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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Incompleteness of Knowledge

Prof. Carlo Fonseka in his letter published on 1st September 2012 makes three statements which have to be replied before we discuss Gödel’s theorem and its implications as far as the theory of everything (ToE) is concerned. Let me begin with the statement regarding Dr. Leo Fernando. Prof. Fonseka states: “I dare to think that when Dr. Leo was flying safely from Colombo to London at a height of some 33,000 feet, he must have given thanks to the Almighty God of the Judaic Christian culture for the reliability of its so-called science. (You may care to know that in my view, the core truths of science e.g. the Earth orbits the Sun; organic evolution of living things; the structure of the DNA molecule, are totally independent of the culture of different human tribes.)” Whether Dr. Fernando thanks the Almighty or not, it does not disprove that human knowledge is created by human beings relative to a culture. In any event western science is not a product of the Christian Church (definitely not of the Catholic Church) but a product of Judaic Christian culture based on the Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya. Prof. Fonseka claims that in his view the so called truth of Earth orbiting the Sun is independent of the culture. There is a history of Earth orbiting the Sun and it is now well known that this was known in India before Copernicus is supposed to have “discovered” it. How the Indians knew it is not understood, but knowing that Budunvahanse had mentioned of thousands of Sakwalas long before the westerners came to “know” of galaxies in the twentieth century I am of the opinion that this knowledge was prathyaksha to Sammasambuddha without any theories or observations through telescopes. Copernicus and Galileo who were products of incipient Judaic Christian culture, though Catholics by religion, which was created by western modernity, only popularized this view without prathyaksha and faced the consequences resulting from the responses of the Catholic culture. The Catholic culture refused to believe that the Earth is not the centre of the Universe but the Judaic Christian Culture and its political hegemony could not be countered by Pope and the Cardinals. The Buddhist culture does not believe in organic evolution of living being and big bang which have been created in a Judaic Christian culture. I as a person living in the Sinhala Buddhist culture believe in Agganna Sutta and I have published a paper last year in a so called peer reviewed Chinese journal, which proposes a universe with Sanvatta and Vivatta Kalpa. However, I do not expect the westerners to believe my “theory”.

On Einstein’s theory of Gravitation Prof. Fonseka states: What settled the issue about the truth of relativity was not the soundness of human reasoning, but the evidence of our senses. On 29 May 1919 during an eclipse of the sun, the world’s leading astronomers including Sir Arthur Eddington tested Einstein’s prediction regarding the bending of light. The predicted displacement was 1.72 (seconds of arc); the observed displacement was 1.75 + or - .06. Thus the prediction was amply confirmed. In fact every single testable consequence of the theory of relativity hitherto examined has been confirmed. Therefore there is reason to accept the truth of the theory of relativity, until some observation contradicts it.” It has to be emphasised that when people talk of Einstein’s Gravitation, they do not mean a gravitational force and what is meant is his theory on space- time in the presence of matter and radiation. What Prof. Fonseka tries to say is that evidence of senses of human beings is the deciding factor and not the soundness of human reasoning. However, he himself ends that particular paragraph with “therefore there is reason to accept the truth of the theory of relativity”. In any event the Theory of General Relativity has failed to explain what is called dark energy and some other phenomena I have mentioned in my previous articles. Further Prof. Fonseka could not resist the temptation to quote Russell: "Before tackling Einstein’s law, it is as well to convince ourselves, on logical grounds, that Newton’s law of gravitation cannot be quite right." Russell mentions two things here. Firstly that Newton’s Law of Gravitation cannot be quite right. Thus if somebody says that Einstein incorporated Newton’s gravitation theory then the latter has incorporated a theory that is not quite right. Secondly Russell talks of convincing of oneself that Newton’s theory cannot be quite right on logical grounds.Thus Prof. Fonseka is not consistent in his statements and supporting statements.

This brings me to Gödel who found an inconsistency in the American Constitution which according to him could pave the way for a dictator. This became a problem when he was persuaded by Einstein and few others to apply for the American Citizenship. In any event whether Hawkins believes in a ToE or not Gödel’s incompleteness theorems say that a formal system that has some Arithmetic in it is neither complete nor consistent. It is not complete in the sense that there are true statements in the system within the meaning of its language that cannot be derived from the axioms of the system. Now a ToE has to be formulated within Theoretical Physics which is a formal system that incorporates some Arithmetic. Theoretical physics contains quantifiers such as for all, many etc., and I am of the view that Gödel’s theorem is applicable there. (I admit that I am no authority but I have reason to believe so.) This implies that even if a ToE is formulated there will be true statements within Theoretical Physics that cannot be derived from the ToE which is supposed to incorporate the four known interactions in Physics at present. These true statements within the meaning of Theoretical Physics either would have to be considered as new axioms arising out of new interactions hitherto unknown and a new ToE would be needed to incorporate these new interactions. It would lead to infinite regression It should be remembered that in the nineteenth century there were only two interactions known, namely Newton’s gravitation and electro magnetism, and that Einstein wasted his life after formulation of his General Relativity by trying to incorporate his General Relativity and Maxwell’s Electromagnetism.

Copyright Prof. Nalin De Silva