Final Remarks and a Summary of POAMS Achievements
The origins of POAMS (the Pope Osborne Angular Momentum Synthesis) go back to the early 1950s, when, independently of each other, Viv Pope and Herman Bondi discovered that Einstein’s basic Second Postulate, that light has a constant velocity c in space, is unnecessary for the purposes of the theory. They later concurred on a new and far simpler approach to Relativity Theory which reveals that it is more logical and conceptually economical to dispense with the ‘velocity’ interpretation of c and, instead, treat c as a pure constant interrelating conventional units of distance and time in the observational measuring of space. (Recall that this is recently supported by an article in New Scientist, 1/11/08, called ‘Shedding Light on Light’, pp.28-31, which virtually declares Einstein’s Second Postulate of ‘light in vacuo‘ to be redundant.)
The knock-on effect of this discovery, for Pope, was to reveal, by the same method of logical analysis, that other historical conceptions of physics can be simplified and economised in that same way. This led, in 1985, to a collaboration with Dr. Anthony Osborne, of the Mathematics Department of Keele University, UK, resulting in the development of what has since been named the Pope-Osborne Angular Momentum Synthesis, for which a colleague has coined the acronym ‘POAMS’.
Physical science has not got to where it is today through a steady unbroken line of logical deduction. Its history has been, for the most part, a trail of circuitous, inductive meanderings based on chance discoveries made at different times and in different and mostly unrelated observational circumstances.
The working-conceptions that have been forged to explain these discoveries, illustrious though they undoubtedly were in their day, have been mostly ad hoc and circumstantial, without too much concern for overall logical or philosophical coherence. Early physicists believed that there are ‘pure facts’ of observation and experiment which they assumed were self-explanatory, with no need of theoretical interpretation. “Hypotheses non fingo,” declared Newton (I have no need of hypotheses), not knowing that his in vacuo ‘gravitational force’ was the most questionable hypothesis of all. It was therefore supposed that with a sufficient number of these ‘facts’ at our disposal, all ‘theories’ and ‘hypotheses’ would automatically disappear, leaving nothing but a completely scientific inventory of ‘plain unadulterated facts’ without need of interpretation. Let that entirely mistaken view be called the empirical ideal of pure physics.
Unfortunately, that empirical ideal has not been realised. Indeed it is now clear that even in the most hard-nosed ‘experimentalist’ areas of modern physics, hypotheses, theories and interpretations far outweigh anything that can be confidently claimed as ’empirical fact’. What is also clear is that among all this proliferation of theoretical interpretations there is no overall logical coherence that anyone might sensibly call an understanding. What has happened is that the original empirical ideal of the logical sufficiency of just ‘plain observation and experiment’ has failed to produce anything in the end but a runaway eclecticism in which any expectation of ‘overall sense’ is regarded as signifying a lack of competence in understanding ‘Science’.
However, it can be demonstrated that in retrospect there is a distinct logical thread running through these discoveries which is much clearer and consistent when examined in hindsight than it could ever have been in prospect. POAMS presents for public scrutiny the net results, gleaned over the last half-century, of this retrospective logical analysis. To the studious and open-minded reader it reveals that many of the ingeneous circumstantial interpretations and explanations of phenomena produced in their day are now logically redundant. More than anything, however, they now present a barrier of pure theoretical clutter against any possibility of realising natural logical coherence. This has produced, in the name of ‘Modern Physics’ a plethora of ‘theories’ and ‘theories about theories’, many of which – even some of the most lauded and publicised – now serve as no more than stumbling blocks in the path of scientific progress.
POAMS, then, is not to be seen as some ‘new theory of physics’. To see it that way is completely to misunderstand it. In fact, like the original empirical ideal of observational physics, POAMS is more anti-theory than theory. It makes maximum use of ‘Ockham’s razor’ in shaving-off all the current and traditional rationalisations that prove, on logical analysis, to be surplus to requirements. Undoubtedly, some scholars will see this as a scurrilous ‘attack’ on our scientific traditions. They will be offended by what they may regard as a lack of proper respect and veneration for our intellectual heritage. Indeed, some of these ‘concept conservationists’ may regard what POAMS proposes as tantamount to blasphemy. One professor has even declared it ‘immoral’ on the grounds that it presents a threat to the norms of the Academic Establishment.
Sooner or later, however, what can be done will be done. (”Truth will out,’ as it is said.) The following is the distinct logical thread that POAMS has uncovered, running straight through all the loose and obscuring metaphysical fluff.
The standpoint from which this analysis is undertaken is that of Normal Realism. This is a form of radical empiricism, or phenomenalism, akin to the original empiricist ideal of observational science. However, in this modified form of empiricism, physical facts do not automatically present themselves by direct inspection. Only when, by careful logical analysis, we are assured that the phenomena are properly interpreted with an absolute minimum of theoretical and metaphysical overlay, can we claim to be truly in possession of the facts. In other words, Normal Realism is a logical holism. It holds that, whether we perceive it or not, everything in nature must be logically interconnected and coherent. Since it is obvious that nature cannot misinterpret itself, anything we see as puzzling or paradoxical has to be an illusion on our part, a matter either of misinterpretation of the sensory/instrumental information or misuse of language – or, more often, both.
In any event, not even for the most meticulous of observers, do things in nature reveal themselves readily named or labelled, replete with instructions as to how they should be logically identified and classified. This has to be done inductively, by creative guesswork, subject to continual revision in the light of advancing experience. Things such as ‘electrons’, ‘photons’, ‘quarks’, ‘quasars’ and so on are therefore, at first flush, more items of human language than of nature. If they behave as our language leads us to expect, then for that moment we are lucky. However, no logical or mathematical form of language that has yet been devised has maintained its logical integrity for long. History reveals the extent to which even the very best, most promising projections made by scientific geniuses have been prone to the necessity of review and perhaps even radical revision in the light of ongoing experience. Conspicuous examples of this are, of course, the radical shifts in thinking that were caused by the well-known discoveries of Columbus, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and, of course, Einstein.
Normal Realism and conventional science, therefore, work in literally opposite directions: science from the past towards the future, and Normal Realism from the present to the past – as a preparation, that is to say, for the future – (As it is said, ‘Step back to leap the further.’) This means returning to historical ‘square one’ so as to contemplate an alternative, historically unencumbered way forward. Socrates used to say that he had no ideas, opinions or theories of his own, but that by a process of dialectical analysis he would examine the beliefs of others and point out, for their benefit, any logical gaps or contradictions in those beliefs. This is the ‘Socratic’ aim of POAMS. As Socrates might have said (in the modern idiom), ‘I don’t know what is right, true or real, but I sure as hell can prove what isn’t.’ And that, in a nutshell, is the defining maxim of the Normal Realist. In short, Normal Realism resurrects what used to be called ‘The Search for Truth’, and any modern sophist who declares that there is no such thing as truth is asked to explain how that statement can possibly be true without contradicting itself.
What, then, is this truth that, by its Socratic process of theoretical elimination, Normal Realism and its minimalist mathematical spin-off, POAMS, have uncovered? The fine details of this uncovering are available elsewhere (see the following page ‘Seminal Publications and Resources). For the moment, the following provides a schematic overview of what POAMS has achieved so far.
A List of POAMS Achievements
- The discovery, with which Herman Bondi concurred in 1965, that the ‘velocity of light’, c, is not truly a velocity but is a scale constant for interconverting conventional units of metres and seconds in the measurement of observational distances.
- The further discovery that this non-velocity constant, c, automatically converts all three dimensions of observational space in metres into time-measures in seconds. This incorporates time as a natural fourth dimension in all descriptions of observational distance and relative motion and reveals that a natural graph of relative motion is a four-dimensional time-triangle whose hypotenuse gives, directly, by Pythagoras’ theorem, the time-dilation of a moving body relative to the observer. From this simplest of beginnings is automatically deduced the same formula for time-dilation that appears in Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. In this way, POAMS goes straight from Pythagoras to Einstein, bypassing all the theoretical congestion surrounding the conventional ‘speed of light’ theory, together with and all the intellectual puzzles associated with Michelson & Morley, etc. Indeed, POAMS bypasses the whole theoretical tradition of ‘electrodynamics’ as conceived during that era.
- Since frequency is the inverse of time, this suggests that there might be a direct logical, non-theoretical connection between the Pythagorean time-formula of POAMS and the formula for spectral frequencies discovered by Balmer and Rydberg. And so it transpires. The time-formula, expressed in terms of whole numbers, applied to quantum measures of action, do provide, by pure syllogistic, precisely the formula for discrete spectral frequencies that Balmer and Rydberg discovered by trial and error, that is, by simply juggling with numbers until they found a formula to fit the phenomena..
- Another disovery is that Newton’s first law of motion is logically redundant. To declare, with one ‘law’ that all force-free motion is rectilinear and follow that with another ‘law’ (i.e., that of ‘universal gravitation’) to explain why nowhere do bodies obey that first law is completely circular and unnecessary. Moreover, it creates a whole plethora of invisible and undetectable – in a word, metaphysical – ‘field forces’ held accountable for what is observationally plain, that all natural free motion is orbital, not rectilinear. Newton’s ‘first law’, therefore, that all free, ‘inertial’ motion is rectilinear ‘momentum’ mv is shown to be false. What is true is that all natural free motion is orbital angular momentum mvr. POAMS demonstrates this to be sufficient in itself to account for observed orbital motion without having to assume the presence of two opposing and therefore cancelling ‘centrifugal’ and ‘centripetal’ (e.g., ‘straight-line’ and ‘gravitational’) invisible forces. The fact that angular momentum is an overall-conserved quantity is then sufficient to explain why free-moving masses move in relation to one another in correlated, paired and balanced arrangements around common centres of moment. This is due, not to ‘gravitation’ but simply to the fact that to move freely in any other way would disconserve the overall angular momentum, which free-moving masses cannot do. By the same token, the orbital parameters of freely moving spinning masses cannot be the same as those of non-spinning ones, so that the ‘gravitational constant, G is actually a variable, being cinstant only for orbiting bodies without significant spin. This means that masses such as, for instance the so-called ‘electron’, the proportion of whose spin angular momentum to orbital angular momentum is extremely large, have to describe much tighter and more energetic orbits than ordinary planetary ones. Indeed, calculations prove that for a pair of pure masses of the textbook values of the ‘electron’ and ‘proton’, respectively, the orbital parameters are precisely those ascribed by Bohr on classical ‘electrodynamical’ principles.
- Another direct logical connection was uncovered between the frequency formula of Balmer and Rydberg (see above) and the energy levels of the schematic Bohr atom. It was then discovered that the exact values of the pure-mass constituents of the Bohr atom (the so-called ‘electron’ and ‘proton’) can be deduced from these same formulae. This deductive connection also includes the standard (Bohr) orbital velocity and radius parameters of those masses. All this, again, is achieved without any involvement with traditional ‘electrodynamics’ and its associated in vacuo ‘forces’. This is by the simple process of cashing-out the static ‘charge’ of the ‘electron’, in coulombs, into mechanical units of joules, to identify the conventional ‘charge’ with the mechanical spin ascribed to the ‘electron’ by Goudsmit and Uhlenbeck.
- In effect, then, POAMS circumvents, by pure syllogistic, and without any theoretical elaboration, all the customary paraphernalia of ‘electrodynamics’ and ‘field-forces’ that were spawned by Newton’s illustrious but logically unnecessary creation of his two opposing ‘rectilinear’ and ‘gravitational’ laws. Thus, POAMS dispenses, at a stroke, with the chronic problem of ‘Unified Field’ by getting rid of in vacuo ‘fields’ and ‘field-forces’ altogether. It also uncovers another direct logical route from time-dilation in rectilinear ‘inertial space’ to time-dilation in natural force-free orbital motion. Expressing the standard time-dilation formula in terms of v-squared and substituting the resulting expression for v-squared in the angular momentum equation directly produces a formula for orbital time-dilation of the kind that is observed in the GPS and other satellites. When fully articulated, the formula predicts, to an extent approaching a hundred percent accuracy, the adjustments that the GPS and GLONASS engineers have to make in their satellite clocks as compared with those on the earth’s surface. The formula also predicts the slowing of clocks and other time-processes as they approach large masses. This is in the same way that is predicted by Einstein’s General Relativity, but without involving any of that theory’s metaphysical rationale regarding ‘time-warps’ and so on. Moreover, since angular momentum analyses-out to ultimately irreducible units of h/2pi, it is automatically quantised. This replaces the Einsteinian ‘space-time continuum’ of General Relativity with an angular momentum discretum with metrical features similar to those described in that General Theory. This automatically disposes of the perennial problem of how to reconcile Relativistic continuity with Quantum discontinuityby showing that relativity is basically quantised. The relativity of POAMS is therefore a Quantum Relativity.
- In addition to this, the POAMS formulation predicts that the orbits of bodies are never exactly closed but that they perform a ‘rosette’ pattern of precession, of the sort first observed with the planet Mercury. It also produces a formula, equivalent in angular momentum terms to the Schwarzschild radius, as the limit to which masses may approach one another without merging in what is conventionally alleged to be ‘gravitational collapse’. However, the POAMS formula produces no ‘singularities’ (i.e., in ordinary parlance, absurdities) of that metaphysical sort, whether they be those of the alleged ‘black holes’ or the ‘Big Bang’. POAMS finds, for instance, that the dramatically described – but literally meaningless – ‘black holes’ can be adequately accounted for as the empty and therefore non-visible, non-material barycentres, or centres-of-moment, between orbiting massesn are characteristic of all angular momentum systems from whirlpools and hurricanes to spiral galaies. Also, any necessity to believe in the excitingly named ‘Big Bang’ can be circumvented by a long-neglected logical alternative to the conventional ‘galactic recession’ interpretation of the Hubble redshift. This is based on an undeniable piece of logic. The fact that all recessional motions are accompanied by redshifts by no means necessarily signifies that observing a redshift is the same as observing a motion of recession. From this it follows that the almost universal assumption among cosmologists that observing galactic redshifts is the same as observing a universal ‘galactic recession’, is what any logic teacher might well exemplify to his students as a logical ‘howler’ of a fallacy. In any case, to stick without question to something that is so clearly and demonstrably fallacious is, by definition, a dogma, especially when it slams the door on any other possible explanation. The fact, however, that this ‘recessional’ assumption is a fallacy leaves he door wide open to another logical possibility, which POAMS explores, that the redshift is a manifestation of relativistic time-dilations in distant galaxies. This is not due to any overall recessional motion or ‘universal expansion’. It is due to the increasing random velocities of those galaxies as, with increasing distance from the observer they approach the larger and larger non-local and decentralised, accumulated mass of the cosmos. Calculations made on the basis of the values given by astronomers for the average mass-density of intergalactic space support this .
- Aside from these latter theoretical departures at the speculative edges of our astronomical observations, POAMS does all that both Special and General Relativity do, but in a single, logically unified and philosophically coordinated way. With its built-in quantisation, the synthesis also automatically includes the basis of the Quantum Theory of Planck and Bohr. This removes the long-standing ‘EPR’ conflict between quantum instantaneity and relativistic time-delay by presenting light as a logical combination of those two components. This is by analogy with a movie, in which, without any suggestion of contradiction, the action consists of a time-delayed series of still photographs, or ‘stills’, in each one of which all the objects in the photograph appear together with no time-separation between them – that is to say, they are instantly, or simultaneously interconnected.
- Finally, a ‘political’ point. Regardless of how impolitic it may be, in this present climate of adulation for Big Science, with the greatest respect for the constructors of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN designed to recreate the so-called ‘God Particle’ (the Higgs boson), we feel free to say that in our view that massive venture as ill-conceived. This ‘God Particle’ is supposed to have appeared in the very first instant of the ‘Big Bang’ moment of Cosmic Creation. POAMS, however, firmly predicts that this experiment can never succeed according to that aim. This prediction is based on what has been said about the logical meaninglessness of the whole ‘Big Bang’ idea, which makes no more sense in POAMS terms than if a vastly expensive machine were to be designed and constructed to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The same applies – and for similar reasons – to all those attempts to discover ‘dark matter’, ‘gravity waves’, ‘gravitons’, ‘WIMPS’ (Weakly Interacting Mass Particles) and so on, for which, over decades, not a smidgen of evidence has been obtained. Some of the most highly expensive bits of equipment used in these experiments now do no more than litter the long grass at the backs of laboratories like Fermilab and SLAC. POAMS projects much the same fate for the Large Hadron Collider.
In this New Approach to natural physics called POAMS, all need for ‘theory’ in our observations of things has to be pared down to an absolute minimum – to zero, if possible, in which case, if it could be achieved, our interpretations of things and those things themselves would be the same, by the logical principle of the identity of indiscenibles. In Normal Realism that would be to reach the ultimate in true realism, with physical phenomena and our interpretations of them, in perception and language, being one and the same. This removes the ‘Einstein Separation’ between the world and our observations of it. It also dispenses with the Cartesian dualism which remains endemic in extant physics (see the above page entitled ‘Our Schizophrenic Scientific Inheritance’). This does not mean that the theories that are taught to students of current Physics and Mechanics should now be consigned, en bloc, to history – as though that were even remotely possible, given the social upheaval it would cause. For the sake of sheer pragmatic concern, therefore, the purely circumstantial ways in which physical phenomena have been interpreted in the past, no matter how conceptually convoluted they may be, cannot simply be dispensed with ‘just like that’, as the comedian Tommy Cooper would say. For such reasons, the current textbook explanations would need to be retained until such time as the logical synthesis might be properly articulated. However, the knowledge that POAMS makes available, that there exists a clear logical bypass around the theoretical congestion that has now brought common understanding almost to a complete halt, might eventually reverse the current trend in Education whereby Physics, once the most prestigious of university subjects, has now been reduced to something like the least popular in the curriculum.
Most controversial – indeed, as some will undoubtedly see it, the most incredible – consequence of all is that POAMS completely inverts the customary way of thinking of light-in-space to thinking of the space being in the light. However, when we come to think of it, it is perfectly plain that light as we see it, or otherewise detect it, in its fullest spectral range from deepest infra-red to farthest ultraviolet and gamma, is the ultimate, immediate source of all our knowledge of nature, from ordinary commonsense to far-out cosmology. It is no less plain that all the rest is interpretation or else just pure theory. Einstein’s Second Postulate which separates light as we see it from the seen objects is just another of those postulates that POAMS proves to be logically redundant. This is on the grounds that, as stated above, in its own intrinsic or ‘proper’ time (the same in POAMS as in conventional Relativity), each quantum of light interaction is instantaneous, hence as much a constituent of the object as of our seeing it. The ‘space’ we traditionally interpose between ourselves, as decoders of light-information, and the objects that are the ‘sources’, or encoders of that information are therefore, first and foremost, projections out of the information itself. Thus, the three spatial dimensions, plus the inter-dependent time dimension, with all our knowledge of the masses, movements and other characteristics of physical objects framed in those dimensions – including even the time-delay of light-information over distance – are observational extrapolations out of the directly perceived informational patterns and sequences of quantum light-pixels. This restores ‘relativity’ to its pre-Einsteinian meaning originally defined by Mach. In this phenomenological way, the quanta, to which all light-energy ultimately reduces, cease to be space-travelling particles (‘photons’) and become, instead, the ultimate informational ‘pixels’ out of which, as informational decoder, the observer projects the world around him. With other inter-communicating observers doing the same, with all their ancillary instruments of observation, the objectivity of nature is then revealed as the projection, couched in human language, of a whole observational community – which, of course, signals the relevance to Physics of the so-called ‘Linguistic Analysis’ of philosophers such as Moore and Wittgenstein. This replaces, with plain commonsense realism, the presumptuous ‘God’s-eye-view’ of classical science. which assumes a metaphysical standpoint of cosmic ubiquity that is forever inaccessible to actual observation.
This revolutionary Normal Realist approach to science and epistemology is therefore what might best be called ‘objective empiricism’ – which is, virtually, what Normal Realism is all about. The complete inversion, or revolution, that this implies is to base physical science on actual digital or quantum information rather than on classical analog intuitions about objects as ‘God’ might be presumed to see them behindvthe scenes. This shift from ‘analog’ to ‘digital’ in the POAMS approach to physics – Digital Physics, let’s call it – brings that subject into line with the Informational Revolution that is already gaining pace throughout all other areas of technology. All that has prevented this revolution from being extended into Physics is the ‘Einstein separation’ that was theoretically interposed between the world and our seeing it. POAMS proves this ‘Einstein separation’, together with Cartesian dualism, to be not only unnecessary but also a long-standing barrier to any common understanding of true relativity and its natural relation to the quantum.
Something else worth mentioning is what has been emphasised by several readers of the POAMS literature as its Humanitarian implications. This is that the switch from a mechanics-based to an information-based science removes the traditional schism between material science and the humanities. In this ‘digital’ age, no longer can communication be regarded as just a no-account ‘spiritual’ spin-off from atomic mechanisms. Instead, communication becomes the very essence of reality in all its forms, especially in observation-based, or relativistic, physics. Moreover, if the universe were a Machine, then since there can be no morality in a machine, and if we and our society were no more than cogs in that Machine, there could be no morality in our society – or at least, any appearance of morality and responsibility for our actions would have to be an illusion. Whatever we did or decided to do would be determined by our atoms. And insofar as religion of some sort is always a part of human society – a very important part, mostly – that would have to be an illusion also, since it would make no sense to worship a Machine, far less make supplication to it in prayer.
So POAMS cures the underlying schizophrenia or split-mindedness in our Western society, of which people like C. P. Snow have complained, manifest as this now is on all hands between its twin foundations, Materialist Science and Christianity. This should restore to our society some measure, at least, of the commonsense morality and humanity without which no society can ontinue to function. This does not bode well for our present preoccupation with the purely material benefits of classical science and technology from which ciommon morality is now all but excluded.
Has POAMS, then, succeeded in exposing the truth which Socrates sought to uncover beneath all the accumulated and ingrained speculative beliefs (of Theoretical Physics and Cosmology in our present case)? Well, if this purely logical, minimalist interpretation of the actual phenomena is not the truth that Socrates sought, then will someone please show us what is.
- See ‘A New Approach to Special Relativity’, by N. V. Pope and A. D., Osborne, Int. J. Math., Ed. Sci. Tech. 18, 2. 191-192 (1987). Accessible on the website www.poams.org .
- See Viv Pope (2004) The Eye of the Beholder: the Role of the Observer in Modern Physics, page 56.publ. by Phi Philosophical Enterprises, available from the Welsh Books Council and from Amazon, (For details of the book purchase see the POAMS website.)
COMMENTS RECEIVED (by Pope):
Among a large number of comments received, friendly or hostile, one was from a French Professor, Michel Grossmann of Louis Pasteur Institute, Strasbourg, who remarks: ‘Mon dieu, but this is dynamite!’. Another Professor, Alan Winfield, of UWE Bristol, declares, enthusiastically, ‘This is a truly a ‘most dangerous idea’ – which, he afterwords joked, should come with a ‘Government Health Warning’. On the downside, an Australian professor, William Honig has judged the thesis to be ‘immoral’, and at Bangor University, North Wales, UK, it was declared to be a heresy and warned by Professor Clem Mundle as being inadvisable to pursue because, academically, to mix Physics with Philosophy was ‘not the done thing – or, as would now be judged ‘politically incorrect’. Against this, another commentator remarks, enthusiastically, ‘This is a ‘NEW PHYSICS indeed!’
Viv Pope, 21/Aug./2010