Our fifth episode is a discussion of what is wrong with science today. As well as quantum theory, relativity, string theory and more. It takes a Q&A format where we answer several questions.
[Please note that this may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences. Also note that the audio may be louder than previous episodes, so you might want to keep this in mind].
Welcome to episode five of the Metaphysics of Physics podcast. I am Ashna, your host and guide through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science. Thanks for tuning in!
With this show, we are fighting for a more rational world, mostly by looking through the lens of the philosophy of science. We raise awareness of issues within the philosophy of science and present alternative and rational approaches.
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Today we will go over some questions. Although we have not yet received many questions from our audience, we will go over some questions which you might have or we might be asked at some point. You may consider these “Frequently Anticipated Questions.”
We would like to answer questions actually sent in and do this kind of Q&A format more often. However, for that, we will need your questions! Please submit them on the website link provided or email them to email@example.com!
This set of questions is about the position of Metaphysics of Physics on some of the popular fields of science, specifically physics and the philosophy of science.
We are also going to start answering Quora questions on the show! Dwayne Davies, the founder and content creator of this show, has a Quora account and has answered several relevant questions already. Click here to go to his Quora profile and check out some of the answers to relevant Quora questions!
Ok, let’s get into it.
What do you think is the biggest threat to science today?
Bad philosophy. That is ultimately the biggest threat to pretty much anything. Ones fundamental philosophy determines whether or not they follow rational ideas and what kind of morality and convictions they hold.
If one follows a rational philosophy, then it is likely that their ideas will be rational and their actions moral. If they follow irrational philosophies, they will hold irrational ideas and their actions will be morally questionable.
But, the question is about the biggest threat to science. And the answer is still “bad philosophy”. Why is this?
Well, one’s metaphysics and epistemology are key. If one believes in the primacy of an objective reality independent of the wishes and desires of the human mind, then they are more likely to approach science objectively and rationally.
If one believes that they can gain knowledge of reality, then they will probably do all they can to learn about reality.
If one believes that reality is unknowable, then they will not seek a full knowledge of reality and act as though at least some things are not knowable.
If one believes in the primacy of reality, then one knows that reality does not obey one’s wishes and that reality is not subject to consciousness. One does not maintain the metaphysical primacy of abstractions. That is one does not think that reality is explained by appealing to abstractions.
Quantum theory and relativity offer non-physical explanations of things like gravity and the nature of light and how it interacts with things. String theory, despite decades of intense research, is non-intelligible and makes no testable claims. A lot of modern cosmology is little better.
It has been decades, since the development of the Standard Model in the 70s, since we have seen any major progress in the fundamentals of physics. Why is this?
Yes, this stuff is hard. But, this is not the main reason. The main reason is that most scientists are operating according to irrational philosophical premises and are doing bad science. They are interpreting experiments wrong and coming to conclusions which do not contribute to the understanding of reality.
The biggest threat to science is bad philosophy. And that threat is impeding people’s ability to do good science.
We do not just see this is in physics. We see this in the environmental sciences, where many scientists start with a conclusion and then try to represent results in a way that supports their conclusion.
We see this in computer science, where computer scientists do not understand the nature of the mind and intelligence and try to create computers with intelligence. Even though if they understood the nature of the mind and computers, they would know that they could not do this.
Science does not operate in a vacuum. One’s ability to do good science is only as good as their philosophical premises. If they have bad philosophical premises, then they will reach poor conclusions in science. If they know how to do science at all. If they even value science at all.
The worse a cultures philosophical premises, the less rational science they can make and the less scientific progress they can make. It may eventually become so bad that they do not value true science and abandon science for mysticism.
So, yes, bad philosophy is the biggest threat to science today.
What are some of the stances of Metaphysics of Physics that almost nobody agrees with?
Pretty much anything on this show could qualify. But, I suppose that is not much of an answer. Here is one example which almost nobody agrees with. Even several people who otherwise agree with things being said on Metaphysics of Physics disagree with this.
There are a lot of people that disagree that it is invalid to assert that there are sets with an infinite size or sets which are infinite yet larger than other sets.
So-called “infinite” sets do not have a size. They are simply infinite. To say that they have a size implies that you can count and quantify all of their elements. But, you can’t, that is what it means to be an infinite set!
So, if infinite sets have no size, then there is no basis for comparing their sizes! And there goes one of the “proofs” that there are different sizes of infinity.
This means that the set of natural numbers, the set of real numbers, et cetera, have no sizes. They are simply infinite.