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What exactly is fire?

  1. Jan 24, 2004 #1
    Your finger appears to be 'buring' because you touched something hot. This is a different from something actually burning.
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2004 #2

    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?
  4. Jan 24, 2004 #3


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    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.

    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.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2004
  5. Jan 24, 2004 #4
    This all makes absolutely no sense. Comming from someone who is afraid to know everything I guess it is expected.

    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.

    I never said there was no distinction. REAd my posts.
  6. Jan 24, 2004 #5
    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.
  7. Jan 24, 2004 #6
    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.
  8. Jan 24, 2004 #7


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    Staff: Mentor

    My question was HOW DO YOU KNOW? Just saying its different doesn't explain anything.
    Nor do I. If the goal is to learn, asking an answering questions helps both the asker and askee.
  9. Jan 24, 2004 #8
    As for your 'second paragraph' you have just (successfully) defeated your own argument! Accuracy counts, at least according to you it does...
  10. Jan 24, 2004 #9


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    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.

    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?

    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?
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2004
  11. Jan 24, 2004 #10
  12. Jan 24, 2004 #11


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    *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.
  13. Jan 24, 2004 #12
    Like I said I'm not sure. I was comparing the argumentative styles.

  14. Jan 24, 2004 #13


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    Moderator note: I'll check on tenzin/losang...

    - Warren
  15. Jan 24, 2004 #14
    I don't see a reason for your comment.
  16. Jan 24, 2004 #15
    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.

    So Maxwell's work on electro-dynamics is irrelevant because the idea of absolute space and time was also present?
  17. Jan 25, 2004 #16
    Then just keep thinking about it...
  18. Jan 25, 2004 #17
    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.....

    I responded...

    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...

    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.
  19. Jan 25, 2004 #18
    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!
  20. Jan 25, 2004 #19
    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!
  21. Jan 25, 2004 #20
    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.
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