tisdag 26 oktober 2010

Scientific DoubleThink

Orwell describes in 1984 DoubleThink: 
  • The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary .
DoubleThink is practiced a lot in politics, where it may be a necessary ingredient, but is it also present in science, in physics as the foundation of science? 

Yes, it seems that also physics requires DoubleThink, at least in the fundaments of physics of quantum mechanics and relativity theory, where it has been elevated to Principles:
To Orwell DoubleThink was the end of democracy and science. Is it?

For a perspective without DoubleThink, see Many-Minds Relativity:
  • Different people may have different views depending on position, while each person follows coherent SingleThink.

1 kommentar:

  1. Is the Wave-Particle Duality really a duality? I'm thinking in the spirit that is presented in the first chapter of Herbert Kroemers Quantum Mechanics (Prentice-Hall 1994)

    "[...] By the end of the 19th century, classical physics had reduced almost all macroscopic phenomena to the interactions of two classes of elementary objects: particles, wich obeyed the laws of Newtonian mechanics, and wave fields, wich obeyed Maxwell's equations. Every elementary object was either a particle or a wave field, and the two were considered mutually exclusive.

    In quantum mechanics, the concepts of waves and particles have changed their character. They are not classes of objects themselves; they are now two distinct modes of behaviour, shared by all classes of objects. Every object can behave like a particle and like a wave. Thus, the question "Is the electron a particle or a wave?" has the answer "No; it is an electron." And the question "Can the electron behave like a particle or a wave?" has the answer "Yes; it can behave like either."

    So in light of this point of view the Wave-particle duality is only a duality by name, not by nature, and therefore not sufficient to qualify as a "DoubleThink"