Chapter 28 completes the description of the new view of astronomical phenomena that we get from the development of the theory of the universe of motion, to the extent that this development has thus far been carried. Before beginning consideration of a different aspect of the physical universe in the final two chapters of this volume, it will be appropriate to take a second look at the universe that this new understanding replaces, the non-existent universe of the imaginative theorists that plays such a major role in present-day physics and astronomy. The non-existent entities and phenomena that make up this phantom universe have been discussed in detail in the earlier pages, but since this discussion has been distributed over three volumes, there would seem to be some merit in a recapitulation that brings the major astronomical items together, so that the connections between the various items can be recognized, and the almost incredible extent of this realm of fantasy that has grown up within the boundaries of the scientific disciplines can be fully appreciated.
Construction of this elaborate network of figments of the imagination would have been impossible in the prosaic and conservative science of Galileo and Newton, but when the progress of experimental and observational discovery carried empirical knowledge beyond the range of Newtonian theories, and thereby undermined their authority, Einstein was able to secure acceptance of his contention that his distinguished predecessors were wrong in believing that “the basic concepts and laws of physics… were derivable by abstraction, i.e., by a logical process, from experiments.”292 General acquiescence in his dictum that, “the axiomatic basis of theoretical physics cannot be an inference from experience, but must be free invention” opened the gates to a free and unrestrained exercise of the imagination. Accordingly, Bohr pioneered the idea of inventing new physical laws for application in those areas where problems were encountered in applying the established laws and principles, Einstein introduced the concept of flexible magnitudes, Heisenberg promulgated a principle of uncertainty to legitimize discrepancies, and soon the era of scientific invention was in full swing.
Now we are going to examine the structure of fantasy that has been erected by those who have taken advantage of this license to give free rein to the imagination under the banner of science, so that we can see just how far the universe of modern astronomy has diverged from the universe of physical reality. Although it is fictional, this imaginary universe has a logical structure. It is carefully reasoned from specified premises. But some of these premises involve departures from reality. These are assumptions-free inventions-in areas where the true facts were unknown, or not yet recognized, prior to the investigation reported in this work. With the aid of such assumptions to complete their foundations, the inventive astronomers have been able to build an elaborate structure of theory extending far beyond the limits of the real universe and into the land of fantasy.
As pointed out in Chapter 28, the retreat from reality is primarily due to the fact that little or no attempt has been made to subject the inventions, and the theoretical conclusions based upon them, to the standard tests of validity. Inasmuch as the ties that bind this structure of theory to the solid ground of observed and measured facts have been severed only at a few specific points, it is usually difficult to determine by examination of any one particular physical situation just how much is fact and how much is fiction. But we can establish a clear line of demarcation between the real and the fictional by identifying the points at which the false assumptions have been made, and following the lines of reasoning, based on these assumptions, that lead to the kind of non-existent entities, phenomena, and relations that populate the phantom universe of present-day science.
We will be concerned mainly with the astronomical fantasies, not only because astronomy is the primary subject matter of this present volume, but also because it deals with the physical extremes, and therefore has the effect of magnifying the departures from reality. It is here, in the astronomical field, that we find the black holes, the degenerate matter, the singularities, and other extravagances of fertile imaginations. But the initial points of departure from the real world are at a more fundamental level. The physicists are the ones that first strayed from the straight and narrow path. Astronomy has suffered the consequences.
Of course, the astronomers do not recognize the remarkable extent to which their discipline has taken on a fictional character, but at least some of them realize that there is little connection between their theoretical universe and what is actually observed. As Harwit puts it, there is “a gap between theorists and observers.” He comments on the “remarkable detachment” between observation and theory, and goes on to say:
It is also beginning to be recognized that this gap will eventually have to be closed by means of a reconstruction of basic theory. As noted elsewhere in this volume, there is a tendency in astronomical circles to expect this reconstruction to take place in the fundamental physical laws, rather than in astronomy itself. As demonstrated in this work, a drastic revision of physical fundamentals is indeed required, but such a revision necessarily has significant repercussions on the superstructure that the astronomers have erected on the physical foundations that must now be rebuilt. At least some members of the astronomical community are beginning to recognize this point. For example, Geoffrey Burbidge, Director of the Kitt Peak National Observatory, made this comment in a recent ( 1983) interview:
My suspicion is that Chip Arp [Mount Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories] is right, and some of the main pillars of extra galactic astronomy are going to tumble down.300
After all, astronomy is merely large-scale physics, and the astronomers are m the awkward position of having to place the foundations of their theoretical structure in what Paul Davies (one of the most enthusiastic of the current generation of fantasy-constructors) describes as “the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the New Physics, a world alive with paradoxes, mysteries, and discontinuities.”301As might be expected in an Alice-in-Wonderland world, the retreat from reality starts at the very base of the theoretical structure. This can be seen in the following comparison:
The word “elementary” in this context means “irreducible.” In earlier eras matter was regarded as elementary, in this sense, and since it was known to consist of discrete units, the existence of an elementary unit of matter was taken for granted. One of the major objectives of investigators in the physical field has been to identify the elementary unit. In the meantime, however, the discovery of processes whereby matter can be transformed into non-matter, and vice versa, has provided concrete proof that matter is not elementary. Since matter and radiation, for example, are interconvertible, they must necessarily be different forms of the same thing. And since matter cannot qualify as radiation, nor radiation as matter, it follows that neither can be elementary. Both must be forms of the elementary entity. Thus there are no elementary particles of matter in the real universe.
Non-existent particles obviously cannot be found by the normal scientific process of discovery. They have to be invented. There seems to be a general impression that if the inventions are held to a minimum in any specific case, the development of thought is still scientific; that is, it continues to be a study of nature. But this view greatly underestimates the effect of a single deviation from reality. The original step into the phantom world may be relatively harmless. In itself, the issue as to whether or not there is an irreducible unit of matter has no significant effect on the general physical situation. But one false step leads to another, and soon the development of thought is far out of touch with reality.
No invention can anticipate the results of future empirical discoveries. Consequently, the history of inventive theories is one of never-ending modifications and adjustments, usually moving farther and farther away from the original point of contact with empirical facts. The quark hypothesis is the end result (so far) of the effort to identify the non-existent elementary particle, or particles, of matter, and it carries this process to the point of absurdity. The quark is purely hypothetical. There is no actual evidence of the existence of anything of this kind. Indeed, one of the principal activities of “elementary particle physics” is dreaming up plausible reasons why such evidence cannot be found.
The quarks are not the only postulated particles that the investigators cannot find in the real world. They cannot find the particles that are supposed to be constructed of quarks either. They confuse this issue by giving these imaginary particles, the hypothetical constituents of the atoms, the same names as observed particles such as electrons and neutrons. But calling different objects by the same name does not make them the same kind of objects. Regardless of what they are called, objects belong in the same category only if they have the same properties. The properties that have to be ascribed to the hypothetical sub-atomic particles in order to make it theoretically possible for them to be constituents of atoms differ widely from the properties of the observed particles that are called by the same names.
Stability, for instance, is an essential property of any atomic constituent, including the hypothetical particle that is currently called a “neutron.” The observed neutron is not stable. It lives only about 15 minutes. Similarly, the properties that the hypothetical atomic constituent currently called an “electron” must have in order to fit into its prescribed place in the atomic structure are quite different from those of the observed electron. We can deal with these imaginary electrons only on a statistical basis, and as Herbert Dingle points out, we can make these statistical methods effective “only by ascribing to the particles properties not possessed by any imaginable objects at all.”302 Furthermore, as many leading theorists tell us, the atomic electron cannot be regarded as a “real” particle. It does not “exist objectively,”337 they say. The idea that the real world can be constructed of elementary units that are not real-that do not even “exist objectively”-is the kind of an absurdity that is characteristic of the Wonderland of the imaginary universe.
Even though there are no “elementary” particles of matter, the “smallest” or “simplest” particles of matter can be identified, and if these small or simple particles had the properties that would qualify them as constituents of the larger particles, it would be in order to postulate that the larger particles are so constituted. But since we know that matter is not composed of elementary units of matter, there is no justification for assuming that the atoms must necessarily be constructed of smaller particles of matter. It follows that there is no reason why there must be atomic constituents. This eliminates any grounds that may have existed for conjuring up imaginary constituents such as quarks, or for inventing modifications of known particles to make them suitable as building blocks. Since no real particles capable of meeting the requirements that apply to constituents of atoms can be found, the logical conclusion (the one that has been reached in this work from different premises) is that the atom is not constructed of subsidiary units. The prevailing concept of a “nuclear” structure is a hypothetical assemblage of imaginary particles; assumption piled upon assumption.
The inventive theorists find it necessary to invent new laws (a) to account for the hypothetical behavior of the non-existent constituents of the atom, and (b) to account for the phenomena of the region inside unit distance, where the inversion that occurs at all unit levels (not yet recognized by conventional science) alters the manner in which the physical laws apply. Even with an unlimited license for making ad hoc assumptions, the builders of the imaginary universe have not been able to devise a set of laws for their atoms that is logical and self-consistent. In order to justify holding on to their concept of the nature of the atomic structure they have therefore advanced the strange contention that their atom has these incomprehensible characteristics because nature itself is illogical and inconsistent in the realm of the very small.
The physicists’ atom is not a real physical entity:
The theory of that atom (the quantum theory) is incomprehensible:
As these statements from prominent scientists demonstrate, present-day science does not even pretend that its atom belongs to the world of reality. But it asks us to believe the preposterous assertion that the reality which admittedly does not exist at the atomic level is somehow acquired in the course of combining these phantom atoms into macroscopic structures. P. W. Bridgman states the case specifically in these words:
This is utter nonsense, quite out of character for Bridgman, one of the keenest analysts that the scientific profession has produced. A real structure can be built of real bricks. An imaginary structure can be built of imaginary bricks. But a real structure cannot be built of these imaginary bricks. What Bridgman has described is not the world as it actually exists, but the physicists’ understanding of that world. A real world can be built of real entities that the physicists do not understand. Bridgman has used the term “not understandable” where the correct term is “not understood.” The practice of treating that which is not understood as not understandable is quite common, but obviously without justification. If this unwarranted extrapolation is removed from Bridgman’s statement, it becomes something like this:
Here we have a correct description of the situation as it stood prior to the development of the theory of the universe of motion described in this and the preceding volumes. The point that is being brought out in this present chapter is that, in the absence of an understanding of the phenomena of “the realm of the very little,” the theorists have invented a universe that they can manipulate to produce imaginary solutions for whatever problems they may encounter. Thus far in our examination of the framework of this non-existent universe we have been following the physicists’ line of reasoning based on the assumption (now known to be contrary to fact) that the basic entities of the universe are elementary units of matter, a development .of thought that arrives at an imaginary structure of the atom of matter. Next we will trace a similar line of reasoning based on a contrafactual assumption as to the nature of the energy generation process in the stars, and we will examine the fantastic features of the imaginary world that result from the merging of these two lines of thought.
Like the nuclear atom, the hydrogen conversion process appeared plausible when it was first proposed. Direct observation of the energy production is not possible, but the assertion that the energy is produced by the only process then known that appeared capable of meeting the requirements seemed reasonable at that time. However, as soon as the astronomical consequences of the production of energy by this process were examined, it should have been clear that this is not the process that the stars utilize in the real world. A multitude of astronomical observations are in conflict with the consequences of this assumption.
The stellar age sequence in the imaginary universe of present-day astronomy, is one of the direct consequences of the assumption as to the nature of the energy generation process, and it is a classic example of how an erroneous assumption in one limited area can have consequences of a far-reaching nature. So far as the energy generation process itself is concerned, the question as to which constituents of the star supply the energy is not a critical issue, as long as the energy source is adequate and controllable. But the indirect results of this error have been disastrous. The general acceptance of the hydrogen conversion process as the stellar energy source has seduced the astronomers into embracing an upside down view of the entire evolutionary process. If they had been presented with this entire package as a whole, and had realized that it was all dependent on an assumption as to the nature of an unobservable process, it is unlikely that this package would ever have been accepted. But here, as in so many other cases, most of the fictional components of theories are the results of extended lines of reasoning in which the crucial role of the erroneous basic assumptions tends to be obscured. Many astronomers are uneasy about this situation, and recognize that a fictional element has entered into astronomy somewhere. Maffei makes this comment:
It is evident, however, that there is no general understanding of how far the current astronomical thinking has diverged from reality, or where the excursions into the land of fantasy have originated. Item number 8 is one of the major points of departure. Another consequence of the erroneous assumption as to the nature of the stellar energy generation process that has played a significant part in diverting astronomical theory into fantasy-land is the conclusion that the stars eventually run out of fuel.
At this point the lines of development from the basic products of the imagination that we have identified thus far join to produce some further nonexistent phenomena.
The structure of matter at zero absolute temperature, where thermal forces are absent, arrives at an equilibrium condition, in which the gravitational force is counterbalanced by an opposing force that has not been identified by conventional science, other than as an “antagonist.”26 There is no observational indication that this force is subject to any kind of a limit, and we now find that in the universe of motion no such limit exists. The “antagonist” is the force generated by the progression of the natural reference system relative to the conventional reference system, and it cannot be overcome by the gravitational force, however great that force may be.
The “collapse” is an imaginary breakdown of the structure of the imaginary nuclear atom. In this hypothetical atomic structure the imaginary positively and negatively charged constituents are widely separated (on the atomic scale), leaving nothing but empty space in the greater part of the volume occupied by the atom. The collapse is presumed to eliminate most of this empty space, and bring the atomic constituents into contact. There is ample observational evidence to support the theoretical conclusion that such a collapse is impossible. The mere existence of stars that are 50 or 100 times as massive as the sun is positive proof that the inter-atomic equilibrium is able to withstand the greatest pressures of which we have any definite knowledge, those which exist at the center of such a star. The contention that this pressure is increased when, and if, the star cools because of the exhaustion of the fuel supply is pure nonsense. The matter in the center of the star is subject to the full pressure due to the weight of the overlying material regardless of whether that material is hot or cold.
In this connection, it should be realized that the “collapse” is not merely an assumption that has no observational support. It is an assumption that is specifically contradicted by the observed facts. As pointed out above, the existence of very massive stars is definite proof that the inter-atomic equilibrium is maintained under the greatest pressures that are known to be brought against it-immensely greater than the maximum pressures reached in the smaller stars: the ones that are presumed to collapse into the degenerate state. The truth is that the collapse is merely another addition to the chain of inventions. It is a mythical collapse of a hypothetical assemblage of imaginary particles. The degenerate matter is an imaginary product of that mythical collapse.
Here, again, the product of the imagination is specifically contradicted by observation and measurement. As brought out in detail in Volume I of this work, and in other previous publications, the Doppler shifts of the quasars are direct speed measurements, and values exceeding 1.00 indicate speeds greater than that of light. The customary application of Einstein’s relativity mathematics to reduce these speeds below the 1.00 level is an unwarranted use of a relationship developed for, and justified in, a totally different kind of a situation.
In this case, what the erroneous assumption has done is the inverse of the results of the other basic errors that have been discussed. Those others opened the door to imaginative ideas having no connection with reality; that is, they resulted in the extension of physical and astronomical theory into areas that do not exist. General acceptance of the assumption of an absolute limit at the speed of light has prevented extension of the theory into some areas of the universe that actually do exist. It has blocked any investigation of the phenomena of the realm of the very fast, and has enabled the fantasies of the “degenerate matter” type to be taken seriously because they have had no competition.
The white dwarf is an aggregate of ordinary matter produced from another aggregate of such matter (a star) by one of the processes to which ordinary matter is subject, and it has the properties of ordinary matter. Its only distinctive observable feature is the magnitude of one of these properties, its density. Conventional science has no explanation for densities in the range in which the white dwarf densities fall, because it accepts the dictum of the inventors of the imaginary universe that speeds greater than that of light (the speeds that are responsible for the high density) do not exist.
The black dwarf is purely hypothetical. There is no observational evidence that any such objects exist. Like so many other features of the non-existent universe of present-day astronomy, the black dwarf hypothesis survives only because the existing astronomical facilities are not capable of producing the physical evidence that would demonstrate that there are no such objects.
One of the problems that the astronomers have encountered in building their imaginary universe is that the consequences of some of their basic assumptions do not agree with the consequences of some of the others. The white dwarf is a case in point. It is the result of lines of reasoning based on the erroneous assumptions that have been identified in the foregoing paragraphs. But another assumption, likewise accepted by most astronomers, leads to a totally different result.
The feature of conventional physics to which this statement refers is Einstein’s assumption that gravitation is a distortion of space-time due to the presence of matter.
This is another of the basic departures from reality that have taken the astronomers’ perception of the universe into the land of fantasy. From the space distortion hypothesis the theorists have derived the concept of self gravitation of the atom. It is assumed that application of sufficient external force brings matter to a critical point where this self-gravitation becomes effective. Beyond this point the atoms continue contracting by virtue of their own gravity.
This process is quite different from the “collapse” envisioned in the theory that leads to the astronomers’ conception of the white dwarf. Thus there are two competing theories in this area. To further complicate the situation, the results of observation do not agree with either of these theories. The statement quoted above as to the conclusions of “conventional physics” goes on to say: “in fact, we observe the reverse. Stars typically explode at a certain critical phase of their lives.” Faced with this real-life observation, which could not be ignored, the astronomers have worked out a compromise between the observations and their two theories. As it happens, they have never been able to ascertain what stars explode, or why the explosions occur. In the absence of this information, the latitude for ad hoc assumptions is almost unlimited, and the theorists have been able to put enough of them together to construct an explanation that meets the current liberal standards of acceptability; that is, there is not enough information available to disprove it. It is assumed that, for some unspecified reason, large stars are unable to collapse quietly into white dwarfs in the manner of their smaller counterparts, and instead terminate their lives with explosions. Then it is further assumed that only the explosion products reach the self-gravitation stage.
Presumably the hypothetical critical density is somewhat above that of the hypothetical degenerate matter. As one investigator in this field remarks, “precision is not possible, because we do not know enough about the properties of matter at the ’supernuclear densities’ of a white dwarf.”201 But according to the astronomers’ theory, there must be a physical state intermediate between the white dwarf and the self-gravitating object. To meet this demand the theorists again call upon the remarkable property of the imaginary neutron, that of becoming stable whenever stability is required by a theory.
The general impression today is that the status of the pulsars as neutron stars is an established fact, although as Martin Harwit admits in a statement quoted earlier, the astronomers “have no theories that satisfactorily explain just how a massive star collapses to become a neutron star.”184 The problems involved in explaining the properties of the pulsars in terms of neutron stars are equally intractable. F. G. Smith, one of the leading investigators in the field, concedes, in another of the earlier references, that little is known about either the origin or the mechanism of the pulsars.183 Our development shows that the neutron star is a typical product of the imagination. The inability to define its properties is not surprising. The properties of non-existent entities are always difficult to define precisely. The pulsars are actually white dwarf stars produced by supernova explosions that are powerful enough to give some of their products speeds in the ultra high range. These result in outward translational motion, as well as the expansion into time that is characteristic of all white dwarfs.
“Of all the conceptions of the human mind from unicorns to gargoyles to the hydrogen bomb perhaps the most fantastic is the black hole… Like the unicorn and the gargoyle, the black hole seems much more at home in science fiction or in ancient myth than in the real universe.”201 This comment by K. S. Thorne, one of the enthusiastic searchers for evidence of these “fantastic” phenomena, is an eminently correct assessment of the situation. This author goes on to assert that, “Nevertheless, the laws of modern physics virtually demand that black holes exist.” This, too, is true, but only because the particular “laws of modern physics” to which he refers are not the laws of the solid and stable areas of physics. They are the laws of the phantom universe.
Without the self-gravitation concept, the theorists have no way of producing the extreme densities of the black holes. But once they invoke the aid of this concept they have no way of stopping it. Indeed, it must accelerate. The same imaginary process that accounts for the existence of black holes in the imaginary universe therefore limits these entities to no more than a transient existence. The black hole contracts to a point.
One of the recognized principles of logic, the branch of thought upon which scientific procedure is organized, is the reductio ad absurdum, in which the falsity of a proposition is established by demonstrating that a logical development of its consequences leads to an absurdity. The singularity is an absurdity. It is totally foreign to all that we actually know about the physical universe. It therefore follows that there is an error somewhere in the line of thought that produced this absurd result. The findings of this present investigation have now identified many such errors, but even without this new information it should be clear that every assumption in the lines of thought leading to the singularity is open to doubt until the situation is clarified.
The general assumption that the existence of black holes is at least quasi-permanent is, in effect, a denial of the validity of the singularity hypothesis. But those who have so much to say about the extraordinary properties of black holes are silent on the question as to why, or how, the contraction process should stop at this black hole stage. Such details, it seems, are unimportant in a universe of the imagination.
In the singularity hypothesis the observed limits of gravitational contraction are ignored, and this concept is carried to the point of absurdity. In the Big Bang hypothesis the same treatment is accorded to the concentration of energy. We find from observation that the greatest concentration of energy (matter and the motion of matter) in the material sector of the universe is in a giant spheroidal galaxy containing somewhere in the neighborhood of 1012 stars, and we have reasons to believe, even without the positive information derived from the theory of the universe of motion, that this is a limiting concentration imposed by natural laws. The Big Bang theory ignores this limitation, and again the result is an absurdity: a hypothetical event whose antecedents are completely unknown, whose mechanism cannot be explained, and whose results, as we will see in Chapter 30, do not agree with what we actually observe.
A comparison of the Big Bang theory (which describes the theoretical results of an extremely large explosion) with the astronomers’ theory of the origin of black holes in supernova events (which describes the theoretical results of large explosions) provides a good illustration of the inconsistencies so prevalent in the imaginary universe. In their study of the ultimate fate of large stars, the theorists have produced a hypothesis, based on the concept of self gravitation derived from Einstein’s theories, that specifies the results of a supernova explosion. If the same hypothesis is applied to the Big Bang explosion, the result of the Big Bang will be an immense black hole, or singularity, surrounded by a relatively small amount of material expanding in space. This obviously is not the universe that we observe, so the astronomers simply repudiate Einstein and his gravitational theories, so far as their application to the Big Bang is concerned, and invent another, very different, theory for this special situation.
This concludes the description of the principal features of the imaginary universe that modern theorists have constructed to explain the phenomena that they have not been able to bring within the bounds of the current understanding of the universe of physical reality. It is not feasible to examine the immense amount of detail into which the development of this imaginary universe has been carried-the elaborate computer-designed fictitious evolutionary paths of the stars, for instance, or the remarkably detailed (but somewhat discordant) accounts of what happens in the first few seconds after the hypothetical Big Bang, the comprehensive description of the insides of the imaginary black holes, and so on-but the points that have been covered in the preceding pages should be sufficient to indicate the extent of this imaginary universe, and the major part that it plays in present-day physics and astronomy.
It should also be noted that this description is limited to those items with which most astronomers agree, as matters now stand. The imaginations of the theorists are by no means restricted to the areas that have been covered here. A host of books and articles are currently explaining in great detail the hypothetical properties of other non-existent entities and processes. “Holes” are the current fad, and new kinds are appearing in profusion. Some are merely variations of the plain black hole-mini black holes, superholes, rotating black holes, expanding black holes, etc.—while others step out boldly with new concepts: white holes, for example, or even “wormholes.” The hypothetical conditions existing in the first minutes after the imaginary Big Bang are likewise high fashion at the moment, and are being called upon to provide explanations for the formation of galaxies, the origin of the background radiation, the production of those chemical elements that are not otherwise accounted for, and a variety of other items.
This is indeed a happy time for the theorists. They live in an era in which the universe of the imagination is the prevailing orthodoxy, and they are provided with a fertile field in which to work, one in which there are only a bare minimum of those inconvenient observed or measured facts that have been the downfall of so many of the cherished products of their less fortunate predecessors. The case in favor of the most typical features of the imaginary universe, such items as degenerate matter or singularities, is entirely negative; that is, it rests on the absence of any observational evidence that specifically disproves these hypotheses. Thus the farther one of these products of the imagination departs from reality, the easier it is to meet the requirements for acceptance by the scientific community.
One of the strangest features of the whole situation is that while the theorists are letting their imaginations run wild, and indulging in speculations of the most fantastic character, all in the name of science, they are religiously observing a taboo that prevents them from investigating the one hitherto unexplored area of the real universe in which the answers to many of their problems can be found: the region of speeds greater than that of light. There is nothing irrational or illogical about such speeds. Indeed, up to the beginning of the present century there was no suggestion that there might be any inherent limitation on speed. But Einstein has laid down an interdict that prohibits the exploration of the consequences of motion at speeds greater than that of light, and since a challenge to this ukase is unthinkable in the present-day scientific community, the astronomers are barred from even speculating about the immense field of physical existence at speeds greater than that of light, the field to which the entire latter half of this present volume has been devoted. Current physical and astronomical theory stops dead at the speed of light. Inductive reasoning, or exercise of the imagination, beyond this point are, in effect, prohibited.
The construction of the astronomers’ imaginary universe has been a gigantic task because of the never-ending revisions, re-adjustments, and corrections that have been required by the new information continually being produced by the work of the observers and experimenters. Those who have participated in the undertaking are very proud of what has been accomplished, and those who are now chronicling their endeavors characterize them in superlatives, such as the following from Paul Davies, referring specifically to the elucidation of the hypothetical details of the epoch immediately following the imaginary Big Bang:
The study of this violent primeval epoch must rank as one of the most exciting intellectual adventures of modern science.311
No doubt this task has been exciting for those who have been engaged in carrying it out, and in this sense it is an “adventure,” but the primary aim of science is to increase our knowledge of nature, and from a scientific standpoint the psychological reactions of the investigators are irrelevant. The only legitimate scientific criterion by which the feats of the imagination involved in constructing the imaginary universe can be judged is whether or not they have, in fact, added to our knowledge of nature. They certainly have not done so directly, since false information is not an addition to knowledge. Perhaps these excursions into the land of fantasy may have stimulated some thinking along lines that eventually produced some items of real knowledge. However, it is more probable that the net result of the effort expended on the investigation of the properties of non-existent entities and phenomena has been to obstruct the advance of knowledge, rather than to facilitate it. As pointed out in the discussion of this subject in The Neglected Facts of Science, “It would appear that the main purpose served by inventing a theory is to enable the scientific community to avoid the painful necessity of admitting that they have no answer to an important problem.”312
In any event, there is no longer any need for a science fiction approach to astronomy. The development of the theory of the universe of motion has provided a solid foundation of positive knowledge and a comprehensive theoretical framework that enables fitting all of the observed phenomena into their proper places in the grand design.