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Stop And Think, Please!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on March 5, 2002 22:19:03 UTC


You continue to astonish me in your ability to ignore what I say and drag the conversation over into peripheral issues with little to no import!

***I just reply to the issues as they are presented. I'm letting you control the flow of the discussion as you lay out your 'case'. ***

Oh, I understand what you think you are doing and I do agree that, so long as these peripheral issues cloud your mind, you will never be able to follow what I am saying. What I am attempting to do is to make you aware as to why these issues are of no import.

***Hmm... You think it is an error to believe that confidence has a bearing on whether an error exists? How confident are you that you are correct on this position? ***

I am fairly confident that I have made errors and that I will probably make errors in the future. I am absolutely confident that it is irrational to think that your confidence has any bearing at all on whether or not an error exists; in other words, it is incumbent on any intelligent perspective to include the possibility of error (completely independent of opinion). You have either not thought your statement out or you are intentionally trying to cloud the issues! The issue is very simple: a rational model of the Universe must include the possibility of error. If it does not, it cannot qualify as rational.

***Mathematics is a game (as Wittgenstein said). Mathematics says nothing about reality, so I don't see how you can think that mathematics is any authority on this subject manner. Where in mathematics do you have definitions of terms like: reality, senses, mental image, observation, etc.? This isn't mathematics.***

Did you not read what I said? I said that I accepted mathematics as known and would leave all arguments about the subject to others. When I defined "reality", "senses", "observation", and other terms, I did this only because I felt a definition of what I was talking about was required. These issues are part of my presentation and not a part of mathematics. I used these words for a very simple reason: as I show in the further development (Chapters 2, 3 and 4), assignment of these defined concepts to the common usage of the terms results in exactly the relationships found in your mental model of reality. As I pointed out earlier, you seem to confuse the issues of definition and assignment.

***Okay, let me restate it. How do you know the terms that you consider important in your model are a valid category to distinguish?***

1. My model is absolutely 100% general. There exists no information which cannot be so represented! The model distinguishes absolutely nothing! All collections of concepts, all collections of ideas, all collections of data (it makes no difference what you want to call it) is isomorphic to a collection of numbers.

I think it is clear that you do not comprehend the nature of my "unknowable data". That information consists the reason why the "knowable data" is what it is (the embodiment of the rules which yield that "knowable data")! The whole is nothing more than more of the same (the net result is just a big collection of information, data, numbers whatever)! I show that, in this entirely general model of information, certain very particular relationships must be valid (they are mathematically deduced from the constraint that the result must be internally self consistent). That result is compactly expressed as what I refer to as my fundamental equation. It has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with all possible descriptions of reality (that is information). I refer to it as the Universe (what I meant by reality) because of the fact that if any information at all is omitted from the "knowable data" then the deduction fails.

***You are assuming that you have attached the right meaning of the variables in your equations (starting with 1.1, 1.2, etc). However, how do you validate those terms? ***

2. The equation is true so long as the information is "complete" as I have defined the term "complete". The equation cannot be false as it is directly deduced from the definitions of the terms. It is tautologically correct!

Now, what in the world do I notice? That if you "attach" (or assign) the meanings I display, you get exactly classical mechanics. How do I validate those terms???? Look at what was done. I showed a very particular mathematical relationship had to be valid within any conceivable collection of information! Just what is it which has to be true?? Well guys, if you attach the particular meanings I quote to the variables of my fundamental equation then it turns out that "what has to be true" is "most of physics". If that isn't an indicator that the attachment of the meanings is correct, I do not know what is!

***We could, I think, take all of your equations and reinterpret the meaning of every variable. What would stop us? What would restrict the meaning of any one particular variable? Yet, we would get the same mathematical results with a totally different meaning to your model. ***

Very very true! In fact that is exactly the reason why it is rational to speak of "the momentum" of price changes in the market. To paraphrase Newton, things that are changing will continue to change unless something influences their behavior! Things that are not changing will not change unless something influences their behavior. That is the fundamental idea behind causality (behind explanation itself)!

***Pragmatism, as a philosophical system, is summarized in definition (2). It isn't as simple as a model 'working' (e.g., providing good math results), it is a matter of what the model actually does. For example, from a perspective of the worth of science a purely pragmatic view of science is the technology it provides. In terms of scientific research, the pragmatic view is more often called instrumentalism. ***

So what? What purpose did you intend this paragraph to play?

***Your model is not pragmatic (or instrumentalist) since has no pragmatic value.***

Looking for love in all the wrong places!!! If being instrumentalist is your definition of pragmatic value, then I guess it has no pragmatic value! So what? Who cares!

***Nor does your model acknowledge where we really come to know what we know.***

My model is merely a general way of displaying "complete" information in a guaranteed internally consistent manner! Beyond that, I have shown how to map that model into the common picture of reality. But, if you would rather work with inconsistent trash go ahead, have a ball!

***discover what it is we know and what part of what we think we know which is myth.***

If you understood what I was doing, you would comprehend that statement! I am sorry you do not!

***From a semi-pragmatist such as myself, this statement is off-base. We 'know' as a result of the benefits which are paid to those who accept certain concepts as true.***

And what benefits would you be speaking of? Scientific salaries?

***Like Pavlov's dog we are forever locked onto those schemes and way of thinking.***

If you would rather science be done by Pavlov's dogs, as I said, have a ball!!

***You cannot construct a mental image non-tainted by those experiences that make us who we are.***

Why not? Is it against the rules to think about things?

***The same is true of math, you cannot eliminate the 'epistemological trail' of mathematicians that led them to the analytical 'truths' of math.***

How I got to where I am has no bearing at all on where I find myself. So there is an 'epistemological trail'! So what? Who cares?? I don't see where that has any significance at all.

***No, the failure of foundationalism is centered around where knowledge arises. Where does knowledge arise? Why is it that we consider something as true? If you attempt to answer that question you will see the failure of foundationalist views. Mathematics is also not foundationalist as you will see if you ask the same question. ***

Ok, I am not a foundationalist? Again, what bearing does that have on what I am saying?

***Well, what if that appearance is wrong? What if it turns out that an observation isn't a member of the set of examined subsets of a set of numbers? ***

Simple, you are not talking about what I am talking about! Again, you seem to be confusing the issue of definition and assignment. Definition is "this is what I am talking about" and assignment is "that is an example of what I am talking about". I have "defined" exactly what I mean by an "observation". I have further shown that my defined observation maps (that is, may be assigned to) the standard accepted concept of an observation (in fact, that is why I used the word).

***What if it is actually a member of set of examined subsets of all that is 'out there'? In that case, what is 'out there' 'set of numbers'. How do you *know* that what is 'out there' is equal to a set of numbers?***

What you seem to miss is that "what is out there" is an idea in your head and it is just as easily represented by the number nine hundred and sixty one as it is represented by the phrase "what is out there"!

***You are presupposing based on the appearance that everything that can be observed can be numerically represented. This *might* be a false presupposition. ***

I am afraid you have no comprehension of what you are saying. Your statement makes no sense whatsoever!

***Okay, how do you know your organization of thoughts is a correct way to organize as to produce a correct interpretation of the Universe?***

I certainly do not know! But, if I am wrong, then certainly the whole scientific community is wrong!

***What makes your model true?***

What do you mean by "true"? My model is internally self consistent and it maps perfectly into the common scientific picture of the universe. That certainly makes it a good representation! Secondly, it is entirely general which means one need not search for another which puts one in a rather comfortable intellectual position.

***I'm not saying that you think experiments are unnecessary. I'm only saying that you don't have experiment to validate your choices used to give meaning to your equations (e.g., 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc). ****

Oh, you think they just occurred to me one day? These full blown results were handed down by God to DoctorDick! That's not the way it happened Harv; I noticed a lot of simple relationships which the physics community simply chose to ignore.

Back in the fifty's I noticed that, if one allowed nothing except contact interactions (requiring all interactions to be the consequence of exchange phenomena: i.e., no force fields), it was not possible to set up any experiment which could possibly violate special relativity. Strangely, many years later I ran across a statement by Newton which essential said, "even though force at a distance could not possibly be true, the gravitational force field concept was extremely useful". That is a paraphrase by the way as I do not remember exactly what he said word by word. I would presume from that statement that Newton would have agreed with the idea of eliminating non-contact interactions. So I have some authorities on my side!

Sometime in the sixty's I noticed that the definition of planks constant showed every indication that its value was arrived at by a circular reasoning (far too complex a path to display here).

Around the same time, I noticed that, if one were to take Einstein's picture of the world as true then any wave function which was to yield the probability of an event at some space time coordinate was just that and no more! That is to say, all one could really say was that an event occurred at some space time coordinate; it was rather ridiculous to attach a name to the event (an electron, a meson, a proton or whatever) as that identification was actually a result of examining the probabilities of events elsewhere in space-time. (That was what I was trying to get you to see when I was questioning how one knows the difference between an electron and a Volkswagen beetle).

The important aspect of the above observation is that, if one wants to write a truly rational probability function which is to yield the probability of seeing an event, there clearly is no need to attach an identity to the event. The identity has to be determined by the probability distribution of peripheral events.

My fundamental equation is actually no more than an expression of Momentum and Energy conservation proofs well known to physicists tied together with the fact that "contact interactions" can and must be able to explain everything. Simple common sense!

***When you specify an assignment for time you are doing so in an unconventional manner.***

No, you are confused! I define time to be nothing but a tag indicating which data belongs to a given observation. It is that definition which is unconventional and it stands entirely by itself. Later, I assign that number (or rather, any scale adjusted version of it) to the common concept of time and show that the results of any experiment are completely consistent with the definition and assignment I suggest. The constraints consistent with the definition are exactly determined by my fundamental equation and the constraints in the assignment are implied by the experiments.

***You don't have experiment to validate your usage, so what does this validation in your selections? ***

The entire world of scientific experimentation validates my usage! My results are mapped directly into their experiments.

***Unless you have a foundation you cannot establish a foundation, but it is the foundation that we are trying substantiate.***

Doesn't that depend on your definition of a "foundation"?

***We see this in your model in what substantiates the meaning of your variables. You are basically asking for people just to believe you. As I pointed out above, I can use the same equations and input totally different meaning into those variables. Nothing in math forbids it. So, where is the foundation?***

As I said earlier, that is exactly correct. I have already shown (a paper I wrote back in 1984) that economics may be mapped into physics. Since physics is one of the most analytical fields of study (i.e., more physics has been mapped into math than any other field) it would clearly behoove any science to know how to map their problems into physics.

***Gödel's second incompleteness theorem shows that you cannot prove the consistency of axioms of a number of branches of math (e.g., set theory). So, you cannot even show that the body of mathematics is consistent (if you could, then according to Gödel they wouldn't be consistent). ***

I have looked at Gödel's proof and I personally think more is made of it than is really applicable. If you go through each step and apply that step to a tangible relationship you can be confident of, I think you will find that what Gödel proves is that you can always construct the statement "this statement is false" in any abstract representation. I think we all knew that! From what I have read, most modern mathematicians don't take Gödel all that seriously when it comes to working out relationships. But of course, I could be wrong; as I said, I leave those issues to people much more qualified than myself.

***No, I don't. But, I admit it openly and am a fan of pragmatic approaches. I openly admit that we come to know about the world through the benefits paid to those who make the most successful choices. ***

Then what is the purpose of all these references to ontological proof???

***Not so. I am not the one with the burden of proof.***

Then what are you talking about? I am not here to prove anything! I just have a different way of looking at things. If you go read my paper, I say that my model (which is entirely general) yields most of physics as true by definition (follow the math and watch it crank out). Notice, near the end of Chapter 2 I say, "If you consider your definitions to be sufficiently different from mine that they do not predefine the results of your experiments, I suggest that you need to prove your case."

***The burden of proof is on the one wanting to show that something is true.***

Yeh and the scientific community would have you believe that their "laws of physics" are statements about reality. I think I have shown that they need to prove their case.

*** And, most importantly, you haven't answered the question as to why mathematics limits what is actually possible in the world. ***

I did not say that mathematics in any way limits what is possible in the world! What I said was that internal self consistency limits our mental model of what we are aware of. Just because you think something is real is no proof that it is! What part of what you think is true is illusion? Have you come up with a way of making that determination?

Have fun -- Dick

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