Okay and thanks for the feedback. You and I have entirely different views of principles vs. formulas, so we'll probably not be able to exchange useful concepts.TimeSeeker wrote: ↑Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:28 amI do, however my background is applied decision theory, complexity and systems engineering so both principles and formulas exist in a broader category in my mind called "tools".
Principles are heuristics necessary for plausible reasoning/real-world decision-making, otherwise all of our formulas would become computationally intractable.
And so only by the grace of Occam's razor do we get to build models which have infinities in them and overlook the fact that we have no clue what "infinity" is or recognize that we can't actually represent infinities computationally. The function predicts (within some domain and some acceptable error bound for prediction). We call it a victory and go home.
It all boils down to this distinction for me: prediction vs control.
If "understanding" was to be measured on a continuum then control (of outcome) is a much higher bar than prediction (of outcome). Physicists care about rough prediction - doctors and engineers care about control and precision-of-action. In the domain of complex systems Occam's razor doesn't always work in practice. In fact doctors are far more likely to lean on Hickam's dictum.
Control requires a higher bar for "understanding" than mere prediction because we don't have the luxury of hiding all the complexity we don't want to tackle behind mathematical symbols.
And so, while a physicist can get away with the principle of parsimony in their field of work - I cannot. Trying to brush complexity under the carpet tends to blow up in my face rather frequently. Out of sight is not out of mind.
Reality is too complex to fit into man-made models. I think most experimental (distinguished from theoretical) physicists understand that?
My background is physics (which is based upon principles but also lots of formulas developed from those principles), and engineering (mostly formulas). No point trying to explain our differences in perspective. Alas.
I believe that any understanding of the universe, and our own selves, is hindered by cosmologists' adoption of the beliefs of millennia-old Hebrew goat herders as their central, monotheistic version of the beginnings of things. I'll not be able to convince you otherwise, so will not try. Thank you for your thoughts nonetheless.
I've tired of seeing references to Occam's Razor as a useful principle, so initiated a new thread on the topic.