Critique of "The Scientific Worldview": Part 6b The Ten Assumptions of Science: Inseparability

Energy as matterless motion, dialectics dissed by indeterminists, and the discovery of motion in biology (Darwin) and sociology (Marx).

I am ever so grateful to Bill Westmiller, whose comments are in bold. The quotes marked TSW are from "The Scientific Worldview[1]":

BW: I suspect that you're too firmly attached to "dialectical unity" as a fundamental characteristic of nature. While dialectic discourse is a valuable Platonic tool in the pursuit of truth, it's a quality of human analytical review, not a quality of nature, as Hegel, Marx, and Engels supposed.

[GB: Bill, you better believe that us univironmental determinists are attached to dialectics as a fundamental characteristic of nature. That’s why dialectical discourse, like we are having, is possible in the first place. The only way that would not be the case would be to divorce humanity from nature, positing “freewill” to invoke “The Myth of Exceptionalism[2].” We make progress by viewing opposing arguments side-by-side as we are doing and as I did in TTAOS[3]. This helps folks to see the choices necessary for clear thinking. Dialectics most certainly rules the universe, as many have noted for millennia: Ying and Yang, attraction and repulsion, microcosm and macrocosm, convergence and divergence, small and large, slow and fast, right and wrong, and on and on… Just because some philosophers you despise emphasized dialectics is hardly a logical reason to reject it.]

TSW: "... mechanists went so far as to promise a complete description of the world."

BW: LaPlace did make an error in positing "An intellect which at any given moment knew all of the forces that animate nature ...", which is omniscience, which is impossible for man or God. But, it isn't relevant whether anyone *knows* the cause of all things, or anything in particular, in order to defend the proposition that all things are caused. Perhaps he was pandering to religious ideas about "A Universal Consciousness" (Deity) directing all things, or committing them to an intentional supernatural design.

[GB: Of course, you are right that one doesn’t need omniscience to defend causality. Nonetheless, with their assumption of finite causality the classical mechanists hubristically stumbled into that claim of omniscience. Classical determinism was a clear outgrowth of classical mechanism, as exhibited so well by Laplace’s Demon. I don’t think there was any more religious pandering involved than in Newton’s original formulation. With mathematics pervasive in mechanics, it was necessary to deal with a finite number of variables. Any thought of infinite universal causality in theory (if there indeed was one) naturally would have given way to finite universal causality in practice. Laplace was no dummy, so I doubt that infinite universal causality had occurred to anyone at that point. I suspect that he was simply producing the logical conclusion that classical mechanics offered.]

BW: It's also true that Descartes resorted to "substance dualism" to explain (or discard) human thought and free will as some kind of "mental substance", distinct from material, "corporeal substance." It's not a bad guess, but it's purely a convenient post-hoc exception to determinism.

TSW: "... Engrossed in their static models, mechanists tended to overemphasize things rather than processes."

[GB: Thanks for the reference to Descartes’ objectification of motion. Do you have the exact Volume and page number from which I could quote? Your mention shows that the tendency to objectify motion was a characteristic of mechanics from the beginning. Lavoisier did it with his “caloric fluid” to explain heat motion, and both Lavoisier and Einstein did it with the corpuscular theory to explain light motion. It continues for most of us when we objectify time. Sorry, free will neither exists nor occurs, but it is interesting that someone tried to objectify it. The mistaken objectification of the mind I can understand. It is an easy mistake to make. One can see the brain, which contains “substance,” but one cannot see the mind, which is simply the motions of the matter within the brain.]

BW: I don't see anything "static" about determinism or mechanism. Both of them admit, or even require, process motions in nature or in thought. Granted, the *impression* that mystics got from mechanists was of a perpetual-motion clockwork, which they found unsavory and a frivolous account of consciousness, purpose, and creativity.

 [GB: In a sense, you are right that both determinism and mechanism are about matter in motion. Determinism and mechanism, however, have always lived in an antagonistic world that has mightily resisted the implications. Most of us, having been born into indeterminism, unavoidably bring opposing views to the scientific table. The tendency to believe in motionless matter and/or matterless motion is always there, as you yourself demonstrate later in this dialogue.]

TSW: "In keeping with their static, finite nature and simplicity, these models did not allow for evolution."

BW: I'll grant that scientific inquiry DID get bogged down in mathematical models by mechanism. However, I don't think either of them were static, rigid, nor even finite. I also think the term "evolution" needs an adjective, since Lamarckian evolution is quite distinct from Darwinian evolution.

[GB: Sorry, but I see the stasis and finity ideas as obvious. Mechanism began with Newton in 1787, but evolution was not accepted until Darwin in 1859. The stasis and finitude were based on religion, which saw all microcosms as having been created in their supposed perfection, without any need or evidence for changes. That assumption, of course, is still defended widely by creationist elements in the most conservative religious sects. You are right in your implication that there were inklings of evolution prior to Darwin, with Lamarck being prominent. The ferment in geology after 1790 was particularly damaging to the creationists’ cause. Anyone interested in evolution should read Gillispie’s “Genesis and Geology”[4] for a fascinating review of that intellectual battle.

Of course, as you mention, there are all kinds of evolution and ideas about evolution. Nowadays, the creationists hardly mention geological evolution. The battlefield centers on neo-Darwinism, the accepted mechanism for biological evolution, which has become shorthand for evolution. But as I asserted in TSW, the universal mechanism of evolution is univironmental determinism, the observation that what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter in motion within and without. That will be a heavy load for the creationists once they find the battle against biology to be as futile as the one against geology.]

TSW: "So it was that fainthearted scientists of the late nineteenth century moved to disown matter and adopt pure motion instead."

BW: Actually, the majority of the fainthearted resorted to distinct "majesteria", conceding issues of morality and free will to the mystical domain, while retaining an empirical domain for everything else.

TSW: "Perhaps the greatest advocate of the switch was Wilhelm Ostwald, a physical chemist, who believed: "The ultimate goal of science is now presented as the task of establishing a worldview consisting purely of energy concepts, without the use of the concept of matter."

BW: First time I've ever heard the name, but Monism is barely a footnote to his declining years. Maybe you just like the nonsensical statement that some *thing* can be "universal pure energy". Kind of like the transcendental God of Hinduism. Pass the Bong.

[GB: You certainly would have known about Ostwald had you read Lenin’s “Materialism[5].” Much of that book, written in 1908, was a polemic against what Ostwald was pushing in the famous quote above. I included Ostwald to show that the counter-revolution against materialism in physics was well underway before Einstein.]   

TSW: "Today, indeterministic scientists attack inseparability, not so much by denying the concept of matter, or the concept of motion, but by denying the universality of the inseparability of the two."

BW: This is slightly at odds with your initial description of the "inseparability" being between materialism and causality.

[GB: Bill, whatever gave you that idea? If I ever wrote that, please let me know where it was. It is most certainly incorrect. Inseparability simply states, “Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion.” Of course, the assumptions of materialism and causality are consupponible, but I doubt that I would have used the word inseparability in describing their association.]

BW: The word "materialism" encompasses both matter and matter in motion. However, the concept "causation" is not the same as "motion", but rather a view of *events* that occur as a consequence of matter colliding with other matter that has relative motion. Matter in an inertial state requires no causation and an inertial state of motion (spin) is a persistent effect of an event that may have occurred eons earlier.

[GB: I tend to agree, although there have been many materialists who were not necessarily mechanists. Even some of today’s regressive physicists might fancy themselves materialists, all the while ascribing to Einstein’s immaterialism and the matterless motion that is the hallmark of the energy concept.]
TSW: "... philosophers could assume with the atomists that, although the atom itself was always in motion, whatever was inside the atom was not."

BW: Not quite correct. Atomism simply contended that atoms were indivisible. For millennia, that was an "unmitigated truth" ... until it was mitigated by the experiments of Rutherford and Fermi. That doesn't mean that there are no particles of indivisible matter, only that atoms aren't it. Technically, Quarks aren't it either. Aside from the electron, the various "flavors" are not particles, but rather sets of attributes. So far, there is no theory to explain why those attributes express in sets. Of course, I haven't yet written the Unimid Theory (UT) that explains why that is so, based on the characteristics of fundamental and identical particles of matter.

[GB: There have been many different versions of atomism. There probably are as many versions of what indivisibility means as well. I use the simplest: The ideal atom is ideally filled with ideal solid matter. It has no parts, because it is the ultimate part that forms the various parts of all other things. If it were divisible, it would form at least two parts and thus not be the ultimate fundamental particle. All such atoms are identical. Of course, all this is rank idealism, not corresponding with anything having to do with reality. Atomism contradicts the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions), the Ninth Assumption of Science, relativism (All things have characteristics that make them similar to all other things as well as characteristics that make them dissimilar to all other things), and the Tenth Assumption of Science, Interconnection (All things are interconnected, that is, between any two objects exist other objects that transmit matter and motion).]
TSW: "If an atom had no vibratory motion, it would exhibit no temperature."

BW: I mainly agree with your distaste for the characterization of "absolute zero", but not your conclusion. As you say, heat is an effect (emission of radiation) of vibratory motion between the external electron shells of adjacent atoms. It may be true that the electrons can't be stopped, but their motion could become synchronized in such a way as to preclude further emissions of heat. Of course, "could" is a theoretical proposition, but the Bose-Einstein condensate suggests that it's possible (even though I disagree with the quantum mechanical explanation).

Note that even if the external shells of atoms could be synchronized or fused, the internal electron shells and even the nucleus would still have motion ... even if they wouldn't generate heat. So "absolute zero", if and when it is achieved, would not indicate the absence of motion.

[GB: Perfect synchronization, like “perfect” anything, is only an idealization—it cannot occur. As explained in the chapter on neomechanics, all microcosms continually absorb and emit motion to the macrocosm. As explained there, this occurs as a result of collisions between submicrocosms and supermicrocosms at the microcosm-macrocosm boundary. Thus, much of what is called “heat” or “radiation” is simply a result of the transfer of internal motion of matter within the microcosm to become external motion of matter in the macrocosm generally observed as wave motion of aether-1. Theoretically, aether-1 particles undergo similar processes with respect to the aether-2 particles from which they have formed, ad infinitum.[6] We could define heat universally, with it involving all possible univironmental exchanges of motion at microcosm-macrocosm boundaries. On the other hand, we could define it specifically, as must be done in practice.]
TSW: "... matter could not exist at that temperature. That is, it could not exist without being in motion."

BW: I don't agree that the absence of heat, or even the absence of motion, would cause the material of the electrons, protons, and neutrons to simply "disappear". That proposition strikes me as "mystical thinking", the inverse of creating something from nothing. If you don't like something from nothing, how can you like nothing from something?

[GB: Bill, don’t get too upset. Inseparability assumes just that. There can be no matter without motion. The matter-motion inseparability only works with infinity, which always passes the buck. The “nothing” you are thinking of is a mere idealization—can’t exist, so don’t worry about it. Your problem is one only suffered by those who assume finity. We all have a choice: 1) the mystical thinking of the creation of something from nothing or 2) the existence of infinitely subdividable matter in motion everywhere. Once you make the switch to infinity, you will be free at last!]

Next: Inseparability Part 3 of 5

cotsw 008

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2007, The scientific worldview: Beyond Newton and Einstein ( http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/The%20Scientific%20Worldview.html ): Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 411 p.

[2] Ibid, Chapter 13.

[3] Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview ( http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/assumptions.html ): Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p. [Note that the deterministic (i.e., scientific) assumptions are in bold italics. Opposing indeterministic (religious) assumptions are only in italics.]

[4] Gillispie, C.C., 1951, Genesis and geology: A study in the relations of scientific thought, natural theology, and social opinion in Great Britain, 1790-1850: New York, Harper Torchbooks, 306 p.

[5] Lenin, V.I., 1927, Materialism and empirio-criticism: Critical comments on a reactionary philosophy: New York, International, 397 p.

[6] Puetz, S.J., and Borchardt, G., 2011, Universal cycle theory: Neomechanics of the hierarchically infinite universe: Denver, Outskirts Press ( www.universalcycletheory.com ), 626 p.

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