Farewell To Reality

How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth

Jim Baggott, Multco Central 530 B1448f 2013

First, a gripe. This book has the common endnote format of Chapter #/name and the notes, but the text itself does not have chapter titles at the top of the pages, just the author's name on the left page and the book title on the right. Perhaps this helps the book printer keep track of printed signatures, but it does not help the reader easily find the notes. Instead, the reader must mark their place in the book, write down the note number, page backwards to find the chapter title and number, then find that chapter number in the endnotes and find the number in the list. A time-waster and disservice to the reader. And this REALLY sucks if reading the book online - which I rarely do, for this among other reasons.

A much better approach requires some discipline from author, editor, and printer, but easy to arrange in the age of desktop publishing; the endnote chapter titles should include the page range of each chapter. This way, the reader only needs to keep track of the note and page number.

The most reader-friendly approach is to number ALL endnotes in the book sequentially through the entire text (perhaps with further endnotes to the endnotes!), but that may be too complicated for book editing and production.

I must be very careful with books like this, they echo my own non-specialist prejudices. I believe (but cannot prove) that further truth will emerge from unexplained but robust empirical anomalies, a consequence of experimental physicists figuring out very clever ways to add a few more decimal places to the range of our data set.

For example, measuring gravitational forces at micrometer scale, or deploying new kinds of sensors in orbit, perhaps among the asteroids or in the Kuiper belt. Sensors that can less ambiguously measure warm-hot intergalactic filaments, or the "gravitational wave background" from billions of years of merger events, might make "dark matter" and "dark energy" visible. Learning about the variation and anisotrophy of supernovae, or the possibility of quark stars, so we can accurately calibrate supernova "standard" candles in different contexts, rather than postulate that all are the same. Reduce the error bars, stop relying on averaging (which may conflate Apples and Androids).

Redeploy mathematical theorists as teachers of the public. Some academics whinge about unequal distribution of income; I whinge about unequal distribution of intellectual opportunity. Many academics call for socialist redistribution; I call for academic redistribution. Not a "democratic" determination of "the truth", rather a democratic distribution of the skills needed to understand and analyze empirical reality. One-size-fits-all public schools are insufficient to educate "all-size-fits-all" human diversity. Don't like creationist idiots spreading COVID? Ditch the elitism, learn about their minds, learn what moves those minds towards greater success and scientific understanding. After all, many businessman learned how to engage those minds in economic production. Do better.


FarewellToReality (last edited 2020-06-09 23:28:35 by KeithLofstrom)