Dr. Bryan G. Wallace
FARCE OF PHYSICS
Chapter 1 Sacred Science The title of this book was inspired by Dr. Fritjof Capra's book The Tao of Physics. Capra, a theoretical physicist states: The purpose of this book is to explore this relationship between the concepts of modern physics and the basic ideas in the philosophical and religious traditions of the Far East. We shall see how the two foundations of twentieth-century physicsÄÄquantum theory and relativity theoryÄÄboth force us to see the world very much in the way a Hindu, Buddhist, or Taoist sees it, and how this similarity strengthens when we look at the recent attempts to combine these two theories in order to describe the phenomena of the submicroscopic world: the properties and interactions of the subatomic particles of which all matter is made. Here the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism are most striking, and we shall often encounter statements where it is almost impossible to say whether they have been made by physicists or Eastern mystics. [1 p.4] This presents an interesting question, what is the difference between modern physics and Eastern mysticism? There was a fascinating debate concerning creation-science published in the letters section of the journal Physics Today that directly relates to this question. The journal is sent free of charge to all members of the American Physical Society. The Society is the largest physics society in the world, and has world-wide membership. The letters section is popular, and is probably the most important communicative link between the world's physicists. The following quote is from a letter by Prof. Harry W. Ellis, a Professor of Physics at Eckerd College: On the other hand, the scientist (or anyone) who dismisses religion because the idea of an omnipotent God is logically inconsistent is guilty of intellectual hypocrisy. Does he or she think that science is free from inconsistencies? Perhaps he or she is not aware of the existence of Russell's paradox or Goedel's Theorem. Actually, aside from obvious methodological differences, science and theology have much in common. Each is an attempt to model reality, founded on unprovable articles of faith. If the existence of a benign supreme being is the fundamental assumption at the heart of religion, certainly the practice of science is founded on the unprovable hypothesis that the universe is rationalÄÄthat its behavior is subject to human understanding. Through science we construct highly useful models which permit us to understand the universe, in the sense of predicting its behavior. Let us not commit the elementary epistemological mistake of confusing the model with reality. Surely scientists, as well as religious leaders, should possess sufficient maturity to realize that whatever ultimate reality there may be is not directly accessible to mortal humans. Dr. Rodney B. Hall of the University of Iowa writes: Perhaps faith or the lack of it is simply a matter of indoctrination. You have been indoctrinated by the priests or the professors or both. Dr. John C. Bortz of the University of Rochester argues: Faith is not a valid cognitive procedure. When it is accepted as such, the process of rational argumentation degenerates into a contest of whims, and any idea, no matter how absurd or evil, may be successfully defended by claiming that those who advocate it feel, somehow, that it is right. In such a philosophical environment ideas are accepted not on the basis of how logical they are but rather on the basis of how much "feeling" their advocates seem to have. Unfortunately, the acceptance of ideas on this basis has been and continues to be the dominant epistemological trend in the world. Dr. Anthony L. Peratt of Los Alamos states: It is almost amusing to see the proponents of Big Bang cosmology, who have themselves been accused of fostering a religious intolerance toward those who question whether the foundations of the Big Bang hypothesis are scientifically justifiable, now getting a dose of their own medicine from biblical creationists. Dr. Carl A. Zapffe presents the view that: Science deserves every whack it gets from the so-called creationists, for a charge of puritanical posture belongs as much to one side as to the other. The governing body of the American Physical Society has released the following official statement on the matter: The Council of The American Physical Society opposes proposals to require "equal time" for presentation in public school science classes of the biblical story of creation and the scientific theory of evolution. The issues raised by such proposals, while mainly focused on evolution, have important implications for the entire spectrum of scientific inquiry, including geology, physics, and astronomy. In contrast to "Creationism," the systematic application of scientific principles has led to a current picture of life, of the nature of our planet, and of the universe which, while incomplete, is constantly being tested and refined by observation and analysis. This ability to construct critical experiments, whose results can require rejection of a theory, is fundamental to the scientific method. While our society must constantly guard against oversimplified or dogmatic descriptions of science in the education process, we must also resist attempts to interfere with the presentation of properly developed scientific principles in establishing guidelines for classroom instruction or in the development of scientific textbooks. We therefore strongly oppose any requirement for parallel treatment of scientific and non-scientific discussions in science classes. Scientific inquiry and religious beliefs are two distinct elements of the human experience. Attempts to present them in the same context can only lead to misunderstandings of both. I expect that the average scientist would agree with the following argument presented by Dr. Michael A. Seeds: ...A pseudoscience is something that pretends to be a science but does not obey the rules of good conduct common to all sciences. Thus such subjects are false sciences. True science is a method of studying nature. It is a set of rules that prevents scientists from lying to each other or to themselves. Hypotheses must be open to testing and must be revised in the face of contradictory evidence. All evidence must be considered and all alternative hypotheses must be explored. The rules of good science are nothing more than the rules of good thinkingÄÄthat is, the rules of intellectual honesty.[8 p.A5] This brings up an interesting question; Do scientists actually practice what they preach? The evidence clearly shows that the average scientist tends not to use the rules of good science. In fact, it appears that Protestant ministers are inclined to have more intellectual honesty than Ph.D. scientists. To document this fact, I will quote from an article titled "Researchers Found Reluctant to Test Theories" by Dr. David Dickson: Despite the emphasis placed by philosophers of science on the importance of "falsification"ÄÄthe idea that one of a scientist's main concerns should be to try to find evidence that disproves rather than supports a particular hypothesisÄÄexperiments reported at the AAAS annual meeting suggest that research workers are in practice reluctant to put their pet theories to such a test. In a paper on self-deception in science, Michael J. Mahoney of the University of California at Santa Barbara described the results of a field trial in which a group of 30 Ph.D. scientists were given 10 minutes to find the rule used to construct a sequence of three numbers, 2,4,6, by making up new sequences, inquiring whether they obeyed the same rule, and then announcing (or "publishing") what they concluded the rule to be when they felt sufficiently confident. The results obtained by the scientists were compared to those achieved by a control group of 15 Protestant ministers. Analysis showed that the ministers conducted two to three times more experiments for every hypothesis that they put forward, were more than three times slower in "publishing" their first hypothesis, and were only about half as likely as the scientists to return to a hypothesis that had already been disconfirmed. There is an interesting article by Dr. T. Theocharis and Dr. M. Psimopoulos of the Department of Physics of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London titled "Where science has gone wrong," that explores the arguments put forth by prominent scientists and philosophers with regard to the nature of modern science. The following is several quotes from that article: On 17 and 22 February 1986 BBC television broadcast, in the highly regarded Horizon series, a film entitled "Science ... Fiction?", and in the issue of 20 February 1986 The Listener published an article entitled "The Fallacy of Scientific Objectivity". As is evident from their titles, these were attacks against objectivity, truth and science.... This state of affairs is bad enough. But things are even worse: perversely, many individual scientists and philosophers seem bent on questioning and rejecting the true theses, and supporting the antitheses. For example, most of the participants in the "Science ... Fiction?" film were academic scientists.... Popper also thought that observations are theory-laden. He phrased it thus: "Sense-data, untheoretical items of observation, simply do not exist.... But if observations are theory-laden, this means that observations are simply theories, and then how can one theory falsify (never mind verify) another theory?... So back to square one: if verifiability and falsifiability are not the criteria, then what makes a proposition scientific? It is hard to discern the answer to this question in Lakatos's writings. But if any answer is discerned at all, it is one that contradicts flagrantly the motto of the Royal Society: "I am not bound to swear as any master dictates". This answer is more obvious in Thomas Kuhn's writings: a proposition is scientific if it is sanctioned by the scientific establishment. (Example: if the scientific establishment decrees that "fairies exist", then this would be scientific indeed.) According to Kuhn, science is not the steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge that was portrayed in old-fashioned textbooks. Rather, it is an endless succession of long peaceful periods which are violently interrupted by brief intellectual revolutions. During the peaceful period, which Kuhn calls "normal science", scientists are guided by a set of theories, standards and methods, which Kuhn collectively designates as a "paradigm". (Others call it a "world-view".) During a revolution, the old paradigm is violently overthrown and replaced by a new one.... Kuhn's view, that a proposition is scientific if it is sanctioned by the scientific establishment, gives rise to the problematic question: what exactly makes an establishment "scientific"? This particular Gordian knot was cut by Paul Feyerabend: any proposition is scientificÄÄ"There is only one principle that can be defended under all circumstances and in all stages of human development. It is the principle: Anything goes".... In 1979 Science published a four-page complimentary feature about Feyerabend, the Salvador Dali of academic philosophy, and currently the worst enemy of science. In this article Feyerabend was quoted as stating that "normal science is a fairy tale" and that "equal time should be given to competing avenues of knowledge such as astrology, acupuncture, and witchcraft." Oddly, religion was omitted. For according to Feyerabend (and the "Science ... Fiction?" film too), religionÄÄand everything elseÄÄis an equally valid avenue of knowledge. In fact on one occasion Feyerabend characteristically put science on a par with "religion, prostitution and so on." The above mentioned Prof. Thomas S. Kuhn, was a man who wrote a controversial book on science. In an interview of Kuhn by John Horgan on page 40 of the May 1991 issue of the prestigious US journal SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, we find the following: ... "The book" The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, commonly called the most influential treatise ever written on how science does (or does not) proceed. Since its publication in 1962, it has sold nearly a million copies in 16 languages, and it is still fundamental reading in courses on the history and philosophy of science. The book is notable for having spawned that trendy term "paradigm." It also fomented the now trite idea that personalities and politics play a large role in science. Perhaps the book's most profound argument is less obvious: scientists can never fully understand the "real world" or evenÄÄto a crucial degreeÄÄone another... Denying the view of science as a continual building process, Kuhn asserts that a revolution is a destructive as well as a creative event. The proposer of a new paradigm stands on the shoulders of giants and then bashes them over the head. He or she is often young or new to the field, that is, not fully indoctrinated.... Dr. Spencer Weart directs the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics in New York. In his interesting article THE PHYSICIST AS MAD SCIENTIST published in Physics Today, he writes: The public image of the scientist partly evolved out of ideas about wizards. Here was an impressive figure, known to all from early childhood, reaching back through ancient sorcery legends to prehistoric shamans.[17 p.28] Prof. Albert Einstein states the following on the general lack of scientific integrity in the temple of science: In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside.[39 p.224] In Ronald W. Clark's definitive biography of Einstein, we find what Einstein means when he makes the above statement pertaining to the Lord, or some of his other famous statements such as "God is subtle, but he is not malicious" or "God does not play dice with the world.": However Einstein's God was not the God of most other men. When he wrote of religion, as he often did in middle and later life, he tended to adopt the belief of Alice's Red Queen that "words mean what you want them to mean," and to clothe with different names what to more ordinary mortalsÄÄand to most JewsÄÄlooked like a variant of simple agnosticism. Replying in 1929 to a cabled inquiry from Rabbi Goldstein of New York, he said that he believed "in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of men." And it is claimed that years later, asked by Ben-Gurion whether he believed in God, "even he, with his great formula about energy and mass, agreed that there must be something behind the energy." No doubt. But much of Einstein's writing gives the impression of belief in a God even more intangible and impersonal than a celestial machine minder, running the universe with undisputable authority and expert touch. Instead, Einstein's God appears as the physical world itself, with its infinitely marvelous structure operating at atomic level with the beauty of a craftsman's wristwatch, and at stellar level with the majesty of a massive cyclotron. This was belief enough. It grew early and rooted deep. Only later was it dignified by the title of cosmic religion, a phrase which gave plausible respectability to the views of a man who did not believe in a life after death and who felt that if virtue paid off in the earthly one, then this was the result of cause and effect rather than celestial reward. Einstein's God thus stood for an orderly system obeying rules which could be discovered by those who had the courage, the imagination, and the persistence to go on searching for them. And it was to this task which he began to turn his mind soon after the age of twelve. For the rest of his life everything else was to seem almost trivial by comparison.[38 p.38] In an expansion of Einstein's views with regard to a scientific cosmic religion, Clark states: Maybe. To some extent the differences between Einstein and more conventional believers were semantic, a point brought out in his "Religion and Science" which, on Sunday, November 9, occupied the entire first page of the New York Times Magazine. "Everything that men do or think," it began, "concerns the satisfaction of the needs they feel or the escape from pain." Einstein then went on to outline three states of religious development, starting with the religion of fear that moved primitive people, and which in due course became the moral religion whose driving force was social feelings. This in turn could become the "cosmic religious sense ... which recognizes neither dogmas nor God made in man's image." And he then put the key to his ideas in two sentences. "I assert that the cosmic religious experience is the strongest and noblest driving force behind scientific research." And, as a corollary, "the only deeply religious people of our largely materialistic age are the earnest men of research."[38 p.516] With reference to the general view of most scientists with regard to science and religion, there is a very interesting FOCAL POINT article in the journal Sky & Telescope by Dr. Paul Davies, a professor of mathematical physics at the University of Adelaide Australia. The title of the article is What Hath COBE Wrought?, and the following statements are from the article: THE BLAZE of publicity that accompanied the recent discovery of ripples in the heat radiation from the Big Bang focused attention once again on the subject of God and creation. Commentators disagree on the theological significance of what NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE, found. Some referred to the ripples as the "fingerprint of God," while others lashed out at what they saw as the scientists' attempt to demystify God's last refuge. When the Big Bang theory became popular in the 1950s, many people used it to support the belief that the universe was created by God at some specific moment in the past. And some still regard the Big Bang as "the creation" ÄÄ a divine act to be left beyond the scope of science.... Cosmologist regard the Big Bang as marking the origin of space and time, as well as of matter and energy.... This more sophisticated, but abstract, idea of God adapts well to the scientific picture of a universe subject to timeless eternal laws.... If time itself began with the Big Bang, then the question "What caused the Big Bang?" is rendered meaningless.... New and exciting theories of quantum cosmology seek to explain the origin of the universe within the framework of scientific law. Their central feature is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which permits genuine spontaneity in nature. As a result, the tight linkage between cause and effect so characteristic of classical physics is loosened. Quantum events do not need well-defined prior causes; they can be regarded as spontaneous fluctuations. It is then possible to imagine the universe coming into being from nothing entirely spontaneously, without violating any laws. Sir Isaac Newton, in his reasoning in support of the particle (corpuscular) model of light in space, as opposed to the wave in ether model, presented the argument: Against filling the Heavens with fluid mediums, unless they be exceeding rare, a great Objection arises from the regular and very lasting motions of the Planets and Comets. For thence it is manifest, that the Heavens are void of all sensible resistance, and by consequence of all sensible matter. In 1846 Michael Faraday wrote in his diary: All I can say is, that I do not perceive in any part of space, whether (to use the common phrase) vacant or filled with matter, anything but forces and the lines in which they exerted. This was the beginning of the dominant modern physics theories, where it is the geometric and physical conditions of space itself that is fundamental. Prof. Eyvind H. Wichmann, in the Berkeley Physics Course, Volume 4, quantum physics, presents the following argument: 35 Today the mechanical ether has been banished from the world of physics, and the word "ether" itself, because of its "bad" connotations, no longer occurs in textbooks on physics. We talk ostentatiously about the "vacuum" instead, thereby indicating our lack of interest in the medium in which waves propagate. We no longer ask what it is that "really oscillates" when we study electromagnetic waves or de Broglie waves. All we wish to do is to formulate wave equations for these waves, through which we can predict experimentally observable phenomena.... There is a popular argument that the world's oldest profession is sexual prostitution. I think that it is far more likely that the oldest profession is scientific prostitution, and that it is still alive and well, and thriving in the 20th century. I suspect that long before sex had any commercial value, the prehistoric shamans used their primitive knowledge to acquire status, wealth, and political power, in much the same way as the dominant scientific and religious politicians of our time do. So in a sense, I tend to agree with Weart's argument that the earliest scientists were the prehistoric shamans, and the argument of Feyerabend that puts science on a par with religion and prostitution. I also tend to agree with the argument of Ellis that states that both science and theology have much in common, and both attempt to model reality on arguments based on unprovable articles of faith. Using the logic that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it must be a duck: I support the argument that since there is no significant difference between science and religion, science should be considered a religion! I would also agree with Ellis' argument of the obvious methodological differences between science and the other religions. The other dominant religions are static because their arguments are based on rigid doctrines set forth by their founders, such as Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, who have died long ago. Science on the other hand, is a dynamic religion that was developed by many men over a long period of time, and it has a flexible doctrine, the scientific method, that demands that the arguments change to conform to the evolving observational and experimental evidence. The word science was derived from the Latin word scientia, which means knowledge, so we see that the word, in essence, is just another word for knowledge. An associate of mine, Prof. Richard Rhodes II, a Professor of Physics at Eckerd College, once told me that students in his graduate school used to joke that Ph.D. stood for Piled higher and Deeper. If one considers the vast array of abstract theoretical garbage that dominates modern physics and astronomy, this appears to be an accurate description of the degree. Considering the results from Mahoney's field trial that showed Protestant ministers were two to three times more likely to use scientific methodology than Ph.D. scientists, it seems reasonable to consider that they have two to three times more right to be called scientists then the so-called Ph.D. scientists. I would agree with Popper's argument that observations are theory-laden, and there is no way to prove an argument beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt, but at the very least, the scientist should do more than pay lip service to the scientific method. The true scientist must have faith and believe in the scientific method of testing theories, and not in the theories themselves. I agree with Seeds argument that "A pseudoscience is something that pretends to be a science but does not obey the rules of good conduct common to all sciences." Because many of the dominant theories of our time do not follow the rules of science, they should more properly be labeled pseudoscience. The people who tend to believe more in theories than in the scientific method of testing theories, and who ignore the evidence against the theories they believe in, should be considered pseudoscientists and not true scientists. To the extent that the professed beliefs are based on the desire for status, wealth , or political reasons, these people are scientific prostitutes. I agree with Newton's argument that if light was a wave in the ether, the ether would have to be nonsensible matter. Calling the ether space or vacuum does not solve the problem. Its existence is based on blind faith and not experimental evidence. As I will show in the following Chapters, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that light is a particle, as Newton predicted. The fact that most modern physicists have refused to objectively consider this evidence, has made a farce of physics. This empty space of modern physics is a supernatural solid that can have infinite temperature and density. A spot of this material that is smaller than an atom is supposed to have created the entire universe.[8 p.325] This physical material has become the God of most modern physicists!