produce pessimism aplenty. In this postmodern-prerevolutionary age any demonstration of progress[3] reaches a public made sceptical by incessant news of humanity’s failure to provide the promised nirvana. Still, progress is spiralic—three steps forward, two steps backward. This particular regression will not be without end.

Kuhn’s ambivalence about the existence of reality fits with the immaterialism you can find in most any reading of quantum mechanics or relativity. Whether its action-at-a-distance, immaterial fields, or immaterial attraction, all fit with the religious milieu most of us grew up with. The soul of regressive physics at least requires matterless motion for its sustenance. Maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on Kuhn for, like the rest of us, he was a product of the times. His ground-breaking observations concerning paradigms are useful nevertheless.




[1] Kuhn, T.S., 1962, The structure of scientific revolutions: Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 210 p.; Kuhn, Thomas S. , and Hacking, Ian, 2012, The structure of scientific revolutions: Chicago; London, The University of Chicago Press, 264 p.

[2] Kuhn, T.S., 1957, The Copernican revolution: Planetary astronomy in the development of Western thought: New York, Random House, 297 p.

[3] Pinker, Steven, 2011, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined: New York, Viking [http://stevenpinker.com/publications/better-angels-our-nature]; Pinker, Steven, 2018, Enlightenment now: The case for reason, science, humanism, and progress: New York, New York, Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 556 p.