The theory of general relativity has a lot of math to say the least. It is one of the most successful theories that mankind has ever made. And yet we still don't know how gravity works. sure we have interpretations but that doesn't really help the problem because frankly most of the interpretations are pseudoscience, or barely even have enough people to actually look into the interpretations seriously. Another theory that has been constantly validated by equations is quantum mechanics. And it has it just as bad as general relativity. Is science taking shooting in the dark?

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    Special relativity and quantum mechanics were both developed because the contemporary theories couldn't explain existing experimental findings. How much do you actually know about the history of sciences?
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 17:33
  • @no name What else would they do? Scientists know that material terms have structural and aggregative properties/effects that, for better or worse, relate in terms of arithmetical operations, functional parameters, quantification, etc. The ability to infer the existence of something (e.g. black holes) from their role as solutions to equations even before any direct experimental/observational evidence appears, is surprising, but does corroborate the general method pretty well... Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 17:33
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    From an instrumentalist point of view, it is enough that our theories make accurate enough predictions. As others have often commented, our science tells us what things do, not what they are. Personally, I don't find it surprising that the domain of quantum theory is unintelligible to our intuitions - and ditto for our intuitions about the cosmological.
    – nwr
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 19:25
  • Gravity is what gravity does. Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 9:28
  • What does "how gravity works" mean here, are you asking for some kind of intuitive mechanical picture involving particles bouncing off each other or something? If so, why assume that the laws of nature would be explainable in terms of such an intuitive picture, instead of just being abstract mathematical rules governing how physical states change over time?
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


No. Theories (e.g. general relativity and quantum mechanics) are not validated by equations, there's no such thing as validating something with an equation.

Theories with equations are validated if you input facts about physical reality into equations, and what you get out of those equations are accurate predictions about other parts of physical reality.

Cat Agnosticism

Nobody knows what gravity, or a cat, is - but that's okay, because we can predict what gravity, or a cat, does.

A cat is a mammalian solo stealth predator with certain physical and social characteristics, for which we have good models. A mammal is a kind of animal with certain properties and we have a good model for animals. An animal is a kind of organism with certain properties and we have a good model for organisms. An organism is a kind of chemically powered machine with certain properties and we have a good model for chemistry. Chemistry is a kind of physical process in which atoms and molecules constrained in systems with certain properties seek their locally highest entropic state in various thermodynamic processes and we have a good model for thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is the gestalt behavior of countless interactions between atoms and molecules and we have a good model for atomic and molecular interactions. Atomic and molecular interactions are the gestalt behavior of interactions between fundamental particle interactions and we have a good model for fundamental particle interactions. Fundamental particle interactions just are the way they are. The universe probably has its reasons, but we haven't figured them out yet.

We can predict what a cat does - all the way up to its social group dynamics, and all the way down to its fundamental particles. But why do its fundamental particles do what they do? What do they look like under the hood? Nobody knows. So nobody knows what a cat really, truly is. Maybe someday we'll know more. We'll add one more layer. Then we'll know why the fundamental particle interactions that make up the furry gestalt process that is a cat do what they do. But we won't know why that layer works the way it does. It'll just be the way the universe is. We'll know even more than we currently thought possible about what a cat does, but we still won't know what a cat is.

Electrons Make Primates Angry

We evolved to be good at thinking about fruit, rocks, trees, running, jumping and climbing, prey, predators, parasitic insects, and the complex conditional logic of mating competitions. (The beautiful art of mathematics is, really, the discovery that we can apply complex conditional logic of mating competitions to quantities of fruit and get results consistent with the nature of the universe.) Anything that we can't model in terms of those things makes us uncomfortable. The universe just OWES a bunch of terrestrial primates with overdeveloped brains an explanation that we LIKE, and if it doesn't we will get angry and may start flinging things, jumping up and down, and hooting, unless we estimate that that will make us lose a mating competition and decide not to do it.

One important rule of the ancestral environment is that if something weird is going on and we don't know why, there's a really good chance that some unknown primate or primates are behind it, which is why a lot of spurious interpretations of scientific theories posit mysterious human agency, spiritual agency, or divine agency.


General relativity doesn't explain how space curves. There is no mechanism that says how this is achieved. It just states that spacetime is curved and relates mass, energy, and momentum to the curvature.

The same holds in quantum mechanics. A wavefunction is conjectured in relation to the probabilities in experiments. But it doesn't explain how these probabilities come about. The processes that determine the chances in throwing a die are known. Not so for the underlying structure for quantum probabilities.

The search for the mechanism of gravity might turn out to be connected with the search for the cause of quantum probability. If we have a new model of space and how particles cause it to curve, we might be close to solving the quantum question.

So to answer the question, it depends on how you view the models. GR and QM describe but don't explain. So if science considers them as explaing, then yes, it blinds itself. If not, it may open your eyes.

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