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Validity of physics or any result of it

  1. May 17, 2012 #1
    Hello,

    this question or idea might seem a bit surreal, although over the last months i started to wonder about the way we percept the world and take conclusions from it.

    Before the atom was found, mankind wondered if there could be a particle that could no further be divided. Experiments have shown to us that that particle is the atom. But what is the principle behind this? What guarantees to us that by looking at a smaller scale we are indeed going into the composition of things? What if it is just an illusion that when i look at a piece of wood and see its cells, molecules, and if it could be possible, atoms, it is indeed what composes the piece of wood? Could all our physical knowledge be the result of illusions that make our world look like something we perceive as logical, but in fact is nothing like that? Can our vision be wrong? Can all our physical experiments be wrong? I mean, we tried to look at things in a smaller scale because we believe that things are composed by other small things; what if this reasoning is wrong and what we actually see is something completely different, with a completely different nature?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2012 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    we do experiments and try to explain the results in the context of other experiments.

    In the case of atoms, some scientists had believed in the plum pudding model proposed by JJ Thompson until disproved by Rutherford's experiment that matter was mostly empty space with very small positive nuclei about which electrons orbitted and so it goes with moden physics as we look deeper and deeper for the higgs boson, quarks and strings.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_pudding_model
     
  4. May 17, 2012 #3
    I know both that experiment and the rutherford experiment, but may question is at another level. What guarantees that our way of thinking actually draws correct conclusions? How can we prove that atoms compose matter and they are not just an illusion that hides what actually composes matter and fools our eye?
     
  5. May 17, 2012 #4

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Nothing.

    We cannot.

    Science CANNOT prove anything. We can disprove something, but even the best tested theories that have passed every test ever devised have merely avoided being disproved. They have not proven anything.
     
  6. May 17, 2012 #5

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  7. May 17, 2012 #6
    Then we will never be able to say "This set of knowledge is what our universe is"?
     
  8. May 17, 2012 #7

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sure. But we'd have to tack on "to the best of our knowledge" at the end of it.
     
  9. May 17, 2012 #8

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry, if you wish to start an unanswerable question thread, that would go in philosophy, but you would have to follow both sets of rules for posting in philosophy.
     
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