You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!

The Final Theory - We humans know nothing?

Hm..I was browsing the web and came across this book:

I have yet to read the entire thing, but from the online preview it seems rather intriguing. According to the author, most of our knowledge are simply definitions and not anywhere close to the truth or knowing how nature or science truly works.

For example, for physics we know all about forces, gravity, and that sort of thing. But let's take a look at a magnet: Why do the opposite ends of a magnet repel? Because of magnetic force?

Okay, so what is magnetic force, then? Why is it that it is a neverending force? From whence does all this energy come from when no known energy source has been detected within them? Will we ever know?

What do you guys think of it? Agree/Disagree?
When we think we know everything about universe, some time later we realise that we know nothing. The universe is so complicated that human is not able to know everything about it, in fact, we know almost nothing.
I personally couldn't get through the first chapter without being reminded of "Chariots of the Gods".

But, here is a pretty decent review of the book quoted from

By Austin
Re: The Final Theory - 03-14-2005, 06:43 PM
McCutcheon is certainly persistent and ambitious. Moreover, the concept of Expansion Theory is bold. And we all like 'bold'.

But in the final analysis, his whole book is founded upon the not-terribly-insightful observation that modern theories regarding gravity are clearly missing a grand underlying truth. Beyond that, the book clearly has major flaws in it.

My background: an honors graduate in computer science about 100 years ago at a major university (USC), I aced all the calculus based courses in physics. This is probably what led to my becoming, eventually, the chief engineer on a nuclear-powered attack submarine. Days gone-by now...but all true.

My overall take on McCutcheon's book: at almost $30/copy it is fundamentally dishonest.

Yes, he has one good idea in the form of Expansion Theory regarding its application to gravity -- but it's not even his idea. Moreover, he tries to coast the rest of the way by shucking and jiving, using hand-waving arguments instead of rigorous or complete thinking.

Note that there is not a single reference in the book to who originated Expansion Theory (or any other references, for that matter). McCutcheon isn't honest enough to state that an orignator of Expansion Theory -- well before McCutcheon's implied origination of it -- is Peter Bros, whose ideas were published in a series of books about Copernican concepts of the universe.

Frankly, I still like the boldness of the approach, even if it is wrong. Failing is a good thing -- it is the fastest and most courageous way to learn -- and we need to do it more often if we are to ever come up with a complete Theory of Everything that actually works.

So, I really don't have the desire for a complete skewering of McCutcheon's book. Courage is as courage does. But I will point out some of the most commendable ideas, blatant falsehoods and (intentional?) oversights:

(1) The Good -- The best and brightest in this book is captured in the first two chapters on Expansion Theory as it pertains to gravity and orbital mechanics in the form of (though he doesn't use this term) non-linear dynamics. This is good stuff, and should be followed up by a modern-day von Neumann to give it the mathematical rigor that it clearly needs.

(2) The Bad -- The author has a pedantic, petulant writing style at times that can mask or obliterate his own circular arguments, even if they were true...and often they are not. He gets lost in the minutiae at times and sometimes just plain "loses it" both emotionally and factually. For example, he goes completely aground in his discussion as to how (by his misperception) a horizontally fired object can't _ever_ go into a circular orbit by Newtonian theory ("Gravity based circular orbits are impossible"). This is stuff and rubbish -- a horizontally fired projectile can clearly go into a circular orbit when fired with sufficient velocity provided that there isn't a looming mountaintop somewhere in the projectile's future. But he doesn't stop there with that one mistake -- he goes on and on and on about it (his mistake, that is) until the reader can only continue slogging through the reading by taking an interlude to write "stupid!" in the margin...e.g., as I resorted to on page 116. Seriously folks, this is blatantly stupid stuff. At a bare minimum, as this paragraph points out, it is at least nothing more than one of McCutcheon's emotional rants about his own misinterpretations. Either way, it's more than a little bit sad.

(3) The Ugly -- Many, many instances of exculpatory evidence exist against 'The Final Theory'. McCutcheon is clearly overreaching with respect to Expansion Theory. Notably, the author either does not bring these disproofs of his ideas up or glosses over them. Examples include:

(a) Energy consumption: The energy required for expansion is just another form of 'magic' (as McCutcheon calls it) to replace existing, magical matter-attraction theories of gravity. This was a gloss-over; the author asserts that he'll prove this isn't the case, then fails to do so.

(b) Laws of Life: While he was apparently awake during high school discussions on Laws of Thermodynamics including 'entropy', McCutcheon does not discuss 'consciousness' at all. As this is core to understanding probability waves and modern quantum theory & mechanics, I can only presume that he doesn't have much of a grasp on these subjects.

(c) Electron diffraction: The author blatantly ignores the experimentally observed effect that a *single* photon put through a diffraction process will exhibit wave diffraction. This is profound -- and widely available -- knowledge. That the author would ignore it does not speak well for his arguments. (Ref.: "Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert)

(d) Wave/Particle Nature: As with the parabolic descent nonsense, the author's style is to misconstrue or obfuscate the current thinking regarding the observed wave/particle nature of photons. It's simple: non-observed 'matter' is a probability/possibility wave. Observed matter exhibits its particle nature. Yet the author conspires to confuse the reader (or himself) on this foundatational point. "Quantum Reality" is a must-read in this is truly not to be missed, and is a highly pleasurable read.

(e) Bell's Theorem: Completely missing-in-action. The Quantum Fact that all reality is non-local is kind of a big deal. Again...see "Quantum Reality" if you prefer enlightenment over diatribe.

(f) Muon time-compression: Also readily available info the author ignores, the fact is that muon's at near light speeds decay more slowly than the ones that are not travelling that fast.

I could go on and on and on myself...but it all comes down to this: were Einstein, Oppenheimer, Heisenberg, John Bell, David Bohm, Neils Bohr, von Neumann, Max Planck, etc., etc. all out to lunch...or is McCutcheon?

Sorry...I've done my homework, and it's not the former. McCutcheon overreaches...and misses the mark of Truth.

A much better book to read (and much more tolerable): "Einstein and Buddha". I recommend it highly. Especially to McCutcheon.
I know everything man
Well, whenever a thinker discusses matters of epistymology and metaphysics, he/she mostly sides with a certain point of view: either we have the ability to know everything, or we know nothing at all.

I think from what I read that the seond camp holds that view because, until now, human beings cannot answer the WHY questions!

For example, why were we created? Why is an egg white while a banana is yellow? Why does gravity pull us instead of push us? Why does 2 atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygene form water?

These kinds of questions are currently without answer. We know the What... We mostly know the How... But we have no idea about the Why!

But does that necessarily mean we know nothing? I honestly don't think so.

I haven't read the book you've mentioned, but when someone is so obviously pedantic and almost dogmatic about his views, I find it futile to read what he/she has to write. I'll probably read it, though, even if for nothing else than knowing what that author is really made of Smile.
transcendum put it well. we certainly don't know everything, but we do know a lot of things. however, the 'why' question is not one for science to answer. that fits into the philosophical and religious relm.
Hm...shouldn't the "why" be a natural part of the world to want to discover and understand as well? It's just as much science as anything else. I think what the author is trying to say is that all we know are the theories that we make to allow us the way of predicting and determining certain factors, but they are not what actually truly happens.
deprimido wrote:
Hm...shouldn't the "why" be a natural part of the world to want to discover and understand as well? It's just as much science as anything else. I think what the author is trying to say is that all we know are the theories that we make to allow us the way of predicting and determining certain factors, but they are not what actually truly happens.

Well, of course, the Why questions are a natural part of the world. And I don't anyone - except perhaps extremist theosophians - would say that we shouldn't pursue their answers. All I'm saying is that the answers to the Why questions may never be known, despite our greatest efforts to know them Smile.

As for our theories being only predictions of what the truth may be, well, I think that's again another generalization. Some of them are, that's for sure. But then again, some aren't... some are truly the truth.

I don't know which is which. But I wouldn't be so cocky as to say that ALL of them are true or ALL of them are wrong.

That's what I was trying to say Smile
i'm certainly not saying to not pursue the answer to 'why,' that would be foolish. however, i just don't think science can answer the ultimate why questions.
Isn't the "why" question really a more complex "how" question?

Unless we are talking about something like the meaning of life, it can be broken down. We may not be any closer to answering the question, but I think we can ask better questions.

I find that too many times we relegate things "divine" to areas that are unknown or unexplained. Then when these things are studied and hypothesized, the "divine" is pushed even further into the unexplained to the point of irrelevence.

Are we capable of knowing everything in the universe? No. Do we know something? Yes, but we see it in a foggy mirror, dimly.
snjripp wrote:
Isn't the "why" question really a more complex "how" question?

That's only true, I think, at the most rudimentary levels of questioning. For example, we can answer the question "Why do humans need water to live" by a series of "How" answers as to the basic physiology of the body, that will probably lead to the basic chemistry of water, and so on and so on, until we'll reach a major "WHY" question. Try this process on any "How" question, and you'll find yourself ending up with a "Why" one Smile.

snjripp wrote:
I find that too many times we relegate things "divine" to areas that are unknown or unexplained. Then when these things are studied and hypothesized, the "divine" is pushed even further into the unexplained to the point of irrelevence.

I totally agree with you on this particular statement, even though I think we're coming from different backgrounds here Smile. It's my belief that humankind has always used The Divine to fill up the gaps in its knowledge base. I'll leave it at that, since we're not discussing theological matters in this thread, but perhaps we'll talk about it at another one Smile.

snjripp wrote:
Are we capable of knowing everything in the universe? No. Do we know something? Yes, but we see it in a foggy mirror, dimly.

Now, that's a strange generalization. You conclusively excluded the possibility of us knowing everything and you conclusively dimmed our look on all things known at the moment.

Your statements, I think, are valid right now. But who knows what will happen in the future!

All the best...
A very interesting theory to say the least. I spent a good deal reading about this and can certaintly see where they are coming from from a certain standpoint.
The truth is: existence is both relative and absolute. We can't probe into the absolute with relative (=objective) apparatus. The absolute is the realm of subjectivity. As far as modern science keeps subjectivity away, so far will total knowledge remain from us!
I think we know little about the universe, but we are progressing with an enormous speed. It will be unfair to say that we don't know much.
At what point do we decide we 'know' something? How do we know when we actually know a thing?

If someone punches you in the gut and it hurts, you 'know' what caused the pain.
If the sky darkens with clouds and it rains, it's a pretty good bet that you 'know' what caused the rain.

It's a matter of definition and how deep one wishes to 'know'.

If man can deliver a robot to Mars, drive the robot around and send pictures back to mother earth; can it be said we must 'know' something about planetary motion, astronomy, rocketry, electricity and a host of others 'knows' to pull off such planetary missions.

If we can build nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants. do we 'know' what atoms are?

In my view, the end of a pursuit of knowing something is arbitrary.
Your looking at it.
Related topics
Quick question
Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont
Who All Believes In Evolution?
science vs. religion
Intelligent Design in Schools?
What kinds of magic do you know to be false?
why i am not so sure about reigion
Age of the Earth?
Time Travel: Is it Possible?
What evidence of God is there?
Why God allows ?????
21 December 2012, End of the world?
Q: 2nd law of thermodynamics & creationists
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Science -> General Science

© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.