The classic text by Frederick Engels, Dialectics of Nature, is an application of the principles of Marxist philosophy to scientific discovery. Engels proves that it is dialectical materialism that is best suited to explain the natural phenomena observed by scientific experiment.
Next month will also see the publication of an article in the quarterly In Defence of Marxism magazine that follows in Engels’ footsteps with a Marxist analysis of the field of cosmology.
The article, written by Marxist author Adam Booth, argues that the flaws, contradictions and unanswered questions in cosmology are due to the mechanical and idealistic approach to theoretical physics adopted by most scientists today.
One area that is tackled in the article is the recent publication of what appears to be a map of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, that is said to be evidence of the inflationary theory that describes the formation of the universe after the Big Bang.
Marxists reject the crude idea of the Big Bang on the grounds that something cannot come from nothing – the universe cannot have been created out of nowhere. Where did the matter that makes up the universe come from? Where did the energy that caused it to expand and develop come from? It cannot have come from nowhere. Neither the Big Bang, nor the inflationary theory, provide answers to these questions.
It is a coincidence then, not of content but of timing, that this week rumours have been spreading around the scientific community that the CMB radiation evidence for inflation is flawed.
It is known that the CMB radiation map could actually be depicting something other than what it has been claimed to represent. Adam Falkowski of CERN has suggested that the team who produced the map has now admitted that the gravitational waves depicted were in fact caused by something else – not by inflation.
One of the principal researchers on the team however denied that this was the case, although he did accept that it didn’t constitute proof of the inflationary theory until other evidence backed it up.
Either way, the precarious validity of scientific discoveries reflect the wider problem highlighted by Adam Booth in describing the crisis in cosmology. He says that evidence for many current cosmological theories is thin or non-existent as they are based entirely on abstract mathematical models, meaning that what little evidence is produced is extremely weak and inconclusive,
In the case of the CMB radiation, not only could the map be depicting something other than gravitational waves, but it would also not really prove the inflationary theory because it can’t explain where the energy for these waves came from.
The alleged fudging of evidence relating to the CMB radiation is unsurprising given this weakness of the theory as a whole – a weakness that is easily understood from a dialectical materialist point of view.
If these scientists were to adopt this view, and take on the lessons from Adam Booth’s article on the Crisis in Cosmology, they too could have the advantage of foresight over astonishment.
by Ben Gliniecki
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