by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground e-Magazine
Jim was telling me of scalar theory last night. It is in its infancy, but it appears that it could be the basis for the elusive Theory of Everything (ToE). Don’t worry – I’m not about to get all scienc-y on you. I have a quick point.
Scalar theory could set aside much that has been extrapolated from quantum mechanics. Just like quantum physics set aside much that was extrapolated from classical (Newtonian) physics. Just like the world once used to be flat – and now it is round.
That’s the thing about science. Scientific method involves making a hypothesis – which is really a best guess. Then we use our current knowledge and tools to test the hypothesis, which either is confirmed or denied, depending on the results of those tests. The final step is peer review; however, peer review in and of itself isn’t infallible. Why? Because the peers have the same current knowledge and tools as the original hypothesizer.
My point – and I do have one – is that, to some extent, science is of the moment. It relies on current knowledge and current tools. Science builds on itself. We know what we do scientifically until we don’t know it anymore because we gained new tools and new knowledge.
There is a saying – that data doesn’t lie. But the interpretation of data can. I’m a marketing guru, and I promise you that I can massage data in ways that are virtually unimaginable. Data may not lie, but I’m betting that I can manipulate you to see the data in a light favorable to what I want you to believe.
We can do that to ourselves, too. There is a very popular movie about quantum physics called “What the Bleep do We Know?” and it is brought to you by our friends at the Ramtha compound (who live just up the road a ways from me). Many quantum physicists find the extrapolations and interpretations in the movie highly troubling and vaguely embarrassing, because the makers of the movie have taken basic tenants of quantum physics and massaged them into an interpretation of quantum facts that bears little resemblance to what quantum physics actually tells us. The reason this troubles quantum physicists so much is because this is, for many, the ONLY exposure that the general public has had to quantum physics, and there is therefore a misperception about what is really going on.
The central theme of What the Bleep is that we create our own reality. While this may or may not be true (no one really knows) – this belief comes from an extrapolation of the quantum enigma which states – in very general terms – that the observer determines the outcome. This isn’t exactly true. Or – more accurately stated – it is likely that this is a rather extreme interpretation of what truly happens.
So what truly happens? Something called wave function collapse. I’ll try to explain it quickly. Quantum physics experiments have shown that particles exist in a state of quantum superposition. This means that a photon exists both as a wave and as a particle at the same time. It is only when the photon is observed that it collapses and behaves as either a wave or a particle. The observer does NOT choose which it becomes. It merely causes its collapse into one or the other. Not only that, but the observer doesn’t necessarily mean human (or even conscious). It could mean something mechanical – like a Geiger counter. This quantum enigma is explained well in the book Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness.
Enough with the physics. My point is this. One can take science and interpret the data obtained to support a personal world-view. It happens all of the time. The number of interpretations of quantum physics are many and wide-ranging with varying levels of acceptance.
The problem comes when there is dogmatic adherence to any theory or interpretation. Such dogmatic adherence can be just as big of a disservice to scientific inquiry as dogmatic adherence to a religious text is to spirituality. Dogma, in any form, impedes progressive understanding and sticks us solidly in the same place. The only way to truly approach science and learning is with an open mind.
Which begs the question. What the bleep do we know? We know what we know right now. We’ve arrived at it through the current tools we have available to test hypotheses. And we’ve built on the knowledge that we’ve gained in the past.
I find it hard to believe that we are done. New discoveries are happening all of the time. There are many things that remain unexplained – including the paranormal. Where science and discovery will lead us is anyone’s guess. But the best thing that we can do is keep our minds open. It is only with open minds that we can progress.
Crap. I got all scienc-y after all. Sorry about that. If you like science, you might want to visit our science blog!