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Why the Catt Anomaly must be ignored and why Theory C must disappear from the record.

Men nearly always follow the tracks made by others and proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models. So a prudent man must always follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been outstanding. If his own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of greatness about it.

I say, therefore, that in completely new states, where the prince himself is a newcomer, the difficulty he encounters in maintaining his rule is more or less serious insofar as he is more or less able. And since the very fact that from being a private citizen he has become a prince presupposes either ability or good fortune, it would seem that one or other of these should to some extent lessen many of the difficulties encountered.

Men who become rulers by prowess similar to theirs acquire their principalities with difficulty but hold them with ease. The difficulties they encounter in acquiring their principalities arise partly because of the new institutions and laws they are forced to introduce in founding the state and making themselves secure. It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to handle, more doubtful or success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changes in a state's constitution. The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new. Their support is lukewarm partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the existing laws on their side, and partly because men are generally incredulous, never really trusting new things unless they have tested them by experience. In consequence, whenever those who oppose the changes can do so, they attack vigorously, and the defence made by the others is only lukewarm. So both the innovator and his friends come to grief. But to discuss the subject thoroughly we must distinguidh between innovators who stand alone and those who depend on others, that is between those who to achieve their purposes can force the issue and those who must use persuasion. In the second case, they always come to grief, having achieved nothing; when, however, they depend on their own resources and can force the issue, then they are seldom endangered. That is why all armed prophets have conquered, and unarmed prophets have come to grief. Besides what I have said already, the populace is by nature fickle; it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to confirm them in that persuasion. - Machiavelli, The Prince, 1514, pub. Penguin 1995, p17

Machiavelli (M) discusses the procedure by which a Prince secures and holds a country. The difficulty in applying Machiavelli's theories to the attempted intrusion of a new scientific theory into a scientific Establishment is that there are now more parties involved. Whereas M's sole usurper was the would-be Prince, in our case the Principality, or Scientific Establishment, faces both (1) the New Theory and (2) the Author of the new theory. Obviously, M's nobles represent the professors in our case, and M's 'people' represent the students in our case (p30).

Let us try to modify Machiavelli so that his theories map onto our case.


- 2Why the Catt Anomaly must be ignored and why Theory C must disappear from the record.

Men nearly always follow the tracks made by others and proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models. So a prudent man must always follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been outstanding. If his own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of gratness about it.

I say, therefore, that in completely new theories, where the discoverer himself is a newcomer, the difficulty he encounters in maintaining his theory is more or less serious insofar as he is more or less able. And since the very fact that from being a private citizen he has discovered a new theory presupposes either ability or good fortune, it would seem that one or other of these should to some extent lessen many of the difficulties encountered.

Men who become rulers by prowess similar to theirs acquire their principalities with difficulty but hold them with ease. The difficulties they encounter in acquiring their principalities arise partly because of the new institutions and laws they are forced to introduce in founding the state and making themselves secure. It should be borne in mind that there is nothing more difficult to handle, more doubtful or success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changes in a state's constitution. The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new theory. Their support is lukewarm partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the existing patronage on their side, and partly because men are generally incredulous, never really trusting new things unless they have tested them by experience. In consequence, whenever those who oppose the changes can do so, they attack vigorously, and the defence made by the others is only lukewarm. So both the innovator and his friends come to grief. But to discuss the subject thoroughly we must distinguish between innovators who stand alone and those who depend on others, that is between those who to achieve their purposes can force the issue and those who must use persuasion. In the second case, they always come to grief, having achieved nothing; when, however, they depend on their own resources and can force the issue, then they are seldom endangered. That is why all armed prophets have conquered, and unarmed prophets have come to grief. Besides what I have said already, the populace is by nature fickle; it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to confirm them in that persuasion. [That is why the best argument for Theory C would be for Catt to get Secker or Pepper fired.]

- with apologies to Machiavelli, The Prince, 1514, pub. Penguin 1995, p17

We can now see that the disaster for Modern Physics, and for science in general, is that hierarchy and status has been bundled up with established theory. If only academics could have acted as did the late Tom Ivall, the revered editor of Wireless World, and seen themselves as administrators, or referees, overseeing the cut and thrust of scientific advance and argument, then they would have been able to survive the advent of Theory C or the Catt Anomaly. However, the first few pages of The Prince convince me that as presently constructed, a new theory can only take its proper place in today's academia by a process of destruction and devastation. The parallels with M's analysis are too close and the resulting auguries are devastating.

This analysis complements T S Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions., 1970 edn. In particular, read p93; p96, 98. Progress is by way of destruction. But Kuhn limits to destruction of theory, not of people as well, which is what we here conclude is necessary.

The deep conclusion is that research is incompatible with teaching. Research has to be open to new ideas, whereas salaried, examination-directed teaching has to maintain appearances; the pretence that the teacher knows what he is talking about, and is up to date.

This discussion goes far beyond electromagnetic theory or misconduct by Pepper, the then Master of Trinity, McEwan, Secker and a whole host of others in the Academic Establishment. For a longer Role of Dishonour, read The Catt Anomaly, on this website. We have to conclude that before a new theory can take its rightful place within today's academia, there has to be wholesale devastation of that academic Establishment. According to M's analysis, the old theory brings security and also patronage which the new theory does not. This political fact has even infiltrated into the (pseudo) philosophy of Modern Physics and thence of the whole of today's scientific Establishment. It is called Instrumentalism, and is opposed by Popper (Conjectures and Refutations, RKP 1969 edn. P100). They argue that no theory is true; that the only value of a theory is in its practical results. By now, we have to realise that from their point of view, the most important practical result is not the correct prediction of experimental result, but the protection of their incomes, promotion and prestige. A new theory that they hardly understand offers them none of these, and, as M tells us, they will fight it almost to the death.

I do so wish that people would stop telling me to continue to be polite to these shysters. After all, they are taking salary while blocking scientific advance and misleading their students. I stayed polite for the first decade or two. Ivor Catt, 30jan99

 

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