" Plate Tectonics is a theory, Earth expansion is a fact" ( Blog for website at http://users.indigo.net.au/don/ )
Following previous posts about theory versus observation [ 1 ] [2 ] [ 3 ] there seems to remain some contention over the degree to which Earth expansion is theory or fact.
To set the scene let’s just remind ourselves of the difference between the inhabitants of a flat Earth who ‘know’ that the Earth is flat and the space traveller who, without even knowing anything of the constitution of the planet itself, can see at a glance that it isn’t, but is round. To the Flat-Earther roundness could be a *hypothetical* possibility (though he would regard all the evidence as proof that it is isn’t), to the space traveller it is obviously round. To both, roundness is the meeting point of contention.
However we of Earth expansion proclivity are not space travellers, and we do inhabit a ‘flat Earth’ so to speak, so how do we lift ourselves from our flat-Earth perspective and see things from the perspective of the space traveller, to see that the Earth is indeed 'round' (/getting bigger)? Can we only propose it as a theory, or can we maintain it to be tantamount-to- fact (=fact). And would the difference between ‘tantamount-to-fact’ and ‘fact’ be infinitely small (and therefore fact by default), or infinitely great, (and therefore ‘fact’ be simply not an option).
About the question.
The scientific method, it is generally said begins with a question about some observed phenomenon. Basically, ask a question about something, make observations about it, hypothesise an explanation, then test the explanation. If the test doesn’t work, then try another hypothesis.
The problem with this approach is its extremely homocentric nature. We are like ringmasters in a circus of possibilities where we, finding correlations here and there, are the arbiters of what makes sense. The notion that the world has an organisation of its own independent of what we make of it is of course the code we hope to crack, but in not knowing what it is, the very act of asking a question in a sense cuts us off from this by introducing a complexity of our own making that breeds ever more complexity. We may recognise correlations as things seem to impinge on each other, but those signatures that establish a larger-scale *pattern* become increasingly hidden from us.
That’s the point we get to when we say , “We need to stand back a bit and look at the bigger picture. We need to look more at the context.”
“Standing back and looking at the bigger picture” (contextualising) – means “ *OBSERVING*.
But isn’t that precisely what the scientific method is about - observing? Well, yes, to a point, but unfortunately it seems that the scientific method has its priorities the wrong way round. We don’t (/shouldn’t) begin by asking questions, we should begin by observing. (More.)
The point here could be summarised by what they say about fools rushing in where angels fear to tread: the scientific method fails because it doesn’t observe enough. By jumping the gun and proposing theories prematurely there is a propensity to focus on simplistic, easily understood relationships rather than on more complex observed patterns.
Contextualising is all about recognising PATTERN. Observing however, is too often directed simply to the phenomenon being observed, and dissecting it (‘reductive science'). THEORIES are about trying to reach that ‘pattern-destination’ via the labyrinth of relationships determined by the reductive approach. Theories are what you indulge in when you don’t have enough of the pieces. And the double whammy is that the more complex the relationships, the less likely you are to see the pattern - trippled when we add in the abundance of the pieces. With pattern you may not have more pieces, but the pieces are more relevant; with pattern you have the picture on the front of the box, so to speak. With theories you only have the jigsaw pieces. Heaps. And the bigger the heap, the more the patterns get buried. And to make things worse still, "the more pieces you have, the more pieces you need." It (the scientific method) is a vicious circle.
Crossing that plimsoll line between relationships and pattern is what science (of the natural philosophical sort) is about.
But we don’t have the space traveller’s experience to see the pattern of ‘roundness’ at a glance. However we do have our own experience and it is this that lets us cross – or potentially cross – that plimsoll line.
Our experience tells us at a glance that the animal rushing towards us is a lion, and that we’d better look out or we’ll get eaten. We don’t have to think about it. We might not have seen it before (otherwise we would have been dinner long ago and not around to think about it), but we would have seen it happen to someone or something else, or have been told about it, and we would be keenly responsive to the potential result and the need to do something. Next time it happens, when the animal similarly rushing menacingly towards us is a tiger, likewise we don’t hesitate although we have never seen stripes. By analogy (/comparison), the menace itself is sufficient to stimulate the flight mechanism. And likewise when our pet dog rushes towards us, tongue lolling and teeth bared, we similarly know there is no threat at all.
The difference? “Well, .. you know, .. there’s just something about it, ..“
What precisely the difference is, we do not have to analyse. Context + experience tells us all we need to know, and experience is ingrained. It is not something we have to think about. It kicks in with a thump when required.
We have context thrust upon us, but experience is of ourselves. If we don’t have it (or some proxy), then we are dead meat – or not as the case may be. It is experience that potentially allows us to cross the plimsoll line and see things from the space traveller’s perspective: (“only the prepared mind can know what it sees”- and all that) (and it does so like a light switching on).
So what precisely is it in the experience of the prepared mind that lets our flat-Earther cross that plimsoll line to know that the Earth could very well be 'round' (/getting bigger)?
The power of analogy: ... The understanding gained when going a bit further from the village than others might, that there is such a thing as ‘fact’ and another which is ‘tantamount-to-fact’, and that the two can merge or diverge to a certain natural extent of ‘spacing’ or ‘order’ derives from making comparisons, and thereby coming to understand that when nature finds a successful way of doing something, then it keeps doing it over and over again, in similar, but different, ways, and that this similarity-to-difference proportionality is the code we have to crack in understanding our world. It is this that lets us see pattern and the complexities within it, that lets us cross the plimsoll line and see things from a different-scale point of view, that permits us (to an extent) to enter the world of the space traveller, that lets us see that it is not the village that rushes under the mountain, but that the avalanche that has covered the village – that lets us see that a ball, the Moon and the Earth could be tantamount to the same thing as far as shape is concerned.
“Science and not-science”.
We exercise ‘tantamount-to fact’ all the time. Sometimes we get it wrong, sometimes we get it right, but one thing is certain, it is not ‘science’ of the sort of the scientific method that begins with the theory, but with equal certainty we can say that it is (or should be) the overriding principle within which that sort of science is conducted; observation + more observation + still more observation, to the point where pattern is established within which the business of ‘real science’ can properly function.
In this matter of observing, you don't ask questions in the same definitive way that real science does. It's more like the questioning apparatus is running in the background like a monitoring service, filtering relevance from irrelevance, ordering the information. Then finally the penny drops ("the light goes on") and you've got it. No questions. No hypotheses. Sure, 'questions' will surface, but you almost consciously sink them below the radar with little more than an acknowledgement of their validity. And they're not really questions, they're much more ill-formed than that, .. more of the "mm, that's a point = relevant observation" sort, as you continue to observe. You don't try to answer them. What you are looking for, or trying to establish (/observe), is significant pattern that corresponds to what you already know, .. which is the extent to which you are building on previous knowledge (of your own).
“Of your own” is important, which is why advance in science falls to certain individuals and not others – they have the relevant preparation, the relevant experience, the relevant *connection*.
Establishing pattern is the first stage in scientific enterprise. Without it further enquiry is at best crippled, or at worse, illegitimate.
And that is why an expanding Earth is a lay-down misere, a ‘tantamount-to-fact’ no-brainer. It is defined by empirically observed *pattern* where Plate Tectonics is defined by homocentric *theory*. It is our space traveller’s view of the Earth that doesn’t even get as far as the need to ask a question. It is the implacable fact that turns its stony face to the carping and censorious “no mechanism”.
“No mechanism”..? Then we need to look for one. In the deformation of the planet we see an undeniable gravitational disturbance in the Earth’s crust that is massively linked to the extrusion of the mantle and hemispherical adjustment, both of which are linked to the Earth’s spin, and that continues to the present day.
Also in the “spin-on-a-dime” acknowledgment that if a mechanism were to be found then Plate Tectonics would be summarily abandoned, lies the admission that Plate Tectonics regards geological ‘facts’ to be of secondary importance, and that their primary role is merely to be arranged according to homocentric theory (based on assumption). To Plate Tectonics the Earth does not have the first say in the matter. To Earth expansion on the other hand, the geological facts and their proper arrangement according to the principles of stratigraphic and structural superposition - are paramount.
Whatever it is that is disturbing the gravitational equilibrium and the Earth’s rotation must be related to the bigger picture of the celestial sphere, and at the same time be essential to the energy fields that both bind and dissociate mass particles that leads to the formation of the mantle. But which way? Is the expansion of the Earth (and the creation of mass) a consequence of a massive input of energy related to some celestial encounter (?Moon capture - or + some third body)? Or, well, .. exactly how does gravitational force come into existence, and how are quantum elements and the creation of mass implicated?
To answer that one goes far beyond the plimsoll line of roundness-awareness of our space traveller, but the geological pattern thus far established tells us that the Earth is indeed ‘round’ /getting bigger, and that the question is indeed a valid one to address. It also tells us by corollary that the theory of Plate Tectonics is illegitimate.
So, with OBSERVED PATTERN established, that tells us the Earth is getting bigger, let ‘the science’ (HYPOTHESISING) begin - in whatever way floats your boat. But make sure that the plimsoll line is respected and that reductionism doesn’t sink it. In this quirky matter of 'real science' it is not the cloth that's important, but the pattern. (It can bite).
[ See also - Debunking Plate Tectonics - at :-