last april i was
reading an editorial in a magazine of that date when i was brought to
a full stop -- not just taken aback. this was one of the top-level science
news magazines, read by thousands of science enthusiasts as well as
professionals. and it was telling me outright that laws of nature, long
thought to have been sustaining the conditions for life on this planet,
were not created by whatever cosmic truth underlies nature. they were
made by the race of homo sapiens, which evolved into residence
here about a million years ago.
i was frankly
unable to decide at first whether the key words i objected to were to
be taken literally. if so, thousands of readers would surely be left
with the "teaching" that there are in actuality no
laws of nature; there is merely a tradition of
calling them that. but, it was said, in truth every one of such laws
were compiled, tested, described, and had their names approved by mankind
-- which is to say, by authority of science. i decided this was expected
to be taken literally.
bold words along
the lines of these:... human-made...a construct that is wholly human...constants
made by man...nothing natural about natural laws. ideas such as these
do not suggest tentative positions but solidly established tenets.
"when a scientific subject remains 95% mystery, the independent
writer's main problem is how to retain a semblance of sanity."...c.bartleson,1956
one of our home pages it is announced for all to see that metaparticles
and its generators are not affiliated with any sort
of organization... philosophical, religious, scientific, commercial,
fraternal, or educational.
(so we are not taking sides in what follows. disputes or not, i
have a secret for keeping cool in updates like this. the secret
is my wife's cat-spray bottle, for cats who scratch on window screens.
she simply watches me for signs of hyperbole and sprays my back.)
i have managed
to think of a scenario in which the stand taken in that editorial might
be justified. we begin with a late-era hominid. he is a fish lancer
in a northern climate. when he returns to the communal cave one evening
he has only four fish, and explains it is because there is too much
ice floating in the water.
this often happens
with fishermen over the next millennium. they always have the same excuse:
ice floating in the water. but the time eventually comes when the tribal
chief happens to be the curious type. in fact he is the gene-daddy of
many future scientists. he muses over the floating ice phenomenon and
forms an hypothesis: maybe ice always floats in water. (except
in unfavorable environmental conditions.) (summer)
floats" is only part of a law, but it's convenient to use in making
a point. "ice floats" becomes a rule, or rubric. so do a hundred
or so other important bits of knowledge. when writing is invented, detailed
information on these rules piles up in the scribe huts.
urge blossoms further when the data gets organized. later the categories
are given more or less appropriate names. the subject is known as laws
of nature for centuries. finally it all becomes so traditional that
a certain ideation starts germinating in individuals and groups here
this is where
a possibly true and humanly understandable supposition comes
in. the idea is still vague; it slips gradually into unspoken agreement.
i don't believe much scientific analysis plays a part. by contemporary
times the scientific subconscious might be suggesting thoughts like
all the 'laws of nature' we now list as 'natural laws'. it's traditional.
but cutting-edgers should no longer think in traditions. science did
the observations, determining what materials are involved and how
they relate. it's science that has the lengthy job of empirical testing;
that doesn't come as a function of nature. everyone in experimental
work knows the rules, the laws; they're standard knowledge and don't
depend on fantasies."
you know, the natural laws concept is not contributing anything new
to our progress nowadays. we've done the research, the classifying,
created the literature and particularly the mathematics. lately the
term we've been using is physical laws. what's natural about
them? did science just naturally get to where we now are? we made
the physical laws. the whole idea of laws was initiated by science.
i say so-called natural laws are really human constructs.
we just don't need the traditional habits or the old paradigms, in
view of our new findings and expectations."
view of the universe focuses on extended spatial possibilities to be
defined as data is accumulated.
to add new vistas to the vastness of space, once thought totally empty.
space itself is now thought to be something like a multi-level container
for invisible but material realities. perhaps these consist of concentric
ranges or "world-fields", existing as a continuum made of
techniques bring such possibilities into the purview of science, it
is sure to be found that natural laws are in control there as they are
in the universe we now deal with. it is suggested there will come a
time to set apart, categorically, all laws whose controlling presence
must necessarily include all of space. for if not already known, it
will eventually be seen that in order to impose their effects, such
"universal laws" must maintain constant and intimate contact
with the substances they keep in order. my best guess is that laws are
consequently not physical but hyperphysical. if thought and will
are the immediate tools for the creation of laws...what keeps
this would mean
that pervasive, universal laws -- such as equilibrium, separation, entropy,
contrast (or opposition), etc., must all co-occupy
space without interfering with each
other. you may agree a situation like that is easier to dismiss
than to dwell upon. but it is futile to believe that such situations
can be avoided. laws are essential to the comprehension of existence;
each law keeps its own order in whatever it pervades, or there would
be no use for it, as there is no use (that we non-scientists recognize)
for chaos. therefore each universal law* presents for possible analysis
its functional necessities. if these are unwelcome to our minds in this
epoch, their force will surely continue without our assistance. (which
is lucky for us.)
from specific, attributive "laws" on the order of "ice
floats" and "black holes have event horizons".
to understand how universal laws actually operate should be a matter
of equal concern with who or what caused them to exist.
since i chose
to challenge the threatened eclipse of natural laws occasioned by the
idea they were produced solely by human minds, i feel uneasily obligated
to show good reason why the same should, and i believe could not happen
to universal laws. but it may seem superfluous -- particularly since
i am flatly unable to obtain a clue relating to how such laws operate.
and that barely suggests how inaccessible the prospect appears. granted
of course that science abounds with intellect far surpassing mine, it
may at least speak something about the difficulty involved when i admit
-- metaphysics, superphysics, hyperphysics and all -- that i have completely
failed to get any hold whatsoever upon this problem.
i be brash enough to ask: what man or woman, or what assembly of human
beings, past or present, can claim to have "made" such a law?
"we are not alone" reminder
does anybody owning
collegiate robes for special occasions believe that we, here, the immature
blossomings of ice-fishing spearmen, are the only intelligent beings
to be found in roughly ten billion galaxies?
all i can say
to any of you who may be frowning is that you must be real world-class
longshotters. let's suppose this is 2206 instead of 2006 and the longshotters
have lost. our scientists are in touch with other scientists (wearing
different robes) in at least l8 star systems.
the subject of
the laws of nature comes up. what, pray tell, would be your remarks?
is a convocation of the earth's scientists going to endorse a statement
that all "natural, universal, and cosmic laws" were devised
and put into effect by the inhabitants of
one small, damaged planet in a galaxy near
but don't worry,
you other nonprofessional readers. our scientists will not claim that
any kind of natural laws originated with their grandfathers. you can
depend on their wisdom in such a circumstance. after all, some of those
aliens from the l8 galaxies might claim their grandfathers did
is it definite,
then, that the laws of nature
are entirely constructed by human beings?
it is not at all
definite in my mind, but perhaps it is in others. what is definite is
that the scientists who prefer to think that way will continue doing
so as long as they wish. as for what has been discussed about it in
this update, one might say all we have done is show how such a choice
could be seen as an explainable option. as long
as they stick with "made by
man" and leave creation out
i would like to
close with a couple of questions:
within say 50
years (global warming willing), cosmology, astrophysics, and bigger
colliders should be able to present particle physics with convincing
evidence that a continuum of hypermatter does exist, mostly in the space
surrounding the earth. i fortunately will not be here to remind science
that those little nano-points should turn out to include the missing
"greater poles" of metaparticles. (instead of which physics
now has to get along with intrinsic angular momentum.) question: will
somebody kindly live long enough to bring this up with the proper savants?
(it will no doubt still be best not to mention my name; this was "just
in an old download" you ran across...you know?) thanks.
_ _ _ _
could it be real that in some hapless scientific paper or other i read
the phrase "law of random"? that's almost as bad as organized
chaos.... law of random?? (spray!)
i certainly hope i did not read that. the very words are
enough to make one scratch the window screen without benefit of cat.