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Dr. Dick And Prof. G. Gamow's Physics Principles

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Posted by Alan on February 17, 2002 02:07:30 UTC

Hi Dr. Dick,

All scientific experiments require witnesses. The question at issue seems to be "verification", and the number and quality of witnesses.

The Copernican theory of the solar system was "proven wrong" and remained "falsified" for centuries. The theory had predicted a slight change in relative positions of nearby stars from Earth over 6 months (Parrallax).

No parrallax was found. But eventually it was discovered that science had used mistaken values for the distances to the nearest stars. The stars were much further away; and the much smaller parrallax than originally predicted was found.

What this shows is that even a theory shown to be "wrong" can turn out to be right; and the "falsification" of the theory can turn out to be an illusion.

That doesn't mean every crazy theory will turn out to be right; just that every crazy-theory needs to be regarded as a package includng a bunch of other assumptions, theories etc.

Just because SOME of a person's claims may seem as insupportable as "belief in unicorns", does not mean ALL their thinking is faulty. Also, some of my claims ARE supported by other evidence. Oliver Sacks not only figured that "humans must be self-referent through and through"; but that all their experiences are stored somewhere.

That corroborates my claim that one's baby experiences are not lost, only hidden.

Michio Kaku's analysis of the logic of higher dimension space corroborates extreme-sounding claims I make about events when I was newborn.

Just as it took time before Copernicus was vindicated, it may take time before my infant-recall-claims are vindicated.

Regardless of this; any alleged dodgy-witness-type-claims attributed to me, do not automatically invalidate EVERYTHING I say.

My analysis of the symmetry tables you get when a 3-views-in-1 object exchanges a view with another such object; which appears to deliver the patterns of string theory; can still be correct even if some of my other claims might be questionable.

Physicists apparantly ignored your discoveries because they didn't understand or want to understand them. Not too nice an experience for the discoverer!

While one may be free to disregard whatever one wants for whatever reason; in practice people guess whether the effort of trying to understand something will deliver much of a dividend. But a student wouldn't learn much if they ignored everything they didn't understand!

Re: Planck's constant: maybe it is irrelevant because it is like a mirror that generates self-reference. It seems to me that "time" is an oversimplified concept that reflects over and over in physics; analogous to looking at a reflection between two mirrors- it keeps repeating smaller and smaller, mirror in mirror, to infinity.

I wrote this to Yanniru above:

Regretably science is in some ways medieval in its attitude. In front of me I have a book, 1939 vintage, called: "Mr. Tomkins In Wonderland" by G. Gamow (professor of theoretical physics at the George Washington University).

On page 32 I find: "but as a matter of fact, this is the fundamental principle of modern physics - never to speak about the things you cannot know. All modern physical theory is based on this principle, whereas the philosophers usually overlook it."

Page 33: "The things which cannot be observed are good only for idle thinking - you have no restrictions in inventing them, and no possibility of checking their existence, or making any use of them".

Now maybe people who think that way would reject modern string theory as idle speculation, as the superstrings are way too small for there to appear much hope of detecting them. So some people describe string theory as a useless theory.

But I disagree with Gamow. Ironically, Dr. Dick seems to overly obey what Gamow wrote, yet also he disobeys it. He obeys it by saying he can ignore un-scientific looking stuff; but then he disregards Gamow by indulging in abstract thinking and apparantly treating "observation" as irrelevant.

(Dr. Dick: I guess you disregard "sole" observations; but one could argue that a "group observation" is still "a sole observation of" a "group observation" from the perspective of any one member of the group of scientists. This suggests that all observations are "sole" at some level?)

I disagree with Gamow because: "..cannot know" he says. "Cannot"? Using such a word amounts to pre-judging the future- who is to say what you might be cabable of knowing one day? Pre-judging the future means using induction- and inductive arguments are not logically valid, philosophers say.

What if Gamow had said "never speak of the things you DO not know"? When you look at the situation honestly; it is impossible to speak of things you do not know. If you can speak of something, you know at least something about it. This is demonstrable by appeal to honesty.

Suppose someone speaks of "dragons on the surface of a planet in galaxy M31". But in honesty; the full sentence must read: "imaginary dragons on the surface of an imaginary planet in galaxy M31".
And of course, the speaker DOES know about these imaginary dragons- as it was they who imagined them, and they who defines them.

Of course if that person makes a CLAIM that the dragons are real and not imagined, you might ask them for evidence. Debating the claim though is still debating something real and known: the real CLAIM that the person made.

My point is that if one is precise and honest, there is always a point at which reality can be distinguished.

I think what Gamow's physics principle really amounts to in practice is "never talk about what is logically excluded from having relevance to physics" - because he refers to Kant reflecting on properties of objects as they "are in themselves", not as they "appear to us".

But even this is presumptious- as it assumes that in logic you cannot know such a thing. True, you would have to be the object itself to fully know what it is to be that object (though you might know a lot by seeing the object via the Creator).
But it's not really an issue: whatever Kant was up to; if one is precise and honest; one has to put in words like "imagined by Kant to be..." and of course you can talk about what Kant imagines.

So maybe Gamow objects to physicists talking about what they imagine. But the history of physics doesn't reflect that. Einstein figured out that the speed of light was a constant without knowing the Michelson-Morely result. Dirac at times went with mathematical equations on grounds they were so beautiful they must be relevant; not on hard evidence. The equations predicting positrons came before the positrons were found in the lab.

My approach is "notice what exists"; the 5 senses are not the only ways of detecting existence. You know if you detect something- detecting a "doubt" or "the sense that something doesn't seem right about something" involves detecting existence of a phenomenon outside the 5 senses.

Since strictly you can only consider what is known (in the broad sense)(because if you didn't know it you couldn't think it); the key to being more scientific is to be more honest and more precise. You can speculate- honesty allows awareness that it IS speculation. A sense that the speculation is correct is something real: a real 'sense that...'. So reality always opens a door on more reality.

Regards,

Alan

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