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PHYSICS IN THE CAPTIVITY OF ANCIENT PREJUDICES

Boris F. Poltoratsky

It is devoted to Mr. Jerome Malenfant, Senior Assistant Editor Physical Review Letters, for refusal in the publication of a previous paper without any reviewing.

Here we again revisit old subjects concerning the hypotheses and dualism in natural sciences.

Let's begin with hypotheses. In strict sense we should review them in terms of the Information Theory, to be more exact, in terms of the Statistical Hypothesis Testing theory.

However, the mathematical apparatus of these disciplines is only partly adequate to the scale of the general problem. Therefore, it is reasonable to address biology first, since the animal brain works extremely efficient in this sense. A hound for example searches for a hare in a wood not under every bush, but only where the prey most probably is hidden. Each dog’s success is a criterion of the correctness of the hypotheses it chooses. Historically, a homo sapiens was rather an object of hunting; therefore everything is more complicated here. Before making a move, a human prefers to plan and mentally goes through the active stage. For this purpose he is to look over the hypotheses in advance. Their deficiency or unreliability provokes discomfort, alarm and fear, all of them to be called in just one word: stress. People always instinctively want to avoid stresses, though. Those who were indifferent were eaten up in prehistoric times already. So the lack of initial information makes its impact on the subconscious level. It is important that this level of human mentality appeals not only to poets, physicians and psychologists. It is the long wished-for object of influence for all kinds of shamans and swindlers. The classical philosophy used to appeal to obviously fair persons leaving this aspect of issue unconsidered. It is obvious that such an approach is obsolete these cynical days.

            Thus we come to conclusion that hypotheses have not only a rational or logic essence to which mathematics is actually applicable, but also an irrational component, the Subconscious which is regulated by very subtle and vulnerable mental processes in the human brain. There is still no dualism here as it is a matter of just two attributes of the same object, like the color and size of a boot. The peculiarity of the human’s cognition process is that the researcher considers these attributes consistently, not simultaneously, starting with the second one. Here everything is simply and natural: as the empirical (experimental) data about a research subject accumulates, the researchers’ attention turns gradually to the quantitative aspect of an issue. Eventually, the objective should supersede the subconscious. Yet all researchers are humans, and humans are extremely different. For swindlers and demagogues, the distress caused by the loss of the activity field can become intolerable. Contradictions inevitably build up. This dialectics is easy to track using a specific example from geography, a rather simple area of the natural science.

            Practically all ancient people thought the Earth to be flat. In those days such a hypothesis was rather convenient. It had a lot of local evidence and consequences. For example, the ancient Chinese believed the Earth in China was not only flat but also had some declination to the east. The fact that all the rivers flew one way was expected to verify that. The inclination itself would be naturally caused by the carelessness of the gods who quarreled and fought and somewhere incidentally displaced one of terrestrial supports. Quite convincing. Ethnographically, this talented people had quite a high level of abstract thinking. For us it is essential that this hypothetic legend once helped this people overcome the stress making up for the lack of important information. This state of affairs continued to be till Pythagoras who assumed that the Earth was similar to a sphere. Aristotle proved this true comparing the position of stars in Egypt and Athens. One might expect the Great geographical Discoveries to have done away with the legend. This was not the thing, though. It is only in the 21 century that the resistance of the “Flat Earth Society” has calmed down a little. Was it GPS that confused them? But this situation is not stable. The result is that there is obvious duality (dualism) about the understanding of the object called Earth. On the one hand, it is a planet with a shape conditioned by the gravitational and other known forces. On the other hand, it is a part of an ancient legend about a plane resting on turtles, elephants, etc. Notable is that the set of categories, attributes and definitions used by people discussing the shape of the Earth scientifically never overlaps the set of concepts contained in archaic legends. It is therefore obvious, that under such conditions any comparison of these points of view should be deprived of any sense. It would be actually one discussion, but on totally different matters. This is the case where an unverified hypothesis and a well-proved scientific fact can coexist infinitely long. Also it is obvious that from the practical point of view a legend can exist only inasmuch as it does not contradict the scientific interpretation, for example as the flat scheme of streets of city.

            Now we will discuss the consequences resulting from the geographical dualism. Below are only three of them:

  1. The essence of the dualism in the interpretation of the same natural phenomenon is the simultaneous and unnatural coexistence of a well-proved physical fact and an old unverified (unverifiable) hypothesis.
  2. There are no objective reasons for justification of dualism, there are only subjective reasons which are not related in any way to the real science in general and which are caused only by prejudices or obviously dishonest intentions and ambitions.
  3. The hypothetical (or legendary) constituent of the dual pair cannot be used as a fact or argument for the further development of the natural science, since it is not related to the science in general.

      Now that we have found out the basic attributes of a dualism, it is possible to discuss the “photon”.

The hypotheses concerning the nature of light have emerged long before the electrodynamics. The Arabian physicist Alhazen (10th century) was the first man who stated that light is spread by beams from radiating or light reflecting objects. Everyone agreed. However, Galileo complicated the problem dramatically raising the question of the light velocity. Obviously light beams were not enough to solve the problem. Then Newton assumed that beams consisted of flying particles. This was the beginning of the corpuscular hypothesis of the nature of light. Huygens assumed that light spread by waves. These two hypotheses coexisted on equal terms till Maxwell who proved strictly and ultimately with the help of electrodynamics that light is actually electromagnetic waves. The particle adherers did not believe Maxwell. This was the source of dualism. On the one hand, light turns out to be electromagnetic waves, which is proved by a huge number of experiments. On the other hand, light consists of flying particles moving similarly to peas or shot in accordance with a hypothesis, although this is not verified in any way. The portion-like absorption of electromagnetic radiation must not be considered as a proof of the discontinuity of the field or light itself or as an argument in favor of the hypothesis. Nobody actually considers a soup a spooned or quantized matter just because it is consumed by spoons. Nobody would categorize water as dropping just because it drips. The same concerns the mineral oil, which is somehow sold by barrels etc. The scientists of the beginning of the 20th century named the imaginary particles of light as “photons” and stuck out for them as violently as the supporters of the flat Earth.

Thus the world witnesses the wave-corpuscle dualism of electromagnetic field (or light). The properties of this dualism are similar to those inherent in the once prevailing geographical dualism. However, there are also differences. First, those who support the “photons” have partially adopted Maxwell’s theory but intentionally deformed the essence of his equations. Second, they established control over the press and concentrated in their hands other means and capacities some of which are far from harmless. For example, in Russia they established a special commission at the Academy of sciences which resembles the Cheka / United State Political Administration (OGPU) or “Gestapo”. Discussions are absolutely prohibited. As a result we have nowadays to deal not with the scientific community but with a destructive sect of “photonists”.

Let's look at the third property of the dualism. The geographical dualism is harmless since both cosmonauts and captains of ships do not care a bit about it. However “photons” have advanced to textbooks. The totalitarian policy of “photonists” has yielded them their goal: they managed to stop the development of physics at least for 100 years. There cannot be any way for a disproved, obviously false hypothesis (legend) to be a source of truth.

            There are substantial and real reasons for the violent behavior of the militant ignorance. But sharing them would be another story.

 

Please note: we are not providing any references to the literature, since the reader who is familiar with the Internet, will easily find them in Wikipedia.

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