Riding the Beam of Light, Just Faster

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the speed of light is a physical constant and foundational principle in modern physics.  The emerging Theory of Everything rests on that constant which in persuasion math is about 186,000 miles per second and the limit at which any physical thing can move.  Nobody, not even Superman, beats the speed of light.

Except it may not be true.  From Nature, a respected peer review scientific journal.

An Italian experiment has unveiled evidence that fundamental particles known as neutrinos can travel faster than light. Other researchers are cautious about the result, but if it stands further scrutiny, the finding would overturn the most fundamental rule of modern physics — that nothing travels faster than 299,792,458 metres per second.

The scientific implications of this potential finding are better than your first kiss.  Everything everyone could take for granted since Einstein over 100 years ago is now up for questioning and testing.  At the most fundamental level of scientific knowledge, scientists are now both free and compelled to look again.  We’re all back in grad school again, just wondering about why and how.

This potential finding by itself, of course, does not invalidate Einstein physics any more than Einstein physics invalidated the earlier Newton physics.  All are still valid, but under restricted conditions.  Neither are truth unlimited, but simply principles that apply under many, but not all conditions.  Each kind of physics is part of a larger whole we do not understand now the way we thought we did when light was the limit.

If you feel no excitement with this potential result, then you should question your science credential.  This is great news for anyone who wonders.

Of course, science does not yet accept this anomalous finding as the New New Thing.  Physicists worldwide are checking the experiment in search of rival explanations that would account for Speed Of Light Plus, thus retaining traditional physics.  In fact, you should note that this experiment occurred three years ago before the researchers took their findings to the journals.  Note that:  Three years since the experiment and it’s not yet even published as the researchers talk with other scientists about the findings.

Now, pivot.

Contrast this scientific behavior and communication with the Scientific Science you read in the pop press.  Everything Kills:  Diet.  Exercise.  Health Insurance.  NASCAR TV.  Divorce.  Bad mothers.  And on and on with the work of this Blog as I play persuasion and science off of each other to illuminate the operation of each.  Realize that science thrives on the uncertain, the possible, that it loves to ask questions and pursue answers, always keeping an open mind and an awareness for contingency, alteration, or anomaly.  Scientific Science does not operate like this.  Scientific Science won’t wait three minutes much less three years to trumpet Its findings.

See, now, how weak and illusory all those Tooth Fairy Ratios with the exclamation points and statistical significance.  They demand attention, resource, and change because they are Scientific Science.  Meanwhile, science looks at speed limits in a new way and finds a new question that engages a thoughtful response with no demands for donations, volunteers, new laws, regulations, or rules, and certainly no change from you.

This is how science operates.  It needs no persuasion.  See the contrast with Scientific Scientists who employ Sophistical Statistics in their work, aiming to convince you, move you, change you.

You Can’t Persuade a Falling Apple or a Beam of Light.

Science and scientists always engage in the process of asking and answering questions and rarely demonstrate the kind of certainty you see given to science in pop press or with advocates.  Scientists entertain the notion that something can move faster than the speed of light even though it has been a fundamental belief for over 100 years.  People who do Scientific Science find this virtually impossible.

It is possible and indeed likely that a scientist will find the rival explanation that explains the Speed Of Light Plus.  But, do not miss the contrast between Science and the Pretenders.