Critique of "The Scientific Worldview": Part 7 The Ten Assumptions of Science: Conservation

Bill tries to make the First Law of Thermodynamics an "unmitigated truth." Then why do creationists assume just the opposite?

I am ever so grateful to Bill Westmiller, whose comments are in bold. The quotes marked TSW are from "The Scientific Worldview[1]":

BW: This will be short and sweet, but the next will likely be long and ponderous.

TSW: Fifth Assumption: Conservation

"Matter and the motion of matter neither can be created nor destroyed."

"... which has never yet been contradicted in any observation or experiment, scientific or otherwise"

BW: Sounds like an "unmitigated truth" to me.

[GB: Sorry, but until we have performed every possible observation and experiment, this will always be an assumption. Your “unmitigated truths” allow for no exceptions. The closest you can come to that would involve only a particular observation or experiment that everyone could agree with: that the Sun existed yesterday, for example. Despite all the evidence for it, conservation must forever remain an assumption as long as no complete proof is possible (never) and as long as others assume its opposite: creation, the formation of something from nothing. Many religious folks would consider creation to be just as “unmitigated.” Within “science,” Big Bang Theorists assume creation when they talk of the universe exploding out of nothing. Cosmogonists, those who believe the universe had a beginning, obviously do not believe that conservation is an “unmitigated truth.”]

TSW:  "The Greek philosopher Anaximander asserted that matter is eternal and indestructible."

BW: True, but I think Thales of Miletus deserves primary credit (even if his writings weren't preserved) for rejecting mysticism and advancing the primary scientific idea of conservation.

TSW:  "The conventional use of the matter-motion term energy to describe conservation might be admirable, if it did not end up being philosophically misleading."

BW: If energy is definitively matter in motion, it must also be conserved. The conservation of energy *must* entail the conservation of its terms: matter and motion.

[GB: False. Energy neither exists nor occurs. Energy is a calculation. The energy concept was yet another way of trying to consider matter and the motion of matter at the same time. As with the other matter-motion terms (e.g., force, momentum, space-time) we use these to understand, describe, and calculate the effects of matter and the motion of matter even though none of them exist or occur.]

TSW:  "The creation argument ... assumes something can be created out of nothing."

BW: It seems silly now, but primitive humans certainly recognized the creation of some thing (spear heads) from another thing (flint). What baffled them were the cosmic things that must have come into being in the same fashion as their spear heads, but they didn't know what the other thing was that it might have been made from, nor by whom. So, rather than simply admitting ignorance, they gave the Maker a label: "God" and the other thing a label: "Void". It made it so much easier to demonstrate their superior wisdom (rather than ignorance) to their children. It worked for millennia.

[GB: Agree. Unfortunately, that is still the case. It is not always possible to determine what is producing the things around us. Just as primitives could not see the nitrogen and oxygen that make up the atmosphere; so too we are unable to see the aether that makes up the nitrogen and oxygen. As scientists, we simply must have the “faith” that creation of something from nothing is impossible.]

BW: The only other point I'd make is that a philosopher needs to be careful about repudiating "creation" per se ... when it is creation of one material form from other material forms. The Big Bang is an illogical, infinite, mathematical reduction of the evidence of current cosmic expansion. But there does need to be an alternative theory that conforms with the cosmic evolutions that are evident in nature, while remaining consistent with conservation.

[GB: That’s right, there are two definitions. One is the creation of something from nothing and the other is the creation of something from something else. In the first, we don’t bring things together, but in the second we do. Isn’t it ironic that the Big Bang Theory is not only a creation myth, but that it hypothesizes things coming apart instead of coming together?]

BW: In UT [Bill’s “Unimid Theory”], it's "The Perpetual Rip" of a central cosmic mass that regularly passes a threshold of angular velocity and generates components of "our cosmos" from the residue of the radiant and material emissions of adjacent cosmos - multicosms - far beyond our light cone, to infinity. The theory has NO correlation with the parallel multiverses of James or Everett.

[GB: That is much like the point at which I started this whole philosophical trip back in 1978 when I still believed that the universe was expanding. Because I didn’t like the implied ending for the universe, I tried a similar imperiment (thought experiment). I figured that the light from the farthest galaxies would send “radiant emissions” past the event horizon, whereupon they would collide, forming new galaxies. Of course, I no longer believe in expansion (see the Blog on the cosmic redshift) or that light is a particle, so that is no longer a concern.]

Next: Complementarity

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[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The scientific worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein ( http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/The%20Scientific%20Worldview.html ): Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p.

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