The Dream Universe Returns

Earlier this year, Doubleday published The Dream Universe: How Fundamental Physics Lost Its Way by David Lindley, The book looks at the development of physics out of Plato’s metaphysics to a more evidence and mathematics based approach (though Plato’s view revolved around math as well), and, most recently back to speculations that border on metaphysics. Obviously the author’s position is that this is a bad thing – the opposite of what most modern day occultists believe. The posted descriptions say:

“A vivid and captivating narrative about how modern science broke free of ancient philosophy, and how theoretical physics is returning to its unscientific roots

“In the early seventeenth century Galileo broke free from the hold of ancient Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. He drastically changed the framework through which we view the natural world when he asserted that we should base our theory of reality on what we can observe rather than pure thought. In the process, he invented what we would come to call science. This set the stage for all the breakthroughs that followed–from Kepler to Newton to Einstein. But in the early twentieth century when quantum physics, with its deeply complex mathematics, entered into the picture, something began to change. Many physicists began looking to the equations first and physical reality second. As we investigate realms further and further from what we can see and what we can test, we must look to elegant, aesthetically pleasing equations to develop our conception of what reality is. As a result, much of theoretical physics today is something more akin to the philosophy of Plato than the science to which the physicists are heirs. In The Dream Universe, Lindley asks what is science when it becomes completely untethered from measurable phenomena?”

Here’s a NY Times review of the book:

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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