To the foregoing remarks an epistomological addendum is, sadly, yet in order. In a survey of the theoretical ratiocinations employed by all such classical scientific defenders of the Copernican confession, one aspect stands out for everyone to see: without exception they either use the logically invalid modus ponendo ponens (MPP) to escape from any valid modus tollendo tollens (MTT), or else they take refuge in unverified or unverifiable ad hocs. A short digression may help to make this clear.
Suppose that during a simple optical test I see a green light. I know a green source will produce green radiation. However, if I reject the clear conclusion that the observed phenomenon is caused by a green lamp because I believe only yellow lamps to be possible, then I can adhere to my firm faith by presupposing that somebody is holding a panel of blue glass between me and the light source. The anyway overhasty MPP conclusion that this source is green therefore does not impress me in the least.To my convictionof “yellowness alone” I may with perfect logic still stubbornly cling.
The other way around: forsooth, a yellow lamp will doubtlessly emanate yellow light. But I see a green glow, and therefore its source cannot be yellow. Have no fear – I again postulate the blue glass and in doing that neatly evade the scrape in which a valid MTT threatened to catch me.
All jesting apart: those blue-glass ad hocs are, of course, worthless exhibits of wishful thinking. Sober-scientifically they are without any value until I shall have observed these in-between panels of glass on the spot and in that way am able to demonstrate the actualness of my ad hocs convincingly. And these considerations with regard to compelling verifications count for all hypothetical, logically-correct syllogizing. The strength of conclusions drawn from straightforward interpretations of observations depends squarely on the premises and the additional ad hocs employed. If those premises and ad hocs are unverified or non-verifiable, then the conclusions rest, ten to one, on quicksand. True scientists should shy away from prejudiced hypotheses of that kind, but they often do not. If they feel their Weltanschauung threatened by what are for them unpleasant actualities, then any reasoning warding off such an unpleasantness will do!
Evaluating the cogitations of self-professedly unprejudiced science before the tribunal of logic we find this blue-glass trick, time after time, employed in the use of both theoretical syllogisms. For instance: the Boscovich-Airy reasoning is logically impeccable MTT. If P then Q – no Q, then no P. If we are on the move then stellar aberration observed through water will be greater than that observed through air. Therefore in case we do
not observe this increase the Earth is at rest and the starry dome is revolving relative to us. But Airy had already decided to know – be it on no experimentally observed sublunar solid and indisputable grounds whatsoever! -that this is not and can not be true. Hence he and his supporters looked around and found applicable rational evidence that obviated the horrendous necessity of siding with the Inquisition in the Galileo trial of 1633. As already shown: an aether drag only demonstrable for water in motion relative to an observer provided the helpful ad hoc. Alas – not at all. That ad hoc is obtained by means of an MPP, an affirmation of the consequent. Before we can use it we shall have to demonstrate that Fizeau’s experiment registered no more than a change in a drag already present in the water travelling with the Earth, for exactly that motion is on trial. True enough: if the Earth is moving through a luminiferous aether, or through a spatiality “at rest”, however conceived or defined, and Fresnel’s coefficient hits the nail on the head, then water-filled telescopes will not register increased aberration. No increase is observed, and hence we may conclude that Airy’s test result is in complete harmony with Newton’s vision. Well and good, but for an Earth at rest relative to space (or whatsoever mysterious entity it is in which or through which light travels at the constant velocity c), the Fresnel drag inevitably is reduced to zero and does not affect our measurements of stellar aberration as “explained” by Bradley.
The whole reasoning is a prime example of begging the question. Only after an experiment like that performed by Hoek in 1868, or that proposed by me for the first time in 1968, shall have been performed in e.g. a Concorde or space shuttle, and then will have given a negative result, will I be obliged to accept Airy’s verdict, because in that case it will have become clear that indeed Fresnel’s drag coefficient masks any change in motion or a change from rest to motion.
We shall therefore be well advised not to go beyond the inductively well confined and never yet successfully disputed absolute and constant velocity c of light in vacuo as independent of its source and the same for all Earth-bound observers. Disputed by measurements in flat space, that is – the only space, we should not forget, in which we are able to measure! And then it becomes difficult for Airy, et al, to vitiate their MTT reasoning. We may, as has been done and is done, throw in logically possible ad hocs, but so long as such ad hocs are not beyond doubt experimentally proven that procedure does not cut ice. No penny, no paternoster; no pay, no piper. If no fringe displacement correspondent with the Earth’s supposed velocity, then no orbital, let alone galactic, motion of our globe through a relative to it stagnant luminiferous aether.
In Michelson’s heliocentrically preconditioned mind the obvious corollary, a simple straightforward geocentric hypothesis did not get a chance to rear its unwanted head. A model effortlessly explaining Bradley’s, Hoek’s, Airy’s, and his own test results?… Now or ever: never! Mortal men’s habitat the gudgeon on which the Heavens turn?… Who can still believe such a medieval superstition? Referring the readers to that blue glass panel that spoiled the simple syllogisms: Michelson searched for and found those three helpful ad hocs, three pretexts able to ward off a disturbing and unwanted perspective. However, as I have shown: none of that MPP trio is strong enough effectively to disavow the logically compelling MTT he himself and Morley had confidently applied when constructing their interferometers.
- The Dire Consequences
- Einstein to the Rescue?