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Here's My Take

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Posted by Aurino Souza on April 19, 2001 20:50:13 UTC

Dick,

I took a look at your paper the other day. Once in a while I lurk in the counterbalance forum, that's how I learned about your paper as well as this forum. All I can say about it is that I think I understood almost everything you wrote until the first equation, then I had to give up. I jumped to some of your conclusions but since I missed most of the meat my opinion on the sandwich comes basically from the taste of the bread. Not much worth, I'd say. In any case, I'll make some comments, hoping you won't mind.

Actually it just occurred to me that your math is more than likely right and the true meaning of what you've found must necessarily be in the "bread". So maybe I'm not as disqualified to talk about it after all.

First of all, I'm not sure what your point is. You seem to have proved that our scientific equations are perfectly consistent with the definitions involved. I suppose most people would be less than excited about it, that fact in itself is not much relevant, and I think you probably agree with me.

Second, your definitions appear to be nothing more than descriptions of the commonly accepted definitions, only with different words. Saying "reality is a set of numbers" and "reality is everything that can be measured" is not essentially different, and the rest just follows. You are not cheating or transcending your subconscious model in any way, just rephrasing it in mathematical terms. I suppose you also agree here.

Further on, I'm not sure that the fact that you are able to extract physical equations out of reworded physical definitions says something about the universe rather than something about you. What I'm saying here is that you can impress people with your work but you're not telling them anything they didn't know before, only telling what they already knew in a different way.

What I gather from your paper is that you realized that scientists are lost in a sea of abstractions, don't perfectly understand what they are doing, and often get mystified by their own ignorance of how they have come to know the things they know. If that is the case, you might indeed be the first scientist who figures that out but hardly the first person. People throughout history have tried to draw attention to the fact that we worry too much about knowledge without having much clue as to what it really is. These people are for the most part ignored, and for a good reason: they're on a mission to deconstruct while others are busy constructing.

I mean deconstructing in the philosophical sense, not in a negative sense. I suppose the hope of every "deconstructivist" (I am one myself) is to later reconstruct the same thing in a better way. I have never heard of anyone who succeeded, not because their premises were invalid but because it's a herculean task not enough people are willing to undertake.

Well, enough rambling. I'd like to ask you two things:

How could science/society benefit from your ideas? It appears to me no idea, no matter how truth, gets much recognition unless somebody can do something with it. "Do something" usually translates as getting richer, more powerful, or healthier. Wiser is seldom attractive enough for the parties concerned.

The second question is more relevant to my field of interest. When you describe reality in the same way science does, that is, by excluding everything that is non-measurable, how can you account for subjective experience? There's a catch-22 problem with science that is as clear to me as it is difficult to explain, it has to do with the nature of physical reality as described by our senses and the fact that the senses are part of the description. I see you have touched on the subject but haven't, as far as I could understand, fully ellaborated on the consequences, mostly because physics is your primary concern.

Please don't take anything I wrote as criticism, I'm no expert in physics or math and have no basis on which to evaluate your work. The bread tastes good though :)

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