I spend more time walking circles in the Standing Palms postures than in other martial art practice. I strive for that magical sixty-four circles in both directions for each of the ten palms that make up my daily practice. I rarely get there in a single session. On one especially muggy day I sat sweating and panting on the floor with my arms tingling from the fixed postures and read this article: Why some scientists say physics has gone off the rails (nbcnews.com)
The article makes the argument that physics is so in love with the math of their theories; they have not made testable predictions in half a century. I was just thinking the same thing.
In defense of physicists, they have been busy begging for money to test the predictions made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The ones made by Einstein, Planck, Schrodinger, and Heisenberg. If science got the money squandered on athletic departments, those proofs would have come sooner, and humanity would be on our way to another star. Sadly, we are stuck with austerity politics, sexually deviant athletic departments making millions a year, and flat earthers making headlines while scientist are targets for conspiracy theories.
I agree with the article but not for the reasons given in the article. In The Fundamentals Michael Planck says:
“You can clearly see the difference in our approach to science from before the Arabian Impact and after. Before, there were many fanciful ideas about physics and religion that held us back. But after a small rock from space wiped out a billion people, things changed. Concrete resolve replaced fanciful ideas.”The Fundamentals by Troy Williams
This was my first fictional dig at the popular theories of the day: creationism, alternate dimensions, and multiple universes.
Most physicists would not call themselves a creationist. To which I say bullshit. The big bang theory is creationism. It is a convenience that allows the physicists to sit quietly when a creationist defends their faith in god by pointing to the big bang as the work of god. It is a silent acknowledgement that the money you need to support your department is in the hands of a man who did not read your grant application because he coached his church’s softball team on Sunday.
The big bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model. It explains a lot of things that we can measure in the Universe. The abundance of light elements like hydrogen and helium, the cosmic microwave background, and Hubble’s law (the doppler shift) of galaxies moving away from us.
The big bang theory is not the first time a cosmological model supported the observable through its equations. Platonic solids were the basis for prevailing cosmological models before the big bang theory. As the article notes, Kepler’s elegant equations supported the platonic solids model, but it was wrong.
I spent some time studying cosmologies before I wrote Earth Dragon Canon. The cosmology section of that book was much longer in the first draft. I cut it to focus on the cosmologies important to the study of Baguazhang. As the product of a school system with a creationist lean to science education, the models I discovered surprised me. The Ptolemaic model, which put Earth at the center of the Universe, and the Copernican, which put the Sun at the center of the Universe, were the most familiar. But there were other models just as wrong and right as those two.
For Ptolemy, the Earth was the center of the Universe. He had no tools to see beyond the sky that rotated around him. For Copernicus, the Sun was the thing holding planets in orbit, but all those other points of light hung in the Aether, fixed to their positions. Kepler married these models to mathematics and physics.
What happens to cosmologies when the observable is expanded? They change. New cosmologies explain new observations. I understand the big bang theory, I know there is a mountain of observable data to support it, but I think it is wrong. I think the Universe is eternal. It has always been here. It did not form from something dense and hot or materialize out of nothing. A black hole in another Universe did not create our Universe, and black holes in our Universe do not create alternate universes.
There is the Universe, and that is all. It is, in its own way, a Ptolemaic solution. I stand on a small rock and with the observations of others see a dark expanse filled with trillions of galaxies and trillions of trillions of suns and another trillion to the power of trillion worlds. I see all that and cannot accept that it came from nothing.
I think those observable conclusions to the big bang theory are just as wrong as Ptolemy and Copernicus. I think they are a byproduct of the Universe constantly renewing itself, breaking heavy elements into light ones, and then forming the heavy elements again. An elemental cycle of creation and destruction, not a universal one.
The problem with our understanding is that we cannot see big and far enough to understand this cycle on the cosmic scale. When we can see on that scale, a new cosmology will emerge.
The big bang’s mathematical models require a four or more dimensions. Carl Sagan made the explanation of these extra dimensions popular in the original Cosmos television series. There is a two-dimensional world, flatland, which is visited by a three-dimensional creature. But the two-dimensional beings cannot see the three-dimensional creature, they can only experience a slice of the creature, and—over time— that slice changes so the observations of the creature passing through their world changes.
I think this description fits our changing cosmological viewpoints better than it explains the passage of time or gravity.
Our accumulated knowledge, our accumulated observations, allow us to draw ever more accurate explanations of the Universe. In our brief history, we have not witnessed enough of the Universe to explain it with any certainty.
Physicists are eager to create an elegant equation explaining everything in the Universe. To do this, they have invented alternate planes and alternate universes. Ideas born in our creationist past. Alternate planes are just like Asgard, Heaven, Brahma, or the Pure Lands. Other universes, where the laws of physics do not act like they do here, are the same. These extra dimensions and universes dumped into mathematical formula does not differ from Pluto blaming gods for Troy’s destruction. Yank out the extra dimensions, eliminate the multiple universes, and physics has nothing, not even the beginnings of an equation.
We struggle to explain that which we cannot observe. It is an old Buddhist notion. Our need to influence, or even understand, the world is the beginning of sorrow. We race to create new things, new ideas, new discoveries, without accepting the Universe as it is. Theory consumes us while we ignore the observation. One finger pointing at the Moon.