Vacuum polarization has frequently been measured in the lab. Unfortunately I can't just now remember the name of the effect and measurement. Basically a very fine balance is used to measure the force between two uncharged condensor plates with very small separation. If you know any quantum mechanics, you will realize that the small separation limits the minium energy level states that can exist in this small space. In ways I do not remember all the details of, this causes a weak force between the plates due to the spontaneous vacuum polarization. (Has to do with fact electrons have wave like properties and there are no longwaves between the plate as there are on the other sides of both plates. The plates have a slight pressure tending to close the gap because of the lack of some longwave reflection pressure inside.)Philocrat said:Well, if you ran to your science instructor or peer-reviewers and said:
Hoooooreeeeeh, I have just experimentally created a positron/electron pair out of nothing!
In Philosophy this would be an incredible claim. For many metaphysicians and epistemologists would ask you:
(1) Did you REALLY SEE the source and verified that the actual source of these microscale particles was ABSOLUTELY EMPTY?
(2) Does inability of the experimenter (you) to see and verfiy things in our physical world beyond COP suddenly amount to ABSOLUTE EMPTINESS or NOTHINGNESS?
(3) How Good and precise are your visual organs and their extensions such that they can penetrate Microscale Reality beyond COP?
And so on. These are hard-headed metaphysical and epistemological questions that their answers cannot just be conjured up in a flash, let alone any chance of they being true at all. Even if you succeeded in convincing your fellow scientists that you have ready-made and complete answers to these questions, in philosophy this sort of claim would be a non-starter.
If any physicist is reading this, with a good memory, please give the name of this experiment/effect, so he can goggle it and know his post is basically silly and not even very amusing. Thanks in advance.
BTW every electron/positron pair that man makes requires about 1Mev just for the rest mass, not to mention the Whrs to run the accelerator. Nature is constantly creating and promptly annihilating them except near the no escape surface of a black hole. To conserve momentum they are always traveling in opposite direction and sometimes one crosses the surface and is captured by the black hole, leaving it partner stable in our world. Its 0.5Mev must come form some where, Hawkings and others who can understand these things better than I say it comes for the black hole mass.
In fact small black holes have much stronger gravitational field gradients at the no escape surface than big one, so they suck up the particles created out of nothing faster than big ones and yet their small mass does not collect matter from a large volume of nearly empty interglactic space, so they can loss mass more rapidly than they gain it and as Hawkings says "they evaporate."
If no physicist gives the name of the experiment I described above, search for "Hawkings AND black hole AND vacuum polarization." If you get no hits, drop first "Hawkins." I expect you will get just what you need to learn. I.e. what the facts are. Then you can set your philosophic jargon straight.(Make it agree will real world experimental observation and the expert's theory as to the nature of that world.)