History of Evolutionism


Recommended Posts

Even though this is not projected to happen for tens of billions of years, it is still projected by the BBT as the ultimate end of our universe. In this sense, the BBT is a very bleak, depressing theory. It is for this reason that I hold out hope that the BBT is wrong, and that our universe is not ultimately doomed to this kind of death.

What you hope and wish is not relevant in science, that can only result in Peikovian physics and crackpot theories. In general people don't like the idea that they'll die one day, but that doesn't make life-after-death theories true. You'll just have to live with some uncomfortable truths.

Something has to repeat or we couldn't be here. If there was a "Big Bang" there had to be innumerable ones before or there was a "First Cause"--something from nothing. A contradiction.

Why couldn't there be something from nothing?

Anyway, I agree with Dr. Arthur Robinson that humans are too intellectually puny to get their brains around reality in its totality. I don't pretend I can.

I don't think humans are too intellectually puny to understand reality, we (well, at least some of us) can get our brains around mathematical constructs that are far more complex and strange than anything found in reality. It is the lack of data beyond a certain point that makes complete understanding difficult, so we have to fall back on speculation without being able to verify our speculations. We can only hope that we by using clever methods can extract some more information out of the universe that we can observe, so that we may get a somewhat more complete picture.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 62
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Even though this is not projected to happen for tens of billions of years, it is still projected by the BBT as the ultimate end of our universe. In this sense, the BBT is a very bleak, depressing theory. It is for this reason that I hold out hope that the BBT is wrong, and that our universe is not ultimately doomed to this kind of death.

What you hope and wish is not relevant in science, that can only result in Peikovian physics and crackpot theories. In general people don't like the idea that they'll die one day, but that doesn't make life-after-death theories true. You'll just have to live with some uncomfortable truths.

Martin was hardly propounding "hope and wish" as a substitue for knowledge and thus heading toward such a reult as "Peikovian physics [etc.]." He's very far removed from being a scientific ignoramus -- or wishful thinker.

(I've known Martin for years on e-lists; I'm not judging only on the basis of his sporadic posts on this list.)

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why couldn't there be something from nothing?

There is no logical reason where there could not be a thing without a predecessor. For example; the set of natural numbers. Zero (in some one systems one) has no prior element in the ordering.

If there is a causeless event it is likely to be a one of. In the era of the cosmos in which we live we only observe or closely approximate events with causes and objects which came from other objects by some process. If the cosmos dies the heat death then there will be a last star that flickers out or explodes and after that no more. Eventually entropy may be maximized.

Even Aristotle got to a First Cause to avoid an infinite regress. The First Cause is causeless.

None of these produce logical contradictions.

Hume made a relevant point. He said that some of our metaphysical convictions are based on habit and custom. We believe in causes because we habitually or repetitively observe conjoined events in our experience. Which gets us back to the habit of induction. It seems humans cannot shake this habit.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ba'al, sometimes I do laugh at loud at your posts.

For example, your confusion of mathematics and physics in the post above, despite numerous lectures you've given on the difference.

And your own endless not registering the multiple discussions of varying meanings of "induction." And ignoring, as if it had never been mentioned (in post after post), that Popper, for whom you seem to have some respect, argued that "induction" in Hume's meaning isn't employed, but instead something that looks deceptively like it.

Do you ever really read other people's posts?

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ba'al, sometimes I do laugh at loud at your posts.

For example, your confusion of mathematics and physics in the post above, despite numerous lectures you've given on the difference.

No confusion at all. Mathematics has 0 empirical content. Nada. Bupkis. Zero. K'duchas.

Physics is about reality and is empirically based.

The relation of math to physics is analogous to the relation between a hammer and a nail. One (math) is a tool to operate on the other (physics).

I do not confuse or conflate math with physics. I have been doing applied mathematics too long to make that confusion. Math is vaporware. Physics is grounded in reality, or at least it tries to be so grounded.

Furthermore I have pointed out, on several occasions, that physical science is primarily -abductive- (in the sense of Peirce) rather than -inductive- (in the sense of Francis Bacon). The inference of causes from the constant conjunction of event types is a nifty example of -abduction-, not induction. Just to keep the terminology straight, abduction is hypothesizing to causes. From the effect, derive the cause. Basic Hume. Pure Peirce.

Accuse me of error, if you will, but make sure you get the error right.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Link to post
Share on other sites
Something has to repeat or we couldn't be here. If there was a "Big Bang" there had to be innumerable ones before or there was a "First Cause"--something from nothing. A contradiction.

Why couldn't there be something from nothing?

Anyway, I agree with Dr. Arthur Robinson that humans are too intellectually puny to get their brains around reality in its totality. I don't pretend I can.

I don't think humans are too intellectually puny to understand reality, we (well, at least some of us) can get our brains around mathematical constructs that are far more complex and strange than anything found in reality. It is the lack of data beyond a certain point that makes complete understanding difficult, so we have to fall back on speculation without being able to verify our speculations. We can only hope that we by using clever methods can extract some more information out of the universe that we can observe, so that we may get a somewhat more complete picture.

Because there is no "nothing."

--Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why couldn't there be something from nothing?

Dragonfly,

Isn't "why" a causal question?

And don't we define "nothing" as being without causality?

So you are asking why can't something not causal be causal. You need to redefine "nothing" for that to make sense and somehow remove causality from existence.

Otherwise your question sounds like "Why can't green be red?" or "Why can't Dragonfly be Michael?" or "Why can't the future be the past?" to me.

As another implication of your question "Why couldn't there be something from nothing?", any Christian, Muslim, etc., will tell you that there can be. It's called God and they have been saying that for centuries.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why couldn't there be something from nothing?

Dragonfly,

Isn't "why" a causal question?

And don't we define "nothing" as being without causality?

Why is sometimes a logical question meaning "for what reason" or "by what argument". It sometimes means "to what purpose".

As to the second: I flipped the light switch and nothing happened. Which is to say there was a malfunction which is a negative cause (such as a burned out filament or a loss of power) both of which are something and not nothing.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob,

I agree. Every "why" implies a something, even when it is nothing by one standard or another.

That makes the question, "Why couldn't there be something from nothing?" sound really odd to me. "Nothing" in the sense Dragonfly stated (starting point) does not come with a why. It doesn't come with... er... anything at all...

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
This idea that "in the long run, all life was doomed to decline into the darkness and the cold" by the mechanism of thermodynamic heat death lives on in the modern day big bang theory, which projects that clusters of galaxies will continue to expand outward from each other forever, eventually dying as their stars burn out and no new hydrogen is left to fuel new generations of stars.

Even though this is not projected to happen for tens of billions of years, it is still projected by the BBT as the ultimate end of our universe. In this sense, the BBT is a very bleak, depressing theory. It is for this reason that I hold out hope that the BBT is wrong, [...].

Martin,

Are you subscribed to Dennis May's "Physics_Frontier" list? (He also has several other Yahoo lists along similar lines.)

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Physics_Frontier/

I for sure haven't the physics knowledge properly to assess what Dennis and others argue, but the "smell" of it, to me, is that the BigBang theory is only being held together by ad-hoc patch and paste.

The situation might be similar to Kelvin's miscalculation.

(I would so like to have a crystal ball which could foresee the shape of scientific theory a hundred years from now -- if, of course, science is still a going enterprise a hundred years from now. The possibility of an eclipse of science is the threat which most worries me short term.)

Ellen

___

Ellen,

Thanks for the link to Dennis May's list. I'll check it out. I remember Dennis from his old postings on Atlantis II. His "pro war" views did not go over very well with George Smith, Jeff Riggenbach, and Dan Ust. They didn't go over very well with me either, for that matter. Do you happen to know Dennis May's technical background in physics or astronomy/cosmology? Do you really think that he has presented credible arguments against the BBT, or that he possesses the technical knowledge to do so?

I know that various astronomers/cosmologists have been claiming for years that the BBT is a dying theory. For example, Eric Lerner in his book "The Big Bang Never Happened" and Anthony Peratt, a plasma physicist who I believe was a collaborator with Lerner in his incomplete "plasma cosmology" theory. However, I don't think that, for the most part, the majority of astronomers/cosmologists have been convinced by these or other arguments to abandon the BBT or even to seriously reconsider it. The BBT is still the dominant mainstream cosmological theory defended by the majority of astronomers/cosmologists.

An example of a very good mainstream astronomical web site is the "Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum", at

http://www.bautforum.com/

There are some really excellent physicists and astronomers/cosmologists who post there. They generally strongly defend the BBT against all attacks. There is an "Against the Mainstream" section there for people wishing to post against the mainstream theories, such as attacks on the BBT or proposals of alternative cosmological theories. During the years I have read some of these threads, I have seen a number of attempts by various posters to attack the BBT or to propose alternatives. None of these has succeeded in even beginning to convince any of the mainstream scientists who administer the BAUT forum. They seem to believe pretty strongly that evidence in favor of the BBT is very strong and that the BBT is still the best cosmological theory to explain all of the existing data.

Martin

Link to post
Share on other sites
Even though this is not projected to happen for tens of billions of years, it is still projected by the BBT as the ultimate end of our universe. In this sense, the BBT is a very bleak, depressing theory. It is for this reason that I hold out hope that the BBT is wrong, and that our universe is not ultimately doomed to this kind of death.

What you hope and wish is not relevant in science, that can only result in Peikovian physics and crackpot theories. In general people don't like the idea that they'll die one day, but that doesn't make life-after-death theories true. You'll just have to live with some uncomfortable truths.

Martin was hardly propounding "hope and wish" as a substitue for knowledge and thus heading toward such a reult as "Peikovian physics [etc.]." He's very far removed from being a scientific ignoramus -- or wishful thinker.

(I've known Martin for years on e-lists; I'm not judging only on the basis of his sporadic posts on this list.)

Ellen

___

Ellen,

Thanks for pointing this out to Dragonfly. I thought that his post was rather insulting and not at all responsive to what I said.

For the record, what I said was simply that I find the BBT as it stands today to be a very depressing theory, because it predicts that our universe will ultimately die and stay dead forever. Even though we will obviously not be around to see this, I still find this to be a depressing scenario for how our universe will ultimately end. Nowhere did I state or even imply that this was some kind of argument against the validity of the BBT. I know perfectly well that the universe doesn't give a damn what I or anyone else thinks! I really didn't need Dragonfly to explain this to me.

Martin

Link to post
Share on other sites
This is like talking about arcane epistemology. If you are rational why do you need digressions on induction, deduction, abduction, reduction and what-duction? Similarly, species evolve or they don't. If they don't how in the hell did we get to what we got? New species arriving from outer space? And where in the heck did they come from?

--Brant

Species evolve how? That is the question. Lamarck produced a theory of how species evolve (i.e. develop over time). It made perfectly good sense and it was also wrong. The idea of evolution has been around since Empedocles. (490 - 430 b.c.e.) Darwin's special contribution was that evolution was driven by variation and -natural selection-. This latter mechanism provided a non teleological explanation for how species developed over very long periods of time from simple life forms. Your ancestor and mine was a one celled thing that didn't even have a nucleus for its genetic material.

Prior to Darwin, the basis for species development was believed to be orthogenetic:

Here is a snippet from the wiki article:

"Orthogenesis, orthogenetic evolution, progressive evolution or autogenesis, is the hypothesis that life has an innate tendency to move in a unilinear fashion due to some internal or external "driving force". The hypothesis is based on essentialism and cosmic teleology and proposes an intrinsic drive which slowly transforms species. George Gaylord Simpson (1953) in an attack on orthogenesis called this mechanism "the mysterious inner force". Classic proponents of orthogenesis have rejected the theory of natural selection as the organising mechanism in evolution, and theories of speciation for a rectilinear model of guided evolution acting on discrete species with "essences". The term orthogenesis was popularised by Theodor Eimer, though many of the ideas are much older (Bateson 1909).[1]"

In short, evolution or species development was the manifestation of an underlying essence. You might think of this as Platonic evolution. If Darwin and Wallace had not been around or done what they did, this would have been the way the idea of evolution would have evolved. In fact Darwin's theory was rejected around the turn of the twentieth century in favor of an orthogenetic neo-Lamarckaian view. It was not until genetics was rediscovered (Mendel's work had been ignored) and genes were seen to be the engine of evolution that the Darwin/Wallace hypothesis of natural selection made a comeback. The science of genetics saved Darwin/Wallace natural selection.

And the question of -species- evolution? What is a species. There is still some differences among biologists as to what constitutes a species.

See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem

for some information on this problem.

One thing is for sure; the Darwin/Wallace's theory was never ever self evident or even inherently plausible. It was contentious from the git-go and even went into decline until, as I have indicated, a proper theory of biological inheritance was discovered. What made the Darwin/Wallace theory hard to swallow was the removal of purpose from the account of how species developed and changed.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing defined: nonexistence. Probably the best word from dictionary.com I can think of.

Funny though, they also define "nothing" as "something" that is nonexistent. Uhh...

Link to post
Share on other sites
For the record, what I said was simply that I find the BBT as it stands today to be a very depressing theory, because it predicts that our universe will ultimately die and stay dead forever. Even though we will obviously not be around to see this, I still find this to be a depressing scenario for how our universe will ultimately end. Nowhere did I state or even imply that this was some kind of argument against the validity of the BBT. I know perfectly well that the universe doesn't give a damn what I or anyone else thinks! I really didn't need Dragonfly to explain this to me.

Martin

I think I can guess why you find the ultimate fate of the Cosmos sad (depressing). It means that in the very, very long run everything is futile. No matter what we do or do not it makes no difference ultimately. Look at the positive side. Once your are dead, nothing will make any difference (to you). In a sense all of us lead a futile existence since we will end up as worm food or ashes. We get a little extension through our children and our works, but in the long run even these will be forgotten. Does anyone know the name of the person who invented (or re-invented) the wheel? See -- just like I said.

The cure for this sadness is lowering hopes and expectations. Since nothing is forever, settle for what the day has to offer you. If your hopes and dreams are not too much then you will be less likely to be disappointed. Do not strive for what you cannot achieve. There are circumstances where less is more.

Carpe Diem.

Ba'al Chatzaf (recipient of the Sartre Ordeur de Futilitee')

Link to post
Share on other sites
Because there is no "nothing."

Really? I have here a box with nothing in it, you can come and check it.

Sorry, it's full of air. Even if your box were a vacuum chamber it'd still have some air in it for you can't pump it all out.

--Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for pointing this out to Dragonfly. I thought that his post was rather insulting and not at all responsive to what I said.

Jesus, what a thin-skinned person you are.

Yeah. And while you're at it, DF, be nicer to me too!

--Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah. And while you're at it, DF, be nicer to me too!

Hey, when wasn't I nice to you?

I didn't say you weren't. I just asked for "nicer." That means you reply to me by saying, first: "Oh great and learned one, may I take gentle exception to your great asseverations? To wit ...."

--Brant

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellen,

Thanks for the link to Dennis May's list. I'll check it out. I remember Dennis from his old postings on Atlantis II. His "pro war" views did not go over very well with George Smith, Jeff Riggenbach, and Dan Ust. They didn't go over very well with me either, for that matter.

With me either, though I've never gotten into it with Dennis on that subject. The issue on which I mostly argued with him was on his hard-core (hardest of hard) hard determinism. He's blind to the epistemic problem of claiming evidence for a theory which would render the very idea of evidence illegitimate. On the other hand, Dennis and I were strange-couple allies in telling the O'ists on the list that indeed there is a big bad discrepancy between the foundations of modern physics and the O'ist theory of volition. Thus Dennis and I became email friends.

Do you happen to know Dennis May's technical background in physics or astronomy/cosmology?

He's sans Ph.D. He didn't finish because he got disgusted. However, cosmology has long been a big interest of his (and space exploration).

Do you really think that he has presented credible arguments against the BBT, or that he possesses the technical knowledge to do so?

Yes and yes.

I know that various astronomers/cosmologists have been claiming for years that the BBT is a dying theory. [....] The BBT is still the dominant mainstream cosmological theory defended by the majority of astronomers/cosmologists.

They know there are problems, but they don't have a good alternative, and the theories which are the basis of BB cosmology work so well in other regards....

It's an interesting issue in scientific epistemology.

Some of the mainstream people just won't hear of any attack. Others evince unease (I've seen this myself with some of them in person).

Re Dennis' lists: There are some who post there who I'd say qualify as crackpot, but there are others who know the subject. If you explore, search back for older stuff. There hasn't been much posted on any of those lists for a number of months. Speaking of Dan Ust, however, though he and Dennis certainly don't agree about politics, Dan is one of the biggest posters on Dennis' lists. (He, too, thinks BB cosmology will turn out to be wrong.)

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for pointing this out to Dragonfly. I thought that his post was rather insulting and not at all responsive to what I said.

Jesus, what a thin-skinned person you are.

Neither is Martin a thin-skinned person. No one thin-skinned ever lasted the course on the Atlantis lists.

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now