Gravity, climate change, and other thoughts
Monte Heil (Daily Bee, Dec. 29) criticizes me for borrowing from internet sources when discussing scientific theories in my letter of Dec. 4. However, he acknowledges “there are dozens of websites which contain very similar language.” So he criticizes me for using terminology that scientists commonly use to describe a theory. Nevertheless, I was remiss for not providing my source which was “What is a Theory?” found on the American Museum of Natural History website.
Mr. Heil opines, “If everyone is thinking alike about something, then someone isn't thinking.” This is taken almost word-for-word from General George Patton's notable statement, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” Mr. Heil failed to provide the original source for his poorly-disguised rewrite of Patton's statement. Yet he accuses me of plagiarism and intellectual dishonesty for not specifying my source. Since he identifies as a Christian, I remind him that the Bible strongly condemns hypocrisy in Luke 6:41-42.
Mr. Heil states the obvious, i.e., “gravity is not a theory.” Gravity is an observed natural phenomenon. Specific theories are explanations for why/how gravity works. If we take his suggestion and jump off a cliff to test gravity, Newton's theory of universal gravitation can be used to mathematically explain why we fall. However, Newton's theory has limitations and has been largely supplanted by Einstein's more comprehensive general theory of relativity. In its present form, Einstein's theory is incompatible with quantum mechanics. Physicists are now working to develop a unified theory that integrates them both.