Harmonies of Illusions, past and present

      The following has a bearing on the advancement of science and the advancement of human awareness in general. It is intended for people interested in this advancement and it suggests a way they can help. The advancement of science has often been impeded by "harmonies of illusions," to borrow a descriptive term from Ludwick Fleck (1896 –1961), author of Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. When we use this term it will mean the combination of complementary assumptions, illusions and related evidence to create a scientific, religious, political, or other system of belief.

      Some may think that science avoids illusions because scientific thinking is based on verifiable evidence and is always open to questioning and is subject to change due to new evidence and new thinking. In reality, new concepts and theories usually encounter skepticism and resistance, rather than open-minded curiosity and willingness to understand the concepts prior to judging them. Popular scientific beliefs and theory tend to become entrenched and protected from new evidence and thinking, much like other systems of beliefs. We will be discussing past and present examples.

      We will describe one of the many historical harmonies of illusions that was eventually replaced by theory that is free of the illusions.  Then we will describe what we will show is a modern harmony of illusions, and will explain briefly the causes of the illusions.  Lastly, we will briefly describe a recent theory, the quantum medium view (qm view), that does not contain the illusions and has other characteristics that make it a more plausible harmony or interpretation of the evidence.  Other pages on this website explain the qm view in detail.

Ancient harmony of illusions

      Ptolemy's geocentric model or theory of the cosmos is a classic example of how harmonious illusions and evidence can cause intelligent and knowledgeable people to accept fundamentally flawed beliefs about our universe. This theory prevailed for over a millennium due to the following illusions and evidence.

Heavenly bodies move around Earth.
Reason: Verifiable observations show that sun, moon, planets, and stars move in precise, mathematically predictable, paths around Earth)

Heavenly matter has no weight and tends to move in circular paths in the heavens.
Reason: Observations and reason show that heavenly matter is light and does not fall to Earth.

Earthly matter, unlike heavenly matter, tends to fall to Earth and stay on Earth.
Reason: Observed fact endorsed by Aristotle

Earth is at the center of the universe.
Reason: Observations support this view, and religious documents and beliefs say Earth is at center of universe.

Ptolemaic theory is an accurate representation of reality.
Reason: It agrees with the observed phenomena and accurately predicts eclipses and other celestial events.  It was created and believed by intelligent people, so it is probably correct.

      Gradually, new theory and experimental evidence provided by Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and others led to our current heliocentric theory of the solar system within a much larger and more complex cosmos. Observations that were mysterious in the past and led to simple, imagined causes were found to have more complex, logical physical causes.

     Humanity's experience with Ptolemaic theory shows the following.  A theory's agreement with observations and its ability to predict phenomena, and the fact that it is widely accepted by intelligent people do not necessarily mean the theory is correct.

      This fact is ignored by people who are certain that the physics law of constant light speed, c, is correct. Today this law has withstood the "test of time" and is widely taught and accepted without question. This law, which became part of orthodox physics theory around 1900, means that the speeds of photons relative to all bodies having constant velocity motion relative to one another in the vacuum of remote space is always the same speed, c. Although this seems impossible, and modern orthodox physics theory cannot explain why it is possible, most physicists accept the law due to their belief that verifiable experimental evidence proves that this speed of light, c, is constant. The law is responsible for the following complex harmony of illusions and evidence that has prevailed for the past 100 years.

Modern harmony of illusions and evidence?

The speed of light, c, through a vacuum is always the same relative to all sources and observers.
Reason: Extensive experimental evidence shows that the measured speed of light and other electromagnetic radiation is always consistent with the in-vacuum speed, c = 299,792,458 m/s.

Light is not propagated through a medium and a medium is unnecessary.
Reason: If light were propagated through a medium, the experiments of Michelson and many others would have been able to detect this medium.

Relativity theory is a logically sound theory.
Reason: Relativity theory is a logical consequence of a law of nature (constant light speed, c), which has been confirmed many times.

Relativity theory has been proven to be correct.
Reason: A huge body of experimental and other empirical evidence is in agreement with the predictions of relativity theory.

The paradoxes of relativity theory do not affect the viability of the theory.
Reason: Many experts have explained various reasons why the apparent paradoxes of relativity theory are not paradoxes.

Relativity theory has been an exceptionally good physics theory.
Reason: It led to the discovery of important new facts about nature.  For example, it revealed the fact that a huge amount of energy is contained in small masses of matter in accordance with e=m·c2, and it revealed the correlation between the velocity of a body (e.g. gold nucleus) relative to an observer and the observed mass of the body.  It showed that Newton's laws of motion are only accurate at low speeds.

Relativity theory revealed that nature is fundamentally different from what physicists previously thought.  It shows that we live in a spacetime universe with no universal standards of time or distance or mass; time does not advance at the same steady pace everywhere in the universe; the universe has no particular size and mass/energy at any particular time; all times, distances, and masses are "relative," and the observations in any inertial reference frame are equally as good as the observations in any other inertial frame.
Reason: This picture of nature is the logical result of relativity theory.  This picture has been successful in predicting and explaining relativistic phenomena having many important, practical uses, which helped advance science and technology.

     Note: It will become apparent that relativity theory's explanation of relativistic phenomena is an incorrect explanation that resulted in incorrect ideas concerning fundamental aspects of nature: distance, time, and mass/energy.  For example, it will be apparent why relativity theory results in the incorrect idea that "relative motion" causes observers in inertial frames having relative motion to disagree on their standards of distance, time, and mass/energy. 

     The causes of constant light speed, c, and other perplexing phenomena mentioned above are thoroughly explained by the quantum medium view.  The speed of light relative to measuring apparatus appears to be constant because light speed, c, is determined via time-keeping and distance-measuring instruments that are constantly changing their physical characteristics and units of time and distance due to their constantly changing absolute velocities and resulting internal energy-exchange rates as Earth rotates and revolves around the sun.  Remarkably, the times and distances determined by the apparatus always result in the same observed, virtual speed of light, c.  This is demonstrated mathematically, and it is part of the strong evidence supporting the qm view.  To our knowledge, the qm view is the only plausible explanation for constant light speed, c.

The quantum medium view harmony of assumptions and evidence

      The qm view, which is explained in detail at the qmview.net website, is based on the following harmony of assumptions and evidence.  It seems to be free from illusions because the view is self-consistent, consistent with the experimental evidence, consistent with the logic of classical physics, and it explains physical causes for a wide range of perplexing phenomena that have not had plausible explanations.  To date, no one has identified a paradox or other flaw in the qm view, and after years of investigation the view appears sound.  The website's "Challenge" page is to encourage searching for a flaw.

All mass/energy (including all "particles" with and without rest mass) is comprised of oscillations or systems of oscillations of a quantum medium that pervades our universe.  The unimpeded, absolute, maximum speed of the oscillations through the medium is a constant, ca.
Reason: The logical consequences of this premise explain a wide variety of phenomena for which the physical causes have not been apparent.  Among these phenomena are the observed constant speed of light, c, through all inertial reference frames, Doppler shifts of light, matter's huge internal energy, the inertia of matter, and the observed gravitational attraction between masses, which affect one another via their effects on the medium.

The qm view is a logical theory that shows why relativity theory can make accurate predictions of observed phenomena and appear to explain the phenomena, while at the same time be paradoxical, counterintuitive, and misleading.
Reason: The qm view is based on a light-propagating medium that physicists have long thought was logical, and it shows why the light-speed-c premise, on which orthodox theory is based, is flawed as well as illogical.  It explains the paradoxes of relativity.  The quantum medium provides a plausible basis for the mass/energy of photons and other particles of the standard model and for hypothesized dark matter or dark energy.  And it provides a plausible explanation for the observed motions of photons through the cosmos.  Its assumption that energy quanta are oscillations in the qm provides a plausible basis for quanta sometimes behaving like waves and sometimes like particles.

The qm view is supported by the same body of evidence that supports relativity theory.
Reason: The qm view predicts exactly the same observed phenomena predicted by relativity theory (except slightly lower extreme gravities and black holes without singularities).  In addition to predicting the observed, virtual phenomena, it also specifies the absolute phenomena occurring in the qm that cause the virtual phenomena.

Every time an experiment is conducted to measure the speed of light from a star or other source, and the observed speed is c, this is evidence of the qm.
Reason: The qm view provides the only plausible explanation for this experimental result being independent of the velocity of the measuring apparatus.  And anyone who clearly understands why a qm always causes the virtual, observed speed of any light pulse through an observer's reference frame to be c (due to the particular combination of  1. the real, absolute relative velocity of the pulse through the observer's frame,  2. the clock synchronization distortion due to assuming light speed, c,  3. the clock rate distortion, and  4. the distance distortion in the observer's frame) will realize that the chance of this combination of factors not being the cause of light speed, c, is small.  If it is not the cause, then it is an unlikely coincidence, as are the qm view's logical explanations for a wide variety of other perplexing phenomena.

The qm view has other characteristics of a good theory.
Reason: These characteristics, which are generally considered desirable, are shown in the following table where the characteristics of the qm view and relativity theory are compared.


This website describes the qm view in detail.  There should be no ambiguity or confusion about what this theory specifies.  However, even if you are a physicist who is willing to consider thinking that departs from orthodox thinking, it will take considerable time to understand the qm view because it has premises that require a variety of new terms and ways of thinking that must be kept in mind for the view to make sense to you.  For example, you must understand completely the terms/symbols/concepts for "absolute velocity, va," and "physical change ratios, rv and rg" (including the reasons for, and implications of, these variables).  You need to be able to convert back and forth between virtual and absolute phenomena.  There is a lot to understand and remember in order to have a good, clear understanding of the qm view.

We have looked carefully for an illusion or flaw in the qm view, and others have also searched and not found a problem.  Although we are almost certain that the qm view is sound for the many reasons explained above and on other pages, in the context of good science this does not mean that there is no flaw or illusion.  However, until someone shows us where the qm view is flawed (or until we can find a flaw), we will continue to be confident that this view is sound and that spacetime theory is fundamentally flawed due to its light-speed-c assumption, paradoxes, denial of universal distance, time, and mass/energy, and inability to explain the physical causes of the phenomena its mathematics predicts.

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