Physics as science
The most remarkable problem in theoretical physics is that much of the behaviour is profoundly unscientific.
There are methodologies and principles for doing theoretical science that are used successfully in other sciences, and were a core part of physics before 1900 (and are detailed here), but physics has felt it necessary to discard any requirement to apply them in a consistently rigorous way.
This astonishing fall from grace of a major science is a unique event in scientific history. On this site you will discover a reckless abandonment of scientific rigour by the theoretical arm of physics. The evidence for this is overwhelming, and shows itself in a variety of ways.
The first problem, and a fatal one in science, is inconsistency.
There is no consistent set of scientific principles within theoretical physics, and the pre-existing theoretical methodology is inconsistently applied. The two main strands of thought are in conflict, as detailed here.
It is often said that physics, around 1900, required a new paradigm, but there is no consistent paradigm to be had.
A fundamental requirement in science is logical consistency.
The second problem, and something unacceptable in science, is the lack of clarity:
There is no clarity about the descriptive model/s within quantum mechanics
There is no clarity about the status of the original principle of relativity
There is no clarity about the actual timekeeping of moving clocks, or the theoretical basis for these observations
There is no clarity about the simple nature of validated calculations in general relativity on the changes in the timekeeping of clocks with gravity or the bending and delay of light passing the Sun
For clarity on all of these points, simply follow the links.
A third problem in theoretical physics is a determined resistance to going back and re-examining the failures of the past.
The studied lack of clarity across all stands of modern physics is a clear indication that something is fundamentally wrong. As with politicians, if physicists need to obfuscate then what is being hidden is almost certainly flawed.
The failure to provide a coherent model for light is also fundamental. Light cannot be both localised and spread out; it is a fundamental contradiction. It is possible that light could be spread out to a limited degree, or spread out in a very specific way, but physics has abandoned efforts to resolve or clarify this. This is scientifically unacceptable.
The contradictions between quantum mechanics and general relativity are real, and are detailed here. As a matter of primary logic, two theories that contradict each other cannot both be correct. This is not something optional in science. This indicates a fundamental and unavoidable requirement to re-examine them both. Physics has flunked this test.
As an absolute minimum, a science has a scientific obligation to be clear about its failures to each new generation of researchers, but in physics the efforts are all the other way. It also has a moral obligation to its paymasters, and that’s us. Instead, it finds its failures so embarrassing that it fears for its funding and its reputation if it comes clean. The deliberate and persistent failure of clarity is an important problem for theory, pedagogy and funding.
Within special relativity, there are a number of concepts that are bound together in the theory. These are the principle of relativity, the Lorentz transformation, the observed constancy of the speed of light, and the observation that physical laws are the same in different inertial frames. Observations in the 1970s throw doubt on one of these, so we need to ask which of them are properly supported by evidence.
Within quantum mechanics there is a central assumption, namely that light must be considered as a particle, and a set of difficult mathematics. What is not made clear to outsiders is that these two can be separated, and evaluated individually. The consequences of this are profound.
Within general relativity, there are two layers of mathematics, and no central physical assumptions. When we examine these, it is only the simpler layer of the mathematics that has been validated by observation, and then only partially. When this is clarified, certain questions arise.
Failure as science
All of these problems are failures of physics as science, and all of them combine to make physics so difficult for students to understand, for educators to communicate, and for theorists to create sensible theories.
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