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An idea cannot "kill," or do, anything. What you mean to say is that some individuals who lived centuries after Aristotle and who accepted his ideas about physics did such-and-such. But this happened because Aristotle's metaphysics, which the church originally condemned as heretical, eventually became intertwined with Catholic religious dogma -- a development of which Aristotle would have thoroughly disapproved. The fact is that the "Renaissance of the 12th Century" -- a revival of learning in science and other fields -- was almost wholly owing to the rediscovery of Aristotle's writings by Europeans. Aristotle's naturalistic perspective, which left no room for theological explanations, has long been recognized by historians as a pivotal event in the development of modern science. Your perspective on the history of science is at least 150 years out of date. Ghs
Really? Well let's look at a couple of 'facts' that you conveniently leave out of your perpetual half-truths. Aristotle's views were intertwined with Church dogma - problem, and agreed. However, your view of the Church/Galileo interaction as stated here isn't even out of date, it's deliberately misleading. I'm sure you're aware, with your vast historical knowledge, that forces within the Church at the time were simultaneously arguably his strongest supporters . Who were among the first (or I think maybe were actually first) to repeat his observations and sympathize with his viewpoint? Jesuits. What happend on 13th of May 1611 at the Roman College? Big Jesuit Galileo party, that's what. Sure the Jesuits were pressured to tow the Church line, but the Church was simultaneously Galileo's foe and ally. Your simplistic view doesn't fly. Who refused to even look through the telescope because Galileo HAD to be wrong because it was anti-Aristotle (or perhaps an Identity violation)? Brain-dead philosophers, that's who. We don't have the simplistic 'Galileo the good vs. Aristotle's ideas polluted by Church' nonsense as you would have us believe. We have 'Galileo the correct vs the Aristotle-infected Church, the Aristotle-infected contemporary scientists, AND the Aristotle-infected Philosophers'. "Aristotle's naturalistic perspective, which left no room for theological explanations, has long been recognized by historians as a pivotal event in the development of modern science." Yes, however, it can still be true that his physics did immeasurable damage to the development of modern science. Basically, it comes down to whether or not what he did right was ultimately more important that what he did wrong. What do you think Galileo would say? I also strongly object to what I can only assume is your deliberate and calculated omissions. If your integrity was only the smallest fraction of the strength your historical knowledge. At least when I omit someting, I can legitmately blame ignorance... Bob

I thought we were talking about the medieval period. I was, at least.

Of course there were various factions within the Catholic Church, some which supported Galileo and some which did not. (From its inception the Catholic Church was never a monolithic institution.) But in the final analysis Galileo still got raked over the coals. I don't have the quote in front of me, but at one point Galileo said that he would have committed all his writings to the flames, had he known the humiliation and hardships they would eventually cause him.

Galileo didn't do himself any favors with how he handled Cardinal Barberini, who later became Pope Urban VIII. Galileo had some cordial converations about science with the Jesuit Barberini, but after Barberini became pope, Galileo put some of Barberini's fallacious arguments into the mouth of "Simplicio" in one of his dialogues. Barberini and the Jesuit Order turned on Galileo after that. You failed to mention this fact, so, following your own idiotic line of reasoning, you obviously lack integrity.

What the hell do you expect me to do in a brief post? Cover the entire history of the relationship between the Catholic Church and science?

Btw, you don't understand the telescope controversy. This issue has been discussed in detail by Koestler, Feyerabend, and other historians of science.

As for another point you raised -- What Aristotle got right was much more important than what he got wrong. The same is true of Galileo, Kepler (who had a nutty cosmology), Newton, Einstein, and other great minds in western civilization. Science will progress so long as people are free to doubt and challenge orthodox theories and improve upon them. The Catholic Church was frequently -- though not always -- an obstacle to such progress.

Had you lived in Aristotle's day, you would have been attempting to divine the future by examining the entrails of sheep, so give the guy a break.

Ghs

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As for another point you raised -- What Aristotle got right was much more important than what he got wrong. The same is true of Galileo, Kepler (who had a nutty cosmology), Newton, Einstein, and other great minds in western civilization.

George,

That's a core point in how the progress of science works.

I see it ignored a lot in these kinds of discussions.

Michael

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However, your view of the Church/Galileo interaction as stated here isn't even out of date, it's deliberately misleading. I'm sure you're aware, with your vast historical knowledge, that forces within the Church at the time were simultaneously arguably his strongest supporters . Who were among the first (or I think maybe were actually first) to repeat his observations and sympathize with his viewpoint? Jesuits.

We don't have the simplistic 'Galileo the good vs. Aristotle's ideas polluted by Church' nonsense as you would have us believe. We have 'Galileo the correct vs the Aristotle-infected Church, the Aristotle-infected contemporary scientists, AND the Aristotle-infected Philosophers'.

The point is that the church at the time dominated both science and philosophy. Your invective seems gratuitous. The following account shows that Galileo’s support from the Jesuits was half-hearted and short-lived. Nothing here is inconsistent with the quote George provided from A.C. Crombie.

Galileo and the Jesuits – a revealing tale

Early in 1611, Galileo set out for Rome from Florence, where for a year he had enjoyed the resounding title of Primary Mathematician and Philosopher to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The purpose of his journey was to visit the mathematicians of the Society of Jesus, who had confirmed the astonishing discoveries Galileo had made with his telescope the previous year.

The sights Galileo reported provided evidence in favor of Copernicus’s controversial sun-centered view of the universe. More immediately, his discoveries were a direct threat to the geocentric cosmology taught by the Jesuits – and he therefore set great store by their confirmation of his findings. If they truly made his views theirs, they would be able to disseminate sun-centered cosmology throughout the Catholic world. No such collaboration was possible in Padua, where Galileo had served as professor of mathematics until 1610, –since the Venetians, who ran the University there, had expelled the Jesuits from all Venetian territory in 1606. Proximity to the Jesuits was one of the advantages that Galileo saw in moving from Padua to Florence.

The Roman Jesuits received Galileo with praise and promises of friendship. But this was to be short-lived; they declined to support him when Dominican preachers charged that sun-centered astronomy conflicted with Scripture.

The charges came to a head in 1615. Galileo hurried back to Rome to clear himself and to persuade theologians that even Joshua’s command to the sun to stand still could be construed in favor of Copernicus. The Inquisition accepted that Galileo was a good Catholic but not that Copernicus was good for Catholics, and had the Index of Prohibited Books ban writings asserting that the sun stands and the earth moves. The chief theologian of the Inquisition, Robert Bellarmine (a Jesuit) read Galileo the decree of the Index and ordered him not to hold or teach the Copernican system.

Galileo was furious with the mathematicians of the Roman College for abandoning him.

From the official website of BBC History Magazine

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I must admit guilt in attacking some current but primarily historical figures in physics for holding back physics. In my view they pushed incorrect philosophy and physics and have sabotaged discussion of alternative ideas using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science.

I figure the "guilt" was a misstate, since there's no (legitimate) "guilt" in attacking the disinformation and the obstructive efforts.

For ready reference, here are links to six of your posts which disucuss the problem pertaining to the way QM is generally presented.

post #256, "Scientific Certainty?"

post #258, "Scientific Certainty?"

post #260, "Scientific Certainty?"

post #3, "Philosophy of Cosmology"

post #7, "Innumeracy"

post #72, "Proving quantum mechanics wrong"

Bob K. has imbibed the "don't ask" re foundations attitude to such an extent, he seems to me like a caricature of that attitude. But the attitude is widespread. I agree it's been obstructive to research, and that it's been pushed "using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science" -- by Feynman especially importantly but not only by Feynman.

Ellen

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As for another point you raised -- What Aristotle got right was much more important than what he got wrong. The same is true of Galileo, Kepler (who had a nutty cosmology), Newton, Einstein, and other great minds in western civilization.
George, That's a core point in how the progress of science works. I see it ignored a lot in these kinds of discussions. Michael

Exactly.

We sometimes forget that Newton wrote more on biblical prophecy and eschatology than he did on physics. But what he got wrong was not nearly as important as what he got right. The same is true of Aristotle.

We need to remember that some of Aristotle's scientific theories became so intertwined with medieval metaphysics that to question even one feature would have threatened to collapse the entire worldview. It was like a house of cards in this respect -- remove one card and the entire structure collapses. Revolutions like this -- or what Thomas Kuhn called "paradigm shifts" -- do not happen very often.

In a sense Aristotle was too much of an empiricist in physics. His theories explained many of our common experiences quite well. Galileo, in contrast, relied a great deal on thought experiments, i.e., highly abstract mathematical models that factor out the variables we encounter in the real world. Such idealized experiments resemble Plato's ideal forms, and this why the mathematical perspective of Plato (who was heavily influenced by Pythagoras) is sometimes said to have been an important aspect of the Scientific Revolution. This is a complicated subject, however, because Plato's other-worldly emphasis also had detrimental effects.

Ghs

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I must admit guilt in attacking some current but primarily historical figures in physics for holding back physics. In my view they pushed incorrect philosophy and physics and have sabotaged discussion of alternative ideas using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science.

I figure the "guilt" was a misstate, since there's no (legitimate) "guilt" in attacking the disinformation and the obstructive efforts.

For ready reference, here are links to six of your posts which disucuss the problem pertaining to the way QM is generally presented.

post #256, "Scientific Certainty?"

post #258, "Scientific Certainty?"

post #260, "Scientific Certainty?"

post #3, "Philosophy of Cosmology"

post #7, "Innumeracy"

post #72, "Proving quantum mechanics wrong"

Bob K. has imbibed the "don't ask" re foundations attitude to such an extent, he seems to me like a caricature of that attitude. But the attitude is widespread. I agree it's been obstructive to research, and that it's been pushed "using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science" -- by Feynman especially importantly but not only by Feynman.

Ellen

A few months ago I was discussing dark matter and spiral galaxies on-line with a researcher in that field. After 3-4 e-mails back and forth I mentioned my interest in alternative QM - now he won't reply to my e-mails. He was fine with alternative gravity - but not alternative QM. There are a great many physicists who have their entire world-view invested in indeterministic QM - I can't be sure he was one of them but I have had a similar reaction enough times to recognize it as likely. On South Park it would be know as the "Turd in the Puchbowl" moment. I first realized how seriously people can react when I explained it to a girl I knew in colledge - when I was about 20-21 - and you would have thought I was a serial child axe murdering rapist the way she behaved afterward. It isn't just religion that can strike a nerve that way - secular world views can do it too.

Dennis

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An idea cannot "kill," or do, anything. What you mean to say is that some individuals who lived centuries after Aristotle and who accepted his ideas about physics did such-and-such. But this happened because Aristotle's metaphysics, which the church originally condemned as heretical, eventually became intertwined with Catholic religious dogma -- a development of which Aristotle would have thoroughly disapproved. The fact is that the "Renaissance of the 12th Century" -- a revival of learning in science and other fields -- was almost wholly owing to the rediscovery of Aristotle's writings by Europeans. Aristotle's naturalistic perspective, which left no room for theological explanations, has long been recognized by historians as a pivotal event in the development of modern science. Your perspective on the history of science is at least 150 years out of date. Ghs
Really? Well let's look at a couple of 'facts' that you conveniently leave out of your perpetual half-truths. Aristotle's views were intertwined with Church dogma - problem, and agreed. However, your view of the Church/Galileo interaction as stated here isn't even out of date, it's deliberately misleading. I'm sure you're aware, with your vast historical knowledge, that forces within the Church at the time were simultaneously arguably his strongest supporters . Who were among the first (or I think maybe were actually first) to repeat his observations and sympathize with his viewpoint? Jesuits. What happend on 13th of May 1611 at the Roman College? Big Jesuit Galileo party, that's what. Sure the Jesuits were pressured to tow the Church line, but the Church was simultaneously Galileo's foe and ally. Your simplistic view doesn't fly. Who refused to even look through the telescope because Galileo HAD to be wrong because it was anti-Aristotle (or perhaps an Identity violation)? Brain-dead philosophers, that's who. We don't have the simplistic 'Galileo the good vs. Aristotle's ideas polluted by Church' nonsense as you would have us believe. We have 'Galileo the correct vs the Aristotle-infected Church, the Aristotle-infected contemporary scientists, AND the Aristotle-infected Philosophers'. "Aristotle's naturalistic perspective, which left no room for theological explanations, has long been recognized by historians as a pivotal event in the development of modern science." Yes, however, it can still be true that his physics did immeasurable damage to the development of modern science. Basically, it comes down to whether or not what he did right was ultimately more important that what he did wrong. What do you think Galileo would say? I also strongly object to what I can only assume is your deliberate and calculated omissions. If your integrity was only the smallest fraction of the strength your historical knowledge. At least when I omit someting, I can legitmately blame ignorance... Bob

I thought we were talking about the medieval period. I was, at least.

Of course there were various factions within the Catholic Church, some which supported Galileo and some which did not. (From its inception the Catholic Church was never a monolithic institution.) But in the final analysis Galileo still got raked over the coals. I don't have the quote in front of me, but at one point Galileo said that he would have committed all his writings to the flames, had he known the humiliation and hardships they would eventually cause him.

Galileo didn't do himself any favors with how he handled Cardinal Barberini, who later became Pope Urban VIII. Galileo had some cordial converations about science with the Jesuit Barberini, but after Barberini became pope, Galileo put some of Barberini's fallacious arguments into the mouth of "Simplicio" in one of his dialogues. Barberini and the Jesuit Order turned on Galileo after that. You failed to mention this fact, so, following your own idiotic line of reasoning, you obviously lack integrity.

What the hell do you expect me to do in a brief post? Cover the entire history of the relationship between the Catholic Church and science?

Btw, you don't understand the telescope controversy. This issue has been discussed in detail by Koestler, Feyerabend, and other historians of science.

As for another point you raised -- What Aristotle got right was much more important than what he got wrong. The same is true of Galileo, Kepler (who had a nutty cosmology), Newton, Einstein, and other great minds in western civilization. Science will progress so long as people are free to doubt and challenge orthodox theories and improve upon them. The Catholic Church was frequently -- though not always -- an obstacle to such progress.

Had you lived in Aristotle's day, you would have been attempting to divine the future by examining the entrails of sheep, so give the guy a break.

Ghs

Well, I thought it was rather obvious that we're dealing with the influence of his ideas on science and not the man himself. After all, as we all know, Aristotle was long dead by Galileo's time.

If Aristotle never existed, would a better physics have appeared? Who knows, obviously hypothetical, but what we do know is that we'd have had about 2000 years of possibilities.

There's also a subtle but perhaps important distinction between Aristotle's physics, if you can call it that, and his other contributions to sciences like biology (which of course also contained errors). Positive contributions are easier to argue in the other areas notwithstanding the errors.

The problem with his physics errors is that they are so fundamental. Absolutely impossible to move forward without killing them first. That's the difference.

I'd like to see an analysis of how many "great minds of western civilization" had to explicitly or implicitly refute Aristotelian ideas as a necessary step to their success. I suspect the number is large if not close to unanimous.

Bob

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As for another point you raised -- What Aristotle got right was much more important than what he got wrong. The same is true of Galileo, Kepler (who had a nutty cosmology), Newton, Einstein, and other great minds in western civilization.

George,

That's a core point in how the progress of science works.

I see it ignored a lot in these kinds of discussions.

Michael

Talk about dropping context....

What matters in the progress of science is not which ideas are right and which are wrong in a vacuum, but which ideas are ultimately influential to scientific progress or the lack thereof. Newton's fashion mistakes and Eintstein's bad haircuts may be mistakes too, but if they have no influence on their fields then there is no relevance.

Aristotle's may have been a great guy, but his errors absolutely paralyzed physics. These physics greats above had to overcome his influence (either directly or by virtue of era) to succeed. They succeeded in spite of Aristotle, not because of him.

Bob

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Here are a couple of excerpts from the publisher’s description of The Grand Design (2010) by Hawking and Mlodinow. The book proposes “new answers to the ultimate questions of life: . . . Why is there something rather than nothing?” I hope readers here know that the initial singularity was not nothing. <.....>

I am a rube. I read neither physics nor philosophy. But, "this pretentious, vacuous question"? This was the question that haunted me for a short time around age five and six. I could imagine nothing (or so I thought then -- I grappled since with limited imagination) and I could imagine the world around me, and I could imagine time, endless time and a beginning. My mind thought ot infinity and its boundary in visual terms as a vast expanding sphere, and its beginnning, before the expansion, I imagined ever smaller, smaller, smaller and so small that it almost wasn't there. Why is there something (this world) rather than nothing (not this world)? When did it begin?

I was completely irreligious. At the time of the haunting, I had been taken to church and spoken at only once, at my own christening. No one in my family, in authority, had ever talked about gawds or god or God. It wasn't on the table.

But, my question and subsequent questions were vacuous and pretentious?

I asked the V&P question back on another thread and the responses I got were basically, we know there is something and it doesn't matter why, the question is meaningless. The only conclusion I can come too is, my brain is equipped to ask such a question but not to understand it or to understand the answer if there is one.

I could never wrap my mind around an "We know there is something and it doesn't matter why" attitude either.

Just because homo sapiens sapiens can't find out why the cosmos exists, to declare this as irrelevant ('it doesn't matter why') somehow does not mesh with the human thirst for knowledge.

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However, your view of the Church/Galileo interaction as stated here isn't even out of date, it's deliberately misleading. I'm sure you're aware, with your vast historical knowledge, that forces within the Church at the time were simultaneously arguably his strongest supporters . Who were among the first (or I think maybe were actually first) to repeat his observations and sympathize with his viewpoint? Jesuits.

We don't have the simplistic 'Galileo the good vs. Aristotle's ideas polluted by Church' nonsense as you would have us believe. We have 'Galileo the correct vs the Aristotle-infected Church, the Aristotle-infected contemporary scientists, AND the Aristotle-infected Philosophers'.

The point is that the church at the time dominated both science and philosophy. Your invective seems gratuitous. The following account shows that Galileo’s support from the Jesuits was half-hearted and short-lived. Nothing here is inconsistent with the quote George provided from A.C. Crombie.

Galileo and the Jesuits – a revealing tale

My point is that this explanation does NOT omit experimental confirmation of Galileo's findings by the church.

Bob

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In indeterministic QM there is no identity. In de Broglie-Bohm deBB like QM theories [deterministic] the particles involved are those of classical mechanics [may have to add the work of Gregory S. Duane to make that point clear].

Don't buy the many myths describing quantum mechanics - if it sounds like BS you are most likely hearing a convoluted explanation from indeterminism lacking identity and causality and not the whole story.

Dennis

Why are the predictions so accurate and on point?

Why does your computer work as advertised?

Why do atomic clocks keep such good time?

Ba'al Chatzaf

As for the concepts "identity" and "causality" - (which play a crucial role for us humans in 'our' world, which we perceive from our 'mesoscopic' perspective) - could it be that they might not fit for the quantum world?

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Bob K. has imbibed the "don't ask" re foundations attitude to such an extent, he seems to me like a caricature of that attitude. But the attitude is widespread. I agree it's been obstructive to research, and that it's been pushed "using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science" -- by Feynman especially importantly but not only by Feynman.

Ellen

Feynman was no caricature. He was a world class physicist and he had little use for philosophy. He was not bashful in the way he panned it. Foundations of physics is one thing. Philosophical nonsense, hot air and word salad is another.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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In indeterministic QM there is no identity. In de Broglie-Bohm deBB like QM theories [deterministic] the particles involved are those of classical mechanics [may have to add the work of Gregory S. Duane to make that point clear].

Don't buy the many myths describing quantum mechanics - if it sounds like BS you are most likely hearing a convoluted explanation from indeterminism lacking identity and causality and not the whole story.

Dennis

Why are the predictions so accurate and on point?

Why does your computer work as advertised?

Why do atomic clocks keep such good time?

Ba'al Chatzaf

As for the concepts "identity" and "causality" - (which play a crucial role for us humans in 'our' world, which we perceive from our 'mesoscopic' perspective) - could it be that they might not fit for the quantum world?

There has been a claim since at least 1925 that identity and causality do not fit in the quantum world. Every basis for that claim has been found eroneous. It may be a popular point of view but it is entirely without foundation. The politics keeping that point of view predominent are easily uncovered and as J.S. Bell said in relation to keeping alternatives out of the classroom - it constitutes a "scandal within physics".

Dennis

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However, your view of the Church/Galileo interaction as stated here isn't even out of date, it's deliberately misleading. I'm sure you're aware, with your vast historical knowledge, that forces within the Church at the time were simultaneously arguably his strongest supporters . Who were among the first (or I think maybe were actually first) to repeat his observations and sympathize with his viewpoint? Jesuits. We don't have the simplistic 'Galileo the good vs. Aristotle's ideas polluted by Church' nonsense as you would have us believe. We have 'Galileo the correct vs the Aristotle-infected Church, the Aristotle-infected contemporary scientists, AND the Aristotle-infected Philosophers'.
The point is that the church at the time dominated both science and philosophy. Your invective seems gratuitous. The following account shows that Galileo’s support from the Jesuits was half-hearted and short-lived. Nothing here is inconsistent with the quote George provided from A.C. Crombie. Galileo and the Jesuits – a revealing tale
My point is that this explanation does NOT omit experimental confirmation of Galileo's findings by the church. Bob

Which findings would those be? Shortly after Galileo's trial and condemnation, any books that advocated the Copernican system as a fact (rather than as a hypothesis) -- and that's what really got Galileo in hot water -- were placed on the Index of prohibited books. This ban was not lifted until 1757, Not until 1822 were books defending the heliocentric system permitted to be published in Rome.

The Church per se never confirmed any findings by Galileo. Of course there were individual clerics who doubled as scientists, but they worked pretty much on their own.

Ghs

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Bob K. has imbibed the "don't ask" re foundations attitude to such an extent, he seems to me like a caricature of that attitude. But the attitude is widespread. I agree it's been obstructive to research, and that it's been pushed "using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science" -- by Feynman especially importantly but not only by Feynman.

Ellen

Feynman did pay attention to Foundations. In the second volume of this well known Feynman Lectures he discusses "self forces" that is forces that charged particles may or may not exert on themselves. He points out how several approaches to this matter have not panned out.

I also came up with some in connection with his lectures on gravitation (which I have on order and will read in due course). He is a snip from a review:

The Feynman Lectures on Gravitation are based on notes prepared during a course on gravitational physics that Richard Feynman taught at Caltech during the 1962-63 academic year. For several years prior to these lectures, Feynman thought long and hard about the fundamental problems in gravitational physics, yet he published very little. These lectures represent a useful record of his viewpoints and some of his insights into gravity and its application to cosmology, superstars, wormholes, and gravitational waves at that particular time. The lectures also contain a number of fascinating digressions and asides on the foundations of physics and other issues.Characteristically, Feynman took and untraditional non-geometric approach to gravitation and general relativity based on the underlying quantum aspects of gravity. Hence, these lectures contain a unique pedagogical account of the development of Einstein’s general relativity as the inevitable result of the demand for a self-consistent theory of a massless spin-2 field (the graviton) coupled to the energy-momentum tensor of matter. This approach also demonstrates the intimate and fundamental connection between gauge invariance and the Principle of Equivalence.

Apparently Feynman was paying attention to Foundations of Physics. Feynman may have had low regard for the Philosophers but he was very much in touch with the Foundations of his trade.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Aristotle's may have been a great guy, but his errors absolutely paralyzed physics. These physics greats above had to overcome his influence (either directly or by virtue of era) to succeed. They succeeded in spite of Aristotle, not because of him.

Dead wrong.

Politicians paralyzed physics.

Or call them what you like. The concept is the Medieval (or whatever) equivalent of people who exercise power. (Kinda like the impression you give off.)

Scientists had to succeed in spite of them, not in spite of Aristotle.

Michael

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There has been a claim since at least 1925 that identity and causality do not fit in the quantum world. Every basis for that claim has been found eroneous. It may be a popular point of view but it is entirely without foundation. The politics keeping that point of view predominent are easily uncovered and as J.S. Bell said in relation to keeping alternatives out of the classroom - it constitutes a "scandal within physics".

Dennis,

That sounds like a great theme for a book.

Michael

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Aristotle's may have been a great guy, but his errors absolutely paralyzed physics. These physics greats above had to overcome his influence (either directly or by virtue of era) to succeed. They succeeded in spite of Aristotle, not because of him.
Dead wrong. Politicians paralyzed physics. Or call them what you like. The concept is the Medieval (or whatever) equivalent of people who exercise power. (Kinda like the impression you give off.) Scientists had to succeed in spite of them, not in spite of Aristotle. Michael

Francis Bacon and other prominent figures of the Scientific Revolution frequently excluded Aristotle himself in their criticisms of Aristotelian physics, claiming that Aristotle would never have resisted the advance of scientific knowledge. Their criticisms were directed at the scholastics, i.e., those Aristotelian "schoolmen" who dominated many European universities and who would not permit change to disturb their feathered nests.

As Dennis has pointed out, the same could be said today about the QM scholastics.

Ghs

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As Dennis has pointed out, the same could be said today about the QM scholastics.

Ghs

What is that? A give some specific examples, please. Do you mean physicists trained in quantum physics? That is just about every physicist ever trained in the industrial world.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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There has been a claim since at least 1925 that identity and causality do not fit in the quantum world. Every basis for that claim has been found eroneous. It may be a popular point of view but it is entirely without foundation. The politics keeping that point of view predominent are easily uncovered and as J.S. Bell said in relation to keeping alternatives out of the classroom - it constitutes a "scandal within physics".
Dennis, That sounds like a great theme for a book. Michael

It might make a great book once the house of cards begins to crumble.

Dennis

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As Dennis has pointed out, the same could be said today about the QM scholastics. Ghs
What is that? A give some specific examples, please. Do you mean physicists trained in quantum physics? That is just about every physicist ever trained in the industrial world. Ba'al Chatzaf

I suspect George is referring to those who work on the foundations of quantum mechanics - a very tiny number of researchers. Most everyone else may use the tools but are not tool builders.

Dennis

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As Dennis has pointed out, the same could be said today about the QM scholastics. Ghs
What is that? A give some specific examples, please. Do you mean physicists trained in quantum physics? That is just about every physicist ever trained in the industrial world. Ba'al Chatzaf

I wasn't thinking of physicists themselves, but of those philosophers of science who draw unwarranted philosophical conclusions from QM.

Ghs

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Feynman was no caricature. He was a world class physicist and he had little use for philosophy. He was not bashful in the way he panned it. Foundations of physics is one thing. Philosophical nonsense, hot air and word salad is another.

We note, of course, that that was his philosophy.

--Brant

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Bob K. has imbibed the "don't ask" re foundations attitude to such an extent, he seems to me like a caricature of that attitude. But the attitude is widespread. I agree it's been obstructive to research, and that it's been pushed "using methods unsuitable to intellectual discussions in science" -- by Feynman especially importantly but not only by Feynman.

Ellen

Feynman was no caricature. He was a world class physicist and he had little use for philosophy. He was not bashful in the way he panned it. Foundations of physics is one thing. Philosophical nonsense, hot air and word salad is another.

Ba'al Chatzaf

If this was Feynman's position, then he was an ignorant fool outside his narrow area of expertise.

I have said this before, but I will say it again: Knowledge of physics does not confer upon a person the privilege to speak nonsense. To receive a degree in physics is not to be anointed into an elite priesthood whose members can utter metaphysical mumbo-jumbo -- e.g., that subatomic particles have no identity -- and then demand that laypersons accept their bullshit on faith. When a physicist moves beyond the highly abstract realm of mathematics and chooses to express himself in the same verbal language that everyone else uses, then the physicist is bound to observe the same principles of coherence and intelligibility that apply to everyone else.

Moreover, if a physicist wishes to trash philosophy as worthless, then let him abstain from making philosophical statements about causation, identity, time -- and philosophy itself. Let him simply present the raw results of his mathematical calculations and/or experiments, and then retreat into silence. Then no one outside the priesthood, least of all a philosopher, will criticize him. .

Ghs

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If this was Feynman's position, then he was an ignorant fool outside his narrow area of expertise.

The Ignorant Fool was one of the co-inventors of Quantum Electrodynamics, the most successful physical theory ever, ever formulated.

If Feynman was an Ignorant Fool then so was Einstein, Maxwell and Newton

Applied physicists armed with Feynman Diagrams make electronic technology possible and practical.

Some ignorance. Some foolishness. Feynman knew his business and his business was the nature of the world at the subatomic scale.

Some narrow expertise that is. To know what something no one can see -is-. Imagine. What do YOU know?

Feynman did not suffer either fools or foolishness gladly. He was one of the top ten physicists of all times, ever since Galileo and Newton invented the trade. And yes, his interests were narrow. He wanted to know what the world was and how it worked. Tossing word salad was not one of the things he did. He was not deeply into art or literature or idle speculation. I guess his interests were narrow. He knew about what every thing in the Cosmos is made of, and how light and matter interact. Such narrowness. Such ignorance. Such foolishness.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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