Common Sense

All knowledge comes to us through our five senses. All we know is what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch. Our total perception of the outside world is the synthesis of the continuous stream of information from our senses. This information is processed into knowledge via a sense common to all the senses: common sense. Common sense is the synthesis of our five senses. There is no imagination involved in common sense. In experimental physics, our senses are greatly expanded by many different kinds of measuring instruments from telescopes to bubble chambers. Our five senses have been extended to allow us see everything from the smallest atom and to the most distant galaxies. This common sense of universal measurement is organized by the imagination into physical theory.

With common sense, a phenomenon must be explained in terms of all the different ways that it can be physically sensed and measured. As with Occam’s Razor, common sense is evaluated in terms of its simplicity and beauty. A good theory is one that accounts for all the available facts within a simple yet elegant framework.

Even though a theory of physics must begin with a metaphysical assumption to define the structure of its elements, it should not add others in order to solve intractable problems. When a theory arrives at a paradoxical dead end, that is contrary to common sense, it is better to replace or refine its initial metaphysical assumption than to simply imagine an exception to its validity.

Common sense cannot accept phenomena that go on behind its back and thus beyond the realm of one of the senses. Only in the imagination can events occur that cannot be measured and there is no place for imagination in physics. The physics of reality is what we see and measure it to be and maybe not what we might just imagine or even just want it to be. The reality of physical truth lies at its most sensitive measurements and not in its most difficult equations or its most perplexing paradoxes. Truth becomes lost when it is sought in imaginary dimensions beyond the senses and the measuring devices that are their extensions.

Prior to the 20th century, common sense played an important role in the development of the theories of physics or Natural Philosophy as it was called in former times. A physical theory was judged by the duality of the rigorous logic of common sense and the ascetics of Occam’s Razor.

Today, among the relativity enthusiasts and the other defenders of the Standard Model of physics, there is a good deal of disdain for the idea of “common sense”. There is a widely held belief that the paradoxes, dualities and metaphysical principles that lie at the foundation of relativity and quantum mechanics are so “deep” that they can never be resolved within the processes of physical perceptions and logical reasoning known as Common Sense. Certain hidden aspects of these physical processes cannot be detected by the senses and can only be described by the imagination of mathematical equations and metaphysical assumptions.

Ever since Planck’s invention of the quantum of energy in 1900 and Einstein’s inventions of massless photons and motionless gravity a few years later, modern physics has followed a mathematical path that is not at all compatible with common sense measurements. Physics has become a religion that has forsaken common sense in favor of mathematics as the only path to God’s truths.

The science of experimental photon measurement has certain intrinsic limitations resulting in such ideas as the Heisenberg Indeterminacy Principle, Bell’s Theorem, the wave/particle duality and the constant speed of light. Using these physical limitations to hide behind, the modern theorist uses the art of mathematics to create elaborate nonsensical theories that are just beyond the range of experimental falsification. Einstein said that, “imagination is more important than knowledge”. This kind of nonsense has actually been believed and adopted by many theorists. This means that a mathematical model need not compliment a physical measurement, it need only be able to avoid being falsified by it.

Whenever a series of scientific observations reveals a phenomenon that does not fit within the structure of the standard model of physics, new assumptions are made and another layer of complexity is superimposed on the existing framework. Seldom is an attempt ever made by modern physicists to even question the validity of the paradoxical principles upon which the standard model is based. Rather, paradox itself is seen as the deepest level of truth and those who would try to resolve a paradox in a logical and common sense way are held up to ridicule for being naive and unscientific.

Common sense measurement must be at the foundation of physical theory and metaphysical imagination should not be needed to account for natural phenomena.