What qualifies as science?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Jozen-Bo, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    Oh, you are so predictable. When I repeated the question, I knew that would be your response. Actually I expected just a "click" (your usual way to end a conversation) and am somewhat surprised you shoved the responsibility to another.

    NotEinstein,
    Care to answer the question for Exchemist?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    I didn't get around to asking you before just now. When I saw you making functions equivalent to (physical?) interactions, I started wondering again.

    Ah, so you are not talking about mathematical functions, even though in your responses to exchemist you are.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    "It's just foolishness to suggest that wavelengths of light don't have physical reality."

    Let's be careful about the exact wording here. Are you suggesting wavelengths are real objects, or are you suggesting wavelengths describe/symbolize (aspects/properties) of real objects?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    The expressions are physical (in our reality), how else could we observe them? But the rules and regularities of these processes (the patterns) which make these physical expressions possible under specific conditions, are quantifiable, and make it possible for us to translate them into a symbolic language of numbers and equations. The symbolic language we have given the name mathematics. But regardless of what we have named it, it kind of presents a question similar to what came first (chicken or the egg).

    If you watched "The Great Math Mystery", you will have heard the scientists explain that they are discovering these rules as inherent properties of the universe and are able translate them into the symbolic language of mathematics (numbers and equations such as E = Mc^2) by which we can understand and even predict how physical events become expressed.

    One scientist even explained that if we ask the universe questions and ask them nicely, IOW
    mathematically correct, it will give us an answer, which I thought was a profound observation.

    But I believe that Yazata's introduction of the term "isomorphism" is going to be very helpful. I believe he has pointed me in the right direction of what I (as layman) have been trying to explain.
    As usual, some of the formal narratives get complicated and I need more time to understand the full implications of the several forms, such as "automorphism", and how they relate in context of how the universe works.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  8. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    Please give your definition of “expressions”, because you are clearly not talking about mathematical expressions.

    True.

    Note the usage of the words “properties” and “translate”.

    This assumes that mathematics can give a correct description of the full universe. Under that assumption, I agree.

    Yazata's introduction of isomorphisms is indeed very powerful, but only correct under the assumption that mathematics can give a correct description of the full universe. In other words, as soon as we find a difference, the isomorphism necessarily breaks down.

    Just be sure to always keep track of the assumptions that go into your thinking (I often fail at this too!), and be prepared to re-think everything is such an assumption is proven wrong (I’m not saying it will be!).
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,662
    Yes and no.

    Not in the sense of physical objects. They aren't little lumps of stuff. But neither are distances, masses, directions or most of the other vocabulary items/variables found in physics. We might want to describe these things as qualities, properties or attributes of physical stuff and how it's situated in space and time, but that's still rather mysterious.

    But yes in the sense of aspects of reality that our physics vocabulary refers to, names and quantifies. Wavelengths aren't just linguistic expressions used in a little physics game played on chalkboards in physics classrooms. The whole point of physics, the thing that makes it physics is that it is talking about physical reality and ideally consists of true propositions about that reality.

    Both. Does 'Mount Everest' refer to a real-life mountain on the Tibet/Nepal border, or is it just a human-created English language word with a particular definition? Are we talking about the physical mountain, or about the word and whatever ideas it expresses?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  10. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    Agreed.

    Agreed.

    My version of that statement would go something like this: wavelengths are (part of) our description of physical reality. Wavelengths themselves are not real, but they rely on (are modeled after) real properties/quantities of real things. I'd have to do some thinking to make it more concrete, if you want.

    Not an entirely fair comparison to wavelengths. I propose to use the "height of Mount Everest", seeing as a wavelength is not a stand-alone thing, but it needs a wave.

    My interpretation is that the latter one is true, but we often mean the former. It's just a convenient short-hand, but if there is any ambiguity, one should specify which one one uses.
     
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    IMO, expression of physical objects in reality is relative to the size of the observer. I qualified the term as how reality is "expressed from a human perspective". For instance, what we experience as a solid physical object, actuality contains more space than matter and from an atomic size perspective we really are not standing on a solid surface but floating on top of it, much as a oil droplet can be made to dance on a vibrating oil surface instead of being absorbed. I gave an example of how and why this happens earlier.

    The smaller the size of an object the less solid matter becomes from its perspective. To a neutrino, matter is not solid at all and it can pass easily through what humans experience as solid objects, but they do possess a mathematical pattern which gives them a physical expression in reality as a neutrino.

    Is the Higgs boson an independently existing physical thing or does it only become physically expressed when in an excited state?

    In string theory, is a string a physical expression of an object or just an expression of a virtual construct, a mathematical expression of a frequency. If we agree that a wavelength is not a physical thing, but can be measured, then it must be mathematical in essence, an abstract but still deterministic pattern.

    So where does reduction to the most subtle universal fundamentals leads us? At some point, do physical things become abstract mathematical potentials? This is what I am struggling with.
    That's why I quoted them , but also note the usage of the word "discovery" of these properties as pre-existing phenomena (patterns) which can be translated by symbolic mathematics.
    Tegmark proposes that mathematics can give us a full description. By his words; "the universe does not just have some mathematical properties, (ultimately) it has only mathematical properties"
    I'm still working on that...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    And Tegmark admits there are still some missing pieces in his hypothesis, although he is confident they will be mathematical. He does not claim to have a TOE.
    My lack of formal study of mainstream science, gives me a non-prejudicial and (hopefully) an objective open mind. Only if I can logically understand and identify with a scientific proposition will I try to defend my perspective of that proposition. But my lack of knowledge of formal terminology places me at a disadvantage in a serious discussion. It's frustrating to me also.

    I do appreciate your insistence on using proper terminology and I fully realize the definitional problems this causes, but without some guidance where to look for the proper terminologies, such as Yazata's use of "isomorphism", just telling me that I am not using proper terminology doesn't help me very much and we get stuck in the semantics. That is why I must rely on a certain indulgence, which was so generously provided by Yazata.

    And I believe that when asked to define a word which can be interpreted in several ways, I have always tried to respond and explain what I meant by its use.

    As I have indicated before, I like Bohm's concept of Determinism by his use of the terms Implicate potential (a latent ability) prior to something becoming Explicated in reality. I see the potential implicate as a mathematical imperative which determines how something becomes physically explicated as reality.
    I hope this may help you in understanding my perspective. My quest is to find out if my understanding of this leads to a truth.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    Question; Are Tegmark's "Mathematical Universe" and Bohm's "Wholeness and Implicate Order" actually in conflict with Mainstream Physics?

    Seems to me, that these are attempts to combine the various and separate existing theories in Physics into a single comprehensive unified model of the Universe and how it works.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    I realize that the first statement refers to riding water waves and the other statement refers to properties of light waves.

    Question; is there a fundamental difference between the two perspectives, which makes one wavelength an "abstract thing" and the other a "physical reality", or just the context?
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    24,427
    No, it doesn't. That belief will trip you.
    Mathematics is something people do. One of the things people cannot do (apparently) is deliver imperatives which the world is bound to obey. The agreement of one's mathematics with the behavior of the world is discovered, not ordained, and is a consequence of people arranging their mathematics suitably, not the world bringing itself into agreement.

    What Tegmark et al seem to be talking about is that mathematics is our only way to perceive or comprehend certain things, and so their nature for us is inherently mathematical. We would still need a philosophical handling, for comprehension, though. No?
    If Bohm's Implicate Order is interpreted as a cause/effect determinism, it requires some "causes" to have distant "effects" in less time than light can traverse the distances involved. That would violate General Relativity Theory, which is Mainstream Physics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  15. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    Size of the observer? -- I just read ahead, I understand it now. You are talking about the "probing length" or "measurement scale" of the observer. (Note that these terms are also not the right one, but in physics terms they are closer.)

    Ah, so they are indeed not (necessarily) mathematical expressions. Good.

    (Nitpick: empty space.)

    (No comment.)

    This is not the correct explanation. Neutrino's can pass through matter more easily, because they only can have weak interactions with it, not because "a neutrino is small".

    Please turn that sentence around. Right now you are claiming a mathematical object gives rise to something physical.

    A Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field, so in that sense it does indeed not exist independently.

    In string theory, strings are physical objects. They are real.

    True, although I would've used the word "object" instead of "pattern".

    Unless mathematical objects can be real, this cannot happen.

    Agreed, but be careful with which "rules" they exactly are referring to.

    Right, and that is an assumption.

    I personally am also quite convinced this will work out just fine, but we all need to remind ourselves that it might not. It still is just an assumption, no matter how well it works for now.

    My honest opinion: from what I've seen from you, I do see these attributes in you. Your lack of formal study has made you use the wrong words here and there, but if you are able to adjust to the terminology as used by scientists, I see no problems.

    See the frustrating as the first step to improvement.

    I sincerely apologize for my rude behavior earlier in this thread. I also was getting frustrated, and initially wasn't sure if you were a crank or not (you're absolutely not, in my opinion). I can understand that without a formal training the usage of all these terms seems quite weird.

    I do like Yazata's concept; it does nicely summarize the correspondence between the mathematical description of reality and reality itself.

    True, and I appreciate you actually doing that. You have no idea how many cranks completely ignore such a request.

    This has indeed helped me understand your perspective and approach a lot better. Thank you.
    Even though it may not have seems so, I'm here to help. If you have any questions about the usage of words in science, feel free to ask me. I may not know all, but we can certainly find out together.
     
    Write4U likes this.
  16. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    I don't think so, but I haven't look that deeply into them. I do know that mainstream physics doesn't concern itself with the underlying philosophy. Physics just aims to give a good descriptive model of reality; how that model and reality are connected is more the domain of meta-physics. Only if Tegmark's "Mathematical Universe" and Bohm's "Wholeness and Implicate Order" conflict with the maths and/or experimental data of physics, they are in conflict.

    Yes, although some of these ideas don't come from physics, but from philosophy and meta-physics.

    Water waves and light waves are of course vastly different: one is a wave in matter, the other a field that propagates. But waves of all kinds of different physical types behave in (mostly) the same way, so we can use the same mathematical description for them. So the wavelengths of the waves we see are "of the same type". If you consider one physical reality, then so is the other.
     
  17. river

    Messages:
    9,791
    Hopefully this discussion continues .
     
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,662
    Yazata wrote:

    "But yes in the sense of aspects of reality that our physics vocabulary refers to, names and quantifies. Wavelengths aren't just linguistic expressions used in a little physics game played on chalkboards in physics classrooms. The whole point of physics, the thing that makes it physics is that it is talking about physical reality and ideally consists of true propositions about that reality."

    Not Einstein replied:

    "My version of that statement would go something like this: wavelengths are (part of) our description of physical reality. Wavelengths themselves are not real, but they rely on (are modeled after) real properties/quantities of real things. I'd have to do some thinking to make it more concrete, if you want."

    I think that we need to further explore what "description of physical reality" means and how it differs from "myth" or "story". We need to further explore what "rely on (are modeled after) real properties/qualities of real things" actually means.

    I asked:

    "Does 'Mount Everest' refer to a real-life mountain on the Tibet/Nepal border, or is it just a human-created English language word with a particular definition?"

    Not Einstein replies:

    "Not an entirely fair comparison to wavelengths."

    I think that it is. What I'm arguing for here is scientific realism.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/sci-real/

    The IEP characterizes this view as asserting:

    1. Science aims to give a literally true account of the world.

    2. To accept a theory is to believe that it is (approximately) true.

    3. There is a determinate mind-independent and language-independent world.

    4. Theories are literally true (when they are) because their concepts "latch on to" or correspond to real properties (natural kinds, and the like) that causally underpin successful usage of the concepts.

    5. The progress of science asymptotically converges on a true account.

    I'm a strong champion of all of those.

    In the context of this thread, I'd emphasize the problems implicit in #4.

    I think that the language of physics typically consists of referring expressions, expressions that physicists use to reach out beyond the (human created) language in which they are expressed to talk about the contents and the behavior of the physical world. (That's #3, I guess.) So not only is there a mind-independent and language-independent world, it's the reality that the natural sciences talk about.

    So part of the current argument is whether we should interpret a phrase like 'wave length' as merely an expression in a particular language (the language of physics perhaps) or whether it has reference to the mind-independent and language-independent world and whether it actually names something with real existence in the physical world.

    Not Einstein says:

    "I propose to use the "height of Mount Everest", seeing as a wavelength is not a stand-alone thing, but it needs a wave."

    'Stand alone thing' seems to suggest the philosophical concept of substance. I don't think that the scientific realists need to be committed to the idea that everything that exists are substances or that a phrase like 'wavelength' can't refer to how something truly behaves or is situated out there in reality. Many of the properties of physical reality are exactly that. Distances, speeds, movements, geometric relationships. I'm not comfortable denying physical reality to such things even though I happily admit that they aren't substances.
     
  19. NotEinstein Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    545
    Agreed.

    So am I.

    Agreed.

    There's an in-between, in my opinion. It could also refer to a parameter or variable of a model. I can have a bunch of molecule (real objects), and they move (measurable, real movement). Great! However, does that mean that "the wave is real"? There is something moving about, but is the wave itself a real object? I'm (weakly) arguing it's not: the order/properties exist in reality, yes, but what we call a wave is a thin abstraction on top of that. Each molecule is just following some basic rules that don't (explicitly) relate to waves; it's just a pattern we see in the movement.

    I didn't mean it that way, I think. A wavelength has to have a wave in order to make sense. A mountain can be a thing in its own right.

    It can absolutely refer to behavior of real things, but only though the concept of waves. In my eyes, a wavelength is a parameter of the "wave model/pattern", and thus not an independent concept. The wave is what models reality and directly corresponds to it, but the wavelength is just a parameter of that model. Just like a mountain is a real object, and its height is a "parameter of the object".

    Perhaps that's where our discussion stems from: I'm reluctant to call "things that aren't substances" part of physical reality. The way I see things (somewhat simplified), we've just got a big pile of elementary particles doing their thing. That "their thing" can be described by science (laws of nature). Their behavior gives rise to complex patterns (emergence). The parts that make up these patterns are thus real, but the pattern is something we (an observer) imposes. We can describe these patterns as well (for example: waves). But at a fundamental level, there is no "wave" (note I'm not referring to wave/particle duality; I'm talking about waving substance only); only the elementary particles are real. (Again, this is my view.)

    Do you attribute "real-ness" to the things I called "emergent pattern" above? (And I don't mean that all the parts that make up the pattern are real; we both agree there. I'm really talking about the pattern in itself.)
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    24,427
    See 431.

    Bohm's Implicate Order interpreted as cause/effect determinism - like any other cause/effect determinism that produces violations of Bell Inequalities - conflicts with one or more basic features of current "Mainstream Physics". The most frequently accepted conflict (that is, one handled by saying we maybe should expect a suitable alteration of the Physics) is with Relativity Theory's forbidding of information transfer faster than light speed, but a couple of others are possible (such as accepting a need for an expansion of logic to handle more truth values than T, F, and Meaningless).

    One could of course regard that as a recommendation we set aside cause/effect determinism - but that, if I am not mistaken, also conflicts with Mainstream Physics.

    btw: The question of whether "pattern" or "object" is the better term needs careful attention. A preference for "object" can - as it has for others - create its own obstacles. nb
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    Objective critical thinking is not belief. Belief is unconditional acceptance what you are being told and that can trip you, but that does not exempt mainstream science, as history and the evolution of science has proven.
    Example:
    http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node49.html

    Yet this was mainstream science (belief) for hundreds of years until Galileo proved Aristotle wrong. Not only that but also
    Isn't that why mainstream science uses the term Theory, a provisional term amenable to correction and/or improvement?

    The only Discipline that demands blind acceptance (belief) is religion and I am an atheist. I am keenly aware of my limitations, and want to impress on all that my posits in areas where I am ignorant, are probative, rather than declarative, although sometimes it may seem that way. I am here to inquire and learn what qualifies as science, not to teach it......

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    IMO, that is a statement of scope. Was the creation of a Higgs boson at Cern not a man-made imperative?
    One could make a case that man's wanton use of previously sequestered CO2 has contributed to global warming. I see that as a form of man-made imperative, at least contributory to the destruction of our global biosphere.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere
    If I understand Yazata correctly, the term "isomorphism" identifies this relationship between human mathematics and natural (mathematical like) imperatives.
    I agree with statement as presented, but
    That is the subject of this discussion, no? Science has discovered certain natural mathematical imperatives, i.e. "deterministic constants" which seem causal to universal self-ordering imperatives and regularities.

    In the previous NOVA presentation, a scientist answers the question if daisies and a host of other natural phenomena know that their spiral forms often follow the Fibonacci Sequence. His answer was "in short, NO", but there seems to be certain mechanism (mathematical imperative) which creates the Fibonacci Sequence, which can even be identified in spiral galaxies. Can we deduce that evolution and natural selection resulted in favoring this natural ordering mechanism, regardless of human recognition of this regularity and our translation into a mathematical equation (progression)?
    I agree and that is why we engage in a branch of philosophy (of mathematics), such as "mathematical realism".
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mathematics#Mathematical_realism
    But as I understand it, "quantum entanglement" (also a part of mainstream physics) seems to violate GR and has stumped mainstream science for decades.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement
    Which Bohm's Implicate Order of the Wholeness claims to resolve.
     
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    Oh, that has been made abundantly clear by others. I often consult Wiki and various Dictionaries to find the term that best expresses the fundamental meaning of my posit, but science employs a very specific language, which often cannot be substituted with a generality...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    24,427
    Your belief that your outsider status confers objectivity and unprejudiced perspective is poorly founded.
    There are no "natural" (non-human) mathematical anythings, as far as anyone can see by watching people do mathematics. All of mathematics seems to be produced by human beings, and not to exist otherwise.
    Of course mathematicians are busy discovering things, relationships inherent in abstraction itself, that exist whether they have been noticed - discovered - or not. But mathematics is the discovery, proof, and record of them - that's all done by people, so far as is known.
    The map is not the territory.
    Depends on the interpretation.
    If interpreted as cause/effect using standard logic, it conflicts with GR.
     

Share This Page