How to Tell Physicists Physics Is Dead
(trop ancien pour répondre)
Pentcho Valev
2017-05-17 06:44:37 UTC
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"But inflation's biggest crime was its flexibility: The authors argue that inflation contains so many hypotheses that you can essentially fit at least one of them around any new data that comes out. In short, inflation can never be disproved. People studying it, therefore, are Not Doing Science. [...] Basically, this is an invitation to think for yourself. Physicists are still figuring all this stuff out - as are most scientists, all the time. You just have to decide how much patience you have for answers ... and if the time comes when a theory doesn't make sense, whether you have the chutzpah to tell several thousand physicists that they aren't actually doing science." https://www.wired.com/2017/05/physicists-cant-agree-science-even-means-anymore/

How can one tell the physicist that his/her science is dead? Here is an option:

"Look, my lad, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."

And where is the root of all the evil? Joao Magueijo and Lee Smolin explain:

Joao Magueijo, Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250: "Lee [Smolin] and I discussed these paradoxes at great length for many months, starting in January 2001. We would meet in cafés in South Kensington or Holland Park to mull over the problem. THE ROOT OF ALL THE EVIL WAS CLEARLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY. All these paradoxes resulted from well known effects such as length contraction, time dilation, or E=mc^2, all basic predictions of special relativity. And all denied the possibility of establishing a well-defined border, common to all observers, capable of containing new quantum gravitational effects."

Here is a synopsis of the sad story. It all started with the false constancy of the speed of light. Einstein plagiarized ("borrowed") it from the Lorentz equations, called it "postulate", and finally derived, for the gullible world, the Lorentz equations from the "postulate" (reverse engineering):

Albert Einstein: "...it is impossible to base a theory of the transformation laws of space and time on the principle of relativity alone. As we know, this is connected with the relativity of the concepts of "simultaneity" and "shape of moving bodies." To fill this gap, I introduced the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light, which I borrowed from H. A. Lorentz's theory of the stationary luminiferous ether..."

Banesh Hoffmann explains that the Michelson-Morley experiment had confirmed the variable speed of light predicted by Newton's emission theory of light but Einstein ignored this because he preferred an interpretation that involved miracles ("contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations"):

Banesh Hoffmann, Relativity and Its Roots, p.92: "There are various remarks to be made about this second principle. For instance, if it is so obvious, how could it turn out to be part of a revolution - especially when the first principle is also a natural one? Moreover, if light consists of particles, as Einstein had suggested in his paper submitted just thirteen weeks before this one, the second principle seems absurd: A stone thrown from a speeding train can do far more damage than one thrown from a train at rest; the speed of the particle is not independent of the motion of the object emitting it. And if we take light to consist of particles and assume that these particles obey Newton's laws, they will conform to Newtonian relativity and thus automatically account for the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment without recourse to contracting lengths, local time, or Lorentz transformations. Yet, as we have seen, Einstein resisted the temptation to account for the null result in terms of particles of light and simple, familiar Newtonian ideas, and introduced as his second postulate something that was more or less obvious when thought of in terms of waves in an ether. If it was so obvious, though, why did he need to state it as a principle? Because, having taken from the idea of light waves in the ether the one aspect that he needed, he declared early in his paper, to quote his own words, that "the introduction of a 'luminiferous ether' will prove to be superfluous."

John Stachel explains that the constancy of the speed of light seemed nonsense to Einstein but he introduced it nevertheless:

John Stachel: "But this seems to be nonsense. How can it happen that the speed of light relative to an observer cannot be increased or decreased if that observer moves towards or away from a light beam? Einstein states that he wrestled with this problem over a lengthy period of time, to the point of despair."

The introduction of the false postulate was Einstein's original sin. The malignancy was there but it was still sterile - all validly deducible consequences of the false postulate were obviously absurd and unacceptable. However Einstein's second sin - a fraudulent and invalid deduction - solved this problem. In 1905 Einstein derived, from his two postulates, the conclusion "the clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B":

Albert Einstein, ON THE ECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES, 1905: "From this there ensues the following peculiar consequence. If at the points A and B of K there are stationary clocks which, viewed in the stationary system, are synchronous; and if the clock at A is moved with the velocity v along the line AB to B, then on its arrival at B the two clocks no longer synchronize, but the clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B by tv^2/2c^2 (up to magnitudes of fourth and higher order), t being the time occupied in the journey from A to B."

The conclusion

"The clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B"

does not follow from Einstein's 1905 postulates - the argument is invalid. The following two conclusions, in contrast, VALIDLY follow from the postulates:

Conclusion 1: The clock moved from A to B lags behind the other which has remained at B, as judged from the stationary system.

Conclusion 2: The clock which has remained at B lags behind the clock moved from A to B, as judged from the moving system.

Conclusions 1 and 2 (symmetrical time dilation) in their combination give no prediction for the readings of the two clocks as they meet at B - in this sense the false postulate is sterile. In contrast, the invalidly deduced conclusion (asymmetrical time dilation) provides a straightforward prediction - the moving clock is slow, the stationary one is FAST. The famous "travel into the future" is a direct implication - the slowness of the moving clock means that its (moving) owner can remain virtually unchanged while sixty million years are passing for the stationary system:

Thibault Damour: "The paradigm of the special relativistic upheaval of the usual concept of time is the twin paradox. Let us emphasize that this striking example of time dilation proves that time travel (towards the future) is possible. As a gedanken experiment (if we neglect practicalities such as the technology needed for reaching velocities comparable to the velocity of light, the cost of the fuel and the capacity of the traveller to sustain high accelerations), it shows that a sentient being can jump, "within a minute" (of his experienced time) arbitrarily far in the future, say sixty million years ahead, and see, and be part of, what (will) happen then on Earth. This is a clear way of realizing that the future "already exists" (as we can experience it "in a minute")."

The year 1905 can be regarded as the year of the death of physics. Science died and idiotic magic was born. The gullible world immediately fell in love with the idiocy:

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John Barrow FRS: "Einstein restored faith in the unintelligibility of science. Everyone knew that Einstein had done something important in 1905 (and again in 1915) but almost nobody could tell you exactly what it was. When Einstein was interviewed for a Dutch newspaper in 1921, he attributed his mass appeal to the mystery of his work for the ordinary person: "Does it make a silly impression on me, here and yonder, about my theories of which they cannot understand a word? I think it is funny and also interesting to observe. I am sure that it is the mystery of non-understanding that appeals to them...it impresses them, it has the colour and the appeal of the mysterious." Relativity was a fashionable notion. It promised to sweep away old absolutist notions and refurbish science with modern ideas. In art and literature too, revolutionary changes were doing away with old conventions and standards. All things were being made new. Einstein's relativity suited the mood. Nobody got very excited about Einstein's brownian motion or his photoelectric effect but relativity promised to turn the world inside out."

Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-05-17 22:25:58 UTC
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Dead (unfalsifiable) science:

"Unlike the Standard Model, even after fixing all the parameters, any inflationary model gives an infinite diversity of outcomes with none preferred over any other. This makes inflation immune from any observational test." https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/a-cosmic-controversy/

"This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue - explicitly - that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical." http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-defend-the-integrity-of-physics-1.16535

"Do physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories? You may think that the answer is an obvious yes, experimental confirmation being the very heart of science. But a growing controversy at the frontiers of physics and cosmology suggests that the situation is not so simple. [...] ...a mounting concern in fundamental physics: Today, our most ambitious science can seem at odds with the empirical methodology that has historically given the field its credibility." http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/opinion/a-crisis-at-the-edge-of-physics.html

"In recent years, however, many physicists have developed theories of great mathematical elegance, but which are beyond the reach of empirical falsification, even in principle. The uncomfortable question that arises is whether they can still be regarded as science. Some scientists are proposing that the definition of what is "scientific" be loosened, while others fear that to do so could open the door for pseudo-scientists or charlatans to mislead the public and claim equal space for their views." http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/what-happens-when-we-cant-test-scientific-theories

Why are theories unfalsifiable? Because they are not DEDUCTIVE, and this makes the idea of observational testing meaningless. A physics theory (model) should be DEDUCTIVE - its falsification could be logical (reductio ad absurdum) or empirical (experimental). The only alternative to deductive theory is empirical (in the sense defined by Einstein below) concoction - a "theory" that is not even wrong. Einstein clearly explains this here:

Albert Einstein: "From a systematic theoretical point of view, we may imagine the process of evolution of an empirical science to be a continuous process of induction. Theories are evolved and are expressed in short compass as statements of a large number of individual observations in the form of empirical laws, from which the general laws can be ascertained by comparison. Regarded in this way, the development of a science bears some resemblance to the compilation of a classified catalogue. It is, as it were, a purely empirical enterprise. But this point of view by no means embraces the whole of the actual process ; for it slurs over the important part played by intuition and deductive thought in the development of an exact science. As soon as a science has emerged from its initial stages, theoretical advances are no longer achieved merely by a process of arrangement. Guided by empirical data, the investigator rather develops a system of thought which, in general, is built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions, the so-called axioms."

Special relativity was indeed "built up logically from a small number of fundamental assumptions", that is, it was deductive (even though a false postulate and an invalid argument spoiled it from the very beginning), but general relativity was, to use Einstein's words, "a purely empirical enterprise". Einstein and his mathematical friends changed and fudged equations countless times until "a classified catalogue" was compiled where known in advance results and pet assumptions (such as the Mercury's precession, the equivalence principle, gravitational time dilation) coexisted in an apparently consistent manner. Being an empirical concoction, general relativity allows Einsteinians to introduce, change and withdraw fudge factors until the "theory" manages to predict anything Einsteinians want. Then the prediction turns out to be confirmed by observations (surprise surprise). So, as far as the unfalsifiability problem is concerned, THE ROOT OF THE EVIL IS GENERAL RELATIVITY.

The fudge-factor activity is inglorious and Einsteinians don't discuss it openly, but sometimes the truth comes out inadvertently. So conventional dark matter models based on general relativity "need four free parameters to be adjusted to explain the data" (how many fudge factors LIGO conspirators needed in order to model the nonexistent gravitational waves is a deep mystery):

"Verlinde's calculations fit the new study's observations without resorting to free parameters – essentially values that can be tweaked at will to make theory and observation match. By contrast, says Brouwer, conventional dark matter models need four free parameters to be adjusted to explain the data."

Being an empirical concoction, Einstein's general relativity has no postulates:

What are the postulates of General Relativity? Alexander Poltorak, Adjunct Professor of Physics at the CCNY: "In 2005 I started writing a paper, "The Four Cornerstones of General Relativity on which it doesn't Rest." Unfortunately, I never had a chance to finish it. The idea behind that unfinished article was this: there are four principles that are often described as "postulates" of General Relativity:

1. Principle of general relativity

2. Principle of general covariance

3. Equivalence principle

4. Mach principle

The truth is, however, that General Relativity is not really based on any of these "postulates" although, without a doubt, they played important heuristic roles in the development of the theory." [end of quotation]

Essentially, general relativity is equivalent to the "empirical models" defined here (that is, it is as much a theory as they are):

"The objective of curve fitting is to theoretically describe experimental data with a model (function or equation) and to find the parameters associated with this model. Models of primary importance to us are mechanistic models. Mechanistic models are specifically formulated to provide insight into a chemical, biological, or physical process that is thought to govern the phenomenon under study. Parameters derived from mechanistic models are quantitative estimates of real system properties (rate constants, dissociation constants, catalytic velocities etc.). It is important to distinguish mechanistic models from empirical models that are mathematical functions formulated to fit a particular curve but whose parameters do not necessarily correspond to a biological, chemical or physical property."

Here Michel Janssen describes the anti-deductive approach of Einstein and his mathematical friends - endlessly "adjusting the model" until "excellent agreement with observation" is reached:

Michel Janssen: "But - as we know from a letter to his friend Conrad Habicht of December 24, 1907 - one of the goals that Einstein set himself early on, was to use his new theory of gravity, whatever it might turn out to be, to explain the discrepancy between the observed motion of the perihelion of the planet Mercury and the motion predicted on the basis of Newtonian gravitational theory. [...] The Einstein-Grossmann theory - also known as the "Entwurf" ("outline") theory after the title of Einstein and Grossmann's paper - is, in fact, already very close to the version of general relativity published in November 1915 and constitutes an enormous advance over Einstein's first attempt at a generalized theory of relativity and theory of gravitation published in 1912. The crucial breakthrough had been that Einstein had recognized that the gravitational field - or, as we would now say, the inertio-gravitational field - should not be described by a variable speed of light as he had attempted in 1912, but by the so-called metric tensor field. The metric tensor is a mathematical object of 16 components, 10 of which independent, that characterizes the geometry of space and time. In this way, gravity is no longer a force in space and time, but part of the fabric of space and time itself: gravity is part of the inertio-gravitational field. Einstein had turned to Grossmann for help with the difficult and unfamiliar mathematics needed to formulate a theory along these lines. [...] Einstein did not give up the Einstein-Grossmann theory once he had established that it could not fully explain the Mercury anomaly. He continued to work on the theory and never even mentioned the disappointing result of his work with Besso in print. So Einstein did not do what the influential philosopher Sir Karl Popper claimed all good scientists do: once they have found an empirical refutation of their theory, they abandon that theory and go back to the drawing board. [...] On November 4, 1915, he presented a paper to the Berlin Academy officially retracting the Einstein-Grossmann equations and replacing them with new ones. On November 11, a short addendum to this paper followed, once again changing his field equations. A week later, on November 18, Einstein presented the paper containing his celebrated explanation of the perihelion motion of Mercury on the basis of this new theory. Another week later he changed the field equations once more. These are the equations still used today. This last change did not affect the result for the perihelion of Mercury. Besso is not acknowledged in Einstein's paper on the perihelion problem. Apparently, Besso's help with this technical problem had not been as valuable to Einstein as his role as sounding board that had earned Besso the famous acknowledgment in the special relativity paper of 1905. Still, an acknowledgment would have been appropriate. After all, what Einstein had done that week in November, was simply to redo the calculation he had done with Besso in June 1913, using his new field equations instead of the Einstein-Grossmann equations. It is not hard to imagine Einstein's excitement when he inserted the numbers for Mercury into the new expression he found and the result was 43", in excellent agreement with observation."

Pentcho Valev
Pentcho Valev
2017-05-18 07:49:18 UTC
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Suicidal science:

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Neil Turok: "It's the ultimate catastrophe: that theoretical physics has led to this crazy situation where the physicists are utterly confused and seem not to have any predictions at all."

Clifford Truesdell, The Tragicomical History of Thermodynamics, 1822-1854, p. 6: "Finally, I confess to a heartfelt hope - very slender but tough - that even some thermodynamicists of the old tribe will study this book, master the contents, and so share in my discovery: Thermodynamics need never have been the Dismal Swamp of Obscurity that from the first it was and that today in common instruction it is; in consequence, it need not so remain." [...] p. 333: "Clausius' verbal statement of the "Second Law" makes no sense, for "some other change connected therewith" introduces two new and unexplained concepts: "other change" and "connection" of changes. Neither of these finds any place in Clausius' formal structure. All that remains is a Mosaic prohibition. A century of philosophers and journalists have acclaimed this commandment; a century of mathematicians have shuddered and averted their eyes from the unclean."

Jos Uffink, Bluff your way in the Second Law of Thermodynamics: "I therefore argue for the view that the second law has nothing to do with the arrow of time. [...] Before one can claim that acquaintance with the Second Law is as indispensable to a cultural education as Macbeth or Hamlet, it should obviously be clear what this law states. This question is surprisingly difficult. The Second Law made its appearance in physics around 1850, but a half century later it was already surrounded by so much confusion that the British Association for the Advancement of Science decided to appoint a special committee with the task of providing clarity about the meaning of this law. However, its final report (Bryan 1891) did not settle the issue. Half a century later, the physicist/philosopher Bridgman still complained that there are almost as many formulations of the second law as there have been discussions of it. And even today, the Second Law remains so obscure that it continues to attract new efforts at clarification."

Peter Woit: "As far as this stuff goes, we're now not only at John Horgan's "End of Science", but gone past it already and deep into something different."

Harry Kroto: "The wrecking of British science [...] The scientific method is based on what I prefer to call the inquiring mindset. It includes all areas of human thoughtful activity that categorically eschew "belief", the enemy of rationality. This mindset is a nebulous mixture of doubt, questioning, observation, experiment and, above all, curiosity, which small children possess in spades. I would argue that it is the most important, intrinsically human quality we possess, and it is responsible for the creation of the modern, enlightened portion of the world that some of us are fortunate to inhabit. Curiously, for the majority of our youth, the educational system magically causes this capacity to disappear by adolescence. [...] Do I think there is any hope for UK? I am really not sure."

"But instead of celebrating, physicists are in mourning after a report showed a dramatic decline in the number of pupils studying physics at school. The number taking A-level physics has dropped by 38% over the past 15 years, a catastrophic meltdown that is set to continue over the next few years. The report warns that a shortage of physics teachers and a lack of interest from pupils could mean the end of physics in state schools. Thereafter, physics would be restricted to only those students who could afford to go to posh schools. Britain was the home of Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday and Paul Dirac, and Brits made world-class contributions to understanding gravity, quantum physics and electromagnetism - and yet the British physicist is now facing extinction. But so what? Physicists are not as cuddly as pandas, so who cares if we disappear?"

Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond: "La science souffre d'une forte perte de crédit, au sens propre comme au sens figuré : son soutien politique et économique, comme sa réputation intellectuelle et culturelle connaissent une crise grave. [...] Il est peut-être trop tard. Rien ne prouve, je le dis avec quelque gravité, que nous soyons capables d'opérer aujourd'hui ces nécessaires mutations. L'histoire, précisément, nous montre que, dans l'histoire des civilisations, les grands épisodes scientifiques sont terminés... [...] Rien ne garantit donc que dans les siècles à venir, notre civilisation, désormais mondiale, continue à garder à la science en tant que telle la place qu'elle a eue pendant quelques siècles."

"Nous nous trouvons dans une période de mutation extrêmement profonde. Nous sommes en effet à la fin de la science telle que l'Occident l'a connue", tel est constat actuel que dresse Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond, physicien théoricien, épistémologue et directeur des collections scientifiques des Editions du Seuil."

Pentcho Valev