God versus Particle Physics: A No Score Draw

God versus Particle Physics: A No Score Draw

by John Davies


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The book presents the conclusions of a psychologist seeking to make sense of contemporary particle physics as described in a number of popular science texts and media articles, written by physicists, seeking to explain the workings of the sub-atomic world. The accounts, it is argued, are a) mutually exclusive and contradictory, and b) metaphysical or magical in essence. Themes of the book include: a discussion of the way we allow physicists to invent things that have no perceivable qualities, on the grounds that they 'must' be there because otherwise their preconceptions are wrong or their sums don’t work; that, from a psychological perspective, contemporary theory in particle physics has the same properties as any other act of faith, and the same limitations as belief in God; and that physics has now reached a point at which increasingly physicists research their own psychological constructions rather than anything which is unambiguously ‘there’ or real. It encourages people to ask basic questions of the type we often use to question the existence of God; such as ‘Where is he/it?’, ‘Show me?’, ‘Do it then’, ‘When did it happen?’, ‘How do you know it exists?’, and so on, and suggests that people take a leaf out of Dawkins’ text, The God Delusion, but apply it to high-end physics as much as to religious dogma: turning water into wine is a mere conjuring trick compared to producing an entire universe out of nothing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781845405588
Publisher: Imprint Academic
Publication date: 09/28/2013
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

John Davies has Emeritus status at the University of Strathclyde. He has directed the Centre for Applied Psychology for some twenty years, and published widely in two areas, namely public health and human factors. He is currently Chair of the Scottish Government working group on Drug Prevention, and for 18 years was editor in chief of the journal Addiction Research and Theory. He has published a number of books (The Psychology of Music; The Myth of Addiction; Drugspeak; Safety Management: A Qualitative Systems Aprroach).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Prologue 1

Chapter 2 The No-Score Draw 5

Chapter 3 Ayers Rock 9

Chapter 4 The Big Bang: Metaphysics or Matter of Fact? 13

Chapter 5 How Did It All Happen? 23

Chapter 6 Know Thyself 29

Chapter 7 Words, Waves, Bits, and Boundaries 38

Chapter 8 Four Kinds of Physics 43

Chapter 9 Uncertainty, Parallel Universes, and Common Sense 69

Chapter 10 Reductionism: The Search for Constituents of Stuff 76

Chapter 11 Postulating the Scientifically Unacceptable 84

Chapter 12 Positivism: Three Cheers for Philosophy 94

Chapter 13 The Search for Truth 107

Chapter 14 Keeping Up Appearances 112

Chapter 15 Facts, Figures, and Feasibility 125

Chapter 16 The CERN Metaphorical-Hypothetical-Particle Super-collider 132

Chapter 17 Hello? Is Anybody There? 144

Chapter 18 Please Hold. An Operator Will Be With You As Soon As Possible 158

Chapter 19 Extra Time 163

Chapter 20 A Stairway to the Stars 176

References 187

Index 189

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