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Might particle theory be someday be replaced by an opposing theory?

  1. Jun 13, 2014 #1
    Is it possible that the particle theory is wrong, and that only its assumption works?

    [This was really what I was asking in the preceding thread that I opened that the administrator took to be on philosophy or linguistics because some others took it that way. When I pointed out their error, which was to show they had gotten off of physics onto philosophy and linguistics, the administrator took it that it was I who brought up the off-physics topics, and closed the thread. Sure I mentioned philosophy and linguistics to show them that they had gotten off physics onto that. But the administrator did not understand what I was doing.

    I'm merely asking if it is possible that particle theory could be refuted and another theory take its place.

    If you answer, please stick to physics, and don't get off onto philosophy and linguistics.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2014 #2
    What do you mean? If the assumptions of particle theory work, then the theory works and is fine.

    That said, every physics theory is falsifiable. So it can be proven wrong.
  4. Jun 13, 2014 #3
    Think of theories as models. They are not really right or wrong. They have descriptive and predictive ability within bounds. You cant use particle theory to predict the migration of a species, that is outside its regime. You can use it to predict the interactions of particles that we observe today, and it will always be able to do that - even if new observations are made and a new theory is developed to describe them, the theory we have today will still work for the types of observations we make today.

    All theories in science are tentative with respect to new evidence and all theories in science only apply to a particular regime.
  5. Jun 13, 2014 #4
    But are you saying that just as you would say "gravitational attraction is falsifiable", even though we watch gravitational attraction taking place constantly, but we never see any particles?
  6. Jun 13, 2014 #5
    You are asking questions about the philosophy of science rather than science itself. Have you ever read of plato's cave or of descarte's evil demon? Even the popular movie the matrix? Seeing should not be believing, not absolutely. Its a good start, but there is more to our observations than that. But this is philosophy, not science. Science deals with our observations and models to predict and describe those observations. There is always a chance of new observations and thus there is always a chance of new models. But the physics forum isnt about this, its about discussing and learning existing observations and theories.
  7. Jun 13, 2014 #6
    I have never "seen" gravity. I have merely observed it effects.

    Same thing with particles, I might not see them, but we do see their effects.

    Same thing with anything really. How do I know that I am currently typing something on my computer. Well, I see the computer. Or do I? All I "see" is some photons hitting my eyes and I infer from that the existence of a computer. I don't feel the computer either. I don't even ever touch the computer. In either case, the feel comes from nerves sending signal to the brain and the brain interpreting it as feeling.

    How do we know the sun is not made of cheese? I have never directly interacted with the sun.
  8. Jun 13, 2014 #7


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    It is ironic that you ask to stick to physics, when your question isn't one!

    First of all, define what you mean by "particle theory". In physics, "particle theory" means elementary particle/high energy physics. So are you asking if the Standard Model of particle physics is wrong? And what are these assumptions that you think are the ones that "work"?

    Your question is nothing more than asking us to speculate, i.e. can Quantum Mechanics be wrong? This is not a physics question. You are engaging on nothing more than what talking heads on TV and politicians are engaging, i.e. trying to find doubts in something without any evidence to the contrary.

    So despite what you think you are NOT doing, you are actually doing just that. In physics, and in science in general, the way you challenge anything is either to point out a logical inconsistency/mistake or something (i.e. it is mathematically wrong or inconsistent), or you present experimental evidence to the contrary! That's it! Those are the only two valid method to change something. Simply prodding for an answer to your question is NOT how science is done.

    So the person who has to invoke physics into this is you, not us.

    If this thread ended up being closed, you are not to start another similar topic on this. This is your last and final chance to play with this topic.

  9. Jun 13, 2014 #8
    This is a very nice video explaining how science works:

  10. Jun 13, 2014 #9


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    You are confusing the phenomena with the theory that describes it: several theories of gravity were falsified throughout history, including Newton's.
    That is both poorly worded and wrong - for gravity too. The word is "observe" and we most certainly do observe particles and gravity, but we dont see either of them.
  11. Jun 13, 2014 #10


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    Our OP didn't seem to learn the lesson from his other thread which was locked

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