those wacky physicists

Anton Sherwood (
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 18:52:40 -0800

Tony Hollick (who else?) writes
: ... Classical Mechanics is the
: most self-consistent, the conceptually clearest, the strongest, the
: most coherent, the most extendable and the most adaptable Scientific
: Research Programme the world has ever seen. And one theory does it
: all. Why use anything else, is all. "Simplify! Simplify!"

It's certainly clear, simple, etc. It just happens not to be the simplest,
most coherent explanation *of certain real-world phenomena*. Why do you
think physicists changed course after 1901? Planned obsolescence?

: As a matter of fact, I think it's actually _true_. I've never read a
: convincing refutation of Classical Mechanics. Someone would have to
: disprove one or more of the axioms; or break the deductive chains.
: I don't think that's actually possible. Does anyone here think that
: geometry is _empirically decidable_? I.e. Euclid vs. Minkowski or
: Euclid vs. Riemann ? Do tell!!! >:-}

Oh. So if I understand you right, mere *empirical* evidence won't break
classical mechanics - you can always add enough epicycles to preserve a
classical *description* of the phenomena. There comes a time, though,
when folks get tired of piling epicycle on epicycle, and look for a
simpler formalism.

I've heard that Gauss went up three mountains and measured, as seen from
each, the angle between the other two; added up the angles and found that
space is locally flat to within the error in his procedure.

: Classical Mechanics is certainly exactly accurate to the present
: limits of measurement, AFAICS. It shows every prospect of extension
: without limit - it scales cleanly from cosmic down to the microworld.


Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*