In good journalism, facts and subjective material are kept apart to avoid the latter corrupting the former but there is no similar safeguard in science. Scientific facts are one-dimensional because observations are made along the single direction perpendicular to the observer’s retinas. Scientists though, imagine a simultaneous combination of the many 1-d worlds that we can only see one at a time. This unreal combination is credited with four dimensions, three of space and one of time and a vocabulary large enough for subjective theories. Since the beginning of science, scientists have made subjective four-dimensional theories about one-dimensional objective facts. As a result, only subjectively corrupted versions of scientific facts are known. This article describes the one-dimensional science of one-dimensional facts and its systematic corruption and obliteration by four-dimensional theories.
This is not the first attempt to rid science of subjective contamination. In 1710, the Irish philosopher, George Berkeley criticised makers of scientific theories in his ‘Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’ for comparing unlike ideas. A turnip can not be compared with a peacock to generate something called peacocks per turnip, but scientists compare a distance with a time to generate a speed of metres per second. Berkeley proposed a likeness principle to strip science and philosophical thought of unlike comparisons. Lisa Downing, the author of the long article on Berkeley in the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, comments that ‘If Berkeley’s Likeness Principle …is granted, representationalist materialism (philosopher’s name for theory making) is in serious trouble’.
Berkeley’s criticism was aimed at ideas requiring two or more perpendicular axes so his aims in 1710 and mine now are similsr, though the motivation is different. Berkeley’s aim was to rid thought and science of an illogical practice and mine is to rid facts of corrupting theories. The aims converge because theories use the illogical practice to generate the 4-d concepts into which they corrupt 1-d facts.
Berkeley failed to change things in 1710 because he was not understood. He wrote ‘The sort of explanation proper to science …is not causal explanation, but reduction to regularity’. I shall hope to show that the Delphic phrase, ‘reduction to regularity’ means reduction from four dimensions to one.
I shall also hope to convince the reader that the world we see is one-dimensional and far too simple to be explained by theories. The traces of one-dimensionality are all around and are particularly well seen in (a) instantly seen stars, (b) rear view mirrors, (c) ‘infinity’ mirrors and (d) speed cameras. After briefly discussing these I will recall the measurements 350 years that would have swept theories away overnight if they had been correctly interpreted.
Our instant view of stars is the most obvious way in which the world we see differs from the world described by theories. One-dimensional science offers a reason for the difference. The one-dimension along which we look is also the direction into an instantly accessible archive of our past. What we see on our retinas is a movie formed from pictures from this archive and any motion we think we see is an illusion like the motion in movies. Though we can see the movie as soon as we look it is formed from pictures with release dates. A picture of an object 300 metres away has a release date of one millionth of a second ago and a picture of an object 300 million metres away has a release date of one second ago. Release dates are one second ago for every 300 million metres. We can obviously forget about metres and distance if we specify the release dates of the pictures we see. The movies are continually updated so pictures of the sun on our retinas are always 500 seconds ago.
In 1-d science, looking and seeing are not the same thing. They start off together, perpendicular to your retinas but if they encounter a mirror the direction you look is reflected back from the surface of the mirror while the direction you see goes on, accompanied by the direction of your past, into, through and beyond the mirror. If you look at a rear view mirror, the direction you look is reflected back to the traffic behind your car but the images you see go on forward beyond the mirror. Rear view mirrors would be no use if they didn’t. (Light-waves in theories don’t go through mirrors.)
The past is best seen by standing between a pair of parallel mirrors (so-called ‘infinity mirrors’) facing each other across a narrow passage. If you look into one of the mirrors the direction you look is reflected to and fro between the mirrors but the direction you see goes on through and beyond the mirrors. What you see beyond the mirror is a long succession of reflections across the passage strung like beads far along the direction of your past. This remarkable sight rivals the instant view of the Milky Way as the most spectacular and compelling demonstration that the world we see is not the one described by theories.
The cameras along our roads are supposed to measure the speeds of vehicles but they do nothing of the kind. What they do is record changes to the gaps between the camera and vehicles. A bath with water flowing in from a tap and out through a drain has a water level which rises when the flow through the tap is faster than the drain and falls when it is the other way round. By keeping the tap flow steady and watching the water level you can decide if the flow through the drain is too fast. Like the water in the bath, additions to the gap between two objects flow in via one object and out via the other and the flow metres are the objects’ clocks. By comparing the clocks one can measure the rate of increase or decrease of the gap. That is how Doppler cameras work. The method is simple and one-dimensional.
In 1676 a comparison was made of an astronomical clock on Jupiter and a clock on Earth, in order to study the annual ebb and flow of the Earth/Jupiter gap as Earth goes round the sun. For six months the Jupiter clock is seen from Earth to be slower than the Earth clock and to lose 1000 seconds on the Earth clock, and for six months the Jupiter clock gains on the Earth clock and regains the 1000 seconds. The change in the gap is equal to the diameter of the Earth’s orbit, 186 million miles or 300 billion metres.
That means that each of two observers looking at each other and separated by 300 billion metres sees the other’s pictures on his retinas to be 1000 seconds ago, that being their release date. There is no space or time, only clocks and release dates so we can forget the 300 billion metres. It is redundant.
What happened in 1676 though, and at every supposed measurement of the speed of light ever since, is that 300 billion metres per 1000 seconds was interpreted as the speed of light and the one-dimensional observations were inflated to two dimensions by awarding distance and time perpendicular axes. In this way, 4-d science was saved from oblivion following the loss of space and time and enabled to obliterate the facts of 1-d science.
We shall never see space, time or the present or measure the speed of light or the speed of an object relative to another’s reference frame, because these are 4-d concepts and what we see is a 1-d archive and what we measure are 1-d phenomena.
The science of the 1-d past satisfies Berkeley’s likeness principle so one may with confidence claim that Berkeley’s phrase ‘reduction to regularity’ means reduction from 4-dimensions to one, thereby solving a 300 year old mystery.
If facts had always been separated from subjective material in science, 1-d science would have been known centuries ago and the history of science would have been very different. Separation should be standard practice. Berkeley’s principle is a general defence against misinformation and should be part of everyone’s education. The general public should be aware that only facts satisfy the principle and subjective theories can never describe the world we see.
Reference: Downing, Lisa, “George Berkeley”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)