25576Re: Examples of Major Disjoints between PopperDeutsch and Science
- Aug 30, 2013You can change little of the substance of what you have typed below...and argue for the truth of solipsism. You can argue that you, and you alone, are a conscious thinking being and that everything else is a figment of your imagination:
On 31/08/2013, at 2:52, "hibbsa" <hibbsa@...> wrote:
> I know it's good philosophy, the best explanation literally true and so
> on, but I do have a lot of resistance to including MWI
(So just, for example, replace "MWI" above with the phrase "the external world, beyond my own mind" and see how the rest of what you have typed reads).
> with hard science
> theories, as if it's actually out there. Where do you stand on this?
> I actually think Deutsch's ideas around this are....fine if that's the
> right way to go for the philosophy...but they do not reflect scientific
> philosophy at all.
> There's two components to this. First the popperdeutsch idea that if
> there is an explanatory gap, the first thing to do is throw an
> explanation into that gap.
> There might be instances of that in scientific history, but if there is
> it'll have to be in the weaker less productive threads. Certainly, where
> science has been most productive, the really key arterial veins that
> produced the enduring discoveries, explanatory gaps - gaping holes even
> - were left, sometimes for hundreds of years.
> This is because the history of those most productive threads, is where
> we most clearly see the phenomenon whereby theoretical breakthroughs
> both advanced and confused things at the same time.
> Deutsch and Popper do talk about this effect - of good explanations also
> creating new problems to solve - but neither of them get it quite right,
> or not in terms of what actually happened.
> Again where science was most productive, the breakthroughs didn't just
> created new problems, but new problems with the distinct property of not
> even being satisfyingly definable in terms of the background conceptual
> framework to the theoretical breakthrough. In other words, the problems
> were of such form, almost definitively they could not be solved on the
> same terms as the breakthrough that created them.
> It took time but this phenomenon consistently emerged where the science
> being done was most productive and most robust. Most mathematical, the
> researchers the most ingenious. As an aside, C another problem with the
> DeutschPopper notion science as Explanatory - that being a verbal
> arrangement within a discussional context generically with the structure
> of some problem statement followed by some explanation:
> this might work for some threads of science, and perhaps to an extent
> for all. But something neither Popper nor Deutsch explain, nor even
> address, is the question of why, if they are correct, the most
> productive, most revolutionary, most far reaching scientific threads,
> are all at the other end of the spectrum. They are profoundly
> mathematical, profoundly terse and profoundly predictive. I am speaking
> of the theories that knocked on into technological and industrial
> revolutions. The most influential, far reaching, world changing shit in
> the box,.
But that's simply not true. Whilst some scientific theories are, for example, "profoundly mathematical" many of the "far reaching, world changing" are not. Consider evolution by natural selection, consider plate tectonics, or theories explaining human nutrition, etc, etc. Only in the rarefied field of physics are *almost all* theories expressed most clearly in mathematics. In other sciences although you might model some theory using maths to help, the theory is first and foremost not a mathematical one. I think this refutes what you say below.
> How does that work? If Deutsch is right, why is all the greatest science
> non-verbal. Sure, it's explanatory, but the language is maths. Surely if
> Deutsch was right we'd see things in the other direction, with clear
> evidence of intensive C&R.....I always think of those Victorian
> gentlemen in smoking jackets, pipe smoke in the air, bitches in the
> kitchen, awfully rational, one says in reply to the other, who had just
> said "I have a conjecture.."
> But seriously, don't you think this is an important question? I should
> think Deutsch would seek to neuter the issue by indicating that all
> these positive characteristics, most robust, most predictive, most far
> reaching, most fundamental, most breaking through to technology; perhaps
> all of that, he will say, is justificationalist. In that, surely I am
> suggesting these theories are *more likely* to be true due to these
> positive features.
> But I actually think that's a load of crap (and note I'm not saying
> Deutsch *would* say it). What about you Gary? For one thing, the context
> is historical hindsight, and not a play off between two competing
> explanations. And so there it still stands. Why, Deutsch, if you are
> right, are all the most influential and important theories the least
> like the sort of thing you envisage?
> But anyway, back to the nature of the 'problems' that come out of the
> best science. Yeah, so they cannot be solved in terms of the science
> being done right there. Like, Newton's gravity - the conceptual
> framework supporting it - couldn't do anything with the problem of
> non-locality in the force of gravity. Everyone knew it at the time.
> Newton knew it was a huge problem....basically he backed it off onto
> But they didn't try throwing explanations at the problem, because - I
> think - their efforts in science had already garnered I them an
> instinct....a scientific instinct...which allowed many of them to share
> in the insight that although the problem would need to be solved
> eventually, it was impossible for them to solve it now.....to a
> scientific standard. I mean, they could throw an explanation at it. In
> fact, do you know, I think it would be very feasible to explain that
> force using a multiverse concept.
> So, lucky you neo-scientist/philosopher types weren't the dominant force
> back then eh? You might have discovered a multiverse there too, and we
> would have spent the last 400 years throwing verbal explanations between
> ourselves, and presumably science would have gone in another direction.
> Gone back to where it came from: philosophy.
> But anyway, back to the properties of such problems in general. You see,
> Science was rewarded for keeping its powder dry and not throwing
> explanations at everything. For what happened, was that over time
> several of the hardest science threads were increasingly in the same
> boat. They were all facing problems that could not be solved in terms of
> themselves, and for a while things seemed to be grinding to a halt. A
> bit like right now really.
> But then it began to become clear these problems, did seem to become
> defined when these previous separate threads were considered together.
> Indeed also when the problems were considered together.
> But a huge barrier was that each thread had defined different concepts
> meaning different things. Now, what I think DeutschPopper would have
> done, is kick off a round of explanations and criticisms seeking to
> unifying these concepts. But that is actually totally anathema to the
> 'scientific instinct'...at least where things were most productive.
> You just don't do that. After all the work they had done making
> everything precise, and squeezing out all the subjectivit and ambiguity,
> they just KNEW that some kind of conversational mashup of what were
> already shaky concepts, would amount to throwing a huge shit pile of
> subjectivity and misconception right into the middle of their beautiful
> They knew, instinctually, that there was just no way to deal with those
> concepts directly at all. Something that was much more practical and
> empirical and objective was needed. And in my view this is an example of
> one of the many overlooked or underappreciated moments of true genius.
> What they did was set about revolutionizing the conceptual frameworks
> defining units of measurement, ways of expressing measures, scales, and
> so on.
> Genius, because it was inherently friendly to mathematics.....,and the
> power of mathematics is rigourous translations...from one form to
> another. As such, the units revolutions naturally joined, translated
> between and converted the previously separate threads, and wo and
> behold, common conceptual frameworks arose naturally out of them.
> And so the really big, even bigger, biggest yet revolutions then
> occurred. Not as 'bold conjectures' - a conception which seems to amount
> to simply standing on a rock and saying "I say, universalism!". Not as
> that, but as the build up of convergent theories, and problems, and that
> they shared between this property of needing to be explained in terms of
> These really big scientific breakthroughs...the more big they are, the
> more they weren't bold conjectures. More sort of 'grown' organically. By
> the time, for example Special Relativity was published, Special
> Revativity, almost in its entirety existed all around that space as a
> set of constraints, convergent theories, problems, questions. So tight
> was it, that arguably special relativity was pretty much discovered by
> the constraints, since its outline and shape was clearly defined.
> Don't you find that remarkable, and beautiful? But don't you also agree
> that this is something completely other to that envisioned by
> DeutschPopper. Also that their philosophy simply does not contain the
> conceptual framework that would be necessary to even begin to....even
> begin to see it even if it was right before your eyes.
> The one exemption appears to be Einstein's General Relativity, which
> would be crushingly notable if the case since that has got to be the
> greatest most ingenious odessy of all time. But the problem is that it's
> so hard to uncover what actually happened and who was involved, and what
> other constrains and issues were materializing. This is partly because
> this is one of those instances were priority has become a matter of
> honour for the various warring factions. So it's sort of a no go area
> for some.
> But I am totally passionate that we *need* to be studying the history in
> more detail, and we need to be ready to discovery things didn't happen
> quite as we thought. For example, how much of Newton's gravity solution
> was clarified and laid out by Hook? Hook was a remarkable genius and
> Newton hated him, and when he was given the top post, he actually set
> about destroying Hooks notes.
> Then there is the matter of calculus. There is no way a conception like
> that happens in two places independently. It can happen, but calculus is
> too complex, and too goal oriented, and also too solvable by other forms
> and means. They both came up with the same solution. It's pretty clear
> to me that it wasn't Newton, and the way I deduce that is by simply
> looking at the units. Liebnitz created something beautiful and deeply
> relevant with great utility (for example you can derive a geometrical
> formual for a shape, say, within a process whereby the dx of the dy/dx
> is simply multipled across, so now to mean, literally dx, as some
> infinesimal extent of x.
> Back to General Revativity. Something that is widely said is that this
> was invented by Einstein out of nowhere like a bolt, and thus if
> Einstein had not existed the theory might still not be with us even now.
> I mean, that is definitely bollocks, because we know for a fact that
> Hilbert independently published the comprehensive, completed, field
> equations a *week* before Einstein did. He just never botherd to argue
> for priority. But...right there we have another person who independently
> created General Revativity. As an aside, I think it's likely that this
> is why Einstein never received a Nobel for General Relativity. The Nobel
> committee were uncomfortable crediting Einstein when someone else had
> clearly published first. There's at least a hint of this discomfort
> nearly 100 years later still on the Nobel site. See the bottom comment
> on this page describing the General Relativity timeline and I quote:
> "1915 On November 25, nearly ten years after the foundation of special
> relativity, Einstein submitted his paper The Field Equations of
> Gravitation for publication, which gave the correct field equations for
> the theory of general relativity (or general relativity for short).
> Actually, the German mathematician David Hilbert submitted an article
> containing the correct field equations for general relativity five days
> before Einstein. Hilbert never claimed priority for this theory."
> And that's the official nobel site
> Plus there's more outside involvement. The conception of Spacetime as a
> 4D world was contributed by another party...though it's not clear
> whether that included curvature. I should think not. But there are other
> bits besides. So....what I would say is, yes GR could falsify a
> consistent theoretical basis of larger theories being 'grown' by build
> ups of problems and constrains. But the jury is still out. The fat lady
> has not sung. My hunch is that all large theories see the same patterns
> building up to them. The only exception that would be consistent, would
> be where a mathematical genius produces something that is partially
> physics inspired, but heavily influenced in formation by mathematical
> beauties inherent to the formulation.
> In that instance, it is conceivable a huge leap can take place out of
> the blue. This is because when it happens the event always seems defined
> by the mathematician not fully realizing himself the depth his equations
> were going to (I forget the equation name but for example the discovery
> of anti-matter as it just falling out of the equation invited) and also
> the known (but unexplained) affinity mathematics has with nature and
> Well so there you go. Not only does Science not agree that an
> explanatory gap has to be filled as a top priority with whatever
> material is to hand, but Science *profoundly* disagrees on this point,
> and in fact, had Science gone about things that way, it is very
> plausible that none of the major scientific breakthroughs would ever
> have occurred. Because...those breakthroughs are inextricably linked to
> a build up of problems and questions, all of which had been left CLEAN.
> That's disjoint one.
> Disjoint two, as said above, is that Deutschs C&R envisioning is
> strangely incongruent with the characteristics of the most
> groundbreaking scientific work, all of which adhered to strict rules
> that appear aimed at *removing* loose text, and all them use the
> explanatory language of mathematics almost exclusively.
> Disjoint three brings us back to where I started which was with MWI.
> Basically the whole way that theory comes about, the arguments for why
> QM simply had to have an explanation as an immediate priority and so on.
> All of this is totally at odds with Science. Basically, you saw a large
> explanatory gap, and you threw an explanation at it. Not just you, but
> the whole 'interpretation' movement. All of it was bad methodology in
> terms of how the best science has come about. And....surprise
> surprise...all of it has been TOTALLY STERILE in terms its productivity
> seen from a historical context. Not only have we made no fundamental
> progress in the last 50 years, but nor do we stand here now with a
> really good set of problems, a single promising scientific avenue, nor
> even a particularly clear agreement on what Science is.
> Deutsch wants it to be philosophy again. Philosophy can never produce
> beautiful predictions or mathematics, or technological revolutions or
> industrial paradigm shifts, or radical explosive leaps in living
> standards. Philosophy can never do that, because it simply lacks the
> energy and conceptual frameworks, and methodological clarity, to ever
> get things really tight and resolved. If Philosophy ever does, well then
> it'll be Science. But as things stand, Philosophy can't have
> babies....because Philosophy is a pre-scientific conception. It's
> non-scientific. If Deutsch and others of his mind get their way, and
> manage to make inroads into Science, then Science will die. Not because
> Deutsch is bad, but because Deutsch is a philosopher, and philosophy
> cannot produce scientific progress. All it can do is make Science back
> into Philosophy.
> And that is already a process well under way. Why do you all regard MWI
> as so fundamental? You threw a freaking explanation at a huge hole and
> then a bunch of philosophers showed up and said that to accept the best
> current explanation as literally true was the true scientific way to do
> things. This is one of the worst periods ever in the history of
> science...at the fundamental frontier anyway. We've got a daft
> explanation thrown at a huge hole, being nailed into place by
> philosophers. We've got absolutely not one single sign of any
> fundamental progress down the line. Increasingly we have no clue even
> what the right direction to go in is. We've got enthuisiasts with
> theories that have been running for 30 years and have never predicted a
> single thing, and yet they seem to think they are going to get luck and
> 'bump into' objective reality as a kind of bizarre coincidence.
> And worst of all we've got the line between philosophy and science now
> so blurred for some people that half the time they are talking and
> thinking clearly using philosophical - i.e. non-scientific,
> pre-scientific asssumptions and conceptions. I mean shit, no progress,
> so scientists are feeling a bit shitty. And yeah, if a philosopher comes
> along and says "no progress......don't you worry my darling, we can
> solve that just be redefining what progress actually is with this here
> explanation". I mean, it's tempting I'm sure.
> People don't see it because they are forgetting what science is at a
> rate of knots. They don't see that philosophy, or any non-scientific
> influence making inroads back into science as an influential force, is
> TOTALLY UNPRECEDENTED in the history of science,. They don't see that
> Science cannot survive such an invasion, because you see, Science does
> not define itself. Does not define many of the mysteries surrounding
> itself. Science does not throw definitions at holes. Science is no good
> at defining things, because Science knows instinctually that discovery
> has to come a different way....and where it does successfully the
> definitions will look after themselves. So people don't see that
> philosophy coming into science will dominate science because philosophy
> will define it. Will define the importance of things, define what a
> theory should look like, define the way the method should happen, define
> what is the measure of a great theory. And of course the philosophers
> will define great theories to be objects that look rather like the
> explanation they are just about to knock you out with.
> The philosophers don't mean evil, but because deep down inside they feel
> inferior to science, and feel like they can't earn a living outside, so
> feel like they just have to own science.....by defining it as basically
> philosophy..... they are entering into a process of destruction...of
> science. Maybe the Enlightenment.
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