Can Everything be Reduced to Pure Physics?

  • Thread starter Philocrat
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In which other ways can the Physical world be explained?

  • By Physics alone?

    Votes: 144 48.0%
  • By Religion alone?

    Votes: 8 2.7%
  • By any other discipline?

    Votes: 12 4.0%
  • By Multi-disciplinary efforts?

    Votes: 136 45.3%

  • Total voters
    300
  • #1,026
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Ernies said:
In some cases it may be caused by (e.g. the smell of isocyanides) and well may always be accompanied by (or result in, depending on which way you are looking) such activity but in my view does not 'explain' it.

Ernies
Note that the 'explain' here has no 'for' attached with it.

Anyway--
(I agree with you) but one may ask what more is left to be explained--it (the dislike) is a response of the body to a certain stimulus.I think it's only the subjective experience of the individual i.e. the 'feeling' of dislike that can not be explained.
 
  • #1,027
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moving finger,

I give a reply here to all of your three posts above.Explanation as defined by Ernies is not a subset of description--at best they can be two intersecting sets.

The onus is on the one who propounds a hypothesis not on others.

Putting explain in quotation marks in no way makes it equal to describe!
 
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moving finger said:
Which “facts” do you believe it is unable to describe?

Best Regards
Missed answering this in my last post.Before I make a list,understand this:-whatever you describe does not explain(irrespective of whether the laws are deterministic or probabilistic,&. irrespective of your computing power i.e. your ability to predict)--at best you run partially into the 'set' of explanation.

I don't know if Ernies would give you even that much latitude i.e. the use of the word partial(ly) in the last sentence!
 
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  • #1,029
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gptejms said:
The onus is on the one who propounds a hypothesis not on others.
The onus to do what?
Which hypothesis are you talking about here?

gptejms said:
Putting explain in quotation marks in no way makes it equal to describe!
I never said that it did. I quite clearly said above that “explanation” is NOT equal to “description”.

moving finger said:
Which “facts” do you believe it is unable to describe?
gptejms said:
Missed answering this in my last post.Before I make a list,understand this:-whatever you describe does not explain(irrespective of whether the laws are deterministic or probabilistic,&. irrespective of your computing power i.e. your ability to predict)--at best you run partially into the 'set' of explanation.
Is this supposed to be an answer to the question :
moving finger said:
Which “facts” do you believe it is unable to describe?
Best Regards
 
  • #1,030
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moving finger said:
No contradiction at all.

If I say that “A is a subset of B”, does it follow from this that all Bs are As? No, it doesn’t

In the same way, all explanations can be forms of descriptions, but it does not follow from this that all descriptions are explanations, hence an explanation is not the same as a description.
But in an earlier post he said
"I have never claimed that an explanation is the same as a description..........." and on the other "An explanation is simply an interpretation or description .....".

Now surely these two sentences cannot be put together in a way consistent with the later post which in effect claims that explanations can be a subset of descriptions. The use of the word "can" merely confuses the issue. Is moving finger claiming that they 'are' or simply suggesting a possibility? If the latter I do not see its relevance. If the first, then there is a contradiction.
 
  • #1,031
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The correct answer is that everything can be reduced to physics. The issue is clearly expressed in my post to "A Dualist Phoenix"

Have fun -- Dick
 
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Doctordick said:
The correct answer is that everything can be reduced to physics. The issue is clearly expressed in my post to "A Dualist Phoenix"

Have fun -- Dick
Heh, well that's quite a bold thing to say.
 
  • #1,033
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Btw, here's just a wild theory I'm throwing out for the fun of it.

Take for instance art, a painting.
Physically a painting is just paint on a canvas arranged in certain forms, but to the observer it is much more.

Like Lars said in another thread, everything we sense is qualia, and qualia is basically our own perceived version of the universe/world.
So what I'm wondering is how do we scientifically measure and predict this qualia/perceived world?

If we follow moving-fingers theory that these are virtual entities, then the problem is that this doesn't stop the virtual entities for being "real" to the observers.
Thus, any virtual element can not be perceived directly in nature, you need an actual observer to perceive them.

How does all this tie in with how everything is physical?
 
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octelcogopod said:
Heh, well that's quite a bold thing to say.
Yes it is and it mostly generates ridicule (particularly from authorities); however, it is true none the less.
octelcogopod said:
How does all this tie in with how everything is physical?
I did not say everything is physical; what I said was that any internally self consistent explanation of anything must be built of fundamental entities which can be interpreted as obeying what we call the laws of physics. This means that whatever you are talking about is either fundamental and has a behavior normally referred to as the "laws of physics" or it is not fundamental and is based on the behavior of complex collections of fundamental entities: i.e., it is what is normally referred to as an "emergent phenomena", a consequence of coherent behavior of complex structures.

The best approach to the phenomena you refer to seems to me is being currently broached by http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/symposia/metzinger/precis.pdf. There has been some discussion of him on this forum.

Have fun -- Dick
 
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  • #1,035
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Oh.

Well, does that really help?
Sure it may be true that we can reduce everything to physics, however, when one can't explain the beauty of a sunrise with it, how does it help us?

There exists, literally, trillions, of human moments, thoughts and emotions, fleeting ones, that nobody, not even the "creator" knows about.
They are just.. Entities, that, when absorbed and understood, gets a life.

I think this clouds the issue somewhat, because, the whole subjective/qualia side of things is what people focus on.
And they have to, because there's nothing else for them to experience or talk about.

So I ask you, how can you prove that reality exists?
If solipsism is indeed unfalsifiable, how can I tell my peers in a coherent way that everything can be reduced to physics?

Also, while you may have an argument there, it seems to me that it is based on the assumption that the physical world actually exists.

Please correct me if I'm wrong there.

By the way; the problem is I haven't read your plethora of posts, because they are somewhat confusing.
I'm asking this simple question because I'm trying to understand what it is you have discovered, in the simplest terms.
If you can explain it in layman terms I'd be happy.

edit: also, if you feel you have discovered and can prove something as fundamental as this, why not release a paper to the professional science scene?
 
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  • #1,036
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I think I might be able to clear things up a bit. First you might read a post I just made this morning on the thread "Causality in the subjective world". It might clear up that issue of "how does it help us?" Fundamentally it doesn't; however, it does explain some very interesting things about the universe.
octelcogopod said:
There exists, literally, trillions, of human moments, thoughts and emotions, fleeting ones, that nobody, not even the "creator" knows about.
Too many to logically explain as the number of steps to the logic is beyond comprehension; however, mathematics (which Feynman called the distilled essence of logic) does provide us with a subtle respite to that constraint. For example, the number of terms in my fundamental equation (see my paper, http://home.jam.rr.com/dicksfiles/Explain/Explain.htm [Broken]) fully includes all the trillions upon trillions of human moments you speak of. Oh, the solutions are still too complex to express in detail; however, mathematics does allow us to pull down some subtle facts about those solutions. But you need to have a decent understanding of partial differential equations in order to follow those deductions. The field of Physics is one of them.
octelcogopod said:
I think this clouds the issue somewhat, because, the whole subjective/qualia side of things is what people focus on. And they have to, because there's nothing else for them to experience or talk about.
And why do they need to talk about things? For the same reason dogs bark and birds sing; it gives them pleasure. It is very short sighted to think any real result will be achieved.
octelcogopod said:
So I ask you, how can you prove that reality exists?
Well, I thought that the word "reality" was a label for "what exists". Are you telling me that it's not?
octelcogopod said:
If solipsism is indeed unfalsifiable, how can I tell my peers in a coherent way that everything can be reduced to physics?
Oh that ones easy. Physics is merely a description of some of the experiences you should expect based on the experiences you have already had. It has nothing to do with what those experiences are based on; Solipsism is the idea that they are based on nothing. You have no way of determining what is and what is not a figment of your imagination. In fact, the central issue of my work is, if you want your explanation to be internally self consistent, what can you say about the behavior of the fundamental elements of that explanation. It turns out that any explanation of anything, if it is to be internally self consistent, must be based on fundamental elements which obey the laws of physics.
octelcogopod said:
Also, while you may have an argument there, it seems to me that it is based on the assumption that the physical world actually exists.
No, it's based on the assumption that your explanation is internally consistent.
octelcogopod said:
By the way; the problem is I haven't read your plethora of posts, because they are somewhat confusing. I'm asking this simple question because I'm trying to understand what it is you have discovered, in the simplest terms. If you can explain it in layman terms I'd be happy.
The difficulty I have is that arises because what I have found is so original that it is essentially beyond the conception of most everyone (for varying reasons). I have made a great many posts but most of them have been a learning experience concerning what people incorrectly read into what I say. From a philosophical perspective, there is a great problem in understanding the universe expressed by philosophers with their division between ontological and epistemological issues. Ontological refers to "what really exists" and "epistemological" refers to the behavior or rules governing what exists.

What I do is eliminate the issue of ontology by simply examining the range of possibilities which exist if the ontological issues are intentionally left totally open and undefined. The ontology of my arguments are entirely expressed in the undefined sets A, B(t), C and D. Even the ontological issue time is undefined by using t to merely denote an arbitrary order in the elements of C. (If you haven't, you need to read my paper on explanations carefully.) I then work out a specific epistemology which will provide an explanation of absolutely any set C; you might think of it as a Dewey decimal system for specifying what expectations would be consistent with what is known (B(t)) no matter what that might be. That is what I call my fundamental equation.

The astonishing fact (which one can only understand if they can follow my development of solutions to that equation) is that I can find no law of physics which I cannot show to be a solution to that equation. This has far flung philosophical implications. Which are of course meaningless if you cannot understand the equation.
octelcogopod said:
edit: also, if you feel you have discovered and can prove something as fundamental as this, why not release a paper to the professional science scene?
Oh, I tried to get it published twenty five years ago but received nothing but ridicule. If you want to see a typical professional reaction to it, take a look at http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showthread.php?p=282543#post282543 [Broken]. Severian is, or at least claims to be, a professor of graduate physics at some prominent university. He may very well hold such a position as his response is, in fact, quite consistent with other responses I have received from professional authorities.

At the expense of being thought abusive I will give you my opinion of professional authorities. Our educational system has no way of checking how well people are able to think but it is quite simple to check how much information they have learned. There are people out in the world who find memorizing information relatively easy but find using that knowledge very difficult. In the extreme, such people are called "idiot savants". I know that idiot savants posse an advantage when the information to be learned becomes complex and I suspect that a great number of the people high up in our learned academies are in fact idiot savants. Why else would it be that almost every major break through in the scientific fields has made by young new initiates, and not by their teachers who certainly "knew" a lot more about the subject than their students. It seems to me that the authorities have very little ability to think about what they know.

At any rate, I find myself between a rock and a hard place. Either the people I am talking to are insufficiently educated to follow the math or they are too educated to comprehend something new. I think that has been true throughout history and it will be true long after I am dead. As you said, "what good is it?" The honest answer is, well it certainly won't get you in bed with a babe tonight now will it. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Have fun -- Dick
 
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  • #1,037
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Philocrat said:
How true is the claim that everything in the whole universe can be explained by Physics and Physics alone? How realistic is this claim? Does our ability to mathematically describe physical things in spacetime give us sufficient grounds to admit or hold this claim? Or is there more to physical reality than a mere ability to matheamtically describe things?
Science, of which physics is a member, can only make models of and predictions of nature it cannot explain anything.

Feel free to explain what you mean by reducing something to physics.
 
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To DoctorDick;

While i understand on some level what you are saying, I obviously do not comprehend it the way I should.
I'm not even a student of anything, I just come here for the fun of it.

I hate to dissapoint people, like you, but I'm afraid I have no other choice in the matter.
Maybe some day I will sit in my university chambers, reading over your material, and then suddenly understand it, but until then..

I wish you the best of luck though, I have a hard time believing only you are capable of understanding this, there must be someone else out there in the right position, that can fully understand it.

I don't know what to say, I feel like I'm supposed to be all excited and amazed that we finally solved this age long debate, but somehow my enthusiasm is lackluster.

But combined with moving-fingers posts, it's all starting to fall into the right places.
 
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MeJennifer said:
Science, of which physics is a member, can only make models of and predictions of nature it cannot explain anything.

Feel free to explain what you mean by reducing something to physics.
Yes, undisputedly, science in which physics is a part does make very interesting and useful deductions about the notion of physical reality. The deduced estimates, predictions and paradigms do hold because we do follow the arguments in the respective disciplines.

But when we turn our attention to the issue of reduction, we immediately encounter hair-splitting paradigms. Here is the problem: with regards to the human life form, as far is this thread is concerned, the issue concerns the need to reduce the non-material aspect of it to pure matter (soul to matter, mental to physical, immaterial to material, etc.). So, the question is can physics, and physics alone, do this? If you have had the time to read through the whole thread, you should have noticed several arguments and counter-arguments for and against. One of the key problems that emerged from all this is the counter-argument in many of the postings which claims that "there is something over and above the material", and that this aspect of the human self is non-material or immaterial and irreducible to material or matter. In fact, this is where there is a sort of stalemate on this thread, if one wishes to look at it that way. This thread has not been able to move on due to this one unresolved issue.

Now, the other problem fundamental to this is the issue of 'INTERDISCIPLINARY REDUCTIONISM', for example, from Biology, to Chemistry and to Physics. It is not clear whether physics accepts this as a possibility, because if it does, then the claim that only physics can explain everything returns the whole argument back to square one. So, the question now is: do we accept interdisciplinary reductionism as a possibility? If we do, a paradox of the most notorious kind ensues or manifests. The problem splits two ways...and head in opposite endless directions: (1) the reduction of things from one microscopic scale to next ad infinitumm, and (2) the reduction of things from one macroscopic scale to the next ad infinituum. Hence, INTER-SCALE REDUCTIONISM is bi-directional and both unfortunately lead to what is known in philosophy as 'INFINTE REGRESS': that is, reducing to ever smaller scales tends to go on forever and the same is true when reducing things into ever larger cosmological objects.

If such two-headed reductionism is possible, things just get complicated and intellectually irresolvable when it turns out that other disciplines should directly or indirectly contribute to it.

Hence, some people are arguing both on this thread and elsewhere in the forum that, interdisciplinary reductionism is problematic because whichever direction you choose to start reducing things from one scale to the next, you never finish doing so. That it is an endless reductive effort.

Anyway, I hope I have done enough to update you on the key underlying problems of this thread.

Many thanks.
 
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