Physicists and philosophers...

Discussion in 'Physics' started by cmartinez, May 9, 2015.

  1. cmartinez

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  2. nsaspook

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    I'm strongly in the Tyson camp on the philosophy of science, there's plenty of room for philosophy, just not in science anymore.
     
  3. cmartinez

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    Interesting point, although I disagree... Science looks for immediate causes, while philosophy for the prime cause.
     
  4. nsaspook

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  5. Wendy

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    I tend to agree with nsa with this one. We often get people who wander in here that equate thought experiments with the real thing. They aren't.
     
  6. cmartinez

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    I'd like to point out three things here:
    • With turtles all the way down, the last answer to the last question is always the same: "it just is"... that sounds very much like dogma to me.
    • As for equating thought experiments with the real thing, I'd love to hear the scientific explanation for "thought"
    • If reality exists independent of thought (I think it does), isn't then thought a part of reality? And isn't then thought equated with reality, just as the trees, the sea and the clouds are real?
     
  7. Kermit2

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    Most people think science is something that is always settled until suddenly a great thinker/scientist discovers that it isn't settled at all. In fact it is all wrong. Actual science should never be deemed settled.
    Those who based their entire life's work on the old paradigm will always resist and resent the new reality that has been revealed.
    Ask Galileo and Newton and so on and so on....all through the ages.
     
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  8. nsaspook

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    The scientific answer to the last question is 'we don't know', yet. This is an honest answer that puts us rightly in our place of the vastness of what's possible in the universe. Thought is an expression of informational energy at a complexity far too great for us to currently understand but if it's possible to understand thought we will by some process yet discovered.
    I won't say the philosophy of science is wrong just incomplete just like past scientific theories about the flat earth, Newtonian gravity or classical electrodynamics worked fine in most applications of the time but failed in the general case as our knowledge of the universe increased. As our knowledge of how things worked increased philosophy was found lacking in it's ability to predict correct outcomes in physics not in it's ability to imagine a outcome. The ability to know the future in some limited context is the true power of science that makes scientific human thought so wonderful.The human imagination of HOW to do something or HOW it works is the key to progress in science, engineering and technology. WHY is a important question for our motivation to do physics but not of the work of physics.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  9. cmartinez

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    I agree, with most of what you said. Yes, science is, and will probably forever be, a work in progress. Science studies facts, causes and effects, and builds on previous successes and failures.

    What bothers me, is that there are always warmongers on both sides trying to pit one against the other, while in fact (for me at least) they are complementary. There are things that science will most likely never be able to reach, since our own reality, in physical therms, is self-referencing. Our current understanding of existence is that we are encapsulated in a finite, closed universe. But one of the most famous "thought experiments" designed by Kurt Gödel demonstrated that a closed system will never be able to achieve consistency... and if it is true that our universe is not consistent, then it shouldn't exist at all... That, for me at least, is a demonstration that there are things that exist not only outside our own universe, but outside our thoughts and physical reality as well...

    Anyway, you said that "Thought is an expression of informational energy". Sorry, but that doesn't tell me much, since for there to be an expression of something, there has to be a Will behind it that causes it. Also, I don't see information as energy itself... (I wonder... can there be information without energy?)

    But maybe I'm wading into waters too deep here... so far our understanding of thought itself is entirely speculative at best, and superstitious at worst... I've seen reports by respectable scientists calling thought "a phenomena that arises from quantum fluctuations in our nervous system"... and it doesn't tell me much either... every single object in the universe is subject to quantum fluctuations... it's like saying that what makes water wet is the presence of moisture... As you just said, we don't know... yet... but what I'm saying is that there are quite possibly some things that science will never be able to explain (although it may get us closer)... and that's where philosophy steps in.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  10. amilton542

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    I always take someone who claims they're a philosopher with a pinch of salt. Typically, this breed will argue the toss over something like pi. If you read between the lines they spend more time "talking" than "doing".
     
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  11. BR-549

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    Philosophy is for people that want to take a second bite. These fools are proud of the first one.

    Philosophy has perverted and corrupted science.

    Nature is not hiding, it's on bright display, we have covered our own eyes.

    If you want to see man's foolishness on display, study modern science.

    Asking why, is a complete waste of time. It doesn't matter why. It is.

    The only profit is how. When we know how, we can decide when and where.

    Then we become why. And we use any why, we want.

    The truth is that the only reason man asks why, is to make the why, his.

    This is why WHY can not be answered.

    The question is HOW, not why.
     
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  12. atferrari

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    Hola Bill, maybe the language barrier here. For me to be sure I understand it, could you please elaborate or maybe rephrase?
     
  13. nsaspook

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    Information must be encoded into something and the cost of doing that is not free. When two neutron starts orbit closely the information about that is communicated to the rest of the universe as gravity waves, when charged particles move the information about that is in the form of EM fields.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrop...nd_information_theory#Information_is_physical

    Do trees need Will to exist? They also seem to be able to predict the future by knowing that seasons change. To me the encoding of what it takes to be a tree is an expression of informational energy but just at a level different from human thought. A tree might 'know' as a structure about seasons but it can't know a fire over the ridge will burn it down in a hour by our calculations unless we Will for that not to happen.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  14. sirch2

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    Philosophy is, in the main, thinking about thinking, or considering different ways of thinking about things. A lot of the philosophy that might be considered "useful" is around things like justice and equality, is it ethical to kill one person to save many for example? Or how should we deal with situations where the government only represents 60% of the population, what about the other 40%. These things cannot be addressed by science, yes "scientific" studies can be done but what do we do with the results? Different people will have different answers and philosophy essentially groups the different approaches and allows us to consider these as options.
     
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  15. Wendy

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    Simple enough, short phrase, wishful thinking.

    People tend to ignore experiments, or translate them out of context, to make the universe fit the way they think the universe ought to be, I call this pseudo science.
     
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  16. studiot

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  17. cmartinez

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