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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 5, 2001 17:34:52 UTC

John,

You have touched on an issue I think is very significant. Most people take the position that "there is no valid explanation outside the one I have come to believe". I would point out that even the scientific community takes that position.

It seems to me that there is no thing such as the correct "theory". In my head, one constructs some model (some mental image of the facts and the relations between the facts) and then proposes that the model accurately represents some aspect of reality. The theory, the idea subject to test, is that the model yields the correct results.

Such a test cannot be carried out to completion as it is always possible that some experiment in the future may invalidate your model (unless of course your model is subtly constructed to prevent invalidation). One is essentially left with the position that, so long as two (or more) theories both agree with the known experiments you cannot rationally eliminate one of them.

However, you can pick one to use as your personal guide to the answers of relevant questions. Now a rational choice there depends very much on your ability to use the theory. Belief in a theory you don't understand is worth very little.

Now, in the above, I have left out a certain set of explanations: those explanations which can not be invalidated. "God did it because he wanted to do it that way and the only thing you can do to help yourself is pray, and even then, you must be worthy of reward"! Please try to disprove that!

That is a great little model. It explains absolutely everything and I am aware of no experiment which can invalidate it. But you and I do not choose it! Why not? The answer is very simple, it provides very few if any usable solutions to the problems relevant to us.

Others choose it for exactly the same reason. To them, the "scientific" position provides very few if any usable solutions to the problems relevant to them.

Yes, we can point to thousands of things relevant to them flowing directly out of an understanding of science. But, not understanding science, they don't see the difference between that and the world their model presents to them.

That brings me to my model and the reason I say that I have presented no theory. What I have tried to do is to see if I could find a starting place for the abstract idea of model building itself that would provide some solid dependable way of analyzing ideas. This was to take into account simultaneously the two facts central to any rational model of anything: first that the model must be built with out knowing all the facts and second, that no facts can be outside the model.

What I found out when I set up the abstract design of the modeling procedure from an information perspective was that modern physics almost dropped out like a stone. That I found astounding. I see it as very akin to Newton's introduction of the idea of gravity except much more fundamental as it deals with the idea of mathematical modeling itself. Both ideas just make what used to be a very complex idea very simple.

Everybody seems to think I am challenging modern physics. I am not! I have merely discovered that modern physics flows directly from common sense at a very basic level.

Now there is a challenge to science in that the fact that their predictions are correct is seen not to be a defense of their model. Either I have made a mathematical error or the relations I deduced are relations which cannot be invalidated by any experiment: they are true by definition. It cannot be called a theory if it cannot be invalidated! I am not saying that what I have done is error free, it can be wrong; but, unless an error in the deduction can be found, it can no more be invalidated than the statement "God did it".

So, what I have presented is what I think to be a better model (better in that it is simpler, if one understands it). I see in it no challenge to any result of any experiment performed by science, nor to any mathematical relation discovered to be fact. Actually, I never even talk about these issues except to clarify the mapping of my model into theirs. What I do is provide them with a rational starting point whereas they provide none that can be clearly delineated!

I would like to hear your comments -- Dick

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