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RE: Philosophy (ideas) Vs Science (facts), Harv Is Correct...

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Posted by Luis Hamburgh on November 2, 2001 00:37:40 UTC

...in saying that at times we must appraise our epistemology. The standards by which we practice science are intact, but at times we need to step back and re-examine the complementary roles of empiricism and logic.

Take an seventy-five year-old concept (the “photon”), slowly reveal its numerous contradictory properties, but still cling to Lewis’ initial assertion that it is a type of “atom,” and we’ve got to rule out this model is not a major violation of Occam’s Razor.

So we require empirical measures, lest reducing our particulate model of the “photon in a vacuum” as anything but dogma.

Presuming the photon is particulate, we find a great many paradoxes. Do we explain away these inconsistencies with clumsy connections between classical and quantum theories? What if the only time we “observe” the photon is when infer its existence, despite whether our inferences entail accepting mutually exclusive models of physics (e.g., wave interference vs. wave energy)? How desperately should we embrace this bizarre “photon”? What else can we do?

It’s simple – look for a better answer. If we don’t know the answer right now, or even twenty years hence, fine. But to BS ourselves into believing it’s a valid model is detrimental to progress.

Either you are scientific about your physics, or you are religious about your physics.

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