[r-t] Of rules and disagreements

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Tue Jul 22 22:43:46 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 4:44 PM, Mark Davies <mark at snowtiger.net> wrote:
>> But when the real world diverges from an abstract model
>> scientists recognize that their abstract models, however wonderful,
>> typically fail when you get to sufficiently bizarre edge cases, and
>> understand that their models have limitations.
> Except of course that Einstein famously said, when it was suggested
> that experimental evidence could falsify General Relativity, "Then I
> would feel sorry for the good Lord. The theory is correct."

Leaving aside any argument one might make about how much that comment
reflected Einstein's core beliefs versus his sense of humour, note
that he offered it regarding the 1919 eclipse measurements of the
magnitude of gravitational deflection of light. This is not a bizarre
edge case, rather it is right in the sweet spot for which General
Relatively could be expected to work best.

The jury is still out on how gravity works in bizarre edge cases such
as at the Planck scale. I doubt that such an assertion has Einstein
turning in his grave. Or, rather, his cremated remains doing whatever
cognate odd behaviour they'd do wherever they were scattered. And that
very edge case likely held at the birth of the universe, and so
theological concerns may be a more appropriate subject of conjecture
there than they are looking at the deflection of light fourteen
billion years later.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"It is one of the most painful experiences of my entire scientific
life that I have...never succeeded in gaining universal recognition
for a new result, the truth of which I could demonstrate by a
conclusive, albeit only theoretical proof."
        -- Max Planck, "A Scientific Autobiography", tr Frank Gaynor

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