Antenna Guru

RF is not 'black magic' – It's Synthesis, Optimization, Analysis and Realization.

The Myth of Matter, p. 5

Empirical Evidence

Roughly four hundred years after Wycliffe’s heretical postulate that matter could not be created or destroyed, Antoine Lavoisier restated it in the context of chemistry. The masses of a chemical reaction’s constituents equal the total mass of its products. (Lavoisier was later guillotined during the French Revolution.) Lavoisier’s theory was expanded by John Dalton, who (very quietly) put forth the idea that the mechanism by which gases where absorbed in water might be explained by atoms. Dalton’s ideas were refined by Avogadro. Lavoisier’s work in chemistry culminated in Dmitri Mendeleev’s invention of the periodic table. Mendeleev even predicted new elements would be found to fill in gaps in his chemical table, which was based on atomic weights.

fig. 1. This timeline shows ‘atomists’, along with natural scientists and other historical characters. (copyright- Mark W. Ingalls)

Look now at the timeline showing atomists with other historical characters, fig. 1. The first thing that we notice is… nothing. There is a huge stretch of time where people evidently didn’t think about matter at all – about sixteen-hundred years. Next, we notice that the so-called “Middle Ages” are not in the middle at all, and they certainly were not “Dark”; they were more like the “Dawn” of modern thinking. Finally, starting with Newton, Lavoisier, and Dalton there seems to have been a fair stampede of scientists and their ideas falling one over the other.

The empirical evidence, not persuasive arguments, settled the question of matter’s essence, (if only for a short time) as we shall see. In other words, the truth of atomism was established by repeated observations of natural phenomena. ‘Ultimate Reality’ was better understood by supposing atoms existed than by denying that they did.


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