Review of Oler’s Unified Cycle Theory

In the early seventies Edward Oler produced numerous small books and pamphlets touting his “Unified Cycle Theory.” This recently became of interest because of the publication of the ground-breaking book “The Unified Cycle Theory: How cycles dominate the structure of the universe and influence life on earth” by Steven Puetz (OutskirtsPress.com). Puetz actually has extensive data to support his theory that the cosmos is influenced by cycles ranging from days to billions of years. Oler had none. Nonetheless, Oler also believed that he had a universally applicable theory of cycles—they just aren’t the same ones. His emphasis on “triads” became of interest because Puetz discovered that, when the wavelength of each of his cycles was divided by 3, it produced the next smallest wavelength. The triads of Oler, however, simply refer to the evolutionary processes that inevitably involve a beginning, middle, and end.

Oler has some interesting observations, but the method of “logic” he proposes doesn’t seem to amount to much more than “all things have cycles.” The closest he gets to explaining the reason for cycles involves his vague mention of the change of quantity into quality. Cycles occur, of course, as a result of univironmental interactions between microcosm and macrocosm (Borchardt, 2007). Old Faithful, the famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, for instance, has a chamber that gradually fills with water (quantity), eventually erupting (quality) and emptying when the chamber is full and the pressure due to heating is sufficient. Economic cycles occur when production inevitably exceeds demand, causing prices to plummet. The microcosm of production exists within a macrocosm of too few consumers who desire the product and have salaries sufficient to buy it. When the previously sold production is used up or wears out and salaries improve, demand increases, prices rise, and production increases. The plant cycle is similar. The macrocosm of sunlight aids rapid plant growth during the summer and diminishes it during the winter. Where summer days are extra long, such as Alaska, plant growth may be furious, with vegetables becoming giants in a few short months. Nothing in the infinite universe can rage out of control for long, because all things (microcosms) have an environment (macrocosm). Newton’s object does not travel forever in a straight line, because, in an infinite universe there always is another object there to intercept it—the fundamental reason for all cycles in the universe.

Oler (1971) writes about “The Theory of Cycles of Science,” but his approach follows conventional wisdom rife with indeterminism: “Every free will decision has an element of determinism; and every determining factor has an element of free will when man is concerned…” (p. 2). He correctly sees subject (matter) and predicate (motion) as complements, but lumps them with matter and energy as complements, which they are not. Matter is real, but energy is an idea, being neither matter nor motion (Borchardt, 2009). Energy is a matter-motion term that we use in physics to understand matter and the motion of matter. Energy is neither a thing nor an occurrence. This mistake appears throughout Oler’s work. Even in his most recent work (Oler, 1976), he still wrote stuff such as this: “Matter is the structure of mass and energy is the function of mass (p. 49).” A quibble would be that mass is not matter, but the resistance of matter to impact from other matter. Oler then uses energy as a motion term, a common mistake for those who throw matter-motion terms around indiscriminately.

Elsewhere, he parrots Stephen Jay Gould’s erroneous view that “Since science is based on facts and religion is based on belief we are dealing with two different fields of human activity. And as long as it is understood that facts and beliefs are opposite and complementary there is no need for argument (Oler, 1971, pp. 102-103).” But the arguments do persist despite this common view among accomodationists. Why is that? Because, as I have pointed out many times (Borchardt, 2004a, 2004b and Ch. 3 in Borchardt, 2007), the difference between science and religion is not one of fact versus belief, but of opposing beliefs. One either believes in CONSERVATION (Matter and the motion of matter neither can be created nor destroyed.) or its opposite, creation of something from nothing. One cannot use facts to “prove” which one of these fundamental assumptions is correct. One only can gather bits and pieces of information from the external world in support of either one. Big Bang Theorists, for example, have forsaken their belief in CONSERVATION to adopt a belief in creation. For them, the “expansion of the universe” is a fact that outweighs belief in CONSERVATION. The thought does not occur to them that this supposed “fact” could be interpreted incorrectly and that the reddening of faraway galaxies might be due mostly to absorption in the medium instead of the Doppler Effect.

Oler (1973) provides this summary of his work: “The complementary process and triad development of change that retains constants is the basic law of CYCLES. And every entity and system is composed of this cycle constant with many kinds of change.” He finally ends it with this baffling bit of matter-motion mixology: “The cycle of an entity (the process and development) and the content of an entity (the structure and function) represents a four-fold complementary of every basic unit of nature (the force and motion of matter and energy (of mass) in space and time as cycles) as a system (p. 37).”


Borchardt, G., 2004a, Ten assumptions of science and the demise of 'cosmogony': Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, v. 1, no. 1, p. 3-6. (http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/Downloads/TTAOSATDOC.pdf )

Borchardt, G., 2004b, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p.

Borchardt, G., 2007, The Scientific Worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p.

Borchardt, G., 2009, The physical meaning of E=mc2: Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance (in press), v. 6, no. 1.( http://scientificphilosophy.com/Downloads/The%20Physical%20Meaning%20of%20E%20=%20mc2.pdf )

Oler, E., 1971, The philosophy of science and nature: Cycle monism: Denver, Golden Bell Press, 116 p.

Oler, E., 1973, The unified cycle theory of nature: mathematical charts of complementaries and triads of cycles of man and nature: Denver, CO, Cycle Research, 40 p.

Oler, E., 1976, Research in cycle logic, Cycle Research.

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