Tag Archives: Einstein

quantum, Schrodinger's Cat

Vodcast Episode Two: Quantum Absurdities, Part One

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Today we are going over quantum absurdities and showing how quantum physics is in fact highly absurd. This is part one of a two part series.

Click here to download the PDF transcript or read below the video.

You may also listen to or download an audio only version above.

[Note: Please note that this transcript may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]

Intro

Metaphysics of Physics is the crucial voice of reason in the philosophy of science, rarely found anywhere else in the world today.

We are equipped with the fundamental principles of a rational philosophy that gives us the edge, may make us misfits in the mainstream sciences but also attracts rational minds.

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.

The irrationality of modern physics is the focus of this channel. We have covered topics such as:

The irrationality of Stephen Hawking. The universe and the Big Bang. The philosophy of Niels Bohr. The achievements of Isaac Newton.Optical illusions and the validity of the senses.

If you think that science is about explaining a knowable reality, then this is the channel for you.

If you want to learn more about the irrationality of modern physics, then you are in the right place.

I am your host Ashna. My husband, Dwayne Davies is the primary content creator and your guide through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science.

We will discuss the problems in modern physics and more and how we can live in a more rational world!

Check out our website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

The Show Itself

Hi everyone! Welcome to the second episode of the Metaphysics of Physics video podcast. Today we are going over quantum absurdities and showing how quantum physics is in fact highly absurd.

While this is not an exhaustive list, it covers many of the essential absurdities.

What is the purpose of this? Yes, the mathematics of quantum theory is incredibly useful and impressive. But we want to show that the physical interpretations of quantum mechanics make no sense.

This is part one of a two-part series.

Particle Wave Duality

Quantum physics asserts that particles can be described as both a wave and a particle.

Albert Einstein had this to say about particle-wave duality:

It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.

Albert Einstein

Until the early twentieth century, light was widely considered to be a wave, as demonstrated by Thomas Young.

Thomas Young
Thomas Young

But then Einstein showed that light seemed to have particle behavior! And Planck showed that light seemed to come in discrete packets.

So, was light a particle or a wave? Which was it? Later physicists alleged to show that light sometimes shows particle behavior and sometimes wave behavior.

This led them to conclude that light is somehow both a particle and a wave at the same time. And that it, somehow, sometimes behaves as a wave and sometimes behaves as a particle.

Does this make any sense? Well, of course not.

A wave is an abstract description. It describes the motion of something. It describes various relationships.

Take a sound wave. It is an abstract description of the movement of air that can be mathematically represented as a wave.

Or take a water wave. When we say “wave” in this context, we are describing water arranged in a certain pattern.

The pattern of rise and fall with peaks and troughs.

The concept of a water wave describes the relationship of positions between water molecules that makes this pattern.

In common speech, it is often said that a “water wave” or the like refers to the water molecules. This is the noun form of “wave” that describes something arranged like this (something that is waving).

We are using wave in its verb form, as a description of motion or behavior, or a description of some kind of relationship.

A wave is a behavior that a physical entity does. Water may move in a wave motion. Air molecules move in a wave pattern and we experience this as sound.

A wave is the behavior of physical entities. It is not a form of physical entity.

Saying that light is a wave is saying “Light is the movement or behavior of something”. It does not tell us what it is that is waving.

It is like if I held up a ball and asked what it is and you said “That is a bounce”.

You have told me something that the ball does but not what the ball actually is. Bouncing is what the ball does, it is not what the ball is.

Physics is the science of explaining the nature of the fundamental physical constituents of the universe. You want to explain what those things are and how they interact.

Saying “light is a wave, an abstract description of behavior” does not further that in any way and evades the question of what is doing the waving.

We do not even have to get into the issue that something cannot be a wave and a particle at the same time. Because a wave is a description of behavior while a particle is a description of what something is, its form.

The idea of particle-wave duality reifies an abstraction and attempts to reduce physical entities to an abstraction.

It also evades the Law of Identity that says that things are what they are. Something is either a particle or not. It is not a particle, a form of matter and also a wave, an abstraction.

Contradictions do not exist. If you think you see a contradiction in reality then check your premises, because one or more of them are wrong.

quantum, Schrodinger's Cat
That means no dead and alive zombie cats…

Indeterminacy

It is said that until they are observed, particles do not have a definite state. Instead, they exist in a state of “superposition”.

That is, they exist in multiple different, mutually exclusive states all at once. And then when an observation takes place, they take on definite values for their properties.

A property is merely an aspect of somethings existence. But any property of any particle can only exist in one state at a time. That particle’s property can only take one value at a time.

That is just another way of saying something is what it is and that it has a nature and its properties are determined by its nature. Its properties are simply an aspect of its nature and cannot be any different than what they are.

This implies that properties must have single, definite values, as determined by the nature of the entities in question.

Saying that particles exist in a superposition of states is equivalent to saying that those properties have no values and do not exist.

It is denying that a particle is what it is and instead treats it as some kind of Platonic combination of possibilities.

This reifies the idea that a particle can have different possible states and pretends that these possible states are all somehow real, independent of the particle and its nature.

Spacetime is NOT Swirling around a Dead Star

Today we are going to examine an article which claims that spacetime is swirling around a dead star. The article can be found here.

As many long-time followers of Metaphysics of Physics will know, we take issue with certain aspects of modern physics (for instance we talk about that here). That includes many of the central assertions of General Relativity(GR).

Key among these is the assertion that space and time are mathematical dimensions which are also somehow an aspect of physical reality. That they are somehow unified into some mathematical abstraction known as “spacetime”.

But space and time or spacetime are not things. Which is how GR and this article treats them. If it did not the whole premise and conclusion of this “thing” called spacetime swirling around a dead star falls apart. And this is exactly what happens when we define space and time as valid concepts.

Space and time are abstractions. And abstractions do not swirl or twist or dance around anything!

And spacetime is an invalid abstraction in as far as it is treated as anything other than a mathematical technique.

See, spacetime is apparently physical that is why it bends.

What is Space?

Space is a concept which indicates relationships between positions. Meaning?

Suppose that we consider one of the rooms in our house, say the living room. The living room is that part of the house between the four walls of the living room and between those four walls is some “space”.

The “space” within that room simply indicates relationships between the positions of those four walls. One wall is over here, another wall is over there and the other two are other there and there. In between is all this space. The space essentially refers to the separation between objects. This “space” then forms some area or volume in which you can find things.

The space in this room is simply a sum of places. Space is simply the relationships between boundaries of some kind of container or some otherwise defined set of bounding objects.

So, for instance, you can walk into the living room and say “Well, we have these walls. They are in different positions. There are other positions in between them.” And the sum of those other positions is the “space” inside the room.

(You can find more in episode twenty-one of the podcast, where this section was derived from).

What is Time?

Time measures motion or change. For instance, it takes two motions or changes and identifies a relationship between them.

For instance, suppose we are talking about how old I am. What fact of reality does my age refer to?

Well, we take two events, my birth and the writing of this article. And identify the fact that there is a certain relationship between these two. My birth happened during a particular revolution of the Earth around the Sun. This moment is occurring within a different revolution of the Earth around the Sun.

While I write this, 37 such revolutions have happened. And so I have thus identified a relationship between my birth and the writing of this article.

I could do something similar with myself starting a race and ending it. Except, presumably I would use a second to measure the relationship between the start and end of this event; a second as measured by the motion of a second hand around a clock or by a digital equivalent.

Or suppose I wish to measure how long it takes me for me to grow larger muscles and be able to work my way from bench pressing 100  to 125 pounds. And suppose I track the time using the date on my phone.

What am I measuring here? Relationships between my strength levels, a change in such over time.

(You can find out more about time in this subscription article).

We will go into what space and time are only far enough to see that they are abstractions. They are measurements of relationships.

What are Dimensions?

A dimension is a mathematical concept that indicates mathematical relationships. It is a technical concept that indicates how many independent parameters there are. In geometry, it indicates a set of coordinate axes required to specify any point.

The details are not important for this discussion. What is important is that dimensions are a mathematical concept that establishes mathematical relationships.

But physics treats dimensions as physical aspects of the universe. They treat the universe as if it was a thing that was somehow built up out of the dimensions. But space and time are not physical things, they are not aspects of the universe. They are relational concepts, they deal with abstractions.

space
Here is a representation of the mathematical concept of dimensions.

But relativity supposedly proves that space is a set of dimensions!

Does it? Show me the proof that shows this. Space is an abstraction, nothing in physics justifies treating it as though it is a physical thing that is somehow subject to bending or distortions as a physical object might be. The same is true about time.

The reason modern physicists do this is that they are reifying mathematical abstractions. They do not understand that mathematics is a science of method for measuring reality. They do not understand that the equations of Relativity do not describe physical objects.

What the equations describe are relationships. The equations need to be given a reasonable physical interpretation. Which is where rational metaphysics comes in. However  they refuse to engage in rational philosophy, instead choosing to interpret it in any way which is mathematically consistent. Without regard to logic, reason, that is, rational metaphysics.

What then to make of things getting shorter or longer based on relative speed? That objects get longer or shorter for other reasons. It does not justify the reification of  space.

brain biases

Episode Twenty Two – Biases, AI and Current Affairs

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Today we are talking about inherent biases, AI, time travel and faster than light travel. And then we will go over a shocking legal decision.

[Note: Please note that this transcript may not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences.]

Click here to download the PDF transcript.

Intro

Metaphysics of Physics is the much needed and crucial voice of reason in the philosophy of science, rarely found anywhere else in the world today. We are equipped with the fundamental principles of a rational philosophy that gives us the edge, may make us misfits in the mainstream sciences but also attracts rational minds to our community.

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.

We are your hosts and guides through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science. Dwayne Davies, my husband, is the founder, primary content creator and voice for Metaphysics of Physics. I am Ashna and I help out however I can. You can find out more about us on the About page of the website.

You can also find all the episodes, transcripts, subscription options and more on the website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

Hi everyone! This is episode twenty-two of the Metaphysics of Physics podcast. Today we are talking about inherent biases, artificial intelligence and parental neglect in the current affairs section.

Inherent Biases

The other day, one of our listeners shared a diagram on Facebook. It purported to show which parts of the brain are responsible for various cognitive biases. This is nonsense for many reasons, but we will explore some of the most obvious ones.

Firstly, this treats cognitive biases as though they were inherent functionalities of the brain. As though the reason we are sometimes guilty of these biases is that neurons in some specific part of our brains are firing.

But this is not how cognitive biases work. It is not as though they are the result of the hard-wired structures of our brain.

brain biases

Lets see if we can find the parts of the brain responsible for other biases? No, I don’t think we can either …

They are the result of a failure to properly reason. When we accuse someone of a cognitive bias, we are essentially saying “Well, what you said is not consistent with reality. You have made an error.”. They are not biases. There is nothing inherent in our brain which makes us more prone to make such errors.

But that is what this chart would like us to believe. That there are some parts of the brain which make us inherently inclined to such errors. But that is not how it works. Such errors are simply the result of improper reasoning or evading to reason at all.

If these so-called biases were indeed localized like this, then why is it relatively easy to avoid these biases? Why is it that the better one learns to think, the least subject they are to such biases? Why is it that highly logical people with sound reasoning skills seldom, if ever, are subject to such biases?

What is the motive behind all of this?

To excuse poor reasoning and to try to avoid the need to overcome the tendency some of us have towards these so-called biases. That way they can be poor thinkers and then blame their brain for being wired that way. And minimize or avoid the need to learn to avoid them by learning to think more rationally.

They want to evade responsibility for being prone to these biases. As though they cannot help it if they have biases built into their brain!

They can help it. By learning to reason properly to avoid such biases. But they would rather not accept the responsibility of learning to properly reason. It can be a long and difficult process. They would rather not do the work.

Learning to reason well involves a lot of practice and study for many of us. Effort some would not rather not make.

Perhaps some of them see little value in learning to reason. Why learn to reason when you can continue to be a poor thinker? And instead, pretend to be a victim of the unfortunate alleged structure of your brain.

This is a form of intellectual cowardice and laziness. And I find this morally reprehensible. It is difficult to imagine anything as immoral as the evasion of the need to learn to think rationally.

We should do our utmost to recognize any flaws in our thinking processes and attempt to learn to avoid them. That is how we become more rational and better able to deal with the world around us. Which is how we lead better and happier lives.

An Interesting Comment on AI

We recently received an interesting comment from one of our audience. It got us thinking and we have an answer you might find interesting. Here is the comment:

One possible way in which AI may emerge is the continual replacement of human parts until there is no longer any organic parts left.

e.g. as of today, I can replace most parts of a human, legs, arms, heart, most organs etc.

On the head I can replace the eyes, ears, nose & some parts of the brain.

As we understand more of what it is to be human, we will be able to replace more of the brain.

Eventually, the “consciousness” part of the brain will be replaced & on that day we will have an artificial AI or artificial human.

So, like organic evolution I think artificial evolution will occur in steps over a significant time period, but significantly less than that required by organic evolution i.e. 1000s of years not millions

Note: Given the expansiveness of the universe the only way humans can explore it is to evolve into artificial bodies since cosmic radiation is lethal to organic life & time travel & FTL travel are an impossibility.

Galileo

Episode Six – Questions About Dwayne, Ashna And The Show

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Today we discuss some questions addressing some of our most and least favorite historical figures, discuss the history and future of the show and Ashna discusses her academic background.

Please note that two of the “upcoming” website updates mentioned in the article, posting stuff other than podcast episodes and random quotes, have already been added to the website.

Episode Transcript

[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].

Ashna
Welcome to episode six 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.

You can find all the episodes, transcripts and subscription options on the website at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

Today we have with us Dwayne to talk to us about the show and its production. And I will be answering some questions on my academic experiences. This should be fun!

Dwayne
Hi everyone!

Ashna
Ok, so let’s begin by talking about some of our favorite figures in science and philosophy and why they make the favorite list.

My personal favorites in physics are Newton and Galileo.

Galileo, as everyone knows helped really get physics going as a systematic science as we know it today. And of course, there was his brave opposition to the Catholic Church at the time. It was considered heresy to believe much of what he believed, but he refused to admit as much, in the face of the Inquisition.

Galileo
Galileo instructing a monk.

Newton, well we all know what Newton did. His work finally gave physics that last push it needed to become the systematic science we know today. His invention of calculus was one of the most important mathematical tools ever invented and provided a method by which crucial physical relationships could be theoretically identified and then tested.

Dwayne
I have a number of favorites myself, probably too many to list here. So, I will name just a few of them.

In the field of physics; Faraday, Archimedes, Maxwell and Boltzmann. All of these people made major contributions to their fields and held somewhat rational philosophies. Or, at least, not to my knowledge, very irrational ones.

Maxwell for his massive contributions to electromagnetism, kinetic theory of gases and so on. He was one of the great unifiers in physics and contributed more to the field than many others ever have.

Boltzmann had the courage to champion the atomic model well before it was widely accepted, despite the fact he faced massive and irrational opposition.

And of course Feynman. Mostly because he is so darn likeable and passionate about physics and was a really good teacher.

Ashna
In the field of mathematics, there’s Hipparchus who was able to deduce and calculate amazing things with remarkable accuracy given his methods. Such as the size of the Earth and stellar distances. Some of the results were less accurate than others, but his methods were remarkably ingenious.

Dwayne
Yes, then there’s Kepler who stands out here, despite his religious devotion and rationalism. At the time, his work on planetary orbits was, excuse the bad pun, revolutionary.

Ashna
I love bad puns!

Ok so, there’s Euclid who was one of the first to develop rigorous systems of mathematical proofs and identified countless interesting principles of geometry.

And let’s not forget, Gauss and Euler were mathematical prodigies, both contributing more valuable ideas to mathematics than we can recall offhand.

Euler
Leonard Euler, such a great mathematician that he has a number named after him.

Dwayne
I also wanted to mention some figures notable in the field of computer science. Donald Knuth, Alan Turing, Tim Berners-Lee and Grace Hopper, to name some of my favorites.

Knuth for his important work on the theoretical underpinning of algorithms and so forth.

Turing for helping pioneer what a computer is and its architecture and how it works.

Tim Berners-Lee for helping lay the software underpinnings for the web.

Grace Hopper for her pioneering work on computer languages and compilers.

Despite having studied computer science and done a lot of software development, my list here seems pretty small. The philosophical premises of a lot of people in computer science bugs me. They are often very rationalist and that makes it hard for me to consider them “favorite figures”.

So, the four names I have listed here are people who, as far as I know, are less rationalist then some of the other names I might have chosen and who have made some of the most significant contributions to the field.

Ashna
When it comes to philosophy, of course, it should not be a surprise that Ayn Rand is our hero.

Dwayne
She developed Objectivism, the first fully consistent and rational system in the history of philosophy. Her work is a major reason this podcast is here in the first place and without her philosophy, I would not have grown as much philosophically as I have.

Ashna
And then there’s Leonard Peikoff for championing her philosophy and contributing to original ideas and interesting ideas of his own to the field; such as his theory of induction and the DIM Hypothesis.

Dwayne
Yes, and Aristotle for providing a complete and largely rational philosophical system, the first in history. Plato was the first to present a complete philosophical system, but Aristotle presented the first rational one. Without the contributions of Aristotle, there would have been no Renaissance and likely no Ayn Rand.

Bohr and Einstein

Episode Five – Various Questions

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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.

Episode Transcript

[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.

You may want to subscribe via iTunes or any of our other subscription methods.  You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can do all of this from the show notes or the media player on the website, at metaphysicsofphysics.com.

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 questions@metaphysicsofphysics.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.

Plato
A great deal of bad philosophy got started with this guy, Plato.

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.

Moses
Religion is a very primitive form of philosophy. This is why very reliigous cultures tend to have a pre-scientific mentality.

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.

At least this guy was great ...

Episode One – Introduction

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Our first episode serves as an introduction to the show and provides a brief overview of the kinds of issues this show intends to address.

Episode Transcript

[Please note that this will not exactly match the audio. However, there should be no significant differences].

Click here to download the PDF transcript.

Welcome to the first episode of the Metaphysics of Physics podcast, I am Dwayne Davies, your host, philosopher in chief, writer and guide through the hallowed halls of the philosophy of science.

Ashna
Hi everyone, I am Ashna your sometimes co-host and fellow guide.

Dwayne
With this show, we are going to fight for a more rational world, mostly by looking through the lens of the philosophy of science.  We will raise awareness of issues within the philosophy of science and present alternative and rational approaches.

Ashna
Yes, and today we are going to tell you a little bit about the show’s agenda and we will provide a brief overview of some of the irrationalities present in the philosophy of science.

Dwayne
You may want to subscribe via iTunes, our RSS feed or one of our other subscription methods.  There is also Facebook and Twitter. You can do all of this from the shownotes or the media player on the website, at metaphysicsofphysics.com

Alright, let’s get started.

This show is about a rational, objective approach to the philosophy of science.  If you are interested in the philosophy of science, then this show is for you.

As you may be aware, it is said that Plato carved “Let none ignorant of geometry enter here”.   Well, we have not carved “Let none ignorant of philosophy” upon the entrance to these halls.

This is not Plato’s Academy and you do not need to know any philosophy or geometry to walk these halls.  However, you might learn a little about the philosophical problems in science.

Ashna
Indeed. Our approach to philosophy is much closer to that of Aristotle or Ayn Rand.  We believe in an objective, rational approach to science and that is what you are going to get.

If you keep listening, this is not the last you will hear of our spiritual and philosophical enemy Plato.   And his many disciples that have followed him through the last few thousand years. In fact, We will be hearing from a few of these disciples later in this episode.

We will be discussing the philosophy of science, focusing heavily on physics and mathematics. More specifically, the many irrationalities that are found within the modern philosophy of science, especially within the philosophy of physics. We will spend a lot of time raising awareness of these issues and then providing alternative ideas.

What are some of the topics we have in store for our listeners?

Dwayne
The is the Big Bang, the impossibility of strong AI, logical fallacies, why string theory is not even wrong, a fake interview with Niels Bohr and many others.

We will be talking about a lot of things from physics that bother us, and we think should bother any rational person.  Now, we have issues with the standard interpretations of things like quantum theory, relativity (special and general) and other parts of modern physics, this should not be taken as a dismissal of these fields.

We are questioning the standard interpretation of quantum physics, not dismissing the entire field. We are not denying that GR and quantum physics are useful and that without them we would not have things like GPS and integrated circuits.

Bohr and Einstein.
Bohr and Einstein, pioneers in quantum theory and relativity. We shall be discussing their work and their debates at length.

Ashna
Well, the mathematics of quantum theory and relativity is good stuff, right?  I mean, all that checks out, as established by a lot of different experiments.  As well as certain other key aspects of their theoretical structure.

Dwayne
Yeah, what we question is the way these theories are normally interpreted.

For instance, it is widely believed that quantum mechanics shows that particles exist in a superposition of indefinite states until observed. It is believed that GR shows that space is curved.  But are these things true? We do not believe so. However, one could interpret GR and quantum physics to suggest such a thing.

It is these kinds of interpretations which we take issue with when it comes to many of the things we will be discussing within modern physics.

Let’s go over some examples of the kinds of issues we have within modern physics today.  This should provide an insight into the kinds of issues we have in mind.

Ashna
Well, there is string theory. It arose as an attempt to unify gravity and quantum mechanics and other theories within modern physics. Various people have been developing it for around thirty years, yet none of them have gotten any closer to providing any evidence that string theory might be a viable area of research.

Dwayne
Yeah, the claims made by string theory have become so bizarre that some physicists think that it is just a little too bizarre.

String theorists spend a lot of time arguing about whether the universe has nine, ten, eleven or some other number of dimensions. About how there may be 10^500 different flavors of string theory and how obviously difficult that makes things. And other really bizarre things.

Yet, even some physicists are starting to think that there is little hope that string theory will ever be able to be confirmed. Which does not bother a lot of experts, who seem content to tell their colleagues that experimental verification does not matter and that people need to shut up and calculate. As though a physics theory does not need experimental verification.

Ashna
What about all this arbitrary talk of parallel universes? Or, the talk that the universe is made up of mathematics. Or that we might be living in a computer simulation. Even that the universe might observe itself. All these claims have been made by mathematicians, physicists or philosophers.

What about special relativity? It asserts that properties of things change relative to the observer. Or, quantum theory which asserts subatomic particles can exist in mutually exclusive states at the same time and that therefore under the right conditions, cats can be alive and dead at the same time?

Plato
Plato, shown here, is as we shall see, one of the main influences on modern physics and mathematics.

Dwayne
As much as we all love Schrodinger’s cat memes… all these things are grossly irrational and yet are held up as scientifically validated and or proven and to be accepted as part of science. We shall be discussing all of these and many more.

Let us provide you a few quotes which help to give you a sense of the sorts of issues that exist within the philosophy of science these days.

Here we go. Note that emphasis has been added for clarity:

Dwayne

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Albert Einstein

Ashna

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. I cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that I talk about, everything that I regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

Max Planck; The Observer, 1931

Dwayne

After decades of closely studying quantum mechanics, and after having accumulated a wealth of data confirming its probabilistic predictions, no one has been able to explain why only one of the many possible outcomes in any given situation actually happens.

Brian Greene; The Hidden Reality

Ashna

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

Albert Einstein

Dwayne

Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems.

Niels Bohr; Atomic Physics and the Description of Nature (1934)

Ashna

I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact, the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.

Werner Heisenberg; The New York Times Book Review, 8 March 1992