MAGICAL PHYSICS

It seems that the many advances in physics in the last few decades, including the discovery of many new particles such as neutrinos and positrons, the discovery of antimatter and dark energy, and the discovery of the Higgs field and the Higgs boson, have created new models of physical reality that are so complex that only experts in the field, e.g., physicists and those in related disciplines, have a handle on them. This has led to unsettling reverberations throughout the general society as well as the academic community as it has undermined the confidence of the great majority that they can construct their own accurate and useful models of reality. What’s more, the new sophisticated models suggest an unpredictability in natural events, which along with the extreme complexity, almost seem to add an element of magic to the natural world, further undermining confidence of many in their ability to construct rational and useful models of the world. This is especially disconcerting because it is all as unnecessary as it is harmful.

The older, simpler classical physics was quite useful in providing a foundation for the construction of useful science-based models of reality, whether in chemistry, biology, or even social science, models that had been validated by scientific experiment as well as ordinary human experience. The more sophisticated up-to-date physics may be too complex, at least for now, to replace the classical physics in this function, and it does not need to as the classical physics has proved to be more than adequate. Though there may be situations where the more up-to-date physics may provide significantly more valuable or useful models of certain natural processes, often under extreme or exotic circumstances, those situations where it will provide helpful insight or greater understanding of any biological or social processes on Earth will likely be very rare in the near to medium term.

It would be helpful if the physics celebrities, those physicists who popularize the subject and sometimes appear on television or in other mainstream media, would put some effort into explaining to the general public that the simpler classical physics is still useful in its applications in many fields, including the study of biological or social processes, and that it is not clear how the more exotic and sophisticated physics of the modern era would change basic understanding in those other fields.  It seems that in recent years these physics celebrities have been doing the opposite in order in increase interest and excitement about what they are doing.

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About John

Retired Attorney
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