I am intrigued as to how we “believe” certain things and not others. For example a reasonably educated “skeptic” will happily accept the existence of “virtual particles” that are created out of nothing (“the vacuum” or “Zero-Point Field”) for a millionth of a second and then go back into nothing (an application of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle by which energy is created literally from nowhere). Now this is, by any “common sense” yardstick, an utterly crazy belief. The idea that energy can be created from nothing totally contradicts Newtonian physics (the physics that most skeptics cite as the ultimate model of how large-scale “reality” works), and yet it is happily accepted as “real science” and in no way at all a “woo-woo” belief by the same skeptics. Now I am happy to accept that somebody trained in the mathematics of quantum mechanics can be shown exactly why such a model of energy creation can be shown to be true …. mathematical truths are ultimate truths (for example 1 plus 2 will always be 3, even in the centre of a black hole). However I contend that most skeptics do not have the level of knowledge to understand how Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle can create energy (and “virtual” particles”) from nowhere and yet they still happily accept that this is a “scientific truth”.
They also “believe” that the Big Bang created all known particles out of nothing and from a location (which is totally the wrong word because “location” suggests a location in three-dimensional space time …. but before the Big Bang there was no space nor time so the universe “appeared” from literally nowhere and neverwhen). Within a few nano-seconds the universe rapidly expanded outwards (outwards into what is also a fascinating intellectual conundrum). Known as the “Inflationary Epoch” which lasted from 10−36 seconds after the Big Bang to sometime
between 10−33 and 10−32 seconds. (Just to clarify, 10−36 is a zero then a decimal point followed by 35 zeros and then a 1. This is known as “Cosmic Inflation” and it was first suggested by cosmologist Alan Guth. In this vanishingly small amount of time the universe expanded to such an extent that one nanometer would have been expanded to a quarter of a billion light years. This is massively faster than the speed of light. I happily accept that Alan Guth and his associates know infinitely more than I do about cosmology and the esoteric maths that support such a conclusion. However as the Big Bang was a one-off (or maybe not but this is not the discussion theme of this posting) it has never been repeated in any form. Clearly to do so under laboratory conditions would be impossible. However – and this is my big “however” – the skeptics bang on and on about in order for something to be “proved” using the much-cited “scientific method” any hypothesis MUST be tested by repeatable experimentation. Indeed this is the major criticism that skeptics make with regards to esoteric phenomena. But the Big Bang seems to be immune from this criticism. Also NOBODY witnessed the Big Bang taking place. But skeptics are more than happy to accept that matter was spontaneously created out of nothing, as was time and space, in a sudden “event”. Again I do not doubt that the mathematical models that support this belief are powerful but it still sounds just a little weird. For example if whatever was before was timeless and spaceless what triggered the Big Bang in the first place how can anything “happen” as a pre-curser to an event (classic physics again regarding cause and effect) in a timeless, spaceless nothing?
So the “skeptics” will happily believe these hugely counter-intuitive and non-common-sense scenarios because the scientists tell them that they are so. An oft-cited shibboleth of the skeptics is “Occam’s Razor” …. Basically that the simplest, most common-sense based answer is the one we should always adopt…… in my humble opinion “Inflationary Theory” flies in the face of all common-sense and is certainly not the most simple explanation. Again may I stress that I have no difficulty in accepting this model as I have the utmost respect for cosmologists and physicists. However I am not trapped into the logical cul-de-sac that the skeptics are. They blindly accept “beliefs” regarding the existence of events that have never been reproduced in a laboratory nor have they been “witnessed” by anybody (not “empirically” proven) and yet they dismiss out of hand ANY evidence of precognition, veridical Out-of-Body experiences, NDEs, etc etc EVEN though these have been reported throughout history by all cultures and by people of all social classes, education levels and religious beliefs. Evidence has been presented time and time again of individuals who seem to have pre-conceived future events, of individuals who have seen things in an out-of-body state that have been subsequently proven to be correct. The skeptics argue that these events are simply “anecdotal” and are therefore not scientifically proven. They point out that they have never been tested in controlled laboratory conditions (actually wrong) and that they have not been repeated under controlled laboratory conditions (a bit like the Big Bang really). Oh yes, and all these experiences are literally (and semantically) “empirically” proven (empirical means something that is verifiable by observation or experience) so I would argue strongly that veridical OBEs, precognition and many other “non-scientific” mental events have been conclusively proven to be “empirically” supported whereas the Big Bang and inflationary cosmology has in no way whatsoever been proven empirically in that the former was not “experienced” or “observed” by anybody. But then again no sub-atomic particles have been directly observed or experienced either …. Nor have atoms (and before some smarty-pants skeptic points out about electron-scanning microscopes the “images” of atoms that are shown are computer graphics not an actual image of the actual atom … why? Because the wavelength of visible light is too large to reflect off an atom. As such we can never-ever “see” an atom however powerful our microscopes are because we see things by processing electromagnetic radiation between certain wavelengths which we know by the term “visible light”.
So what point am I making with regards to this ridiculously long posting? Well simply that we all choose what to believe and, in the final analysis, this seems to be based upon our own subjective interpretations of the “facts”. I am in no way denying the power of modern science as an explanatory of the phenomenal world …. But our science has just left the starting gate in terms of our actual understanding of how the universe works. Those who readily dismiss empirical evidence of subjects that, by their definitions, sit outside of “proper science”, are the ones who may end up looking very like those medieval “schoolmen” who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope because what they would see would contradict their much-defended Aristotelian Paradigm.
In my humble opinion good science follows up on every avenue and does not arrogantly dismiss any evidence that conflicts with the present status quo and received wisdom. That is not science, it is belief……
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