Validity boundaries

Whenever we refer to laws of nature or science, we have to keep in mind that these are limited in assumed validity by conditions and timeframes we could emulate with the underlying observations.

The principle of falsification of theories as described by Karl Popper gives credit to observations that can emerge whenever we enter new territory. There might occur a confrontation with the unknown that indicate that a hidden variable shows its unexpected impact. Or when a hidden assumption is popping up and blocking an acceptable interpretation of observations.

Sometimes it is a mix.

As an example: the electric charge and the high velocity of the electron does not allow for a physical stable form, as discussed by Poincaré and Lorentz. Albert Einstein made a verdict: let us assume that the electron is a point particle. It was taken for granted ever since, in spite of available observable evidence whatsoever.

We have the same issue with the proton, but we cannot deny that this has physical dimensions. We assume that the neutron is the particle that glues the repelling protons in a nucleus together. We do not have a better physical model yet.

In the Large Hadron collider we are accelerating protons to almost the speed of light. The Lorentz argument that this will deform the shape of the proton is here as valid as with the electron. The high speed of the particle will bring relativistic considerations in the linear momentum only. This will certainly be taken into account by the experimental physicists, but it shows the problems to evaluate experimental observations of phenomena once we are in this field of science of particle physics. Protons as we observe are propagating through space at modest velocities, far away from the speed of light, so why should an attempt of destruction at the speed of light reveal relevant information?

Therefore the question arises: what is in fact relevant observable when we perform a massive attempt to destroy protons at the speed of light?

The underlying assumption is that we create conditions as might have been active at the very beginning of the universe. We know that from then on a lot of processes emerged that eventually gave us protons and neutrons, the basic constituents for atomic nuclei. It was a venue towards installing higher levels of complexity. It was not destruction, but most probably a very precise chain of events that paved the way for the physical world as we are allowed to live in.  Therefore, what is the rational to assume that an attempt to destroy will inform us about the process to increase complexity? Killing a bird is not giving a lot of information about its original status of being an egg.

Whatever we do by trying to destroy protons, it is not upfront obvious that this will give much insight in “laws of nature or science” that govern the formation of these composite particles.

It is inevitable to accept that there are more regulating principles ruling over nature. These principles are difficult to assess, because once we see a higher level of organisation of matter, we encounter – at least in our environment – aside of the second law of thermodynamics a gradual observable impact of consciousness in apparent forms of organized physical matter. Within our habitat we see plants, animals and other human beings. We have not (yet) observed analogue forms of life at other planets. We survive on a habitable planet earth, with lots of complicated minerals in several thermal phases such as solids, liquids and gases as well. The thermal conditions for life as we know it are rather strict.

It is not the realm of particle physicists to take all these limitations into account when trying to formulate a law of science. But it is without doubt that we must accept potential unknown inherent limitations in the applicability of these laws. We accept these up to proven falsification and that is fair. There might be much more in these assumed laws as hidden variables that will emerge over time and relative to the amount of matter concerned. It may not be observed in isolated observations over a short period of time, but most probably it is there and active. The fact that we assume that so far we are the only observable living and even conscious creatures present in the form of a body of physical matter could well be a typical example of blindness in itself. If there is more, we maybe do not recognize it or are not able to identify these specific phenomena of consciousness. We focus on other creatures that are able or allowed to use free energy for the construction of contraptions with a limited life span due to the second law of thermodynamics. We are searching for emulations of ourselves as being relevant for consciousness.

Maybe they are not there or we are not able anymore to see their work, due to also the second law of thermodynamics.

But when we see composite particles like protons and neutrons and complex nuclei up to atoms, almost indestructible, then we are invited to be more than a bit jealous that these constructs have been made under very complex conditions and have an extremely long life span.  We are not able (yet) to perform such a self- induced assignment.