When one looks at the way cannon balls and oranges are normally packed by the military and by groceries, it seems intuively clear that there is no way anybody can pack these any tighter. However, it wasn't until recently that Hales proved, using a computer, that this intuition is correct.

Before Hales' proof, it was well known that the kissing number in 3D is 12, i.e., that the maximum number of nonoverlapping spheres that one could fit around one sphere, each touching the one sphere, is 12.

The way cannon balls and oranges are normally packed, every sphere touches 12 other spheres. Therefore, if one could pack spheres any denser than this, one would be able to rearrange these spheres and add another sphere to this space, which would cause at least one of these spheres to be touching 13 spheres. But this is impossible, since the kissing number is 12 in 3D. So I would think that this alone proves that it is impossible to pack spheres denser than the the way cannon balls and oranges are normally packed.

So my question is why doesn't the fact that the kissing number is 12 and the fact that the way cannon balls and oranges are normally packed every sphere touches 12 other spheres imply that the way cannon balls and oranges are normally packed is the most dense packing? Or does it?