Tuesday, March 22, 2016

From Physics to Opinion ed 3/23/16




            One of the challenging features of the theory of a personally-private publicly-connected people is discovered-physics as the basis for civic morality. “Civic” indicates connections because people live the same years in the same place; personally private, they are publicly connected. To the extent of human understanding, physics is the basis of everything, including opinion. This could not have been thought before, because humankind had not understood evolution enough to make this idea understandable to most of the people. The path from physics to opinion spans 13.8 billion years in this universe, and we will explain the key steps with references for further understanding.
            In tradition, religion seemed more reliable than science, essentially because science was held by opinion to be mutable, whereas what humans could rationally specify was opined unchangeable. Just as a man's name might be John, personal gods existed. Science is the study of evidence, and the common definition of “physics” is “a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions”[i] We define it as the object of the study of evidence: reality. We know from Einstein’s general theory of relativity that energy equals mass times the square of the speed of light; further, “it is assumed that spacetime is curved by the presence of matter (energy)”.[ii] In 2016, humankind understands that physics not only must be discovered, but it continues to unfold, and the veracity of religious doctrine improves as it conforms to understood physics.
Space-time is the four-dimensional relationship of length, width, height and time. Einstein’s general theory of relativity came closer to being a law of physics on February 11, 2016, when gravitational waves were detected at LIGO and publicly reported. [iii] Einstein continually debated science and religion, and at such a conference stated that the laws of ethics come from the same source as the laws of science.[iv] What would he would say about our use of “physics” as the basis of ethics (and science)? He might want to review discoveries since 1955 before responding, but I guess he would agree that biology is a branch of physics--in reality conforms to the laws of physics.
Humankind understands that energy, mass and space-time emerged at the big bang[v], 13.8 billion years ago.[vi] [vii] Perhaps physics emerged from only energy in some form, but humankind knows neither the answer nor whether “why?” is a valid question. However, soon after the big bang, hydrogen and helium emerged; then star precursors and the first elements; then the solar system and the sun; then earth; then biology and life and invention; then placental mammals and awareness; then homo species with thought and discovery; then grammar, opinion and its progenies--philosophy/science and religion; [viii] then the god theory--monotheism; then Western thought; then Magna Carta; then Christian invasion of the Americas; then Machiavelli; then Blackstone; then the preamble to the constitution for the USA; then the US Civil War; then Einstein; then Hubble; then radio waves from the Big Bang; then LIGO.
A person can read a big story of origins of life in the Bible. John Locke, d. 1704, opined that laws must be grounded, and Biblical hermeneutics is the authority.[ix] The earth was the center of the universe, flat, thousands of years old, and slavery was divinely founded.  Humankind has, through 2016, discovered and understands many realities not easily explained by Bible interpretation.
The Bible follows the god hypothesis, which physics neither proves nor disproves, yet no god theory, comforting and hopeful as it may be holds up under evidence. That does not mean that a person’s hopes for the future are less significant than other personal preferences that do no real harm. By the same token, I must maintain my opinion about that personal preference for every no-real-harm person: each person's no-harm god is publicly acceptable. But the details of the origins of life humankind understands are reviewed under “The Physics of the Universe,” for example, online,[x] and connected citizens owe it to themselves to know about and understand physics respecting the realities that emerge from it. Opinion that is established with integrity is needed only when the objective truth is not known.
I hope the reader has grasped the stretch from physics, which emerged 13.8 billion years ago to opinion. A person needs well-earned opinion when both 1) the objective truth is unknown and 2) he or she needs to take action based on the evidence. If no action is needed, use of opinion is arbitrary. For example, a person facing bodily harm should defend self. But if a person harms someone on suspicion of intent to harm, the first party may stand accused. The most important purpose of this essay is to describe the 13.8 billion-year path from physics to opinion.
 
 
But how are a civic people connected and how is physics involved?
Two not so recent physics discoveries are critical to a civic people. One is DNA, which everyone takes for granted in connecting a criminal with the crime. The timeline from DNA discovery to its forensic use extends from 1866 to 1995 [xi] so it has been practical for three decades. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has a similar timeline, coming into use in the 1990s. MtDNA shows that everyone alive is a descendant from one woman who perhaps had more than one mate and lived about 150,000 years ago,[xii] or about 5% back on the timeline of homo species. Once again, this is no Bible story; it is evidence that political wars are wars between kinfolks. Unlike the common acceptance and utilization of DNA, mtDNA is repressed information among We the People of the United States. Why? Perhaps faulty tradition; A civic people should put aside faulty tradition so as to make the most of life being lived here and now and to create a way of living that is inviting to children and children to be born.
But a civic people should not let go of a good traditional connector: safety and security. John Locke wrote to opine: “. . . the power of a magistrate over a subject may be distinguished from that of a father over his children, a master over his servant, a husband over his wife, and a lord over his slave.” Thus, “subjects” were “the people” who were willing to belong to the “civil society.” He asserts the people’s intent “to have that safety and security in civil society, for which it was first instituted, and for which only they entered into it.” And if the magistrates would try
. . . to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society.
Locke seems to require “safety and security” respecting property, lives, liberty, and estates. We think property and estates expresses modern “assets.”   
            In 2016 America, persons are not subjects. Most citizens were born here, and have neither tacitly nor contractually agreed to a civil society. And political regimes since 1787 have not held to any obligations to the people, changing governance according to the regime in power, knowing the people are preoccupied with living. We think Locke's "civil society" is morally required to inform each newborn about the benefits and obligations of the society. In the three decades it takes for a newborn to acquire understanding for an  authentic choice to be a member of the civil society or not, he or she is morally in a "natural state," in Locke's words, which I express only as a basis for discussion. Merely writing these thoughts prompts the idea of requiring citizens to make a declaration of intent to belong to the civil society, perhaps at age thirty, some five years after the body has completed the physical brain. Such a requirement would clarify the USA's obligation to inform the newborn.
It seems plain that since 1789, when the USA began operating under Blackstone[xiii] and a god, that the regimes have not qualified to remain in power according to Locke’s opinion. In the first place, the regimes maintain the politician-priest partnership pointed out as ruinous for the people by Nicolo Machiavelli.[xiv] I paraphrase: the politician-priest partnership can live high on the hog and abuse the people any way they like; the people neither rebel nor leave, trusting that each one's personal god will end “all men’s misery” (borrowing a phrase from Locke). Wonderfully, a connected people of the United States can have gods of hypothetical skin-colors red, white, black, yellow, brown, grey and others to represent the kinfolk: Perhaps the political reign under Chapter XI Machiavellianism can be broken at last. Perhaps future politicians will conform to a publicly connected, personally private people.
Taking the politicians out of office and electing new ones has not worked. The alternative is to fulfill Abraham Lincoln’s statement against reliance on gods: “Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?”[xv]
A civic people of the United States proposes to collaborate for safety and security in public connections so that each person may pursue personal/private liberty according to no-harm personal opinion. We call this personal/private liberty with civic well-being (PLwCWB). In civic well-being, a person’s personal god or none is a private concern while safety and security is a public matter. Each person’s liberty is important to every civic person. Civic morality is determined by discovered physics, and the interrelated first principles comprise physics-based ethics. When a civic people have not discovered an emergence from physics yet action is needed, rational opinion that is consistent with the theory of physics-based ethics is applied. Where necessary only, laws are legislated. The transition from opinion-based law to physics-based law is carried out deliberately so as to lessen misery and loss, quickly or slowly according to the injustice that is discerned. A civic people is a private, connected people, and some who are disconnected, such as criminals and other harmful actors are constrained, as always.
We think the literal preamble to the constitution for the USA is the greatest political sentence on earth, except that its subject impracticably expresses the entire population. Each person in his or her state collaborates to manage the state, and together the people authorize and limit the United States of America. However, by tradition, people claim “we, the people,” never understanding that the subject is We the People of the United States (the people of their individual states). Most people consider the preamble a secular (not religious) sentence, whereas it is civic—neutral to religion. We see nine goals and consider the connection to personal posterity as the most overlooked goal. Today’s adults, including the President, seem happy to load the nation’s children with debt and domestic conflict. We propose that each person who wants to be of a civic people update the preamble for their 2016 living--an update each person would want to trust and commit to: paraphrase it; understand its goals and update them without losing each essence. Then collaborate to create a future possibility politicians must conform to under a connected people.
          We work for a way of living that is inviting to children and children to be born. We think citizens can become connected in public life so as to mutually provide the safety and security each person needs during every decade of a full life, pursuing the liberty they want rather than the dictates of an administrative state. Like Locke, we think life, liberty, and assets must be protected from the magistrate’s harm.
 
Note: I have needed to start this message for a few weeks, and it was motivated on 3/22/16 by dialogue at www.facebook.com/phil.beaver.52/posts/10154047686378599?notif_t=like.
  
Copyright©2016 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included. Revised 3/23/2016


[iii] Online at https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/news/ligo20160211 (scroll down for the text).
[viii] Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, 1992. There’s probably a table online, but I did not find it.
[ix] John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, 1690.
[x] “The Beginnings of Life,” online at http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_life.html .
[xiii] William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-1769, the commonly cited basis of many American laws and opinion about the meaning of the constitution for the USA.