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Indeed, physics does not say?


gubba
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Good-day folks,

just lost the extremely droll, highly articulate and atrociously mispelt thread, I was hoping to introduce myself with, in its entirety! So now I shall be brief.

One of my abiding areas of passionate interest is following the interface between our various activies and the choice of language we choice to delineate our deeds and concepts. I'm particularly interested in hearing other's thoughts on any possible effects our language usage may have on, particularly, our scientific imagination.

Indeed, physics, as yet, has not directly communicated with us and the "Laws of Physics" may possible exist, but, we are but steadily increasing the depth of description of our awareness of the physical system(s) we find ourselves in.

My question, is there sufficient recognition of the self referential nature of much in our conceptual discussion? Does the pervasive anthropomorphism inherent in so much of our language muddy the waters too much? cheers gubba

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Good-day Sanctus,

first of all thanks for the welcome.

 

Secondly I am indeed more interested [at the moment] in examining issues relating to our CONDUCT of science rather than the subject itself. For example, if we are indeed incapable of perceiving nature objectively why do we continue to act as if we do?

As one who has read a little social history it is quite easy to understand the historical reasons for the current formats of scientific discourse, yet it leaves me wondering whether we should be doing better? Do not all the recent advances in our self-awareness, as the result of the enormous strides in neuro-psychology, seriously challenge if not invalidate our continued use of the prescriptive tone so prevalent in our scientific literature? Incidentally, this is NOT an argument for the relatavism that has so bedevilled so much of our conduct of the humanities. cheers for now gubba.

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Good-day Tormod,

I suppose I'm wondering whether anyone else feels that:

1. It would be helpful to critically evaluate the effects (if any and I'd be surprised if there weren't many) of our modes of scientific discourse upon our actual practices of scientific inquiry.

2. Whether an attempt to self-consciously alter aspects of our discourse would feasibly help to highlight aspects of our practices that may need addressing.

An example to illustrate my doubts in these areas is my simple observation that I have yet to come across any of our innumerable abstract concepts that is an entity in its own right. When I stop to think about it there are no such things as, you've probably already ahead of me, nature, nuture, physics etc. etc, certainly not as discrete, independent entities. Yet we constantly objectify what are in essence our thoughts and refer to them, in our language usage at least, as active participants in our fields of endeavour. The phrase "the Laws of Physics" springs to mind. At the least it would be less hubristic to admit our own involvement? cheers gubba

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I think you are forgetting that we are merely human beings. What we observe as laws of nature are what we have defined as laws of nature. We have a very human bias and it is near neigh impossible to get rid of it. I don't think this has anything to do with higher consciousness or anything - it has with scientists being able to understand this bias and do something about it.

 

As for things not being actual, that has been discussed since Plato and his fellow Greeks. We'll probably never get past it as long as people question our senses.

 

My point of view is that our senses is the only thing we can trust. But we need to know when we are fallible and what we can do to alleviate it.

 

We objectify because it makes things understandable. We make models because they let us test things. Science is not about "uncovering the final truths" - it is about trying to understand the universe we live in. Abstract concepts are a necessary part of that. :)

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Thanks Tormod,

I agree with your points and certainly support the thrust of your argument if I am understanding you correctly. To quote you "...our senses are the only thing we can trust." Thus the value of hypothesis and verification, scientific inquiry alone allows us to test our ideas by assessing their aptness or utility in increasing our understanding of our universe. All may not be perfect but frankly that invalidates nothing at all. On the question of "....Human Bias" I was attempting to address some aspects of this. Have I totally missed the mark. I wonder if you'd mind expanding on your idea that "...We objectify because it makes things understandable."? While I concur with the necessity to conceptualise I'm in doubt that I've grasped your point fully, cheers gub.

p.s. I'm bemused by your reference to higher consciousness. When I refered to "self- concious" and "self aware" behaviour in my posts perhaps I should have used a term like "deliberate" instead.

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Good-day Sanctus,

already my tentative foray into this forum has been rewarding for me! In the similar threads segment that appeared under this section I read with great interest the thread you began in Dec. 2004 called "physics eventually gets down to assumption and acceptance". I was particularly struck by your final discussion with Aquagem. cheers gub.

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We objectify because it makes things understandable. We make models because they let us test things. Science is not about "uncovering the final truths" - it is about trying to understand the universe we live in. Abstract concepts are a necessary part of that. :)

 

Very well said, Tormod.

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Mathematics does not have an accent. Proper science has no observer bias. You are thinking of religion, a hot air balloon less its skin. Believe!

 

Algebra and analytic geometry are united through Euler's equation. Wave mechanics and matrix mechanics were both quantum mechanics. The five string theories were all M-theory. Choose whatever coordinate system you like to describe the H2(+) cation - but you are a fool if you choose anything other than confocal ellipsoidal coordinates to simplify calculations. General Relativity has no coordinate background at all. If you don't like Fourier transforms use Hadamard transforms or summed wavelets.

 

The only science that reflects anthropic input is pathological - the political obscenity of Lysenkoism, the putrid sham that is psychology, bloviating pundits who describe the Earth's climate 100 years hence in exacting detail while being unable to predict tomorrow's weather, governments that wield economists' fancies to transform hunger into famine.

 

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled" - Richard Feynman.

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For what its worth:

"In the beginning was the Word. Of course our descriptions shape our science, and all else. Honesty and precision in word usage help optimize our tasks.

I also have to say something about ... the only thing we can trust is our senses. I agree evrything we think we know comes to us through our senses, but I disagree that we can trust them. I think they lie to us all the time. Stare at the Sun for a moment and go into a dark room. What do your eyes tell you? Anyway, like I said, for what its worth...

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