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"The more things change, the more they stay the same" Options
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:33:53 PM

Rank: Advanced Member
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Joined: 10/3/2009
Posts: 31
Points: 93
Location: Canada
I’m an old man. I took a course taught by Emilio Segre many years ago. He was the co-discoverer of the antiproton, as you may be aware. I was sitting in his classroom with about 10 or 12 others when he arrived the morning after the announcement that he had won the Nobel Prize. We were all delighted. He was warm and likeable, fatherly in his demeanor and generous with his hard-won insights.

One of his discussions concerned remembrances of the critical period when quantum mechanics intruded itself into the picture. He had found it a likely explanation for all the confounding experimental data that were continually coming forth. Many physicists, he said, did not, and sought all manner of alternative explanations that preserved the conventional view of reality. Over time, these people faded away.

We are at a similar crossroad today: Our theories of gravity, General Relativity and its limiting case, Newton’s gravitational law, are grossly inadequate. The majority of working physicists seem to prefer “dark matter” and “dark energy” as simple add-ons to our existing understanding.

Why? A physicist’s career is judged chiefly by the number of papers he has published. If it should become apparent that our present formulations of gravitational theory are way off the mark, an astrophysicist’s claim to a successful career becomes questionable – the theoretical basis underlying nearly all of his work goes into the trash along with the value of the papers that underlie it.

Enter the add-ons, “dark matter” and “dark energy.” With these, our basic understanding of physical laws is not challenged, just the universe’s mix of ingredients. A great search for the new stuff is on, the careers of theoreticians are not threatened, much new funding is required. Everyone is happy.

The psychoanalyst Eric Fromm wrote a powerful book some years back, Escape from Freedom: New York: Avon, 1965.

Here’s a quote from it (p.82):

“Any kind of thought, true or false, if it is more than a superficial conformance with conventional ideas, is motivated by the subjective needs and interests of the person who is thinking. It happens that some interests are furthered by finding the truth, others by destroying it. But in both cases the psychological motivations are important incentives for arriving at certain conclusions. We can go even further and say that ideas which are not rooted in powerful needs of the personality will have little influence on the actions and on the whole life of the person concerned.”

If you would like to know what I suggest as a better, directly testable solution, see my Website.

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