VERIFIED BY FALSIFICATION!
PROVED BY UTILITY!
SUBJECT AT ANY TIME TO IMPROVEMENT, WITH NO NOTICE AND WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!
NOTE 1: "VERIFIED BY FALSIFICATION," YES! PRECISELY. IT IS MADE TRUER AND MORE VERIFIABLE BY MEANS OF FALSIFICATION, SEE BELOW!
NOTE 2: "PROVED BY UTILITY" = PROVED USEFUL. NOT PROVED INFALLIBLE. INFALLIBLE IS USELESS (DUE TO UNAVAILABLE).
NOTE 3: IMPROVEMENT LIMITED ONLY TO WHAT WE CAN SHOW TODAY OF THE DISTANCE IT HAS FALLEN SHORT OF PERFECT.
CORRECTION TO NOTE 3: STRIKE "PERFECT" - SUBSTITUTE "REALITY." THIS ENDS THE ALL-CAPS PORTION OF YOUR ALL-CAPS UPDATE.
Don't let them lie to you: physics works great in a black hole. It's only our description of physics that breaks down. Or as they may say, physics "as we know it" - yet even this is not true! Physics as we know it includes a full and hearty grasp of the facts: and especially, that a fact can overturn even the most well-supported theory, at any time. Physics as we know it does not "break down" in the face of falsification and consequent refinement. Physics builds up in these ways. Physics is not confounded by disproof. Science has no certainty in it. Certainly, it does not expect or proclaim certainty in or declare the perfection of its theories. Certainty is not a goal of scientific theory.
You may say science seeks to perfect its theories, but this is not true of science. Science lacks any absolute sense where "perfect" is a goal to be achieved. For science, perfect is a verb not an adjective. Always science strives to make its theory "more perfect," and always with a certain expectation and acceptance: that within even our best descriptions of reality, there is always the chance we may find error, finer and finer error, which error opens a way to further refinement and a better, more useful theory. All based on the emergence of a new and unruly fact!
No cause for worry. Even the boldest skeptic may feel confident: the explanatory and predictive power of our best theories and descriptions of reality proves those theories useful. Not infallible! They are proved useful. There will always be the possibility of a finer tune to come along, as we ever more finely tune up our instruments and strike up the symphony in C:
Which is: see. And then swing away folks - cause this big band can DANCE.
The symphonic themes are some or all of these: Observe, Analyze, Theorize, Predict, Test, Repeat. Observe the observable, analyze that which is observed, theorize to account for observations and analyses, predict what new observations we can expect to see if theory is true, test for these: either confirm or falsify. Repeat. Experiments should be repeatable - at least, they should be if the experimenters wish us to be compelled and convinced by this demonstration of their theory in action. In theory, it should work just as well for us.
Inside a black hole is a tough place to mount an experiment! But it's still not beyond the reach of theory. Or the conditions within the first few seconds or less of the big bang - also out of reach for our current descriptions. The pressures involved are more enormous than all we've been able to calibrate for thus far, and the actual environs are not open to inspection. We have not much material for comparison and analysis, and science needs grist to grind: it needs new data that can falsify current theory, in order to refine.
Yet again, no worries at all! Not if quantum physics is on the right track - because the point (a point) of quantum physics is that reality is symmetrical throughout all spacetime. Super-symmetrical, in fact, throughout all the universe - and we have good reason for confidence there. While we need to go finer and deeper to express the furthest extremes, still the central tenets seem to apply from anywhen to everywhere, from a few seconds after the big bang, and all the way throughout the universe - with exception of a few places we can't yet see to reach. Places where things do indeed seem to go weird.
We expect and expected them to get weird. By far the greatest chance is that we simply need additional math to describe what happens to reality where conditions become (or became) super-fun! Remember: there didn't used to be four fundamental forces. There was only one, right at the bang and for a bit beyond. But as reality spread out in its lightspeed explosion, creating room to cool and stretch out through, and calm down a bit, that primal force separated out into the apparently distinct forces that we can see (or at least, that we can test and measure).
Strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic, gravity. And even there, weak nuclear and electromagnetic are of course, the same exact force! We simply perceive them as distinct, as they operate at different scales.
There's nothing peculiar or unnatural about a force operating in one way at our luxurious macro scale, and getting jiggier down at the level of quanta. Just think of all those extra curled-up dimensions down at the quantum scale, to dig into and twist and anchor around down at that tiniest possible size! A force is gonna work its way into and work its way out, and you better believe it's going to be a different dance than the one it can do up here in the macroverse. Do si do and perfectly natural.
Just so in a black hole. At the extremes, towards a limit to how dense matter can be compressed, it only stands to reason there could be differences in the way ordinary forces interact - which is to say, in the way that reality behaves - compared to how they behave under more ordinary conditions. It stands to reason such behavior would only come out at or near the extreme limit. Whether we're talking size, speed, density - there are some stiff limits out there, and the surface they create is fun to play with and to dance upon!
We should never expect reality not to play.
Yet we should always keep our sense of proportion, and remember the great good cause we have for our confidence in science. For our confidence in the way it comes up with its descriptions of how reality does play: the process of theory and falsification. We have good cause for confidence that even the rules in operation at these extreme limits can be teased out by pushing the limits we can reach - say, with some superaccelerator action! We can push the limits creatively outside big bangs and black holes, to test aspects of the math we propose might govern the most extreme ways of physics. And too, as years go by we do find cleverer and cleverer ways to observe or infer the secret behavior inside black holes. There will come ways to test that we haven't even teased the edges of yet, and testing will falsify theory to its improvement. Or, verify it, I suppose - less good news, that. Nothing new learned there.
I for one am confident. Firstly, I suspect the descriptions we uncover approaching the limits of physics will prove to be an extension and a refinement of what we know. It would be strange indeed if they proved to be a contradiction!
But secondly, I'm confident because science is not scared of that, either. Not a bit. Contradiction by pesky and unforeseen fact? Physics as we know it is built on that.
Science proceeds by leaps and bounds by this means: the falsification of today's theory. Today's step-proved-false leaps us into a further and more useful grasp of tomorrow's path-laid-out. Today's theory - which, prior to falsification, was very valid! In the sense of very useful, fruitful and productive: the best theory available, the best tool to hand! - damn right we've used it, and well, for as long as it held.
But we rejoice to find now where it is wrong. It can then be refined - or discarded, in favor of some new and better one! This calls for a party! And not a single scientist in the gathering is liable to be shamed.
We are a shameless bunch, we who know science for what it actually does. We who know science not by its results, but in its method. Science does not call us to fear being wrong, but to shout: "Eureka!" when we see it! Our error laid bare is the yellow brick road - and lady, beast, gentleman and scarecrow?
We are off to be the wizard.