(Note to the reader: This a questionnaire I am sending to academic physicists to get their expert opinion on Hawking’s end-of-physics prediction. I will post any replies here.)
Dear Doctor of Physics:
I am sure you are aware that the legendary physicist Stephen Hawking recently declared the end of physics as we know it.
Not in so many words as “the end of physics”; but by removing physics from its privileged position as the only true and legal representation of nature.
This is how Hawking explains his new understanding of reality:
There is no theory-independent concept of reality; there is only model-dependent realism: According to model-dependent realism; a theory is a model and a set of rules that connect the elements of the model to observations.
According to model-dependent realism, it is pointless to ask whether a model is real, only whether it agrees with observation. If two models agree with observation, neither model can be considered more real than the other. A person can use whichever model is more convenient in the situation under consideration.
Hawking is saying that reality (or nature) is definitional; this is what his “model-dependent realism” means. Reality is whatever we define it to be.
Let me explain.
Assume that we have a set of observations O(X); and a group of physicists obtained a nice grant from NSF and built 3 competing models to save observation O(X).
These models are: Model 1 = M(1); Model 2 = M(2); Model 3 = M(3).
Physicists then run the models M(1), M(2) and M(3) on observation O(X) and obtain residuals R(1), R(2) and R(3).
Analyzing the residuals, physicists observe that R(1) = R(2) = R(3).
In other words, all three residuals are found to be equal within the range of acceptable error values; so physicists declare that all three models save observation O(X) equally well.
When faced with three equally good theories; the tradition dictates that; physicists would choose their favorite theory and brand it as the only true theory explaining the reality.
Hawking says that; there are no preferred models in nature; nature prefers no one theory over others; only religion sanctifies its theories into doctrines and dogmas.
Hawking says that; we cannot choose one good model over the others; all models with the same residuals represent reality equally well.
And why is this the end of physics?
Laws of physics always have some observation at their foundation; orbits are one of the fundamental phenomena where physicists test their laws; so let’s look at orbits to understand why Hawking’s statement is about the end of physics.
Hawking says that if we can explain an orbit with 3 different models; all three models are equally good.
As you know; we can compute an orbit with equal precision by using a table; numerical integration and Newtonian model, or
M(1) = A table of observations
M(2) = Numerical integration
M(3) = Newtonian model
All these methods give equally good residuals to predict orbits.
Hawking says that we cannot choose one model as the true representation of reality; there is no preferred model of reality; only religion sanctifies a model, usually its revealed doctrine, and brands it as the true nature; physics is not a religion so physicists should refrain, from now on, declaring any given “physical” model to be the true representation of reality.
Ergo, nature is not Newtonian; force does not exist; we cannot assume an active and intelligent matter that acts on other matter; we cannot assume an occult force that acts on matter; we cannot assume spacetime or General Relativity; as the only true representation of nature. And more importantly, internal consistency of physics does not endow it with a preferred status as a model of reality.
Because whatever observation we can save with a given physics theory; we can save it as well with a numerical algorithm.
Therefore, the world is not physical; the world is definitional.
Physics is just one of the infinitely possible models that can be used to define reality.
As a physicist, you defy Hawking’s attempt to usurp your academic authority and your doctoral right to define nature as physical; and your right to define physics as the only true model that can model the physical nature that you defined.
And who can model the physics of a physical nature?
Of course, you alone; a doctor of physics, can define the only true laws of nature which you defined as physical.
Hawking says NO.
Physics is just one of infinite number of models that can save observations.
In order to become a doctor of physics you have given up your right to question nature freely and accepted the materialist Newtonian worldview as the only true worldview; in a way materialism has become your faith.
Now another physicist, a living legend, one of the bretheren; Lucasian Professor Emeritus; the one and only Doctor Stephen Hawking; says Newtonian model is just one of many; there is nothing “true” or “sacred” about the Newtonian paradigm of nature.
Please let the world know your expert opinion by answering these questions; let the world know if you are on the side of the scientific revolution initiated just now by Hawking; or do you still choose to uphold the Newtonian atomic materialism as the only true nature to save Newton’s sacred authority?
Do you believe that physics is just one of the infinite number of possible models that define reality based on observation?
Do you believe that Newtonian materialist world on which modern physics is based is just one possible definition of reality and that a world without matter is as real as the Newtonian material world is real.
Do you find it ironic that the person who occupied Newton’s old chair in Cambridge for 30 years; now declares that Newtonian materialist physics was a hoax?
What do you make of this?
Has Hawking gone crazy?
I wish to collect the replies I receive from physicists and post it here.
If you fear academic and career pressures to speak up against Newton or Hawking or physics; please let me know and I will post your comment anonymously.
I value knowledge; not academic rank and seniority.
This is a historic moment.
The most famous living physicist; the immortal heir to Newton and Einstein; has declared the end of the rule of physics to define reality. Take sides.
Thank you for your valuable contribution to this research.