How to avoid cranky add-ons to theory

Blog 20160713 How to avoid cranky add-ons to theory
Eventually, every theory reaches its explanatory end. That is because the universe is infinite and no statement about it or even a tiny portion of it can be completely definitive. In these days of regressive physics and cosmogony, we face all manner of fanciful and “cranky” add-ons. Well-meaning reformists hope to save relativity and cosmogony by attempting to devise theoretical additions that will solve their inherent intractable contradictions. As I have mentioned previously, this is not unusual, because that is essentially how science works. To do science, we must be on the lookout for contradictions. That is where cutting-edge science is done.

For instance, if meteorologists predict that it will snow tomorrow and it does not, they will have a contradiction to resolve. Since nature is not contradictory, they will have to review their observations and calculations to see what went wrong. Thus if those calculations totally ignored wind speed, it would be a simple matter of including it next time. Of course, there are an infinite number of reasons for such a failure in prediction to occur. Some of the “add-ons” to meteorological theory have become so sophisticated that the arrival of a snowstorm sometimes can be predicted within a minute or two. We seldom need one-second precision, so at that point we may consider the theory to be complete—until it is not. The macrocosm is always in motion, so a theory that works today may not work as well tomorrow, or next year, or next decade.

The approach described above is the “ordinary science” of Kuhn.[1] It normally does not involve “cranky” or “fanciful” add-ons. However, during the anarchic period common to prerevolutionary times, things can get quite interesting, if not crazy. Right now, there probably are thousands of cosmogonists trying to figure out what “dark energy” and “dark matter” are. And, of course, there are said to be over 8,000 dissidents hard at work attempting to fix the contradictions in relativity and quantum mechanics.[2] As I mentioned in the previous Blog, we are about to suffer through a few decades of futility along those lines before relativity and the Big Bang Theory come tumbling down.

So, how do we avoid cranky add-ons to theory? The answer is quite simple: Stick fast to "The Ten Assumptions of Science."[3] And, as I have said many times, if you do not like those fundamental assumptions, discover your own, following Collingwood’s[4] criteria of course. At the present moment, one of the most important of these assumptions is the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). That assumption alone resolves the majority of today’s vexing contradictions. With this one assumption, we can rule out many cranky and fanciful claims promoted by regressives and reformists alike:

1.    That the universe is finite.

2.    That the universe is expanding.

3.    That light is a particle.

4.    That aether does not exist.

5.    That energy exists.

6.    That there are more than three dimensions.

7.    That matterless motion is possible.

8.    That finite particles exist.

Those are only a few of the outrageous claims still being made today. If you included any one of them in your attempt to resolve any part of the current regressive mess, you are sure to fail.

There are many add-ons to theory that may not appear to use any of the above but still might be considered fanciful. For example, meteorologist Alfred Wegner started the plate tectonics revolution in geology by emphasizing the fit between the coasts of Africa and South America.[5] That certainly was considered “cranky” at the time—it was not accepted for half a century. Actually, the objections to it were cranky, being based on the indeterministic assumption that there could be matter without motion—a contradiction of the Fourth Assumption of Science, inseparability (Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion).

So how can we spot a truly cranky add-on to theory? Generally speaking, cranky add-ons tend to be elaborate violations of Occam’s Razor—the principle that the simplest solution is the most desirable and the most likely to be correct. Here is an example:

Light is known to have mostly T-waves, which are commonly a property of solids, such as iron or rocks. Sound is known to have P-waves, which are commonly a property of gases. If one treats light as purely a wave phenomenon, which it is, then one has a problem: How could the aether transmit motion as a T-wave?

The cranky way to resolve this is to insist that aether is nonetheless a solid. Various reformists have imagined aether to be a mesh-like fabric that acts like a solid. The geometries of these imagined fabrics can get supremely elaborate. The more highly structured they become, the more unlikely they are to actually exist. In addition, like the “fixed” aether of long ago, these attempts at portraying solidity essentially are violations of inseparability. There can be no fixity for aether particles, just like there was no fixity for the biological microcosms influenced by evolution and the continents influenced by plate tectonics.

The not-so cranky way of resolving the T-wave problem for light is quite simple: The aether particles responsible for the transmission must be vortices. Vortices are common at large scales, with the solar system, the Milky Way, and other mature galaxies being obvious examples. It is then a small step to hypothesize that aether particles, too, must be vortices. Collisions between the relatively spherical nitrogen and oxygen molecules in air are likely to produce the direct fore and aft motions responsible for the L-wave transmission of sound. On the other hand, collisions between disc-shaped aether particles are likely to produce the sideways motions mostly responsible for the T-wave transmission of light. This hypothetical speculation resolves the problem with a slight change in particle shape, for which there is plenty of evidence among larger microcosms. It also does not violate the principle that all microcosms in the infinite universe are constantly moving with respect to all other microcosms.

[1] Kuhn, T.S., 1996, The structure of scientific revolutions (3 ed.): Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 212 p.

[2]de Climont, Jean, 2016, The worldwide list of dissident scientists [https://books.google.fr/books?id=KnzBDjnGIgYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=climont+dissident&hl=fr&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=climont%20dissident&f=true].

[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].

[4] Collingwood, R.G., 1940, An essay on metaphysics: Oxford, Clarendon Press, 354 p.

[5] Wegener, Alfred, 1912 [2011], The Origin of Continents and Oceans: New York, NY, Dover Publications, 272 p.

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