Posts Tagged ‘Relativity’

What Is “Moral” To A Lion?

February 13, 2017

What Is Moral To A Chimpanzee?

What is the Origin of Human Morality?

Individual Morality May Vary, But Social Morality, Which Also Varies, Is Absolutely Dependent Upon Circumstances:

Natural scientists will say that one has to start with human ethology, the behavior of man au naturel. However, that’s a bit delicate, as there is nothing natural about man, since the genus Homo wages war and uses weapons and tools, to the point man cannot do without.

Nevertheless, morality has stabilized in the last 25 centuries in most ways (especially now that women are treated with natural equality).

The mos maiorum (“way of the elders”; plural of mos, behavior, is “mores”).  The unwritten code of the Republican Romans, comprising: Fides, Disciplina, Pietas, Gravitas, Religio, Cultus, Dignitas, Auctoritas, Virtus…  

This is where the concept of “Moral” comes from.

These behaviors, as a set, enabled the Roman Republic to survive for 5 centuries (or more, if one considers the empire and the subsequent “Christian Republic” as an extension of the Republic, as the Roman did; de facto, we are still under basic Roman secular law, 25 centuries later).

This gives a philosophical hint. Philosophy is the art of guessing what could be, may be, could well be, ought to be, etc. For morality, it is beyond a guess:    

“Mores”, “Morality” has to do with survival. Morality is the set of behaviors which insures survival. 

Temple of Baalshiman, Palmyra. Insulted by the Bible in Connection with Human Sacrifices. Its Destruction by Islamists in 2015 (right).

Temple of Baalshiman, Palmyra. Insulted by the Bible in Connection with Human Sacrifices. Its Destruction by Islamists in 2015 (right).

There is a continuum between natural and (epi-)genetic ethology, and cultural ethology: the study of chimpanzees shows this. The very Christian Jane Goodall found, to her dismay, that the chimpanzees she studied made, over many years, a systematic war of extermination against another group of chimps.

The origin of morality is survival. The set of all moral behaviors (“mores”) is the set which enables survival. Survival of the individual, the group, a society, even a civilization.

Carthage was, in its times, 25 centuries ago, one of the most advanced societies. Its sailors captured gorillas, and circumnavigated Africa. Trading with Black Africa for fish was intense. Carthaginian agriculture in semidesertic conditions was so advanced, Roman preserved the book (while destroying all others). However, Carthage practiced childhood sacrifices extensively and routinely (archeologists seem to have demonstrated, confirming the stories already found in the Bible, Leviticus).

Another example: Polynesian societies needed to corral strongly behaviors and human population on their delicate islands. Hence taboos (don’t fish there, don’t go into that valley, etc.) and cannibalism (often entangled with religion, as Captain Cook experienced).

The Aztecs, deprived of massive proteins aside from a giant salamander (differently from other civilizations around Mexico, which had access to large quantities of fish). The Aztecs made a religion centered on human butchery, up to thousands eaten in a few days… (This made the Aztecs unpopular in Mesoamerica, and enabled Cortez to rise an army of 80,000 natives to fight the Aztecs, enormously amplifying his very small army of few thousands Spaniards).

Astrophysics professor, and proud principal investigator Coel Hellier states:  If “it is morally good” doesn’t mean “I approve of it” then what does it mean? When Stephen Law says that science cannot tell us “what one ought or ought not to do”, what does the phrase “ought to do”, as used there, actually mean? These are fun questions to ask a moral realist. We ought to do it because it is morally good … and it is morally good because we ought to do it, and … but so far I’ve never come across an actual answer.”

A society determines what it ought to do to survive, and derives a morality from it, that all individuals “ought” to obey (“mores”, social morality). However, to survive, or lessen pain, a given crazed, or, simply, distressed, individual may well decide that she/he needs to violate the social morality, and follow her/his own ways of doing things.

Hence morality is relative between societies, and between individuals and society. However, given a long-established society, morality is absolute.

Roman Republican morality cracked around 150 BCE, due to Roman globalocracy (which enabled Roman plutocrats to come into existence, and ever grow in power). The collapse of that morality proximally brought the non-enforcement of anti-plutocratic laws (although the assassinated Gracchi tried to reinforce them). Soon plutocrats were at each others’ throats, as they dominated the Roman world (contemplate the situation today!). Massive and continuous civil wars ensued, followed by Augustus’ Principate in 27 BCE, as that wily youngster was able to muster the declining strength of the moribund Republica to his command.

However, the basic Roman Republican morality was embodied by Republican Roman law, whose basic framework survived even the Christo-fascism of the Fourth Century. Roman secular law was refurbished under Roman emperor Justinian (529 CE to 565 CE), and separated from Christian Sharia. Roman secular law was transmitted by the Imperium Francorum: it fit well with the Salic Law of the Franks. Roman secular law survives to this day as the basic legal framework of the present civilization. (This partly explains why the present civilization is not Christian: it does not fllow Christian law, but Ethological Law, also known as Roman Law.)

That morality is time-tested. It’s also the morality closest to natural ethology. So it’s not relative. It’s pretty much absolute. Hence a very good foundation on which to wage war in its defense.

Patrice Ayme’

Relativity, Absolute Frame, Simultaneity, Action At A Distance

September 15, 2016

Quantum Physics comes with an instantaneous action at a distance. A simultaneity. I call it the QI, the Quantum Interaction.

This simultaneity, this action at a distance, has baffled Relativity enthusiasts. See “Taming The Quantum Spooks”.

According to Einsteinian lore, one cannot have such an “instantaneous” interaction, it would contradict “Relativity”. (From my point the interaction is not instantaneous, just more than 10^10 c, that is 10^10 the speed of light, at least.)

Jules Henri Poincaré asserted the Principle of Relativity (1904) and demonstrated that, supposing that the speed of light was always constant, one could get all the equations of Special Relativity. Then Einstein, opportunistically jumping on the immensely famous Poincaré’s work, asserted that the Frenchman’s work showed that the speed of light was constant (whereas a more cautious  Poincaré asserted earlier that, considering that the speed of light was always found experimentally to be constant, one should view that as a law of physics). Of course, Einstein did not quote the French, as he was a good Swabian (and not a good European), keen to ride, as his mentor Planck was, Prussian fascism.

This Field Of Galaxies Defines An Absolute Frame. It Is Plain To See, Only Years Of Learning Academic Physics Can Brainwash Someone, Not To See It.

This Field Of Galaxies Defines An Absolute Frame. It Is Plain To See, Only Years Of Learning Academic Physics Can Brainwash Someone, Not To See It.

Poincaré knew very well Lorentz’s Local Time theory, which he had helped established, in the preceding quarter of a century. However, Jules Henri still believed in Absolute Time (Einstein did not).

Why to believe in Absolute Time? Poincaré did not wax lyrical on the subject. He actually said nothing (contrarily to Nobel laureate Bergson twenty years later, who violently contradicted Einstein). Nor did any physicist, in the meantime (110 years), dare defend Absolute Time (we have lived in an Einstein terror regime!) But this what Quantum Physics quietly does and what I will now dare to do (if I can contradict professional Salafists, I surely can dare to contradict professional physicists).

Suppose we have an absolute reference frame. Bring a light clock there, at rest, call that time: Absolute time. One can slow transport clocks (say using chemical rockets, and taking 100,000 years to get to Proxima Centauri) all over the universe, establishing UNIVERSAL TIME. Relativistic effects depend upon vv/cc. The square of speed, divided by the square of the speed of light c. If v/c is small, vv/cc is even much smaller, and negligible. (Poincaré showed this first.)

So is there an absolute reference frame? Sure. That frame is the one steady relative to distance pulsars, quasars, distant galaxies, etc. (no rotation) and steady relative to the Cosmological Background Radiation. Then one can talk about simultaneity, absolute time, and thus instantaneous interaction at a distance.

(This is one approach; there is another approach of mine, more mathematical, using the fact a manifold of dimension n can be embedded in one of dimension 2n +1 (Whitney). Or then one can use the celebrated Nash’ embedding theorem.)

There is no contradiction of Absolute Time theory, or should we say, possibility, with Local Time Theory (LTT). LTT is about light clocks. Relativity is about light clocks. Yet we know of other interactions… plus the QUANTUM INTERACTION.

BTW, in “General Relativity”, “Einstein’s theory of gravitation”, the speed of light is not constant. Even Einstein recognized this.

Conclusion? One can profitably consider Ian Miller’s “Dark Energy and Modern Science“. Even physicists can believe what they believe in, on the most important fundamentals, because it is fashionable, a rite one has to believe in, so that one can become an initiated member of the tribe. And the more absurd the belief, the better.

Patrice Ayme’


Relativistic MASS FROM TIME Dilation

March 25, 2016

[Original research to make physics understandable to We The People.]

A reason for the stall of theoretical physics in the last 40 years? Physicists have not enough intuitive understanding of physics (in particular, of what is important in physics). The phenomenon affects both Relativity and Quantum Physics. Both Twentieth Century fields are more philosophically subtle than vulgar physicists think. One needs more context than the usual credo has it.

Here is my intuitive proof of the famous relativistic mass formula. It explains intuitively an observation made late in the Nineteenth Century (19C): when particles are accelerated, they augment in mass, rather than speed. Relativistic Mass Basic

Buridan contemplated “impetus”, which we now call “momentum” = MV. When A Force Is Applied Indefinitely, V, The Speed, Stalls, While M Keeps On Augmenting.

I reveal that: The basic reason for the augmentation of “relativistic mass” is that FORCE GETS DILUTED BY LOCAL TIME… DILUTION. (This apparent play on words reflects exactly what’s going on!)

The fundamental fact of The Theory of Relativity is TIME DILATION. Time Dilation says that, when something moves fast, time there runs slows. Time Dilation is shocking to those who do not understand where it comes from (I will treat it in another essay). Time Dilation in a moving frame is not an axiom in physics, because it can be easily demonstrated theoretically, or experimentally. It comes from the constancy of the speed of light (locally, in any frame of reference).

Relativity compares physics in the frame at rest R, with physics in the moving frame, M. (So Relativity is relative, but not as relative that some physicists, in particular Einstein, have made it sound. See my future “Time Dilation”.) Say v is the speed of M relative to R (as usual, c denotes the speed of light).

Time in the moving M slows down relative to time in the resting R:

Time of M = (Time of R) [Square Root (1- vv/cc)]. This is Time Dilation.

Basics Theorems Of Relativity. Time Dilation (the middle one) Implies The Other Two. Time Dilation Is Itself A Theorem

Basics Theorems Of Relativity. Time Dilation (the middle one) Implies The Other Two. Time Dilation Is Itself A Theorem

The Local Time Equation (Middle) Implies Both the Local Length Contraction Equation, and the “Relativistic Mass: Equation

What is a force? Anything which changes momentum. Say the force F consists into a flow of particles (a bit like quanta, in a way). Let’s call it the STRAFING. The particles have all equal mass, and the same momentum, they arrive at equal intervals, and they travel perpendicularly to the trajectory of the mass m.

If m was standing still, at rest in R (the “rest reference frame”), F would progressively accelerate m (BURIDAN law). Now suppose m is moving at rest in M, that is at v, relative to R. Now in M, time runs slow. This means that m gets hit a lot more by the STRAFING.

Because visualize this: the STRAFFING (= the application of the force F) is launched inside R, the “rest frame”. But it is received in M. So the frequency of hits in M is lower by [Square Root (1- vv/cc)]. That means the force on m, in M, is lower by that amount. In other words, m in M, viewed from R, behaves exactly as if its inertial mass was not m, but m/[Square Root (1 – vv/cc)] .   Here is my little theory in a drawing (the text below will explain the details):

Force Can Be Viewed As Transfer Of Momentum ("Impetus") By Quanta. Clearly Then It Is Received Slowly Because Time Dilation

Force Can Be Viewed As Transfer Of Momentum (“Impetus”) By Quanta. Clearly Then It Is Received Slowly Because Time Dilation

The application of force in the moving frame Is DILUTED by Time Dilation. So Inertial Mass appears larger by as much as Local time is dilated.

In the drawing above, I depicted the force as applied transversally. But it could be applied from any direction: the transmission of momentum impulses would still be diluted by slow local time. Also the assumption that momentum would be quantified is no different from, say the Riemann Integral in mathematical analysis: from F = d(mv)/dt, the Buridan equation (a generalization of Newton’s Second Law), one can view the integral of the action of F as the sum of these little impulses (understanding fully may require a familiarity with integral calculus).

Questions are welcome, and let’s recap: time runs slow in the moving frame, so force applies slow. Thus mass appears huge. In the end, time dilation blocks completely the application of force F, so the particle never reaches the speed of light. The explanation is transparent, from first principles.

It could be presented in a cartoon for primary school children, and be understood, the way all fundamental physics should be.

Patrice Ayme’  

Quantum Fluctuates (Not That Much)

January 3, 2016

The Multiverse fanatics use “Quantum Fluctuations” to justify the existence of the… Universe. Their logic rests on the famous, and deep, inequality:

(Time Uncertainty) (Energy Uncertainty) > (Planck Constant).

I have an accompanying drawing of sorts which relates the preceding to the better known inequality called the “Uncertainty Principle”:

(Uncertainty Position) (Uncertainty Momentum) > (Planck Constant = h).

Uncertainty actually is not as much a “Principle” as a theorem (both inequalities are demonstrated below). The entire subject is very interesting philosophically, as we will see. The lessons are far-ranging, and all over. Yet recent physics textbooks have been eschewing the philosophical character of what is done, within the logic of physics, and stick to soulless formalism. The result has been an entire generation ill-equipped to handle philosophical questions (and yet, they are now forced to do so). Before I get into the philosophy, which appear later, let me roll out the basic physics.

Time And Energy Are Entangled, And This Is The Easiest Proof

Time And Energy Are Entangled, And This Is The Easiest Proof

OK, let’s give a few more details (hidden by implication arrows above). The Position-Momentum inequality is rather obvious, once one has got the basic quantum picture of the photon as a wave, and how it relates to energy.

  1. To locate an object V, one needs to see it. That means ricochet a photon of it (we have nothing better than photons to see… Although some French guy got the Nobel for seeing photons with atomic phase changes, but that’s another story).
  2. So throw photon P on V. To hit V, P needs a smaller wavelength W than L, the diameter of V. Otherwise, P being a wave when it moves, or, more exactly, explores space supraluminally, it will turn around V.
  3. The momentum of the photon P is inverse to W. [This is Energy = h (Frequency)]
  4. So the smaller L, the harder the photon P will hit the object V. That is, the smaller the localization of V, the greater the momentum of V.

So localizing a particle kicks it. How do we get to Energy-Time Uncertainty from there? The Standard Model (which is proven and consistent in its present very restricted domain: no gravity, etc.) has three classes of particles, one of them the class of force carriers. Force carriers go at the speed of light, c, and (thus) have zero mass (the Higgs gives them the appearance of mass as an afterthought).

So what do I do? Well momentum is basically energy (make c = 1), and time is space (thanks to c, measuring time is measuring space and reciprocally). Thus Position-Momentum becomes Time-Energy (the “real” proof as found in Messiah’s basic QM textbook involves functional analytic manipulations, but I doubt it really says more!)

[There are slick derivations of Time-Energy relationship using functional analysis. I am not so sure they make sense… As time is not really an observable in Quantum Physics. My primitive derivation found in the drawing is extremely basic, thus much more powerful. Their main advantage would be to mesmerize undergraduate.]

How Quantum Field Theory (QFT) Blossomed:

Philosophically, the rise of QFT is all about inventing new weird logics. Modern logic comprises Classical Logic, but has gone much further (multivalued logic, fuzzy logic, paradoxal logic, to quote just a few). Basically it has gone in realms where all the rules of classical logic fail. And physics has not come short, but made equally impressive contributions in weirdness.

Let me hasten to add that I find all this very valuable. De Broglie made reasonings I still do not understand. Dirac got the idea that the wave (equation) should be the primary axiom (getting spinor space, where electrons roam, from it, and then spin, anti-matter, etc.).

In QFT the Time-Energy Uncertainty plays a central role, and what is done is actually philosophically fascinating, and should inform the rest of philosophy:

  1. Time-Energy Uncertainty prevents to know fundamental processes if the product of uncertainty in Time, multiplied by the uncertainty in Energy is less than a constant (h).
  2. Thus, should such HIDDEN Fundamental Processes (HFP) occur, we won’t be able to detect them directly.
  3. Hence let’s suppose such HFP happen. Then let’s compute. We discover renormalization, and find end results which are different from those without the HFP.
  4. Check experimentally. What is found is that physics with HFP is correct, and physics without HFP is not.
  5. Einstein tried, but gave up on all this, after his friend Ehrenfest tried to teach them to him for three weeks at Princeton.

Philosophical lesson? Something can be hidden, in principle, and still have indirect, observable effects. (Application in politics? Think of the plutocrats’ most vicious ways, unobservable, in principle, as the media they control make sure of it. Yet, indirectly they are poisoning the world, and the world is dying.)

Some of Today’s Physicists Are Easily Philosophically Confused:

But let’s go back to pataphysics, it’s lot of fun. In the so-called Big Boom, time is supposed to go to zero. Pataphysicists reason that, then, as the uncertainty in time goes down to zero, the uncertainty in energy has got to tend to infinity. First problem: it’s not because the uncertainty on something goes to infinity, that this thing goes to infinity.

But the main problem is the easy way in which the time-energy uncertainty was derived above. If only that reasoning makes sense, it applies to particles, and even virtual particles (although some fully active physicists consider those virtual particles do not exist, only fields do, and Feynman himself was not sure, private conversation). Thus the reasoning above justifies Quantum Fluctuations as they are used in Quantum Field Theory… and, indeed, they are clearly a safe and effective theory there. They work so well that, according to EFFECTIVE ONTOLOGY, those virtual particles ought to exist (I am aware of the arguments against them, more on that another time).

Thus that particles can flicker in and out of existence because of Quantum Fluctuations, I have not only demonstrated in my very primitive (and thus very safe and effective) way, but nobody in the know can deny it happens, since QFT works, and proves the concept . During their brief existence, those virtual particles (or field fluctuations represented by particles, some sophists will insist) affect charge, mass, etc. and these renormalizations have been observed.

Notice that I said: flicker in and OUT of existence. Why OUT of existence?  These particles flicker OUT of existence because of ENERGY CONSERVATION. Notice also that the universe does not flicker out of existence.

Pataphysicists Throw The Baby Out, And Drink The Dirty Water:

Physics is the search of basic axioms and the logic to bring them to life. One of these basic axioms is energy conservation.

This is what the pataphysicists propose to violate, as if they were Saudi paedophiles. Now violations can be justified in extraordinary circumstances (after all Aisha, who Muhammad married when she was six, came to love the Prophet more than any of his followers, and defended his work with her life, after His passing).

However the Big Boom theory of the creation of the universe is not such a great miracle, that it has to be preserved at all cost.

One should not throw the baby with the bath. Nor should one throw the baby out to preserve the dirty bath water. The precious baby is the principle of energy conservation. The dirty bath water is the Big Boom theory. That Big Bang already requires space to expand at zillion of times the speed of light. I have nothing against it, except it looks ad hoc. Pataphysicists have also smelled a rotten rat there, with that one and only, ad hoc  inflation, too, so they say:

“Look at a blade of grass. What do you see? A blade of grass. But look beyond: here is another one blade of grass, and another, and another. Zillions of blades of grass. Then look at planets: zillions, And at stars: zillions, and galaxies too: zillions. Thus universes? Zillions too!”

It reminds me of the fable of the frog who wanted to make itself bigger than an ox. It was doing well, inflating itself, until it exploded in a Big Bang. Pataphysicists can inflate their minds as much as they want, it’s still all wind inside. Time-Energy uncertainty applies to Quantum Fields, inasmuch as it respects energy conservation. Agreed, it is only natural that those who got reputations out of nothing, feel now confident that they can get a universe out of nothing. After all, it’s what their existence is all about.

And the weirdest thing? There is a simple, a simpler, alternative to all the madness: the 100 billion years universe. We will see who wins. This is going to be fun.

Patrice Ayme’

Is “Spacetime” Important?

November 3, 2015

Revolutions spawn from, and contributes to, the revolutionary mood. It is no coincidence that many revolutionary ideas in science: Chemistry (Lavoisier), Biological Evolution (Lamarck), Lagrangians, Black Holes,, Fourier Analysis, Thermodynamics (Carnot), Wave Optics, (Young, Poisson), Ampere’s Electrodynamics spawned roughly at the same time and place, around the French Revolution.

In the Encyclopedie, under the term dimension Jean le Rond d’Alembert speculated that time might be considered a fourth dimension… if the idea was not too novel. Joseph Louis Lagrange in his ), wrote that: “One may view mechanics as a geometry of four dimensions…” (Theory of Analytic Functions, 1797.) The idea of spacetime is to view reality as a four dimensional manifold, something measured by the “Real Line” going in four directions.

There is, it turns out a huge problem with this: R, the real line, has what is called a separated topology: points have distinct neighborhoods. However, the QUANTUM world is not like that, not at all. Countless experiments, and the most basic logic, show this:

Reality Does Not Care About Speed, & The Relativity It Brings

Reality Does Not Care About Speed, & The Relativity It Brings

Manifolds were defined by Bernhard Riemann in 1866 (shortly before he died, still young, of tuberculosis). A manifold is made of chunks (technically: neighborhoods), each of them diffeomorphic to a neighborhood in R^n (thus a deformed piece of R^n, see tech annex).

Einstein admitted that there was a huge problem with the “now” in physics (even if one confines oneself to his own set-ups in Relativity theories). Worse: the Quantum changes completely the problem of the “now”… Let alone the “here”.

In 1905, Henri Poincaré showed that by taking time to be an imaginary fourth spacetime coordinate (√−1 c t), a Lorentz transformation can be regarded as a rotation of coordinates in a four-dimensional Euclidean space with three real coordinates representing space, and one imaginary coordinate, representing time, as the fourth dimension.

— Hermann Minkowski, 1907, Einstein’s professor in Zurich concluded: “The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.”

This remark rests on Lorentz’s work, how to go from coordinates (x, t) to (x’, t’). In the simplest case:

C is the speed of light. Lorentz found one needed such transformations to respect electrodynamics. If v/c is zero (as it is if one suppose the speed v to be negligible  relative to c, the speed of light infinite), one gets:

t = t’

x’ = x – vt

The first equation exhibits universal time: time does not depend upon the frame of reference. But notice that the second equation mixes space and time already. Thus, philosophically speaking, proclaiming “spacetime” could have been done before. Now, in so-called “General Relativity”, there are problems with “time-like” geodesics (but they would surface long after Minkowski’s death).

Another problem with conceptually equating time and space is that time is not space: space dimensions have a plus sign, time a minus sign (something Quantum Field Theory often ignores by putting pluses everywhere in computations)

In any case, I hope this makes clear that, philosophically, just looking at the equations, “spacetime” does not have to be an important concept.

And Quantum Physics seems to say that it is not: the QUANTUM INTERACTION (QI; my neologism) is (apparently, so far) INSTANTANEOUS (like old fashion time).

As we saw precedingly (“Can Space Be Faster Than Light“), the top cosmologists are arguing whether the speed of space can be viewed as faster than light. Call that the Cosmic Inflation Interaction (CII; it has its own hypothesized exchange particle, the “Inflaton”). We see that c, the speed of light is less than CII, and may, or may not be related to QI (standard Quantum Physics implicitly assumes that the speed of the Quantum Interaction QI is infinite).

One thing is sure: we are very far from TOE, the “Theory Of Everything”, which physicists anxious to appear as the world’s smartest organisms, with all the power and wealth to go with it, taunted for decades.

Patrice Ayme’

Tech Annex: R is the real line, RxR = R^2, the plane, RxRxR = R^3 the usual three dimensional space, etc. Spacetime was initially viewed as just RxRxRxR = R^4.]What does diffeomorphic mean? It means a copy which can be shrunk or dilated somewhat in all imaginable ways, perhaps (but without breaks, and so that all points can be tracked; a diffeomorphism does this, and so do all its derivatives).

Good Is Absolute

October 2, 2015

Long Story short: Not everything is relative. Good, goodness are not relative, but absolute. Absolute thanks to what? Neurohormonal activity. The fact is, and it’s a truism, people are happy enough to keep on living.

The Gods are relative. Biology is absolute.

So how come much of human thinking and values became all too relative in the Twentieth Century?

In the early Twentieth Century, the genius mathematician, physicist and philosopher, Henri Poincaré, announced what he called the “Theory of Relativity” (1904). The theory achieved great fame. Especially as “Relativity” slowed down time (as observed since zillions of times). (Relativity was attributed to a German scientist, so it was viewed as very serious; never mind that Einstein had neither discovered, nor demonstrated ANY of the basic equations or ideas of said theory; it was the interesting case of a strictly non-German theory attributed to a German.)

In any case, it was thereupon decreed by the vastly mentally unprepared masses, and not quite a few intellectuals, that everything was relative, including good and evil. A relative mood set on the land. Einstein himself played it to the hilt:

Many Philosophies (Such As Buddhism), Adopt The Mood That Suffering Is More Important Than Happiness. Neurobiology Contradicts Them

Many Philosophies (Such As Buddhism), Adopt The Mood That Suffering Is More Important Than Happiness. Neurobiology Contradicts Them

Relativity of morality is not all wrong. My pet thinker, Nietzsche, contributed to exhibit moral relativity, by pointing out that aristocracy and the rabble it ruled over, had, thank to the “slave religion” of Christianism, completely different moralities. The mathematician, physicist and philosopher Pascal himself had pointed out that truth itself depended upon which side of a mountain range one considered (“Vérité en deçà des Pyrénées, erreur au delà. Ce qui est une vérité pour un peuple, une personne, peut être une erreur pour d’autres. Ce qui est valable pour l’un ne l’est pas forcément pour l’autre.”). In truth Pascal parroted Montaigne’s use of the mountains. More generally Montaigne said: is called barbaric what is not usual (“Quelle vérité que ces montagnes bornent, qui est mensonge au monde qui se tient au-delà…. Chacun appelle barbare ce qui n’est pas de son usage”.)

In truth, the “Theory of Relativity” is all about some types of space and time measurements being relative to some types of motion. It’s not about everything being relative. Modern logic admits that any logic is relative to the universe it lives in.

Does the latter mean all morality is relative? As the Nazis claimed? No. Morality, in the end, is a biological concept. But not an obvious one. Contrarily to the pathetic naivety of Nazi theories, biology can give us a ground to stand on, which is otherwise subtle than the “selection of the fittest“. We are biological systems, and much of us is inherited. Yes. However, what about good and evil? Is that inherited, and can we go beyond what’s inherited?

John Zande wrote a book “The Owner Of All Infernal Names”. I commented: Mr. Zande seems to embrace the ancient Cathar theory that the creator of the world is obviously evil. The problem with this, is that love is even more important to human beings than evil (that’s easy to demonstrate: babies would not exist, but for love). So, if one believes the occurrence of evil is absolute proof of an evil creator, the even more prominent occurrence of love is absolute proof of an even more prominent benevolent creator, by the same metalogic. (The Good Lord is good, because He makes more good than bad.)

Yet, there is no God but Evolution, and Evil is the Master’s stroke.

Mr. Zande kindly replied:

“Insightful comment, and the logic is sound. The thesis presented in TOOAIN addresses the so-named Problem of Good. To paraphrase, good is a necessity. It spurs on growth. Ultimately, though, there is no good. What appears good is in fact little more than the means to greater and more efficient suffering. Love is also encouraged. In the book I cite this poem by Naomi Shihad, Kindness:

>>Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness<<

The premise is, love-lost is stronger and more potent than the fleeting curiosity of love-found. Complicated grief is a terrible ailment and serves to exemplify this. To love is to opening oneself up to tremendous physical and emotional pain, and to the Creator, this is pure cream.

I also present a number of examples to demonstrate this point that there is no true ‘good,” including medicine in general, writing:

Consider then the truth: More bodies doing more things over a longer time can only be scored as a breathtaking augmentation of resources.

A general population dying at 35 cannot, by and large, produce the same quantity or quality of suffering generated through the extended life of a general population dying at age 80 or 90. Here man has added 30 years—an entire generation—to the duration of his potential suffering, which in the eyes of a debased being is to be applauded as not only a marvel of market optimisation, but an almost miraculous, self-inflicted diversification in the greater portfolio of potential pain.

By permitting the development and maturation of innovative methods and practices which abet bodily longevity the Omnimalevolent Creator has positioned Himself to reap 20, 30, or even 40 years more pleasure from His game; drinking in the pang of creeping irrelevance, the pain of crippling arthritis, the emotional distress of immobility, mental degradation, senility, the anguish of seeing friends and loved ones die early, the anxiety of financial and perhaps political insecurity, and the hopelessness of a life bookmarked by death and conscious annihilation. In no uncertain terms, ruinous ageing is an abhorrent stain on even the most spectacular of lives lived, often robbing an individual of their most prized possession, their dignity, and this gradual drip of irreversible decay and the misery born of it can only be seen as a boon for a being who thrives on tapping into increasingly complex veins of suffering.

Now, let me just say, the book is a parody of 19th Century natural theology works… and it was, at times, desperately hard to write the words. I couldn’t bring myself, for example, to detail all but three examples of animal cruelty.”

The first step out of the dilemma of pain is to realize that it’s evolution which created us, not some moral person up there (the so-called “God”). So there is no game. Normal life is, most of the time pleasant enough to feel better than the alternative(s). This is what evolution expects. And has selected us for. Cocktails of neurohormones in our brains and gut make sure of that we experience enough good to keep on going. So, integrated all over, weighted with time, life is, overall, pleasant. Abject pain and unfathomable terror, occasionally, do not make much of a dent on this (although, as John Zande points out, the problem of ageing has become, viewed as a sum, much more considerable, since we have made enough progress to extend ageing rather than extending health, indeed).

However, when pain and suffering get to be too much, one can take action: euthanasia, revolution, and even war, are solutions.

You want peace and happiness? Then kill pain and suffering, in a timely manner. Otherwise, your brain will do it for you. And slavery may ensue.

Patrice Ayme’

Wisdom, Most Devouring Beast of Them All

March 17, 2015

New Philosophy Mostly Blossoms Multi, and Meta, Culturally:

Any culture is wise, and loved. Thus, it is a philosophy. To use philosophy for diplomacy among cultures mandates, and thus needs, a greater wisdom to adjudicate among smaller wisdoms.

To any logic is associated not just one, but many, metalogics. Any of the latter is bigger than the former.

This is a direct application of the proofs of the Incompleteness Theorems in metamathematics.

Thus wisdoms, or cultures, by themselves, are the germs for bigger, greater wisdoms, or meta-cultures (thus, germs for their own enlargements). They contain their own spontaneous generation for greater transmutations.

Pine Island Glacier Crack Philosophically Transmutating

Pine Island Glacier Crack Philosophically Transmutating

The easiest way to enlarge a culture is to entangle it with another. The resulting union is automatically meta. Thus the greater wisdom of travelers.

However, what comes out after a while, is not harmony, but battle. Indeed a simple union of logos, and intricately entangled emotional systems is not possible, as some elements will generally come to contradict each other.

This is what those who confuse multiculturalism with tolerance, overlook. In their colossal naivety.

Paradoxically, true multiculturalism is not tolerant, at least not tolerant of lies and ossified thinking. Instead, it learns to pick, chose, abandon, adopt, and decide. It does not tolerate everything: it selects the best, rejects the bad.

Any wisdom is a system of logos, entangled with systems of moods associated to it. Local wisdom is often weird: associate a picture of Buddha to a party in Burma, and you will be condemned to years in prison.

The entanglement of cultures results into, not just synergies, but, before that, competition, conflict, even extermination, between different ideas and emotions.

The situation is similar to, but even more frazzled than in the biological survival of the fittest.

Any new wisdom comes from forcefully introducing at least one new idea, fact, or emotion to an old wisdom. The resulting entanglement brings a dynamic conflict between the old wisdom, and the union of it with the new element.

So one can say that any new, better, and improved wisdom is intrinsically multicultural.

This happens in the clearest way when new science arises: Relativity as defined by Poincaré (1904) arose from the earlier realization (Lorentz, Poincaré) that time and space (contribution of Fiztgerald) were local.

Einstein’s name got associated to Relativity (although he had invented none of it), just because had written down a neat abstract of the new wisdom in just one paper (“hiding sources”, as he admitted, helped!)

Why did Einstein become so famous, if he invented nothing (aside from the obvious nationalist and tribal aspects of the discrimination)? Because he presented a neat synthesis of the ideas and concepts of the new culture, Relativity. By the time Einstein wrote his paper, the new culture exposed by Poincaré the year before in the USA, had to be recognized as a coherent whole in the German language, the language of very serious and obviously superior people.

By 1905, Relativity had thoroughly digested the idea of Poincaré that the constancy of the speed of light, as measured in all frames, was a new law of nature. And also the proof of Poincaré, from 1900, that the emission of energy by a body decreased its mass, according to E = mcc. One just had to wrap it in one text.

How is a philosophical wisdom found to be superior to another? Because it is closer to the truth in matters pertaining to survival.

Picture this; in Western Antarctica, the Pine Glacier rests on the bottom of the ocean, two thousands meters down. It is bathed in increasingly warmer waters. Its catchment basin, under sea level, is larger than Texas. If Pine, and some of its colleagues, melted, and they could, very fast, billions of refugees would be on the march.

Clearly, something impacting survival, but not envisioned by philosophical systems in the past. This is the sort of possible truth that philosophy has to envision. Add increasing ocean acidity (from conversion of CO2 into carbonic acid), and one has new facts that require clearly drastically new philosophies.

So the most drastic transculturalism comes from mixing philosophical obsolescence, let alone bigotry, with exotic cultures, brand new science.

If we want to survive, we need to be right, and that involves firing lethal torpedoes to sink the biggest lies, and turn attention towards the real problems, whatever is left, an approximation to truth.

Philosophy, some suggested, is a way of life. Yes, the one that maximizes survival, and that means, now more than ever, the pursuit of veracity, is the most superior philosophy.

Maximal culture shock can only help constructing that superiority. Even the worst culture has some mental elements that can be integrated somewhere into superior wisdom.

Some may object that the preceding was all too theoretical: it may be true that new systems  of entangled thoughts and emotions arise according the (metalogical) mechanic that is explicitly described in the proofs of the Incompleteness Theorems in logic. However, they will complain, what does that bring?

As I said, transculturalism, well done does not mean falling asleep, it means conflict, or replacement. Therefore when, as in Europe, conflict is avoided cost, and replacement is not instigated (as in the USA), transculturalism does not arise, only apartheid (to use the notion of Manuel Valls, the French PM used, to depict the situation in France).

Conflict and replacement can be effected by rising the cult of the republic above others.

In the USA, Americanization is both fine art and massive enterprise. It involves sports and high rewards. (This is one reason why some financial compensation, in sports or ‘equal opportunity’ “leadership” jobs are so high in the USA: to make the attraction of absorption in American culture irresistible, for the befuddled masses out there).

The best and highest philosophy swallows, integrates and transmutate accordingly to whatever it can swallow. That mood is already in Rabelais. What is new now, what is better now, is that never before have so many new fats come to light, so many cultures, so much history, and so much new shattering devastation.

This disastrously destructive, and all too global situation out there, is excellent, for the birth of vastly superior wisdom. Bring it on.

Patrice Ayme’

Why Stupidity Is Loved, & Science Is Tribal

December 10, 2014

People love to be stupid, and not just because it is easier than being intelligent. Being stupid is lonely and embarrassing in individuals, so it is better practiced in groups. Not only is that smarter, but it provides with the joy and brainlessness of the collective.

Yes, group stupidity happens in science too. Entire fields of science, such as phrenology, studying the shape of a skull to elucidate the intelligence therein, were completely idiotic.

Yes group stupidity happens in philosophy too: see Immanuel Kant, and his grotesque assertion that to be moral is to obey authority.

Yes, group stupidity happens in much respected theology. The Dominican Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), dedicated, as Saint Dominic was, to the extirpation of heresy, and most specifically Albigensianism, argued that the Old Testament, and the New Testament (Romans, 13), were all for the death penalty.

Thus, in his Summa theologiae II-II, q. 11. a. 3, the Saintly Thomas of Aquinas writes: “Therefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.”

Heretic” is Greek for “exerted a choice”. If you exert mental choice, says Thomas, you should die.

Thomas made in writing this death threat, many times. The clincher? This, arguably, depraved maniac, is still viewed to this day, as a “philosopher”, a “thinker” of sort, and a moral authority. Is this stupid, or is it criminal?

The answer is that it is tribal.

The very monstrosity of Thomas of Aquinas binds the Catholic tribe together. To respect such a monster is an initiation rite, a high moral hurdle.

When the Nazis strove for power, they found enormous support among (a vast subgroup of) Nobel winning scientists and great mathematicians. Lenard (Physics Nobel 1905, and a collaborator of Einstein!) invented the notion of “Jewish science” (very bad, and all too relative).

That was crucial to demonstrate that the Nazi tribe had brains, and thus was respectable.

Human beings are nothing, if they don’t get mentors, themselves forming a connection to the supporting structure in a tribe. Thus, when individuals express an opinion, it’s actually a tribe which speaks.

No space to go in the details, but tribalism, in that case German tribalism, is why Einstein’s “miraculous” papers of 1905 were published without any reference, as if he had invented them all by himself; Planck saw to it. It totally backfired.

Viewing science as a tribal phenomenon is the fundamental revelation of the science of science. This explains why most papers in biology have been recently revealed to be false. Or why all theoretical physicists at Princeton are string theorists or supersymmetry artists of some sort. Neither strings, nor super-whatever have ever been observed, but the super stringy tribe was able to pull all the strings, and now it is in command of not just of this non-physical physics, but of the very definition of physics itself.

This errance of tribes following false prophets, explains why science can err so persistently, sometimes.

Witness: the Ptolemaic system (why would the much more gigantic sun rotate around the Earth at a frantic speed? It was easier to explain it all by a rotation of the Earth on itself, at a more sedate pace, as Aristarchus had proposed).

But not just this. Tribalism provides the pleasure and power of the group. As the case of the strident Nazi scientists and philosophers shows, thinkers are not insensitive to the basest rewards. Then a small, greedy minority can provide cover for the most criminal enterprises.

Some of the (rare) scientists claiming that there is no problem with increasing CO2 by 1% every single year, are generally revealed to be financed (directly or through institutions) by fossil fuels interests. Great geophysicists such as Allegre and Courtillot, heads of the very respected IPGP, are example of fossil fuel propelled loud deniers of the most basic of common sense.

Reading some of the preceding, Massimo of Scientia Salon objected that:

“Patrice, this very barely made it through my filter. Wasn’t there a way to express your thoughts without starting with “people love to be stupid”? Really? They *love* to?”

Yes, with all due respect, let me insist: yes, people do love to be stupid, just as they love initiation rites.

This is actually initiation rites are often quite stupid and demeaning: stupidity itself is what has to be achieved.

People love to not be smart, because lack of smarts is the ticket to tribe appurtenance. Lack of smarts is how the tribe is defined: that’s the central point of intellectual fascism. Indeed the tribe provides not just a refuge, but a space to blossom with lack of smarts. Even better: as it provides a definition for the tribe, lack of smarts provides a cover, a roof over the tribe.

This is the fundamental reason why people engage in drinking alcohol, and especially drinking it to excess. Same with smoking that poison lethal in the smallest quantities, nicotine. People know it’s bad, and not smart. Therefore it’s ideal for defining a tribe.

Hence telling drug addicts that what they are doing is not smart is not going to be effective: being silly is what they want to exhibit.

Indeed, people love to belong to a tribe. It does not really matter which tribe. The more not smart the definition of a tribe, the better defined it gets.

If some don’t believe me, I have a multiverse to sell them each time I spin an electron differently (unbelievably many theoretical physicists belong to that church of the multiverse). Call me the ultimate spin doctor. The multiverse tribe is very well defined, because short of wanting to kill one’s own son to satisfy a deity, it’s up there in the absurd, not-smart scale.

Wanting to kill one’s son for the deity is the definition of Abraham, the founder of the faith of most religious people today, or, at least, of the noisiest.

Let’s give more detail about what happened with Einstein:

Einstein famously wrote a paper “On The Electrodynamics Of Moving Bodies.” There was arguably nothing there which had not been published before. As the Dutch Lorentz, discoverer, with the Irish Larmor, of the “Lorentz transformations” of Relativity, and according to Henri Poincaré, of the “most ingenious” notion of local time, put it:

“Indeed, for some of the physical quantities which enter the formulas, I did not indicate the transformation which suits best. That was done by Poincaré and then by Mr. Einstein and Minkowski […] I did not succeed in obtaining the exact invariance of the equations […] Poincaré, on the contrary, obtained a perfect invariance of the equations of electrodynamics, and he formulated the “postulate of relativity”, terms which he was the first to employ. […] Let us add that by correcting the imperfections of my work he never reproached me for them.”

So why did Planck, editor of Annalen der Physik, allowed such a short-circuit, Einstein presenting himself as discoverer of Relativity? One can only suspect German nationalism, as all the physicists who elaborated Relativity before that were non-German (there was even an Italian whom Einstein knew personally, and a couple of Americans). It worked very well: to this day, Relativity is attributed to Einstein (although it’s Poincaré who discovered, demonstrated and published E= mc^2 in 1900…).

Planck, discoverer of the Quantum, not so subtly boosted the aura of Germany, by attributing to Einstein the Theory of Relativity. That was in 1905. Within nine years, the German Empire made an enormous attack on the French Republic, hoping to conquer all of Europe before Great Britain could join the war.

The main engine in this attack was German tribalism, the Prussian way (that is, very racist).

Tragically, Planck’s eldest son was killed in World War One, while his second son was made prisoner by the French. Then German tribalism went completely berserk. Planck went to see Hitler, and told him that Nazism was going too far, and destroying German science. His second son, to whom Planck was very close, opposed Hitler, and was assassinated by the Nazis in 1945.

Tribalism is fundamentally a war strategy, and thus nothing true intellects aiming to the full truth, ought to engage in.

The science of science, and the philosophy of philosophy have to become more aware of it. Tribalism needs to be broken, and direct democracy, direct thinking, is how to break it.

Patrice Ayme’

Science: Progressing Wisdom

May 11, 2014

Abstract: Pseudo scientific considerations by one of the USA’s most famous pundits are demolished (with the help of Krugman). Science defines progress (all the more as it requires ever more conscience). An occasion is found to reveal that physics’ relativity theory is relatively old.


The continuity of science, or, more generally of natural observations, or even of the most atavistic wisdom, is not appreciated enough. To understand this is important: fast buck artists and the worst potentates, Caligula, Nero, or Putin style, and the most terrible errors of policies, says the lethally unsustainable energy or thoughts systems we are presently enjoying, generally relate from age old wisdom denied.

A particular example of this consists into dismissing the notions of scientific consensus, and scientific progress.

Extending Galileo's Relativity Experiments To Light

Extending Galileo’s Relativity Experiments To Light

Galileo had tried to determine the speed of light, but it was too fast. However, once one knows light is a wave, one realizes that, thanks to precision manufacturing, much can be done deep inside a ship, as Galileo used to.

An example I use all the time is that Buridan discovered inertia and used it for establishing the heliocentric system. In 1320 CE, two full centuries before Copernic… Copernic just studied Buridan’s theory. So what had happened in the meantime? The Catholic Church, with the collaboration of Louis XI (the encaging king), outlawed Buridan around 1470 CE. The truth came out, because greater Poland/Czech/Ukraine (at the time) was inimical to Rome’s religious fanaticism (so Buridan was mandatory in Cracow, where Copernic studied).

So reason is not spastic. It’s the active intervention of intellectual fascism that makes reason spastic.


Making reason spastic in appearance is useful to those who want to deny reason. Such as all those who depend for their comfort upon a small oligarchy holding the world in its talons.

Science, well done, is the temple of reason. Reason inconveniences plutocrats. This is why enormous propaganda, for decades, denied, in the USA, that evolution happened (something established by Lamarck and his colleagues before 1800 CE).

So it’s no wonder that one of the USA’s top gargoyles (festering at the Wall Street Journal and Fox) dismissed the global warming consensus. Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is “not impressed by consensus.” Krauthammer is no dummy, he just plays one on TV. Like Goebbels, he has studied stuff. He is a trained psychiatrist.

Krauthammer appeared on Fox to heap spite on the Obama administration argument that the “97 percent of scientists who study this issue, who agree that climate change is real and it is the result of human activity.” The hammer of the Kraut retorted that:

“99 percent of physicists were convinced that space and time were fixed until Einstein working in a patent office wrote a paper in which he showed that they are not… I’m not impressed by numbers. I’m not impressed by consensus…These are things that people negotiate the way you would negotiate a bill, because the science is unstable…Because in the case of climate, the models are changeable. And because climate is so complicated,” Krauthammer continued, “The idea that we, who have trouble forecasting what’s going to happen on Saturday in the climate, could pretend to be predicting what’s going to happen in 30, 40 years, is absurd.

The answer to this is what I call “Catastrophic Logic” (which allows air travel). But let’s Krugman roll:


“As Chait notes, this logic would lead you to dismiss all science — hey, maybe tomorrow someone will write a paper showing that the germ theory of disease is all wrong, so why bother with sterilized instruments in the hospital? But there’s something else wrong here — the complete misunderstanding of what Einstein did.

Yes, Einstein showed that space and time were relative concepts. But did he show that everything physicists had been doing up to that point was all wrong? Of course not — classical physics was an incredibly useful and successful field, and almost none of what it said had to change in light of relativity. True, Einstein showed that it was a special case — but one that applied almost perfectly at the speeds and accelerations we encounter in normal conditions

So if we had an Einstein equivalent in climate science, he or she would find that existing models were right in 99.9% of what they assert, even though under extreme conditions they might be misleading.

Or maybe the simpler way to put it is, Dr. Krauthammer, you’re no Einstein.”

To be fair about climate science, it depends upon too many factors to be precise beyond the fact we are for sure, lest we do a few things real fast, and real ferocious, that we are facing one of the greatest catastrophe for a few million years, or maybe all the way back to Snowball Earth, more than 600 million years ago.

Now to expand on what Krugman said.


Einstein’s work in Relativity was such a puny advance to what was known before that, nowadays, Einstein is not viewed by competent historians of science as the main architect of “Relativity”.

It’s also why Einstein did not get a Nobel for Relativity, but for the idea that light travelled as photons (and other contributions to physics)… An idea I do not believe, by the way, to be 100% correct, although Einstein was close enough to explain the photoelectric effect with it!)

The inventor of the idea of Relativity is Galileo, who described it in great detail in the early Seventeenth Century. Galileo observed that, inside a cabin deep in a ship one cannot tell if the ship is moving or not. Galileo suggested in a long list, all the experiences one can think of. Observe the connection between new technology and new science: the ship itself is the (non-) accelerator of the 17C.

For a while, in the late Nineteenth Century, some physicists thought that light was not respecting Relativity.

However, when that was tested by American physicists Michelson and Morley with an interferometer, it was found that light could not detect absolute motion.

The mystery was explained when it was found by Lorentz and Fitzgerald that length contracted in the direction of very high speed motion. That the laws of electrodynamics (summarized and completed by Maxwell) did not respect normal space-time transformations was made amply clear by Poincare’, who proclaimed the “Principle of Relativity” (1904), after publishing the mass equal energy relation in 1900, and discovering the “Poincare’ group”.

Poincare’, the most famous mathematician, insisted that Lorentz get the Nobel Prize in physics. Later, Einstein resumed all this in 1905, starting from Poincare”s idea that the fact that the speed of light was constant was a fundamental law of nature (as the work of Einstein was published by Planck in German rather than French, Dutch, or English, it got great renown).

Thus Relativity Theory was fully in a continuity inaugurated by Galileo 400 years ago. Indeed.


We still use the optics found by the Greeks, and, the idea of numerals, including the zero, was developed by them and the Indians.

Greek thinkers also discerned the idea of evolution, suggested we evolved from fishes, an idea Lamarck revived by ascertaining that apes were our direct ancestor (to the hatred of the church).

In truth, science is as old as our species. We always add new layers. That’s why we have to be suspicious when some come, and claim that all what we knew before is wrong (as the cackling Multiverse turkeys do with both physics and philosophy).

The progress the genus Homo has made, is, first of all, defined by the science we have. All the more as it requires an ever more sophisticated conscience.

Patrice Aymé

Philosophia Naturalis I

March 13, 2014

Philosophy is what inquiring minds have to do when we don’t know for sure, and before we know for sure. The latter is called science (OK, sometimes we have to revise our opinions drastically, as new axioms supersede the old ones).

I have sharply differed with professor Strassler in the past (he wrote at some point that physics was strictly defined by equations, and I sharply debunked that myth: it is obviously not even the case of mathematics; to his honor, he published my brutal objection).

My position, same as Archimedes,  Newton or Descartes, is that philosophy comes first. When a dashing scientific advance does not require new philosophy, it means it’s not that deep.

New Physics Principles Are Always Born From Philosophy

New Physics Principles Are Always Born From Philosophy

I have my own possible insights to propose in physics, but before I get there, let Matt Strassler expose the problem. I have done so myself in similar terms, but it’s refreshing to read a top professional do it so well, and to the point.

In a magnificent essay, “What if the Large Hadron Collider Finds Nothing Else?”, wonderfully philosophical, for a professional physicist, Mr. Strassler ponders how future science is guessed by exploring how we established our beliefs. That’s my kind of science:

“What will it mean, for the 100 TeV collider project and more generally, if the LHC, having made possible the discovery of the Higgs particle, provides us with no more clues?…

Before we go any further, let’s keep in mind that we already know that the Standard Model isn’t all there is to nature. The Standard Model does not provide a consistent theory of gravity, nor does it explain neutrino masses, dark matter or “dark energy” (also known as the cosmological constant). Moreover, many of its features are just things we have to accept without explanation, such as the strengths of the forces, the existence of “three generations” (i.e., that there are two heavier cousins of the electron, two for the up quark and two for the down quark), the values of the masses of the various particles, etc. However, even though the Standard Model has its limitations, it is possible that everything that can actually be measured at the LHC — which cannot measure neutrino masses or directly observe dark matter or dark energy — will be well-described by the Standard Model. What if this is the case?

Michelson and Morley, and What They Discovered

In science, giving strong evidence that something isn’t there can be as important as discovering something that is there — and it’s often harder to do, because you have to thoroughly exclude all possibilities. [It’s very hard to show that your lost keys are nowhere in the house — you have to convince yourself that you looked everywhere.] A famous example is the case of Albert Michelson, in his two experiments (one in 1881, a second with Edward Morley in 1887) trying to detect the “ether wind”.

Light had been shown to be a wave in the 1800s; and like all waves known at the time, it was assumed to be a wave in something material, just as sound waves are waves in air, and ocean waves are waves in water. This material was termed the “luminiferous ether”. As we can detect our motion through air or through water in various ways, it seemed that it should be possible to detect our motion through the ether, specifically by looking for the possibility that light traveling in different directions travels at slightly different speeds.  This is what Michelson and Morley were trying to do: detect the movement of the Earth through the luminiferous ether.

Both of Michelson’s measurements failed to detect any ether wind, and did so expertly and convincingly. And for the convincing method that he invented — an experimental device called an interferometer, which had many other uses too — Michelson won the Nobel Prize in 1907. Meanwhile the failure to detect the ether drove both FitzGerald and Lorentz to consider radical new ideas about how matter might be deformed as it moves through the ether.”

So far so good. Then Strassler deviates from reality with a bout of Einstein religion (attributing Relativity to Einstein, because the real discoverer was French)

It’s Poincare’ who invented and named the “Principle of Relativity”, and insisted that Lorentz get the Nobel  for the Lorentz transformation-Poincare’ Group; the only reason Poincare’ did not get the physics Nobel for Relativity is that he died in 1911: no Nobel was given for Relativity, as a result: it could not be given for the parrot because he parroted!

It’s not just a question of anti-French hatred, or scientific priority, but of logical causality (thus Poincare’ versus Einstein is a scientific problem of the most subtle type!).

Strassler: “In Michelson’s case, the failure to discover the ether was itself a discovery, recognized only in retrospect: a discovery that the ether did not exist. (Or, if you’d like to say that it does exist, which some people do, then what was discovered is that the ether is utterly unlike any normal material substance in which waves are observed; no matter how fast or in what direction you are moving relative to me, both of us are at rest relative to the ether.) So one must not be too quick to assume that a lack of discovery is actually a step backwards; it may actually be a huge step forward.”

After he published the proof of E = mcc in 1900, Poincare’ pondered a lot about the part in parenthesis above. So did I. My conclusion? Particles create space, that’s why they are always at rest relative to it. (This is a glimpse to a possible future explanation, I do not claim it’s obvious.)

Strassler: “Epicycles or a Revolution?

There were various attempts to make sense of Michelson and Morley’s experiment.

Some interpretations involved  tweaks of the notion of the ether.  Tweaks of this type, in which some original idea (here, the ether) is retained, but adjusted somehow to explain the data, are often referred to as “epicycles” by scientists.   (This is analogous to the way an epicycle was used by Ptolemy to explain the complex motions of the planets in the sky, in order to retain an earth-centered universe; the sun-centered solar system requires no such epicycles.) A tweak of this sort could have been the right direction to explain Michelson and Morley’s data, but as it turned out, it was not. Instead, the non-detection of the ether wind required something more dramatic — for it turned out that waves of light, though at first glance very similar to other types of waves, were in fact extraordinarily different. There simply was no ether wind for Michelson and Morley to detect.

If the LHC discovers nothing beyond the Standard Model, we will face what I see as a similar mystery. ”

The reason why Ptolemy could get away with epicycles is that any periodic motion can be decomposed in a sum of circular motions. The mathematician Fourier, born in Grenoble, proved this, and used it to solve a lot of things.

Notice that the problem with Ptolemy was philosophical implausibility: the Greeks knew that the Sun was very far (say more than 30 million kilometers). Thus the Sun had to be enormous.

Sitiing on their bottoms, Greeks astronomers could have been asked the following question: “Hey guys, do you think it’s more likely that something as enormous as the Sun turns around tiny Earth once a day, at an enormous speed, or that the Earth rotates around itself, once a day, and around Sol, at a much more sedate way?”

Of course the latter.

To get an even stronger feeling that way, one had to have a feeling for inertia, which Buridan, contradicting Aristotle, discovered around 1320 CE. This is exactly the reasoning Buridan made when he published his heliocentric theory (misattributed to Copernic, because Buridan was French, and the Church mighty).

Amusingly a mathematician, Steward, published a list of “the 17 equations that changed the world”. He shows his ugly pro-plutocratic face, by mentioning an equation about the pricing of derivatives in the financial markets, as one of the 17.

Steward claims Newton found two of the 17 equations. The first one, the definition of a derivative, was found by Fermat (a Frenchman, thus incapable of science). The second one, that of the gravitational force was, according to Isaac Newton himself, discovered by another Frenchman (Newton wrote this under oath, in his fight about that equation, with Hooke… a physicist still famous for the elastic force law).

Mr. Steward forgot, among his equations, to mention the Quantum equation: E = hf (Planck-Einstein-De Broglie). There is more money in flattering hedge fund managers, than in remembering Quantum Physics.

In the next essay, why Matt Strassler feels one needs to think out of the box, and I will roll out my own type of experiments to keep on pushing, until we get a different worldview. Whereas nobody can be sure about the Standard Model approach giving birth to something interesting, I will explain my proposed approach is guaranteed to be fruitful (at least at some point).

Patrice Aymé