Written on Sept 29, 2020
Classical physics explains physical phenomena concerning big objects that move slowly. For small objects moving fast, it becomes less useful because it was never true in the first place. It only happened to fit the observations made before more sophisticated tools of measurement were invented. The same can be said about quantum mechanics. It fits the patterns produced by small objects moving fast. In the future, we are bound to observe things it won't explain. We will then move on to another theory/model. This scientific humility softly put forths that all physics we know may just be wrong. We are just one observation away. Einstein’s equations may get disproved if we find just one object that moves faster than light.
Laws of physics' breaking down at the Big Bang tells us that they are not eternal but conditional. They describe physicality provided we don't talk about the moment of the Big Bang and before. But an eternal principle should have no exceptions for it to be eternal. If f(x) = y is eternally true, it must be independent of time and space, with no exceptions at all.
Physics may never find higher truths because physicists don’t look at cause but at effect. Instead of knowing the principle that produces an effect, they observe the effect and produce the principle. They make the tail wag the dog. Consider how Hubble found that the Universe was expanding. -
p- The Universe is expanding.
q - Lights from galaxies would be red-shifted.
Lights from galaxies were in fact redshifted. Thus, the Universe is expanding. This is an example of the fallacy of asserting the consequent. Only p can prove q, not the other way round. There can be many other reasons for q here. Even though such an approach can work (when the function is one to one) and perhaps has worked, there is no denying that physics is limited by observation. There is no assurance that our physical causal models are correct or they simply best fit our observations.
So long as we experience things that have already been experienced, we live under an illusion that physical laws are true. We don't readily bump into counterexamples because the laws have already accounted for/summarized our mundane observations. With time, we will observe more things that will shatter all we know. To account for new observations, we will come up with new models. Since we have seen pretty much nothing and probably will never observe everything (limited by vision, instruments, etc), we may never find the truth this way. We'll only find that we are wrong (we are). We will be trapped in a guessing game in which we conjure up new models to fit new observations and wait for them to be proven wrong so we can play it again. This is why I feel that physics may be a dead-end game or an infinite loop.
Imagine a man who studies the physics of GTA San Andreas. He observes how quickly a day ends, how much the landscape curves (looking from an airplane), how tall and heavy Carl and other characters are, how much Carl can eat before puking, etc. He summaries them into physical laws. His laws accurately predict everything in the game. Yet he is wrong about everything. Carl is nothing but an illusion produced by LEDs. Behind the illusion is a machine that takes instruction from the source code. The world of GTA is nothing but a dream of a coder.
Update on Oct 9, 2020
Watch Sheldon trying to figure out Howard's magic trick. He observes the effect but his causal model is absolutely wrong.
Similarly, all physics is simply meticulous pattern recognition. These patterns are called laws until an exception is found. All crows are black until you find a white one. If there isn't one right now, there is nothing stopping crows from evolving. Just like species evolve and so do patterns based on them, there is nothing stopping the universe form evolving. It is only natural that laws of physics fail to paint a picture of the moment of the Big Bang and before. Perhaps, they are wrong. Chances are, the Universe produced a different pattern before 13.8 billion years. Perhaps, the Universe keeps changing its pattern, but we don't know it because we have been collecting data for only a few hundred years, which is nothing on the cosmic calendar. Perhaps, it is similar to how the surface of Earth keeps changing as a result of tectonic activities or how we change every moment, but we think Earth and we are immutable. Billions of years down the line, the Universe may produce a different pattern. It is under no obligation to any law of physics.
Update on Oct 12, 2020 -
I have mentioned that only p follows q, not the other way round. An inquisitive reader may ask how we can find p before looking at q. How can you know that which is prior to observation? How can you know that which is prior to its effects or to all its effects? There is only one way I can think of though there may be more. It must be revealed. If man can't find truth, truth must find man. An example can be the discovery of the cosmic microwave background. It was revealed to Wilson and Penzias.
If you want to read more, I have explored similar ideas here - https://www.philosophicallyinclined.com/post/why-science-can-never-give-real-answers