|There is a lot of evidence to suggest that this quote is misattributed to Euclid, though it is certainly an old phrase, and is the natural conclusion of the idealist view of natural law|
All Ideal Laws of Nature are Bunk!
Exactly how then are natural behaviours caused?
"Is Quantum Mechanics involved in this area of study?" is a frequently asked question - but what does such a question actually imply? For example, in a recent news item in New Scientist magazine, a researcher wonders if an, as-yet-unknown, Law of Conservation is the reason for the stability of the proton.
Now, such a question from an actively working scientist is truly incredible! For, what is clearly assumed is that Reality behaves in the way that it does, in certain particular areas of study, entirely due to being directed to do so by purely abstract Laws.
For, that is exactly what is not only the basic assumption of the current interpretation of Quantum Physics, but within that consensus tradition, it is also asserted, in tandem, that a total rejection of Explanatory Theories is essential too. Instead of such Explanatory Theories, Formal Probabilistic Laws are, alone, supposed to actually cause observed behaviours, if that peculiar stance is accepted!
Now, is such a stance not clearly idealist?!
And, to make it even more ridiculous, a cursory consideration of the means Mankind uses to extract such "laws", clearly indicates that those means are such as to only-ever deliver an arranged-for result: hence the so-called Natural Laws are only extracted from very restricted, filtered and even "farmed" contexts - man-arranged Domains, which are expressly designed to suppress, remove or limit most present relations, to more clearly deliver only a single, targeted-for relation.
Hence, they are NOT the eternal Natural Laws that they are assumed to be.
They are currently existing relations, but ONLY in that specific, supplied context: elsewhere they will most certainly be different.
Now, long ago, this kind of idealist nonsense was allowed to be imported into Science via the devising of a special Enabling Principle. It isn't usually overtly stated, or even admitted, but the Principle of Plurality was long ago built, irremovably into the foundations of the standard approach, to make the above assumptions "true".
For, Plurality insisted that all individual relations within Reality are totally fixed: they don't change at all, so all the "farming" of contexts cannot change those relations, they can only effectively reveal them. But, I'm afraid, it just isn't true!
Innumerable examples can be given to show that the exact opposite principle - that of Holism, is much more generally applicable, and shows that Plurality, in fact, only holds in particular natural or man-made Stable situations: everywhere-else Holism is clearly evident, and simply must be assumed if qualitative changes, and the true creative development in nature, are ever to be adequately addressed.
So, these aspects imported an idealist strand into Man's investigations of concrete Reality. And, on revealing certain patterns within these stable, man-devised Domains, allowed them to be fitted up to pure formal patterns from Mathematics, evident in the measured data collected, to succinctly describe a particular found and isolated relation.
These Formulae were only ever Descriptions: they could, clearly, never be Explanations!
But, they had a very seductive property - they could be used to predict certain future outcomes reasonably accurately. And, this ability to be able to predict was extremely convincing to those who couldn't do such things, and the "predictor" was given high status, even though he often had absolutely NO idea why Reality behaved in such a way.
So, these so-called Natural Laws, which are assumed to drive Reality, are, actually, no such thing at all. They merely describe a pattern of simple, uneventful changes. Much more investigation will always be necessary to begin move towards answering the much more important question, "Why?"
Clearly, such formulae deliver NOT Natural Causative Laws, but, merely, widely-applicable and purely Formal Rules - very different things indeed! Remember the ONLY possible "explanation" delivered by the equation alone is, "Obeys this Rule!"
Not much of an explanation is it?
Now, it may well be asked, "Why do such clearly idealist "laws" ever fit Reality?". Well, two things must be made clear in answering that question.
FIRST: All such patterns must have arisen from material causes, but only if these particular causes are acting ALONE! That is why in scientific investigations, the primary task is to severely limit the Context, in an attempt to restrict the causation factors to a single one! Only if this is done, can such an ideal formal relation be revealed.
But, SECOND: The investigators invoke the Principle of Plurality, which, as explained earlier, assumes that sets of such "ideal laws" simply sum, to give the things we naturally observe in totally unfettered Reality!
And that assumption is WRONG!
Remember it isn't man-devised "Laws" that make things happen: it is physical causes, and these are always changed by context - in other words,
Reality is not Pluralist: it is Holist!
So, you cannot assume that an ideal law, revealed by extreme isolation, will remain exactly the same in complex situations - allowing simple addition of such laws to be assumed. They will, most certainly, have changed by physical causes in the combined context. The usually assumed Natural fixed Laws are transforming idealisations of the actual holist complexity!