Tag Archives: relativity

Interview with James Ellias

This is an interview with James Ellias, creator of the excellent “An Inductive Summary of Physics” series covering an inductive history of physics and other important philosophical topics.

We discuss the role of induction in physics and many other issues in the philosophy of physics. As well as taking a few questions from our listeners.

The questions asked in the interview include (please not the questions are not necceasirly listed in the order asked):

  • Tell us more about the role of induction in physics.
  • What would you add to or change about the theory of induction presented in the Logical Leap? Or what do you have to say about induction in general?
  • Tell us about your video “There are two hierarchies of knowledge”.
  • Alright, tell us about the role of mathematics in physics
  • Tell us about the “Brief History of Physics” series on your YouTube channel.
  • So, tell us the “Inductive Summary of Physics” project.
  • Who are some of your favorite physicists? 
  • Tell us about some of your favorite sources of inspiration for your work? Which authors/speakers do you draw the most from/get the most inspiration from?
  • Would you care to tell us any of your ideas about what really be going on with some of the lesser well known parts of modern physics? I am talking about things like quantum mechanics, what fields really are, what relativity is really describing and so on.
  • Tell us about some of your experiences in academia? Is going into academia something you would recommend for those interested in physics? Why or why not?
  • What do you think is wrong with modern physics? What are some of the root causes?
  • Which books/sources would you recommend to learn more about physics?
  • In what ways is philosophy important to physics? 
  • Why do you think so many physicists dismiss philosophy?
  • Tell us about some of the most ingenious experiments performed in physics.
  • Talk about the difference between the historical approach and your inductive approach. 
  • What do you think about Lewis Littles’ Theory of Elementary Waves?
Bohr, quantum physics,

To find out the answers to these questions, you should tune into the interview… 🙂

You can find his YouTube channel here.

You can find his Inductive Summary of Physics channel here.

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.

string theory

String Theory: A Misguided Attempt at Unification

String theory is based on the misguided idea that the “great pillars of 20th-century science”; quantum mechanics and relativity can be unified. Unified into one theory that explains the quantum theory and relativity.

This is meant to unify physics and allow us to come up with a unified “Theory of Everything“. Or, at least to come up with a unified theory that can be used to explain most/all of physics. It is believed that with this theory, pretty much every other aspect of physics could be derived.

How do we know that we should try to unify quantum mechanics and relativity?

Even if we assume that these are reasonable theories, how do we know that we can unify them into a good or even coherent theory? Who says such a theory exists?

Many physicists assume that such a theory must exist. However, I see little or no reason to assume that such a theory must exist.

Why do so many believe that it must? Physicists have noticed how successful quantum theory and relativity have been in making astoundingly accurate mathematical predictions. It is rather hard not to. In terms of their powers of mathematically describing relationships, both of these theories are remarkably accurate to very high levels of precision.

And there has certainly been a trend in physics towards increased unification.  For instance, electricity and magnetism were once considered to be separate things until it was discovered that they are very closely related and that the same set of equations describe how they both work.

So, it is widely considered that there is this increasing trend toward unifying lots of different things under one theory, all describable by one set of equations. As done with electromagnetism and as physicists believe they accomplished with space and time.

They now want to unify quantum physics and relativity so that one theory explains both of these. And that can describe both with one set of equations. They assume that this is possible and that such a theory must exist. Must it?

Is it necessarily the case that a single theory explains the things covered by quantum mechanics and gravity?

I am not sure this is necessarily the case. Nor am I sure that it need not be the case. Until such a reasonable candidate for such a theory comes along, I think it is premature to do more than speculate.

Whether or not there is any such theory, we know that it cannot be a combination of quantum theory and relativity. Not as quantum theory and relativity exist as we know them today.

We should ask ourselves if quantum mechanics and relativity are theories that are ready to be unified.

string theory
And should we try unify them into something like this? Yes, this is the sort of thing string theory likes to talk about.

Do quantum mechanics and relativity make any sense?

If not, should we be trying to unify them? Are they coherent theories and if not, should we expect to be able to unify them into a coherent theory?

Relativity claims to unify space, time and gravity all into one neat bundle, all described by one set of equations. I would argue that it does not. I would argue that the physical interpretations of relativity make no sense. You cannot explain how gravity works by treating mathematical concepts such as space and time as though they were physical aspects of the universe.

Sure, it might work as a mathematical method, but we have to keep in mind that it is just a mathematical method and that space and time are only mathematical concepts. We cannot explain how anything works by treating abstractions as physical aspects of the universe.

Quantum theory is also rather nonsensical.

In fact, it largely avoids trying to explain anything and largely denies that subatomic particles have any reality or act in any consistent way with reality while they are not being observed.

Quantum mechanics explains very little in terms of the actions of physical objects. Instead, it is the action of magical entities that are not fully real and act as ghosts that are somehow made mostly real by the process of observation.

I am going to argue that neither quantum mechanics nor relativity is a coherent theory. Sure, the mathematics of both theories has been verified time and time again to match reality with great precision.

The point of physics is not to merely come up with accurate mathematical descriptions of reality.

Does this look like physics to you? Looks like math to me. But, this is about all string theory has to offer.

The point is to help us understand physical reality as it really is. Not to merely describe mathematical appearances.

The problem is that neither quantum mechanics nor relativity helps us to understand reality. They provide nonsensical, metaphysically invalid descriptions of appearances but do not describe reality or help us to understand it. In fact, they deny reality any place in physics and merely describe appearances.

They describe impossibilities such as particles that exist in contradictory states. Or objects that have different properties for different observers. This is about as far from a rational attempt to help us understand reality as one could imagine.

Why then should we try to make a unified theory out of these two failed theories? We shouldn’t! These are not coherent theories in the first place, so why should we attempt to come up with a theory that somehow accounts for both theories?

Neither theory works to explain reality, so why account for them at all? That would be like if I took Islam and Hinduism and tried to come up with a Unified Theory of Common Religions in India. Given neither Islam nor Hinduism have any truth to them, all I would end up with is yet another body of ideas without any truth to it.

Sure, one could perhaps take the aspects of quantum theory and relativity that work and come up with another theory. But, that would be a very different theory, at least in terms of its physical interpretations.

Sure, a lot of the math might be familiar, but physics is about physical explanations of how reality works. Not merely mathematical descriptions of how reality works.

This is all string theorists could hope to do. To come up with a body of mathematical equations that somehow unifies relativity and quantum mechanics. By that I mean,  the equations would describe things from relativity and quantum theory.

But that does not provide a physical explanation of how physical reality works.

So, it does not qualify as physics. And that is the problem.

Even if we have a mathematical unification of relativity and quantum theory, we still need a physical unification. And where is that going to come from?

From two fields of physics that have no rational physical interpretations to offer? I do not see how that is possible.

So, in as far as it tries to explain two largely false theories, that string theory is doomed from the start. It is not possible to come up with a coherent theory that starts with two other absurdly false theories as its premises.

This should come as no surprise. If so much of modern physics is nonsensical and anti-reality, why then should we expect string theory to be any better?

Other than this, is string theory of any use to anyone? In upcoming articles on string theory, we will see that it is not. The problems with string theory and its practitioners go far beyond what we have outlined here.

What are Fields? Not Numbers Glued to Space!

[Yes, the featured image for this is not technically a field. It is a Feynman diagram, but it shows the kind of  thing a field actually represents].

If you have studied much physics, then you will have come across the notion of fields.

What is a field?

The Wikipedia article fairly sums up the standard definition of a “field”:

In physics, a field is a physical quantity, represented by a number or tensor, that has a value for each point in space-time.

Wikipedia.

At first, this might sound an awful lot like a mathematical description of something. Surely it is a mathematical description of the property of something. If so, what is it a mathematical description of?

Does it describe the attributes of stuff in that space? Does it describe relationships between attributes of things in space? Or the actions of something in that region?  These are the questions we need to ask ourselves.

When it is said that a field is a physical quantity, do they attach it to anything? Does it describe the attributes or relationships of matter or anything at all? Or is it just a set of numbers attached to space?

Is it proper to attach numbers to space like this?

Of course not. Space is not a physical thing; it is a concept. It refers to relationships between positions of things. We talk more about space in this article. Space can be said to have some quantities, such as area or volume.

It is perfectly valid to measure aspects of “space” if you keep in mind that what you are measuring is the relationship between entities.

You can even say, that in a sense, space can have measurable quantities such as vacuum permittivity. If you understand that this refers to the properties of or relationships between entities within that space and not the actual space itself.

However, space itself has no physical properties. It is not a kind of matter nor is space-time a special kind of existence. It has none of the sorts of attributes which should be assigned only to matter.

Does this mean that we should throw out the concepts of fields in physics?

No, I don’t think so and I will show why.

The concept of a field is certainly applicable to physical reality. We know that the concept of an electromagnetic field can be used to derive real-world quantities of physical things and to figure out how they should act.

The concept of an electromagnetic field accurately describes something “out there” in reality.

It does not describe numbers floating around magically attached to space. It describes the attributes of things spread within that space, how they act and how they are related. And it is these things which a field tells us about and which a field should help us to understand.

For instance, the electromagnetic field does not describe “space” as such. It tells us about the properties of and relationships between things in that space. It describes attributes of charged particles within a space and how they interact with one another.

Note that the gravitational field does not describe the curvature of space-time. Space is simply a relationship between positions and time is simply a measure of change.

There is no such super-entity of space-time which somehow curves and somehow explains gravity. No. The gravitational field equations describe the properties of things and how they interact.

Sorry Einstein, general relativity does not explain how gravity works.

So, if fields describe the attributes of things and how they interact, what are these things?

This is not a philosophical question as much as it is a physics question. It could be that the answer to “what do fields describe” is that we have not yet noticed the proper way things interact. Perhaps gravity is explainable by some interaction we have not yet observed.

Perhaps to better understand how the various fields in quantum mechanics works, we need to better understand the quantum world. Which would, incidentally, require understanding the quantum world in terms of objective reality and not magic.

Of all the fields, I would say the electromagnetic one is the most understood. But, unless one can explain the electromagnetic field in terms of the properties, actions or interactions of entities, then one does not properly understand what a field is or what it refers to.

Saying “well, space has all of these quantities” is not enough, you need to show how these quantities are the properties, actions or interactions of entities.

Note, that it is fine to admit that we do not yet understand what these fields describe. If we can show that these field equations we have are indeed how this stuff works, then this is an important step. And to be fair, the field equations we have are generally quite successful here.

It is important to acknowledge this. We can make a lot of progress understanding how things behave by studying field equations, making predictions and showing that yes, that is how that stuff works.

However, at some point, we should try to figure out more about what the fields are describing. We should not just stop at the math and say “well, space has these numbers stuck to it”. No, we should try to study the nature of the entities the numbers are describing.

And that is where modern physics fails.

We don’t know what the fields are or what they describe. Certainly not completely, not fully.

fields
This is something like what a field is … not space with numbers glued to it.

Many in physics do see that we should try to figure this out. Many others do not seem to see any need, as though the mathematics is somehow some kind of primary. When it evidently is not.

This is the kind of attitude we need to challenge. Unfortunately, I have no doubt, we will see a lot more of this in our continued exploration of the problems in modern physics.

If you see any physicists or anyone else talking about fields in a rational way, please let us know. We are aware such people exist; however, we would love to collect more such examples. Please message us on Facebook or contact us at contact@metaphysicsofphysics.com.

Gaede

Episode Twenty Three – An Interview with Bill Gaede

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Today we have an interview with the physicist Bill Gaede. We have not presented the transcript of this in web page form. Instead, you can listen to the audio or download the PDF transcript.

You may have problems with the audio if you hit the play button above after jumping part of the way into the audio. We are not sure what this issue is or how to fix it. You can download the episode or simply play it from the beginning.

Gaede and I discuss the problems in modern physics, some of the many ways in which physics is irrational, the improper conflation of mathematics with physics, his rope model and more.

The problems he mentions are largely centered around the idea that we do not have physicists anymore, we have mathematicians. People that try to describe but not explain how this universe works. But, physics is meant to be about explaining how the universe works!

This is where the rope model comes in. It offers an explanation of light, electromagnetism, gravity and more. Gaede discusses this in some depth in his book “Why God Does Not Exist”.

Please note that the transcript has been edited for grammatical purposes. The contents accurately represent the material, however changes have been made to make it easier to read. So,  it will not exactly match the audio.

However, there may be mistakes in the transcript. Any mistakes in transcription represent our own errors or a transcription error we missed.

Click here to download the PDF transcript.

You can find out more about Bill Gaede’s idea on his YouTube page. You can also check out his Quora profile to see him answering some physics questions.

Bill Gaede

Episode Eighteen – Introducing the Ideas of Bill Gaede

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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.

Episode Transcript

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

Introduction

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 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.

El Crazy Che Bill Gaede

We have not seen El Crazy Che as of yet, but we hear it is quite good.

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.

thinking

Rational thought s not easy, it can take a lot of time and effort.

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!]

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.