> Can anyone really know that something is impossible without knowing
> all that is possible ? Perhaps,the only thing that is impossible is
> to know that something is impossible of course with one
> exception .
This is always a difficult issue for many non-scientists to accept: even
though we don't know all there is to know, how can we make sweeping
claims about certain things not being possible?
The basis of science is that the universe operates according to basic
physical laws and that we humans can zero in on an understanding of what
those laws are through a repeated process of empirical observation,
theorizing, experimentation and refinement.
Our understandings of those basic physical laws are expressed as
scientific theories. It's true that every scientific theory, no matter
how widely accepted, is potentially subject to falsification by new
evidence, requiring that the existing theory be modified or discarded in
light of the new evidence.
So at a certain level, your view actually has merit. But not much.
When a particular theory has withstood the most sustained, clever and
diverse attacks that scores of theoretical and experimental scientists
working over many centuries can throw at it, and when that theory has
been widely applied by engineers in a wide range of devices that simply
wouldn't work if the theory were significantly wrong, then we can begin
to put a great deal of confidence in that particular theory and call it
a physical *law*.
While our theories evolve over time, zeroing in on the truth, the
underlying laws themselves are invariant. No basic physical constant has
ever been observed to change with time (although we've made increasingly
accurate measurements.) No basic physical law has ever been observed to
change over time. Nor has any basic physical law ever been observed to
change with location, or with your angular orientation with respect to
A remarkably talented mathematician named Emmy Nether proved that these
observed invariances of physical laws logically implies the conservation
of certain quantities such as energy, linear momentum and angular
momentum. The conclusions are inescapable -- *if* physical laws do not
change with time, *then* mass and energy are conserved. *If* the
physical laws do not depend on your position in the universe, *then*
linear momentum is always conserved. And if the physical laws are
invarient with respect to rotation, then angular momentum must be
conserved. There's no escape.
But your average free energy enthusiast knows little of this. Because
they rarely have much scientific training, they are ignorant of the
enormous amount of work that has already gone into establishing and
verifying what we call "physical laws". Nor do they understand the
necessarily enormous implications of a given law being substantially wrong.
Non-scientists are often annoyed or offended by what they perceive as
the "closed-mindedness" of a scientist quickly dismissing certain claims
out of hand. But when the scientist understands the necessary
implications of the claim -- which non-scientists often do not -- and
knows that those implications would certainly have been observed already
were they true, then he's not being closed-minded at all. He's simply
applying the scientific method by discarding a claim whose implications
are incompatible with the known facts.
This is, by the way, one of the surest ways to recognize pseudoscience
-- when the claimant refuses to consider *all* of the logical
implications of his claim against *all* of the factual evidence. This is
especially apparent among creationists and adherents to "intelligent
design" (i.e., Creationism 2.0).
It would certainly help the public understanding and appreciation of
science were scientists to take the time to explain exactly how they
reach the conclusions that they do, but this is not always possible. A
good scientist is not necessarily a good teacher. But we've got to do
better. It's obvious that public scientific illiteracy in this country
is rapidly approaching a tipping point, and something needs to be done
soon before we slide into another dark ages.
> In addition, consider the earth . For how many years has it continued
> to rotate ? How about Billions .
> I am not sure if it feeds off of some energy which keeps it in
> rotation as I am not a physicist but it sure seems like a perpetual
> motion machine to me .
Actually, the earth once rotated much faster than it does now, because
much of its energy has since been transferred to the moon through the
tides. We can actually see that effect through careful measurements of
the length of the day and the distance to the moon.
But if we ignored the effects of tides, the earth could rotate forever
without being a perpetual motion machine. A "perpetual motion machine"
as the term is commonly used is a device that can keep moving forever
*and* produce energy for something else. If the earth keeps all its
energy, it can rotate forever without violating any physical laws. In
fact, it would *have* to rotate forever to *avoid* violating the first
law of thermodynamics, the conservation of mass/energy.
> Perpetual motion would be possible if you could eliminate friction .
> For the time being it is impossible until someone makes it possible .
> Perhaps someone already has .
Perpetual motion in the sense of a machine producing endless power is
and will always be impossible, because any load on the machine would be
indistinguishable from friction -- like friction, it would slow the