Releasers - Anne Kilmer couldn't possibly be more wrong!

Xi Wang xiwang at
Mon May 19 04:08:23 EDT 2003


Well, I did not mean to imply that if some observables fail to fit into a neat
mathematical equation, then it is bad science, and those people conducting it are bad
scientisits.  However, I simply state that with our current methods of dissemination of
scientific info, the analogy of the nine blind men and the elephant would be a specious

> This all sounds very reasonable and comforting. It is the kind of philosophy I have
> lived with throughout my life. But I wonder. It appears there may be a sort of
> circular reasoning here. It can be argued that this philosophy of the natural world is
> the result of scientists and the rest of humanity growing up and living in a world
> where all measurable quantities  _appear_ to be interrelated. There appears to always
> be a cause and effect, an action and reaction, physical states of matter and energy
> can be related through appropriate mathematical transformations (e.g., E=mcc), and so
> on. Since everything _appears_ to be interrelated, then it must also be so in an
> absolute sense.

The fact that things appear to be interrelated is necessary but not sufficient evidence
that the relationship must be absolute.  You are making a false assumption.  However, I
would add that if things were not related in the universe, there would be no
predictability, and I would question if such a universe and science could exist in the
first place.  I would submit that our very presence necessitates a pattern and physicals
laws in the universe.

> Therefore, by this reasoning, if something cannot be described by
> mathematics, complicated formulas, and fit in logically with the rest of the physical
> world, then it must not be good science and the person who did the research was not a
> good scientist. This attitude seems to be driven more by the human brain having
> evolved in a world of these "macro" interrelations, rather than through the process of
> viewing the physical world with an open mind. Our thought processes having been molded
> by the world we live in might make it very difficult to think any other way. If I
> design a calculator so that the sum of two and two equals four, it would never be
> possible for it equal anything else unless there was a malfunction.

This again is a specious analogy.  If a calculator cannot output 2 + 2 = 3, it is because
it is wrong.  If a human cannot think in a different way, it is simply that he/she has
missed a solution to a problem, even if the solution is still correct and self
consistent.  For example, if the solution to a math problem is 3x where x can be any
integer, a person who says the solution is 3, but misses 6, 9, 12....would not be wrong,
but it would simply indicate that he has seen a subset of all possible solutions.  So, if
the human mind can only think in a certain way, it doesn't not mean it is wrong, but
probably just that there are other correct ways of thinking, of which this is only a small
portion.  It's analogous to Newtonian physics being a special case of general relativity.

Xi Wang


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