Back to Home

Astronomy Discussion Forums

Forums: Atm · Astrophotography · Blackholes · Blackholes2 · CCD · Celestron · Domes · Education
Eyepieces · Meade · Misc. · God and Science · SETI · Software · UFO · XEphem
RSS Button

Home | Discussion Forums
Login

Be the first pioneers to continue the Astronomy Discussions at our new Astronomy meeting place...
The Space and Astronomy Agora
This One ..is A Properly Annotated Version Of Those 2

Forum List | Follow Ups | Post Message | Back to Thread Topics | In Response To
Posted by M.W.Pearson on November 28, 2002 03:40:54 UTC

Hi Dick,
I will attempt brevity, though I enjoy
elaboration and appreciate its advantages.
Your writing is fun to read.
I am "well behind" in so many of my tasks that
it is best if I speak tersely in response just
for now.

Hi Mike,

***************
Dr. Dick:
"...intellectual capabilities of the human race in general."

The brain is adequate. Learning to use it
will yield more power than anyone has yet shown.
(laughs madly, wrings hands)


***************
Dr. Dick:
"...most of the publications were nothing more than regurgitation of the current status quo ..."

I can accept that statement. It is more true in physics than in biology.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"Ph.D.'s are awarded for proved facility with the mechanical procedures of physics, not for understanding physics."

Yes...in every field, it is a guild initiation
to show willingness to "stay in line" and "talk
the way we do." I have met many (dozens! persons with doctorates in science whom I respected in accordance with the title, tho'.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"...what if all interactions are contact interactions: i.e., if action at a distance were impossible?"

This is the only way I can conceive...there must be a point of contact or there is no interaction;
the propagation of waves may seem like
action at a distance.

(He said) "Physics isn't concerned with 'what if', Physics is concerned with 'what is'..."

He misunderstood you, tho' shouldn't have. Einstein's famous flight of imagination as a 15-year-old was,"What if..." he were riding on a beam of light.

Thanks for telling me about your thesis.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"...however, your continued response also seems to me to be somewhat simple minded."

Yes, it's one of my many apparent talents.
I was trained as a newspaper editor in the
Air Force to write at the level I had been reading since age 12. I still see some value in it.
When you see a fault, then I have not used up
too many minutes constructing beautiful prose
only to have it collapse under analysis.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"When I say "simple minded", all I mean that the response is essentially based on an emotional reaction and displays no real serious thought about the comments I made."

Displays? Emotion is all about 'display.'
I think I played my cards too closely
to communicate clearly. I was not experiencing
visceral responses but abstract ones. If you
are saying my brain is the equivalent of a Commodore 64 to your Cray Supercomputer, then
I agree. But I am kidding when I say that.
True, I've had too many cups of coffee for too many years. But I'm working on it!


***************
Dr. Dick:
" Most everyone takes mathematics as a recipe book for solving problems (think about some Aurino's comments on E&M)."

I think E&M is ...electricity and magnetism?


***************
Dr. Dick:
"As such, the deductions of mathematics are very powerful tools; however, the real issue of mathematics is the logic which yields those deductions. One of the great problems in education is that many people (and this includes a lot of the professional teachers of the subject) only know it as a recipe book and have no real facility at all with the logic behind those deductions."

My Dad's Aunt Edy was married to a guy who
helped produced the SMSG texts in the 1960s.
Remember that? School Math Study Group, I think
it was called.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"What I am saying is that mathematics is, in fact, a language within which logic can be extended far beyond the capability of your conscious mind.

I like that.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"Without a clear facility in the language of mathematics, any decent logical deduction is limited to, at most, a few dozen steps.

"In the absence of mathematics, the human mind cannot comprehend anything which requires more than a few steps of logic."

We have gradually assembled the workings of the DNA molecule with reasonably rudimentary mathematics...true? And history's supposed lessons can be best learned by doing a kind of
multi-variable calculus on several equations
which you get in popular media from folks like James Burke, Carl Sagan, Eugen Weber, Jacob Bronowski...


***************
Dr. Dick:
"First, advanced mathematics is not complex at all. It is, in its entirety, nothing more than one step built upon another.

"Fluent understanding of the concepts represented by the symbols is actually quite rare even among professional mathematicians."

I think you are expressing confidence that I could learn it. Good. Maybe I could. I don't have a drinking habit, so my brain will be around a while. I might need to regularly practice aseticism to be sharp enough on a given day. I just have too many things distracting me.
As a side issue: I asked you to say in words the sequence of operations including the names of the symbols in your equation 1.27. I guess you were saying it would do no good.

****
Mike: Additionally, the human brain does calculus every time someone chases a thrown football to catch it.
****

***************
Dr. Dick:
"That is an assumption which simply cannot be supported."

We have one point to explore here. Eli Pine's
book How to Enjoy Calculus asserts
that calculus is all about slope-finding. I think that chasing a flying football is slope-finding too.
That's what I meant.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"Calculus is a very specific well defined stepwise procedure, the exact logic of every step of which can be checked and understood."

I am saying the brain/nervous system's physical process for meeting the flying football is a
mechanical operation of the same kind, and that
some of the calculations we do about other issues
DO give answers that can be checked.
If the answer is correct (ie. a system is proposed whose equations -- provided by a person's derived system of though -- yield approximately the same results
which also occur in nature ... where the equations are provided by nature)
Then a person is using their internal "formal operations machine"
in a way that approximates advanced formal
math. As Socrates might say,'Where do you
think Newton's calculus came from?'


***************
Dr. Dick:
"In particular, calculus is an "exact" science: the truth of the results is as dependable as the truth of the axioms."

I appreciate its ability to be checked step-gy-step. Still, I think the human brain is capable of practicing exact science and that the
externalization and development of calculus
is one strong indicator for that.


****


***************
Dr. Dick:
"...there is absolutely no evidence at all for "causality".

I am not a dogmatist about it but I like a little causality...just not too much. I gree with your next statement with one proviso: really thinking
really can lead to something new ( I guess you agree?)


***************
Dr. Dick:
"The single most probable explanation of all our experiences is that, what has happened or will happen, is no more than the outcome of chance on a scale unimaginable to the common human mind."

**** ****


***************
Dr. Dick:
"In my head, "thinking" is a careful analysis of the validity of your beliefs, not merely the simple review and expression of those beliefs."

Yay for that.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"In exactly the same vein, if one were to "know" everything about reality, "understanding" becomes a meaningless term. (And I know you don't understand that so don't worry about it.)"

I think I do understand that. :) It seems to
give "knowing" the role of "comprehending"
in the sense that while a computer may store information, an operator knows how it can be used.
A computer does not 'know' its own information in this sense of the word.



***************
Dr. Dick:
"My concerns lie entirely with the underlying principals on which those deductions are based.

What I have shown, in my paper, is that there exists a duality between "interactions" (the rules as to how things interact) and "fundamental characteristics" (the information necessary to describe those things)."

This is the idea I will still have to work
to comprehend. I am never at my best.
In a clear moment, if you will forgive the expression, probably "it will seem as if I should have seen it all along." But they say that about
Darwin's contributions too. By the way...I am hearing Carl Sagan on videotape say that biology and history are not predictive sciences. Alfred
North Whitehead suggested biology would take over
study of the larger phenomena of physics some day.
Weird?


***************
Dr. Dick:
"That, if you allow both parts of your explanation to vary (open it to all possible interactions and all possible characteristics: i.e., make up any story you want), you produce a problem far too complex to analyze completely (a truly infinite set of possible "stories", each of which have an infinite number of variations). I show explicitly that one specific "interaction" (a Dirac delta function interaction: i.e., contact interactions only) plus one "fundamental characteristic" (different possible rest mass) are all the variables required to generate a full 90% ( or maybe more) of the phenomena discussed in modern physics. At that point, the next question is to find something which cannot be explained via that very simple starting point. It may very well be necessary to hypothesize some other possible phenomena; however, if I have made no errors, I have proved that the set given can explain absolutely anything (you only need to add more events)!"


Thank you very much for that. I hope to comprehend this some day soon maybe possibly.
****


***************
Dr. Dick:
"Yeh, the world is full of squirrels, rats and roaches too and they seem to survive quite well. The issue here is that mathematics is consistent which has nothing to do with the characteristics of mathematicians in general (only a very few have shown any real ability to think)."

I am saying those critters have higher math
in them to some extent...allowing certainly
for humans to develop math in the abstract
which nature never conceived.

****
Mike: "Culture" was the topic we are discussing.
****

***************
Dr. Dick:
"I have not been discussing "Culture" at all."

I meant to the extent we did discuss it. You did
weigh in on it. It is hard to excape. Remember,
culture is a term for a population in a dish being studied. We can hardly discuss any thing
without some cultural ramifications.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"You would have to understand what I have to say about reality before you could even begin to comprehend my position on the issue of "Culture"."

I think I'm close and not so far from agreement on some of it...
but I am far from suggesting that all physics equations are arbitrary, proceeding from their
relationship to the first equations derived. I don't know that yet, if ever I will.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"All of the issues you bring up assume your picture of reality is valid! My position on these issues is quite clear: I will leave them to my intuition as I am quite confident that the problems are far too complex to be solved through conscious application of logic and anyone who believes someone out there is capable of such a feat is a sucker waiting to be plucked. My favorite comment on cultural issues is, "God save me from people who know what ought to be done!"

That's neat! EVERYONE is saying that they know
what ought to be done.
But your point, as I understand it, would have them go back to their studies and leave us in peace until they have something more WAY more intelligent to say.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"The great thing about being able to "make an example" is that it keeps the line vague ..."

"My point is that none of our cultural rules are well thought out at all..."

Yay for that.
Can you deny this:
Sometimes the line is entirely in the wrong place
and the "no-man's land" should be entirely in safe territory. With your expressed opinion about
the intelligence of most of humankind, surely you
might agree that you and I, for example can be trusted to go anywhere and do anything.... and in fact, while not everyone SHOULD do what we do, we also would probably not do anything that it would not be "okay" for others to do if they were similarly prepared in the way that you or I were.
In other words, I would not be stealing, assaulting or careles with the safety of others.
I would strive to be faithful to those with whom I am in contract and accord. So why regulate me further?


***************
Dr. Dick:
"If you get caught in the dead end route ..."

Almost everyone's 'line' will dead-end eventually. It's just inevitable.

"If you are concerned with the cost/benefit ratio of studying math then it is quite clear that you are concerned with the recipe issue and not with the logic issue."

Well, I am really saying that I have been so distracted by the world's inputs that I did not
pursue math as much as it was worth...by a long way.

"I am not aware of anyone who was ever paid a thing for making a breakthrough in human thought."

I think there are a lot of little breakthroughs that folks get paid for..surely you agree.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"All I am saying is that to trust the philosophic pronouncements of someone who cannot comprehend the subtle issues of higher math is just plain foolish."
Well, if that is all you were saying, I am glad
you did not stop writing until after you said it!
I wonder if I have shown you some more ideas now
that are foolish too!

***************
Dr. Dick:
"In the final analysis, you will need luck no matter what else you possess! On the other hand, good luck can provide anything."

This alone is a fine doctrine too.


***************
Dr. Dick:
"Do you happen to know what Socrates' official occupation was (that is, what he was trained to do)? Check it out!"

I read he was a stone mason and an infantryman
but his 'true occupation' was "thinking."

Thanks for telling me to look it up.
I wonder if I have suggested any ideas for which
you think it is worthwhile to demand of me more proof than I have given. If not, there's an upside to that, too! :) Thanks for fun too,
Mike

Follow Ups:

    Login to Post
    Additional Information
    Google
     
    Web www.astronomy.net
    DayNightLine
    About Astronomy Net | Advertise on Astronomy Net | Contact & Comments | Privacy Policy
    Unless otherwise specified, web site content Copyright 1994-2018 John Huggins All Rights Reserved
    Forum posts are Copyright their authors as specified in the heading above the post.
    "dbHTML," "AstroGuide," "ASTRONOMY.NET" & "VA.NET"
    are trademarks of John Huggins