Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Creative Science

Historical evidence of reality being created by our thinking abounds in the world of scientific exploration. In The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, author Joseph Chilton Pearce points out a few of these, such as the discovery of the neutrino, which Enrico Fermi first postulated the existence of in order to explain the otherwise unexpected behavior that takes place when a neutron has been split into its component electron and proton parts. Rather than go back and reassess years of scientific law and theory and its ever-growing body of supporting evidence, a new piece of physical reality was essentially created in order to explain the unexpected phenomenon encountered. This postulation of Fermi’s was given enough positive consideration of thought over a long enough period of time that more evidence of it eventually began to arise, until it was eventually physically discovered and became established as an absolute of reality.

In the same way, Pearce explains how the planet Neptune was first expected to exist before it was eventually discovered. It was the necessity of the planet’s existence in order to uphold previous understandings that led to a search for it, and the search eventually found what it was looking for. Had we not expected it and thus been prompted to look for it, we would not believe that it was out there, and it may as well not be.

Science abounds with such examples of discoveries following our expectations, particularly in the world of the very small. In fact, all of the subatomic particles we know to exist were first conceived of mentally before they were ever actually observed physically. This is an important fact to keep in mind. When you understand the mental influence a group of people can have on reality when they all put their thoughts towards enabling a certain outcome, it is easy to see that they are causing these particles to come into existence through their combined mental energy.

It should also be kept in mind as well that those physicists who perform the experiments to analyze these particles are the only people who actually witness their manifestation, or, to be more precise, who witness the performance of the apparatus that interact with these particles and reveal their existence. For the rest of us, we can only give our support by accepting on faith what they tell us, as we are habituated to doing, taking their explanations and descriptions and integrating them into our personal frameworks, while at the same time giving further weight to the potential for their claims to become absolute. For all intents and purposes, these particles are becoming ever more physically real in form and function as we learn how to conceptualize them as part of our established order, and in the process giving them a necessary reason to exist.

To give one more example of a scientific belief that was once considered preposterous, but which has since become more and more accepted and is now considered common knowledge, is that the Earth went through an ice age that ended approximately ten to twelve thousand years ago. The idea that the Earth went through an ice age began with geological evidence that led men like Joseph Adhemar, Bernard Kuhn, James Hutton, Jean de Charpentier, and Louis Agassiz to propose glaciation theories based on that evidence. Forty years after the first theory was proposed, the scientific community was in general acceptance that an ice age had in fact occurred, but there was still the matter of figuring out its cause.

The theories that have been proposed to explain the last ice age are many, ranging from the tilt of the Earth over the 26,000-year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, to variations in solar radiation, to the mechanics of oceanic currents, to a change in carbon dioxide levels caused by the rising of the Himalayas, to extraterrestrial bombardment of an asteroid or meteor, to the near-miss of a comet, to pole slippage, to a galactic super-wave of cosmic radiation. Each of these proposals is supported by scientific evidence and has its separate followers, but none of them has yet been confirmed or ruled out.

The idea of an ice age is an example of reality in the making. What we will eventually come to believe was its cause is yet to be determined, but we can be sure that a consensus belief will work itself out as long as we apply our thoughts to finding an acceptable understanding that fits the established order. When that point is reached, theory will become fact, and belief will become reality.

The length of time between conception and realization of such discoveries can stretch over many years, even centuries, and this is what Pearce refers to as the incubation period, when an idea that could fill what he terms an ‘empty category’ – in this case an unexplained event – is given the nurturing it needs to come into reality as an absolute. However, before any idea can even be conceived, there must first be an empty category that needs to be filled, and there can be no empty category without there first being a question that cannot be answered by current understandings. With respect to Fermi’s postulation leading to the actual discovery of the neutrino, until a neutron was actually split and the results were found to not comply with the then current understandings, there was no empty category to fill, no question needed asking, and therefore no answer was needed to explain those otherwise unexpected results.

The examples of ‘creative science’ we have so far discussed – the neutrino, the planet Neptune, and the ice age – cannot actually be verified by anyone under normal everyday conditions, and without our acceptance of what scientists tell us, we would have no reason to believe in any of them. We cannot see a neutrino, nor can we see Neptune without a very powerful telescope, and we cannot go back in time to witness the ice age. These aspects of reality are not really absolutes in the strictest sense, but exist more in a subjective sense that is based on how we choose to define certain events and fit them into the greater framework of an already established order.

Science is intended to be the reasoned arbitrator of truth regarding reality, taking over the reigns from the outmoded idealism of religion. It was hoped that science would open the doors to mysteries that religious belief could not provide adequate answers for. Science was meant to free us from the limitations imposed by the narrow mindset of those who led the major religions and controlled the faithful masses. However, science has quite often been just as dogmatically obtuse as religions have, putting too much faith in its assumptions and expectations of how reality must be, and attempting to force those assumptions and expectations to fit a specific order. The scientific establishment has become lord over our beliefs, dictating as much as suggesting the order that exists. Like the Church before it, the scientific establishment has become obsessed by the power and control that knowledge provides through its interpretation of facts.

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