Perhaps quantum physics is elegant, but we lack an understanding?

  • #51
ZapperZ
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Mike2 said:
yes, well... my argument to this has been, if we are not able to derive physics from principle alone, then we cannot say that it won't all of a sudden change and act unexpectantly at some point.
Show me a specific example where this has happened.... oh wait, I forget. You do not and are not capable of giving specific examples. I'm still waiting for you to show me something of which you know how to find the entropy of.....

Zz.
 
  • #52
Mike2, your issue is epistemological.

In general, the lifetime of a theory in physics is built in the following path:

1/-You make a few observations in the physical world. These observations may not be clearly related to each other in a straightforward way.

2/-You think of a theory (equations and so on...) to explain them all. This step is among the hardest.

3/-Your theory successfully accounts for phenomena observed in 1/ (here is what you called "the curve fitting process")

4/-Skyrocketed by such a success, you, or another physicist, predict NEW ODD THINGS from your theory, things that nobody has ever thought of nor seen before.

5/-Experimentalists, willingly or by chance (rarely now), find out that these NEW ODD THINGS actually exist and are in total agreement with what your theory predicted.

6/-Unfortunately, some people, working night and day, later find out a new phenomenon that can't definitely be embraced by your theory. You are stunned but this is life.

7/- A young talented physicist publishes an outstanding article in which he brilliantly demonstrates that your theory was a special occurrence of HIS new theory when, say, velocity is low compared to "c".

Right now, quantum mechanics is at stage 5/. It seems likely that we won't reach stage 7/ before a few decades. Newton's physics were overthrown by Einstein in 1905.

The point is: building a theory in physics is a long process which is the result of interactions between theory and observation. You cannot just throw observations into the garbage and expect to build quite a new theory throughout a thought process only. Such a way is of doing physics is not fertile and the history of science has proven it.
 
  • #53
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zeus_the_almighty said:
The point is: building a theory in physics is a long process which is the result of interactions between theory and observation. You cannot just throw observations into the garbage and expect to build quite a new theory throughout a thought process only. Such a way is of doing physics is not fertile and the history of science has proven it.
You might keep in mind that the methods of logical deduction and induction are already generalizations of observations. The ancients observed a relationship between so many physical phenomena that eventually they generalized physical phenomena to propositions and the relationship between them to logical deduction. Only later was it realized that the same principles of logic also apply to abstract notions like mathematics. So we should not at this stage think that logic has no relationship to physics.
 

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