If you are curious and interested, we will gladly explain for you the mystery of missing socks once and forever. After more than a half-century of research our team has compiled sufficient empirical evidence to confirm our original hypothesis and graduate it into a theory. We even understand the math now. Sort of.
And just so we are clear, a theory is a profoundly higher order of certainty than a fact. For instance, the Theory of Evolution is confirmed by tens of thousands of facts from across all the scientific domains of human knowing. So far, in every field of science, every field of human study and research, not one single fact contradicts evolution – geology, cellular biology, biochemistry, anthropology, paleontology, genetics and on and on – everything we discover confirms the evolutionary processes of descent with modification through natural selection from evolutionary pressures over geologic time (along with mutation, genetic drift, migration, and more complex processes such as endosymbiosis). The same is true with the Gaia Hypothesis, which has also grown up to become Gaia Theory, now confirmed through observations, data, and empirical evidence from multiple disciplines.
What people really mean when they use “theory” in a pejorative way ( “It’s ONLY a theory.” they say. ) is hypothesis. Scientific method goes something like this – start by observing some phenomena in the natural world. Create an hypothesis for what the phenomena is and how or why it happens. Devise methods for testing that hypothesis until you can either break it or confirm it. Do your level best trying to break it and if you can’t break it then publish your results, and pass it along so others can try to break it. When many scientists over time have failed to break the hypothesis, and all have uncovered a sufficient array of facts that support the hypothesis, then the hypothesis grows up and graduates to become a theory. We have yet to find anything that contradicts evolution. Anywhere. Ever. Same with Gaia Theory.
There are two other requirements necessary for an hypothesis to become a theory. It needs to have highly accurate mathematical models, and those models need to make predictions that are later verified by real world observations. Been there, done that, got the outcomes. Science works. You know. Planes fly. And so on.
Now we come to the fun part: missing socks.
It turns out that the friction, heat and spinning of the dryer creates an intense electrical charge that generates a very small space-time warp, a teeny-tiny little wormhole vortex into which a sock occasionally drifts. The sock has to enter the vortex at just the correct angle, at just the proper speed, at just the perfect temperature, at just the right time – otherwise nothing happens. Good thing, because otherwise we’d all be barefoot forever.
That vortex is a link between various editions of the multiverse, which should be no big deal as congruent versions of the multiverse are quite similar to each other. So a sock slips through from over there coming thisaway at precisely the same time as one of ours slips though headed thataway and both remain as socks and nothing appears to change. Simultaneity, congruence and convergence all play a part here. Everything has to happen just right. and when it does, we don’t even notice that our sock has been replaced by a sock from a universe next door.
In any case, once in a while one of those wormhole vortexes extends quite a bit farther away and connects to a universe just a tad different from ours. When this happens, our sock goes away permanently, showing up in their universe as a sock, but their sock isn’t actually a sock. It’s a coat hanger. And this end of their vortex terminates in our clothes closet or laundry room.
For some reason this dislocation oddity appears to be a function of a quirk of the quarks that queue up in the quantum-foam tunneling effect. They tend to quiver harmonically so that an unusual resonance untethers one terminus and the wormhole becomes unstable. Thus the probability wave collapses into manifestation as a dislocation, and therefore generates the curious and trans-dimensional quantification of socks and hangers as a quorum. We don’t yet know why, although there is quite a bit of speculation (eleven different hypotheses and at least 3 ongoing experiments of which I am aware) all looking for confirmation in non-causal domains which are unlikely to produce actual verifiable evidence. And remember, without evidence, it’s pure conjecture.
This is why we keep losing socks that are never seen again, but coat hangers multiply in our closets without any apparent source. In that other universe it’s just the reverse – coat hangers continue to vanish while socks multiply unreasonably. In any case, the lambda balance in the multiverse is sustained – there is neither the creation nor destruction of matter or energy and all of us get to persist and endure through time happy ever after.
And by the way, there is some evidence that these wormhole dislocations can also occasionally and randomly involve Tupperware lids, ink pens, eye glasses, beer bottle caps, dead flies, guitar picks, car keys, and/or rubber bands. In fact, we suspect it may be possible to map the structure of the multiverse by cataloging what items vanish from your household, and which items multiply and increase. Perhaps one day we might even be able to answer our most profound question – why is a mouse when it spins?
Again I say – fascinating. The research continues.