Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do we have to obey physics

  1. Dec 13, 2005 #1
    To me physics is nothing but descriptions or, models to observed events. So what tells us that things must obey these descriptions, is there any logic that tells us that a event disobeying these "laws" cannot exist?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2005 #2
    Science/physics is about finding out how these events occur, and why, so far we have been succesful in this trial and error approach.
    For instance there's no indication that a tractor weighs less than a golf ball, but it might be, sure?

    Nothing is ever 100% solid proof either, imo, so physics is just about finding out the probability of repetition based on a collection of events.
    After a period of time the events happen exactly as predicted, thousands, even billions of times, and at that point the probability is so little for anything else to happen that we ignore it.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2005 #3
    We break scientific "laws" often, laws can change. Newton's "law of gravity" has been modified under conditions in a vacuum, then also Einstein changed our conception of gravity laws. Even legal "laws" change.
     
  5. Dec 13, 2005 #4


    Well you can go ahead and try to violate the 'law of gravity', but you'll be in for a rude awakening after jumping out of the plane without a parachute when you find that in fact, gravity is quite real.

    The logic telling us that you can't violate the 'laws of physics' is inductive. Everything we observe follows certain rules. It stands to reason then that those things we don't observe follow the same rules, even though we're not watching.
     
  6. Dec 14, 2005 #5
    That sounds like what I said, but loosley using the word rules. Im not saying that I know how to break the laws of physics, but I don't buy the idea that everything we observe follows RULES. They follow descriptions we write down as mathematical equations. Simply put, we can't say that the laws of physics cannot be broken simply because we do not know of anyone or anything breaking them...
     
  7. Dec 19, 2005 #6
    Rephrase: Physics are the laws/restrictions that apply to the individual that ALLOWS these laws to apply to him/her sub-consciously. One most delve into the sub-conscious relm to correct their embedded stereo-types and go beyond the laws of physics. It requires a strength of will not common in the average individual. So, like all other rules, they do not apply to exceptions.
     
  8. Dec 19, 2005 #7
    See I disagree, I am simply saying in the everyday observable universe, there is absolutley nothing, that stops us from breaking the laws of physics. Simply because the laws of physics say nothing about their own validity. They are simply observations that are written down in mathematical form. They always do work out, and we really haven't proved that we see something breaking the descriptions of physics, but that does not take away the fact they are not absolute rules.
     
  9. Dec 19, 2005 #8
    There in the part of the quote where there you see the "***" you flip-flop. If you were to divide both those sections into two different point-of-views they would both be valid, yet you contradict yourself? Maybe a mere typo, it's hard to say. Ignoring this descrepancy, well said.
     
  10. Dec 19, 2005 #9
    ar eyou talking about current laws of physics...or the concept of "laws of physics"(or rather the mechanics of the universe)?

    No we don't really have to obey current laws of physics..and if you can show us that you can disobey them then you should tell academia.

    but there are underlying universal fundamental principles or characteristics that i think anything that exists in this universe would obey at some low scale. FOr example x=vt; I think would be a universal quantity.
     
  11. Dec 19, 2005 #10
    No, that is not a flip flop, I believe it is from a misundertanding of the word "rules". I am simply saying that the fact that descriptions have stayed valid in our observations, isnt enough to call them rules.
     
  12. Dec 19, 2005 #11

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    So do you have any proof of this? Any reason why? Have you seen people fall up lately?
     
  13. Dec 19, 2005 #12
    and that proves they are ubreakable?
     
  14. Dec 19, 2005 #13

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The burden of proof is on you. Prove they are breakable.
     
  15. Dec 19, 2005 #14
    i see em fall up when im doing my daily head stands :)
     
  16. Dec 19, 2005 #15

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Why would you include a headstand as part of your daily routine?
     
  17. Dec 19, 2005 #16
    great rush of blood to the brain is great for clarity of thought. it's like booze to the drunkard (blood to the brain, that is)
     
  18. Dec 19, 2005 #17
    ok, i don't have a daily routine... of excercise, at least. but i guess i still get a decent head-rush from hanging out with you cats everyday. usually, while im working.

    (headstands really are good for that, though.)
     
  19. Dec 19, 2005 #18
    no my not being able to break them proves I do not know how to break them, not that they are unbreakable.
     
  20. Dec 19, 2005 #19

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You must figure out a reason as to WHY they CAN be broken that isnt based upon simple opinion.
     
  21. Dec 19, 2005 #20
    I have stated such reasons.
     
  22. Dec 19, 2005 #21

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    No you didn't, you stated opinion and asked proof of a negative which is logically impossible. You must prove they are breakable.
     
  23. Dec 19, 2005 #22
    wrong I stated the facts about the nature of the physics, which gives reason that they are not LAWS. Once, again, I never said I could break them.
     
  24. Dec 19, 2005 #23

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think that the question is not whether we can break the laws of physics, but whether there EXIST fundamental laws of physics, in the sense that there exists a mathematical structure that describes perfectly the entire universe.
    If that structure exists (for sure, we don't know it yet), then that structure IS "the law of physics" and of course you cannot break it, because breaking it would mean that, after all, the universe is NOT described by that structure (it didn't perfectly describe what you did) and as such, it was NOT the fundamental "law of physics".
    Nobody knows whether such a structure exists, but it is the working hypothesis of physics that it does ; the relative success of current physics makes this hypothesis quite plausible.
     
  25. Dec 20, 2005 #24
    There is nothing that tells us 'things must obey these descriptions' absolutely every single time. This is the big difference between science and other explanations (ie religion) for the state of the world around us. Scientific theories must be falsifiable. When we observe something which appears to violate the laws of physics, we test to see if the violation is repeatable. If it is, then we recognize that our laws provide an incomplete description of some event, so we modify our laws.
     
  26. Jan 15, 2006 #25
    The point of the original poster is that a "description" is not a "law". While we may find scientific, mathematical descriptions that fit all the observable data, there is no logical reason that one should be constrained to continue to fit the predictions of the descriptoins; what we call "laws" are simply descriptions that have described correctly every time we know of.

    The fact that everyone, with exceptions that can be ascribed to contingencies in the environment (alternatively, we could simply ignore them completely for this analogy), eats cereal for breakfast is just a description; even if it happens every time we observe it, even if it will KEEP happening every time we observe it, it remains simply a description of what happens. There is no law that demands that people eat cereal.

    Without a mechanism for laws to be enforced upon the cosmos (which seems hard to imagine, seeing as how the mechanism would have to be described and have to fall under its own laws), all we have are descriptions. The original poster's argument is that "Because the 'laws of physics' are only descriptions and, indeed, we have no evidence that anything actively enforces them, there is no real reason for it to be impossible to break them."


    And vanesch, your argument seems to sidestep this through its definition. It doesn't need a mechanism for enforcement because if there is a perfect description, by definition it always holds, enforced or not. However, science being inductive, there is no way to ever know if a description is, in something like the platonic sense of concepts, a perfect description--even if it holds every time, we can't know that it is BY DEFINITION perfect and not just coincidentally perfect (for even if it holds perfectly from the beginning of time to the end of time, it could still be only coincidentally perfect, like a law regarding breakfast habits, and could have HYPOTHETICALLY been broken at any time--and, since we don't know whether it will hold in the future, that translates to a potential to be broken in actual time).


    EDIT: Additionally, negative proofs are not logically impossible (in a deductive argument, which can be established in physics if based on broad enough statements--this tends to be overlooked by those with a more inductive tendency, for in inductive logic it is indeed impossible... But then, in inductive logic it's impossible to prove anything, eh?). In order to claim that negative proofs are impossible you would need a logically incontravertable reason for this: A proof. A proof that there are no negative proofs would itself be a negative proof, hence it is impossible to substantiate the statement that there are no negative proofs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2006
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook