I am reading an extremely difficult book from 1984, Order out of Chaos, Man’s New Dialogue with Nature, by the late Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003) and Isabelle Stengers (1949-). I was tuned to the book by Eric J. Lerner in his book The Big Bang Never Happened, with a warning that the Prigogine/Stengers work was over the public’s head. I am part of the public, and yes, he is right. It is over my head.
The Lerner book was more accessible to me, a history of science and how it works, really. I see it all around me in my delving into AIDS, the PSA test and climate change. It is laboriously explained in a paragraph from the Order out of Chaos, page 308:
…the transformation of a paradigm appears as a crisis: instead of remaining a silent, almost invisible rule, instead of remaining unspoken, the paradigm is actually questioned. Instead of working in unison, members of the community begin to ask “basic” questions and challenge the legitimacy of their methods. The group, which by training was homogeneous, now diversifies. Different points of view, cultural experiences, and philosophic convictions are now expressed and often play a decisive role in the discovery of a new paradigm. The emergence of the new paradigm further increases the vehemence of the debate. The rival paradigms are put to the test until the academic world determines the victor. With the appearance of a new generation of scientists, silence and unanimity take over again. New textbooks are written, and once again, things “go without saying.”
That is really just another way of saying that old science does not die until the old scientists do. It is basically a false statement, as I view it. The academic world rarely determines a victor. That sort of triumph usually comes from outside the gated enclaves, usually the product of some isolated genius working alone and without funding.
Well, enough of that, otherwise my head might explode. I knew going in that the book would be extremity difficult, but hoped some of it might sink in. It and Lerner’s work have caused me to think more about how science is really done rather than how scientists imagine it. I thought when I came to realize that AIDS and climate change were large hoaxes that I was seeing something new. Not so. Those around Galileo knew what was up, that he had exposed a paradigm to be false. They merely ostracized him while smugly refusing to look through his telescope.
That is how science is done, really. It is a club that is closed to outsiders. At the heart of it are not shifting paradigms, but rather corruption and dishonesty. Science today has little, if anything to do with science, and a lot to do with political agendas. It follows the money.
Here’s something more to add from the Lerner book, page 256:
In 1989… new evidence developed which will probably doom the black hole hypothesis. Gas and plasma near the center of galaxies has always been observed to move at high velocity, up to 1500 km/sec for our own galaxy, and similar or higher values for others. These velocities are generally treated as evidence for a black hole’ whose powerful gravitational field has trapped the swirling gases. The two scientists at the University of Arizona, G,H, and M.J. Rieke, carefully measured the velocities of stars within a few light-years of the center of our galaxy, and found the velocities are no higher than 70 km/sec, 20 times slower than the plasma velocities measured in the same area. Since stars must respond to any gravitational force, their low velocity show that no black hole exists. The high-speed gases must therefore be trapped only by a magnetic field, which does not affect the stars.
Roughly translated, Lerner is saying that black holes are a cosmic impossibility, and that physical observations (as opposed to mathematical theory) show they do not, cannot exist. This paragraph came to mind as we learned last week that a 29 year-old scientist, Katie Bouman, had a led a team that for the first time every photographed a black hole. It is shown below.
Honestly, that could be anything. It could be a flashlight. I have done a lot of photographic work here over the years, and if one thing stands out, it is this: People see what authority figures tell them they see. There is tremendous controversy in cosmology, the noise muffled, around subjects like black holes, dark matter, WIMPs, cosmic strings and epicycles … and the Big Bang itself. Scientists inside the gates will go to great lengths to “save the phenomenon.” When I first heard about this photo, I suspected that cosmologists were confidently asserting something that is not apparent or proven to exist at all. A mere photo does not get it done.
I have searched around for information on Bouman, and find that she is being defended against “misogynist trolls” who dispute her work … the fact that she is young, and that she is a she, it seems, will be the first line of defense of her work. I am sensing groupthink nonsense. As with the African American woman said to have plotted the trajectory to the moon, was Bouman put forward as a shield to protect a dead idea? Will political correctness save the day?
If observations in 1989, outside the mainstream to be sure, pretty much “doomed” the theory of black holes, a contrived photo in 2019 will not save them.
This is where I am at these days, swimming in the deep end, in over my head, but seeing in present-day science a black hole of corruption, nothing more. Things have not changed since Galileo’s time.