Return to:Title Page
Ardue Site Plan
Among the questions to be raised and partly answered are:
A new outlook occurred when it was first appreciated that many processes are irreversible, so that every physical system undergoes certain unidirectional changes. Such a system must have one form or state at its beginning and tend steadily towards another terminal form or state.
With this new understanding of the nature of the physical world, questions about the origin and evolution of the galaxies acquired a new meaning. It was realized that these, like all other objects, must be in a process of unidirectional change, so it became natural to want to know as much as possible about the beginning of the process as well as about its development and all subsequent states. In short, we are today no longer satisfied merely to observe the objects that are revealed by our telescopes; we want also to explain them and to discover their past and future histories.
Every one of the nine possible combinations from the A and B lists that occur at the beginning of Chapter 3 is speculative, though some may regard some of them as more speculative than others. Any such judgements would, however, be merely subjective and depend on the temperament of the person concerned. On an objective assessment, one cannot grade the nine combinations into those that are more and those that are less speculative. But the question arises whether, having made one's choice among these nine possibilities, one will need to speculate further. Can one infer from one of the combinations, without the need for any additional hypotheses, a cosmological model that resembles actuality?
In the rest of this book, I shall develop the cosmological model that one infers if one adopts the philosophy expressed by what I have called the Principle of Minimum Assumption, the principle according to which the minimum assumption is always the true generalization about the physicist's world. To meet this principle, the model must be based on the combination of A3 with B3, on the Hypothesis of the Symmetrical Impermanence of Matter.
It will be found that this model does seem to resemble actuality, whereas every other one, including the model based on the combination of A3 with Bl, fails completely.
I have to say 'it seems to', for I cannot exclude the possibility that there may be errors in the reasoning — which will, of course, have to be checked for these. But if there are errors, they will be of the kind that arises from faulty logic and mathematics, not of the kind that arises from indulgence in unjustifiable speculation.
Let me express the task in a different way. It is to show that all the facts about which the above questions are asked could be discovered with the help of a sound philosophy and accurate reasoning by the inhabitants of a planet permanently enveloped in cloud.