Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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uwot
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by uwot »

TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:47 amOK, I've read your requirements below, but I want to tackle this anyway for benefit of you and sundry.
I’m sure we are all touched by your solicitude.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:47 amYou need to have some conception of its properties so that you can recognise when you have found it and stop looking. That it what it means to halt. To complete the task.
Right. In philosophy of science this is a problem associated with the theory dependence of observation. In Kuhn's 'normal science' everyone is working to find the evidence that their paradigm predicts. Everyone knows that there are different research groups, to use Lakatos' term, that are looking for different things in the same data, but no one knows of any objective criteria that will create an algorithm that will find 'the Truth', which we wouldn't even know if we saw it. Underdetermination again.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:47 amYou will either find a ToE or you will not. The only way to get an answer is for A to actually find a ToE or to continue looking for one until it finds it.
If you find a ToE, there will be no way of knowing that it will account for all future observations; at best it will be a theory of everything you have seen so far-which may well roll on and on, but could stop at any time. There is also no reason to assume that the puzzles that are troubling Loop Quantum Gravity, String Theory or any of the other hypotheses, won't be solved and that we end up with several empirically adequate ToEs.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:47 amDo you have any ideosyncratic-but-subjectively-meaningful criteria (even if you can't put them in words) that will tell you to halt?
No. Someone who is convinced they have the answer pretty much defines a crank. What I have done in the book is to illustrate some of the basic ideas that make up contemporary physics by showing the philosophical models, rather than explain the mathematical models that underpin them. I had to choose which particular models to illustrate, because there are all sorts of theories for every single phenomenon. So I went for the big bang, special and general relativity and an amalgamation of various quantum field theories. All fairly mainstream and all much easier to understand in pictures than equations. Part of the inspiration was the really tricky mathematics of fluid dynamics, the results of which can be observed by the simple expedient of turning on a tap. Likewise the sums in Quantum Mechanics are fiddly, but seeing what they describe is actually simple.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:47 amBecause if you ARE stuck in an infinite loop then you are busy solving the wrong problem.
The first problem to solve is to answer: What are you really looking for? And introspect!
Or you can recognise both - that you don't know what you are looking for, but you don't really want to figure it out just yet. In which case - you are here for the journey. Cool!
That's one way of looking at it. I’m just not so mad as to think I know better than everyone else.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:47 amVisualisation! :) Awesome.
You might not like it, but you really should try it out. http://willijbouwman.blogspot.com
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm I’m sure we are all touched by your solicitude.
As am I - by your sarcasm.
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm Right. In philosophy of science this is a problem associated with the theory dependence of observation. In Kuhn's 'normal science' everyone is working to find the evidence that their paradigm predicts.

Everyone knows that there are different research groups, to use Lakatos' term, that are looking for different things in the same data, but no one knows of any objective criteria that will create an algorithm that will find 'the Truth', which we wouldn't even know if we saw it. Underdetermination again.
Sure, it's just that the word 'observation' is ambiguous (e.g dualistic) and so the word 'objectivity' becomes ambiguous/dualistic and so we are using prediction IN LEU of 'objective morality' (right and wrong). And so if it predicts better then it is better, which is a subjective appeal to utility because the word 'prediction' is meaningless without an objective definition of Time (which is also dualistic between the paradigms of QFT and GR).

And the whole house of cards comes crashing down! Which paradigm is better? The one that predicts better? Which definition/interpretation of 'prediction' is better? Uuuuuuuuhh! Fuck. Flip a coin? The problem of free will ;)

There are objective standards! The laws of identity and non-contradiction! They are also unachievable ideals. And so the best we can hope for is to make our models less and less wrong (precision). Given two equally wrong models - which one is better? The one which is LESS deadly to humans in the event of a Black Swan! First we have to survive before we can do any science! No harm - objective morality!

The problem with the law of identity is that you can't assert two things are "the same" (A = A) until you test them for symmetry.
But if you can "see" two things then they are NOT identical! You have successfully individuated these 'two things' by SOME criteria! Space-time coordinates? Quantum state?

And so if you mis-interpret the "law" of identity you get dumb, Pantheistic hippie shit like "I am one with the universe!".
You NEED a triad! Two test subjects AND an observer.

Such contradictions are buried deep down in the metaphysical and the Butterfly effect makes them worse!
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm If you find a ToE, there will be no way of knowing that it will account for all future observations; at best it will be a theory of everything you have seen so far-which may well roll on and on, but could stop at any time.
There is also no reason to assume that the puzzles that are troubling Loop Quantum Gravity, String Theory or any of the other hypotheses, won't be solved and that we end up with several empirically adequate ToEs.
Correct! But it will be useful. Also - I already know it's impossible and so I am not even bothering with that infinite loop ;)

It will be functionally equivalent to a ToE but in science everything is an operational definition. It is just that it may take us millenia before we find a contradiction/paradox in it!
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm No. Someone who is convinced they have the answer pretty much defines a crank.
I don't have "The Answer". I have An answer. And I am busy proving that it is better than your answer.
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm What I have done in the book is to illustrate some of the basic ideas that make up contemporary physics by showing the philosophical models, rather than explain the mathematical models that underpin them.
You have explained them in Pictures when physicists explained them in Mathematics. They are still open to interpretation.
What you are solving is a human problem not a theoretical one.
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm That's one way of looking at it. I’m just not so mad as to think I know better than everyone else.
That's one way of looking at it. Another is to recognize the statistical phenomenon of variance. So on the statistical distribution of "cranks" - I could be Einstein or Deepak Chopra.

Finding and fixing problems is what I do. Do I know better than everyone else? I don't know how to answer that.
Here is a problem I see. Here is how I think you can fix it. I've given you the power of choice. It's up to you what to do with it.

Judging me on my character (using the pejorative 'mad') instead of my argument is an ad-hominem.
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:51 pm You might not like it, but you really should try it out. http://willijbouwman.blogspot.com
I did. My blog explains your dualism: http://www.whatisti.me/2018/09/02/Openi ... s-box.html

But it boils down to: Given two visual representation of the same physics concepts, how do you DECIDE which one is better without some criteria for 'better' and 'worse'?

It is work in progress. It is time for Computer Science to give back to science. We've learned SO much in the last 20 years by building things like The Internet, Google, Facebook and other large scale socio-technical systems.

And in a true Feyerabendian anarchic fashion - I refuse to play the academic publication game. That system is broken.

I will publish my knowledge myself.
uwot
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by uwot »

TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:38 pm...the word 'observation' is ambiguous (e.g dualistic)...
Possibly. In what sense might 'observation' be "dualistic"?
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:38 pm...and so the word 'objectivity' becomes ambiguous/dualistic and so we are using prediction IN LEU of 'objective morality' (right and wrong).
I was more or less keeping up until this point. Why have you started talking about morality?
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:38 pmAnd so if it predicts better then it is better, which is a subjective appeal to utility because the word 'prediction' is meaningless without an objective definition of Time (which is also dualistic between the paradigms of QFT and GR).
Nope; you have completely lost me and you don't say anything I can make sense of until here:
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:38 pmI don't have "The Answer". I have An answer. And I am busy proving that it is better than your answer.
As I said before:
uwot wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 8:40 amWell, if it works for you, stick with it, but if you can't tell me why it is better than my version, why would I change?
As I have also mentioned, the problem is that people who have developed a coherent narrative frequently assume that coherence=truth. What makes it worse is when they insist that to understand the narrative/truth, you have to understand it in the language it is written because it cannot be translated into the English that most people, at least on this forum, are familiar with.
TimeSeeker wrote: Sat Sep 29, 2018 3:38 pmFinding and fixing problems is what I do.
Great. So the problem is that you are not managing to translate whatever it is you wish to say into a language that anyone here understands.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:14 am Possibly. In what sense might 'observation' be "dualistic"?
The GR conception of 'observation' is passive. When you are observing The Cosmos the few million photons (observations) you haven't accounted for in your model is an insignificant error in proportion. So we turn a blind eye. We focus on the 'big picture' as we say.

The QFT conception of 'observation' is not passive. We use microwaves to measure quantum states. We are putting energy back into the system we are observing. Is this an insignificant error? Can we turn a blind eye to it? Not at this scale!

The Quantum Xeno Paradox may not be a paradox. Every "observation" (read: measurement. The small amount of energy we put back into the system so that we can establish its state) may be precisely the amount of energy required to pause the arrow of time.

And that is the dualism: we are not 'passively observing' the quark's time-evolution, we are actively interfering with the quark's time evolution! By measuring its time-evolution. What we ARE observing is that by attempting to measure the quark's time evolution something strange and unexpected happens!

In Systems Theory and Complexity science this is the distinction between "open systems" (interacts with surroundings) and "closed systems" (self-contained)
uwot wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:14 am I was more or less keeping up until this point. Why have you started talking about morality?
The problem of choice is inseparable from the problem of morality (read: subjective human desires)! I will use the word 'values' rather because it is far less emotionally charged than morality's 'right' and 'wrong' nomenclature.

If you have two options in front of you: A and B. You need some criteria (values) to decide which one you are going to select.
If you have absolutely no criteria to decide between A and B then you are Buridan's ass ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buridan%27s_ass ).

We used 'utility' as a tie-breaker between theories (we say: we value utility)
We used 'prediction' as a tie-breaker between utilities (we say: we value prediction)
What do you propose we use as a tie-breaker between 'observations'?

That is: which conception/interpretation of 'observation' do you choose between GR (closed system) and QFT(open system)?

Is The Cosmos an open system or a closed system? I have no idea! It could be either!
By inventing this God character (the passive objective observer) we PRETEND as if it is a closed system. But if The Universe is an open system then we have a massive problem in our conception and in our approach to cosmology.

Is a Quantum Mechanical experiment an open system or a closed system? It is definitely an open system!

We have the quark, the microwave (measurement apparatus) and the scientist.
You could say that the quark (by itself) is a closed system.
The microwave (by itself) is a closed system.
The scientist (by itself) is a closed system.

But when we are doing an experiment - three closed systems are interacting. Making it an open system.

The Quantum Xeno Effect may be our first conception of what a Universe may be like. And what a God (scientist) observing that universe may be like.

Something that doesn't change while you are busy looking at it. Omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience!
uwot wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:14 am Nope; you have completely lost me and you don't say anything I can make sense of until here:
(ETC...)
OK. Re-read my clarification and see if it makes sense now.
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:00 pm, edited 8 times in total.
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

uwot wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:14 am As I have also mentioned, the problem is that people who have developed a coherent narrative frequently assume that coherence=truth.
Yeah, but it's Burridan's ass all over again!

We have many theories of truth: correspondence theory, coherence theory, consensus theory, constructivist theory, pragmatic theory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth )

Which truth is true? They are all true! In different contexts (much like GR and QFT). To unify them in any language (e.g a THEORY) - I don't think that is possible.

My narrative is not an assumption. I mastered the praxis first (20+ years of systems engineering in Fortune 100 companies). I learned the theory second. The narrative came last. The very reason you find it hard to understand what I am saying (and I am finding it hard to explain) is because I've never had to put my knowledge in words. Mostly because I was already surrounded by people who think and speak like me - so there was no language barrier.

I am an applied scientist - that is how I earn a living. Every time I am wrong - reality lets me know. Half the internet breaks. Lots of (angry) people notice. So I don't have the luxury of assumption (it is the mother of all fuckups) or silly academic standards. I have learned to be "right a lot" through making a lot of errors. But I've never had to write down what I know. e.g create a narrative. To me, to my peers, to my employers and to my customers - my knowledge is self-evident.

I've never had to justify it to anyone but myself before.
uwot wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:14 am What makes it worse is when they insist that to understand the narrative/truth, you have to understand it in the language it is written because it cannot be translated into the English that most people, at least on this forum, are familiar with.
That entirely depends on the meaning and standards of 'understanding' you pre-suppose. How precise an understanding does one require and for what purpose? Feynman said "What I cannot create I do not understand". And so - who is your target audience?

My target audience is me. I want to understand! And down that rabbit hole is the problem of conception and logocentrism. I have just written another post about that here:
TimeSeeker wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:21 am ...
But observe that a choice still exists for me:
I could say: Well - all the knowledge is out there on Wikipedia, Google, Khan academy! It is not my job to teach you! It is your job to educate yourself!

OR: I could spend years of my life trying to figure out how to translate my knowledge from my first language (Mathematics) into your first language (English).

I don't have to do that. I could carry on sipping cocktails on a paradise island till I die. At the tender age of 35 my bank account certainly allows for it.

And yet. Here I am. On a forum. Talking to strangers. Charity, you see ;) So please don't throw it in my face.
uwot wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:14 am Great. So the problem is that you are not managing to translate whatever it is you wish to say into a language that anyone here understands.
Since I am not a mind-reader it is very difficult to know what language YOU (uwot) understand, let alone what language everyone here understands.
Naturally - we speak different languages. But I am making steady progress in learning yours. Don't you think?
Last edited by TimeSeeker on Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:14 pm, edited 6 times in total.
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

A theory is the most extensive framework of facts and laws that produces the highest level of classification in science. While total unification is currently not possible there have been lesser amalgamations in the past. For example the weak nuclear force and electromagnetism have been amalgamated to produce the electroweak theory. Electricity and magnetism were also separate theories before they became electromagnetism And so when gravity has finally been quantised it will be a more accurate theory than general relativity and quantum mechanics are separately
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

TimeSeeker wrote:
I could spend years of my life trying to figure out how to translate my knowledge from my first language
( Mathematics ) into your first language ( English )
Maths and English are entirely separate languages with completely different functions so anyone who
wants to understand the laws of physics has to learn maths because that is the only relevant language

Imagine how frustrating it would be if maths did not exist and conventional language had to be used instead
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:55 pm Maths and English are entirely separate languages with completely different functions so anyone who
wants to understand the laws of physics has to learn maths because that is the only relevant language

Imagine how frustrating it would be if maths did not exist and conventional language had to be used instead
They are different in some sense and similar in others.

They are still languages. They are still used for the same thing that all languages are used for. Describing the world.
I wouldn't "separate" them in boxes. I would say that they have different degrees of precision. Mathematics is more precise than English.

However, neither Mathematics nor English are regular languages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regular_language

The difference? A regular language can interpret itself (no, I am not crazy - https://pypy.org/ ). It doesn't require a human. A regular language is objectively meaningful.

That's a claim neither Mathematics nor English can make!
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

TimeSeeker wrote:
Is The Cosmos an open system or a closed system? I have no idea! It could be either!
By inventing this God character (the passive objective observer) we PRETEND as if it is a closed system
But if The Universe is an open system then we have a massive problem in our conception and in our approach to cosmology
The Universe is neither an open or a closed system rather an isolated one because there is nothing else for it to interact with
The definition of Universe that applies here is ALL THAT EXISTS not local cosmic expansion which only applies to this universe
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:03 pm The Universe is neither an open or a closed system rather an isolated one because there is nothing else for it to interact with
Isolated from what? You are just equivocating. That is a closed system. How do you know?

Where is all the energy going as we head towards the heat death?
surreptitious57 wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:03 pm The definition of Universe that applies here is ALL THAT EXISTS not local cosmic expansion which only applies to this universe
So if we uncover another universe (as part of a multiverse) then are we going to expand the definition of "all that exists" ?

Does dark matter exists?
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

An isolated system is one so far away from any other system that no interaction between them occurs
In the case of the Universe no other system actually exists because by definition it is ALL THAT EXISTS
ALL THAT EXISTS is an absolute definition which will also automatically include all unknown universes
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:24 pm An isolated system is one so far away from any other system that no interaction between them occurs
So the void between two isolated systems is...... what?

Does the void exist?

Also gravity works at a distance.... The Moon causes tides on Earth you know...
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

There is no void because the Universe is the only isolated system that there is
There can only be one Universe where the definition ALL THAT EXISTS applies
TimeSeeker
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by TimeSeeker »

surreptitious57 wrote: Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:48 pm There is no void because the Universe is the only isolated system that there is
There can only be one Universe where the definition ALL THAT EXISTS applies
There is a void between Earth and the Moon . We call it space. Are you saying that there can be no space between universes?

And you still can’t tell me where all the energy of an ‘isolated’ system dissipates to... (thermodynamics - conservation of energy)

We don’t even know where this universe “ends”. And you are making all sorts of claims about what lies beyond.... tsk tsk.

Epistemic humility.
surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of science-the first two and a half millennia.

Post by surreptitious57 »

There cannot be anything outside of ALL THAT EXISTS as this would make no sense either physically or logically
The energy of an isolated system remains entirely within the system because there is nowhere else for it to go
We dont need to know where the Universe ends to know that ALL THAT EXISTS can ONLY be an isolated system
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