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Ideas & Thoughts that Underlie Physics, 3

  • May 2, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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This is the third meeting in the series and a follow-up to a follow-up meeting (Apr. 18):

 

This is a follow-up meeting for the previous (Apr. 11):

All these talks about foundationalism (Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14), antifoundationalism (Feb. 28), and false foundations (Mar. 28) are fine for contemplation, but is any of it practical in everyday living? This meeting draws from a recent member's feedback.

Instead of starting from a conceptual blank slate and build up knowledge foundationally (or not), Let's start with today's cutting-edge physics of which everyone in one form or another is a beneficiary. Spanning both the small and the big, we will look at particle physics (or quantum mechanics) and cosmological astronomy (or the Big Bang theory). We will examine what abstract ideas and principled thoughts underlie them, and trace them all the way back to philosophy, and maybe all the way back (or not) to some foundation.

Is the task of discovering these ideas and thoughts even possible? Can one make a case for or against there being a structured body of knowledge that underlies today's physics? Attend the meeting to find out.

 

This meeting is for both Tim and David to coordinate.  This will be part 2 of a 3-part series on quantum mechanics and the Big Bang theory:

  1. Apr. 12: What is quantum mechanics and the Big Bang theory?
  2. Apr. 18: Case(s) for/against QM and BBT.  Harriman's case against QM and BBT will at least be reviewed.
  3. Apr. 25: Tom's case against QM and BBT

Harriman's case against QM and BBT can be read here.

 

In order to reach the crux, we will drill on such bedrock ideas as randomness, determinacy, wave, particle, time, space, infinity, measurement, consciousness, description, probability, theory, existence, identity, change, creation, destruction.

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  • Tom O.

    Here is another timely video from Prof. Peter Kreeft at Boston College. He does a good job of turning the physicists' arguments against themselves. http://www.prageruniversity.com/Religion-Philosophy/God-or-Atheism--Which-Is-More-Rational.html

    April 22, 2013

    • Tim

      Perhaps people don't understand what "dismiss" means. To dismiss is to reject an idea from consideration. The simple fact that Tom explains the view he opposes and why he opposes is the proof that he does not dismiss (consideration is part of the process of explanation).

      Jim, you were in our last meetup where Tom spent a third of the meetup explaining the environmentalist view so he can later explain why he disagrees. It's illogical for you to argue that Tom dismisses environmentalism.

      May 2, 2013

    • Tim

      By definition, dismissal cannot occur once consideration has been made.

      1 · May 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The Experience of a Dialogue
    Participants "suspend" their beliefs, opinions, impulses, and judgments while speaking together, in order to see the movement of the group's thought processes and what their effects may be.
    In such a dialogue, when one person says something, the other person does not, in general, respond with exactly the same meaning as that seen by the first person. Rather, the meanings are only similar and not identical. Thus, when the 2nd person replies, the 1st person sees a Difference between what he meant to say and what the other person understood. On considering this difference, he may then be able to see something new, which is relevant both to his own views and to those of the other person. And so it can go back and forth, with the continual emergence of a new content that is common to both participants. Thus, in a dialogue, each person does not attempt to make common certain ideas or items of information that are already known to him.

    May 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      JAMES, i'M STILL PLAYING CATCH-UP SO i DIDN'T IDENTIFY WHAT SLOWED US DOWN ON tUESDAY UNTIL I SAY MICHAELS COMMENT. aFTER THAT, I ROOTED AROUND IN MY RESEARCH FILE AND CAME UP WITH DIALOGUE QUOTES.

      May 4, 2013

  • Tom O.

    Since the arguments from the meeting rested on foundationalism (http://www.meetup.com/The-San-Diego-Philosophers-Roundtable/events/102475162/), and since they were mainly negative against the physicists' methodology; I want now to offer some alternatives.

    The problem with measuring the very small is that sooner or later the small cannot be measured with anything smaller--unless you find something smaller with which to measure. Shine visible light on macroscopic objects; some get absorbed; some get reflected. Our eyes detect and measure the reflected lights, and they thereby let us see the objects. With subatomic particles, light energy now interferes with the moving objects themselves and yields an inherent margin of error for our measuring detectors. The problem then is "simply" to find something smaller than the known subatomic particles with which to measure them, such that some get absorbed without disturbing the subparticles and some get scattered for our devices to detect.

    May 4, 2013

    • Tom O.

      For another alternative in cosmological astronomy, the problem with determining the compositions of celestial objects and the vast distances among them by means of radiating light energy depends on understanding the properties of light. We have discovered some properties and have used them to good effect, but we have not found them all, nor have we involved those so far discovered to such effects. The nature of light in a medium, for example, is so far little understood. Not that it necessarily exists, but the historical process to eliminate the existence of ether is suspect. When any medium in which light is slowed below its ideal velocity, it becomes the medium through which energetic particles (either charged or magnetic) can make photonic splash waves and even photonic booms (if its momentum exceeds that of light's phase velocity). These resultant ripples and booms are detected in the form of Cerenkov radiation--which is another form of light within slowed light.

      May 4, 2013

    • Tom O.

      Of the known states of matter, we know that plasma is one such medium that can fill up some space, across which light travels to reach our detecting instruments. It is plausible, therefore, to consider the energy radiating from galaxies and exploding supernovae to exhibit secondary redshifting through this medium.

      My epistemological point in the present case of Big Bang theory is that astrophysicists cannot conclude that light, which is not integrated coherently as yet, can produce redshifting in only one "hypothesized factor." The same goes for the cosmic microwave background static. The same amassed evidence, given what we are just beginning to know from radio to neutrino astronomy, can yield other plausible and testable hypotheses, which should be considered and not be dismissed paradigmatically. What do the physicists among us think about these alternatives? And I would love for one of you to read and comment on this book by Halton Arp. http://www.amazon.com...­

      May 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    sorry, that was a David Bohm Quote

    May 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Here is one definition of what we should be working toward at our meetings; From Wikipedia---Bohm Dialogue (also known as Bohmian Dialogue or "Dialogue in the Spirit of David Bohm") is a freely-flowing group conversation in which participants attempt to reach a common understanding, experiencing everyone's point of view fully, equally and nonjudgementally.[1] This can lead to new and deeper understanding. The purpose is to solve the communication crises that face society[2], and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness. It utilizes a theoretical understanding of the way thoughts relate to universal reality. It is named after physicist David Bohm who originally proposed this form of dialogue.

    May 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Tom, I called you a Skeptic's Skeptic, and I called Tim that too awhile back, and while the term may have some baggage , I admire both you and Tim for the focus you can generate for your point. A guy like me with less focus, less speaking skills, but two forefingers, might still make a cogent point yet.

    May 3, 2013

  • Tom O.

    I enjoyed everyone's enthusiasm for the meeting. Given that my arguments were aimed not at the level of the physical theories but at the level of the philosophy of physics, I am glad to see that this everyday approach to evaluating such theories was appreciated and understood (for the most part) by both supporters and critics of QM and Big Bang. By and large, physicists cannot escape committing to certain philosophical ideas and thoughts. Tonight, I brought up some of them and showed how easily physicists could absorb erroneous basic concepts in their worldviews in the process of formulating their high-level theories.

    May 3, 2013

  • Dave

    I liked hearing Tom's views on QM and BBT, even though I disagree with most of them.

    May 2, 2013

  • Tim

    I did not quite understand Tom's case, and I think it's because we didn't have enough time for Tom to fully flesh out his arguments. Most of the time was spent laying the groundwork. It would be nice if we could have Tom and our physicists debate a bit longer.

    May 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I may be late. Long bus trip from Poway today.

    May 2, 2013

  • Mark G.

    Thought this was interesting:

    “A boy and his Atom” is the world’s smallest movie and was made by moving actual atoms, frame by frame. Its creators used a 2-ton scanning-tunnelling microscope that operates at minus 258 degrees Celsius to shoot the entire film.

    http://bit.ly/YcK5OS

    1 · April 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Would like to come but have another commitment.

    April 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So, are the meetings back at Peet's?

    April 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Maybe this question should be directed on our Message Board but I wanted to ask an Ethical question.

      Is it Ethical to meet at a private business without ordering anything? We can consider just doing this once or we can consider whether it is a larger ethical lapse to meet there and order nothing dozens of times over nearly 2 years?

      1 · April 23, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Chris, It's all or nothing? To flesh out the concept, I figures some people would order food and/or drinks, and some wouldn't. I figure that ''the somes'' would change from week to week, with some always ordering something and and some not. Theoretically, Coco's wouldn't mind that.

      April 23, 2013

  • Tim

    I hope to see Dave and Jim at this one, haha!

    April 22, 2013

13 went

  • Tom O.
    Co-Organizer
    Event Host
  • Tim
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
    +1 guest
  • A former member
  • A former member
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