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Author Topic:   Are Uranium Halos the best evidence of (a) an old earth AND (b) constant physics?
Dr Adequate
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Joined: 07-20-2006
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Message 136 of 137 (667819)
07-12-2012 1:18 PM


About Theories: Science And Pseudoscience
When Einstein came up with his theory about gravity, about the first thing he did was to check that if it was correct, planets would go round the sun in ellipses with the sun at one focus, the way that they are known to to.

This was because he wanted to make sure that his theory really did explain gravity and wasn't just a collection of words and equations with no relevance to reality. And he was able to do this because his theory had predictive power --- it said something about what reality should look like if Einstein was right, and so all he had to do was derive from his theory a prediction about planetary orbits and so see if it was really about reality or just about the imaginary physics of an imaginary reality that existed only in Einstein's head.

So, foreveryoung, if you want to claim to have a theory which explains gravity, you need to do something similar.

You could show that if your idea is right, planets would travel in ellipses; or that when I throw a stone, it'll travel in a parabola (modulo friction) or that a heavy object and a light one will be attracted to the Earth with forces proportional to their weights. Or you could try proving that if you're right, then an object I drop will fall down, towards the center of the Earth, and not up or sideways. That would be a start. Or you claim to be able to explain the speed of light. Splendid, calculate from your idea what the speed of light should be. If the answer you get is what the speed of light is measured to be, then we shall begin to think that we are in the presence of an undiscovered genius.

But you can't do any of that, because your idea has not yet attained even the status of a hypothesis. It doesn't have sufficient content that you, or I, or anyone, can derive predictions from it. In which case it fails to explain phenomena, 'cos of not predicting any.

This is the difference between pop-science physics and actual physics. When we have an actual scientific hypothesis, we can do something with it, and so it provides us with real understanding. When we have a pop-science explanation, all it does is give us the sensation of understanding some aspect of physics. But unless it relates in some way to an actual scientific theory, this sensation is false.


Replies to this message:
 Message 137 by NoNukes, posted 07-12-2012 10:09 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 137 of 137 (667864)
07-12-2012 10:09 PM
Reply to: Message 136 by Dr Adequate
07-12-2012 1:18 PM


Re: About Theories: Science And Pseudoscience
You could show that if your idea is right, planets would travel in ellipses; or that when I throw a stone, it'll travel in a parabola (modulo friction) or that a heavy object and a light one will be attracted to the Earth with forces proportional to their weights.

Just to expand on what Dr. A is saying, it is necessary that any new theory give results that match the old theory in places where the old theory is known to work. It is not fatal if some notions of the new theory involve a little handwaving, but it is fatal if those notions don't lead to a theory that matches the old theory in domains where the old theory is good.

It is also fatal if the notion cannot be used to make any calculations at all, but perhaps such a failure is only due to the lack of skill of the notioneer.

In addition, if the new theory is going to replace the old theory, then there need to be some observations where the new theory explains things that the old theory cannot. And despite the wishes of some, Biblical interpretations of Genesis are NOT scientific observations.

For both types of predictions, we need to be able to proceed from notion, no matter how hand-wavy to calculation in a rigorous way. It is not enough to say "light comes in quantized energies", but we must be able to show that such quantization requires a given result that matches a known observation. For example, when Plank postulated the energy of photons to be hf, he was able to mathematically produce a prediction of the spectrum for black bodies that matched reality extremely well.

Applying those principles to fy's notion that vacuum energy affects the speed of light or any other physical, a convincing argument would require:

1. A rigorous calculation showing that the notion leads to predictions known to be true.

2. A rigorous calculation showing that some known observation not predicted by current theory follows directly from the given notion.

Again the notion itself might involve some handwaving and plausibility based argument. I would suggest that something like the equivalence principle or invariance of physical laws would serve such a role in General Relativity. But Einstein's was able to proceed from those notions to accurately account for the orbit of Mercury including motions not modeled using Newtonian physics.

Fy has not yet done a convincing job of hand waving.

Splendid, calculate from your idea what the speed of light should be.

Alternatively, it would be okay to use the known speed of light as a constraint or boundary condition. But you'd still need to make some calculations that have the predictive power I oulined above. After making those calculations, and only after, we might take a look at what your notion leads to in domains that we cannot currently observe.

In which case it fails to explain phenomena, 'cos of not predicting any.

That's it in a nutshell. Exactly so.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison


This message is a reply to:
 Message 136 by Dr Adequate, posted 07-12-2012 1:18 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
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