söndag 25 september 2011

Positivism vs Negativism in Science

Einstein's special theory of relativity is supposedly based on an idea of no-aether or no-preferred-reference-frame, while many-minds relativity is based on an idea of many-aethers or many-preferred-reference-frames.

In many-minds relativity each observer uses a reference frame in which the observer is at rest. Different observers moving with respect to each other, will thus use different reference frames moving with respect to each other, and a main concern is to what degree different observers will agree in their observations.

Einstein's special relativity is thus based on (i) non-existence, while many-minds relativity is based on a (ii) multitude of existence.

We may compare the following religious ideas: (i) there is no God, and (ii) there are many Gods.

From scientific point of view (ii) represents a form of positivism building on the existence of certain things, while (i) would represent some form of negativism building on the non-existence of certain things.

But can negativism be viewed to be science? Can ateism be viewed to be religion? Well, the answer can only by No. Ateism is not religion. Negativism is not science. It is impossible to draw a positive conclusion about existence of something from an assumption of non-existence.

As explained in detail in many-minds relativity, Einstein's special theory of relativity is not a scientific theory about reality, which may be false, but a pseudo-scientific theory about non-reality which cannot be false because it builds on a definition (the Lorentz transformation connecting observations in different reference frames). This is confirmed by the statement made by Einstein When asked by his assistant what his reaction would have been if general relativity had not been confirmed by Eddington and Dyson in 1919:
  • Then I would feel sorry for the dear Lord. The theory is correct anyway.
A theory which is true independent of the design of reality by the dear Lord, is not a scientific theory, only a logical truism or tautology.

We may compare with:

1. Sherlock Holmes famous statement:
  • How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
2. NASA presents 4 incorrect theories of flight, but no theory claimed to be correct.

3. CO2 alarmism claims that an observed rise in global temperature of 0.5 C in postindustrial time (if correct), cannot be explained by anything else than an observed rise of CO2.

Is Sherlock Holmes´strategy applicable to NASA's flight theories. Has NASA by listing several impossible theories, effectively given a true theory, however improbable it may be? Is it so that the less we can explain about global warming, the more sure we can be that CO2 is the cause?

We are led to make a distinction between a case with a small number of potential possibilities, in which elimination of a few impossibilities may single out the true possibility, and a case with many potential possibilities in which elimination of a few does not improve the level of understanding. In science the second case is probably more common.

As concerns experimental confirmation of general relativity, the existence of gravitational waves is viewed to be a critical test. Without gravitational waves general relativity cannot be valid. No observations of gravitational waves have been reported, despite intensive efforts.

PS1 Note that verification of positive universal claims or negative existential claims, may be impossible, while negative universal claims and positive existential claims may be verifiable.
As an example, the statements "alla swans are white" or "there is no black swan" may be impossible to verify, while "it is not true that all swans are white" and "there is a black swan" become verified as soon as a black swan is dectected.

This connects to the ancient Phyrrhonistic Skepticism or fallibilism reminding us that we can learn that we are wrong, but never that we are right, picked in our time by Karl Popper with falsifiability or refutability as a necessary quality of a scientific theory.

Einstein's special relativity postulate "there is no aether/preferred reference frame" appears to be non-verifiable (depending on how "preferred" (by whom?) is defined), while the statement "there are more than one aethers/preferred reference frames" is verified as soon as two different preferred aethers (coordinate systems) are detected.

We understand that Einstein's special relativity requires one unique universal observer/mind, while many-minds relativity allows many observers. Einstein's relativity is mono-theistic, while many-minds relativity is poly-theistic.

PS2 Recall that Einstein's special theory of relativity is not falsifiable because it is based on the postulates (i) there is no preferred reference frame and (ii) the speed of light is constant, where (i) is non-falsifiable (= true) because there are more than one reference frames, and (ii) is a definition and thus is non-falsifiable. Einstein's special theory thus does not pass Popper's falsifiability test.

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