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I Don't Think It Is That Amazing

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Posted by Harvey on March 4, 2002 04:15:44 UTC

Hi Alan,

***H: "We'll we have to focus on what we can communicate, but we cannot be so naive that we fully understand the meaning behind any particular message." A: Here you are actually stating the premise of Dr. Dick's paper! You then set out to do what he tries to do, as you look for a universal (both parties can understand) way to analyse the result of his communication to you!***

Philosophically, Alan, I think Dick is right to pursue his project of seeking support to the findings of science. Science lacks a foundation and Dick is smart enough to see the problems inherent within the philosophy of science. I think Dick would have probably enjoyed philosophy of science much more than physics. There have been some infamous attacks against the knowledge of science by post-modernists. I think Dick was wise enough to see those problems prior to the major problems that erupted in the 1960's (starting with Thomas Kuhn's classic 'paradigm shifts' and their effect in 'objective science').

***Narrowing those differences! Differences between two arbitrary sets of numbers as 'seen' by a third set of arbitrary numbers (or pair of sets). I tried a basic by-example test some weeks ago of what would happen if I tried to find an arbitrary set of numbers (I wrote down some numbers) in another different sized arbitrary set and as 'viewed' by a third set. And it became intuitively apparant that physics patterns could appear this way from the techniques needed (reminiscent of Feynman's sum of histories); I just started narrowing the differences!***

As long as you enjoy doing that kind of activity then go at it. Personally, I'd rather read, go to a movie, or something like that.

***Only used adding and subtracting, the higher math though was 'visible' in the patterns.
And curious math-structures like physics laws seemed possible to appear (yet procedure was in principle maybe as simple as playing with lego blocks!)***

Personally, I think this is just a mistaken means by which to go about acquiring knowledge of the world. First of all, any activity where you are constantly comparing the current knowledge of physics with 'math games' is bound to yield coincidental results if played long enough or with enough brilliant type people. Actually, if you've ever read Broca's Brain by the late Carl Sagan, then I strongly recommend this book for those who play these type of math games with such high hopes. Chapter 8 'Norman Bloom, Messenger of God' is really the most clearest example of this kind of mistaken reasoning. Here, let me quote an important passage from Carl:

"Norman Bloom is, in fact, a kind of genius. If enough independent phenomena are studied and correlations sought, some will of course be found. If we know only the coincidences and not the enormous effort and many unsuccessful trials that preceded their discovery, we might believe that an important finding has been made. Actually, it is only what statistians call 'the fallacy of the enumeration of favorable circumstances'. But to find as many coincidences as Norman Bloom has requires great skill and dedication... It is easy to imagine the contributions Bloom's talents might have made in another field. But there is something a little glorious, I find, in his fierce dedication and very considerable arithmetic intuition. It is a combination of talents which is, one might almost say, God-given."

Warm regards, Harv

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