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Sunday, April 26. 2015
An Einstein quote in Mauldin's Why Physics Needs Philosophy:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:18 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
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Wonderful piece - thanks for posting it. There is much crisis in physics these days. Old standard models are falling away, especially in places like cosmology, the quantum, and origins. We're going to be faced with some interesting and wonderful truths as this tangent continues...
This is absolutely false. The quantum mechanics is firmly established as THE theory of physics, and the Copenhagen interpretation remains the standard. The modern version of quantum mechanics is string theory, and it is close to unifying quantum mechanics with general relativity.
There are many people, including some physcisists, who strongly need the intuitive, classical physics (which includes Einstein) to be true. These people are routinely and thoroughly refuted by Lubos Motl over at "The Reference Frame":
You should follow him and not the anti-science crowd. The people dissing quantum mechanics are the AGW fanatics of physics.
You had me up until you started with the "anti-science " shit. Science isn't religion, people can question the conclusions without doubting the process.
Bob, apparently you're unaware that you're promoting a quasi-religious, "scientifically"-cultural affectation of the Standard Model. You're expressing an opinion, and one that actually surprises me with its staid out-datedness. String theory? Really?
Unfortunately this is all case in point. Such as:
The quantum mechanics is firmly established as THE theory of physics, and the Copenhagen interpretation remains the standard.
Of that establishmentarianism I have little doubt. We thought the world flat and the Church confirmed it. We thought gravity a universal constant and Newton confirmed it. We thought comets balls of dirty ice and NASA confirmed it.
While the subject is vast, I can refer you to the most recent major, most visible hiccup in the Standard Model's "scientific" findings, findings so perplexing that they have in and of themselves converted the LHC at Cern from a God Particle proof engine into a Big Bang refutor overnight. The Higg's atomic mass discovered there prevents both the Big Bang and the multi-verses. Full stop. Cosmology is now reconsidering steady state models and they're proud of this new discovery of theirs...except that it was reliably and scientifically predicted half a century ago.
It's be funny if it weren't so religious. Actually, it's still funny.
We both know how and why this stuff happens.
I agree with Bob. There is no 'cirsis' in physics at this time. It's wonderful to think oneself a revolutionary, but what calls itself 'revolutionary' in physics these days is generally reactionary. Einstein himself became reactionary after about 1930.
That isn't to say that there aren't tons of interesting things out there, there are. And certainly much remains to be discovered or understood. But the foundations don't need revision at this time. The foundations are deeper, and simpler, than any specific application.
Opinions aren't holding that middle anymore, Chuck, yours included. (Bob's overall formulation is simply faulty, although I think he misinterpreted my use of quantum as a heresy against quantum, which it is not. My intent was quite different than that. I don't disavow the quantum, just find it infinitely interesting and wholly capable of making fools out of absolutists and the hidebound. Neither are scientific.)
Back to general physics and crisis:
I'm neither promoting or defending any of these works or countless others like them. I'm linking just these few to illustrate that the assertion that physics is in crisis is not an opinion. It is an objective, verifiable fact.
The whole business of reality has spiraled out of grasp. I suspect G-d would have wanted it that way.
For 37 years I taught and did research in environmental engineering and science. I had an interest in the philosophy of science and over the years dabbled in reading a number of philosophers. The selection was eclectic: Duhem, Poincare, Brown, Danto, Cartwright, Popper, Kuhn, and others, even Feyerbend.
Kuhn was a historian and light on method; Popper the theoretician of experiment and theoy, and is even today dominant; and Feyerben the late night entertainer.
Frankly, I got almost nothing from the reading, and finally gave it up. Whatever the philosophers were discussing, it didn't relate to my day to day work and didn't help me do science.
In part, that was because they were talking about something (whatever it was) that wasn't science. Also, they seemed to think that the only science was mathematical, theoretical physics. They were unaware of experimental physics, biology, chemistry, and geology. And their models of procedure and reasoning were irrelevant to experimental, non mathematical sciences.
So, I gave it up as a waste of time. Feyerbend was fun, however, especially "Against Method."
Frankly, Aquinas is probably a better guide, but then I am a lapsed Catholic. Teilhard is especially fun.
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I note that the author also mistates Feynman's explanation of the twin paradox. See for yourself here. Misunderstanding something so obvious and clearly stated does not do much for his case.
It seems to me that ultimately the problem centers on perspective - a quantized instantaneous thought, as it were - and The Whole. Deducing any one point eventually confounds finding with aspects of reality and existence that require that Everything come into focus, which to thought within Everything, is impossible.
Maybe this is the genesis of the notion of G-d. And vice-versa.
The conversation here is interesting, as is the material found at the links out: http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15598&start=105
The science is far from settled.