Ralph D, particle physics, and BS

Rahul Mahajan rahul at hagar.ph.utexas.edu
Fri Jun 16 21:41:13 MDT 1995


>        Actually, it is my understanding that a number of Japanese
>marxist scientists used dialectics to predict the existence of an
>elementary particle...

I've never heard of such a story. I'd like details, if you've got 'em. The
only thing I can think of is Yukawa's famous prediction of the meson,
although the reasons for that have nothing to do with dialectics. The whole
idea of such a thing is utterly absurd -- like Lysenko saying that
dialectical materialism means that Lamarckian evolution, rather than
evolution buy natural selection, is the way to go. Of course, one can have
all kinds of psychopathologies that lead one to make odd connections, but
to say that dialectics implies the existence of, say, a new particle, is
nonsensical.

Many scientists have arrived at important results by the use of heuristic
ideas that we now recognize as absurd -- viz. Heisenberg's creation of
quantum mechanics by using the idea that a theory must refer only to
observable quantities. We know now that we are unable to formulate quantum
mechanics entirely in terms of observables.

Rahul




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