20140521

Critique of TSW Part 13a: Interconnection/Consupponibility

Blog 20140521


Bill’s absolutism gets the better of him as he fails to see essential connections necessary for understanding the infinite universe as he continues to review The Tenth Assumption of Science: Interconnection, with respect to its demand for consupponibility.


I am ever so grateful to Bill Westmiller, whose comments are marked "BW: ". The quotes marked TSW are from "The Scientific Worldview" and my comments are marked "[GB: ".


TSW:  The Necessary Connection/ Consupponibility

"The inclusion of interconnection, relativism, and infinity in a set of assumptions necessarily makes the reasoning somewhat circular..."

BW: What you're doing is advocating for particular features of the universe. As such, I don't think any of them are consupponible: none of them logically require or preclude others.

[GB: Bill, you have to follow the logic presented here, otherwise you are simply restating your belief in the opposing assumptions. We have already assumed 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). Obviously, if you insist on assuming its opposite, absolutism, you will be following a different logical train. Instead of looking for connections, you would be looking for disconnection and finity. That is just what you find. You were well on your way to one of the best reviews of the book, but its value will diminish if we need to continue debating its foundation after this chapter.]

BW: One can have a connected, or disconnected, infinity; a relative or an objective connection; an infinite or finite relationship. However, any of these concepts can be construed as being logically incoherent with determinism.

[GB: We have already slain that dragon. We have chosen infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). I guess that is what you mean by a “connected infinity,” while your “disconnected infinity” is a sort of microcosmic finity necessary for your Finite Particle Theory. I must admit that I cannot figure out what you mean by the rest of this comment.]

BW: If "connection" asserts the absence of "space", then there can be no "events", nor any effects caused by collisions. If "relativism" asserts that nothing has a distinct identity, then there is no novel identity for an effect that is distinct from its causes. If "infinity" asserts that all space is occupied, then it must be a Block Universe, that never interacts, because there is nothing else to interact with, so there can never be events.

Without events, there can be no causation. Without causation, there can be no determinism.

[GB: I believe we already discussed this, but let me go through it again since it seems difficult to comprehend. Review: This is the Tenth Assumption of Science: Interconnection (All things are interconnected, that is, between any two objects exist other objects that transmit matter and motion). This does not assert the absence of space (containing still smaller microcosms). To have an object transmitting matter and motion between two objects, there also must be “space,” otherwise the connection would be solid matter. As you said, there then could be no events and we would have your hypothesized “Block Universe,” which would never work. Perhaps you are imagining that there could be an end to microcosmic infinity—a sort of “Block Universe” for your hypothesized finite particle filled with solid matter. But, as Newton and Leibnitz showed in the calculus, there can be no “end” to infinity, as that would be a self-contradiction. The infinite universe is infinitely subdividable at all scales. Every successive division produces two things: matter and space, ad infinitum.]

TSW:  "One might suppose that in the fantastic world of the compleat indeterminist there are no causes and no effects ..."

BW: To some degree, you're fabricating a Straw Man: no mystic denies cause and effect, even if they assert that there is some supernatural cause for some effects. I don't think it's valid to assume that knocking down the Straw Man proves the merit of your arguments. Each of them may be "logically ridiculous", but that doesn't prove that the inverse is logically valid.

[GB: Bill, I was being facetious. In case you did not get it, I consider all of indeterminism to be a “Straw Man.” That is why I enjoy knocking down each of your indeterministic interpretations as they pop up, one by one. That little section on the “compleat indeterminist” was just a fun illustration of how ridiculous extreme indeterminism would be. Actually, it is not very far-fetched. Despite your assertion, there actually are a few mystics who claim that the external world does not exist, or that it is all consciousness instead. For them, material causes and effects do not occur. As I mentioned in TSW, most forms of acausality are more moderate. For instance, there is specific acausality, which is the complement to specific causality. That is what you need to support your belief in free will or, for others, to support a religious belief while pursuing a career in science. Then, there is the finite universal causality of classical mechanics and classical determinism, which stops the search for causes at the door of infinity. For practical reasons, of course, we can only discover a finite number of causes for any effect. At that point, we have a philosophical choice: either there are more causes or there are not. Those who assume infinity say yes; those who assume finity say no.

You are right that the ridiculosity of an argument does not prove that the inverse is logically valid. As I have always maintained, none of the Ten Assumptions of Science can be proven true. Nothing, except logic prevents you from mixing and matching fundamental deterministic and indeterministic assumptions. Except for logic, you do not even have to believe in the necessity for consupponibility. Except for logic, you can be like other indeterminists, who welcome contradictions. Bill, you do not have to accept any of the Ten Assumptions of Science, but now I think it is time for you to accept the logic of their consupponibility.]

BW: Even if your assumptions are logically coherent, one doesn't require or preclude any of the others. Attempting to show they are consupponible is a complex task. Ten assumptions have 90 cross-references requiring validation, with many more to consider when you compare various sets of assumptions. A messy "web of interconnections".

[GB: Let me demonstrate what Collingwood[1] and I mean by consupponibility. It is quite simple. Examine these three assumptions and see if you can find any contradictions between them:


Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions.)

Second Assumption of Science, causality (All effects have an infinite number of material causes.)

Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything.)


Now, you may wish to assume only one of them or none of them. Each might stand or fall alone and you could logically exclude the others. Each of them is not derivable from the others, particularly when we wish to ignore that particular characteristic of the universe. In setting up this constellation (a group of assumptions), I was not required to include every assumption possible. I could have had only one, or I could have tried for more than a million. As you know, I choose ten for pedagogical and historic reasons. I chose the ones I did because they emphasized aspects of the universe I thought most important and stimulated the most debate between determinists and indeterminists. While that philosophical struggle rages on interminably, all (including you) should agree that the three assumptions above are consupponible. If these are the assumptions we wish to include in our constellation, they certainly are consupponible. It is time for you to man up: Logically, you must agree that, if the universe is infinitely subdividable, the number of causes for even one effect is infinite, and if that is the case, then it is impossible to know everything about even one thing.

Obviously, I am quite proud of "The Ten Assumptions of Science," and consider it a major discovery. I challenge anyone else to compile a constellation fulfilling Collingwood's criteria without including infinity. The whole idea of consupponibility infers interconnection.] 

TSW:  "The existence of these disagreements proves that these statements are assumptions - that is, matters of opinion."

BW: This is a huge concession to opposing views: they're all opinions. You seem to be saying that assumptions don't require evidence or logic, they are merely postulates. To say that ANY postulate is as good as another is to *diminish* the value of any scientific worldview, which is dependent on objective evidence and logical consistency with reality. To say that all assertions are *mitigated* by arbitrary, unsupported assertions to the contrary is to deny the basis for all knowledge.

[GB: I stand by that statement. Fundamental assumptions and the debates about them are made necessary by infinity. They can never be proven beyond a shred of an indeterminist’s doubt. Believers in finity cannot stomach the uncertainty. They may have given up religious absolutes, but still look for them in science. I called them “matters of opinion” to call attention to the mechanism by which we get these unprovable assumptions over which we have so much debate. Sorry Bill, but neither determinists nor indeterminists eschew evidence or logic when they develop their opinions or assumptions. Each of us has a distinct “worldview” caused by our interactions with the macrocosm. Each of us has a different idea about what constitutes valid “objective evidence and logical consistency with reality.” The parishioner considers the holy book and the claims of relatives and friends to be “objective evidence.” The cosmologist considers the cosmic redshift to be “objective evidence.” By using the same presupposition (finity), both come to the same conclusion: the creation of the universe out of nothing.

Sorry Bill, but I never said that “all assertions are *mitigated* by arbitrary, unsupported assertions to the contrary.” Where did you ever get that idea? My main point always has been that we need to choose wisely between opposing assumptions. I am aware of how we do this. I consider all indeterministic assumptions to be unsupported and all deterministic assumptions to be supported. I do not consider holy books and religious pronouncements to be suitable evidence. And as you saw in laboring over "The Ten Assumptions of Science," I have a lot of evidence to support my choice. I certainly do not think that any of these deterministic assumptions should be “mitigated” by any of the indeterministic assumptions. I agree that determinism is the basis for all knowledge—it is the only philosophy supported by observation and experiment. Too bad that the infinite universe cannot provide absolute proof for that assertion.]

TSW:  "Presuppositions become assumptions just as soon as they are stated—a process likely to occur only when results are not so pleasing."

BW: You're overlooking the intermediate step, which is what science is all about: validation of hypotheticals. There may be logical consequences implicit in any assumption, but the only relevant *results* are a consequence of experiment and objective confirmation. Absent evidence and its logical interpretation, all views are just flat assertions.

[GB: You missed the point. “When results are not so pleasing” implies that the particular hypothesis under consideration has been falsified (i.e., the evidence disproves it). It then behooves us to find out what went wrong. We need to backtrack the train of thought, checking our calculations and reexamining the various components of that hypothesis. Usually, it involves some minor detail, but breakthroughs normally involve an entirely new way of looking at things. Hugh breakthroughs, such as major paradigm shifts, require foundational changes. But, as Kuhn[2] pointed out, this is not likely to be done by the usual practitioners of “normal” science. After decades of successful practice, people tend to forget the assumptions underlying their interpretive approach. Instead of being overt, the foundational assumptions become covert—people can no longer state what they are. Collingwood referred to these unconscious assumptions as “presuppositions.” They do not become assumptions again until we bring them into the light of day. Once we write them down and debate them, new choices can be made. That is why I knew I was on to something big with the discovery of "The Ten Assumptions of Science." The revolutionary shift from the Big Bang Theory to the Infinite Universe Theory required a revolutionary shift in fundamental assumptions.]

Next: Consupponibility continued

cotsw 028







[1] Collingwood, R.G., 1940, An essay on metaphysics: Oxford, Clarendon Press, 354 p.



[2] Kuhn, T. S., 1962, The structure of scientific revolutions: Chicago, the University of Chicago Press.

2 comments:

Westmiller said...

GB: "... To have an object transmitting matter and motion between two objects, there also must be "space," otherwise the connection would be solid matter ... which would never work."

I'm pleased that you agree with my point, which seems in conflict with your prior assertion that there can be no empty space.

GB: "... For practical reasons, of course, we can only discover a finite number of causes for any effect. At that point, we have a philosophical choice: either there are more causes or there are not. Those who assume infinity say yes; those who assume finity say no."

A good scientist varies all the variables to discover whether they influence the particular effect being studied. If they don't modify the effect, then they are excluded from the causes.

For example, Galileo considered dozens of variations that might affect the periodicity of a pendulum, discarding all of them by testing their effects.
Granted, he only considered comprehensible and testable causes, but he didn't have to test every possible substance and an infinite variety of variations in mass, to conclude that those variables did not modify the periodicity. In essence, he accepted that there was an infinite variability of composition and mass, but concluded that there were a finite number of causes affecting periodicity.


So, I reject the philosophical proposition that "infinity" requires that there be other causes for any specific effect.

GB: "... you do not have to accept any of the Ten Assumptions of Science, but now I think it is time for you to accept the logic of their consupponibility."

Re-read my argument: I only doubt 1/20th of your assumptions. I also agree that they are consupponible, as you've defined them. My only point was that consupponibility is merely proof that they are not logically contradictory, not proof that any of the assumptions are true in reality: that requires evidence.

GB: "... The parishioner considers the holy book and the claims of relatives and friends to be "objective evidence."

But, those beliefs clearly aren't objective, they are matters of blind faith; they are merely assumptions, without evidence or logic. Hell, most of those beliefs aren't even consupponible!

GB: "... It is time for you to man up: Logically, you must agree that, if the universe is infinitely subdividable, the number of causes for even one effect is infinite, and if that is the case, then it is impossible to know everything about even one thing."

Actually, I agree with that proposition, which includes a big "IF", which I don't think is necessarily true: microcosmic infinity (the 1/20th). Of course, I'll have to justify a claim of microcosmic finity, but that's a topic for my own treatise.

Glenn Borchardt said...

Comment 20140526

GB: "... To have an object transmitting matter and motion between two objects, there also must be "space," otherwise the connection would be solid matter ... which would never work."

BW: I'm pleased that you agree with my point, which seems in conflict with your prior assertion that there can be no empty space.

[GB: I am a bit disappointed, Bill. By now you should be getting it. Solid matter and space are idealizations; they don’t exist. That is why I put quotes around “space.” There is no space in the universe that is perfectly empty. Space always contains matter and matter always contains space. What we call space is an area in which the contained matter is too feeble to prevent entry by more dense, larger, faster microcosms.]

GB: "... For practical reasons, of course, we can only discover a finite number of causes for any effect. At that point, we have a philosophical choice: either there are more causes or there are not. Those who assume infinity say yes; those who assume finity say no."

[GB: You are correct that scientists only report on the most significant variables. It is impossible to include all of them, for they are infinite. That is why there always is a plus or minus and you never get exactly the same result two times in a row. You can claim, as did Galileo and the classical mechanists, that there were a finite number of causes, but you would be wrong. Such hubris is not necessary and is not supported by the facts (the plus or minus). Are any of the undiscovered variables significant? Probably not, but there is no reason other than naivety or indeterminism to “reject the philosophical proposition that "infinity" requires that there be other causes for any specific effect.”

GB: "... The parishioner considers the holy book and the claims of relatives and friends to be "objective evidence."

BW: But, those beliefs clearly aren't objective, they are matters of blind faith; they are merely assumptions, without evidence or logic. Hell, most of those beliefs aren't even consupponible!

[GB: Careful now Bill, I tend to agree, but I do not think that the distinction between objective and nonobjective evidence is that simple. Plenty of religious folks believe that they are being just as objective as you are when you express “blind faith” in a finite particle. We only can get our objectivity through our five senses, which sometimes fail us. The schizophrenic who “talks to god” may report that as an objective experience—maybe start yet another religion. If objectivity was so easy, we would never have disagreements, at least in science. Big Bangers see the cosmic redshift as evidence for universal expansion, while others see it as evidence for tired light. Climate scientists consider carbon dioxide to be a cause, while geologists consider it to be an effect. Data that support a particular paradigm are solid, objective, and worthy of publication, while data that contradict a particular paradigm are suspect, nonobjective, and subject to instant dismissal.

My main point is that what we happen to choose as “objective evidence” from among the infinite number of microcosms available to us, is highly dependent on our initial assumptions. People tend to choose the evidence that fits their story; they tend to ignore the evidence that does not. They brag about the times they won at Vegas and forget about the times they lost. They remember the times prayer worked and forget about the times it did not. Some even think that there is objective evidence for microcosmic finity.]

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for your comment. Be sure to hit "Preview" to see if it will publish correctly. Then hit "Publish". Include your email address if you wish to receive copies of your comment as well as all other published comments to this Blog.

For those having trouble getting this comment section to work:

Nitecruzr writes:

[FAQ] Why can't people post comments on my blog?

The Blogger / Google login status, and the ability to post comments, is sensitive to both cookie and script filters. Your readers may need to enable (stop filtering) "third party cookies", in their browser and on their computer. The effects of the newly unavoidable CAPTCHA, and the Google "One account" login, requires third party cookies, even more than before.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2014/11/the-google-one-account-login-and-cookie.html

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2014/10/comments-and-cookie-filters-october-2014.html

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2014/10/the-new-commenting-captcha-is.html

Third party cookies filtering, in a browser setting, is the most common solution, overall - but your readers may have to search for other filter(s) that affect their use of Blogger / Google.

Any filters are subject to update, by the creator. If the problem started a few days ago, your readers may have to look on their computers, and find out what product or accessory was updated, a few days ago.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2014/01/almost-nobody-controls-their-own.html