Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:
My understanding is that Newton's versions of mathematical calculus differed from Leibnitz' only in terms of notations and terminology, not in any fundamental respects. Moreover, the modern notational style used in my math, physics, and engineering classes, and subsequent work in the real world, was supposedly derived primarily from Leibnitz' style. The modern style uses Cartesian coordinates but I never studied Leibnitz' notation specifically. Did he not use some kind of coordinate system? If not, how did he model time-dependent things like acceleration?
I don't claim that the Leibniz application of the calculus was substantially different from that of Newton. However his narrative of the calculus was incompatible with the official church doctrine on infinitesimals because Leibniz defined 3D space as non-physical, and thus infinitely divisible. As a practical man, Newton applied his theoretical concepts to the real world, as best he could. IMO he did an excellent job of it. Physically real entities cannot be infinitely divisible and this is a truth which dates back to the pre-Socratics.
You have a tendency to insert an occasional unwarranted "thus" into the conversation, e.g:"...Leibniz defined 3D space as non-physical, and thus infinitely divisible.
" This sentence makes no sense. If something exists that is non-physical, how might one determine its "divisibility?" Divisibility is a concept that applies to mathematics, geometry, and physical reality. How can it possibly apply to the spiritual domain, the non-physical?
Of course mathematics and geometry are non-physical. We can divide 4 by 2 and split a square into a pair of triangles. These and other abstractions are mental concepts that might model reality, but are not components of that reality. Moreover there are purely mathematical concepts like "pi" and the natural logarithm "e," irrational and non-finite numbers which cannot be divided into a specific rational number. I would regard such mathematical forms as non-divisible.
We may be approaching the scruffy border between physics and philosophy. The best physicists (and astronomers) I've encountered are those with a keen interest in philosophy. I've never met one with a formal philosophy background. They seem to regard formalisms as unnecessary for the honest exploration of the inevitable implications of physics for philosophy, as do I, unless one wishes his thoughts to be published in a philosophical journal, as do I.
You may be an exception to common philosophers in that you seem to have a fair grasp of some physics principles and are looking in your best way to understand the actual and perhaps also the potential relationships between these fields. I'll communicate according to this assumption until corrected, as often happens.
Let's begin with our understanding of the word "physical." We both know that it is not a synonym for "material," but what else? The only meaningful definition I can come up with begins with our understanding of matter, which is where physics started. Matter is physical, but although many believe it to be at the core of physics, I'm dubious about this. It comprises less than 5% of the known universe. We cannot directly perceive matter. We cannot see atoms-- we can only "see" a narrow band of electromagnetic radiation reflected by matter. We cannot touch matter either; the closest contact we can make is the electric fields surrounding it.
Taste and smell appear to be peg-and-hole mechanisms and if so, they represent our most direct sensory contacts with matter.
My definition of "physical" is: anything capable of interacting with something else that is physical. This is consistent with definitions 1 and 2 of the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, but is, I think, broader and more precise in its wording. Unless you have a different and preferred definition, I propose that we use mine throughout any discussions on the subject.
There are implications to this definition for both philosophy and physics. For example, suppose that Descartes' soul/mind exists. It is physical because it interacts with the physical brain. Suppose that there is a spirit-entity, or a consortium thereof, who created the universe and engineered the life forms on our planet. That, or those entities, are physical by definition, because they must interact with the stuff from which our universe is made.
Let's look to your comment, " Physically real entities cannot be infinitely divisible and this is a truth which dates back to the pre-Socratics.
" That kind of "truth" has the ring of religious, or authority-figure truth; or in crasser terms, more old bullshit
. How could those old Greeks know anything for certain about the nature of what is physical without bothering to investigate beyond its material forms?
Nonetheless, I'm inclined to agree with the ultimate indivisibility of geometrically structured
physical forms. But what about amorphous physical stuff, real but unformed? Specifically, what about dark energy?
Whatever it is, D.E. is decidedly physical. Recent assessments treat it as comprising 75% of the known universe. It has no known inherent structure. My peculiar theories propose that unstructured dark energy is one of two precursors to our universe, and is the component of dynamic geometrical forms such as atoms. An essentially analog, amorphous physical substance, D.E. is inherently non-divisible.
Consider D.E. as a kind of fog, except that fog consists of divisible water molecules suspended in an atmosphere. Imagine Dark Energy as an indivisible fog that cannot be subdivided but can be concentrated.
The divisibility concept applies to numbers and geometrical forms. Consider the material geometrical forms. We can divide a banana into hundreds of slices, divide a slice into tiny pieces, and eventually get down to the banana molecules. These can be divided into atoms, which can be subdivided into protons, neutrons, and electrons, which can be subdivided into quarks and plenty of other silly shit. Who says that these cannot be further subdivided?
A half-century ago I took a pair of Atomic Physics courses, and came away with the correct conclusion that I'd just wasted 6 credits of time and money to obtain preliminary credentials in a subject that was complete bullshit. I predicted then that as atomic physics "progressed," its devotees would garner taxpayer money for increasingly large particle collider projects, and that each such project would disclose the existence of new particles that were not well-predicted by theory, but would be falsely represented as "exactly predicted by theory," so as to garner more money. (This is the pseudo-scientific process that "discovered" something called the Higgs Boson.) The "Standard Model" came out several years after my course, and upon investigating its particulars the best analogy I could find was that of the "American Standard" brand biffy.
So far, every attempt to divide and subdivide the core particles of matter has been successful. Experimental physics does not support the concept of "indivisibility."
Finally, what about E=mcc and thermonuclear reactions wherein atoms are transformed back into the raw energy from which they emerged? How is this not a form of division, in which matter-waves reduce to energy waves?
Obvious Leo wrote:
The Newtonian space is assumed to be physically real...
Let's stop here and look at this statement. Who manages this "physically real" determination? I've not found a serious discussion of the subject. Do you know of any?
I never got the impression that Newton had a space. He assumed such a thing but did not define it specifically. The concept of space was used in the course of modeling physics problems, but space as a thing onto itself was not discussed in any physics course I took. Our mathematical utilization of space is better attributed to Descartes, who gave us a way to map it. (Like the American continents are named after the man who mapped them.) Space is not defined as an entity in itself. It is Descartes' geometric structure within which mathematically-defined interactions between energies, forces, and matter can be modeled.
For any space to be physically real (according to my excellent definition of physical) it must interact with physical things. Where do we look to find such potential interactions?
Obvious Leo wrote:
...as well as infinitely divisible which denotes time as no more than a mathematical placeholder, as you pointed out. Both Newton and Leibniz could see that time and space could not both be physically real but must in fact be mutually exclusive and effectively what I'm claiming is that physics nailed its colours to the wrong mast. We now know that time is physically real because it is simply an expression of gravity, with which it bears a precise mathematical relationship which is inversely logarithmic in its nature. This means that space must be merely a mathematical placeholder. When we say that space can expand and contract and bend and twist and curve this is nothing more than a metaphor, as well it bloody well should be. Physics has yet to come up with an explanation as to how an entity with no physical properties is able to perform these miraculous feats and neither will it ever be able to because the notion is metaphysically ludicrous. The action-at-a-distance assumptions of the spacetime paradigm cannot be so simply wished away because space cannot be quantised yet time can.
Several decades ago in my "searching for truth" years I attended a debate between Creationists and Darwinists, sponsored by a liberal-thinking church in Tucson, Arizona. This was a serious and fairly well publicized event. The Darwinist position was represented by three professors from the U. of A., and the creationists were experts in their own field, movers and shakers from the Institute for Creation Research, hard core Bible-thumpers with Ph.Ds in something. The moderator appeared to be objective throughout the presentations and rebuttals. The audience filled a large auditorium and extended beyond the doors.
Both sides made excellent cases, but I noticed an unexpected focus. Rather than justify its own position, each side attacked its opponent's beliefs from the outset, not content to wait for rebuttal opportunities. A brief Q & A session at the end of festivities allowed me to get in this question, crudely paraphrased here:
"Each side has done a fine job proving the other side wrong. Why not accept that result as the true and valid outcome of this debate, admit that both sides are wrong, yank your heads out of your asses, and get to work on a better theory?
The moderator treated that question as if it had not been asked (although the original phrasing was socially correct) and went on fielding various softballs until closing time. I could almost hear the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme playing in the background. I took the lessons learned and went on to resolve the problem with a none of the above
theory that fits the facts.
One of the lessons is the realization that once the ordinary thinker latches onto a theory, his mind cannot absorb information which contradicts that theory. Thus, fervent Darwinists like Dennet are as ideologically intransigent as the Pope, both devoted to the promulgation of some undistinguished brand of illogical bullshit.
Our little conversation here reminds me of that old lesson, which seems applicable. Whose perspective is right, Newton's or Leibnitz'? I propose, neither.
Space is a theoretical model, a mathematical model that seems related to our reality. The same is true for time. Readers interested in the subject but not ready for a relativity-level explanation will find Geza Szamosi's book, The Twin Dimensions: Inventing Space and Time
, a comfortable and interesting read which should make it clear to everyone that space and time are about as real as the tooth fairy.
Like the tooth fairy, space and time are useful concepts that have given us a way to solve problems. But why should anyone insist that these models are real, or that one is "more real" than the other?
Obvious Leo wrote:
All of this was Newton's doing because he was a religious fanatic who defined his work as modelling the mind of god, who was assumed a priori to be a timeless being. Modern physics may no longer be so wedded to the god hypothesis but this assumption of timelessness cannot be excised from Newtonian physics.
You seem to feel towards poor Issac Newton even more negatively than I feel about "honest" Abe Lincoln, if that is possible. I know little of Newton's fundamental beliefs about the beginnings of things, and that little has been gleaned from documentary TV, not a reliable source of information. At the functional level I've only had to deal with his/Leibnitz' transmogrified calculus. Since their various treatments of the subject seem to have been homogenized into the modern forms currently taught, I'm surprised that you've latched onto Newton as the bad guy. Except, as you made clear, that you've chosen to believe in the reality of time.
For what it is worth, during my first university level calculus and physics classes I was a hard core Catholic and determined to remain that way. I studied only physics, math, and engineering. Although philosophy was supposed to be part of my program, I arranged to study Russian instead. Nonetheless I was intensely God-focused in that time and on the lookout for references to a deity, pro or con, in all my courses. There were none. If Newton's religious beliefs trickled into calculus I saw no evidence of it, then or now.
And I'm open to counter arguments. You seem to know a lot of shit that I don't, could, and perhaps should.
I propose that space and time be equally treated as merely mathematical models, neither of them to anything that actually exists, that can be applied to the workings of a real universe more often than not. The occasions where neither space nor time are applicable are the most interesting. I believe that our space-time concepts, particularly time, are inappropriately applied to quantum effects, giving rise to various uncertainties and absurdities which have nothing to do with reality, but are confusing artifacts of the mathematical model (calculus) used to describe them. And that is another problem warranting a separate conversation, if any.
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:This precise correspondence between model and reality strongly suggests a universe that was engineered according to an integrated set of precisely specified mathematical/geometrical rules.
This is exactly what I'm talking about. Newtonian physics is inescapably an Intelligent Design paradigm because it places the origin of these rules beyond the reach of scientific enquiry. Newton's universe is insufficient to its own existence and this conclusion cannot be avoided merely by appending Einstein's embellishments to the original paradigm. All that does is lead to further metaphysical absurdity. The timeless universe cannot be forced to make sense by brute mathematical force.
Leo, you are standing on mushy ground when you whine about the mystical origin of Newton's rules. Perhaps you'd point out exactly how the same rules are derived from any version of Big Bang theory? Or from any philosopher's or physicist's perspective you'd care to quote?
Have modern cosmologists done a better job? Have philosophers done any kind of job at all?
Then perhaps you might reconsider your own perspective, as an honest philosopher rather than a dogmatist committed to atheism. If Newton's universe requires a creator, and if the math behind his universe works out, why not consider the possibility that the universe actually is the consequence of intelligent engineering? While considering, you might want to note how modern thinking has improved our understanding of the beginnings of things.
To do so while maintaining credible standards for logical thinking, you'd need to trash all traditional God-concepts. Since they are equally absurd and illogical, why not discard them? This would keep your mind open to the idea of imperfect creators.
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:A few not-so-bright physicists might share the conflation between model and reality that you seem to mistakenly believe is a common confusion. If your focus is on philosophy rather than applied physics, I'm certain that you'll find many incompetent physicist wanna-be's in your field of study, and many more on Dr. Caca's TV science documentaries, mostly silly speculative physics. Perhaps you've mistaken their half-witted conflations for the understanding of serious physicists.
No I haven't. I'm well aware of the fact that most of the leading lights in the community of physics are aware of the fact that their science has a serious problem. They know bloody well that the spacetime paradigm contains a fundamental flaw which makes all their models incompatible with each other and thus a unification model impossible. My claim is that the real universe is not a timeless one and thus non-Newtonian. This doesn't mean that physics is "wrong" but rather that the narrative of physics is wrong.
I'd translate your last sentence as, Physics is right, and individual physicists have their heads so far up their asses, they cannot clearly see how right physics is.
This could be a poor translation awaiting clarification.
In real life, I've actually written a narrative and had it published, making some money in the process. My narrative was correctly labeled a "story," or a "work of fiction." In discussing crap like the current fundamental beliefs of physicists, can't we use honest words? Like "story" instead of this pretentious "narrative" jargon?
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:
Whatever, you seem to have lumped me and in the process many others into a group of people confused about the nature of physics as a science.
If I gave that impression this was not my intent and I apologise. I can see that you've given these matters considerable thought and sometimes I get a bit carried away with my own hyperbole and cast the devil's advocate as the devil.
No need for apologies, but there is a need for clarification. I detest "devils' advocates" and their style of argumentation. I am not one of them. I will argue only for something I believe to be valid, true, or damned reasonable. I am no advocate for God or Devil; I have my own well-considered and thoroughly integrated set of ideas about the beginnings of things and their current nature.
As for physics, I love the concept of it, but detest the confused and liberal-progressive political direction in which credentialed physicists have taken it.
Obvious Leo wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:Finally, there is the matter of time. I see it not as an elephant in the room, but a cockroach-- one of the small German variety. The universe is more easily understood as a state-machine, in which "time" is merely an artifact that happens to function as a useful measuring tool within a well-understood frame of reference.
This is the statement I urge you to reconsider. Just play my thought experiment and pretend I'm right. What would a spaceless universe look like? It would look no different but we would simply think about it differently. Instead of "expanding" the universe is merely aging, just like the rest of us. Gravitational lensing becomes no more mysterious than the high-school physics experiment of the bent stick in the water. Random events at the sub-atomic scale become chaotic events at the sub-atomic scale. Entanglement becomes a perfectly ordinary feature of relativity with no superluminal bullshit attached. The list goes on and on, Greylorn, because every single paradox and counter-intuitive absurdity in physics simply vanishes.
I played out your thought experiment, as requested, assuming that you are right about it. (That is the only valid perspective from which to conduct such an experiment.) However I could not play it out with perfect objectivity because that's already been done. I also wondered why you included the understanding of gravitational lensing among your proposed space-less universe benefits, given that gravitational lensing is not a mystery? It is well understood in the context of general relativity.
There seems little point in proposing a solution to a non-problem.
More interesting is your claim that a space-less universe solves various other problems that you've mentioned, or at least changes their perspective. I do not see a logical connection between your hypothesis and these conclusions, and propose that you supply the explanations I figure you've developed.
My thought-experimental outcome differed from yours, in that I ended up with the original form of Big Bang theory, which defined the first version of a spaceless universe, what I have long referred to as the cosmic micropea
. The micropea was defined as a tiny particle of mass-energy smaller than a proton, containing all the matter and energy of our current universe, which exploded and became our universe.
The micropea was not genuinely spaceless, but its dimensions could not be defined and that fault makes it effectively spaceless. It seems to me that if some nit declares the reality of an entity but cannot define that entity in terms of space or time, or by some other parameters that can be used to define reality, the nit's declaration of reality should be ignored by normally intelligent individuals. Rather than ignored, the nit-theory was embraced for several decades. That was our first clue that Big Bang theory was merely fodder for a thousand ridiculous Ph.D theses.
Upon figuring this out for themselves, cosmologists scrapped their micropea (without explanation of or apology for their previous bullshit) in favor of a new concept about the universe's precursor-- a physical singularity
. With this crap, physics divorced itself from reality and moved into mysticism.
Physical singularities do not exist and cannot be defined. A singularity is a purely mathematical concept, the consequence of a calculation that cannot produce a finite number. (E.g: 1/0, the tangent of 90 degrees, or the secant of 0 degrees.) After another decade or so cosmologists finally figured out how absurd their "physical singularity" notion actually is.
Following up in their customary style of replacing an absurd theory with a ridiculous theory, cosmologists (a.k.a brilliant nitwits) have concluded that the universe sprang into existence, spontaneously, from nothing!
. Isn't that the same nonsense that religionists have been preaching for the last several millennia?
Instead of supporting the mistakes of our predecessors in the interest of agreed-upon belief systems, why not correct their mistakes and move onward?
P.S. Kindly accept my apology for a poorly edited reply. I've spent two days thinking, another four writing/reviewing/rethinking/editing and am burnt out. This reply must do for now. Kindly give it some thought.