Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/54

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that there is no universe outside ourselves and that everything is a figment of the imagination of the observer. The electron theory postulates a universe of energy outside ourselves. It does not deny the existence of the table; quite the reverse, it asserts it and then offers a detailed description of it, and why it has the properties which it has. This is more than any materialistic theory can do. The electron theory affirms the existence of what we ordinarily call matter. It defines, describes, explains these things, ordinarily called matter, in a clear and logical manner, on the basis of experimental evidence, as a mode of motion. It opposes the use of the word matter, solely because that word has come to stand, not only for the object, but also for the assumption that there is something there which is not energy.

Another groundless objection is offered by the materialists. They say this electron theory is clever, perhaps plausible, but very vague and hopelessly theoretical. Of course it is theoretical, but it is a theory more intimately connected with experimental facts than any other theory regarding the ultimate constituents. One departs further from known facts in assuming the existence of a something to be called matter. What is this matter which so many insist that we must assume? No one can define it otherwise than in terms of energy. But forms of energy are not matter as the materialist understands the word. Starting with any object and removing one by one its properties, indubitably forms of energy, we are finally left with a blank, a sort of a hole in creation, which the imagination is totally unable to fill in. The last resort is the time-honored definition, 'matter is the carrier of energy' but it is impossible to describe it. The assumption that matter exists is made then because there must be a carrier of energy. But why must there be a carrier of energy? This is an assertion, pure and simple, with no experimental backing. Before we have a right to make it we should obtain some matter 'strictly pure' and free from any energy, or, at least, we should be able to demonstrate on some object what part of it is the energy and what part the matter, the carrier of the energy. We have not done this, we have never demonstrated anything but forms of energy, and so we have no evidence that there is any such thing as matter. To say that it exists is theorizing without experimental evidence as a basis. The materialistic theory postulates energy and also matter, both theoretical if you will; the electron theory postulates energy only. Therefore the electron theory is the less theoretical and the less vague of the two.

From the philosophical standpoint, having deprived an object of all that we know about it, all forms of energy, there remains what may be called the 'residuum of the unknown.' We are not justified in saying that nothing remains; we can only say nothing remains which affects, either directly or indirectly, any of our senses through which we become cognizant of the external universe. If the materialist