Today we are going to discuss Bill Gaede, his philosophical and scientific ideas and some of the reasons they are important.
Please note that not everything we say here necceasirly represents the views of Bill Gaede and represent our own views. We are presenting his ideas in the wider context of our own knowledge.
Click here to download the PDF transcript. This episode’s transcript has no illustrations.
[Editorial: Please note that this may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]
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Hi everyone! This is episode eighteen of the Metaphysics of Physics podcast and today we are discussing the works of Bill Gaede and its importance.
Who is Bill Gaede?
Bill Gaede was born n 1952 in Argentina and spent much of his earlier life as an engineer and programmer.
He is, unfortunately, apparently best known for his Cold War industrial espionage conducted while working at AMD (Advanced Micro Devices). It seemed that at the time he sympathized with Communism. As a result, he provided the Cuban government with technical information pertaining to the semiconductor industry.
[Editorial: Unfortunate because his scientific work is much more interesting and this earlier stage of his life seems to encourage people to think he is a crank. Which is isn’t]
He later turned himself over to the CIA. Which lead to him working with the FBI in counter-espionage operations. As a result, he was prosecuted and convicted. I believe he was sentenced to 33 months in prison but only served 3 years. He was later deported.
If you want to know more about this, El Crazy Che on Netflix discusses it.
If we did not bring this up, someone else would. Let us be clear, we are aware of this stuff. But, as we understand it his political views have changed and he became disillusioned with Communism.
But, more importantly, none of this really has any real impact on his views regarding philosophy of science and his scientific views. Which we are about to get to.
[Editorial: I am not sure how much Gaede considers his work philosophy or whether he would call himself a philosopher of science. But, his criticism of physics and other areas of science is philosophical. So, he does engage in some philosophy of science. So we are calling him a philosopher of science, even if he himself might not do so.]
Starting in the late nineties, he started devoting much of his time to a criticism of modern physics and the development of the Rope Hypothesis. His criticism is largely centered around the fact that modern physics is irrational and does not offer a proper physical interpretation of reality. And is, thus, really not physics. Which is very true. We will see more of these criticisms in this episode and the following ones where we start covering the “What is Physics” video.
This is his work which we are most interested in here on Metaphysics of Physics. He has a lot to say in this area and quite a lot of it is very good. We do not agree with all his conclusions, but the essentials of his arguments against modern physics are all very good and highly worth exploring in detail.
In our view, he is one of the most objective and rational critics and philosophers of science we know of. There is a great deal he says which we have said for a long time. It is extremely impressive to see someone else saying this stuff. Especially given he does not have the philosophical background in Objectivism which we do. It would be impressive even if he did.
It is not easy doing what we and Bill Gaede do. Philosophy is not easy, just ask anyone who does a lot of it. It requires a lot of high-level abstraction and integration. Which you then have to learn how to apply.
Rational philosophy requires a lot of sound ideas, all well integrated into a coherent whole. While rejecting mainstream philosophy and its largely irrational ideas. Usually after having already implicitly accepted many of them. Which requires you to reason your way out of those ideas and to untangle them from your better philosophical ideas.
So anyone with a fair grasp of a decent number of rational philosophical ideas has achieved something rare and difficult. And it is important to recognize this and give people credit for that. Whatever other errors they make or evasions they might be guilty of.
What About His Work?
What do we think of Bill Gaede’s Rope Hypothesis? It is extremely intriguing and as far as we have studied it, it seems entirely plausible. It offers a physical interpretation of a great many things in physics. Such as gravitation, light, electromagnetism and so on. The key word here is physical. It offers an explanation in terms of the actions of physical entities.
But isn’t that what physics already does? No, not modern physics. Not really. It offers non-physical “explanations” for things which in fact explain nothing. For instance, take how General Relativity describes gravity as the curvature of space-time. What is space-time? Blank out, it offers no real explanation.
Does this matter? Does physics need to explain things in terms of physical objects?
Yes! It most certainly does. Since physics is supposed to explain the fundamental nature of the physical world.
[Editorial: It is a shame that I have to point this out. Since physics is all about the study of the physical world!]