Modern science started with the first technological instruments that were invented in the European Renaissance: the printer and the telescope.
Printers allowed people to quickly distribute the Copernic’s book that changed our traditional conception of the Universe, locating the sun and not the earth in the center of our solar system.
The first telescopes allowed more accurate measures than ever of planetary movements, enabling Kepler to deduce his three laws of planetary movements, currently considered basic fundamentals of astrophysics and aerospace science.
Since old times western people had thought that the movement of celestial bodies was circular. It was believed that the circle was the most perfect thing in the universe, and simple common sense seems to indicate that a perfect universe should have a perfect movement.
But in the beginning of the seventeenth century, the new accurate measures of planetary movements, the indisputable facts, indicated without any doubt that these movements weren’t circles, but ellipses. The simple and natural rationality was wrong and it was defeated in such an evident way by rudimentary technical instruments of measure.
The credibility of natural reason only continued in other non-mathematical kinds of knowledge like philosophy or metaphysics.
The immediate consequence of the elliptical planetary orbits was that the velocity of these planetary movements couldn’t be uniform but variable. A constant velocity can only be explained in a circular orbit.
Since ancient times it had been thought that planetary movements were constant and uniform; a variable movement didn’t seem natural in a perfect and circular universe. But with an elliptical orbit there wasn’t any kind of doubt, with mathematical calculations, that planetary orbital velocities couldn’t be constant.
Natural reason was forced again to admit something that didn’t seem natural as a consequence of the identification of accurate instrumental measures with true reality.
At the end of the seventeenth century, Isaac Newton built his gravitational theory based on Kepler’s laws that had demonstrated that orbits were elliptical and planetary movements were circular.
In the past twentieth century, Einstein reviewed Newton’s gravity, but accepted Kepler’s laws, which are implied in our whole unquestioned astrophysical model. It should be impossible that they weren’t wrong because they are mathematically correct and correspond with exact measures.
But what would happen if these traditional models, being mathematically correct and coherent with instrumental measures didn’t properly describe reality?
If we thought that the gravitational curvature, which represents the gravitational field in Einstein’s gravity, weren’t a fixed and invariable curvature but a cyclically variable curvature, we could have a different perspective of some things with some unexpected consequences.
If a gravitational field expanded and contracted its area cyclically its movement would cause the movement of the planets in their respective orbits. And if the planetary movements were caused by this cyclical fluctuation of the solar gravitational field, planetary movements around the sun would be circular because the solar field area would be a variable circle.
In this case, the orbital velocity of planets shouldn’t be variable but constant. Only the space should be cyclically variable.
In a cyclically variable gravitational field, Kepler’s ellipse wouldn’t have any importance, because this ellipse would only be the imaginary line traced over the course that would take the planets following the movement of a real and circular gravitational field.
And it wouldn’t be possible to calculate planetary velocities on an imaginary elliptical geometry. The movement of the planets should therefore be constant movements in a variable circle.
When Copernic thought approximately five hundred years ago, that the traditional conception of the universe that had been admitted for fifteenth centuries must be revised he replaced the geocentric conception with the heliocentric one. He had realized that the old accepted model was very inharmonic and complex.
Our current solar system is now really simple, but it continues to be inharmonic. It is formed by orbital ellipses with different and unexplained eccentricities and with different and unexplained inclinations velocities that accelerate and decelerate in different ways. It’s formed by planetary axis with different and unexplained inclinations, changing polarities that are only hypothetically explained, and retrogrades and different rotations of some planets explained by peregrine hypothesis.
Scientists could say that we know perfectly our own solar system. It is coherent with measures and mathematical calculations. We have technological instruments of measure flying in space, big telescopes, satellites and machines that have landed on Mars and Venus. But maybe the most important thing is not where we have arrived with our technology and scientific knowledge. Maybe the main question is where we haven’t arrived with them and where we will never arrive with them.
We shouldn’t forget that we all are working with models that try to explain a reality that always will escape our definite comprehension. Are our most traditional models correct? Are our most firmly accepted truths right? Can we trust in our exact measures to explain reality? Can’t we trust in our simple reason? Must we accept irrational conclusions, models and scientific theories only because they offer a response that is coherent with our measures and allow us to manipulate physical reality in some way?
Could our current models explain what life is, how to control cell division, how to activate biological regeneration or how to control gravity?
The answers to these and other questions will make us or will not make us review all our astrophysical, atomic and chemical science, based on perhaps exhausted models that are not congruent between themselves or congruent with our reason.
Maybe we need to begin a new scientific revolution with the same youth enthusiasm and true passion that people had in the fifteenth century. We don’t have old printers now; we have the World Wide Web. We don’t have old simple telescopes; we have enormous machines like Hubble or Alma watching deep space.
But maybe this time we need above all to rediscover the importance and inalterable value of that very fragile and humble light that all human beings have inside of our mind and heart, sometimes called “natural reason”, sometimes called “common sense”, which has been underestimated by western science for a long time.