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Title: The Absolute Present
Author: David J Larkin
Subject: Philosophy of Science, Physics, Mathematical Modelling
Publisher: David J Larkin, Melbourne 2000
Copyright © David J Larkin, 1998
All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this work may be reproduced by any process without the written permission of the publisher.
Copyright enquiries: David J Larkin
Notes: Includes index and bibliography
ISBN: 0 646 40400 8
Keywords: Fundamental particle physics, special relativity, quantum mechanical theory.
Contents: Introduction
Modern Physics
Philosophical and Mathematical Considerations
Fractal Particle Theory
Quantum Mechanics
Special Relativity

Links: Composite Particle Theory

•More than an intuitive nonsense, Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, it would seem, legitimised a century of stupidity. A stupidity typified by schizophrenic, ghosting, time dependent, self-replicating, psychic 'god-like' particles; singularities; space-time warps and imaginary time. If sensibility is to be restored, then Science must exorcise the spooks, God-rationalists, and writers of science fiction that riddle modern theoretical physics. Provocative conjecture indeed.

The motivation for such conjecture has root in the ultimate beauty of simplicity—the analysis of the empirical data in the context of a new 'intuitive' theoretical model. Consequently, this work is not so much about an ultimate objective-truth of physical theory or the philosophy of time, but is more a quest for re-evaluation in the face of esoteric, complex theories founded upon the 'near mystical'.

In the process of achieving this quest, it will be necessary to outline a theoretical background, targeted at the uninitiated, which at times may seem tiresome. I would urge however, that this journey of discovery, upon which we are about to embark, is well worth the passage—and long overdue.

•The content of this chapter represents a brief but pertinent outline of the contemporary wisdom. It is necessary to present this background (for the lay reader) in order to effectively compare and evaluate an alternative theoretical interpretation of the empirical evidence.

Physics is that branch of the physical sciences concerned with the properties and interactions of matter and energy—an endeavour inextricably dependent upon observation, experimentation, and theoretical analysis.

Issues discussed include:
  • matter and energy
  • atoms and subatomic particles
  • molecules and molecular bonding
  • gases, liquids and solids
  • fields of interaction
  • electromagnetism
  • electromagnetic radiation waves
  • the Doppler shift
  • spectral dispersion and refraction
  • wave interference and diffraction
  • quanta and photons
  • line spectra and the Balmer series
  • absorption and emission
  • wave-particle duality and quantum mechanics
•An immediate response to the notion of time dilation or time warping is to regard it as an intuitive nonsense. It is countered that not only are our intuitions susceptible to errors of reasoning, but being conditioned by our social and physical environs, our intuitions are not even universal. Non-western cultural perceptions of time do not impose the ideological barriers to time dilation that western thought, since the time of Newton, seems passionately predisposed to erect. However, if we are to challenge our perception of time and embrace a less restricted outlook, should we also question other perceptual issues? A more general reflection would be to consider under what circumstances should we be prepared to abandon our 'perception of reality'?

The propositions that will be outlined in this work, in support of my thesis, fall within the general bounds of a 'common-place perception of reality'. That is, the propositions will be founded upon a general body of experimental and theoretical belief accepted by the advocates of the theories that are to be challenged. Furthermore, such propositions are consistent with notions that have parallels or analogues in the macro-world—'seeing is believing'. Therefore, unlike the theorists of Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Special Relativity (SR), I will not ask the reader to embrace a perception of reality that includes the 'fantastically bizarre'.

This of course does not address the general reflection, and nor do I intend to. One can of course challenge the foundations of perception. What I propose is to assert a foundation and then to argue consistently from this foundation to a broader body of belief; the emphasis here is upon consistency of reasoning more so than upon an (arguably problematic) ultimate objective truth.

Issues (informally) discussed include:
  • uniformity, actuality, prediction and error
  • ad hoc notions
  • mathematicus sacrosanctus
  • eqivalence and independent validation
  • consistency and affirmation
  • imaginary numbers and imaginary solutions
  • mindset: the electromagnetic wave assumption
Why is there an electromagnetic wave predisposition within modern physics? Maxwell initiated the notion of electromagnetic waves, Hertz adopted it, Planck assumed it, ... But we need to trace the root cause or motivation back even further, to Huygen, and (primarily) to Young and his wave interference interpretation of diffraction. This predisposition is symptomatic of the mindset (fixation) of modern physics—the electromagnetic wave assumption.

Goliath was killed by an assumption. (anon.)

In the following chapters I present ideas which challenge this predisposing assumption. The outline presented is most certainly incomplete—a thorough analysis is beyond both the scope and time constraints of this essay. Several of the characteristics of the physical model proposed, are necessarily vague, and I offer no apology for this fact which is typical of any idea in a seminal stage of its development. Nevertheless, incompleteness or the presence of anomalies should not preclude these ideas from due consideration. In the knowledge of the inadequacies of competing theories, such a cursory dismissal would be nothing short of intellectual bigotry and hypocrisy. What follows is the seed of an idea.

•A fractal (contracted from fractional) is an entity that when magnified reveals images that resemble the original entity. The more closely you examine a fractal entity the more readily you observe the same or similar image.

The basic proposition is that subatomic particles, such as protons and electrons, are composite structures of fundamental particles. Moreover, sub-atomic particles are composites of composite structures—hence the nomenclature 'fractal'.

There are two types of fundamental particles. Both types possess the same physical characteristics with the exception that one type of particle is positively charged while the other is negatively charged. Oppositely charged particles attract. Similarly charged particles repel. Each type of fundamental particle, for simplicity, may be considered as a spherical, impermeable point of uniform charge of arbitrarily small radii.

Through a process of random interaction, individual fundamental particles combine to form a multifarious collection of clusters—with the simplest cluster being a combination of one positive fundamental particle and one negative fundamental particle. In the presence of destablising influences, only the most viable (structurally sound) clusters prevail. Clusters interact with other fundamental particles and with other clusters to form stable composite structures—fractal particles.

Like any structure, many important characteristics of the composite particle are determined, principally, by its underlying structure: in essence, sequentially layered arrays of alternating net charge, and decreasing upper-level rigidity.

In the presence of extraneous influences, such as high-energy interactions, decreasing rigidity renders the upper-levels of the composite structure susceptible to distortion. Indeed in many circumstances the upper-levels of the composite structure may be regarded more as a highly viscous fluid of uniformly distributed charge rather than a rigid array. This potential for distortion is an important determining factor in, amongst other things, the division of energy, namely, between the potential (structural) and kinetic (motional) energy imparted to a collided or emitted particle; and readily lends itself to an explanation of why the propagation speed of electromagnetic radiation is restricted to an upper-limit.

The characteristic of alternating net charge yields alternating regions of electromagnetic influence—that is, regions of positive or negative influence alternating with regions of ambiguity (neutrality). These regions may be visualised in the same manner that flux-lines or flux-rays are visualised in the contemporary wisdom of modern theoretical physics. Such regions contribute in part to the observed inverse-square diminution of the electric field surrounding a charged particle—this 'law of physics' ensues from the formation of composite matter.

Fractal structures, or sub-atomic particles, such as protons and electrons, fill the void between the simple clusters of fundamental particles and the macro-fractal structures such as nuclei, atoms, molecules and their compounds.

This composite-complex initiates important physical characteristics and provides for an elegant, coherent, and extensive explanation of a diverse collection of physical phenomena from quantised charge, molecular bonding, spectral dispersion, refraction and diffraction, through to gravity and anti-matter—an explanation not simply a description of hypothetical processes.

Issues discussed include:
  • cluster formation
  • electric fields and flux-ray divergence
  • surface tension and re-orientation
  • structural distortion and energy division
  • energy levels and photon absorption-emission
  • polarisation
  • array bonds
  • molecular and hydrogen bonding
  • magnetism
  • refraction, diffraction and spectral dispersion
  • modulation
  • tunneling
  • quantised charge
  • gravity and anti-matter
•Quantum Mechanics (QM) is an esoteric, complex, and complicated theory about the fundamental nature of physical phenomena. Far too complex (mathematically) to be included (in detail) in a work targeted at the non-scientific reader. The complications, both mathematical and philosophical, compound the esoteric nature of the theory. Indeed anecdotal evidence suggests that in the face of such complexity and complications many physicists simply acquiesce. This acquiescence, it would seem, is justified by many, because of the broadly held belief that QM theory is well founded in experiment—experimentally verified. It is the intent in this chapter to examine some of the 'verification' claims. In particular, to informally broach the philosophical issues of falsification, verification, independence, consistency, self-consistency, prediction, and theory-laden experimentation and hypotheses.

Issues discussed include:
  • verification, prediction, confirmation, consistency and uniqueness
  • mathematical models
  • Hertz' experiment
  • the wave assumption and indirect measurement
  • black-body radiation
  • Bragg's Law
  • the de Broglie matter-wave
  • quantum fantasy
  • the Balmer and Lyman series
What has been verified? Schroedinger quantum mechanics (QM theory), with its selection rules, its exclusion principles, constraining properties, and rationalising postulates is little more than a 'propped-up' complex algorithm. (As the writers of algorithms can readily inform, there is generally more than one means to a particular end.)

QM theory's claims of experimental verification are, at best, tenuous. However, it cannot be counter-claimed that Fractal Particle Theory is, as a consequence, therefore verified. On the contrary, the success or failure of one or both theories will depend upon a confluence of other factors. It serves well to recall:

In the presence of compounding complexity, as (one or) more qualifying conditions are introduced—in order to reconcile any new empirical data—the employment of Ockham's razor may be the only respite from indecision: let simplicity prevail.

QM theory, in order to accommodate consequent anomalies, gives rise to a compounding complexity of ideas. Ideas which are often counter-intuitive and serve more to describe than explain. Conversely, Fractal Particle Theory, whilst giving rise to a complexity of (physical) structure, maintains a simplicity of ideas. Ideas consistent with a common-place perception of reality—simple, coherent ideas that go beyond mere description. Notwithstanding this, it is a perception of reality purportedly challenged by Special Relativity. However, while QM theory fails to at least reconcile such a challenge, Fractal Particle Theory can readily deal with Einstein's dilemma.

•One practical application of special-relativity theory, heralded as irrefutable empirical-evidence for Einstein's theory, relates to Global Positioning Systems (GPS). It is contended that, without Special Relativity factored into the calculation of an entity's global-position, the consequent inaccuracy would render such systems useless. On the contrary, it is not Special Relativity that is critical to accurate positioning; it is the Lorentz-transformation. The Lorentz-transformation is a mathematical model of electromagnetic-radiation behaviour; the transformation is quantitatively useful but qualitatively useless. Einstein based his theoretical position upon a qualitative interpretation of the Lorentz-transformation.

The rejection of Special Relativity is a consequence of a different qualitative interpretation of the physical evidence. The acceptance of the Lorentz-transformation is simply a matter of pragmatism. Its acceptance, like the acceptance of any mathematical model, is a measure of its utility in yielding quantitative results that are in good agreement with those observed. Mathematics, it is contended (and is yet to be refuted), can model any scenario regardless of whether that scenario has a 'physical-reality' or not. Therefore, mathematical models cannot provide evidentiary support (or input) to claims of 'verification' for theoretical-dispositions. Additional compounding-factors are that mathematical models are neither (necessarily) definitively descriptive, thus compromising their qualitative usefulness, nor descriptively unique.

Like Quantum Mechanics, when we examine the claims of experimental verification for Special Relativity (muon-decay, GPS, atomic-clock disparity, and so on), the claims are often rendered tenuous. When Fractal Particle Theory is factored in, the claims are often rendered outrageous. It is not that the arguments of either Quantum Mechanics or Special Relativity theory are invalid. A valid argument is simply one in which the conclusion follows from the premises (assumptions). The problem with both Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity is that the arguments are unsound because the premises are false. That is of course, if you accept Fractal Particle Theory.

Issues discussed include:
  • frames of reference
  • invariance, time-warps and mathematical models
  • modulation and light-speed invariance
  • distortion, muons and the experimental evidence
  • time and the absolute present
Any fool can make a mistake, but it takes a wise fool to recognise that a mistake has been made, and a gracious fool to acknowledge such.

•It is often remarked that you cannot argue with a mathematical theorem. Well you can! Though not in a formal sense. It is pointless to challenge such statements as 2+2=4. Such statements are analytically true (or false). All one need do is analyse the meaning of the symbols to establish the fact. However, mathematical ideas, as formulations of physical theory, have no special status in 'logic' or 'reasoning'. They are susceptible and answerable to the same rules and standards as any other form of expression—'natural' or 'formal'.

If one thing is certain, outside of analytic truth, it is that very little in life is certain. The accuracy or suitability of a model is a matter for empirical determination. Hence the need for vigilant, diligent attention to the re-evaluation of ideas, and where required, refinement or rejection of those ideas.

If your assertion leads to paradox re-assess your paradigm. (anon.)

This aphorism should read: 'if your assertion leads to paradox, compounding complexity, and or the bizarre, re-assess your paradigm'. The danger in not re-assessing in the face of 'fantastical ideas bordering on miracles' is that we will end up rationalising notions which in reality are little more than a contrivance of sophistry and complex mathematical structures. Mathematics is a thing of beauty and great utility, like fire it is a wonderful servant; but in the hands of the unwary, it can be an insidious master.

In addition to this re-evaluation, the practitioners of the 'growing complexity that is science', must ultimately reconcile their far from 'meticulously objective' analyses with any consequent philosophical conundrum.

Certain historians of science assert that scientists are more concerned with consensus than with truth. On the surface this would appear a damning indictment. Are we to believe that the quality of an argument is determined by the number of people who support it? Or perhaps that the quality of an argument is determined by how long the argument has been supported? However, given the extent of uncertainty that permeates our growing body of belief, one should not be too censorious. No matter how honourable our intent or diligent our application we cannot rid ourselves of uncertainty's shackles. While we may be able to perfect our reasoning (arguably problematic), the ever-presence of uncertainty will preclude the perfection of our judgement. We must therefore accept the inevitability of making mistakes. Of course the questioned begged is will we learn from such mistakes?

My criticism of scientists relates more to their conservatism, which considering their ready embrace of the bizarre seems rather anomalous. Often it is a conservatism, not of 'measured caution', but a conservatism predisposed to the maintenance of the status quo. There is a large personal and intellectual investment in both Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity.

In order to extend the frontier of 'knowledge', when reason alone is insufficient, the creative process must be engaged. For this reason, the boundary between science and science fiction will always be blurred. Physicists should not abandon their imagination. Physicists should not abandon speculation. The onerous conditional responsibility is however, vigilant re-evaluation in the face of inevitable uncertainty.

I don't possess a preference for the truth. Like most, I possess a curiosity about its nature. If it were established that Fractal Particle Theory was fatally flawed then so be it. I only hope that this fool will be both wise and gracious. This is not to say that I don't stand by what I have written. I do. However, in the face of serious error, at the very least we will have eliminated one possibility and as a consequence, we will be one step closer to what the truth is. But don't come to me with arguments premised upon miracles.
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