Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

The nature of a "Final Theory"!


  • Please log in to reply
72 replies to this topic

#1 Doctordick

Doctordick

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 1071 posts

Posted 11 November 2005 - 05:50 PM

In my e-mail today, I received the "Hypography Science Forums Community Bulletin" which included, under the "Threads with the most views", a reference to "The Final Theory" posted by Alexander over a year ago and still being added to last month. Since the subject has been close to my heart for over fifty years, I had to go look at the thread. I read most every post in the thread though I started passing on authors who's earlier posts hit me as poorly thought out. Nevertheless, there were some comments made (and pretty well ignored) which impinge on the issue (that would be "a final theory" and not the book). :lol:

Will, "erasmus00", was the only one I saw who took the trouble to actually perform an experiment as a check which is without question the first thing any theory needs to pass before it can be taken seriously. One problem on this forum is that very few of the members even comprehend the process of establishing a definitive experiment (in fact, that is the real source of all the controversy concerning relativity one sees on these forums). :hyper:

"the final theory" isn't that name flawed? if the final theory is the final knowledge and explaination of everything, wouldn't it not be a theory? :lol:

Is a very serious thought indeed. And one not really discussed to any extent. :)

Absolutely Orby, Read my lips Hypography members: There will be NO final theory.

Unless one wanted to take this as the final resolution of the question without any discussion. :)

Please note that final sentence: “If another model overturns the current one, that's fine by me. But it has to be done honestly.” And that, as I see it, is where MMcC’s book falls flat–it does not honestly deal with its contradictions. If only the book’s contents were as beautiful as its cover. ... In other words, "Where's the beef?"

Tom seems to be a very rational person and I would love to get him into a serious conversation.

The real "final theory" should be left with 1 assumption and it is that the universe exists. It seems to trivialy exists because we are in it, but really we don't why, hence it is an assumption. Ok, that was probably strange logic, but I think you can see my point

I very definitely see his point and was quite surprised by the fact that no one else seemed to comprehend the basic nature of that observation. Along the same lines, I would say that the "final theory" should explain another very important though subtle point: the problem of designing a "final theory" must include a method of constructing a rational model of a totally unknown universe (it's not known if we don't understand it) given nothing but a totally undefined stream of data (the data's not defined if we don't understand the universe producing it) which has been transcribed by a totally undefined process (our senses, which we cannot model without a model of some aspects of the universe). In fact, the construction of any theory requires a solution to that problem! :hihi:

Yet no one makes any attempt to analyze that problem rationally. Why is that? I know why; do you? How about a little analytical metaphysics? :hyper:

Have fun -- Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous -- (He wrote a lot of stuff.) :P :hyper: :hyper:

#2 infamous

infamous

    Visions of grandeur

  • Members
  • 3962 posts

Posted 11 November 2005 - 10:35 PM

:hyper:
Unless one wanted to take this as the final resolution of the question without any discussion. :hyper:
:hyper: :hyper: :hihi:

Just a short comment about my statement "There will be no final theory." It wasn't intended to discourage individuals from seeking answers to long held questions. The fact remains that the word final by definition means the last. I think I can safely say that as long as there are new things to learn, there will be no final theory. And if one studies science for very long, they usually find the greater the understanding one attains, the more questions arise. By all means, let's not discourage anyone from seeking greater knowledge but let's also recognize that when one thinks they have found the final theory they may be on the verge of becoming apathetic.The point I was trying to make is this; Instead of referring to The Final Theory, maybe it would be more appropriate to call it The Latest Theory for I guarantee that time will eventually bring another along that will either disagree with it completely or at least modify it to some degree.

#3 Doctordick

Doctordick

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 1071 posts

Posted 12 November 2005 - 01:16 PM

Just a short comment about my statement "There will be no final theory." It wasn't intended to discourage individuals from seeking answers to long held questions.

I didn't take it that way at all. Notice I used the phrase, "the final resolution of the question". I was trying to point out exactly what you said, "By all means, let's not discourage anyone from seeking...". :)

Actually, I have no argument with you at all; in fact, so far I haven't seen you say anything I would seriously criticize. What I am appalled at is the absolute lack of interest in the idea of theories themselves and what constraints should be rationally placed upon them; for example, orbsycli's comment which seemed to generate no response at all. Theorists seem to not worry at all about "what they are trying to do". They all take it for granted that they know exactly what they are doing (which, having aquired a Ph.D. in theoretical physics myself, I sincerely question). :P

With regard to the word final, which as you said means the last, it is an adjective which modifies something, the issue of whether or not a "final" theory exists depends very much on exactly what is meant by the word "theory" and, once again, I am not trying to present an answer, I am trying to open a discussion and am continually surprised by the total lack of interest. I am of the opinion we have a serious issue here which deserves a little attention. Before going to construct a theory of the universe, a proper theorist would take a little time to figure out exactly what such a thing would have to be. :lol:

No one (except myself) has taken the trouble to look at the true problem. It is not difficult to show that the problem is one of constructing a rational model of a totally unknown universe given nothing but a totally undefined stream of data which has been transcribed by a totally undefined process. The scientific community regards such a problem as obviously insolvable. :) No one but a complete idiot would look there. :hihi:

This position is held by everyone in spite of the fact that, in their own model of the universe, the problem is solved daily by millions of children (they all begin as eggs with no mental concepts at all and, within a few short years they have developed complex ideas and theories beyond reckoning). No one really thinks about it. Actually, I can show that it is the freedom to define the data transcription which allows a solution to the problem. If you don't understand that, I will explain it to you or anyone else. :)

Have fun -- Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous -- (He wrote a lot of stuff.)

#4 infamous

infamous

    Visions of grandeur

  • Members
  • 3962 posts

Posted 12 November 2005 - 03:25 PM

I didn't take it that way at all. Notice I used the phrase, "the final resolution of the question". I was trying to point out exactly what you said, "By all means, let's not discourage anyone from seeking...". :hihi:

Actually, I have no argument with you at all; in fact, so far I haven't seen you say anything I would seriously criticize.

It would seem that we are both on the same page Doc. and I'll beg your pardon if I misunderstood your position. I simply thought you had misunderstood mine.

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous -- (He wrote a lot of stuff.)

I totally agree...................Infy

#5 CraigD

CraigD

    Creating

  • Administrators
  • 8023 posts

Posted 12 November 2005 - 04:18 PM

What I am appalled at is the absolute lack of interest in the idea of theories themselves and what constraints should be rationally placed upon them; for example, orbsycli's comment which seemed to generate no response at all. Theorists seem to not worry at all about "what they are trying to do". They all take it for granted that they know exactly what they are doing (which, having aquired a Ph.D. in theoretical physics myself, I sincerely question).

Unlike Doctordick, I’m neither surprised not appalled at the low level (“absolute” is hyperbole, since clearly at least Doctordick is interested) of interest in what, if you’ll pardon an overused 20+ year old construction, might be termed “meta-theory”.

I believe the prevailing mindset of most Science, Math, and technology enthusiasts is described well by a passage from Neil Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon”: that the way to succeed in life is "knowing two plus two equals four, then just sticking to our guns". He was describing a fictional, multi-generational family of mathematicians, the Waterhouses, but the attitude that proficiency and dogged determination is preferable, and can achieve the same results as brilliance and focused introspection, is, I think, central to the mindset of all sorts of “techie” people.

The attitude is reinforced by ideas that have emerged in the last couple of decades from chaos and systems theory, in which understanding is seen not to emerge from sophisticated heuristics algorithms or neuroanatomical quantum weirdness, but to “emerge” from complicated hierarchies of sub-sentient agents. To put it in terms from ”Defining the nature of rational discussion!”, these ideas suggest that it’s not appropriate to compate “logical though” to “squirrel thought”, but rather, that logical thought just “takes a lot of squirrels”. Founding executive editor of Wired Kevin Kelly’s long, sometime preachy and rambling (but free in its entirety online) “Out of Control” could be considered a canonic example of this mindset.

While, IMHO, the faith of many thoughtful people in such emergent phenomena is generally ill-informed and misplaced, I strongly suspect that practical improvements in general reasoning must needs incorporate these ideas. Much misplaced confidence and misinformation can be dispelled by dedicating a few hundred hours in an attempt to actually create an “emergent phenomena”, such as a genetic algorithm, to do something as easy as play a perfect game of 3x3 tic-tac-toe. Such an experience will quickly impress on its doer the distinction between “emergent” and “optimal”.

#6 Doctordick

Doctordick

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 1071 posts

Posted 12 November 2005 - 11:10 PM

It would seem that we are both on the same page Doc. and I'll beg your pardon if I misunderstood your position. I simply thought you had misunderstood mine.

You have it; no begging necessary!

I totally agree...................Infy

From what I have read of yours, I doubt we would have any serious arguments about anything. Misunderstandings are another issue entirely :hihi:

Have fun -- Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous -- (He wrote a lot of stuff.)

#7 cwes99_03

cwes99_03

    Suspended

  • Members
  • 1587 posts

Posted 13 November 2005 - 08:47 AM

It seems that DocDick won't reply to any post of mine as he has pointed out in previous posts that he has ignored me altogether. However, that doesn's stop any of you from considering my points, and I thank you for doing so.

DoctorDick, has a habit of ignoring anyone who contradicts his posts, and telling them precisely what we have above, that is to say if we don't agree with him we must be misunderstanding him, and that means we aren't worth his time to reexplain himself. See the thread mentioned above http://hypography.co...discussion.html

This being said, Doctordick has posted this at least two times, and I have to ask what the basis for this is.

the problem of designing a "final theory" must include a method of constructing a rational model of a totally unknown universe (it's not known if we don't understand it) given nothing but a totally undefined stream of data (the data's not defined if we don't understand the universe producing it) which has been transcribed by a totally undefined process (our senses, which we cannot model without a model of some aspects of the universe). In fact, the construction of any theory requires a solution to that problem!


It is amazing to me that anyone knows anything at all! Apparently we don't understand how our senses work. Since that is true, I can't say that what I'm seeing transcribed on the screen in front of me is real, because I don't know how my eyes see. I therefore can't make a hypthesis based upon my sight, hearing, smell, touch, or taste. I also can't make a hypothesis at all because it means assuming an answer which I can't test because it will take using my senses which can't be used. I must be deaf, dumb, blind, tasteless (some would say I am because i wore a blue tie with a white shirt and black suit once), etc.

Here's the problem with his reasoning. He makes an assumption (hypothesis) that nothing can be hypothesized. Weird way of going at it as it disproves your hypothesis right off the bat.

A hypothesis is just that, a theory that there is a solution to a problem. Do you have to base your hypothesis off of observed phenomena? No, in fact I could hypothesize that the sun really isn't hot, but cold, and then prove it by flying a space ship through the sun. The only problem with this hypothesis and resulting test is that I will kill myself.

I have imense respect for infy and craigd. So I pose this question to them. What is meant by the final theory. A theory is a posed solution to a question. That question in this case, must be "what is the answer to all questions?". In this case, should someone come up with a theory to answer this question, then it would be termed a final theory.
If then this theory could be tested and proved right and no new questions could be found. Then it becomes the final truth, and the final theory is no longer a theory.
A theory is a theory, until it is tested and proved or disproved. Simply put the following should be reexamined.

Originally Posted by orbsycli
"the final theory" isn't that name flawed? if the final theory is the final knowledge and explaination of everything, wouldn't it not be a theory?

Is a very serious thought indeed. And one not really discussed to any extent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by infamous
Absolutely Orby, Read my lips Hypography members: There will be NO final theory.

Unless one wanted to take this as the final resolution of the question without any discussion.


"there will be No final theory", is in itself a final theory. It is a theory that cannot be proved or disproved until it is disproved. It seems true, as long as no other final theory that disproves it becomes the final truth, but otherwise it will always be a theory, making it a final theory for now.
Cheers

#8 infamous

infamous

    Visions of grandeur

  • Members
  • 3962 posts

Posted 13 November 2005 - 10:25 AM


I have imense respect for infy and craigd. So I pose this question to them. What is meant by the final theory.

Thanks for the vote of confidence cwes99_03, I'm not sure I deserve the recognition. On the other hand CraigD is without question a remarkable and intelligent fellow. Saying that, I have a comment on the question; "What is meant by the final theory". My only, and I emphasize, only problem with this pharse is the word final. I would prefer that this word 'final' were dropped and the word 'latest' be introduced into the text. My reasoning is based upon the historical fact that as long as we continue to learn, our understanding will change and our theories will be modified to accomodate contemporary information. This demands of us an open-ness of mind to accept the changes that will inevitably come with the advance of time.

"there will be No final theory", is in itself a final theory. It is a theory that cannot be proved or disproved until it is disproved. It seems true, as long as no other final theory that disproves it becomes the final truth, but otherwise it will always be a theory, making it a final theory for now.
Cheers

Again I must respectfully disagree, "making it a final theory for now" should read, 'making it the latest theory for now'. Webster's; The word final defined: 'The end, or last' would suggest that no more theories could be possible. There will always be New theories.

#9 cwes99_03

cwes99_03

    Suspended

  • Members
  • 1587 posts

Posted 13 November 2005 - 02:03 PM

Ah yes, the could be would make it seem like last or final would not be appropriate. I only argue semantics, because if the theory makes it appear as if no other theory could be found (after all it is supposed to be the answer to all questions, which I only propose will mean that it ends all future questions as well) then it would be the final theory.
I hope you see my point. If the theory is the last one, meaning that the successful experimentation based upon this theory proves it is true, and no more questions can be created because of this theories successful findings, then it would be the final theory.

Yes, I'm saying all this because I feel like it is an unattainable theory. I don't think that all the questions someone could ask will ever have an answer. While many do, we are referring to a definitive, absolute answer.

Thus infamous, great-one, you are correct in wanting to label it latest, in that you are most likely arguing that final is impossible to achieve as far as theories go. I guess you could say it is an oxymoron.

#10 infamous

infamous

    Visions of grandeur

  • Members
  • 3962 posts

Posted 13 November 2005 - 02:39 PM


Thus infamous, great-one, you are correct in wanting to label it latest, in that you are most likely arguing that final is impossible to achieve as far as theories go.

Absolutely cwes99_03], fabulous one, my point precisely.

I guess you could say it is an oxymoron.

Oxymoron; A rhetorical figure in which an epigrammatic effect is created by the conjunction of incongruous or contrtadictory terms. So yes, I would say that "final" is 'incongruous'; unsuitable; inappropiate.

#11 Doctordick

Doctordick

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 1071 posts

Posted 19 November 2005 - 10:58 AM

Sorry to be so slow but I needed to think about the reactions my post engendered. When I started this thread, I commented that the subject had been close to my heart for over fifty years and I tried to bring a little attention to some of the important aspects. I think I have fundamentally failed as all the posts really dealt with fluff issues: semantics and such, completely ignoring the serious issues related to the idea of a "Final Theory". :hihi:

No one seemed at all aware of the fact that many in the forefront of modern physics are of the opinion that mankind is very close to a fundamental explanation of everything physical; what was essentially being referred to as the "Final Theory". The length of that thread should have made it clear that an important issue was buried there. I quoted "orbsycli" on the flaw in the name because a lot of people seem to miss that fact ("if the final theory is the final knowledge and explanation of everything, wouldn't it not be a theory?") and the reaction was to dismiss the subject as if that error meant there was no subject to discuss: i.e., it was ("the final resolution of the question"). Perhaps we should call it something else (but, so long as we don't have it, we have to call our ideas "theories").

I think infamous has missed the central issue by thinking in terms of "Theories". Fundamentally, his failure to understand orbsycli's comment closes the door to thought about "understanding the universe". His position is that all understanding is theoretical and that theoretical things cannot be proved therefore the problem of "understanding the universe" can not be solved. I don't believe this is a well thought out position but rather a simple refusal to consider the possibility of a solution. :shrug:

No one (except myself) has taken the trouble to look at the true problem. It is not difficult to show that the problem is one of constructing a rational model of a totally unknown universe given nothing but a totally undefined stream of data which has been transcribed by a totally undefined process. The scientific community regards such a problem as obviously insolvable. :D No one but a complete idiot would look there. :umno:

The real issue here is the role played by induction. Most all thoughtful people have concluded that there exists no way of proving anything achieved by induction is valid.

Inductive reasoning is deductively invalid. (An argument in formal logic is valid if and only if it is not possible for the premises of the argument to be true whilst the conclusion is false.)

At the same time, without induction, no connection between logic and reality can be achieved; this is the fundamental reason for the position "mathematics has nothing to do with reality": as Feynman said, "mathematics is the distilled essence of logic" (but, he is referring to deductive logic and not inductive logic). ;)

The intellectual community holds that there are two very different categories of logic: deduction and induction. In reality, induction is not actually logic; it is in fact, the logical deductions which may be made from the assumption that some specific thing which has happened in the past will happen again. Now all logical deduction begins with axioms so why would they want to set this off as a separate category of logic and not just another possible axiom? As I see it, the answer is very simple but difficult to live with and "the intellectual powers which be" don't like to bring that fact out into the open. The fact is that the assumption "what has happened in the past will happen again" is very difficult to accept as an "axiom" and must be couched in very careful terms in order to be seen as reasonable. In fact, most (if not all) errors in our explanations of our experiences which have turned out to be wrong can be traced to exactly that assumption so it behooves us all to be very careful when it comes to induction.

Fundamentally, it is the fact that all theories must be based on induction which guarantees that no theory will ever be proved correct. Since all "realistic" (having to do with reality) axioms are based on induction, there exists no starting point for that "understanding of the universe". This is taken as proof that a valid "understanding the universe" will never be achieved (it should be noticed that this itself is an inductive conclusion). It has been assumed that no path around the inductive dilemma exists. What people are failing to take into account is that there also exists no proof that any "reliable" theory is wrong as disproof itself removes that "reliability" (see Karl Popper's definition of "reliable"). It follows that any "reliable" theory might be valid or, which amounts to the same thing, if understanding is possible, a valid theory exists within the set of "all possible reliable theories". :D

Taking that into account, if one can create an abstract construct which can be shown to be deductively valid (an internally consistent analytic statement)
and also show that every possible "reliable" theory can be mapped into that construct, then that construct itself embodies an "understanding of the universe". Against this very definite possibility is the well known fact "that analytic statements "express no thoughts", that is, that they tell us nothing new; although analytic statements do not require justification, they are singularly uninformative" (see any definition of an "analytic statement"). B)

It is exactly that last statement with which I find great fault. "Uninformative" is a rather extreme condemnation to place upon a construct prior to understanding that construct. One could just as well point out that all of mathematics is an "analytic" construct and is thus "uninformative". A tautology is defined to be "a needless repetition of the same idea in a different word, phrase or sentence" (a tautology is little more than a complex analytic statement). It would indeed be needless repetition were everyone brilliant enough to intuitively see those consequences; however, any decent education in mathematics will assure anyone that the consequences of definition can easily far outstrip the capabilities of common intuition.

And so it is with that construct I have created. It may very well be "uninformative", but it certainly explains one hell of a lot! :) :hihi:

Have fun -- Dick

"The simplest and most necessary truths are the very last to be believed."
by Anonymous -- (He wrote a lot of stuff.) :D :eek: :)

#12 questor

questor

    Suspended

  • Members
  • 1648 posts

Posted 21 November 2005 - 01:20 PM

it would be quite a conceit of anyone to think he had a final theory, since mankind does not have the tools to solve many theories that now exist, but have not been proved. we don't understand gravity, many sub-atomic particles, spin, quantum mechanics, space, forces and perhaps mathematical concepts yet to be discovered. Infy is correct, any theory
is only the latest theory, conceived by relatively uninformed minds compared to what the future holds. Dr. Dick obviously has a bee in his bonnet, but seems too busy to tell us what his theories are.

#13 Doctordick

Doctordick

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 1071 posts

Posted 22 November 2005 - 06:10 AM

Dr. Dick obviously has a bee in his bonnet, but seems too busy to tell us what his theories are.

I am not presenting a theory of any kind. I am pointing out a method of handling the fact that induction does not yield valid results and is nevertheless a necessary part of any theory. Once one comprehends that there really exists a method of handling that fact and is able to work out the deductions which may be made from that method, certain very important facts about any explanation of anything becomes rather self evident. Apparently everyone wants to know what those facts are without understanding the method. Even if I could convince you of these facts, with no understanding, belief is nothing but religion and is no more defendable than any other "squirrel" conclusion. :shrug:

Have fun -- Dick

Knowledge is Power
and the most common abuse of that power is to use it to hide stupidity

#14 questor

questor

    Suspended

  • Members
  • 1648 posts

Posted 22 November 2005 - 07:50 AM

Dr. Dick, assuming all you say is true, and you want us to respond to your ideas with some type of discourse, ''where's the beef'' ? what is it you want? you mentioned in one of your first posts that you had done some work or written some treatises that no one respected.
your posts have accused us of disinterest in your discussion, but i can't figure out what you want to discuss. you must know that there are many questions in the sciences that no one has answers to. why don't you propose a subject you wish to discuss ? you would probably generate much discusssion.

#15 Doctordick

Doctordick

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 1071 posts

Posted 22 November 2005 - 11:48 AM

why don't you propose a subject you wish to discuss ? you would probably generate much discusssion.

Have you read my response to you on the "Defining the nature of rational discussion!" thread? :shrug:

Have fun -- Dick

Knowledge is Power
and the most common abuse of that power is to use it to hide stupidity

#16 questor

questor

    Suspended

  • Members
  • 1648 posts

Posted 22 November 2005 - 09:10 PM

yes i have. i don't mean to be impolite, but i'm not understanding what your problem is.
in my meager understanding of inductive reasoning, i would say it leads to a lot of non-sequiturs. why not just say that all thinkers give it their best shot. they think with the equipment they have. some of this thought yields great rewards...Edison.. Tesla...
Einstein, et al. most thought yields little. so what ? the knowledge database is still expanding, technology is becoming more sophisticated, living conditions for advanced civilizations are improving. What's the problem ? why are you agitated ? if you're worried about a final theory, forget it! neither you nor your great grandchildren are going to be around when all the theoretical problems are solved.

#17 goku

goku

    Suspended

  • Members
  • 978 posts

Posted 22 November 2005 - 09:30 PM

:QuestionM define final theory :eek2: