It's time for a massively abbreviated post on my favourite topic: The epistemology of science!
Vachtra wrote:1. If you can break a particle down to it's smallest component what you have must still have mass no matter how many "0"'s you have to put in front of the number to get there. It also has to have volume. these are the rules of it existing in the physical universe and we have no reason to believe it doesn't.
The bolded isn't actually true IIRC (it's been a while since my physics degree). There's no particular reason to think there are absolute exclusion zones around all particles (there are several different ones depending on the exchange particle but none are actual boundaries but a smooth transition of resistance) or that all particles have their mass-energy distributed across space (with quantum physics the point may well be moot).
4. Some of the particles, or carriers, are only hypothetical. There is no proof they even exist.
Using the word "proof" when talking of science could be an indicator that either the speaker doesn't fully understand the scientific method or that they are dumbing it down for the layman (if the latter then please excuse the following mini-lecture).
Science is about creating models of the world and seeing how well they match reality, it's pretty much impossible to prove something as you can always construct another (likely far more complicated) model that gives the same result. Which is why we are supposed to go with the computationally simpler model (there are formal rules to this effect, but they are computationally intractable so in practice instead we have a set of informal social norms that do roughly this).
And in our simplest model we have a bunch of "things" (I really can't explain this much better in a forum post) which we call virtual particles. We observe them in a similar sense to that which we observe anything (like say, radio waves or even our hands in front of our face!), we see effects which are best modelled with their presence.
even a good study sheet will let you know that there are a lot of guesses and missing data that they really can't prove.
In my experience physicists avoid guesses in the accepted theories at all cost. If you find it on a study sheet there are very good reasons to think it's an vital part of a very well supported model, even though the explanations through all the chains of reasoning and possible alternatives can (and do
in my experience!) take days.
Additionally, as a rule if you think you've found a flaw, hole or improvement in a well known physics theory (that isn't already at least
a minority view amongst physicists) and you didn't
spend at least an hour thinking it up and another dozen fleshing it out and checking to see whether it's already been thought of, you're wrong. Physicists are actually very very good at keeping an open mind, hence string theory
. They are also very intelligent, relatively numerous, well informed, highly motivated*, communicative, efficient in distributing lines of thought to follow and spend a lot of time thinking about this.
* Additionally, contrary to popular belief it's pretty much impossible to make on accurately predictive theory that won't be accepted as valid by physicists (though like Einstein with QM they might declare it incomplete) as these days there are a number of simple rules and observations that can be used to check it. This is actually what it means for a science to be "hard" (with other disciplines like Criminology or Psychology it's much easier for a good idea to go unaccepted).
For instance if you claim to have come up with a Theory of Everything it would be quite simple to check to see if it's predictions match actual observations from experiments done.
Vachtra wrote:I could call mesons small turtles
To paraphrase a famous physicist:
"What would it even mean to call mesons small turtles?"
And therein lies the crux of the issue. The problem is not the wording of a theory or the associations it invokes, the problem is the predictions (or lack thereof) that it makes.
In the end all I really want people to do is not follow blindly just because it's in a book.
While this is sounds advice in History, Politics and Art or even to a lesser extent Animal Biology and Neuroscience, it's not very good for particle physics. It's one of the "hard"est sciences out there, the only harder one is maths and that's one only real cranks dispute at the text book level.
Vachtra wrote:What do you have when you divide a Higgs Boson?
I believe in this case the Higgs Boson is the smallest quantized element of gravity mediation so there probably wouldn't be any components (how would you even in theory divide such a thing?).
Vachtra wrote:In a witch hunt they are looking for specific signs not just one but several that would seem to point to there being a witch. They take these many evidences and declare there to be a witch. In a scientific experiment they look for specific signs not just one but several that would seem to point to there being a particle. They take these many evidences and declare there to be a particle.
They look the same to me.
Ah, anti-science (the opposite of science).
In a scientific experiment you are NOT looking for signs that would point to there being a particle. The whole point of coming up with an experiment is to TEST a theory, you are trying to find the most likely ways your theory could fail to match reality and/or seeing if it's most surprising predictions are actually the case.
Think of it like a tribal initiation for an anthropologist. The more trials of greater ferocity you undergo the more likely you are to be accepted, someone who passes through only easy ones will never become one of the tribe but the more dangerous and daring they are the more likely you are to be declared a member. There are also a few trials you must undergo due to your tribal name (whether "Punched a bear", "Runs like Cheetah" or "General Relativity"
). To make things worse, the backers of the other anthropologists competing for the spare place in the tribe are designing their own trials (every potential tribesman goes through every trial) to trip you up!
Vachtra wrote:By definition a theory is speculation.
No, no it's really not.
Speculation is a theory without good evidence.