Saturday, March 31, 2007

What’s With the Uniform Particle Assumption?

In order to prove that gravity was a property of matter, Newton had to prove it was proportional to matter. To prove it was proportional to matter, he assumed that matter was uniformly made up of a uniform particle.
Even the most ignorant among us knows that the Earth isn’t made up of a uniform particle uniformly disturbed among it. One of the first things we learn about is weight because as we go through our day, we find we can easily lift some things and we can’t lift other things at all.
Weight is at the basis of our learning experience, as pervasive as falling objects. We explain weight by saying that the atom has a nucleus and the heavier the nucleus, the more particles the nucleus contains.
So at the least, a uniform particle is not uniformly distributed, making Newton’s assumption absurd. As absurd as the assumption is, however, it was absolutely necessary to Newton’s proof because his proof required that he compute the amount of gravity in the planet. Even with today’s false use of the Cavendish experiment to produce what is called the gravitational constant, that constant cannot be used to compute the amount of gravity in the Earth.
Computing the gravity of the Earth with sole reference to the Earth (or, as we'll see, reference to anything else) is impossible, so to accomplish his proof, Newton had to accomplish the impossible. To accomplish the impossible, he made up an assumption that was clearly erroneous. Why doesn’t science simply admit Newton’s assumption was wrong, roll up its sleeves, and get on with the task of uncovering the nature of gravity?
After all, when something is wrong, when gravity is admitted to be a can of worms, ignoring it is not the proper course of action. Rather, looking back over its history to find out where it went wrong is the proper course of action.
Why doesn’t science take the proper course of action?
Simply because the explanation for gravity as a property of matter is unquestionable, and it’s unquestionable simply because Newton proved it to be mathematically true.
We’ll see how absurd this becomes a few entries on, but for now I want to highlight that Newton not only created the theory of gravity, he created the template for belief in a theory's conclusion. As far as science is concerned, there are two types of facts, real facts rooted in the physical world and scientific facts created by scientific theory.
Unfortunately, when it comes to a conflict between real facts and scientific fact, science puts credence in scientific facts over real facts. It does so because its entire edifice is built on the use of scientific fact in creating new theories. The assumption that gravity is a property of matter permeates all of the disciplines that make up the scientific world, whether its astronomy with its array of nonexistent matter, black holes and dark matter, or geology, with its absurd notion that the weight of the earth builds up the further down we go until the pressure compresses the earth into molten matter (if gravity were a property of matter, the center of the Earth would be subject to gravitational pull from all directions and thus be neutral, weightless, as Jules Verne so unscientifically pointed out).
Newton took over the moribund Royal Society in 1703 and used it to promulgate his views throughout what was then the community interested in searching into the nature of reality. Because he was desperate to have his views accepted unconditionally, his everything is made up of a single property, which he extended to light, formed the basis of scientific thought in the 18th century.
Most of the effort to counter Newton’s uniform particle conclusion was directed at his light is a particle dictum, the opposing forces claiming that light is a wave becoming too great toward the end of the century. It’s amusing that Newton’s light is a particle conclusion, the only proposition he made that is probably correct, was reversed by the scientific community, while his theory of gravity, having no competition, was accepted hook, line and sinker, which incorporated his uniform particle with his motion as a result of God, and all the rest.
The ultimate break with Newton, when his equations failed to come close to describing the motion of the planets, would turn out to be a hoax rather than a break, and wash away the need to justify a theory based on false assumptions in the rush to accept a theory based on an absolute failure in proof.
Thus, his assumption about a uniform particle became invisible, a minor factor that is just a footnote in the nonhistory of science.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Design of Newton’s Proof of Gravity

If any question could be devised for this topic, it would be, why doesn’t the scientific establishment provide this information on a widespread basis? The answer, of course, will be found in the questions it subsequently raises, but when I was in high school, I was exposed to this both in class, and on science television programs.
Newton presented his theory of gravity in a book he titled the Principia. The book was written in Latin to limit the number of critics that had access to the original material (Newton freely admitted this, not wanting the riff-raff to meddle in his thinking process). In addition, the Principia itself was the subject of continuous modification during Newton’s lifetime. It is a mishmash of a supposed compendium of the laws of motion that actually slipped a new one in (one absolutely necessary to Newton’s design scheme) and an exposition of a new form of mathematics, calculus, which was little understood at the time, but didn’t stop universal acclamation that Newton’s Celestial Mechanics revealed the operations of the heavens. (Leibniz subsequently claimed priority in the invention of calculus, and, although he lost the battle to history, won it in notation, how calculus is expressed, with Newton’s notation virtually nonexistent today).
Regardless of Newton’s efforts to hide his theory behind language and mathematics, the outline of what he was attempting is really quite simple. Galileo had measured that gravity diminished inversely with the square of its distance from its source. Newton said its source could be the Earth or it could be the moon. If both had gravity, then the amount of gravity that existed between them could be computed.
How do you compute the amount of gravity in the moon, which is hanging up there in the sky, and for which gravity is merely a supposition? We’ll see how Newton solved this in a minute, but first we have to understand why Newton wanted to compute the force of gravity between the two.
Newton’s starting point was, gravity is a property of matter (not our current mass, but the actual matter that he saw making up the two bodies). If he could prove that the amount of gravity was proportional to the amount of matter, then he would have proven that gravity, being proportional to matter, was indeed a property of the matter.
Newton was operating over 300 years ago, and the concept of an atom, with its protons and neutrons varying in its nucleus to give matter weight, is barely 100 years old, so Newton’s view of how matter was made up was primitive compared to modern views. In fact, Newton’s view of what made up matter was very simple. Matter was uniformly made up of a uniform particle. In short, the same particle made up everything. This meant the Earth and the moon were made up of the same particle and that same particle was identically distributed within both bodies.
Thus, instead of computing the amount of gravity of the Earth and moon, Newton could compute the relative amount of gravity of each (remember, he merely had to prove gravity was proportional to matter) on the basis of their relative size. If he did this, he would have one side of an equation.
I should stop just a second to interject the importance of this equation. Up until Newton’s predominance, people who attempted to explain reality used the Baconian approach. This approach held that there are certain things we can never know, for instance the source of the hidden force that caused objects to move, things to fall, planets to rotate and orbit. The best we could do is create concepts based on the facts at hand, made-up concepts that could be altered as more facts came to light.
Newton’s gravity equation supplanted the mind with an objective truth that the mind had to accept as absolute authority. Once one side of the equation equaled the other side, the proposition the equation stood for became scientific fact, never more to be challenged. Newton, who’d brook no challenge to his conclusions, used equations to cut off dissent, giving empirical science its authoritative tool to stifle all dissent.
Once Newton had one side of his equation, he needed another side to balance it and thus prove that gravity was proportional to and therefore a property of gravity. The other side of the equation involved computing the amount of force it would take to cause the moon to stop traveling in a straight line and force it to move in a circle around the Earth. The computation of this force involved using the moon’s size to determine the amount of matter in it (the same computation he used to determine its gravity) and then to compute its momentum, the amount of force that was causing to travel in a straight line. Once he had computed this force, he knew the amount of force it would take to cause the moon’s straight-line momentum to be bent into the circular orbit we find it in.
If the amount of gravity in the Earth and the amount of gravity in the moon equaled the force it would take to cause the moon to move from its straight-line momentum into a circular orbit, then gravity was proportional to and therefore a property of Earth.
I think it worked out to about 7%, which Newton chalked up to erroneous measurements by Halley (of comet fame) of the moon’s motion,
But the 7% margin of error was nothing compared to the margin of error that occurred when Newton’s mathematical reasoning was applied to the planets later in the century.
And while Newton was celebrated throughout his life as the person who had uncovered the secrets of the universe in his Celestial Mechanics, an astute observer will recognize that Newton’s theory of gravity said nothing about what causes planets to rotate and orbit.
Newton was a devout Christian who poured over bibles in an attempt to compute the date the world would end. As far as he was concerned, all motion was the result of God’s action in the universe and indeed, when it came down to the actual nature of gravity, Newton believed that gravity was a manifestation of God (in an alchemical sort of way).
It wasn’t until a 100 years after Newton developed his theory that science had to step in and, because its absence in Newton was so evident, take the explanation for motion away from God, creating the ad hoc (and equationless) swirling mass of gas as the cause of motion.
The nature of gravity, being less obvious to the uninitiated, and, if truth be know, the initiated, didn’t have to be addressed. Everybody already knew what gravity was, it was a property of matter, and that was enough to cut off all questions about its nature.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What is Gravity?

Think you know?
The official publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Magazine, the gatekeeping guide to what is and is not science, recently celebrated its 125th anniversary. As a tribute to the passing years, it published a lengthy article titled "125 Questions: What Don’t We Know.” It broke out the top 25 questions, listing them as the 25 big questions facing science over the next quarter-century.
What is gravity is a no show in the top 25.
The remaining 100 questions were listed under the heading “So Much More to Know.” Number 9 on the list is "What is the Nature of Gravity?” Of course, adding “nature of” to the question, rather than just asking what is gravity, tends to hide the fact that the explanation for gravity, that it’s a property of matter, is no explanation at all. Looking up the definition of “nature” reveals:
a. To state the precise meaning of (a word or sense of a word, for example).
b. To describe the nature or basic qualities of; explain: define the properties of a new drug; a study that defines people according to their median incomes.
a. To delineate the outline or form of: gentle hills that were defined against the sky.
b. To specify distinctly: define the weapons to be used in limited warfare.
3. To give form or meaning to: “For him, a life is defined by action” (Jay Parini).

Thus, using “nature” in the question means science is really serious about looking into gravity. Not so, as the explanation for the question turns into a meaningless joke: Science magazine notes about its question that gravity “clashes with quantum theory. It doesn't fit in the Standard Model. Nobody has spotted the particle that is responsible for it. Newton's apple contained a whole can of worms.”
So quantum theory, the Standard Model, and the practice of assigning properties to a particle (the way science explains all unknowns) are products of the mind, yet, it is not they that clash with gravity, it is gravity, the reality, that clashes with science's absurd creations.
Gravity is the core principle of empirical science. Gravity is proportional to and therefore a property of mass rests at the core of both astronomy and physics, and as a result of resting at the core of these two sciences, rests at the core of all disciplines that follow.
Science magazine says that the subject is a can of worms. How would you like to have a defense attorney call you in and tell you your life rests on a can of worms? You say, well, aren’t you going to do something about it, and the attorney shrugs his shoulders and says, well, we’ve got more important concerns here. First, we need to find out what the universe is made of (Science magazine’s number 1 question)."
How can anyone worry about what the universe is made of when the basic question, what is the nature of the most important force in our existence, goes unanswered, and indeed, unexamined.
Everything we do in the technological sector, from engineering the huge machines that create our prosperity to designing the aircraft that allow us to use that prosperity to widen our horizons, depends on acknowledging the existence of gravity.
How can that technology be efficient if it first doesn’t examine the nature of gravity?
And what are we paying billions of dollars in professorial salaries, stipends, honorariums, awards, even scholarships, for, not to mention the tens of billions of dollars we spend for projects dreamed up by scientists to support their extravagant lifestyles, useless projects such as the Superconducting Super Collider, 11 billion dollars and 45,00 contracts in 48 states, dead as a doorknob, the many Tokamak initiatives, plans to produce controlled fusion, with no results and slow abandonment, and the latest boondoggle, the Space Elevator, the difficult not-to-laugh-at effort to turn a science fiction fantasy into an elevator rising 62,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, which should top all others in costs and eventual abandonment. Read more on these rip offs here.
What do we say when science’s gatekeeping publication states flatly that it doesn’t know the nature of gravity, doesn't even put it near the top of the list of problems that need solving, and then goes about its merry way making a can of worm joke about it.
What are we paying for?
We sure aren’t getting anything concrete in return (although the scientific community would like us to believe that our entire prosperity, our technological society, the lights that brighten our darkness, are the result of scientific theories like light is a wave/particle, and not engineering trail and error).
The next series of entries will deal with Newton’s failed proof that gravity is proportional to and therefore a property of matter, followed by an analysis of what we know about gravity, followed by the construction of a mechanism that would produce what we know about gravity.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Science vs. Empirical Science

While I named this blog Questioning Science, I’m actually questioning empirical science. Science is the examination of reality. Empirical science is the arrangement of that reality into theory under the guise of using mathematical equations that have the capacity of turning theory into fact.
In reality, empirical science doesn’t even bother with the equations, although it uses chalkboard scrawlings that are supposedly understandable to the initiated, to awe us into thinking that mathematical equations are a substitute, and more accurate than, rational conclusions. It simply creates conclusions, dogma, which, because we think it has been arrived at mathematically, and we don’t understand the math, trumps our common sense.
What this system of conclusions results in are basic assumptions that cannot be challenged. These assumptions dictate the reality empirical science sends its millions of practitioners out to examine.
While the millions of practicing scientists examine reality in good faith, the reality they examine, the results, have to be filtered through the gatekeepers of the dogma, and these gatekeepers are found in the key positions of the associations and publications that serve a particular discipline.
Let me give two examples of what I mean, the first very well know because it occurred in the 1970s before the popularization of science drove empiricists to set up methods of censorship to keep their own blatant censorship out of the press, the second occurring in the last year or so (and to an editor of a scientific journal), which was kept out of the press and is known only by a few (although it is documented by a Federal ruling on the matter).
The 1st case deals with Dr. Virginia Steen-McIntyre, a geologist working for the U.S. Geological Survey. She was directed to date a group of artifacts in Mexico. While I have some serious problems with the dating systems of empirical science, the systems are empirical science’s systems and therefore should be followed by science. McIntyre used up-to-date equipment to do her dating, and she used it in four different methods because, while she expected to come up with a date of 25,000 years, the date she kept getting was 250,000 years. Scientific dogma says that all occupants of the Americas arrived here within the last 25,000 years crossing the Bering Strait. (Find the mathematical computation for that!) When she reluctantly turned in her results, the head archaeologist told her to retract her conclusions. She refused. He tossed them in the trash. Thereafter, McIntyre was banned from the pages of archaeological publications, she lost her teaching job, and basically became unemployable in her chosen profession.
The 2nd case dealt with the rather humorous inroads Intelligent Design, an alternate to evolution, is making on the dogma of species evolution (the notion that birds evolved into dinosaurs, another conclusion it would be interesting to see a mathematical formula for). Rick Sternberg, with multiple credentials, was editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a task he performed in addition to his job at the Smithsonian. He received an article by Stephen Meyer, the intellectual force behind Intelligent Design (which the American Association for the Advancement of Science, not wanting to argue the defects in species evolutionary theory, has declared to be unscientific, while at the same time declaring species evolution to be fact, and therefore not arguable), sent the article out for peer review, got back 3 thumbs up, and published it.
The response was immediate. Locked out of his office, totally discredited by a series of carefully planted lies, even “ordered” to reveal the names of the peer reviewers, he sought help from the highest available authority, The U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The office’s response, in a long opinion, upheld every charge Sternberg made, concluded the Smithsonian had violated his 1st Amendment rights, but said, hey nothing we can do about it.
There’s nothing anybody else can do about it either.
There’s a big difference in these two cases, other than the fact that empirical science had not perfected its censorship process in the McIntyre case, and that goes to just what science is. If we want to have a technology that reflects reality, then we need to have as accurate picture of reality as possible. When we use our minds to make conclusions about reality, we can say, well, our minds are our minds, and are limited to what we know at the time we make conclusions about reality. However, as more facts become known, then, if we believe our minds are the ones producing the conclusions, we don’t have too much trouble altering those conclusions.
However, if we believe that conclusions are the result of a mathematical process that works independent of our minds, then those conclusions, made from limited facts at the time, become unchangeable dogma.
More to the point, though, is a picture of our past, as opposed to our origins, can definitely color our picture of reality. If we believe, as empirical dogma declares, that civilization started some 6,000 years ago, and there was nothing before that, we are cut off from our roots in what was most likely a worldwide civilization, as evidenced by the megaliths found in virtually every part of the Earth, and in many places beneath the earth and under its lakes and oceans.
On the other hand, having a picture of how we evolved does not color our picture of reality one way or the other simply because it is a religious question that can never be answered. I spend a lot of pages in the 2nd volume of The Copernican Series describing how life forms, but when it comes to how it got from there to here, I’m left with something I call characteristic evolution, as opposed to species evolution. While more and more evidence indicates characteristics are involved in genetic evolution, a science unknown to Darwin although his grandfather was a characteristic evolution exponent, how we got from there to here is not really important in our picture of reality and therefore in our technology, only in our knowledge of medicine, for which species evolutions provides nothing and characteristic evolution everything.
This leads to the purpose of this introduction. There are things we can know, a rock is hard, the grass is green, we can’t walk through walls, and there are things we can never know. The things we can never know are divided into two categories. First there are things we can never know that affect our picture of reality and thus our technology. We know gravity exists because we can see falling objects. However, we can’t see the gravity, and we never will be able to see the gravity. The same is true of magnetism, electricity and light. We know these things exist, but we will never know them like we know a rock is hard because we can’t put how they mechanically operate in a display case in a museum somewhere. They’re all round us. They’re integral to our picture of reality and thus to our technology, but we will never know exactly what they are. We therefore have to make up an explanation for what they are. That explanation is dependent on the facts we know at the time. If, as we did with gravity, light, magnetism, and electricity, we create dogma when we know nothing, then we can never go in and revise that dogma. The errors we made when we were ignorant of most of reality will be carried forth into any new pictures of reality we form, and we’ll become more and more mired in a fantasy world we think is reality.
The other group of things we can never know do not affect our technology. The most obvious example of this is how the universe was created. What possible use does blather about the big bang, blather we spend billions of dollars a year on, have to do with our technology? Nothing. Zip. The Big Bang mumbo jumbo is no different than the Earth was formed in seven days, except the latter is a little more understandable, if just as improbable. Religious questions simply are not important to the creation of our technology. People working on building a rocket can believe anything they want to believe in when it comes to when did the universe start, how did we evolve, when does time end, where is the end of space, is space real so it can be bent, so long as they deal with the problems involved with the technology.
Finally, to lead into the subject that will probably take up the early months of this blog. We all think we are brilliant people, informed far beyond what our ancestors knew for thousands of years. For those of us that do, let me put two statements side-by-side.
Statement 1: Objects fall because the planet is the center of the universe.
Statement 1: Objects fall because it is a property of them to fall (gravity is a property of matter).
If you were a space explorer and visited two planets, one worshiping the first statement, the other worshiping the second, which would you think was more informed about the nature of gravity?
I would say neither!