You Can’t Explain Thaton February 27, 2012 at 12:00 am
It’s funny how throughout time and history, great minds are ridiculed and looked upon with great disdain only to be regarded as pillars of science years after their time. Well, lets look at some modern day philosophers that I think don’t get enough credit, not for any discovery or scientific break through, but for asking the right question too all the things things we take for granted. And that question… How do they work?!
Sure, we can laugh off the Insane Clown Posse as making just another lame song and dance that outlines pure stupidity, OR we can look at their videogram critically and realize that it was a clear plea for us to never settle for the standard textbook definitions of the world around us, bleached and spoon fed in the most laundered version possible, and ask, at the very most basic level, how the heck does it work!
Now lets look at one of their more famous postulations, “Magnets, how do they work?” Sounds simple enough at the surface, but once we dissect this question, it becomes a much more complicated task than expected. At first glance, one might be tempted to give the textbook answer that it is an attraction or repulsion between two permanent magnets via their generated magnetic fields. Right, A+ on your paper, time to move on… But wait! That never answered the question. That’s just an observation, not an explanation. Alight, so where do these magnetic fields come from? Well, the classical model of this is that the electrons get polarized with their spins, thus creating an electromagnetic field. Ok, getting somewhere! Now, what’s that field made of? Well, that gets tricky, but the current theory is that the fields are much like clouds of probabilities where virtual particles blip in and out of existence. Every field (ie. force) has an associated particle, electromagnetic gets the common household photon. So if you can imagine, these fields have a sort of flow to them, and so when they’re moving in the same direction (such as out of the N end) they would repel, like a jet of water pushing against another jet of water, and you get the opposite to make them attract. Well, less like a stream because it’s more chaotic than that, but you get the idea. There, we’re done! All is explained! But wait, there’s more! Because all we’ve done is regurgitate some theories about the mechanics, but nothing has been explained about what that “force” is. And that’s where we hit the wall. See, we can visualize the interactions, guess at how these particles are bouncing around and playing nice, but at the end of the day, nothing we have in our current physics explains WHY any of these fundamental forces interact. Field theory says the fields are made up all these little happy particles just moving about and interacting to do all those fun things they’re supposed to be doing… but… why? What causes more stuff to generate more gravitational force? Where does mass come from (will, Higgs, but we’re still testing that). Why doe subatomic particles “stick” together? And what is this “force” made of and how does it work? That’s the last bit of the puzzle, that force, and despite any amount of science we have done, it’s still a bit of a mystery… Force, energy, ether, whatever you want to call it still has some time ahead of it before we get even a hazy understanding of its mechanic, but give it some time, and maybe if we keep asking the right questions, we’ll finally figure out why!