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The Philosophy Of Science


More Philosophy


Every human child wonders how we got here. If he or she asks somebody, he or she usually gets an answer that is traditional. The traditions had their origins in the distant past, when humanity had not yet accumulated sufficient data on which to base a reasonable answer.

If the traditional answer was,"God made everybody and everything", the child asked, "Who made God?" If the answer was that God was always there, the child should have asked why the universe was not always there.

Some children have grown up to become celebrated scientists who have access to all the data that have accumulated in our century, and have produced a theory, according to which the universe began a few billion years ago.

Of course that puts the onus on them to explain every step of the way from non-existence to numberless galaxies. Furthermore they have to explain the existence of everything we can observe on the earth, from the smallest particle to the oceans and continents.

They could have spared themselves much trouble by postulating a universe that always has been and always will be. I shall now offer my modest proposal for a scenario.

All things are matter, and all matter consists of neg bits and pos bits. I will endeavor to show how these bits can account for all of the elements, all of the compounds, and all of the earth's features and inhabitants.

In the existing universe, as it has always been, neg-pos pairs are constantly being emitted in all directions, moving at the speed of light (in a vacuum) relative to the source. "Always" is time enough for all of the substance of the universe to have fled the scene in the form of neg-pos pairs. Since that is obviously not the case, there is probably no limit to the extent of the universe, and there are as many neg-pos pairs arriving from distant parts as there are neg-pos pairs leaving for distant parts.

Astronomers were once startled to discover that radio noise was being received from outer space. What they were receiving were streams of neg-pos pairs.

Although the universe is now the way it always has been, each part of the universe is constantly evolving. While some stars are growing, others are shrinking. While some stars are interacting with others, some stars are far removed from any others. Perhaps in a zillion years, their situations will be reversed.

Let us see how one simple building block can be the substance of stars, planets, earth, moon, mountains, oceans, elephants, gnats, bacteria, and viruses.

There are two kinds of bit, negatively charged, and positively charged. Opposite charges attract. Like charges repel. The strength of attraction is slightly greater than the force of repulsion. The difference between those forces is a force called gravitation.

A neg-pos pair is electrically neutral, but there is gravitational attraction between two neg-pos pairs.

A single pair of neg-pos is always moving at the speed of light. If we think like physicists, we say that the single neg-pos pair has a mass of 2 units, a momentum of 2C, where C is the speed of light, and a kinetic energy of C2.

If we think like a confused physicist, we say that the imaginary neg-pos pair must be massless at the speed of light, or else have infinite mass at the speed of light.

The same physicist will tell you that any body gains mass as it gains speed. The source of the extra mass is the energy that accelerated the body. The source of the energy loses mass as it emits energy.

What our friend, the physicist, neglects is the fact that neg-pos is self-propelled. It is its own source of energy, and can gain as much mass as it expends. The net result is zero gain and zero loss. In fact the whole discussion is meaningless, because both energy and mass are mere abstractions. Only the neg-pos bits ar real.

If we had to start our story with only bits in an otherwise empty universe, the only way bits would combine with other bits would be to travel side by side at speed C. In that event they would be stationary relative to each other. However the universe was always there, and neg-pos pairs would associate by landing on the moon, or anywhere else.

When a neg-pos pair lands, it transfers its motion to the body it lands on. The motion is then shared by all of the bits of the target. They usually outnumber the the neg-pos pair a zillion to one, making the result imperceptible, but nevertheless real.

Each additional pair in an aggregate increases the gravitational attraction . Thus growth continues. One might expect the bits to cuddle up close because of greater gravitational attraction and pressure from the outer members of the group, but there are some obstacles to overcome.

One obstacle is the change in the direction of the force. The force of attraction continues to increase the closer a neg bit approaches a pos bit, until a point is reached at which the force switches to repulsion. Within that radius, neg repels pos and neg attracts neg and pos attracts pos.

Where the outer force and the inner force meet, they overlap. As we go from outside in, first the outer force predominates, then there is a point of equality, where the net force is zero, then there is utter dominance of the inner force.

The result is that some neg bits manage to pass the barrier and become intimately attached to each other. This process continues until the collection is a 5 x 1020 bits strong. At this point, the aggregate, which is called an electron core, is a sphere with a radius that reaches the point of zero net force. Any additional candidate for membership is rejected.

Throughout the universe there is a shower of neg-pos pairs. A newly formed core of neg bits will be joined by some neg-pos. As fast as neg-pos is received, it is reemitted. The exchange of neg-pos is equal in all directions. This changes when an outside body comes close to the electron. When that happens, there is a preponderance of arrival of neg-pos in one favored direction. The new neg-pos transfers its motion to the electron.

As long as the motion of the electron continues, it retains extra neg-pos. Usually, the excess baggage departs and the motion is reduced.

By the same process, pos bits aggregate and pos cores are formed, called proton cores. Naturally I don't know which came first, but I propose that the first particle heavier than a proton , a neutron, existed before either a proton or an electron. However, the neutron is unstable.

Suppose that neg-pos aggregated as such until it contained enough material for a neutron. Within it, an electron core and a proton core developed. Shortly after its formation, the electron escaped, followed by a neutrino. The remainder was a proton.

All it takes to make a hydrogen atom is one proton and one electron. The rest of the elements consist of different numbers of protons and neutrons in various combinations, and with a number of electrons that is equal to the number of protons.

It seems to me that the nucleus of an atom is of some form other than protons and neutrons, but containing the proper ingredients to produce those particles on short notice. Included in the mixture is an excess of neg-pos.

Every process and rearrangement can be attributed to the properties of bits. No matter how large or complicated anything is, each of its constituent bits behaves in its simple fashion. A brick is still a brick and still acts like a brick, whether it is part of a chimney or a wall.

An atom of carbon and an atom of oxygen are collections of protons, electrons, neutrons, and spare bits. The difference between carbon and oxygen is the number of each constituent. The six protons of the carbon nucleus attract six electrons. The eight protons of the oxygen nucleus attract eight electrons.

Each of the six electrons of the carbon atom moves into a position of zero net force. Each position of zero net force is determined by all the parts of the atom. When one electron shifts, it is attracted back to its spot. I am referring to a free atom, not connected to any other.

The same story applies to the oxygen atom's eight electrons, when the oxygen is a free atom. When the carbon and oxygen interact, all of the electrons shift, because the points of zero force are determined by all of the parts of both atoms. The product of this reaction is a molecule of carbon monoxide. Three of the six electrons of the carbon have shifted toward the oxygen side, and two of the eight electrons of oxygen have shifted farther away from the carbon side.

All of the world's chemistry proceeds like that. It is automatic and is based on the few simple rules of bit behavior. However, chemistry is only a small part of what bits do. In the interior of stars, the temperature is too high to permit any of the familiar processes or forms of matter. Whereas thermodynamics tells us that entropy in the universe must increase constantly, until a state of heat death will end all processes, the situation in the stars tells us that there is constant renewal and recycling of the substance of the universe.

Long ago in human experience, people learned how to refine metals. These metals could not be found as separate elements. They had to be separated from the compounds that contained them. One of the exceptions was gold, which is found in pure form as gold nuggets and gold dust.

You may wonder how gold atoms found each other. The answer is that there is molten rock in the earth's crust. In the hot liquid, atoms of an element can move around. The gold atoms have so many electrons, that they mask the positive charge of the numerous protons in the nucleus. Therefore, strange atoms combine with other atoms that attract electrons readily. The gold atoms attract each other, but moderately, so that gold is a softer metal than most.

Sometimes gold nuggets are found that are alloyed with silver. However, silver combines chemically with other elements, not gold.

The earth keeps evolving. The continents and oceans keep shifting, the orientation of the earth's axis changes in cyclical fashion. The orbits of the moon, earth, and planets keep shrinking.

In case there is nothing exciting about the growth and decay of mountains, or the draining of lakes and shifting of riverbeds, how about biological evolution? That, too, is unplanned and unmanaged. But, like inorganic evolution, organic evolution is automatic.

The most likely source of organic chemicals is hot springs in the ocean bed. It is a common occurence, in solutions, that like molecules associate. A second step could be the capture of other molecules which improve the growth of the aggregate. A major development in early organic existence was RNA as molecule builder. RNA, DNA, and ATP are present in cells of nearly all species.

Every detail and every function can now be, or will eventually be, accounted for in terms of chemistry and physics.

Ten Myths of Science is an excellent example of the philosophy of science.

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