Here we list frequently asked questions and answers about scientific philosophy as interpreted by Dr. Borchardt.
Traditionally, the philosophy of science is studied and taught by philosophers, not working scientists. I know hundreds of scientists, but few admit to having studied the philosophy of science. Although mistaken, some of them claim to have no philosophy at all. All of them recognize that science can advance only by interacting with the external world through observation and experiment. They seem to view philosophy as too mixed up with religion and thus irrelevant for their work.
However, in view of the numerous silly so-called "scientific" hypotheses we suffer today (time as a dimension, banging universes, etc.), it is obvious that working scientists need to improve their theoretical foundations. Today's philosophy of science is a mishmash of conflicting presuppositions that have been of little help in cleaning up the theoretical mess left over from the 20th century. Perhaps by using the less popular term "scientific philosophy" we can at least put science first literally if not actually.
To obtain public funds, philosophy departments must spend valuable time presenting all sides of each issue. As a private entity we are not required to do that (yet). In my opinion, strictly scientific philosophy must espouse determinism (the assumption that all effects have material causes) and avoid indeterminism (the assumption that some effects may not have material causes). If you find that I have overtly included elements of indeterminism or have "balanced my scale with the religious," then I will have failed in presenting scientific philosophy. Let's face it, there is a constant struggle between science and religion. Because religion is still overwhelmingly powerful, most philosophy attempts some kind of compromise or "peace process" that mixes elements to satisfy the prejudices of both. However, as a scientist, my goal is truth, not eternal life. From the scientific perspective the only thing that can be eternal is the infinite universe itself even though each of its separate parts has a beginning and an end. There are ways to have a truly balanced viewpoint within the confines of determinism.
How do you tell the difference between correct ideas and incorrect ideas?
Test them in the external world through observation and experiment. Other claims of truth or falsehood are logical deductions from acknowledged assumptions or hidden presuppositions. Until they are tested, such claims are no more likely to be true than the assumptions on which they are based.
Is time in the microcosmic world faster than time in the macrocosmic world?
Time is motion. The motion of matter in various parts of the universe varies from imperceptibly slow to imperceptibly fast. I don't know of any reason for the fastest and slowest motions to be fundamentally different within the microcosmic and macrocosmic domains. It is true that many high-speed particles in "empty" space cannot be observed until they have been slowed by collision with still other matter. They are like bullets, which we may not observe enroute, but may be all too real on impact. An infinite universe will always have tinier and tinier particles feeding what we experience as reality. These particles don't necessarily have to be traveling fast--they might just be too tiny for us to detect.
Not in reality. They are idealizations. Matter was once thought to be solid, without space. Space was once thought to be empty, without matter. The reality, we have learned, is that all matter contains space (e.g., the atom); all space contains matter (e.g., no absolute vacuum is possible). Reality is always something in between solid matter and empty space. Our idea of nothingness is just that, an idea. No part of the infinite universe could be devoid of matter: nonexistence is impossible.
No. Space, like all other forms of matter, is 3-dimensional. Time is motion and has no dimensions.
The most likely cause of gravity was predicted long ago by Le Sage (http://redshift.vif.com/BookBlurbs/PushingGravity.htm#Preface), who theorized that it was a push, not a pull. Bodies tend to be pushed toward each other through mutual shielding from high-velocity particles that collide with atomic nuclei. The "pull" of gravity that we observe is akin to the "suction" produced by a vacuum cleaner--both are really pushes and mathematics is no help in distinguishing between them. Each thing in the universe requires its "pushers" to keep it together. This is why the universe must be microcosmically as well as macrocosmically infinite. Presumably, even the pushers require pushers, and nothing could survive in a universe devoid of them. Of course, Le Sage's theory, or some variant of it, will not be accepted until the current finite universe theory is discarded.
The general idea remains similar, except that I don't believe that the ether is fixed. The ether consists of minute particles that are constantly in motion. It is a medium for light transmittance just like constantly moving air molecules provide a medium for the transmittance of sound. This interpretation follows from my assumption of INTERCONNECTION, which states that between any two things in the universe, there must be still another thing. This is in accord with INFINITY, which assumes that the universe is infinite in both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic directions. Thus, there is ample matter to allow the transmittance of electromagnetic as well as other kinds of motion. Long ago, Dayton Miller’s experimental work showed that Einstein's interpretation of the Michelson-Morley experiment as proof of the nonexistence of the ether was questionable (see http://www.orgonelab.org/miller.htm). Einstein's philosophical confusion is well illustrated by his views on this question. In 1907 he considered the ether unnecessary. In 1922 he considered it necessary. In 1938 he once again considered it unnecessary, and finally, in 1961 he considered it immaterial.
According to the assumption of RELATIVITY, identities do not exist in nature. Nevertheless, like Plato, we can imagine perfect objects and perfect motions even though it is impossible to find them without ignoring the imperfections produced by INFINITY. Mathematics, necessarily based on finity, assumes identities all the time. For example, we can imagine that any two seconds of time are identical. But when we use a real clock to measure time, we find that no two seconds are exactly alike. All clocks, existing in the real world, have real variations in accuracy and precision. Quantum theory still regards all quanta as being identical despite David Bohm's thoughtfully considered counter-arguments. In this regard, quantum mechanics and classical mechanics are similar. Both are based on the now obsolete assumption of finite universal causality.
Infinity assumes that there are no partless parts (a partless part would require “solid” matter, which has never been found). So, smashing particles with other particles yields still other particles. At velocities near the speed of light, particles actually undergo increases in mass. Any such changes would have to occur according to neomechanics, which I described in Ch. 5 of TSW. Neomechanics simply is classical mechanics in light of the assumption of infinity. Thus E = mc2 does not describe the conversion of matter into pure energy construed as matterless motion, but the conversion of one kind of matter in motion to another kind of matter in motion. The conversion requires a macrocosm filled with particles and would not occur in a macrocosm filled with nothing at all, ala Einstein. There must be a physical reason for mass increase; equations only describe it. I am currently working on a short chapter entitled "The Physical Meaning of E = mc2" for my next book. P.S. You might want to take the quiz in the back of "The Scientific Worldview" before and after you read it.
1. Not having studied it much, I don’t have any similar “out of the box” ideas on this subject, but I also don’t see why magnetism wouldn’t be somewhat analogous to gravitation. Also, I can’t imagine it involving an “immaterial field,” which makes no sense to me but often is mentioned in some accounts. Actually, all moving charges generate magnetic forces, which are about a billion billion (i.e., 1018) times greater than gravitation. Because Newton’s First Law of Motion (the law of the universe, if there ever was one) describes only a push. Any apparent “pull” actually must be a push, as in a vacuum cleaner.
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