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Old August 3 2013, 01:21 AM   #16
Metryq
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Libby visits Copenhagen

Without causality, there is no science.

He started to disconnect his gadget.

Lazarus said hastily, "Hold it, Andy! We aren't even outside the orbit of Mercury yet. Why put on the brakes?"

'Why, this won't stop us. We have acquired velocity; we will keep it."

Lazarus pulled at his cheek and stared. "Ordinarily I would agree with you. First Law of Motion. But with this pseudospeed I'm not so sure. We got it for nothing and we haven't paid for it—in energy, I mean. You seem to have declared a holiday with respect to inertia; when the holiday is over, won't all that free speed go back where it came from?"

"I don't think so," Libby answered. "Our velocity isn't 'pseudo' anything; it's as real as velocity can be. You are attempting to apply verbal anthropomorphic logic to a field in which it is not pertinent. You would not expect us to be transported instantaneously back to the lower gravitational potential from which we started, would you?"

"Back to where you hooked in your space drive? No, we've moved."

"And we'll keep on moving. Our newly acquired gravitational potential energy of greater height above the Sun is no more real than our present kinetic energy of velocity. They both exist."

Lazarus looked baffled. The expression did not suit him. "I guess you've got me, Andy. No matter how I slice it, we seemed to have picked up energy from somewhere. But where? When I went to school, they taught me to honor the Flag, vote the straight party ticket, and believe in the law of conservation of energy. Seems like you've violated it. How about it?"

"Don't worry about it," suggested Libby. "The so-called law of conservation of energy was merely a working hypothesis, unproved and unprovable, used to describe gross phenomena. Its terms apply only to the older, dynamic concept of the world. In a plenum conceived as a static grid of relationships, a 'violation' of that 'law' is nothing more startling than a discontinuous function, to be noted and described. That's what I did. I saw a discontinuity in the mathematical model of the aspect of mass-energy called inertia. I applied it. The mathematical model turned out to be similar to the real world. That was the only hazard, really—one never knows that a mathematical model is similar to the real world until you try it."

"Yeah, yeah, sure, you can't tell the taste till you bite it— but, Andy, I still don't see what caused it!" He turned toward Ford. "Do you, Slayton?"

Ford shook his head. "No. I would like to know . . . but I doubt if I could understand it."

"You and me both. Well, Andy?"

Now Libby looked baffled. "But, Lazarus, causality has nothing to do with the real plenum. A fact simply is. Causality is merely an old-fashioned-postulate of a pre-scientific philosophy."
—METHUSELAH'S CHILDREN by Robert Heinlein
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