The Soul Of Science

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Bradley K. Sherman

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Dec 19, 2015, 1:10:06 PM12/19/15
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|
| A Fight for the Soul of Science
|
| String theory, the multiverse and other ideas of modern
| physics are potentially untestable. At a historic meeting
| in Munich, scientists and philosophers asked: should we
| trust them anyway?
| ...
| The crisis, as Ellis and Silk tell it, is the wildly
| speculative nature of modern physics theories, which they
| say reflects a dangerous departure from the scientific
| method. Many of today's theorists -- chief among them the
| proponents of string theory and the multiverse hypothesis
| -- appear convinced of their ideas on the grounds that they
| are beautiful or logically compelling, despite the
| impossibility of testing them. Ellis and Silk accused these
| theorists of "moving the goalposts" of science and blurring
| the line between physics and pseudoscience. "The imprimatur
| of science should be awarded only to a theory that is
| testable," Ellis and Silk wrote, thereby disqualifying most
| of the leading theories of the past 40 years. "Only then
| can we defend science from attack."
| ...
<https://www.quantamagazine.org/20151216-physicists-and-philosophers-debate-the-boundaries-of-science/>

--bks

Hans Van Leunen

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Apr 5, 2016, 1:20:05 PM4/5/16
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Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
The deepest foundations of reality are not accessible to experimental verification. Requiring experimental verification has a consequence the denial that such foundation exists. I consider the scientific method a foolish attitude! It blindfolds everyone that supports this attitude.

Rich L.

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Apr 6, 2016, 12:30:02 PM4/6/16
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On Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 12:20:05 PM UTC-5, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
>...
> The deepest foundations of reality are not accessible to experimental verification. Requiring experimental verification has a consequence the denial that such foundation exists. I consider the scientific method a foolish attitude! It blindfolds everyone that supports this attitude.

Without some objective test of validity, believing untestable ideas is religion (or faith), not science. It would be better to entertain such ideas as theoretical possibilities that cannot (at least currently) be confirmed by experiment than to uncritically accept them as "scientific" fact. Placing such ideas in this status is not denying their possible truth, but merely recognizing that there may still be other concepts that are equally and possibly more valid.

Speculation has an important role in science. Every great idea begins as a speculation. It is rare that an idea is so evident that it can be derived by deductive logic alone. Keeping ideas such as string theory and multiple universes as speculative theories still allows someone in the future to consider these ideas and discover a testable consequence that will lead to support or rejection. But to just claim that these are to be accepted as scientific mainstream dogma is to reject the very idea of the scientific method.

There may well be aspects of the universe that we can never explain. We may have to ultimately just accept that that is the way the universe works, without any deeper understanding. However that fact should not lead us to arbitrarily accept a speculative deeper explaination that cannot itself be tested. There may well be multiple possible explanations. How could you know that you are choosing the correct one? You need some objective test such as an experiment.

People have a deep need to resolve ambiguities and to have complete understanding of their world. That was the origin of both religion and the scientific method. We have seen how the "religious method" leads to multiple fiercely believed ideas that are mutually incompatible. I'd hate to see science degenerate into such a state.

Rich L.

Tom Roberts

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Apr 6, 2016, 12:30:05 PM4/6/16
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On 4/5/16 4/5/16 - 1:15 PM, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
> The deepest foundations of reality are not accessible to experimental
> verification. Requiring experimental verification has a consequence the
> denial that such foundation exists. I consider the scientific method a
> foolish attitude! It blindfolds everyone that supports this attitude.

I doubt very much this is so.

But assume it is, then such "foundation" is UNKNOWABLE TO HUMANS.

That's because the ONLY way we humans can learn anything about the world we
inhabit is via experiments. This is part and parcel of the human condition:
* our minds process only thoughts
* the best possible relationship between a thought and some aspect
of the world is as a MODEL of that aspect
* the only possible method we have of validating the models we make
is via experiment.

How do you find your bed at night? via the mental MODEL you have of your
dwelling -- you mentally navigate from where you are to where you remember your
bed is located, then follow with your body.

How did you obtain that model? via experimentation -- you wandered around your
dwelling until you found where your bed is located, and you remembered it. The
first time you entered your dwelling you may have had guidance from experience
with previous dwellings, but that is just a GUESS, you didn't KNOW where your
bed is located until you found it experimentally.

It should be clear that a physical law such as "F=ma" is a model of that aspect
of the world we inhabit, admittedly far more abstract than your model of your
dwelling; this one has been validated via billions of experiments and found to
be valid in a regime that includes our everyday lives, but not all regimes
reachable by modern instruments (e.g. particle accelerators).

Back to those "foundations" of yours -- I'll bet you are making GUESSES about
them, but don't have any actual knowledge about them, because you CAN'T.

As I said, I doubt very much that your "blindfold" actually applies. But if it
does, there's nothing you, or any human, can do about it.


Tom Roberts

Hans Van Leunen

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Apr 8, 2016, 2:10:03 PM4/8/16
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Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
> |
Those that claim that an experimental verification is required must be weak in mathematics. They forget that every result of an experiment requires an interpretation in the form of a model that explains both the experiment and the result. Usually that model uses mathematics.
Besides of that many aspects of reality are inaccessible to experiments because there is no way of observing them or any observation is afflicted with too much blur.
Another aspect is that the deep foundations of reality must be very simple and are accessible to human reasoning. In fact some suitable foundations exist already for many decades.

Rich L.

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Apr 9, 2016, 1:30:02 PM4/9/16
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On Friday, April 8, 2016 at 1:10:03 PM UTC-5, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
> Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
...
> Those that claim that an experimental verification is required must be weak in mathematics. They forget that every result of an experiment requires an interpretation in the form of a model that explains both the experiment and the result. Usually that model uses mathematics.
> Besides of that many aspects of reality are inaccessible to experiments because there is no way of observing them or any observation is afflicted with too much blur.
> Another aspect is that the deep foundations of reality must be very simple and are accessible to human reasoning. In fact some suitable foundations exist already for many decades.

If some "aspect of reality" is inaccessible to experiment because there is no way of observing it, how do you know it exists at all? If you can't observe it even indirectly than it is only speculation.

Rich l.

Hans Van Leunen

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Apr 10, 2016, 2:20:02 PM4/10/16
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Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
> |
how do you know that 1+2=3 exists?

Hans Van Leunen

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Apr 10, 2016, 2:20:05 PM4/10/16
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Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
> |
It is possible to use a mathematical test mode as a kind of laboratory in order to investigate whether that model behaves closely to what we know by observation from physical reality. That approach is taken in "the Hilbert Book Model research project. See: http://vixra.org/abs/1603.0021

m...@thetruthisgod.com

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Apr 11, 2016, 1:20:02 PM4/11/16
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The soul of science is to find out how all things comply with reason. There can be no end of asking how things work and where it all comes from until we derive physics from the principles of logic itself. For if we derive physics from logic, then we can't question reality anymore without question our facility of reason.

I'm told such a derivation of physics from logic is just a dream from ancient times. But I've been able to make contact between logic and physics. Now it seems the job is to decide whether I've made a math mistake or not. Check out the derivation at: logictophysics.com

Rich L.

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Apr 11, 2016, 1:20:05 PM4/11/16
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On Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 1:20:05 PM UTC-5, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
> Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
...
>
> It is possible to use a mathematical test mode as a kind of laboratory in order to investigate whether that model behaves closely to what we know by observation from physical reality. That approach is taken in "the Hilbert Book Model research project. See: http://vixra.org/abs/1603.0021

Yes, you can verify that a model is mathematically consistent and also agrees with observation. The agreement with observation is one key point. Another is that while the mathematical model may agree with observation, there is always the possibility that there is a different model that gives the same results. In that case you can provisionally believe the model (a theory) but should keep an open mind to alternates.

Much better is if the model predicts something observable that has not been seen before, or was not understood before. That is even better evidence (but not proof) that the model may be correct.

My objection to the idea expressed in the original post is that accepting as "fact" or "truth" something that cannot be objectively measured or tested is the same as giving up all hope of finding objective evidence. I could speculate on all kinds of mechanisms to explain the physics we see, but what good is that? If I believe one of these models without objective evidence, how is that different from religion? It certainly isn't science.

Rich L.

Tom Roberts

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Apr 15, 2016, 1:40:02 PM4/15/16
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On 4/10/16 4/10/16 3:11 PM, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
> how do you know that 1+2=3 exists?

It DOESN'T exist. That is a mathematical relationship inside human minds (of
course the SYMBOLS, when written down, do exist; any meaning given to the
symbols is only inside human minds).

I reject the pun on "exists" that some people apply to thoughts in
human minds. Unacknowledged puns like that destroy arguments.

Yes, adding one apple to two apples means you have three apples. The APPLES
exist, but "one", "two", "three", and "have" are all concepts in your mind, and
DON'T exist. Ditto for all of mathematics. And all of the theories of physics. Etc.


Tom Roberts

Mike Fontenot

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Apr 16, 2016, 11:20:01 AM4/16/16
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On 4/15/16 12:35 PM, Tom Roberts wrote:
> On 4/10/16 4/10/16 3:11 PM, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
>> how do you know that 1+2=3 exists?
>
> It DOESN'T exist. That is a mathematical relationship inside human minds
> (of course the SYMBOLS, when written down, do exist; any meaning given
> to the symbols is only inside human minds).
>

Actually, there is another legitimate view, expressed very well by
Penrose in his "The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the
Universe". He argues that mathematics has "an existence" of it's own,
independent of humans or other intelligent creatures ... it exists in a
separate, "Platonic", timeless and spaceless world.

--
https://sites.google.com/site/cadoequation/cado-reference-frame

"Accelerated Observers in Special Relativity", PHYSICS ESSAYS,
December 1999, p629.

All you ever need to know about the twin "paradox".

John Heath

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Apr 17, 2016, 12:40:03 PM4/17/16
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Take our books away and we are back in the caves in one generation. The written language and the scientific process is what got us here. Even with this advantage it still took thousands of years just to realize the earth is not flat. Better for us to lift a rock to see what is under it rather than speculate at a distance. 12 years of non stop school just to walk and chew gum to get by in life is a hint that the human mind is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Hans Van Leunen

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Apr 17, 2016, 12:40:06 PM4/17/16
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Op zaterdag 19 december 2015 19:10:06 UTC+1 schreef Bradley K. Sherman:
> |
Tom your walk on dangerous terrain. What you say is that 1+2=3 whas not valid before the arrival of intelligent species like humans that can interpret this formula. Physics and mathematics are not based on beliefs. They are based on facts. Not all facts are observable. Physics cannot be done properly without using facts that cannot be observed.
Good arguments exist for the fact that physical reality applies built-in structures that are quite similar to the mathematical structures that are discovered by humans.
Physical reality uses lattices and number systems. If you lack sufficient knowledge of these structures, then you might scan Wikipedia for a proper explanation of these concepts.

Virgil

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Apr 18, 2016, 12:30:03 PM4/18/16
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In article <cec76e58-ca73-4538...@googlegroups.com>,
Hans Van Leunen <hans.van...@gmail.com> wrote:

> What you say is that 1+2=3 whas not valid before the arrival of intelligent
> species like humans that can interpret this formula.

Before "1", "+", "2", "=" and "3" had definitions, "1+2=3" was
meaningless, thus invalid!
--
Virgil
"Mit der Dummheit kampfen Gotter selbst vergebens." (Schiller)

Rich L.

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Apr 19, 2016, 11:30:02 AM4/19/16
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On Sunday, April 17, 2016 at 11:40:06 AM UTC-5, Hans Van Leunen wrote:
...
>
> Tom your walk on dangerous terrain. What you say is that 1+2=3 whas not valid before the arrival of intelligent species like humans that can interpret this formula. Physics and mathematics are not based on beliefs. They are based on facts. Not all facts are observable. Physics cannot be done properly without using facts that cannot be observed.
> Good arguments exist for the fact that physical reality applies built-in structures that are quite similar to the mathematical structures that are discovered by humans.
> Physical reality uses lattices and number systems. If you lack sufficient knowledge of these structures, then you might scan Wikipedia for a proper explanation of these concepts.


Tom didn't say that 1+2=3 wasn't true prior to humans, only that the symbols are by themselves meaningless without humans to interpret them.

Mathematics is a logical structure. There are all kinds of logical mathematical structures. For a long time Euclidian geometry was considered the only possible geometry. Then mathematicians imagined geometries that violated the postulates of Euclidian geometry. They then wondered if our world could be like that. The world was always the way it was (non-Euclidian). It wasn't until the evidence of relativity, and experiments to verify general relativity, that we could determine if the universe was Euclidian or not.

My point is that mathematics allows the creation of logical systems based on some assumed postulates. There are all kinds of mathematical systems that are self consistent (within the limits of Godel's Theorem). Mathematics cannot tell us how the universe is. Mathematics is capable of describing many different universes. Just look at the mess string theory is in right now, with something like 10^500 possible types of physics that, as one physicist says "is not a theory of everything, it is a theory of anything!"

We use math to model the universe. Every fundamental formula in physics older than about 200 years has been been found to be an approximation. Mathematics is very flexible and can model anything. We need physical experiment, observation, and critical tests to sort out which mathematical model actually describes the universe we live in.

Rich L.

Tom Roberts

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Apr 28, 2016, 11:50:02 AM4/28/16
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On 4/16/16 4/16/16 12:16 PM, Mike Fontenot wrote:
> Actually, there is another legitimate view, expressed very well by Penrose in
> his "The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe". He
> argues that mathematics has "an existence" of it's own, independent of humans or
> other intelligent creatures ... it exists in a separate, "Platonic", timeless
> and spaceless world.

That is the PUN I explicitly said that I reject. That sort of "exists" is NOT AT
ALL the same as the meaning of the word when I say this pencil exists.

IMHO that PUN makes this "view" IL-legitimate.


Tom Roberts

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