A challenge to scientists and philosphers from 1710

In 1710, philosopher, George Berkeley, dismissed scientists and philosophers for making theories with concepts of their own invention and calling it science and philosophy. ‘What do we learn’ (from theories), he asked, ‘but our own ideas’. In a step designed to stop scientists and philosophers from making theories, Berkeley proposed a stricter likeness principle to govern the use of the equals sign in equations. In the long article on Berkeley in the on-line Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, the author, Lisa Downing, writes ‘If Berkeley’s Likeness Principle is granted, representational materialism (used by scientists in theory making) is in serious trouble.’ Berkeley intended to make theory making impossible, and he succeeded

The effect of Berkeley’s principle is that only equations with numbers on both sides of the equals sign are allowed. ‘The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides’ is allowed, but ‘speed=distance divided by time’ is not. Only allowed equations can be expressed by diagrams, so Berkeley’s Likeness principle means that if you can’t draw it, it is not science.

Theories can not be drawn because (a) they use the idea of a 4-dimensional world consisting of three-dimensional space measured by rulers and one-dimensional time measured by clocks and (b) they use the idea of material bodies. Over the small touching range, material body is more than an idea, but beyond touching range the pictures furnished by vision are our sole source of information. That something you can not touch is a material object is no more than an idea. Berkeley’s principle applies to inferences made from what can only be seen.  The 4-dimensional idea-world of traditional science is inhomogeneous because the three dimensions of space are very different from the one dimension of time and have to be assigned different measuring instruments. These distinctions do not exist in Berkeley’s drawable world which must be 3-dimensional, homogeneous, measurable with either rulers or clocks and non-material. Such is the world of the Past. Furthermore, it is known from observations that everything we see is in the past. Your past begins at your eyeballs because everything you see is in the past. The image of you in a mirror is twice as deep in your past as the mirror. If the mirror is two feet from your eyeballs it is also two feet deep in your past, while your image’s eyeballs are four feet deep in your past. If you hold a watch two feet from the mirror, your image’s watch is four feet deeper in your past than your watch and if you could measure the tiny difference between their readings, you could find out how many seconds equals four feet. Then you would find, as was found long ago but interpreted as a measurement of the speed of light, that one second is equal to 186000 miles. Thus the ratio of a second to a mile in a world with no time or distance is the number, 186000, in accord with Berkeley’s principle.

In the idea-world of theories, clocks measure time and rulers and tapes measure distance and the ratio of the two measurements is a speed, 186000 miles per second, traditionally identified as the speed of light. It was to prevent such flights of fancy from being mistaken for science that George Berkeley proposed his principle.

During the last 308 years, scientists have done nothing to recognise Berkeley’s principle or to acknowledge that their representational materialistic treatment of pictures on their retina is in deep trouble because it has no logical basis and is entirely invented. During the same period philosophers have been no help whatsoever because they seem to have failed to grasp that if a tree is out of reach it is a picture and not a material object. To treat a tree which is out of reach and therefore a picture in the past as a material object, is representational materialism and not science.

I would like to hear some scientist or philosopher attempt to justify scientists’ and philosophers’ 308 year neglect of the implications of Berkeley’s likeness principle and explain why my belief that the principle is the foundation of all real science and philosophy, is wrong.

Thank you for joining me.

Stan Clough.

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