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The Power Of Symmetry!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on May 7, 2002 18:05:27 UTC


I think you have done an excellent job of expounding on what I have done (I particularly like the parable); however, it has moved me to make a few comments.

***** Paul:
I didn't understand Yanniru's earlier challenge that Dick had assumed symmetry, and I didn't understand Dick's rebuttal to that claim.

Yanniru's original challenge was related to the fact that it is well known that, if one assumes certain symmetries, most of the laws of physics fall out (see Emmy Noether). In fact, I could make the side comment that it is exactly the power of symmetry theory which stands behind the theoretical machinations of string theory and QED. I would further state that Einstein's general theory of relativity is also deeply rooted in the power of symmetry. His particular symmetry, roughly put in layman's terms, was that there could exist no unique coordinate system which could be regarded superior to any other thus it had to be possible to express the laws of physics in what is commonly called a covariant form.

Yanniru's original argument with me was not at all concerned with what I had done but rather with my statement that I had made no assumptions as he knew full well that the assumption of these symmetries does indeed lead directly to many of the laws of physics. Apparently, from his current posts, he was never actually lead through that logical process as a student but rather accepted it as coming from on high (from the seats of authority), as it is quite clear that he is not at all familiar with the details of the proofs. This is not unusual as most professional physicists are not familiar with many of the details behind the physics outside their specialty. Physics is a very complex field involving many many areas of expertise. Anyone who claims expertise in all areas of physics is lying to you.

Now, my statement that I did not assume these symmetries is based on my recognition of a subtle internal loop in the logic behind our mental model of the universe. I realized that our "senses" must be part of the explanation and should not be thought of as part of what the model is trying to explain. Essentially, everyone else attributes their "senses" to reality and never considers their "senses" as part of their explanation of reality.

The result is, as we are trying to get a handle on what is "real", we certainly cannot attribute to reality anything which could be attributed to our senses. My conclusion is that any symmetry we find in the data submitted to us by our senses must be attributed to our senses and not to reality. To attribute it to reality is akin to attributing the apparent solid nature of my desk (I can't stick my finger through it) to reality and not to the consequences of physics (i.e., the explanation of the phenomena). Consider where we would be had all scientists taken the position that "if it feels solid, it is solid"!

Thus it is that any conceivable symmetry which leads to relations valuable or convenient to our physical survival should be expected to be part of our mental model of the universe and certainly cannot be thought of as a property of reality. To think that it is impossible for our senses (or our subconscious if you wish) to generate such illusions is foolhardy! We should instead, look for cases where these symmetries are broken! Now those situations tell us something about reality.

In essence I claim that the fact that our senses are part of the explanation requires these symmetries. A starting point quite different from the one chosen by the authorities and, actually, quite a bit more powerful from (sorry Harv) a philosophical perspective. In order to explain the world they find, the scientific authorities must assume reality possesses these symmetries because they sense them (the experiments display them); whereas, I show that I can construct a mental model of unconstrained data (the symmetries definitely not in the "knowable" data) which will display all of these symmetries! That is, it is not necessary at all to assume them!

***** Harv:
So, I don't understand the big deal. It is just telling us something that we already know.
nothing new is obtained.

Ah, but some new things are obtained! First, there is the realization that there must exist another symmetry which has not been studied by modern science: the symmetry of scale invariance. Now that is a symmetry they would not even consider to be rational; yet I show that, not only does it yield rational results, it inevitably leads directly to the requirement of special relativity. Where they had to postulate that the speed of light was constant, I show that symmetry of scale invariance directly results in exactly that consequence.

Secondly, my attack points out exactly where and why there is a conflict between relativity and quantum mechanics: the confused definition of time proposed by scientists! (Which I am sure will stand for many years to come considering how adamant they are that they are not confused at all! Which I find hysterically funny in view of the great many scientific articles I read on a regular basis discussing the unfathomability of time! Even though they will admit they don't understand what they are talking about, they know they are not confused! Now that's a hoot!)

Third, my method of including all possibilities of invented concepts is quite original with me and I am aware of nothing like it anywhere: i.e., the idea of directly including "unknowable" data.

Finally, the realization that any information in any form may be analyzed from the same perspective yield two very powerful results. First, there exists no rational explanation of the Universe which cannot be transformed into my model and, second, any closed problem conceivable can be mapped directly into physics (that makes it a very powerful tool indeed).

As far as I know, not only does no one understand exactly what I have done, very few even comprehend where I am coming from. That is a sad thing! But I have better things to do with my life so I am not going to worry about it.

Have fun -- Dick

PS Symmetry is the source of some very powerful logical arguments and anyone who wishes to think logically should look into the issue. You should understand and be able to put forward at least one symmetry based argument so that you understand the nature of the issues involved in a symmetry argument! Otherwise, you will never appreciate the power of those arguments. A symmetry argument is the only argument I am aware of which can actually produce facts from ignorance.

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