Selected Correspondence Peter
RESPONDENT: Hi Peter & No 37, I am following the conversation with interest (not 100% attention as I give to other matters involving consciousness, but I am intending to give it a thorough thought/read soon). Some points I observed/request for comment/ clarification:
Peter as I understand says: Relativity and Quantum Physics are mathematical models of this universe whose conclusions (like Big Bang proviso Expanding Universe, No matter Only Energy) are in contradiction to our normal experiencing of this Universe (and using our common sense, the sense we use to deal with everyday matters).
PETER: Normal human experiencing of the physical universe is that ‘I’, as a non-physical entity parasitically residing in a physical body, thinks and feels the physical universe to be an alien and fearful place (contrary to anthropocentric/ geocentric thinking, the physical universe is not limited to what is out there, it includes this planet and its oceans, clouds, earth, trees, animals, human beings, rivers, cities, buildings and so on). It is only because human beings think and feel themselves to be separate from the physical world of the senses that they have long imagined and felt that there is an underlying reality the physical world – an underlying reality that is metaphysical in nature.
When you take this on board it is clear that Einsteinian subjective relativity is but the latest in a long line of mathematical/ philosophical/ mystical theories that propose that there is a metaphysical underlying reality (a timeless, spaceless and formless reality) to the physical matter and space that is this infinite and eternal universe.
RESPONDENT: Moreover, everybody in these circles have tried to fit common sense with these models and seem to have failed and only ask us to abandon the common sense and use principles of logic and experimental evidence(?), not imagination based on common sense (that which we use to conduct our everyday life).
PETER: I take it from what you have written that you have had a pure consciousness experience whereby you have directly experienced the infinitude of the actual universe. If this is the case, you would know by your own direct experience that it is only ‘me’, the parasitical entity, who thinks and feels himself to be separate from, and alien to, the physical universe … and when ‘I’ am temporarily absent in a PCE all feelings of separation and alienation disappears.
Perhaps I can put it this way – a PCE is the direct sensate experience of the actuality of the physical universe because ‘he’ of ‘she’ who desperately seek a metaphysical underlying reality to the physical universe, is temporality in abeyance. This is the antithesis to an altered state of consciousness whereby the supposed underlying metaphysical reality of the universe is imaginatively and passionately revealed because ‘I’ think and feel myself to be a part of the illusionary underlying metaphysical reality (or in some cases even the creator of this Reality).
RESPONDENT: As a layman (outsider to the understanding of intrinsic nuts and bolts of how these works), one is concerned here how it translates to this everyday world... I am not particularly interested in how well the foundations are supported using logic and mathematics.
PETER: Nor am I. Whether people think this underlying reality is religious or mystical or mathematical in nature does not interest me at all. It’s their fantasy after all.
What is on offer on this mailing list is an actual freedom from the human condition including a freedom from all of the fantasies that propose that there is an underlying metaphysical reality to the physical universe. And the very first step in becoming actually free of the human condition is to abandon all of these religious or mystical or mathematical fantasies and start to come down-to-earth to the world of the senses where we humans actually live.
RESPONDENT: Back to me: If I have understood the line of thought somewhat correctly, I am also in favour of that currently as it relates to my quest for direct experience. I had realized long ago when I corresponded to Richard that I was defending science based on my strong belief in scientists (no other discipline relies on objectivity and explicitly stated goals and experiment as the final arbiter) and decided to step out of my defence till I understand them myself to a great detail (I have good mathematical and scientific training and I have the toolkit to expand my knowledge if I find it necessary).
PETER: A very sensible approach – and this is the approach I took. When I first came across Richard there were many things that jarred with ‘me’ but it soon became obvious that the only way I could find out if what he was saying was factual was to conduct my own investigation as to the nature of the human psyche (including its innate cunningness to do whatever it can to survive) – otherwise I was relying on either believing what others say or rejecting what others say, pathetically dependant upon ‘my’ own beliefs and predilections.
RESPONDENT: My intrigue though (loosely stated objections and not strongly felt):
And then comes a stage where one says: Logic and Mathematics have succeeded where a common sense approach have not (in explaining subatomic stuff and fast moving stuff). Therefore I will buy the consequences of Logic and Mathematics even if it means that I have to lay down my common sense. I will use the same principles that helped me to get beyond in the subatomic and fast-moving universe and extrapolate and apply to this everyday world (and probably justify my spiritual fantasies).
This is where Richard says (I think): Direct experience of the everyday world if you are willing to lay down in favour of your success in micro-worlds, you land up in imaginary world justified by mathematics and logic. The current models may be great in predictions but they are useful models... that’s all... do not justify one to jump to imagination sacrificing the common sense. Moreover these models that are based on logic and mathematics themselves use common sense at some level and nothing is just a standalone ‘logic and mathematics’ (as in there is no God that is running the world according to ‘logic and mathematics’).
I have just written my thoughts and let me see how all this goes... will refine these stuff based on what you think. I know I am talking a lot out of my hat :) but after some great successes in actualism, I have become much more cheerful and talkative :).
PETER: Einsteinian relativity theory relies upon imagining that time is a fourth dimension to the three dimensions of space, thereby allowing that time can be an abstract entity (t) having a hypothetical numerical value in abstract relativistic mathematics. A PCE experientially reveals that time is not an abstract dimension because a pure consciousness experience is the direct experience that this very moment is the only moment that is happening and that this very moment is perpetually happening. Whilst past moments did happen and future moments will happen, only this moment is actual – one is perpetually locked into this seamless moment of time as it were. It is always this moment of time, one cannot actually experience any other moment of time but this very moment.
This is not an esoteric or philosophical wisdom as one can also become aware of this fact in one’s normal daily life – in fact the actualism method is specifically designed to bring one’s attention to this fact as an on-going experience. As an example, if you care to remember back to the moment when you first opened this post and began to read it, it is obvious that when you did so you could experience that the opening of the post was happening in this moment and now that you are reading these words it is also this moment. As Richard puts it – this very moment is the arena in which actual events happen.
To keep with this practical observation, if you look at the computer monitor that you are reading these words on you will see that it has three spatial dimensions – width, length and depth – and that your observation of this is happening in this moment. The very spontaneity and instantaneity of this very moment gives vibrancy to the things and events that one sensately experiences in this moment of time. In short, in actuality, time is not a fourth dimension, space and time are not a continuum, space is not bent, nor is it expanding – all of these concepts and theories are nought but impassioned (subjective) fantasies.
To get back to your comment, I take it that you are aware that the theoretical subatomic particles described in quantum physics are mathematical suppositions that have no material existence. Quantum physics deals with abstracted models of hypothetical subatomic realms in exactly the same way that relativistic cosmology deals with abstracted models of hypothetical universes that have no material existence.
For me, once I understood that much of science masquerades theory as being fact and imaginary models as being things that actually exist, I also understood the absurdity of calling an internally-logical subjective theory an objective scientifically-verifiable fact. But then again, I have no emotional investment in supporting relativistic theory because I was not indoctrinated into believing that it is true, and nowadays I know by direct on-going experience that there is no underlying metaphysical reality to the universe. My ongoing objective attentiveness reveals that this is the only moment I can experience and this objective observation itself makes a nonsense of Einsteinian relativistic subjective observations and theoretical calculations.
The actuality of the infinitude of the physical universe compared to the fantasies of metaphysical beliefs is such a good subject to contemplate upon.
Who knows, it may even provoke the males of the species to get out of their heads and in touch with their feelings – after all taking such a step is an essential prerequisite to beginning to become free of the insidious grip of the instinctual passions.
PETER: Mr. Einstein was among the first to gain Guru status in the ‘modern’ world of meta-physical science, a position he was uncomfortable at first with, but as the numbers of believers swelled and popular acclaim spread, he quickly settled into the role with great aplomb. As an aside, it is curious that, some 80 years on, Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity still remains a theory and has yet to become the Law of Relativity. Basking in the glory of its very own mega-star Guru, science was then able to well and truly break free from the shackles of measurable observation, reasonable assumption and practical common sense, and the re-born metaphysical sciences have enjoyed a unprecedented level of popular acceptance, kudos – and funding – ever since.
It behoves an actualist in discerning what is belief and what is fact to make the distinction between physical science and metaphysical science. The mentioning of the word theory is always a good clue, for theory is to metaphysical science what belief is to mysticism – something they fervently wished to be true. Both the Guru-mystic and the Guru-scientist have vested interests in fostering and maintaining their beliefs – their fame, their position and livelihoods, and a very personal investment in a ‘somewhere-else’ other than here and a ‘sometime-else’ other than now. As Fred Hoyle, a contemporary of Einstein, said of science –
RESPONDENT: In what way is, say, Einstein’s physics inconsistent with actual observation of the actual universe’s behaviour?
PETER: Einstein’s physics has no relevance at all to the actual objective observation of either the matter that is this actual universe or to the qualities of that matter and this glaring anomaly is explained away by Einsteinian physicists with the glib dismissal that Einstein’s physics do not apply to locally-observable phenomena’ …
RESPONDENT: So what’s the problem? The theory states that it does not apply to locally-observable phenomena, and you take this statement of the limits of its relevance to be a refutation?
PETER: Perhaps if I put it this way, the disclaimer to cosmological theories that they do not apply to locally-observable phenomena struck me as an indicator of how far-out-there their thinking is.
I don’t have a ‘problem’ at all, as you put it, I simply offered the observation because for me this was yet another reason to dismiss Einsteinian physics as being irrelevant to me as I live in a world were the empirical science of Newtonian physics explains and makes sense of the objective observation of the matter and explains and makes sense of the qualities of that matter that is this physical universe. To create a whole set of theories based on subjective mind-game scenarios, abstract thinking and conceptual mathematical theorems, all of which are based on an a priori principle that the universe was created out of nothing seemed to me at the time to be the antithesis of what I understood science to be. Nowadays it is simply an absurdity, and a widely accepted absurdity to boot.
PETER: ... or to any conditions that we can experience on earth let alone those that we can sensibly relate to our everyday lives.
PETER: Then perhaps you will begin to understand why it is impossible to have a sensible discussion about a theory that is so abstracted that it has nothing at all to do with any conditions, events or circumstances that we can experience on earth let alone that we can sensibly relate to in our everyday lives. As Paul Davies revealed, Einsteinian physics relates to ‘toy universes’, not the physical universe of galaxies, stars, planets, moons, rocks, mountains, rivers, oceans, trees, animals and human animals.
RESPONDENT: But how does that imply a flaw in the theory, as the theory itself says that this is the case?
PETER: Which only begs the question as to why such metaphysical theories are popularly taken as being valid theories about the actual universe?
PETER: Local phenomena and objective observation are not the realm of Einstein’s physics – a sure sign that His physics have nothing to do with actuality.
RESPONDENT: So ‘actuality’ is limited to ‘local phenomena’ now?
PETER: Perhaps I can put it this way – actuality is not what one imagines it to be, nor is it what one passionately feels it to be. This type of thinking and feeling about matter and its associated phenomena is the realm of metaphysics.
PETER: Einstein apparently has such a Guru status within the scientific community that few dare to question his theories for to do so would be to dare to challenge the accepted current status quo of science itself.
RESPONDENT: I personally don’t care a fig whether he is right or wrong, but I do expect criticisms to be based on something better than his apparent ‘guru’ status.
PETER: For someone who claims ‘I personally don’t care a fig whether he is right or wrong’ as in ‘I do not argue that the time, space and matter had a beginning, or will have an end’ and ‘I have no emotional attachment (whatsoever) to any particular cosmogony and/or cosmological theory’ you not only go about the subject, but you can’t help yourself from doing so –
Given that you have told me what you don’t expect my criticism to be based on, perhaps you could tell me precisely what you expect criticism of Einsteinian physics to be based on. In other words, what principles do you expect me to abide by?
Should I have to accept the majority view? Should I have to remain ‘open-minded’ to the theory? Should I ‘accept’ Einstein’s thought experiments as being the ultimate authority on the nature of the universe? Or should I not even try to make sense of something that is ‘outside of my area of expertise’ … because I have had no formal schooling (as in indoctrination) into Einsteinian physics?
I don’t know whether you have noticed but by the far the majority of what passes for discussion about what should be matters of mutual interests are in fact discussions about the rules of discussion and the mode of discussion, and the discussions themselves are mostly about opinions, viewpoints, principles, doctrine, philosophy, ideology, values, morals or ethics. As such, sensible down-to-earth discussions so as to discern the facts of the matter are very rarely found within the human condition.
RESPONDENT: Better still, so as not to get too far off track, how is it (Einstein’s physics) inconsistent with what one experiences in a PCE?
PETER: In a PCE, there is no psychological or psychic faculty present to be interested in, let alone capable of, indulging in imaginative scenarios or fanciful thinking about the nature and properties of matter and energy.What does become startlingly apparent about the nature and properties of matter is that the matter that is the universe is not merely passive – the very matter that is this universe is in a constant state of change and transformation, often imperceptibly slowly, sometimes dramatically evident. I have had a more detailed correspondence about this subject which may be of interest to you.
In a PCE, the direct sensual experience of this non-passivity is experienced as a vibrancy that is magical in its immediacy and one is free to gaze around in wonder at the fact that all this is happening in this very moment. (...)
Indeed. That’s one of the things I find most interesting about Actualism. I thought the cosmological stuff was secondary, but I was apparently wrong.
PETER: You are not the first to have become grounded on the rock of creationist theories, by whatever name and in whatever form, and you will certainly not be the last. This is what I wrote to another correspondent ten months ago –
RESPONDENT: One of Peter’s latest posts to No 60 has occasioned me to write a couple of things to ‘set the facts straight’ so to speak. I want to address 3 main ideas that are false in Peter’s and (possibly) other actualist writings.
The false ideas:
1) Just because the ‘big-bang’ theory originated with someone who was a ‘theist’ does not mean that it is necessarily tied to belief in God. Some other factor must be established like for example that belief in God is a necessary part of the ‘big-bang’ theory. There are plenty of physicists who do not believe in God – and not agnostic – but are atheists – who also think the evidence (red-shift, 3K radiation, etc) for the big-bang is overwhelming. This demonstrates that there are plenty of physicists that are led to endorse the big-bang theory based upon the evidence (as they see it) rather than using belief in God as evidence.
To conclude that the big-bang theory is creationist cosmology because it was proposed by a creationist and because many creationists have been fascinated with it, by the same fallacious reasoning, evolutionary theory is ‘creationist’ since Darwin was a theist, and Newtonian physics is ‘creationist’ because Newton was a theist. It is reasonable to note that beliefs (specifically belief in God) can influence theory, but that is far from establishing in each instance that it actually has.
PETER: In order to give a considered response, I will have to break this down and respond to each of the points that you raise – no wonder I only get around to writing a few posts a week.
RESPONDENT: Peter’s false ideas: 1) The ‘big-bang’ theory is ‘creationist’ cosmology.
The facts: Just because the ‘big-bang’ theory originated with someone who was a ‘theist’ does not mean that it is necessarily tied to belief in God.
PETER: Indeed not, and this is why I said the following to No 60 –
Now whilst some cosmologists are upfront in saying that a God, by whatever name, had a hand in the supposed ‘Big bang’ event that created the universe, others are less circumspect, yet others make no mention at all of a creator God and yet others make no mention of a creationist event.
I came across an example of this last category when I typed the word Cosmology into the Encyclopaedia Britannica search engine –
– an example of cosmology with out a God. (Mr. Gautama Buddha supposedly gave no answer as to how the universe was created.)
When I looked up Greek cosmology as a matter of interest, I came up with the following –
This then led me to think that I should have used the word cosmogony instead of the words ‘creationist’ cosmology in reference to the Big Bang theory. But then I came across the term relativistic cosmology in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and lo and behold the article clearly and unambiguously explained that the ‘Big Bang’ theory came out of Einstein’s relativity theory … so my use of the term cosmology does seem appropriate according to at least one authoritative reference source. Are you hanging in with me on this? I just needed to check if I had used an appropriate term when I used the term creationist cosmology to describe the Big Bang theory.
So back to your point, yes I would agree with you that the ‘Big Bang’ theory is not necessarily tied to the belief in God. In fact I made the following statement to No 60 so as to leave God out of the ‘Big Bang’ theory altogether –
RESPONDENT: Peter’s false ideas: 1) The ‘big-bang’ theory is ‘creationist’ cosmology.
The facts: Some other factor must be established like for example that belief in God is a necessary part of the ‘big-bang’ theory.
PETER: If I said that the ‘big-bang’ theory is ‘Creationist’ cosmology (with a capital C) then I would be clearly making a statement that the belief in God is a necessary part of creationist cosmology, whereas I used the term creationist to mean that it was created – as in it had a beginning, it originated, it was produced, it came into being. Now for me a ‘miraculous thus-far-inexplicable event’ that is said to have created the universe at the very least requires it to be a metaphysical event in which, whilst one doesn’t necessarily have to believe in a creator God, at least one has to believe in miraculous thus-far-inexplicable forces.
RESPONDENT: The facts: There are plenty of physicists who do not believe in God – and not agnostic – but are atheists – who also think the evidence (red-shift, 3K radiation, etc) for the big-bang is overwhelming. This demonstrates that there are plenty of physicists that are led to endorse the big-bang theory based upon the evidence (as they see it) rather than using belief in God as evidence.
PETER: You would probably be aware that I am on record as saying that Richard was the only thorough-going atheist on the planet, so we are going to get bogged down on this point straight away. Stephen Hawkins, a self-declared atheist when asked if he believed in God is on record as saying ‘I do not believe in a personal God’ – a somewhat equivocal statement, and Einstein is on record as saying ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings’ and I can think of none of the major players in the formulation of the Big Bang theory who did not believe in some form of mysticism or did not have some type of spiritual or religious belief.
I guess the only way one could establish that your fact is a fact is if one conducted in-depth interviews with each of the ‘plenty of physicists’ that you know to be atheists to determine whether they are thorough-going atheists, i.e. that they hold no metaphysical, mystical, spiritual or religious beliefs whatsoever. But then again, when I say that the Big Bang theory is creationist cosmology I am not saying that the formulators or supporters of the theories all believe in a creator God, for to do so would be silly. As an example there may well be Buddhist scientists who support the theory and I have heard Buddhists declare themselves to be atheists in that they do not believe in a Christian God.
RESPONDENT: Peter’s false ideas: 1) The ‘big-bang’ theory is ‘creationist’ cosmology.
The facts: To conclude that the big-bang theory is creationist cosmology because it was proposed by a creationist and because many creationists have been fascinated with it, by the same fallacious reasoning, evolutionary theory is ‘creationist’ since Darwin was a theist, and Newtonian physics is ‘creationist’ because Newton was a theist.
PETER: My ‘false idea’ that the ‘Big Bang’ theory is a creationist cosmology is based on the theory being what it says it is, and this is how I translated the theory into down-to-earth terms –
That the Big Bang theory has its roots in Albert Einstein’s relativity theory, he who believes in Spinoza’s God, and was championed by George LeMaître, a Catholic cleric, is of but anecdotal interest for those on the list who might be vitally interested in the extent to which religion, spiritualism and mysticism continue to permeate and influence the world of science. In fact as I recall, I never mentioned Einstein or LeMaître in connection with the ‘Big Bang’ theory to No 60, the only person I did mention was Paul Davies and I only did so because No 60 had raised the issue. In other words, I never used the evidence in my posts to No 60 that you claim I used in making the point that I didn’t make that you now claim to be false.
As for Charles Darwin, what I find telling is that he agonized for years about publishing his discoveries because he thought he would be damned by other theists – as he was, and still is in some quarters. In fact some education establishments still refuse to teach the evolutionary process, whilst mainstream society have adopted the evolutionary process as being a sign of God’s work.
RESPONDENT: The facts: It is reasonable to note that beliefs (specifically belief in God) can influence theory, but that is far from establishing in each instance that it actually has.
PETER: But then again it would be sensible not to let this reasoning get in the way of allowing that beliefs have influenced theories in a particular specific instance.
If this is the summary of your statement of fact it appears you are using this reasoning to establish that beliefs have not influenced theory in this particular instance as a ‘fact’ – thereby proving ‘my idea’ to be false. From where I stand this reasoning is far from impartial – as far as I can ascertain you are establishing a rule of reasonableness and saying that what I am saying is false because it does not fit your rule. (...)
RESPONDENT: Peter’s false idea 3) That ‘Einsteinian physics’ relies on ‘an a priori principle that the universe was created out of nothing.
3) Fact: Einsteinian physics – if by that you mean relativity (special and general) by no means relies on ‘an a priori principle that the universe was created out of nothing.’
PETER: This is the full text of the passage you are referring to –
Yep. You have got me nailed on this one. Loose terminology and sloppy thinking. The conversation with No 60 had been shifting around between discussing creationist cosmology and Einsteinian physics, so much so that I obviously lost the plot a bit.
In hindsight, t’would have made much more sense and would have been much more accurate if I had have said –
RESPONDENT: Fact: Einstein’s theories were proposed around the turn of the century – a good 25-30 years or so before big-bang theory got its start. In my readings about relativity, I have never read that Einsteinian physics relies on creation out of nothing. I can agree that ‘creation out of nothing’ is absurd – but the notion that Einsteinian physics (relativity) relies on such an absurd idea may be even more absurd.
PETER: Yep. I did put the cart before the horse – it was Einstein’s theories that led to the Big Bang theory (hence the term relativistic cosmology) and not the other way around. My statement was, as you rightly said, absurd.
Thanks for your correction. At least it shows that someone is trying to follow this discussion and is trying to make sense of the subject.
As I said in my post to No 60 (Metaphysics 3.1.2004) I only needed to do a bit of reading about relativistic cosmology to come to the conclusion that I did – that relativistic cosmology was a metaphysical science and not an empirical science. It is only because other people have called me to task over the issue that I have been made to do a little more reading on the subject and this further reading only confirms my initial observations.
So your correction is welcomed because no doubt the issue will be raised again and again over the coming years and whilst I continue to be asked to write yet more on the subject I obviously need to not only get my terminology right but also to avoid sloppy thinking.
RESPONDENT: And it is good to know that you are willing to be corrected – rather than doggedly hanging on to a personal (incorrect) thesis.
PETER: I have no trouble at all in admitting I am wrong – as I said I have never had occasion to immerse myself in the details of relativistic cosmology, as a brief overview was sufficient to convince me of its fallacies. But I do stand by what I say about relativistic cosmology and the more I look into it the more I see it clearly for what it is – an impassioned fantasy.
PETER: I would like to add a postscript to this post as something you recently said to No 53 struck a chord with me. You talked about how you came to no longer believe in the Christian God. I’ll just repost it again for reference –
What struck me about this is that it is a straight forward matter-of-fact description of how you came to the conclusion you did. This was what I was trying to explain to No 60 in my post about how I came to understand that the belief that the universe is ephemeral, i.e. that it had a beginning. is nothing but an impassioned fabrication, a fantasy.
If I can be a little cheeky, I would like to juxtapose my conclusion about metaphysics into your words and the reason I do so is that it might help you in understanding how I have come to the conclusions I have.
The reason I have juxtaposed my position re: metaphysics to your position re: the existence of God is that it may help you to appreciate that I too have no ‘Archimedean point’ (whatever that is) from which I can say there is no such thing as metaphysics. I simply put my initial understanding down to my practical life experience and the application of common sense … and it was this common sense thinking that led to the conclusion that then opened the way to me having an experiential understanding based on the direct experience of the infinitude of the actual universe which one has in a pure consciousness experience.
RESPONDENT: Interesting reading – as it is an account of a personal odyssey. I would add though that both relativity and the ‘big-bang’ are not necessarily as ‘metaphysical’ as you make them out to be. They may both be wrong – but if so, they are wrong because the evidence doesn’t support them – not because they are ‘metaphysical’. Let me reiterate – I am not saying that there are not metaphysical theories associated with the big-bang and relativity by some scientists – I am saying that they are not NECESSARILY metaphysical.
PETER: I am not making a philosophical argument as to the rights or wrongs of Einsteinian relativity or Einsteinian cosmology. What I did was make a down-to-earth enquiry into the subjects and what I found was that both were predicated on there being an underlying non-material reality to the material universe, i.e. both are theoretical systems based on the theoretical interactions of hypothetical particles that have no material existence.
From what you say, you appear to be arguing the agnostic case as in because you can never prove the existence of God, nor disprove the existence of God, one must remain open to all possibilities. As I said before, I have always found that it was unacceptable to me to remain open to all beliefs and, after I met Richard, I particularly found it impossible to remain an agnostic towards the universe – this very world of people, things and events.
By applying down-to-earth pragmatism I came to understand that I had two clear choices. If there was in fact an ‘underlying reality’ to the material universe then I had better stick with searching for the meaning of life within that ‘underlying reality’. If not, then I need to abandon the traditional spiritual search and set about thoroughly road-testing actualism in order to see if it works in practice – which, as you know, was the decision I took.
When I look back on my early discussions with Richard, what we broadly talked about was life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. In these discussions what emerged were a few clear propositions –
Over the course of a few months these very simple propositions made increasing sense to me such that I set off on my own course to discover for myself the facts of the matter – and taking on board the utter simplicity of the facts of the matter have drastically changed my life to an extent that was unimaginable to me when I first met Richard.
Which is why you and I are having this conversation about the latest of the cosmological theories.
RESPONDENT: I have just read this on your Website –
As far as I remember from my physics courses, at least a part of the Einstein’s theory of relativity (velocity / time relationship) has been experimentally proven by the observation of some short-lived fast particles. It these experiments the particles of the same kind and origin but different relative speed would exist for variable time periods that depended upon the particle speed (as predicted by one of the formulas combining mass of an object, its velocity, velocity of light, and time). In addition, the faster a particle moves in an accelerator the bigger it becomes as the energy applied to accelerate the particle becomes its mass when the particle approaches the speed of light. (E=mc2). By the same token, matter becomes light-energy as matter is combined with anti-matter. BTW, Newtonian laws work fine unless an object moves very, very fast.
PETER: I have read that Einstein’s theory has had many proofs over the last 80 years but, from what I can determine, the proofs offered relate to explaining phenomena that may relate to the original supposition, rather than providing empirical repeatable down-to-earth evidence that Einstein’s theory is a law that relates to the actual physical world. Whenever a scientist or engineer wants to do something practical, as opposed to theoretical, intellectual or mystical, they invariably revert to the laws, constraints and dictates that govern the physical universe and do not even consider the meta-physical theories. Whenever I had read anything of quantum physics, quantum mechanics, quantum cosmology, etc. in the past, I soon became bewildered and confused until I eventually realized that what they were saying had no relationship to common sense for they were not talking of the actual physical world.
Mr. Einstein himself is quoted as saying –
I find it telling that, according to Mr. Einstein, a sceptic is one who questions why relativity and quantum theory does not correspond to nature, i.e. the behaviour and actions of things we can see, touch, feel, smell and taste.
No. 7, I have no interest in things metaphysical or theories about the extreme limits of measurability in the macro or micro ends of the physical world. Science has perennially pushed back the boundaries of our knowledge of both the small and the big, forever searching for a finite limit, an edge or a Complete Understanding. Lacking anything of substance to measure, for the theoretical scientists don’t work in real world laboratories, they rely purely on theories, imagination and mathematical equations and computer calculations. Their position is clearly analogous to the mystic or shaman, and indeed most of the theories of the last century borrow heavily from Eastern mysticism – theories of other worlds, uncertainty, non-determinism, the observers effect on material objects, solipsism, etc.
But, for what it is worth, here is my take on Mr. Einstein’s theory.
The central tenet of his theory is the unequivocal statement that the speed of light is constant, no matter what. As far as I can ascertain, this tenet is held to be the case no matter what medium it passes through and this constancy is held to be completely uninfluenced by the effects of any other objects or forces.
To quote from: Einstein A life in Science
by Michael White and John Gribbin Simon and Schyuster 1993
I always find it amazing that humans revere a theory whose effects no human can directly experience because humans cannot move at the speed of light because it is held to be impossible to do so by the very same theory. Does this not mean that the theory has no relevance at all to human experience in the physical world in which we live? Does this not ring a bell? Is this not the same with all metaphysical/spiritual theories?
But, to address your comments about the experimental proof of the theory by observation of short-lived particles. Again a quote from the same source as above –
And yet, I find it telling that when a clock orbiting the earth in a satellite used for precision navigation, the same calculated effects of this theory have been ignored. Does this not raise some serious doubts as to why these theories and explanatory proofs are not used in the empirical world of people things and events?
I watched a TV program about the work at Cern and was particularly unimpressed, or sceptical as Mr. Einstein would have it, as to the common sense of the gulf between what was actually observable and measurable and what was extrapolated as an explanation. I came to understand that the use of massive computing power was increasingly needed in the micro dimension as the mathematical equations become increasingly complex. In fact, it was obvious they weren’t trying to understand, or make sense, of what they were observing, they were trying to find justification for their theories from their observations, which is a completely different scenario. The theories derived from increasingly tortured mathematical formulas were primary, the actual observations were secondary. In fact, many of their suppositions were about speculative particles, energies, or whatever, that had never been observed and may never be observable. Does not all this postulating have a familiar ring about it?
To move on further into the realms of quantum supposition and theory, again from the same source –
Again I do find it curious that the clocks in satellites moving at several hundred times faster than an airline, for years not hours, are evidently not compensated to allow for this experimental difference attributed to Einstein’s theory. There are two unrelated fields of science – the pure theoreticians and the empiricist engineer scientists, exactly as in the field of ontology there are two unrelated approaches – the metaphysical, spiritualists and the down-to-earth actualists.
And just to round up the horses into the coral, I’ll end with another piece on quantum theory from the Encyclopedia Britannica –
Thus, quantum theory has an inbuilt ‘indeterminancy (or uncertainty) principle’ which means it forever ‘escapes determinism’, as in –
No wonder I have no interest in quantum theory. Trying to have a sensible down-to-earth discussion about Einstein’s theory is analogous to talking to someone who passionately believes in the existence of God, and then insists you should prove He/She/It doesn’t exist.
RESPONDENT: Coincidentally, I picked this up at Electric Universe...
PETER: His firm conviction seems to have a familiar ring to it. Spiritualists are often convinced that there are Enlightened Beings who live quite unobtrusive lives, a conviction particularly held by those humble practitioners who fail to make it to the top of the spiritual heap.
As for Einstein, you may find this quote to be relevant to the subject at hand –
RESPONDENT: The mechanics of life within the planes of matter, energy time and space are bound by laws, many in the physical (physics) realm were discovered fairly recently. Many ‘discoverers’ added views such as Albert E, and more recently, Stephen Hawking, which can (relative to their field) appear to be ‘imaginary’, ‘metaphysical’ or mystical.
PETER: Neither Einstein nor Hawking work in practical empirical science but in the field of theoretical sciences, dealing with things that can neither be seen nor measured. Both men are self-proclaimed mystics, searching for the meaning of life in mathematical equations and unfathomable theories.
‘Einstein, A life in Science’, Ch. 6, by Michael White and John Gribbin Simon and Schyuster 1993
It is important to make a clear distinction as to what are physical laws – empirically measurable, clearly demonstrable and readily repeatable – and what is mere theory, postulation or assumption. I find it most telling that the clocks of the worldwide satellite navigation system were programmed according to Newtonian laws and not according to Mr. Einstein’s theory that suggests time somehow varies relative to the velocity of the clock itself. Similarly, all of the space exploration uses Newtonian physical laws and not Einstein’s esoteric theory.
A scientific theory ain’t a physical law – a theory is speculation or conjecture.
RESPONDENT: The reason I mention this is because I have discovered, without the brilliant minds that these guys were born with, as many others have, laws that transcend the ‘cultural laws’.
PETER: Theoreticians such as Mr. Einstein and Mr. Hawking and their ilk are human beings, exactly like you and I. As such, it is inevitable that they had an upbringing steeped in religious/ spiritual belief. Their theories are about the creation and ending of this eternal universe and about ‘other-worlds’, other than this infinite universe. The physical, actual universe, being eternal, has no beginning and no end and, being infinite, has no edge or outside to it.
PETER: Just some comments on the quotes you posted (...) –
PETER: Good old Albert, hey. Many still regard him as a scientist who contributed to our understanding of the physical universe, rather than the Mystic he was.
He is famous mostly for theoretical postulations as to what could happen to matter, space and time if the speed of light is exceeded or if infinity is measured finitely. No wonder after some 80 years his theories still remain theories. I heard a scientist use the word ‘Guru’ the other day as he pondered on which current proposer of theories to follow.