What exactly is fire?

  • Thread starter losang
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  • #1
losang
Originally posted by russ_watters
Sure feels like its burning to me. The sensation hasn't changed, so how do I know it isn't burning anymore?
Your finger appears to be 'buring' because you touched something hot. This is a different from something actually burning.

Science has to be more specific than you are being, otherwise our understanding of phenomena decreases with every answer. I realize you're new here, but how did you miss the name of the forum? In any case, we do have a philosophy forum here - perhaps you'd be more comfortable there.
First off, don't assume my level of physics knowledge.

Being able to explain something in terms of smaller objects does not imply that our knowledge of that phenomena is growing. There is a dependent relationship between the large and small scales.

In actuality science is decreasing our knowledge of the world. If a method of investigation is correct then the more subtle the level of investigation the clearer the object of investigation should become. If we take QM as an example the more it is investigated by scientists the more confusing it gets. Take the wave-particle duality for example.

Many of the things that science is correct about have been known for a long time by so called 'non-modern' thinkers.

When you are discussing the reality of something it doesn't matter if you call it physics or philosophy. If it exists it can be established as such.

I would be more comfortable if you could answer my question. I believe it is valid and important.

One unfortunate observation I have made is that in the physics forums it appears that most people just want to show others what they know and answer questions. Whenever a question comes up that challenges their
explanation I always get suggestions to visit the philosophy room.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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losang: One unfortunate observation I have made is that in the physics forums it appears that most people just want to show others what they know and answer questions. Whenever a question comes up that challenges their explanation I always get suggestions to visit the philosophy room.


By answering questions, people consequently show others what they know. That can't be helped. I don't see the problem. Aren't you trying to show us what you know? Frankly, you haven't shown us anything except arguments with other peoples answers without offering a useful answer of your own.

You have made five posts, all in this thread, and only once has it been suggested that you visit the philosophy forum. You make it sound as if this happens often. I wonder how that can be?
 
  • #3
FZ+
1,589
3
In actuality science is decreasing our knowledge of the world. If a method of investigation is correct then the more subtle the level of investigation the clearer the object of investigation should become. If we take QM as an example the more it is investigated by scientists the more confusing it gets. Take the wave-particle duality for example.
There is a serious (philosophical) flaw in your argument. The difficulty of understanding is an indicator of our intuitive failings, and not real knowledge. If we are to follow that line of hypothesis, we end with a knowledge based purely on definitions, culminating in the fatal acceptance of knowing nothing. Or worse, everything.

The analogy is of looking at a landscape. It is inevitable that seeking greater detail reveals further features we wish to observe. But that does not defeat the clarity we acheived, rather that our demands are infinite.

Being able to explain something in terms of smaller objects does not imply that our knowledge of that phenomena is growing. There is a dependent relationship between the large and small scales.
The smallness is a diversion. It would be convenient to declare entity small enough to be invisible, but that is not good science. Good science is a matter of consistency with what else we know, and being efficient at explaining/predicting.

Many of the things that science is correct about have been known for a long time by so called 'non-modern' thinkers.
Popper may aid us here. Our so called 'non-modern' thinkers may have conceived of some ideas we now discover are (as far as we know) true, but those were stuck in a sludge of things that are stupid, ridiculous, or just plain wrong. Part of science is concerned with getting rid of that sludge, and purifying down the ideas to the good ones.

If you believe that there is no distinction between physics and philosophy, then go ahead. But until that distinction has been dispeled, it still exists in the minds of most people, and the existence of the seperated forums with the appropiate guidelines was made to accomodate these people, whether they are right or not. If you cannot in any way stand by the guidelines, then the honest thing to do is to leave, rather than try to make other members suffer.
 
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  • #4
losang
Originally posted by FZ+
There is a serious (philosophical) flaw in your argument. The difficulty of understanding is an indicator of our intuitive failings, and not real knowledge. If we are to follow that line of hypothesis, we end with a knowledge based purely on definitions, culminating in the fatal acceptance of knowing nothing. Or worse, everything.

The analogy is of looking at a landscape. It is inevitable that seeking greater detail reveals further features we wish to observe. But that does not defeat the clarity we acheived, rather that our demands are infinite.

The smallness is a diversion. It would be convenient to declare entity small enough to be invisible, but that is not good science. Good science is a matter of consistency with what else we know, and being efficient at explaining/predicting.
This all makes absolutely no sense. Comming from someone who is afraid to know everything I guess it is expected.


Popper may aid us here. Our so called 'non-modern' thinkers may have conceived of some ideas we now discover are (as far as we know) true, but those were stuck in a sludge of things that are stupid, ridiculous, or just plain wrong. Part of science is concerned with getting rid of that sludge, and purifying down the ideas to the good ones.
I don't care what Popper says. I want to know what you have to say. Anyways, Popper is wrong. How much of this non-modern thinking have you actually studied? Are you thinking for yourself or just quoting Popper? I really don't care if you can quote anyone. Christians quote the bible.


If you believe that there is no distinction between physics and philosophy, then go ahead. But until that distinction has been dispeled, it still exists in the minds of most people, and the existence of the seperated forums with the appropiate guidelines was made to accomodate these people, whether they are right or not. If you cannot in any way stand by the guidelines, then the honest thing to do is to leave, rather than try to make other members suffer.
I never said there was no distinction. REAd my posts.
 
  • #5
Originally posted by losang
(SNIP) I never said there was no distinction. REAd my posts. (SNoP)
I did it says:
Originally posted by losang
When you are discussing the reality of something it doesn't matter if you call it physics or philosophy. If it exists it can be established as such.
And YUP! it matters which of the two terms you use, if you would wish to stick with the rest of the groups discussion...don't you think?

Aside from that, try starting a thread in Philosophy on "Exactly what fire is" and I can assure you, with the people in these forums, being intelligent, you will get a range of answers that simply would not be appropriate in the General/Classical Physics category, same when inverted.
 
  • #6
losang
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
I did it says:
And YUP! it matters which of the two terms you use, if you would wish to stick with the rest of the groups discussion...don't you think?

Aside from that, try starting a thread in Philosophy on "Exactly what fire is" and I can assure you, with the people in these forums, being intelligent, you will get a range of answers that simply would not be appropriate in the General/Classical Physics category, same when inverted.
Exactly I said it doesn't matter if you call it physics or philosophy. The word OR here does not imply they are the same.

In responce to your 2nd paragraph above. If the answer one gives to a question is correct it can't be contradicted by another answer. That is, if two descriptions of a phenomena are mutually exclusive they both can't be describing the phenomena correctly.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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Originally posted by losang
Your finger appears to be 'buring' because you touched something hot. This is a different from something actually burning.
My question was HOW DO YOU KNOW? Just saying its different doesn't explain anything.
By answering questions, people consequently show others what they know. That can't be helped. I don't see the problem.
Nor do I. If the goal is to learn, asking an answering questions helps both the asker and askee.
 
  • #8
Originally posted by losang
Exactly I said it doesn't matter if you call it physics or philosophy. Exactly! Cause it does matter...that is the point of the second paragraph! The word OR here does not imply they are the same.

In responce to your 2nd paragraph above. If the answer one gives to a question is correct it can't be contradicted by another answer. That is, if two descriptions of a phenomena are mutually exclusive they both can't be describing the phenomena correctly.
As for your 'second paragraph' you have just (successfully) defeated your own argument! Accuracy counts, at least according to you it does...
 
  • #9
FZ+
1,589
3
This all makes absolutely no sense. Comming from someone who is afraid to know everything I guess it is expected.
Very interesting. Your idea of a discussion seems to be related to fleeing the opponent's points.

In other words, the above is saying that knowedge amounting to a description of the phenomena (or worse, the basic sensory events that often appear with a phenomena), without attempting to describe it in detail, without trying to relate it to what else you know, without trying to guage a cause, without the potential of generating other questions is useful only to help name things and is really no knowledge at all.

What is rejected is not the goal of knowing everything - that is the goal of science - what is rejected is the acceptance that you already know everything, which can only be a lie.

I don't care what Popper says. I want to know what you have to say. Anyways, Popper is wrong. How much of this non-modern thinking have you actually studied? Are you thinking for yourself or just quoting Popper? I really don't care if you can quote anyone. Christians quote the bible.
Again, fleeing the point. Add a little ad hominem for a start.

(Interesting contradiction though. You attack science for not taking what these "non-modern" men have known, and you reject Popper for his lack of modernity!)

The point is this: the fact that some of the modern ideas were considered in the past is an irrelevance, if the wrong ideas were also present.

I do not care what the Christian quote. Why do you care?

I never said there was no distinction. REAd my posts.
Then you'll agree to post in the philosophy forum, where this stuff belongs? Or are you just going to be obnoxious until this topic is locked?
 
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  • #11
FZ+
1,589
3
*Glad* I missed that one.

Not entirely sure. In one tenzin is (apparently) expecting infinite reductibility, and in the other losang is asking us to accept no attempt at reductive logic at all.
 
  • #12
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Like I said I'm not sure. I was comparing the argumentative styles.

tenzin: Both philosohy and physica are concerned with what exists. Since philosophy understands what is necessary for something to exist it is superior. You physicists don't even know what criteria something must have to exist. You think that everything that exists must be detectable with one of the 5 senses. You have no idea how limited your knowledge and methods are.

losang: When you are discussing the reality of something it doesn't matter if you call it physics or philosophy. If it exists it can be established as such.
 
  • #13
chroot
Staff Emeritus
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Moderator note: I'll check on tenzin/losang...

- Warren
 
  • #14
losang
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons
As for your 'second paragraph' you have just (successfully) defeated your own argument! Accuracy counts, at least according to you it does...
I don't see a reason for your comment.
 
  • #15
losang

Again, fleeing the point. Add a little ad hominem for a start.

(Interesting contradiction though. You attack science for not taking what these "non-modern" men have known, and you reject Popper for his lack of modernity!)
There is no contradiction. You don't understand what I put. What I am saying is that a lot of things that are claimed to be discovered by science have already been established. It is like saying Columbus discovered America.


The point is this: the fact that some of the modern ideas were considered in the past is an irrelevance, if the wrong ideas were also present.
So Maxwell's work on electro-dynamics is irrelevant because the idea of absolute space and time was also present?
 
  • #16
Originally posted by losang
I don't see a reason for your comment.
Then just keep thinking about it...
 
  • #17
losang
Originally posted by Mr. Robin Parsons

Then just keep thinking about it...
OK. Let me stop trying to be nice. What you said has no supporting reason. If you make a statement it is up to you to provide a reason. Not up to me to look for your reason. If I really wanted I could explain to you why you are wrong but I was giving you the chance to support what you said.

I will give you a full commentary on this discussion.

This was originally posted by someone.....

And YUP! it matters which of the two terms you use, if you would wish to stick with the rest of the groups discussion...don't you think?

Aside from that, try starting a thread in Philosophy on "Exactly what fire is" and I can assure you, with the people in these forums, being intelligent, you will get a range of answers that simply would not be appropriate in the General/Classical Physics category, same when inverted.

I responded...


Exactly I said it doesn't matter if you call it physics or philosophy. The word OR here does not imply they are the same.

In responce to your 2nd paragraph above. If the answer one gives to a question is correct it can't be contradicted by another answer. That is, if two descriptions of a phenomena are mutually exclusive they both can't be describing the phenomena correctly.

What the other person was saying is that it matters if you call is physics or philosophy. I was saying it doesn't matter which of the two you call it because both are methods used to investigate reality.

In his second paragraph he says...

...you will get a range of answers that simply would not be appropriate in the General/Classical Physics category...

Again this is incorrect. The answers would be appropriate because whether it is physics or philosophy they are both getting at the same thing, reality. Therefore, if physics is seeking to describe reality and then someone doing so called 'philosophy' comes along and trys to explain the same phenomena both are appropriate. The problem comes from making such a sharp distinction between physics and philosophy.

Not that I think they were that great of thinkers but when Bohr and Einstein had their debate that was philosophy virtually by definition.

You see, your problem is that you really don't seem to know what you mean by philosophy and maybe even what you mean by physics. It was also unfortunate that you did not provide an answer but told me to keep thinking about it. You see I see no contradiction and my logic is very clean. It is not my job to try to figure out how your incorrect logic is working by trying to infer what you reason was. You see, it is not up to me to understand your incorrect thinking. Next time just give an answer and be bold enough to stand by your claim as opposed to hiding behind some vail which I can see right through.
 
  • #18
Originally posted by losang
(SNIP) What the other person was saying is that it matters if you call is physics or philosophy. I was saying it doesn't matter which of the two you call it because both are methods used to investigate reality. (SNoP)
Yup! DIFFERENT METHODS!...physics requires substantiable proofs, Philosophy, NAH!....BIG DIFFERENCE! (this, apparently, you couldn't figure out!)

as for your last paragraph, apply it to yourself, and you just might (For once? or, for the first time?) learn something about yourself as it applies to you, waaaay more, then me!

Thanks, BYE!
 
  • #19
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At page 2 of this thread I already saw it as superfluous arguments. Seems like lang just wants to argue with everyone by scutinizing little parts of each sentence posted by the replies.


and for god's sake, IT'S RESPONSE, NOT RESPONCE!
 
  • #20
losang
Dear Mr. Parsons,

I am interested in having a serious discussion. If you are going to act like a child and are not interested in sharing ideas please let me know now so I can stop wasting your time.
 
  • #21
losang
Well I went to the philosophy page and it is almost as bad as the christian chat room. At least you people here understand physics even if you are wrong. The philosophy people are really off. I think physics people should stick to what they call physics, that is the explanation of physical phenomena. They really don't have the background to discuss anything else.
 
  • #22
losang
Originally posted by lan418
At page 2 of this thread I already saw it as superfluous arguments. Seems like lang just wants to argue with everyone by scutinizing little parts of each sentence posted by the replies.


and for god's sake, IT'S RESPONSE, NOT RESPONCE!

First off, who cares what you saw. Second, why don't you back up your views.
 
  • #23
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I'm not really sure what your point is other than proclaiming how smart you are and how limited everyone else is. You have not offered any real insight that could be described as philosophically or physically enlightening. Case in point:

losang: Fire is that which is hot and burning. Why do you need to explain it in terms of atoms and electrons. Do you think that cave men didn't know what fire was?

Very practical knowledge that any six year old knows. Thank god you were here to enlighten us with your profound wisdom. I might have burned myself.

Losang: I think physics people should stick to what they call physics, that is the explanation of physical phenomena. They really don't have the background to discuss anything else.

At first, you complained when a physical description was given. Now it seems that you approve of physicists giving explanation of phenomena in physical terms and give the advice that they should stick to that. So, which is it?

How exactly did you arrive at the generalization that physicists do not have the background to discuss anything other than physics? Is this based only on posts in this thread? This is just one example of your delusions of grandeur.

Now this thread has evolved into a ridiculous argument. Why don't we get back to the original question? Why don't you dazzle us with your knowledge, oh enlightened one, and tell all us exactly what fire is? You imply that you have a great understanding of physics which has yet to be demonstrated. I beg you, tell us what fire is.
 
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  • #24
losang
Originally posted by Jimmy
I'm not really sure what your point is other than proclaiming how smart you are and how limited everyone else is. You have not offered any real insight that could be described as philosophically or physically enlightening. Case in point:
If you pour dust into the ear of a donkey he makes the sound 'kur kur kur'. If you pour gold dust into the ear of a donkey he makes the same sound.

At first, you complained when a physical description was given. Now it seems that you approve of physicists giving explanation of phenomena in physical terms and give the advice that they should stick to that. So, which is it?

How exactly did you arrive at the generalization that physicists do not have the background to discuss anything other than physics? Is this based only on posts in this thread? This is just one example of your delusions of grandeur.
Because although the view of physicsts is limited at least it is less limited in the realm of physics.

Now this thread has evolved into a ridiculous argument. Why don't we get back to the original question? Why don't you dazzle us with your knowledge, oh enlightened one, and tell all us exactly what fire is? You imply that you have a great understanding of physics which has yet to be demonstrated. I beg you, tell us what fire is.
If you still don't know what fire is put your hand over a gas stove.
 
  • #25
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Still, I see absolutely nothing worthy in what you say. You avoid a real answer by claiming we would not understand. I wonder who has been pouring dust into your ear? If you pour dust into a troll's ear, it will shake it out. If you put gold dust into a troll's ear, it will also shake that out.

I know what fire is. Do you know what *plonk* means?


*plonk*
 
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