We are now ready to assess the scientific understanding of the transmission of light through space. For the purpose of illustration, we will listen in on a meeting between a representative of the Universal Construction Company and a materialist who wishes to build a universe just like this one.
Mr. UCC: Good afternoon, Dr. M. I understand you are interested in having us build a universe for you. Perhaps you could tell me a little about your needs.
Dr. M: Well, one of the most important features of this universe is electromagnetic energy. We need to transfer electromagnetic energy from body to body, while the bodies are in motion.
Mr. UCC: Alright. Can you say exactly how you want this transfer to take place? Do you have a functional specification that I can take back to the shop?
Dr. M: Yes, here it is.
Light shall always be propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body. The propagation shall be via an electromagnetic wave, as specified by Maxwell's equations.
I can give you the Maxwell spec to take with you. Here is a schematic of the waveform.
Mr. UCC: Ah. Interesting. This is different. Well, I do have a couple of questions that I know the engineers will ask about. I see in the schematic that the strengths of the electric and magnetic forces--the two fields--rise and fall together. Can you tell me how they are kept in synchrony?
Dr. M: No, I can't. I mean, the interaction is per the Maxwell equations, but we don't know how to make it happen.
Mr. UCC: I see. Well, perhaps you can tell me about what happens here, where I've drawn a green arrow. Both fields decay to zero strength, then immediately begin to grow in strength. Why doesn't the wave cease to exist at the zero point? Usually we see some provision for storage and replenishment in systems like this, but I see that your space is empty. To be honest, I've never seen a system that vibrates with nothing to vibrate. How did you want us to implement this specification?
Dr. M: We really don't have anything in mind.
Mr. UCC: I see. Is there a design specification?
Dr. M: No. The truth is that we have no idea how all this can be done. We thought you might help us with that. In fact, I haven't mentioned the really interesting features of this universe yet. We need for distance to contract, and time to advance independently on moving bodies, according to their velocities in relation to other bodies. That will be done according the the Lorentz transform; the equations are in the functional spec. And, we need for mass to be convertible to energy. That equation is in the functional spec, too. It's pretty simple: e = mc2.
Mr. UCC: Hmm. You know, Dr. M, UCC is more of a build-to-print shop than a design house. I'll have a talk with our people, but don't be surprised if we no-quote this job.
[End of interview.]
The section on the transmission of light through space ends with the following thesis. The thesis is stated in general terms, though at the moment it is supported only with regard to the transmission of light through space. It remains to be seen if the thesis will stand after the entire section on the operation of the universe has been completed.
While modern science has succeeded to a remarkable degree in discerning and documenting the patterns of behavior of the physical universe, it finds itself unable to conceive a theory of physics that can account for that behavior.
Therefore, the proposition that the physical universe is the sum total of all that exists cannot be supported on physical grounds only.
Likewise, the proposition that there is a Creator and Superintendent of the universe cannot be refuted on physical grounds only.