- The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them. Albert Einstein
What is a law of nature ? Introduction
During history of the human culture and science rules about nature were found and stored. Among those rules there were very simple laws, as for example the sentence:
On earth every held up object falls down to the ground, unless it can fly or it is lighter than air or it is fixed firmly.
Many of these rules were clear to everyone without big thinking: Nearly each human being knew that hungry lions are dangerous. Many of these rules had to be reformulated again and again, since they proved as partly wrong. Some rules were also completely rejected, since they were completely wrong . A famous example of it was the idea: The earth is the center of the universe and the sun moves around the earth. This idea had to be overcome during a long painful process.
A big improvement in the development of scientific rules was the moment when the scientists started to ask questions and answered them by experiments. The speculations became less and less, the experiments and observations became more and more. Some parts of nature however where out of reach for experiments , since the objects were too far away or too heavy.
A further improvement was the idea to formulate laws of nature mathematically. In particular physical laws were easily translated to mathematical statements. Chemistry and biology got along quite a time without mathematics.
Each science thus won a refined set of rules in the course of the time. Again and again contradictions emerged, which had to be fitted in.
It turned out that some events in the development of nature could just be described as a historical fact, but not as a physical law. Randomness was recognized as factor of influence for such historical events. So it is more or less random, when and where the earth was hit by meteorites and which influence such a meteorite impact on the development of the biological evolution took.
Since the term law of nature suggests safe knowledge, it should be used only critically.