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What we don't know

  1. Jan 27, 2007 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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  3. Jan 30, 2007 #2


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    I like Albert's take on time and the "radical interpretation" of his theory about it.

    De-bunking the idea that everything is happening at the same time (no past, present or future) could prove to be difficult. Proving it is probably easier.
  4. Feb 2, 2007 #3
    This is from the bit about entanglement:

    Who understands the logic behind those two options?
  5. Feb 2, 2007 #4
    "Who understands the logic behind those two options?"

    I dont really. But those are not the only 2 options, and quantum theory does not describe reality. It is mathematically consistent with observations, and thats how it started anyway with Planck. Its all about being able to calculate. Nothing more (for quantum th. does not claim to explain microworld).

    For other meaning we have to search philosophy. Of cause they will be connected (phil with calculations , ie, physics). But thats also only one way to approach it. There are other ways of science which have the 'meaning' inbuilt in its premise.
  6. Feb 3, 2007 #5
    So, objective observation and reality are not the same thing?

    How does one define "reality", then?
  7. Feb 3, 2007 #6
    Objective observation is not possible (with our approach to reality). Today's approach of science is not capable of it. Its a result of the currently accepted philosophy of science. WIth what we have, we are able to uncover only one/some aspect of reality while we try to justify that it is THE ONLY one way to look at it.

    THEORY DETERMINES WHAT WE OBSERVE. (A. Einstein) [It takes little bit of research into history how that happened, it goes all the way to kopernicus and even misunderstood greek philosophers).
  8. Feb 3, 2007 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    You were a little closer the first time. Firstly, reality may or may not be accurately described by physical models. If it is, we can never know for sure; if it's not, we can only know if our physical models fail to predict what we observe. As was stated earlier, physics does not seek to provide meaning or a description of the essense of existence, rather it seeks to provide good models that allow us to predict the outcome of physical events.

    When given two options like those listed, either we have to accept that the universe is not bound by our sense of logic, or we can hope that there is another option that we don't yet recognize. I tend to assume the latter.
  9. Feb 3, 2007 #8
    But there is option other than the religiously taught in our schools going under the name of science.

    It is indeed the result of the failure of the assumptions of today's science that we are bound to think that only those 2 options are available. Far from it. Not only our physical model do not necessary describe reality but we learn to claim they do not aspire to (which is in reality not true. All you know are facts from science, and i doubt you consider yourself not knowing anything/your perceptions are determined by it also!). Where they do, they uncover only one aspect of it, ie, the mathematical one which is result of our mind models/preconceived. When Descardes said "I think therefore I am", it perfectly describes state of our science today. The limits of this "great" but limited thinking.

    On the contrary, reality can be known and for that case, not relatively but absolutely.

    i would be interested how ppl understand this statement:
  10. Feb 4, 2007 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    First of all, I don't find a reliable source that claims that Einstein ever said that. Do you have one?

    Next, what exactly do you know about what is taught in physics classes? What is your degree? Finally, what option do you propose? There is no known option to math and physics that makes correct predictions. Philosophy alone surely doesn't.
  11. Feb 4, 2007 #10
    I know what is taught in physics classes because i am physicist by day. Im in PhD program, working on my thesis done with all the classes and doing research. (LIke that should be relevant). Certainly it helps, but its not prerequisite to know something. I know my share of math also.

    My view is greatly influenced by Bohm and others who, before me, discovered that what we are taught is just HISTORY!!!!! in science classes.
    Ivan, i am not complaining about science on its usefulness and i do not seek replacement for it. That is you misunderstanding me. I seek complementary view that will further broaden our awareness of nature and power to explain it.

    Im surprised Ivan, you above all [given the forum you administer] should voice such strong opinions on something which is not so.[i do not try to claim that philosopy does]. [I feel as if you are implicitly protecting belief instead of searching what i mean by all this "nonsense" ]. I would triple dare you to prove this to me, if i knew that you have life besides PF plus it would take a lot of honest research into original works of scientists where they explain their thinking when arriving to conclusions. The above sentence of yours is result of assumptions we are implicitly taught in school from 1st grade to PH.D thesis about state of knowledge and physics. I do complain about it about the way we are taught stuff. because we are taught physics in authoritarian way with no stress upon understanding what we are talking about. That is why the most popular view in physics classes is to "shut up and calculate". Plus, one agrees that we are taught philosophy along with any subject which is contained in the way and nature of our explanations. So one does not have to take explicit phil class to be indoctrinated in prevalent phil. views.

    As far as the Einstein statement i will provide you with sources, its from a book i read some time ago and since i make notes on each book so i will look it up there. But im surprised that it matters a source from which wisdom comes. As if some authority had a patent for wisdom. Even if i was given this statement by a bum on the street, one has to slow down little bit and realize how deep it is. Its so deep that many books are written about it (implicitly) and your view on science is contained in it.

    Allow me to demonstrate power of that statement. Look at the attachment and tell me what it is. If you are familiar with such pictures, please put your self in shoes of total laymen in that category being asked the same question. [do that experiment yourself on others] . What do you think he/she will answer? Tell him to explain why he/she think so. And there it is, theory determines what we observe.

    Mind you, that an experiment was done by harvard uni. profesor where he takes a picture ,[that old young lady picture we call optical illusion if you will], and makes half ppl to see the old lady (by just showing them that old lady picture, and half the young]. Then he takes the entire group and shows them the pictures together as one and asks the 2 groups discuss what they observe. Well, we already know that ppl are shown to "refuse" look at that picture from other perspective and argue die-hard that their view of that picture is correct. He documents fierce fight until he tells them its BOTH. Than the 2 groups will suddely see the other persons view. (it seem as if authority indeed has some say in way of our perception..). Well, take what you will from this little factual story. Aapplied to the fact that theory determines what we observe its not trivial story.

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  12. Feb 4, 2007 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Of course it matters. Many people have plenty of opinions about subjects they have never even studied and know nothing about. Are you suggesting that anything that sounds "wise" should be taken as wisdom?

    What is your focus of study?

    Okay that's great. I too enjoyed Bohm, but that doesn't mean that we have another option.


    You are making a claim without citing an example. What other option?

    I hear a lot of rhetoric but no answers. And whereas I'm asking for proof of a positive, you are asking for proof of a negative, which as a Ph.D. student you should know is impossible.

    We await your citation.

    That statement is ludicrous. Obviously the question is not from where wisdom comes, it is about the accuracy of the statement.

    Perhaps you should consider your sources of wisdom more carefully.

    Is there a point here?

    To me, this statement suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of the subject. How exactly do measurements of altered trajectories relate to visual perception?
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  13. Feb 4, 2007 #12
    ? How does that apply? Wisdom is not something one has to learn to recognize. One just needs to learn how to use brain, Ivan. [but lets not go into that, I would like to stick to the point of my initial response].

    I do not let school interfere with my education. But if you need to know, im studying remote sensing, RT, and retrieval theory. I have direct working knowledge of QMT and RT. But as I said, that’s nothing to judge me by or for that matter any person. Im sorry you had to ask. If you need my resume let me know…. [plz, let us not to be distracted by this].
    Great, but just because you don’t know about them, or never cared to explore new one, does not mean that there are none.
    There are indeed very interesting ways of doing science which are NOT EXCLUSIVE to what we do already.

    I don’t wanna make it too simple because you and other ppl do not have this way of thinking. The relevant literature which would go justice to this way of science is :
    Bohm: wholeness and implicate order
    Burtt,A: The metaphysical foundation of modern science
    Gurwitsch, aron: Galilean physics in the light of Husserl’s Phenomenology
    Heidegger, . M: Being and Time
    Bortof: A non-reductionist perspective for QM
    Brown: Laws of Form
    Steiner Rudolf: Goethe the Scientist
    Nisbeth: Goethe and the scientific tradition
    Most importantly one book that puts these and many others in perspective:
    Bortoft: the wholeness of nature. [should also serve as intro for those interested into this topic]
    To say, phenomenology is too simple of word to describe what im talking about and I don’t want to write paper here. My point in this thread is that there EXIST other ways of doing science.

    Seeing/observing is not simply a visual experience. There is no pure “what” which is seen by a pure “spectator”. i.e. detached observer who merely registers a “what” through the senses. Observation is more than sense experience: is depends on the way we ‘see’. This, however, does not make it into something purely SUBJECTIVE unless we insist on putting it into Cartesian framework (in which today’s science works) of subject-object dualism. I do not have to point out the scientific and philosophical problems that arise from this ‘seeing’ I hope. Basically, the whole difficulty of studying of this approach is how to suspend this attitude to be free to explore ‘seeing’ without the pre-supposition of this false dualism. (relevant lit: Husserl)
    What is seen is and How it is seen are ALWAYS correlated.

    NO rhetorics, Ivan. Those are summed up point in my words which are acknowledge by ppl. (scientists and philosophers and teacher).

    Nevermind, not relevant here to explain.
    Im not forcing you into anything. If you feel like not to being engaged in this, don’t be. Otherwise, i was suggesting if you know what that picture is, ask someone who does not know and let him explain it. Observe the difference in explanation. IF you do not see further than what i just wrote , nevermind it for now.

    The point is that person, not knowing, those are trajectories will not see particle trajectories from bubble chamber but will invent his/her own explanation supported by theory that will fit that explanation.

    Ivan, if im idiot to you, just tell me and its over. But dont insult me with your i-dont-know-let-me-put-slick-comments-instead. NO, hurt feelings.

    If you know university which has PH.D program which will allow me to get my degree in re-visiting ontological assumptions in fundamental physics let me know, please. I learned that today's science is not interested in undestanding itself [i could get one in philosphy but the point is that physics is not interested, which is to say not interested in itself]. Some of the blind-allyes we find some of our science in are due to fact that little ppl know what science is. Without this knowledge it is easy to reduce great way of science into Scientism and knowlege ceases to be such and becomes idol. When this happens science-education becomes pseudo-education in idolatry.

  14. Feb 4, 2007 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    The fact is that for all I know you made it up. And above all we require sources here. Is it your position that we accept at face value anything from anyone who happens to show up? If you are sincere, then you will help to understand why we should listen.

    I don't consider it a distraction.

    Then why don't you try to explain what you mean.

    Okay, I am familiar with some of this, but I still don't see that we have anything but a philosophy.

    But you still have given us nothing to go on. You need to explain what you mean.

    I am not trying to decide if I'm engaged, I'm trying to figure out who you are and if your comments belong here. You need to understand that we spend a great deal of time deleting crackpot posts. Radical and new ideas can often seem cranky, so if you wish to discuss your views then you need to be specific about what you mean. Also, if these are not mainstream concepts then they really don't belong in S&D. You could reference the ideas here and post a link to a philosophy forum discussion, but S&D is not for exploring fringe theories; only the evidence for unexplained phenomena.

    I do have an interest in some of these alternative ideas so this is definitely not personal. I am only concerned with the accurate representation of the scientific facts as we understand them. Note also that it is entirely appropriate to point out where the current approach fails.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2007
  15. Feb 4, 2007 #14
    There is nothing else but philosophy. We can call science applied philosophy but the fact of the matter is that science is subject to philosophy and vice versa. Anyway, not important to dwell on this. As a scientist and assuming you are one i think you know what im talking about. (Not to imply when i compute energy level of molecule i have to know philosophy, but my point is about meaning of what we do and how we approach results of science)

    You want me to show you, that current philosophy of science is not exclusively only TRUTH, in matter of couple of paragraphs. That there are other ways of science in the way you aprove it (based on what)? Well am not that kind of thinker nor writer to cram it into couple of paragraphs. There are way to many fact to be stated about the way current philosophy/method of science developed from cultural-historical-and in many cases socio-political environment. It is recognized by today's philosopher/scientists that scientific ideas are not ghosts, existing in the pure realm of some "disworlded" intelect

    The fact that there are other ways of science is beyond discussion. The discussion should be about which one is best or rather why we think the one we have is the ONLY ONE?

    I could quote around 70 books on which i made notes to show you on what basis our current understanding is. And im not even philosopher nor do i claim i have all the information. I am just saying what i learned from others. But I doubt anyone will read it here since it will be too long, plus the anonymity of internet makes it look at crackpot some guy writing something. So i feel i will waste time to spend hours putting it together.

    Thats why i did not aim at showing it all. I wanted to make the guy in the first thread aware that those are not the 2 options he mentioned in his thread and made feeble attempt to explain why he think there are only 2 and point which way to look if he is interested in other views.

    But fair enough, you can certainly invoke whatever rule you think applies and close this or move it.
  16. Feb 5, 2007 #15
    Source of quote of Einstein:

    "It is the theory which decides what we can observe".

    in comment to Heisenberg lecture & critique of Mach's ideas. Heisenberg is narrated later how this profound statement influenced his THINKING/PHILOSOPHY when deriving his uncertainty principle. Worth reading.

    Nature loves to hide, Shimon Malin, 2001 oxford press, p.7 , the author has furhter source of that statement from

    Heisenberg, PHysics and Beyond, p63.
  17. Feb 5, 2007 #16


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    I had a history teacher in high school who required that all ideas in all papers we wrote be sourced, meaning we were to contribute nothing other than to gather and present the opinions of others. He said that until you get to your phd thesis, you don't know enough about the subject to be forming your own opinions. People scoff at the idea, but it is true.

    Yes science and math are taught almost as history, but it has to be that way: In order to rewrite the book, first you have to understand what the book is saying.
  18. Feb 5, 2007 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    That's okay. I think at least some of the material [that which I know of] listed is worthy of mention within the context of this thread. I also think the philosophy forum would benefit from a discussion based on your exposure to all of this. If you have a change of heart and decide to start a thread, please post a link here.

    Bohm was considered all but required reading about the time that I graduated [B.S. Physics].
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