Just because something can happen does not mean that it will.
For example, the wind can blow a stack of papers off a desk into a disorganized pile on the floor but it can also pick up it up and organized them on a desk.
However, common sense tells most of us that we should not open a window and wait for a breeze to come in to pick up our report and reorganize for us even though it is mathematically possible to define such an event.
However, many physicists assume that if mathematics predicts an event can happen it will even if its occurrence does not agree with our common sense understanding of the process it is defining.
For example in Chapter 5 of Kip S. Thorne book Blacks Holes & Time Warps “Implosion is Compulsory” he describes how Oppenheimer and Snyder predicted that a star with a mass of 2.0 times greater that of our sun must implode at the end of their lives to a singularity or a dimensionless point in space based on a solution of Einstein’s field equations.
We do not disagree with the fact that based on Einstein’s field equations it is possible for the mass of a star to implode to form in a singularity however; we disagree with those that say that this must occur.
Common sense is based on humans ability observe the properties of their environment and to conceptually extrapolate them to new ones.
For example, observations of our environment tell most of us that it is highly unlikely that the wind will pick a report up off the floor and reorganize it on a desk for us even though it is mathematically possible.
Similarly, observations of our environment tell most of us that it is unlikely the mass of a star can be concentrated in a one-dimensional point in space even though it is mathematically possible.
Why then do some scientists tell us not only that it can but must happen?
The reason is that many physicists have a tendency to focus only on the mechanistic attributes of mathematical equations defining a theory and not on their conceptual implications.
As mentioned earlier, many physicists believe the implosion of a star into a black hole is possible based on a solution of Einstein’s field equations. Additionally they tell us the gravitational forces inside of a black hole are so great that they compress its mass to a one dimensional point where the relativistic field equations that the define their creation cannot be apply.
Physicists have never made an observation in any environment that violates Einstein’s laws. Yet, they use his field equations derived from his theories to predict an environment where his laws do not apply. Even though Black holes may exist because they do not violate Einstein’s laws common sense should tell us that a singularity probably doesnâ€™t in part because the equations that define its formation of cannot be applied to them.
(Please see the article â€œAn alternative to a singularity?â€ Aug 15, 2008 for a common sense interpretation of what occurs at the center of a black hole based on Einstein’s theories.)
We are not saying that a star cannot collapse to form a black hole but we are saying is physicists should use some common sense and portion of their time looking at the conceptual aspects of a theory instead of only on the mechanistic attributes of its equations before using them to make predictions.
Physicists should remember “just because something can happen does not mean that it must”
Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2008