Caltech: The Mechanical Universe

Many Internet forums have carried discussion of the Electric Universe hypothesis. Much of that discussion has added more confusion than clarity, due to common misunderstandings of the electrical principles. Here we invite participants to discuss their experiences and to summarise questions that have yet to be answered.
allynh
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Caltech: The Mechanical Universe

Unread post by allynh » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:51 am

<Moderator Note> this thread is a continuation from here:
https://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/php ... 3&start=75




Here is a link to the original thread.

https://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/php ... 579#p18505

As you read the old thread, you will find many broken links. If that happens, then access:

The Way Back Machine
https://archive.org/web/

Simply copy the broken link from the Forum page, and paste it into the Way Back Machine to see if it was ever archived. Find a valid copy of the missing web site and read the article.

- Learn how to use the Way Back Machine.

- The Way Back Machine is your friend.

When I started the original thread in the old Forum, it was to have the entire series available to watch. It is the consensus dogma of science, from the viewpoint of The "Mechanical" Universe when in reality we are in The Electric Universe.

- You can't really understand the difference until you can see what is consensus.

It is also a great series showing what can be done with lectures of YouTube. I still would like to see a series that equals it showing everything that we have found so far.

Luckily the whole series is on YouTube as a list.

The Mechanical Universe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtMmeAj ... dk-XGtA5cZ

I also used the thread to mention everything that would help open up ways of thinking, videos, books, articles. I will keep adding to the list as I stumble across things.

Have fun.
Last edited by nick c on Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: link to 2.0 added

allynh
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Re: Caltech: The Mechanical Universe

Unread post by allynh » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:47 pm

A clueless friend of mine sent me this link about TRex because it mentions "Harris Hawks". He's clueless because the article is on a political "click bait" site and he is not aware of that. The only reason he saw the article is because family sends him anything that appears on the web that mentions "Harris Hawks", no matter the context. When you read through the article, you will see that this has nothing to do with "Harris Hawks". HA!

- I have not included the link so that you don't get hit by unwanted cookies. I routinely "clear history" and clear the browser many times a day when I'm roaming through the web, but I digress.

Read through the article. When you do, notice the politics at play rather than the fossils found.

The various fossil finds are amazing, but instead of simply reporting the finds, they have to include an "opinion", a "narrative", describing what the find implies. Opinion leads to politics as others vie against changing their own narratives. The narratives they create controls their status and funding in the system.

This is the heart of what the "soft" sciences do. This is the opposite of what "hard" science is like. "Hard" science is all about things you can build. That if you understand materials then you can build amazing things like jet planes and skyscrapers.

The "soft" sciences are all about opinion, which leads to politics; for publication, for power, for funding. Which leads to the problem that we find ourselves in today.

Museum Pieces: T Rex's Family Life
One of the unique exhibits at the LA County Natural History Museum is the “T rex series”—a display of three skeletons of Tyrannosaurus rex ranging from a youngster to a “teenager” to a fullsize adult. The trio of skeletons illustrates a debate which has been raging since the 1990s, when paleontologist Philip Currie of the Royal Tyrell Museum in Canada made a series of discoveries which set off a still-running controversy about the social and family life of Tyrannosaurus rex.

"Museum Pieces" is a diary series that explores the history behind some of the most interesting museum exhibits and historical places.

DSCN6443
T rex skeletons

In 1910, Barnum Brown, from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, was canoeing down a river in Alberta, Canada, when he came upon some fossils eroding from the banks. Brown had just become world-famous several years previously for his discovery of a nearly-complete T rex skeleton in Montana, and now he identified these new finds as Albertosaurus, a close but slightly-smaller relative of the Tyrannosaurus. Although he noted that there appeared to be a large number of skeletons, he was only able to collect a few bones and bring them back to New York. There the fossils stayed in the Museum’s vaults, mostly forgotten, until 1996 when they were examined by Currie.

Intrigued by Brown’s field notes that described the large number of skeletons that he had left behind, Currie thought that the site may still hold some scientific interest. By painstakingly studying a few photographs taken by Brown, he was finally able to identify the spot where the bones had been found—in what was now the Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park. He began excavating the site.

It quickly became apparent that Brown had been right—there were a lot of skeletons here. Over the next ten years, in an area just fifty yards wide, Currie uncovered over a thousand bones from at least 26 identifiable individual Albertosaurus, ranging in size from large to small. “The indications are very clear in this bonebed,” he concluded, “that the tyrannosaurs were here because they died together at the same time and almost certainly were living together at the time of their death.” In other words, they were a pack.

This was a controversial assertion. Since most tyrannosaurids (a group of large meat-eaters that included Tyrannosaurus, Albertosaurus and Tarbosaurus) had been found as individual skeletons, it had always been assumed that they were solitary hunters, like bears or jaguars, coming together only occasionally for mating. So the idea that Albertosaurus—and by extension the other tyrannosaurids too—were pack hunters that lived in social groups, like wolves or lions, was a contentious one.

More evidence arrived. In 2006, Currie began five years of field work in the Gobi Desert as part of the Korea-Mongolia International Dinosaur Project. Scattered over several dozen sites, the team found almost 100 skeletons and bones of Tarbosaurus, an Asian tyrannosaurid. But one of these sites was particularly important—it contained the skeletons of six individuals ranging from juvenile to adult. Once again, Currie concluded that this was a family group that had died together.

Then, in October 2011, a hunting guide in British Columbia, Canada, found some dinosaur footprints. When Richard McCrea from the Peace Region Palaeontology Center investigated, he found three sets of tracks that, from the size and shape, came from one of the tyrannosaurids of the time (Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus or Daspletosaurus). The trackways ran for about 200 feet and consisted of three individuals. The footprints all faced in the same direction, were parallel to each other, and were all pressed to the same depth in the mud—indicating that they had crossed together at the same time, as a group. One of the individuals had suffered a previously-healed injury and had lost the tip of one of the toes on its left foot.

Based on all this, Currie now offered a more detailed hypothesis which speculated on the possible family life of the tyrannosaurids. Comparing the skeletons of the juvenile Albertosaurus and Tarbosaurus, he noticed that they changed significantly as they got older. The “teenage” tyrannosaurids were slenderly built with longer legs and lighter skulls. The adults, on the other hand, were heavier and bulkier, with huge robust skulls that were capable of much more powerful bites. So Currie speculated that perhaps they hunted together in a pack that took advantage of each other’s strengths: the faster and agile youngsters may have driven prey animals into an ambush where the adults were waiting to deliver the killing bites. The entire pack could then feed on the downed prey.

Debate followed, with several different options offered as models for tyrannosaurid pack behavior. The basic problem is that we have no way of fossilizing “behavior”, so the only thing we can do is look at the behavior of modern animals as a model. The closest living relatives to the predatory dinosaurs are birds, but, with the sole exception of the Harris Hawk, no birds are known to hunt together cooperatively (and the Harris Hawks fly). The best models we have are pack animals like wolves and lions, but these are mammals, and their physiology and biology are completely different. In wolves, all of the pack members (except the cubs) participate in the hunt. In lions, however, it is only the adult females who do all of the hunting, but the adult males always get first pick at the resulting kill. Did T rex follow one of these models, or did it live in a different manner entirely? Perhaps, for example, the teens did all the hunting and both the adult males and females used their bone-crunching jaws on prey that had already been killed. We have no way of knowing.

All of this, in turn, fed into another controversy that had also been going on for many years. In 1946, a bone-hunter named Charles Gilmore found a skull in Montana which he identified as a young Gorgosaurus. But when paleontologist Bob Bakker examined it in 1988 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, he re-identified it as a Tyrannosaurus rex. But then he noticed something odd—some of the bones appeared to be fused together, a normal process which occurs during growth and appears in individuals which are fully-grown and “osteologically mature”. Strangely, although this skull appeared to belong to an adult, it was less than half the size of a typical T rex. It also had a different number of teeth, and some small differences in the skull structure. After much thought, Bakker decided that it was not a young T rex after all, but was an adult of a new species, a sort of miniature version of T rex that he named Nanotyrannus. When others examined the same skull, however, they concluded that it was really a juvenile tyrannosaurid, most likely a T rex.

Enter “Jane”. In 2001, an expedition from the Burpee Museum of Natural History, in Rockford IL, uncovered a nearly-complete skeleton at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, not far from where the Cleveland skull had been found. Named “Jane” after a financial benefactor, this find was almost identical to the Cleveland skull but was much more complete, allowing a much more detailed analysis. Although most of the bones in the skeleton were unfused, indicating that it was still a juvenile, Jane was already over 20 feet long, about half the size of the adult T rex specimens. Some of the bones in Jane’s skull also seemed to be closer to those of adult specimens than the Cleveland skull. And the rest of the skeleton demonstrated the light build and long legs that had been seen in the juvenile Tarbosaurus and Albertosaurus. Although Bakker and a few others continue to hold out, the majority view today is that the species Nanotyranus is invalid, and that these actually are juvenile T rex specimens.

NOTE: As some of you already know, all of my diaries here are draft chapters for a number of books I am working on. So I welcome any corrections you may have, whether it's typos or places that are unclear or factual errors. I think of y'all as my pre-publication editors and proofreaders. ;)

allynh
Posts: 937
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Gravity Probe B

Unread post by allynh » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:29 pm

A number of threads have mentioned "frame dragging", without going in to details. I've hesitated to post this on those threads, I did not want to derail the subject with a discussion of the politics of scientism, but I digress.

Gravity Probe B was hailed as the most "Extraordinary Technology" that they had designed to test "frame-dragging".

After all of the press hoopla, and the launch, I waited for the results, and there was only silence. NASA had abandoned it because the results were not confirming consensus. Then it got other funding to process the suspect data. When the data was forced to fit theory, NASA acknowledged it again.

This is a video giving a summary about the experiment. It's Brian Greene of course, cheerleader extraordinaire.

Gravity probe B Beyond The Cosmos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsu0DRsvQiA

They basically massaged the data to force it to fit predictions. This is the NASA press release. Notice the Saudi prince who paid for the extra work was in the audience. I suspect his presence is why they made the announcement.
NASA's Gravity Probe B (GP-B) spacecraft has confirmed two key predictions derived from Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. Launched in 2004, GP-B was designed to test Einstein using four ultra-precise gyroscopes to measure the hypothesized geodetic effect, which is the warping of space and time around a gravitational body, and frame-dragging, which is the amount a spinning object pulls space and time with it as it rotates. (News briefing held May 4, 2011 at NASA Headquarters in Washington.)
Watch the press conference, the arrogance on display is astonishing.

Einstein Passes Tests by NASA's Gravity Probe B
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBiY0Fn1ze4

If frame-dragging is actually like the "Earth moving in honey", you would have orbital decay, and the Earth would not be in orbit. Yikes!

This is from the Stanford site:

The Extraordinary Technologies of GP-B
https://einstein.stanford.edu/TECH/technology1.html

This is the FAQ page from the Stanford site:

Gravity Probe B
http://einstein.stanford.edu/content/fa ... l#tracking

This is background wiki:

Gravity Probe B
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_Probe_B

This is the picture that they kept using on every article, showing the amazingly precise spheres that they made.

File:Einstein gyro gravity probe b.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eins ... robe_b.jpg

Be sure to look at the external links to articles on the wiki page.

Frame-dragging
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame-dragging

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Zyxzevn
Posts: 1107
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Location: Earth

Gravity Probe B

Unread post by Zyxzevn » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:54 pm

It was clearly too big to fail.

The magical correction from the NULL-result, shows the sad
state of the science around it.

Another bad magical correction is found with the Plank satellite, where
no consistent background radiation was fond. Instead there were millions of point
sources.
To correct this null result, the teams mixed the data from earth and earth based satellite with
the data from the Plank. Subtracted and added some bits, depending on the data, and "magically"
created the chart that is now shown everywhere.
(See Robitaille's lecture about it)

For some reason the astronomers can not deal with null results.
It is holding science backwards.
More ** from zyxzevn at: Paradigm change and C@

allynh
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Paradox Lost

Unread post by allynh » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:19 pm

Watch this video.

Relativity: how people get time dilation wrong
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svwWKi9sSAA

It's part of a series of beautiful videos from Fermilab, that are absolutely wrong. You need to watch them, and you will see the problem. He keeps pointing out that things don't make sense, that they create a "Paradox".

That's the point.

- If you have a "Paradox" then you are not looking at all of the information.

- If their is a "Paradox" it is wrong, and you have to find what is wrong in your experiment.

- If after all of your experiments, and the "Paradox" is still there, then you are missing something, or adding something that is not there.

Does this guy actually believe what he is saying? Possibly, but "belief" is not science.

Don't get me wrong, a "Paradox" is a great starting point for experimentation, so they are very useful things.

Example:

Look at Olbers' Paradox, asking why is the night sky dark instead of being filled with light. There is no "Paradox" because if you look at the night sky, with the right equipment, you will see light everywhere. They had a "Paradox" in the past, because they did not have enough information, or the right equipment.

There is nothing wrong with Olbers' Paradox as a great starting point for experiment to find out if there are any dark regions of the sky, but it is just a starting point.

Now, let's get to the "Twins Paradox" and "time dilation".

I can't remember which EU lecture I watched, but one guy who worked at CERN pointed out that when grad students show up for work, the first thing the professor has to tell them, is:

- Time dilation does not occur.

CERN accelerates particles close to the speed of light, and time does not "dilate" for those particles. The energy built up in the particles become other particles when they collide, but I digress.

- Too many people are invested in "Twins Paradox" and "time dilation" to let it go.

The example that people always give is of high energy mesons living longer than low energy mesons as being evidence of "time dilation", and that contains the actual answer. High energy particles simply have a different "lifespan" than low energy particles. It does not mean that time "dilates". That is a leap too far.

- "Time dilation" is a fun concept that is used in fiction, like elves and dragons, but does not exist in reality. ex., Tau Zero by Poul Anderson is great science fantasy.

So no matter how fun the "thought experiment" seems, "time dilation" is still simply imagination, not reality, until it is shown to occur by experiment.

Now, hold on, you say, "time dilation" has been proven by experiment, time and again. (See what I did there. HA!)

Actually, no it has not.

PBS NOVA had a great program about atomic clocks and "time dilation":

Inside Einstein's Mind.
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/ins ... eins-mind/

Look at the transcript on the page. Here is the main part:
NARRATOR: Today, 100 years after general relativity was first presented, new technology is allowing us to explore the most remarkable predictions of the theory: an expanding universe; black holes; ripples in space-time; and perhaps the most bizarre, the idea that not just space, but time, itself, is distorted by heavy objects.

NARRATOR: To prove it, a team of physicists is carrying out a remarkable experiment. They're using two atomic clocks that are in near perfect sync, accurate to a billionth of a second. The master clock remains at sea level while they take the second clock to the top of New Hampshire's Mount Sunapee.

General relativity tells us that as you move away from the mass of the planet, time should speed up. After four days at the top of the mountain, the test clock is taken back to the lab for comparison. There, they compare it to the sea level master clock. Four days ago they were in ticking in unison. But what about now?

DAVID SCHERER (Microsemi Corporation): You guys ready? This is it, right here. The time interval counter is going to show us the time difference between these two clock ticks.

Twenty nanoseconds!

You can see the time difference between them represented here, graphically: the clock that was up at the mountain for four days and our master clock.

NARRATOR: Gravity, the distortion of space and time, becomes weaker as you move away from the surface of the planet, so while the test clock was up the mountain, time sped up. It's now 20 nanoseconds, 20 billionths of a second, ahead of the sea level clock.

DAVID SCHERER: This is awesome.

NARRATOR: This distortion of time has surprising consequences. The Global Positioning System, something we all take for granted, wouldn't work without taking this into account. The engineers who built the G.P.S. system we use every day to pinpoint locations, had to ensure it adjusted for the time difference between clocks on satellites and receivers on the ground. If they didn't, G.P.S. would be off by six miles every day.

JIM GATES (University of Maryland): Your G.P.S. units use the results of general relativity. When you navigate in your car, you perhaps should give a word of thanks to Uncle Albert.
They had two atomic clocks sitting side-by-side in the lab. They synchronized the atomic clocks. They then took one atomic clock to the top of a mountain, left it there a few days, then brought it back down and compared the time shown on each atomic clock, and they did not match! The moved atomic clock was running faster than the stationary atomic clock.

- This shows that time moves slower based on gravity.

No, sorry, it does not.

The atomic clock that was taken to the top of the mountain was shaken by the journey. To test that, they should have one atomic clock on a shake table, shake it a while, then compare the time shown. That would be an experiment.

The other experiment they did was have an atomic clock in the lab and compare that to atomic clocks in the GPS satellites in Earth orbit(12,247 miles). Over time, the measured time starts to diverge, with the GPS atomic clocks running "faster" than the lab.

- This shows that time moves slower based on gravity.

Wow, that is so wrong.

The GPS atomic clock is moving at high speed, that means it should slow down, not get faster. Remember that stunt, decades ago, of flying atomic clocks in jet planes to show that they would slow down, and they did! Really? no, they didn't, they just got shaken, a lot!.

Yes, they took the speed of the GPS satellites into account, slowing down the clocks, and the height of the GPS satellite, and "declared" their results.

The real experiment would be to have an atomic clock sitting in geostationary orbit(22,236 miles) above the Earth, another atomic clock in a lab on the Earth, and compare those to the GPS satellites.

Guess what, the atomic clock in geostationary orbit is moving way faster than the GPS satellites, and is actually far enough away from the Earth to be in an even lower gravity than the GPS satellites, with the inverse-square law reduction.

- Earth radius, 3,950 miles

- GPS satellites, 12,247 miles

- geostationary orbit, 22,236 miles

Now that would be an experiment. The trouble is, they keep resetting the atomic clocks to synchronize them.

- That constant tweaking of the atomic clocks invalidates the experiment.

- No matter how well each atomic clock matches the other, they are not the same, will not work the same, will "drift" no matter what.

Every step along the way error is introduced into the system. Measuring the atomic clocks, transmitting the data, etc... So many errors built into the experiment itself. The "result" that they come up with floats within that "error". That makes it noise. They need to develop an experiment that gives results outside that "error" before they can claim a "result".

I was at University in the 1970s, getting my BS in Civil Engineering. (Yes, go ahead and play with the "BS" part. I'll wait. HA!)

In Chemistry, they had us do a deeply disturbing experiment that apparently these guys forgot, and is part of what is wrong with all the experiments mentioned.

We had electronic scales to measure weights at incredible accuracy for the day. They sat in their own little enclosures because a puff of air could change the results.

We took brass weights, a test weight. The scales were so accurate that we could not touch the weight with our fingers because it would weigh our fingerprints. We measured each test weight on two different electronic scales, and saw with precision that each scale measured a different value for each weight.

Think of it.

- Identical instruments, giving different values for the same test weight.

Even day to day, using only one electronic scale, the values will change over time because the instrument "drifts".

- When they report experiments on science programs, or you read the papers, if they do not report the "error" within the experiment, then they are not reporting science.

Remember, you can use "Paradox" to inspire experiments, that's awesome. But if all you have is "Paradox" then you do not have an answer.

allynh
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

The Case Against Reality

Unread post by allynh » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:32 pm

I can see what Mel Acheson is trying to do in his TPOD, but things are actually stranger than what he's talking about.

Really?
https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2020/02/26/really/

Donald Hoffman has a book out, The Case Against Reality, that shows we are not evolved to see reality. So when people talk about "seeing the real world" sorry that doesn't happen.

Essentially:

- consciousness is fundamental and physical reality is not fundamental

I first stumbled across Hoffman's work with his book review and TED talk. It's been falling down the rabbit hole ever since as I watched all of the videos and read his stuff.

Review of the book:

The case against reality
https://www.socsci.uci.edu/newsevents/n ... eality.php
The scientific method has been spectacular in terms of helping us to see where we’re wrong. And that’s the key. That’s my attitude about science. Be precise so we can find precisely where we’re wrong. We need to learn what ideas are useful and which are wrong so we can evolve on all fronts.
Start with his TED talk. Notice at the end the head of TED is deeply upset by the talk.

Do we see reality as it is? | Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYp5XuGYqqY

A clip from Through the Wormhole:

Can We Handle The Truth?
https://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows ... -the-truth

This is his website:

Donald D. Hoffman
http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/

Read this paper once you have watched all of the videos:

Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem
http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/ConsciousRealism2.pdf

Watch all of the videos first, it really does help understand the book.

Closer to the Truth series:
The host, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, is having real trouble with what Hoffman is saying, that consciousness is fundamental and physical reality is not fundamental.

Donald Hoffman - Does Consciousness Cause the Cosmos?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv25EcaUQBo

Donald Hoffman - Can Religion Survive Science?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbyRrFUncAw

Donald Hoffman - Does Human Consciousness Have Special Purpose?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_zaMO3vdDA

Donald Hoffman - Does Evolutionary Psychology Explain Mind?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIGcRLAYSoM

Donald Hoffman - Computational Theory of Mind
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUhrK82seVY
Science and Nonduality lectures:
Reality is a User Interface: Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSrzlkfA0jk

The Mystery of Free Will: Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT7hf8NOEk4

The Death of SpaceTime & Birth of Conscious Agents, Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oadgHhdgRkI

Entangling Conscious Agents, Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eWG7x_6Y5U

Conscious Agents A Theory of Consciousness, Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E-MwJgy2lI

Consciousness and The Interface Theory of Perception, Donald Hoffman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqDP34a-epI

Notice, Chopra has problems dealing with the conversation. It's almost too far out even for him.

Deepak Chopra and Donald Hoffman: Reality is Eye Candy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxWkwy8z-Jg
I'll end this post with one of my favorite quotes:

The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.

-- Robert Anton Wilson

allynh
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

How Fundamental Physics Lost Its Way

Unread post by allynh » Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:11 pm

I'm halfway through reading Einstein's War, it's deeply disturbing so far, and now I read this book review on the NYTimes for, The Dream Universe.

Has Physics Lost Its Way?
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/book ... ndley.html
By Jim Al-Khalili
March 17, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET
Nonfiction
Joanna Neborsky

THE DREAM UNIVERSE
How Fundamental Physics Lost Its Way
By David Lindley

The title of David Lindley’s new book, “The Dream Universe,” may be unprepossessing, but his subtitle — “How Fundamental Physics Lost Its Way” — tells you what to expect: a polemical argument from a writer who won’t be pulling his punches.

I was keen to discover whether Lindley, an astrophysicist and the author of several well-regarded books, including “Uncertainty” and “The Science of Jurassic Park,” follows a line of reasoning that we’re beginning to see more frequently in popular science writing today: another full-throated critique of the more exotic speculations in theoretical physics like superstring theory, parallel universes, the properties of black hole event horizons and the hidden dimensions of space and time. Progress in our understanding of these phenomena seems lately to have stalled. Maybe Lindley, I thought, would offer some guidance as to how “fundamental physics” could find its way back to the right path.

Wider discussions about the nature of science and how it works are vitally important in our world of shouty social media, conspiracy theories, fake news, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. We need to trust the scientific method when it comes to issues like climate change or vaccines. But the multiverse theory? Is that even proper science?

Lindley begins with the Greek philosophers, notably Plato, who he says was not interested in the physical world, only in theorizing about it from on high, contemplating its mathematical (geometrical) beauty. Even worse, he looked with disdain at observational science. By contrast, his student Aristotle, interested in examining the world around him and trying to explain it, is a better fit as a precursor to the modern-day scientist. But Aristotle too came unstuck, for, as Lindley explains, he would come up with a hypothesis about some aspect of nature, then sift through his data to cherry-pick those that agreed with it — committing what we would now call confirmation bias, which, by the way, is how a lot of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories on the internet work.

Of course, Lindley reminds us, what constitutes a good scientific theory depends on the scientific context of its time. Surely not, you might think; don’t proper scientific theories have to satisfy timeless criteria such as explaining all the phenomena the theories they displace are able to, being able to make testable predictions, being repeatable, and so on? Well, yes, but here is where we get to Lindley’s central thesis: Contemporary theoretical physicists seem to have reverted to the idealized philosophy of Platonism. As he puts it, “The spirit of Plato is abroad in the world again.” Is this true? Plato’s stance was that it was enough to think about the universe. Surely, we can do better than that today, with our far more powerful mathematical tools and an abundance of empirical data to test our theories against. No physicist I know would say that to understand the laws of nature it is sufficient to think about them.

While it’s clear that nature obeys mathematical rules, a happy middle ground between Plato and Aristotle would seem to be preferable: to make the math our servant, not our master. After all, mathematics alone cannot entirely explain reality. Without a narrative to superimpose on the math, the equations and formulas lack a connection with physical reality. Lindley makes this point forcefully: “I find it essentially impossible to think of physical theories and laws only in mathematical terms. I need the help of a physical picture to make sense of the math.” About this, I am in total agreement. The mathematics can be as pretty and aesthetically pleasing as you like, but without a physical correlative, then that is all it is: pretty math.

According to Lindley, something happened in 20th-century theoretical physics that caused some in the field to “reach back to the ancient justifications for mathematical elegance as a criterion for knowledge, even truth.” In 1963, the great English quantum physicist Paul Dirac famously wrote, “It is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them fit an experiment.” To be fair, Dirac was a rather special individual, since many of his mathematical predictions turned out to be correct, such as the existence of antimatter, which was discovered a few years after his equation predicted it. But other physicists took this view to an extreme. The Hungarian Hermann Weyl went as far as to say, “My work always tried to unite the truth with the beautiful, and when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful.” Lindley argues that this attitude is prevalent among many researchers working at the forefront of fundamental physics today and asks whether these physicists are even still doing science if their theories do not make testable predictions. After all, if we can never confirm the existence of parallel universes, then isn’t it just metaphysics, however aesthetically pleasing it might be?

But Lindley goes further by declaring that much fundamental research, whether in particle physics, cosmology or the quest to unify gravity with quantum mechanics, is based purely on mathematics and should not be regarded as science at all, but, rather, philosophy. And this is where I think he goes too far. Physics has always been an empirical science; just because we don’t know how to test our latest fanciful ideas today does not mean we never will.

Lindley is engaging and very nearly persuasive. He believes we should continue to ask deep questions about reality but concludes that science will be unable to answer them. I am not nearly as pessimistic. Maybe we just need to try harder.
Go to Amazon and download the book sample. Read it, then compare the sample to the book review, and you will see that the person doing the book review is confusing "Theoretical Physics" with actual science, and is acting as an apologist for "Theoretical Physics" rather than looking at reality.

I forget who said it, but they said clearly:

- "Physics" is not theoretical.

Over the past century science and technology has leapt forward in astonishing ways, yet "Theoretical Physics" has simply gotten bizarre. I went to University in the 1970s and "Theoretical Physics" made no sense even then. Over the decades since it has made less and less sense.

I'm definitely buying this book.

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