03 March, 2016

Current Theoretical Work

What is to be Done: XI
The essential tasks for the Marxists of today

The Crisis in Physics

Since my intellectual birth in my late teens at Leeds University, I have struggled unsuccessfully with the idiocy of the reactionary ”revolution” in Sub Atomic Physics. A Reaction that was exactly simultaneous with the rise of Fascism in the World.

I have, in the past, laboured long and unsuccessfully in attempting to correct this massive retrenchment, but have for most of the time been totally unaware of the cause of that retreat, and have largely and unconsciously limited myself to their pluralistic methods to combat these “errors”. Needless to say, I did not succeed. Indeed, it was ONLY when I “tracked back” to philosophical fundamentals, that I began to get anywhere. And the touchstone for me was Zeno’s Paradoxes and the realisation of how significant were our assumptions and premises in erecting explanatory systems.

NOTE: In case my readers think that this was a fairly obvious step, let me vigorously dissuade them. Having read many contributions to the assessment of Zeno’s efforts, I have to say that what he did is almost never understood. The commonest content in articles about these Paradoxes are of the type “Where Zeno went wrong!”. The usual conception of what Zeno was doing was that he was a “spoiler” cleverly undermining the sound basis of Mankind’s achievements with his cleverly constructed contradictions. But, of course, Zeno’s purpose was no such thing. He wanted to draw attention to our unquestioned assumptions, and to show where they led “in extremis”. In missing the point in this way, NONE of them came anywhere near an understanding of the limitations of their own implicit methods. Zeno was, and still is, totally ignored to this day.

My researches kept being driven “ever backwards” to such fundamental elements, and my research into The Processes and Productions of Abstraction began to reveal the nature of man-made Explanation, and the incredible erection of the World of Pure Form alone – Ideality, which has turned out to be for many the actual objective of scientific research.

Double Slit Experiment

At a certain point I began to feel that tackling the Old Enemy might well be within my grasp, and a return to Zeno led me to realise the vital role of plurality in Mankind’s attempts to understand Reality.

In the last period, I have focussed my efforts on the crucial Experiment of Modern Sub Atomic Physics called the Double Slit Experiment.. I commenced to bring all I had learned to bear on this “foundation stone” of the “New Physics”.

I decided on TWO separate and unconnected assaults on this troublesome peak!

Herman Von Helmholtz

Back to Explanation

The first would attempt to explain this phenomenon by purely classical methods. I have always found the pinnacle of Science to be that version pursued in the Victorian Era (My personal Hero being Herman Helmholtz). And, have long been against throwing out the baby with the dirty bathwater. It should NOT have been Victorian Science’s explanatory tradition that was dumped, by Modern Physics, but merely the errors of the past. In other words we should have treated the situation we encountered in the sub Atomic area of study in the same “explanatory” way as previously. So this exercise would be an interesting one.

The second approach would vigorously expose the theoretical assumptions, and all subsequent stages in the erection of the final wholly unprecedented Theory. This would be based on my extensive researches as referred to above, but would be more particular, and address the various steps one at a time to reveal the basis for every one.

Both these lines of research have been successful!

I have not dotted all the “i”s, and crossed all the “t”s as yet, but full solutions are clearly possible.

As far as I can tell by studying the academic literature, mine is the ONLY Marxist attack on the problem. Nobel Laureate Laughlin, Emmeche of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Holland – the leading researcher into this area at the Sante Fe Institute all take an Emergentist standpoint, but none of them are Dialectical Materialists, neither have they understood the bases of this modern reaction, or that these same things are still unchanged in their OWN methodology.

Their chances of success must be as minimal as those who have attempted to explain Life in terms of non-living processes. In spite of their commendable attempts, they seem to me to be doomed to failure.

Let me briefly outline my dual undertakings in this area.

The Key Experiment for the New Physics

The Double Slit Experiment (originally called Young’s Slits) has two versions.

The first uses Light shone through a pair of closely positioned slits in an opaque plate.The separation of these slits is close enough to to produce an interference pattern of fringes on a receiving screen beyond the slits. This is easily classically explained by treating the Light as a Wave Motion.

The second version of this experiment uses not light, but a stream of electrons, and surprisingly the receiving screen again displayed the same sort of interference pattern as with Light.

All hell broke loose!

The Copenhagen Explanation

With Light simply replaced by electrons, the immediate, and simplistic reaction, was to say that electrons must be wave-like in nature. If the stream of electrons was like a wave, then the experimental set up would indeed do exactly the same things. But, of course, this is a very unscientific conclusion. The same results CAN be produced by very different phenomena. That is the basic fact behind mathematics. We don’t assume that all phenomena utilising the same mathematics MUST be produced by the same physical reasons. And such a slight conclusion was also not appropriate here too.

So how can particulate electrons interfere? They can’t of course!

They could, if they were waves, but they are not. The arrivals at the detection screen were definitely of individual and decidedly “local” particles. These arrivals occurred one at a time, but built up to finally deliver the same sort of pattern as would be produced by waves..

Our physicists were perplexed! How could they explain this confusing Experiment?

They did it by abandoning all classical explanation. They were impatient with ”theory”! Many of their number had already found the mathematics to deliver exactly what occurred. Why bother with Theory at all? They therefore proposed a non existent “wave” associated with the electrons as a whole. No such wave was detectable, but that didn’t matter. These revolutionaries were departing from “old Science” into a wholly new approach. The “waves” were not physically present at all, BUT delivered the probabilities as to where the individual electrons would end up.

It was the epitome of a purely maths-driven Science.


A Fulfilled Objective

They had found a Pure Form in mathematics that could be easily shoe-horned to deliver the “right numbers” to account for the final cumulative pattern.

And, “If it works, it is right!”, took over. NO explanation was proferred for this, just the fact that it fitted perfectly. Indeed, these physicists stressed that no explanations should ever be attempted. For scientists were condemned for ever even trying to explain.

The New Physics had been born.

Now, after centuries of explanation most scientists world-wide were quite unwilling to abandon what had been achieved over the most significant period in the History of Mankind. But the new physicists were adamant. Explanation must go!

Mathematics was the Truth of all things, and the “old fashioned scientific process” HAD to be truncated as soon as a mathematical form could be fitted to the experimental data. The usually following “explanation phase” had to be dumped...

This post is the eleventh in a blog series entitled "What is to be done?" on the crises in both Marxism and Science, and how a revolution is necessary in both. This body of work is now available as a Special Issue. Read it all here!

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