Posted by: graemebird | August 5, 2007

The Theory Of Velocity Absolutism….Part III

Here are two more posts which go into my thoughts on the scientific process. They are on the same thread at Tigerdroppings as Part II

Post 1

Question:

But in a practical sense, what does this mean to the price of peas in China?

Or, how can it change our scientific accomplishments?

Answer:

Its really important for our understanding of whats been going wrong more generally. And for thinking about our methodology of sussing out truth from falsehood. Our epistemology.

Because I always thought that physics was so rock solid and it turns out that its not. Remember Scotty “Ye Canna Change the Laws Of Physics Captain” Well of course you can’t but that the writers of Star Trek put that in was an expression of our confidence in these guys.

Throughout the 20th century you had various ideas of what constituted scientific knowlege.

So you had Poppers falsifiability criterian. You had Milton Friedman writing his paper on methodology. You had Mises with his radically different “Praexeology”. You had various philosophers.

Now it was thought that the natural sciences and the humanities were to be approached differently.

I no longer think this is true. I think we ought suss out the same methodology for both and use it the same way even if we are waking up on September 11 2001 and trying to sort out just who it is we must kill and go home quickly.

Now you are probably talking about what direct practical matters are we talking about. I don’t think you can predict this in advance. Sometimes commercial discoveries might outrun basic science I think but thats pretty rare in the last 100 years I think… And what we will be able to do with technology….. well we won’t know that until we rework the science.

Quantum mechanics is held to be the best model ever. People keep saying so. So I guess it must be a great predictive model but there can be no doubt that it has to be reworked because its based on some wrong notions.

For example they have what they call entanglement. And their view of it is like spooky action at a distance (as Einstein called it) and like its just Voodoo.

But the history of science is the history of science is the history of getting rid of voodoo and pushing back the ‘God of Gaps”.

Yet these guys have learnt to love their voodoo.

Dudes are now talking about quantum computing. Can they acheive this without reworking current models?

This I don’t know. But they might not be able to. And so they will be wasting their money.

Now there is another thing. It may be that socialist science is just no good and bound to get worse.

Perhaps we should just cut off the funding and make freelance scientific services totally tax-free instead.

‘Socialism never works but sometimes it takes a long time to fail’ and when science first started getting government funding it was like a golden age. But I think institutionally the rot would have started and just got worse.

There is another thing also. These ideas have been built up to a point where we have a view of the universe which is one that is flying apart at an accelerating rate. Now even if this will only have implications 7 billion years into the future its still a depressing thought for the kids to be carrying around on their shoulders.

It turns out that there is evidence for this but its not particularly CONVERGENT evidence. It rests pretty thinly. Well if its true its true and we ought know it no matter how depressing. But it would be better if we got our methodology right and were either sure of it or could disprove it with some confidence.

Post 2

Question:

“So we can draw a parallel between this and say, the misinformation of soviet biology……..”

Answer:

I think so. And by the way I’m not hassling Albert here. He did what a young scientist was supposed to do and got a good predictive model up.

But I think from an institutional point of view the academy ought to have congratulated him on his brilliant new model, and then put a lot of intellectual power into finding and encouraging people who could manufacture competing paradigms and especially ones that had less arbitrary assumptions or if that wasn’t a happening thing at least OTHER arbitary assumptions.

Note the difference between the sciences and the humanities. Whereas the humanities will have all sorts of barely worked out models, and most of which ought to have been dumped decades ago……. The physical sciences will often suffer from the curse of the lone paradigm.

I would say that having a lone paradigm is only acceptable when you have convergence on all levels so you know without any doubt that this paradigm is true. Like with the analogy of the heart as a pump. It pumps blood. Nothing in our lives would contradict this.

But when you don’t have that sort of convergent information you ought to have at least about 3 competing paradigms that you should be rankinig and re-ranking as the new data comes through. And if you can’t get at least 3 good ones you ought to have a couple of dummy ones anyhow to help give perspective on the ones that you are taking seriously.

So I would say in most cases both the humanities and the physical sciences aren’t working as good as they might. The physical sciences with not enough paradigms and the humanities with too many… a lot of which ought to have been culled or only taken ofF the shelf for limited use as analogies.

An exception in the humanities would be with the Austrian School of Economics. Where they have become so discriminating with their paradigms that they risk the curse of the lone paradigm in many cases. I think they are a vastly superior school of thought myself. But there is one fellow I think who gets the balance just right and that would be the economist George Reisman.

There’s a funny thing with the Soviet-era biology you mention. Its that the degenerate that had Stalins ear…. Well he had these Lemarkian ideas.

I wouldn’t be so extremist as to rule out some sort of subtle Lemarkian effect. On the basis that if 500 million years ago an organism found a way to pass on some sort of Lemarkian advantage to its offspring from its various strivings then that offspring would be so advantaged that they would now dominate the globe in all their various morphed forms.

But under the curse of the lone paradigm Lemark is out totally-100% ……Lemark is a heresy and Darwin was for a very long time IN to the exclusion of Lemark and probably they ought to have kept the two ideas running in parallel with acknowledgement to the idea that any Lemarkian effect, if it exists, must be very weak.

But yes under the Soviets…. well we see a very similiar thing happening with the global warming racket and this double-talk we are getting from the relativity and quantum devotees.

While the relativists and quantum people can at least generate good predictions…..the energy-deprivation-crusade cannot. These guys have no evidence whatsoever. Their paradigm is that you can take spectroscopy and infer certain things. These things didn’t pan out so we have to assume that such warming as extra-CO2 creates is too weak or too slow-acting to not be a good thing.

But since its not free-enterprise science it appears to be institutionally unsound and yes very Soviet-like.

With all this talk one must not forget that the point is to shake down your professors and get them to come clean.

The good news for the young physics student is that there is so much basic nuts and bolts work to do coming up with small models that eliminate some of this excess baggage.

You would have to envy someone in that position. A new golden age of physics may be on the ccards if the institutional problems can be sorted.

But were it up to me I’d cut off the funding and give them tax-free status instead.

Post 3.

Question:

“For example they have what they call entanglement. And their view of it is like spooky action at a distance (as Einstein called it) and like its just Voodoo.

But the history of science is the history of science is the history of getting rid of voodoo and pushing back the ‘God of Gaps”.”

But maybe that’s exactly what it is. We are limited by our 4th dimensional perception of things, and if reality extends beyond the 4 dimensions we are familiar with, it would stand to reason that there is indeed “voodoo” in the universe. May make perfect sense to those 5th dimensional entities, but would still seem like voodoo to us. This is perhaps what is going on with quantum mechanics. Lots of the scientific greats including Einstein didn’t like quantum mechanics because it did seem like voodoo, but decades later it is still the dominant theory. Isn’t it just possible that this actually is a case of “voodoo” rather than science worker syndrome?

Answer:

Right. But look at how many extra arbitrary assumption you’ve had to take on here.

I mean thats OK. Like I said. To build a model you might take on these arbitrary assumptions.

You might say that God is a four dimensional being and he can see through us and into our very thoughts like we could see through the bodies into the internal organs of the two-dimensional flatlanders.

But how many extra assumptions does the above sentence introduce? More then the words to describe it. Which might be fine for faith and theology…..

…. And it may be fine for initial model-building. But we want our scientists to be less theological and to ALSO go back and see if they can’t get models going with less arbitrary assumptions.

You see if you think you’ve found entanglement in the lab. And you are carrying the assumption that there is a light-speed limit you might at first feel drawn into this arbitrary assumption explosion.

But then you also want to say to yourself……. if these two subatomic particles are still affecting eachother and mirroring eachother like acting students doing some sort of mirroring exercise…..

… Well that must mean (without bringing in extra dimensions) that there must be other, perhaps even smaller particles….. setting up some sort of field between these two and moving at far faster then the speed of light to keep this relationship up.

Already we have then further evidence against any light-speed limit.

And so then you would have to set up a small model of best fit describing the movement of these smaller superfast particles setting up this field of some sort.

And your work would be cut out for you.

So then you would be able to put together maybe 3-6 paradigms in parallel. Perhap not necessarily the one researcher. But in physics you would have this many.

Then with these paradigms you would have a cost-effective way of setting up the research experiment in order to be able to re-rank the paradigms that you are working on.

So its gets less theological and more down to hard work for the kids and very well-directed hard work.

We had the idea of extra dimensions already from maths and religion. But the idea of bringing this into mainstream science really starts with Einstein. Now they’ve gone overboard and arbitrary assumptions expand out of proportion without the corresponding effort to try to do without them.

We have no evidence of dimensions beyond the three that are confirmed by our every waking existence. And we don’t even really have evidence for “Time” as more then a derivative concept based on simultaneity and regular motion.

My methodology, if I was directing the research program, is to try and get the kids to at first factorise away all the arbitrary assumptions. Then go ahead and make more of them. But try not to build on them at more then two steps and if you can get away with it only build at one step.

What I’ve seen is that if you have built two to three steps on an arbitrary assumption you can wind up with total gibber. Like the mainstream view of inflation as it applies to the big bang.

Totally contradictory gibber and the cosmologists here have become like theologians. Bad theologians. Bad theologians who have lost any sense of a reduction to absurdity.

In economics too we see this. Like the idea of utility. And then thats built on to give us the idea of consumer surplus. Now you might use these ideas to appraise the various usefullness of public goods or something. But the neoclassicals keep building and they have all sorts of models that have scant attention to the real world.

Whereas the Austrians don’t make as many arbitrary assumptions so they concentrate on ordinal-preference….. ie the subjective order that the individual places on one option over another.

Because of their minimisation of arbitrary assumptions when they build from the micro to the macro they have a far superior skeletal structure for explaining the economy as a whole.

And in Reismans case you’d swear he’d been down to the factory and been spying on us since his speculations are just so in touch with all aspects of reality as I for one have experienced it in the workplace.

See if you just keep putting up extra assumptions and don’t ALSO circle back to see if you can do without them then you’ll either get bogged down or you’ll start coming out with ideas that don’t relate to anything useful and most likely don’t relate to anything in the real universe.

You won’t have a viable research program and all your best brains will be screwing around and wasting time and money.

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Responses

  1. Wow

    A comment of mine has lasted more than a week. You’re slipping Graeme. I’m gonna get back to you on this post. I’m still looking up the speed of gravity bit. I still think you’re wrong about the speed of light but who knows. But what I’d really like to request is an arts post – y’know GMB’s takes on Shakespeare, Clint Eastwood, Miller’s Crossing etc.

  2. “y’know GMB’s takes on Shakespeare, Clint Eastwood, Miller’s Crossing etc.”

    Well you can ask me about those 3 anytime. Great entertainers.

    Great entertainment.

    I didn’t realise I’d talked so much about Millers Crossing.

    One of the best movies ever made.

    But I was won over by the time I’d seen the shorts.

    What part-Celt cannot fall in love with the beauty of a celtic warrior blazing away to the sound of “Danny-boy”


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