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

The next paradigm shift

  1. Jun 1, 2009 #1
    Hello all,

    I have just joined this forum and am taking the bold step right off the bat of starting a thread. I am looking for folks who are interested in discussing what the next paradigm shift of physics will look like. I have read a few books in this area such as Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Koestler's The Sleepwalkers.

    Let me get a few things out of the way first. I don't believe in evolution (at least parts of it are bogus), I fear God, I don't think science will, in my lifetime, explain the reason for man's being. I do not want to debate or discuss any of this. I am not interested in alternate universes. I do have a keen interest in intelligent design, but "God did it," isn't enough for me. Neither is, "It's all chance."

    What I do want to explore are some questions, such as what was so significant about Newton? Why did the scientific community hold on to ether for so long?

    Why did Kepler have the answer to elliptical orbits yet struggle with his answer throughout his life? What was he giving up?

    What types of problems or dilemma's will the next paradigm shift address? Will it accommodate what we now call intelligent design and make science out of it? What will we give up?

    Has physics become too mathematical? If the math shows it, is it necessarily always true?

    I'd appreciate any help exploring these questions.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This is going to get you in a lot of trouble fast.

    Science will never explain man's reason for being. It is outside the scope of science. That is for philosophy.

    Too late. :smile:

    Who has been telling you it's all chance? This is a serious misunderstanding of evolutionary development, if that's what you're implying.

    Can you be more specific? Do you mean why is he generally considered one of the greatest scientists in history?

    The rest of these questions I think you'll have to open individual threads for.
  4. Jun 1, 2009 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Did you read the Terms & Conditions when you signed up for your account?
  5. Jun 1, 2009 #4

    On your question...
    Yes. I have read that he said good-bye to ether as the medium for action-at-a-distance and said, not in these exact words, "The math works and we don't need ether. Forget it. It is irrelevant. There are just these forces and they act according to this mathematical way." The math was the proof, not the detection of ether.

    When we say that gravity IS the product of the masses over the distance squared, we really mean that gravity IS a mathematical relationship. We haven't really explained what is it, except to say it behaves according to a mathematical formula. Before Newton, the study of the natural world was part of philosophy (which was generally practiced by clergy) and called metaphysics. I understand from my reading that the notion of a force not having ether or something to push with was abhorrent to metaphysical thinking during his time. This was a paradigm shift (and met with some resistance).

    Thanks for the response.

  6. Jun 1, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The way I look at it - the falling apple myth - is thus:

    Prior to Newton, the universe was composed of two elements, the imperfect Earth (with falling apples) and the perfect Heavens (with the dance of the planets), and ne'er the twain shall meet.

    When Newton was hit on the head with an apple (not that this part really happened), he realized that the force that pulls the apple to the ground is the same force that holds the planets in the sky.

    The significance of this is that, in one fell swoop, he united Heaven and Earth, forever banishing the hold the clergy had on the Heavens, and in doing so, ushered in a new age of discovery where nothing was sacred, nothing was beyond questioning.
  7. Jun 1, 2009 #6

    Hmm.... A couple of points. Did he unite Heaven and Earth or un-unite the solar system, aka heaven with a small h, from Heaven? I'm not sure we want to discuss this here - beginning to get into religion.

    On the "hold" that the clergy had on Heaven, this sounds like the Spanish inquisition. Most "scientists" of the day were religious believers, including Kepler and Galileo. They didn't renounce God, nor did Newton.

    On "Nothing was sacred"? Is that what Newton concluded? Nothing was beyond questioning? This sounds more like Sarte and the post-modern mantra. Do you really mean this? I imagine that Newton thought mathematics was not questionable with respect to validating his work.

    Time for rest. Catch you later.

  8. Jun 2, 2009 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I like how you don't want to debate or discuss your belief in intelligent design and yet ask us whether or not science will accomodate it. Why should science accomodate anything that isn't born out of science?
  9. Jun 2, 2009 #8


    User Avatar

    Do not worry swokrams not all people are blessed with intelligent design as u certainly know ... :P
  10. Jun 2, 2009 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The heavens. Yes, that is what I meant.

    Did I say that? No, I simply mean the heavens were now within scientific scrutiny.

    No. It's simply symbolic, and in retrospect, that we see that.

  11. Jun 2, 2009 #10

    Got it. I understand what you are saying. Thanks. - Steve
  12. Jun 2, 2009 #11


    User Avatar

    It is a complete waste of time to guess, since when it happens - the sooner the better - it will be initially be denied and then amazing that no one has thought of it before.

    Things like intelligent design will still be around since it is created by non-scientists to put some simple-minded mystery back in.
  13. Jun 2, 2009 #12
    Born 2 B,

    Kepler spent his life trying to rework his ellipses. He did not like them because they were imperfect shapes. They were not perfect circles, would therefore not make celestial music, and did not fit into the Chain of Being (a somewhat older, but not dead concept at the time). Celestial Music was “scientific” at one time.

    When I was studying thermodynamics, I was taught that systems tend to even out over time and seek the lowest energy states. Entropy can’t be reversed. If it all started from a big bang, then things have gotten much more complicated since then. If the big bang is real, then what is the thing that made complex things grow from non-complex things?

    Intelligent design is popping up in molecular biology. In terms of random chance, cells are not statistically possible. So what can explain their complexity. This is the question that science seems to need an answer to. I.D. accurately describes this issue facing us.

    Kepler was a believer in Intelligent Design and struggled with his findings because the planets must be made of clay. Now, completely flipped around, we are struggling with the unfathomable order found in living cells because they do not look like clay at all.

    Your use of the term “Born of science” and “Born2b” in your nic are interesting choices. Born suggests creation and a sense of new life and even purpose. What is that about? Scientists uses word like “discovered” and “proved.” Whose side are you on?

  14. Jun 2, 2009 #13

    I wasn't planning on guessing. Sorry to see you are not up for the quest.
  15. Jun 2, 2009 #14
    Surely discussing a paradigm shift is mostly futile, as any shift in scientific paradigm will be largely both unexpected and unpredictable. If we use Newton as an example again, could anyone really have predicted and discussed his work on gravity before it happened?
  16. Jun 2, 2009 #15
    Maybe they didn't speculate vigorously enough.
  17. Jun 2, 2009 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I tell you again:

    1] You have a grave ignorance of evolution. Evolution is not equated with random chance. This is ID misinformation that you are falling for. If you wish to discuss evolution, you should know something about it.

    2] ID is not a topic open for discussion here. Re-read the Forum Guidelines (the ones you agreed to when you registered) and post within them, or this thread will be locked.
  18. Jun 2, 2009 #17

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor


    You are parroting a dishonest mischaracterization of the second law of thermodynamics. First off, you are equating complexity with entropy. Second off, the second law of thermodynamics pertains to an isolated system. I live in Houston; my air conditioner has been decreasing the entropy in my house for a month now. There is no violation of the second law of thermodynamics. That decrease in entropy requires expenditure of energy.
  19. Jun 2, 2009 #18
    But at least I feel certain, a major "paradigm shift" will occur as soon as AI programs have passed a certain point of developement. Maybe only a detail, a new conception, is needed
    to make these programs comparable to thinking people equipped with enormeous precise memory and logics.

    These AI machines may be like humans equipped with IQ = 1000000 and result of their
    processing may resemble nothing we have met earlier in human history. I guess this may happen rather soon and will imply "paradigm shifts" in most known intellectual branches.
  20. Jun 2, 2009 #19


    User Avatar

    Hehe, so you think you know the quest before you take the quest. This time travel business has got to go.
  21. Jun 2, 2009 #20
    Razor 7,

    LOL! Good one. :)


    How intolerant. I wonder what part of the Darwinian gene pool arrogance comes from. It must be nice to know all the true paths. So much for open minds. No paradigm shifts here.

    D H,

    Yes, it is a mischaracterization, yet this is what I was taught. Back in the day, there was an assumption about the universe being steady state and just continuing to expand and run out of gas someday (I am dating myself, I fear). The notion of complex things coming from simple things is a relatively new concept - to what I was taught anyway.

    But to jump into your explanation, the air conditioner is a complex device. Thanks for keeping me straight on the entropy vs. order things.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for next paradigm shift
How the sugar industry shifted blame to fat