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Everything posted by Holmes

  1. So you accept that "one cannot use material laws to explain their own origin" very well, so do you then by extension admit that if there is an explanation it cannot be what we'd term a scientific explanation? it could not be based on laws? Do you agree with that conclusion or not? Incidentally, you said "this adds nothing to the conclusion toward which you’ve leapt, the conclusion that supernatural explanations are the only valid ones" but let me clarify. It's not that supernatural explanations are the only valid ones, it is more that supernatural explanations is the name I use for explanations that are not scientific, not based on material or laws. This is a definition - if you will - of what I mean by supernatural.
  2. Thanks, yes I've seen Feynman Diagrams (and often wondered what all the fuss was about them - but then read there was something quite profound going on) and read about renormalization (my mathematical knowledge is a serious limitation here). But I was just reading this after reading your post: and that is very very interesting, I've not really seen this problem or read much about it before.
  3. Thank you for the reply. Yes I understand that relativity is not a statistical theory but neither was Newtonian gravitation. On the other hand statistical mechanics (probabilistic models) predate quantum mechanics by at least fifty years, they were already around before the 1930s. Because of this I don't understand why there's the view that GR and QM are fundamentally incompatible, we don't hear of statistical mechanics being incompatible with Newtonian mechanics for example. I know there's a deep problem but I can't grasp it, can't see it - because of my very limited knowledge. This paper seems to go there but won't be an easy read for me!
  4. This is all just your ongoing effort to avoid my question. You said earlier that the question is "moot" for example, which is simply a dismissal of my question, you do not like the question. Here's the question as a reminder: How can one use material and laws to explain the origin of material and laws? The answer - the honest answer - is of course that we cannot, it is a logical absurdity to cling to the belief that we can when it leads to a paradox. What is wrong with postulating a different kind of explanation as we attempt to remove the paradox? If the explanation cannot be - logically cannot be - natural then it is obvious, that if there is an explanation it must of necessity be not-natural. So lets have less of the amateur psychiatry and dismissals please. We should always be prepared to ditch beliefs that we can see are false, this is true of all of us. Do theories in physics assume things? The problem that's evident in this discussion recently is that science, the scientific method has hard limits on what it can do for us, what it can explain. Those here who have embraced scientism have trapped themselves, their devotion to, their belief in scientism (philosophical materialism) has trapped them, some are even objecting to the question how can one use material and laws to explain the origin of material and laws. The question is proof that science is inapplicable to certain questions we can ask about reality, this is evident, the obvious paradox, contradiction revealed by the question (in bold above) is that proof. So this is why so many here are struggling, they are committed to the view that everything that can be explained can be explained scientifically when it cannot. Some here are not actually willing to face the music, not willing to be brutally honest with themselves, instead their position is "how can I answer these questions without abandoning my deeply held belief in philosophical materialism" - it is not truth they seek.
  5. Compared to a blind quadriplegic most of us are endowed with superhuman powers in a relative sense.
  6. I'm somewhat familiar with GR but not all aspects of it, I do understand how the non-Euclidean nature of the 4D geometry enables us to consolidate gravitation and acceleration and the coordinate transformations, I studied this in some depth (and began with Eddington's space time and gravitation and the fascinating section on Gaussian curvature) but I'm not a mathematician and my knowledge is rather gappy (and nowadays rusty). As for QM I read about that too but nowhere near as much effort was put in and this was all in the late 1970s when I had time to indulge in these. So, having said all that - what is the simplest way to explain the deep incompatibilities between these two systems of thought?
  7. No, you cannot say that. You are confusing an absence of some process with the absence of the possibility for a process. Not (yet) having an algorithm to run is very different from not having a way to run any algorithm, these are quite clearly very different problems. This is not an answer (and there is none that you can present) - quite obviously one cannot use material and laws to explain the origin of material and laws, why not simply admit this? Once again, no answer, no real attempt to answer - I wonder why... I replied directly to the OP, it was perhaps a little discourteous to not do so. How did you reach that conclusion? what line of reasoning did you employ that leads to the conclusion "therefore he accepts this because it gives him psychological comfort"? Are you a psychiatrist by the way? do you have some other kind of MD?
  8. Well "all knowing" means there's no need to "observe" surely? But since there's no need to observe how does this argument carry any weight?
  9. My apologies I did not realize that that post you just quoted was the OP! I last read the OP yesterday morning and paid no real attention to it once this debate got underway. Lets stick to the question I've been asking (yet had no answer to yet) - how can one use material and laws to explain the origin of material and laws? I don't think anyone here (other than MigL - "its always been here") has even begun to address this question or to admit the problems it presents when we cling to scientism, like nobody wants to go there, nobody wants to admit that this is a huge huge issue if we rely exclusively on science for our explanations of reality.
  10. I'm happy to leave this discussion as-is if people want, I've stated my case, we've chatted back and forth and may have reached an impasse, if anyone wants to continue then fine, but if we end up repeating ourselves and saying nothing new or novel we might as well leave it at that, for now at least.
  11. Are you seeking my opinion of VenusPrincess's post? I've never seen her post before, have no idea in what context it arose or what it has to do with anything I've said. Quite true, I meant to write "thesis" not "thread".
  12. I must say there is a subtle weakness in the forum, it is very easy to accidentally click "Quote" at the bottom of post when one actually just wants to edit a post. I've done this a few times and it causes a small mess for me. Perhaps this has been a source of confusion...
  13. I agree and strive to avoid that too, but surely your not seeing my comment about my perceived lack of a rebuttal as confrontational? Well I apologize if that's the case, I agree that confrontation isn't desirable but I'm not quite sure what I said that's confrontational Studiot. I'm sorry I did explain and I thought, justify my use of the term "axiom", I do not consider it an abuse or misuse of language or a source of misunderstanding here. Additionally as you mentioned, mathematics does have axioms and our theories in physics are mathematical and so must have axioms. I never claimed that conservation laws were "derived" Studiot, they are not, they are inferences, they arise from the use of inductive reasoning, I thought I already said this? Science and certainly theoretical physics, rests upon axioms, the conservation laws are assumed and used to establish all kinds of mathematical relationships and consequences, I really do not see what's bothering you here.
  14. But is it not the case that we are left with a blank sheet of paper for our "theory of everything"? you say nothing of that, you seem only concerned with my use of the term "God". Start a thread on that if it interests you, this thread is about the inability of scientific inquiry to explain the origin of the universe, you seem reticent to focus on this. Translation - "I am unable to form a sound reasoned rebuttal so I'll be dismissive instead". Yes, as I've said several times science is reductionist, it always explains the material in terms of the material - therefore it cannot possibly explain the origin of the material, this is the point you seem to be shying away from. You are describing the evolution of the state of an existing system, why? we're discussing the origins of the system not how it fluctuates one it exists. Ditto. No, that is not "the problem" at all Joigus, try again, what is my thread about? You're not doing a very good of rebutting me. This is just paraphrasing, be specific, accurate, logical, quote my words, what exactly have I said that you seek evidence for and what would you like me to substantiate? The laws of physics are unproven and unprovable (science relies on inductive reasoning) therefore - like axioms in mathematics - they are assumed to be true, taken for granted, believed, I make no apology for labelling these as "axioms" it is a legitimate label epistemologically speaking.
  15. The conservation laws are examples of axioms in theoretical physics, that the laws of physics are homogenous and isotropic are examples of axioms, need I go on? Characterizing my posting as "religious" is a strawman, I've made no mention of organized religions or belief systems. I just did, I've made no mention of organized religions, no part of my argument for "God" is based on anything other than reason and logic and inference the very same concepts we use in scientific inquiry. Yes and that's intentional because - as I've shown and you've failed to rebut - a scientific explanation for the origin of the universe leads to a paradox (we cannot use the material to explain the origin of the material). We can resolve the paradox in several ways, one is to postulate an explanation that is not scientific, another of course is to bury one's head in the sand or simply deny reality as you appear to be doing. Irrelevant and possibly and example of the genetic fallacy. See? the genetic fallacy, even if true, adopting a belief because there are no other viable options does not prove that that belief is false. Irrelevant, first the genetic fallacy is a fallacy so any reasoning based upon it is also fallacious, second none of the arguments I've put forward hinge in any way of myths. Which remark please? it always help to quote one's opponent accurately, avoid paraphrasing etc.
  16. Science cannot be decoupled from metaphysics, that's the true take away here. I asked already and nobody has ventured to answer - can you envisage a scientific theory that has no axioms? can you envisage a scientific theory that has no laws? that does not refer to material quantities? This is unfortunate, I am not and have not been discussing religion, you're in danger of creating a strawman post so be careful, I'm sure its not deliberate but be vigilante. Shall I respond in kind? is that how you want to "debate" the usual atheist vacuous nonsense? is this how you want to speak to me and me to you? I'm quite capable of debating at that primitive emotional level if that's what suits you.
  17. And so? show me an explanation in science that does not refer at some level to things that are not themselves explained. Science is reductionist, things are reduced to other things and no matter what it is we are dealing with there are always things yet to be explained. This is exactly what Feynman explains here in the video I posted already, perhaps you missed it: So if you are wont to reject explanations that raise further questions you might as well reject all of science my friend.
  18. The explanation for origins cannot have equations because equations express relationships between things that already exist you cannot have equations, laws until something exists, the universe needs to exist before scientific theories can exist. God is the means by which we explain what cannot be otherwise scientifically explained, it is inescapable, it is logic and it is not complex to understand. There are some here, perhaps you, who are actually adherents of scientism rather than science, this is the source of much confusion.
  19. I stated this early on when I said that the explanation for the presence of the universe is not and cannot be, scientific. I'm doing so out of a respect for logic. Once again I have made it clear that this is not a scientific explanation, hoping, dreaming, believing that there is a scientific explanation is a delusion, it is hopeless for the reasons I've labored to bring to your attention. It is the impossibility of a scientific explanation that leads to the suggestion it was a supernatural event, not random, not subject to law but the ultimate source of law. I asked already and nobody has ventured to answer - can you envisage a scientific theory that has no axioms? can you envisage a scientific theory that has no laws? that does not refer to material quantities? Here is the only form that a scientific theory of origins can take: This is what your left with when you are forced to scientifically explain what exists without relying on what already exists.
  20. Seems contradictory to me, how can you say its always been there and then at the same time hold out for the prospect that it hasn't? There's nothing scientific about being unable to explain something scientifically. If a theory cannot be penned to explain something then by definition we don't have a scientific explanation. God, creation is not a scientific explanation as I pointed out earlier, the explanation for the universe can never be scientific. What do you mean "except"? since when does the presence of new questions invalidate an explanation?
  21. Yep, I heard recently about this emphasis on getting the right answers, its easy to mark someone work on that basis I guess and we all know that teachers are over worked and under paid as it is. Plus we have the growth of "edutainment" where it seems to be felt that "fun" needs to be injected into a subject when in reality a truly interested student will already find the subject itself fun. The internet carries the risk of reducing attention span too, it is inherently distracting anyway not to mention endless pop-ups, overly flashy presentation, the temptation to browse this or that without effort. Having said all that when I want facts or details or history I can find them fast on the internet whereas before then it was time consuming.
  22. Yes I agree, that too is a possibility. I reject it myself because it seems to actually be an admission that nothing can be explained, it just is and that doesn't satisfy me, it doesn't satisfy me in the same way it wouldn't satisfy my in other fields. Its also not a scientific explanation, the "always existed" proposition is not a scientific explanation, so on that basis reaffirms my original point that the explanation for the universe cannot be a scientific one. But why? what could have led to such a state of affairs? something existed, it exists today but how could that hot dense state come to exist at all? That's a fair question. In my own vague, subjective analysis I do not see postulating a supernatural agency as less justified than postulating an external existence that had no beginning. The supernatural agency is a better answer I guess that's what I'm saying. Does it raise more questions? yes of course it does but all explanations in science do that already and we don't hold that against them. The supernatural agency ("God" if you will) is a way out of the paradox, on that basis alone we should at least consider it, take it more seriously than some do. I studied GR many years ago to quite some depth, I did well with the mathematics in some areas but not others (for example I can understand the non-Euclidean geometry, metric tensors, curvature, coordinate transformations and so on but could never derive a solution to the field equations). Once I began to appreciate the profound relationship Einstein uncovered between space/time/gravitation etc I began to ask how that came to be, how these laws came to exist. It became clear that all a scientist could ever do is find deeper laws connecting things in deeper ways but that this would always be an act of discovery, the question but why do these things exist could never be answered, it was in a sense an epiphany and my love of the subject took a large blow. The supernatural agency seems - to me anyway - to offer a deeper way to understand, I do not regard it as a religious concept (not at this level we're discussing things anyway) but as a way to explain what I see, it also allows me to seriously consider that there is a thing called "will" or "intent" and to view this not as some consequence of mechanism, not some side effect of a brain but as perhaps something very fundamental indeed, more fundamental than anything in physics. So in a way there isn't really cause and effect, cause and effect are the product of will, intent, they are aspects of this created thing we call the universe, by positing God, and attributing will, intent, choice to that God many very deep problems simply vanish.
  23. Yes we are, perhaps age is part of this. I get the impression though that youngsters who use the web to learn tend to focus on getting specific answers to questions rather than developing insights into area of knowledge that might allow them to develop an answer or derive it themselves. My nephew some ten years ago (he was like fourteen) was starting to do this with electronics at home (he lived overseas and was on a visit) he would seek out very specific answers to very specific questions rather than study the subject. I was in a book store with him and offered to buy him a rather good book on electronics, a book I would have absolutely gone crazy over when I was fourteen had anybody offered. He was quite disinterested, it seemed all too much, unnecessary, why read all those chapters when he can just ask this or that question on the web and get some answers back?
  24. I can understand that remark about Jane's, libraries were good for that, stuff beyond our reach was accessible. I recall finding part of the Liverpool library that held periodicals, what a thorough and huge collection they had, I first encountered Byte magazine in fact in that library and was able to peruse many electronics and radio periodicals too, sometimes as far back as the 1920s or so.
  25. I see you elected to not answer my rather valid and polite questions, yet feel justified in accusing me of making strawman arguments. Are you aware of a scientific explanation that does not have that characteristic? Consider for a moment a mathematical theory that explains the origin of matter, energy, etc. what would its axioms be? what laws, equations might we find in such a theory? To which I can add: What axioms might we use to formulate a theory that explains the presence of the universe? Can one even have a theory that has no axioms? So, if you know as much as you profess, if you have the insights that you profess to have - lets have some answers...
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