The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics


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I thought Blanshard's discussion might be too difficult for you to understand. I'll try to find something easier next time.

There is something you should know. It is not difficult to understand meaningless statements, it's impossible. Also, it's a gigantic waste of time to even attempt to understand them.

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And here's a news flash for you, Ellen. The fact that you happen to be married to a physicist does not make you some kind of authority on physics.

I never said or implied it did, George. There you go trying to create the same strawcharge to use against me which you've played on and played on against DF, who wasn't doing any arguing from authority. Indeed, the person here who keeps using the authority card over and over and over while never addressing substance is you.

Need I remind you yet again that after I repeatedly said that physicists have no special expertise in the realm of philosophy DF denied this, claiming that physicists do indeed have a special expertise when it comes to drawing philosophical conclusions from the experimental findings of physics.

That is a straightforward appeal to authority in the realm of philosophy. Got it? Do you understand now? Or am I going to have to repeat this again after you blink and discover a brand new world?

Ghs: Apparently one needs to know a lot about physics in order to say anything about it.

ES: No, but thorough ignorance isn't a good position from which to pronounce about such lofty sounding issues as "metaphysical indeterminism."

What lofty pronouncements would those be? Metaphysical indeterminism is a philosophical theory, not a scientific one. Hence the term metaphysical. Maybe you should take notes as we go along.

As I've pointed out twice before, you claim to accept the experimental findings and then proceed to demonstrate that you haven't a clue what they are. Hell, you don't even understand what non-local hidden variables means while you busily proclaim that the law of identity...does what exactly? Just what problems in the area do you think it solves?

Physics presupposes causation, so how do you propose to disprove causation by means of it? Physicists cannot suspend the rules of reasoning when it suits their purpose. I don't care how you dress it up; from our inability to determine the cause of X, you cannot legitimately conclude that X has no cause. This is an invalid inference no matter how much you babble on about non-local hidden variables.

If you disagree, then you show me how you have determined that at least some events are causeless. Don't cite some authority. Prove it yourself. You will of course need to personally perform any experiments on which you base your conclusion. To appeal to experiments that others have performed would be to appeal to their authority. So give me an authority-free proof that some events are causeless.

If you can't do this -- and you can't, obviously -- then you are basing a metaphysical conclusion on the authority of others. Guess what this is called? It's called an appeal to authority.

Ghs

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I thought Blanshard's discussion might be too difficult for you to understand. I'll try to find something easier next time.

There is something you should know. It is not difficult to understand meaningless statements, it's impossible. Also, it's a gigantic waste of time to even attempt to understand them.

I'm glad we agree about some of the philosophical pronouncements made by physicists. It's good to have you on my side.

Ghs

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What on earth are you talking about?

The elephant/piano thing was proposed by Merlin in an apparent attempt to impress me with the amazing explanatory and predictive powers of the law of identity. Unfortunately, as I pointed out, by doing so he ruled out evolution, just like old HWB Joseph himself as I recall.

Good question for you to answer. I didn't "rule out evolution." I didn't even mention it. It is irrelevant, as George, not you, pointed out. So you believe the species might evolve and give birth to a non-living, man-made musical instrument? Are you trying to win a lifetime achievement award for absurdity?

Have you ever had an original idea in your life?

Of course, he has. Original and absurd.

It's absurd but not original. It's a variant on the old "anything is possible" theme. Visit any freshman philosophy class and you will probably find it defended by a number of eager students, some of whom will also wonder if they exist.

Ghs

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For years I have belonged to a rather "elite" elist for freethinkers, by which I mean a "by invitation only" list of around 40 members. Many of the members are published authors and professional scientists (including names that are familiar to many people), including a few physicists. And not once in nearly 10 years have I seen anything like the groveling to authority that I have witnessed on this thread. Many of the freethinkers on that list have criticized the finding of physicists in far more acerbic terms than I have ever used here. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. but at least they understand the value of independent thinking and refuse to sell their rational souls for any price. This is what freethinking is all about.

I admire free thinkers as well, but even more so, I admire sane thinkers. For what is the use of free thinking if the free thinker is crazy as a loon?

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For years I have belonged to a rather "elite" elist for freethinkers, by which I mean a "by invitation only" list of around 40 members. Many of the members are published authors and professional scientists (including names that are familiar to many people), including a few physicists. And not once in nearly 10 years have I seen anything like the groveling to authority that I have witnessed on this thread. Many of the freethinkers on that list have criticized the finding of physicists in far more acerbic terms than I have ever used here. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. but at least they understand the value of independent thinking and refuse to sell their rational souls for any price. This is what freethinking is all about.

I admire free thinkers as well, but even more so, I admire sane thinkers. For what is the use of free thinking if the free thinker is crazy as a loon?

Don't be too hard on yourself. There is always hope.

Ghs

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Physics presupposes causation, so how do you propose to disprove causation by means of it? Physicists cannot suspend the rules of reasoning when it suits their purpose. I don't care how you dress it up; from our inability to determine the cause of X, you cannot legitimately conclude that X has no cause. This is an invalid inference no matter how much you babble on about non-local hidden variables.

If you disagree, then you show me how you have determined that at least some events are causeless. Don't cite some authority. Prove it yourself. You will of course need to personally perform any experiments on which you base your conclusion. To appeal to experiments that others have performed would be to appeal to their authority. So give me an authority-free proof that some events are causeless.

If you can't do this -- and you can't, obviously -- then you are basing a metaphysical conclusion on the authority of others. Guess what this is called? It's called an appeal to authority.

Ghs

What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

Einstein was smart enough to know that Riemann geometry was just what he needed to formulate a very general theory of gravitation.

By the way Einstein's work on Brownian motion proved conclusively to most physicists that atoms existed. At the time Einstein wrote his paper (1905) there were still Machian positivists who accepted atoms only as an artifact of calculation rather than something real (but very small and invisible). Einstein also put quantum theory on the map with his paper on the photo-electric effect and he gave a better derivation of Planck's formula for black-body radiation than Planck himself.

Einstein was not bashful is picking other people's brains or accepting their advice on what tools to use. In that sense Newton was one up on Einstein, since Newton invented the mathematics he needed for has physics. Einstein had his tools ready made by Riemann and Gauss. If Einstein would have had to invent tensor calculus he probably would not have had the time to do the physics.

Einstein's true contribution was not letting metaphysics get in the way of understanding space and time (or should I say space-time). Einstein's elder colleague Lorentz had all this stuff before Einstein but he refused to let go of the aether and conventional views of time. Einstein cut to the quick of the issue and that is why he is famous. If you look at Lorentz 1904 paper you will see most of the formulas for which Einstein is famous. That is why they call the transform the Lorentz transform, not the Einstein transform. Lorentz had it all in front of him and was blinded by philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Basically all that's been going on here now for hundreds of posts is George being mad at Dragonfly's argument from authority from science from physics and explicit denigrations of philosophy, especially Objectivism (as this is an Objectivist list). To some extent George has countered with arguments from authority--what else to do; he's mad?--but relative to DF in a somewhat superficial way. This all has to do with asserting and demonstrating the proper relationship of science and philosophy which DF has backwards.

Petr Beckmann did the same thing in his Access to Energy with one paragraph about 20 years ago. It was only one or two sentences actually. But he didn't dwell on it time and time again, he was simply purblind to what he was addressing. (Maybe DF is too?) I never told him that all his years of writing AtE were expressions of a philosophy. You see, if one speaks coherently one speaks philosophy even when one speaks purely scientific formulae in mathematical terms. It all has to do with the basic nature of free will and rationality. (When my dog starts jumping up and down and making noises as I open the can of dog food that is only determinately reactive, not philosophic expression.)

It is easy to denigrate philosophy for most of it is worthless garbage, unlike science x global warming, earthquake prediction, poisoned apples, nuclear winter and we're all gonna die if we don't do something NOW!

--Brant

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What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

Einstein was smart enough to know that Riemann geometry was just what he needed to formulate a very general theory of gravitation.

By the way Einstein's work on Brownian motion proved conclusively to most physicists that atoms existed. At the time Einstein wrote his paper (1905) there were still Machian positivists who accepted atoms only as an artifact of calculation rather than something real (but very small and invisible). Einstein also put quantum theory on the map with his paper on the photo-electric effect and he gave a better derivation of Planck's formula for black-body radiation than Planck himself.

Einstein was not bashful is picking other people's brains or accepting their advice on what tools to use. In that sense Newton was one up on Einstein, since Newton invented the mathematics he needed for has physics. Einstein had his tools ready made by Riemann and Gauss. If Einstein would have had to invent tensor calculus he probably would not have had the time to do the physics.

Einstein's true contribution was not letting metaphysics get in the way of understanding space and time (or should I say space-time). Einstein's elder colleague Lorentz had all this stuff before Einstein but he refused to let go of the aether and conventional views of time. Einstein cut to the quick of the issue and that is why he is famous. If you look at Lorentz 1904 paper you will see most of the formulas for which Einstein is famous. That is why they call the transform the Lorentz transform, not the Einstein transform. Lorentz had it all in front of him and was blinded by philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

That would be a good point Brant, except for the fact that Einstein's theories integrated with information that had come before, they weren't insane tangents like "spooky action at a distance" that doesn't seem to fit in with anything that's come before.

Shayne

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Einstein's true contribution was not letting metaphysics get in the way of understanding space and time (or should I say space-time).

It was the scientific Newtonian view of space and time that Einstein didn't let stand in his way. He did not defer to the authority of earlier scientists.

Throughout his life Einstein denied that QM entails metaphysical indeterminism, and he did so primarily on metaphysical grounds. Smart guy, that Einstein.

Ghs

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What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

Einstein was smart enough to know that Riemann geometry was just what he needed to formulate a very general theory of gravitation.

By the way Einstein's work on Brownian motion proved conclusively to most physicists that atoms existed. At the time Einstein wrote his paper (1905) there were still Machian positivists who accepted atoms only as an artifact of calculation rather than something real (but very small and invisible). Einstein also put quantum theory on the map with his paper on the photo-electric effect and he gave a better derivation of Planck's formula for black-body radiation than Planck himself.

Einstein was not bashful is picking other people's brains or accepting their advice on what tools to use. In that sense Newton was one up on Einstein, since Newton invented the mathematics he needed for has physics. Einstein had his tools ready made by Riemann and Gauss. If Einstein would have had to invent tensor calculus he probably would not have had the time to do the physics.

Einstein's true contribution was not letting metaphysics get in the way of understanding space and time (or should I say space-time). Einstein's elder colleague Lorentz had all this stuff before Einstein but he refused to let go of the aether and conventional views of time. Einstein cut to the quick of the issue and that is why he is famous. If you look at Lorentz 1904 paper you will see most of the formulas for which Einstein is famous. That is why they call the transform the Lorentz transform, not the Einstein transform. Lorentz had it all in front of him and was blinded by philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

He was blinded by his philosophy.

When you talk about these things you seem to be talking about actual physics. You are the only one on OL who does this to any significant extent. I wish DF would do more of this, but he seems to have an agenda regarding the subjugation of philosophy.

--Brant

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Einstein's true contribution was not letting metaphysics get in the way of understanding space and time (or should I say space-time). Einstein's elder colleague Lorentz had all this stuff before Einstein but he refused to let go of the aether and conventional views of time. Einstein cut to the quick of the issue and that is why he is famous. If you look at Lorentz 1904 paper you will see most of the formulas for which Einstein is famous. That is why they call the transform the Lorentz transform, not the Einstein transform. Lorentz had it all in front of him and was blinded by philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I think Lorentz was on the right track. The aether was dismissed on specious grounds.

Shayne

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What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

That would be a good point Brant, except for the fact that Einstein's theories integrated with information that had come before, they weren't insane tangents like "spooky action at a distance" that doesn't seem to fit in with anything that's come before.

Shayne

I"m merely pointing out that George was wrong--that Ellen doesn't necessarily have to do any experiments, which doesn't let her off George's hook, however. I didn't go that far; that's beyond my competence. Of course, George was objectively addressing her subjective context while I'm objectively addressing her objective context.

--Brant

this is fun--anybody see me contradicting myself?

Edited by Brant Gaede
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Everybody should watch the movie Things to Come. It concerns the ultimate triumph of the airmen who are qualified to rule everybody and thus avoid more wars. Ha! This conceit is why many scientists think they should rule us all, even some quasi scientists called anthropologists. The liberals like to gloom onto this for a free ride or a slingshot into political and moral power.

--Brant

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What experiments did Einstein do? I think he proposed some which were carried out subsequent to his theorizing. I think he also needed help from an expert mathematician for some necessary constructs, again subsequent to that for which he is famous--to dress it all out.

--Brant

That would be a good point Brant, except for the fact that Einstein's theories integrated with information that had come before, they weren't insane tangents like "spooky action at a distance" that doesn't seem to fit in with anything that's come before.

Shayne

I"m merely pointing out that George was wrong--that Ellen doesn't necessarily have to do any experiments, which doesn't let her off George's hook, however. I didn't go that far; that's beyond my competence.

--Brant

this is fun

If experiments are not needed to disprove causation, then let's hear the arguments.

Let me express my recurring argument in a somewhat different way. A claim, including a claim made by a scientist, must be regarded as credible before we should take the time to examine the grounds on which it is based. Suppose a physicist claims that to have disproved the Law of Non-Contradiction. Or suppose he claims to have proved that nothing exists. Or suppose he claims to have detected subatomic surfers with tans and blond hair riding on light waves.

We would reject these claims outright because they lack credibility, indeed, they are downright crazy. We would not be required to examine the experimental basis for them, and it would be pointless to do so.

Now, it may be the case that the physicist has actually discovered something but has expressed his conclusions in an absurd or confusing manner. In such a case we would tell the physicist to recast his conclusions so that they make sense. We would and should not defer to his "authority" and then tell our friends, "Guess what! Physics has just discovered subatomic surfers with tans and blond hair! I don't understand this, but then I'm not a physicist. Isn't science amazing?!"

Ghs

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If "philosophers" want to argue about what 'concepts', 'logic', 'causation', and other terms mean forever then I say let them, whatever turns you on. But when they venture into how humans should behave (ethics) then it is not harmless babble anymore because some people may actually listen and that could be dangerous. This is the science of sanity and it is a very new field with virtually no one working in it as yet. It is interesting that N. Branden left mainstream Objectivism it seems because he understood the importance of sanity and realized it was something that needed to be addressed.

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If "philosophers" want to argue about what 'concepts', 'logic', 'causation', and other terms mean forever then I say let them, whatever turns you on. But when they venture into how humans should behave (ethics) then it is not harmless babble anymore because some people may actually listen and that could be dangerous. This is the science of sanity and it is a very new field with virtually no one working in it as yet. It is interesting that N. Branden left mainstream Objectivism it seems because he understood the importance of sanity and realized it was something that needed to be addressed.

Ethical questions will be addressed as they always have been and always will. No one in entitled to say who should and should not attempt to deal with them including you. "You are insane and therefore your arguments don't count" is merely arguing for the rule of the whacko boys.

--Brant

be reasonable, do it my way!

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I"m merely pointing out that George was wrong--that Ellen doesn't necessarily have to do any experiments, which doesn't let her off George's hook, however. I didn't go that far; that's beyond my competence. Of course, George was objectively addressing her subjective context while I'm objectively addressing her objective context.

One more point about this....

It has been argued that physics presupposes causation on a macroscopic level but not on a subatomic level. This is incorrect. Take the well known observation that an instrument of measurement will interfere on a subatomic level with the object of measurement, e.g., that a photon used in measurement will deflect a subatomic particle and thus make it impossible for us to simultaneously determine the position and the momentum of that particle.

A little thought will show that causation is presupposed here. To interfere or deflect (plug in any similar term you like) is to cause something to happen. And if it is maintained that an exact measurement is necessarily impossible owing to such problems, then we are talking about necessary causation.

Ghs

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Einstein's true contribution was not letting metaphysics get in the way of understanding space and time (or should I say space-time). Einstein's elder colleague Lorentz had all this stuff before Einstein but he refused to let go of the aether and conventional views of time. Einstein cut to the quick of the issue and that is why he is famous. If you look at Lorentz 1904 paper you will see most of the formulas for which Einstein is famous. That is why they call the transform the Lorentz transform, not the Einstein transform. Lorentz had it all in front of him and was blinded by philosophy.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I think Lorentz was on the right track. The aether was dismissed on specious grounds.

Shayne

Look up the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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If "philosophers" want to argue about what 'concepts', 'logic', 'causation', and other terms mean forever then I say let them, whatever turns you on. But when they venture into how humans should behave (ethics) then it is not harmless babble anymore because some people may actually listen and that could be dangerous. This is the science of sanity and it is a very new field with virtually no one working in it as yet. It is interesting that N. Branden left mainstream Objectivism it seems because he understood the importance of sanity and realized it was something that needed to be addressed.

Although I haven't asked NB, I'm pretty sure he understood the importance of sanity before he left mainstream Objectivism. I seriously doubt if he was pro-insanity before that time.

Sanity isn't a science, btw; it is a psychological value judgment.

Ghs

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And here's a news flash for you, Ellen. The fact that you happen to be married to a physicist does not make you some kind of authority on physics. You are a former book editor and a housewife, and I take you no more seriously in this field than I take my next door neighbor.

I want to apologize to Ellen for saying this. It was inappropriate.

Ghs

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