Science: Facts, Limits, and Fictions

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What, perhaps is the most important criterion for arrival at an assertion, which has character of scientific fact, is the Principle of Replicability.

Assertions, such as the Law of Gravity, or Law of Relativity have character of Scientific Fact, because, over the course of infinite replications, they yield exactly the same qualitative outcomes. In this respect, the profundity of Newton’s insight that, absent gravity, and decay of the stem to which a ripe apple is attached, a ripe apple would not fall to the ground, is, perhaps lost to those of us, who, in modern times, have studied physics, a branch of science made possible by work of men, such as Newton. For concreteness, note that absent gravity, upon decay of the stem to which an apple is attached, the apple simply would float in the air, not drop to the ground.

The lesson in a tree shutting off nutrients to a stem that is attached to a fruit, which has attained to ripeness?

In presence of importance of the Principle of Replicability, science has it’s limitations. Two of these limitations are the Principles of Observability and Measurability. If a phenomenon is to be replicated, outcome of the replication must be both observable and measurable. But then, not all things are directly observable, and not all things that are directly observed are measurable.

The Law of Relativity provides insights into the difference that subsists between Observability and Measurability. One of the insights made possible by the Law of Relativity is the fact, which again is more profound than we, in modern times, probably realize, that while an object is in motion, regardless of observability of the motion, if speed is measured, it simultaneously is not possible to accurately locate the object; in the same vein, if a pinpoint of location is desired, it simultaneously is not possible to determine the speed of the object.

We arrive then at the profundity that, Observability does not, in of itself, imply Measurability. In absence of Measurability, arrival at assessments of satisfaction of the Law of Replicability becomes nigh impossible.

Applied to Quantum Mechanics, satisfaction of principles of Observability, and Measurability for arrival at assessments of satisfaction, or not, of the Law of Replicability is impeded by two sets of interrelated problems.

First, while outcomes of diffusions generated by movements of electrons are observable, the diffusions themselves are not observable, with outcome prediction of exact location of arrival of electrons remains, as yet, impossible. What this implies is the following, namely, over say, perhaps 1,000 replications, while they potentially are able to exclude some landing spots, it remains factual and true that scientists are unable to accurately predict landing spots for electrons.

Given the process that generates diffusions created by movement of an electron is not, even with aid of machines, fully observable, each of principles of observability and measurability are not satisfied. We arrive then at incapacity for assessment of satisfaction of the Principle of Replicability. Simultaneously, we arrive at the inference that principles of Quantum Mechanics have yet to assume character of Scientific Facts.

String Theory is an attempt at resolving problems of observability and measurability that subsist in context of Quantum Mechanics. Note, however, that string theory is not a proven Scientific Fact, rather is a theoretical hypothesis, which attempts to resolve problems of observability and measurability that subsist in context of Quantum Theory.

It may yet be that String Theorists are right, that they are able to overturn the prediction, embedded in Bell’s Inequality — which has been experimentally and ubiquitously validated by physicists — that, in context of Quantum Mechanics, it inherently is impossible to accurately predict landing spot of an electron. But then, the proof of the overturn must be in the eating, that is, in formal theoretical, and experimental validation for ‘overturn’, not in any claim that, in presence of reality of the phenomenon that is Quantum Mechanics, overturn must be possible, resulting in postulation of yet unproven theories that assume overturn.

The intuition behind Bell’s inequality? Electrons move in generic space, not in some localized space. Given attempts at location of an electron must assume some localized space, we arrive at impossibility of location of exact landing spot of an electron.

Consider then the push for computers and digital products that function on principles of Quantum Mechanics. Given diffusions created by electrons in context of Quantum Mechanics are not as yet well understood, as such only can be contained, such that they supposedly function within some ‘narrowed’ or ‘well defined’ space, Quantum Theory assumes, but as yet without any supporting scientific fact, that constraining of electrons to function within some ‘narrowed’ space is sufficient for producing behaviors that are analytical, that is, predictable, as opposed to probabilistic. Note that with outcomes of diffusions of electrons naturally probabilistic, as such, unpredictable, absent arrival at any supporting Scientific Facts, Quantum Mechanics asserts it is able to transform probabilistic behaviors into predictable analytical behaviors.

Consider, however, that whenever existence of a ‘mathematical space’ is assumed, it is normative, in Mathematics, that any entity that has character of a Mathematical Space must be parameterized by equations that, in their very essence, are analytic, that is, that generate predictable, equivalently, exact solutions. It is normative that Quantum Mechanics and String Theory have yet to produce any such equations that enable transformation of an inherently probabilistic space into a well defined analytical space.

We arrive then at possibility of Artificial Intelligence produced in context of applications of Quantum Mechanics, which feasibly can run berserk, that is, transform out of forced analytical behaviors into fully probabilistic behaviors.

It is time for society to realize that boundaries that are placed on scientific efforts cannot be premised on ‘pushes’ within private sectors for more of profits, revenues, and market valuations.

If Quantum Mechanics is, as yet, not safe, and clearly it is not, society ought not be placed at risk merely because some scientists, companies and shareholders seek more of profits, revenues, and market valuations.

The principle that, ‘just because we can, does not mean it is right to do’, is a principle that society must bring to bear on science. Importance of this principle was essence of emergence of Philosophy of Science as agency of society for imposition of a conscience on pursuits and endeavors of science.

But products of the Philosophy of Science have had to make a living, and most of the living that is available is domiciled in organizations, which already have their own ‘pet’ perspectives on things. Given a Philosopher of Science must, if he or she seeks to keep his or her job, align with pet perspectives of his or her employer, the Philosophy of Science has, to a large extent, been rendered toothless in it’s designated role as conscience of science for benefit of welfare of society.

Highlighted outcome is not fault of Philosophers of Science, rather is premised on absence of arrival at the recognition, in society, that, absent Philosophers of Science who, via support of Government, have capacity for altruism in their assessments of scientific endeavors, pursuits, research, assertions, and arguments, science becomes unbridled, as such, in entirety, is transformed into a vehicle for more of profits, revenues, and market valuations that benefit some small section of society (shareholders, scientists, and innovators who care more about their pockets than well being of society).

If science is not to become inimical to welfare of society, that is, to your welfare and mine, it is time society gives thought to how exactly to ensure that scientific endeavors remain in realm of Scientific Facts, not in realm of Scientific Fictions that, in entirety, are rooted in desire for more of profits, revenues, and market valuations for a small segment of society.

Written by

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos

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