Critique of TSW Part 13b: Interconnection/Consupponibility

Blog 20140528

Bill’s obsession with free will causes him to predict a global population of a trillion people 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:  "Collingwood somewhat unwittingly insisted on consupponibility—the proposition that if you can assume one assumption within a constellation, you must be able to assume all the others as well."

BW: Anyone can assume anything they please, or any multiplicity of assumptions, without impediment. One has to adopt the principles of logic before multiple assumptions can be shown to contradict each other. If they do NOT contradict each other, it does NOT demonstrate that any of them are true: that requires evidence. If one assumption is shown to be "unmitigated truth", that does not ensure that any of the others are true, only that they aren't precluded.

[GB: Bill, go ahead and “adopt the principles of logic” to show that the three assumptions I mentioned above contradict each other. You simply cannot do it. It is not possible for the second and third assumptions to be false if the first is true. I agree that we cannot use consupponibility to prove truthfulness. Certain indeterministic assumptions are consupponible as well (e.g., finity, absolutism, etc.). Although, as univironmental determinists, we can never claim “unmitigated” or absolute truth for any assertion, we can continue to supply evidence in support of "The Ten Assumptions of Science" and Infinite Universe Theory.]

TSW:  "... I confronted numerous contradictions based on the conventional belief in finity. Once I discarded finity, the logic fell neatly into place."

BW: Perhaps it pleased you, but macroscopic infinity says nothing whatever about any of your other asserted features. All of them can logically exist in a finite macroverse.

[GB: Except for the microcosmic part of infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions), which you must conveniently and continually overlook because you are a Finite Particle Theorist. There is no way that the Sixth Assumption of Science, complementarity (All things are subject to divergence and convergence from other things) could work in your finite “macroverse.” One either assumes there is a complement to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or one does not. That is why its interpretation bedevils indeterminists to the point of ridiculosity as in the monstrous book by Rifkin.[1]

Logically, any assumption involving infinity must apply at all scales. Otherwise, one must hypothesize a micro and/or macro stopping point, as in Finite Particle Theory and the Big Bang Theory, which then becomes a contradiction of infinity. If you were able to see this contradiction for what it is, you would have to give up Finite Particle Theory. I doubt this will happen, for as Upton Sinclair said “it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”]

BW: On the other hand, microcosmic infinity - as you've described it - precludes almost all of your other features. It logically requires a universal, material "connection": the Block Universe. But, that precludes the occurrence of events, so it contradicts causality and determinism.

[GB: Already beat this one to death. Your “Block Universe” idea is a contradiction of the Tenth Assumption of Science, Interconnection (All things are interconnected, that is, between any two objects exist other objects that transmit matter and motion). For that to be true, all subdivisions must result in both “matter” and “space.” There is no evidence whatsoever for solid matter since the atomists proposed it. Perhaps you dwell on the “Block Universe” idea so much because you desperately want to assume that your finite particle really is solid matter.]

TSW:  "... there is an ether ..."

BW: I suspect this will get some treatment later, but there is no evidence for such a substance, while there is ample evidence demonstrating that it doesn't exist. As I mentioned earlier, Special Relativity was fabricated for the sole purpose of preserving the wave theory, which requires a medium for the transfer of kinetic energy.

[GB: In a sense you are right—I since changed back to the original spelling: aether. You are bit mixed up. The Michelson and Morley (1887) experiment only proved that there was no fixed aether. Sorry, but Einstein’s theory did not require a medium. He believed that Michelson and Morley had proven that aether did not exist. There is plenty of evidence for the existence of aether. More on that later…

TSW:  "... support the replacement of the Big Bang Theory by the infinite universe theory."

BW: Simply asserting an infinite universe doesn't answer any questions about expansion, stellar evolution, or structural discontinuities ... even if the BBT is nonsense. I suspect there'll be more later.

[GB: You are right for once. Indeed, there will be much later. All the BBT nonsense is interpreted via the underlying indeterministic assumption of finity, which is one of the hallmarks of classical mechanics as well as today’s regressive physics. Simply replacing that assumption with infinity makes the BBT go away instantly. The question then arises: If infinity is so powerful, then what other ramifications does it imply?]

TSW:  "The answer is that nothing, like completely empty space, is only an idea, just like solid matter is only an idea. As shown time and again in our experiments, the reality exists between these two idealizations. It turns out that it is impossible for the universe not to exist - everywhere and for all time."

BW: I agree with your conclusion, but not your premises. An idea is an abstraction of distinct features from reality. That doesn't mean that those features don't exist in reality, nor that some mitigated combination provides a better view of reality itself. It isn't necessary to discard matter or its separation in order to get a perpetual universe.

[GB: Nice that you like my conclusion. Of course, an idea must always be a finite abstraction, while reality is always infinite. Any abstraction only highlights the characteristics of particular features. Moreover, as you imply, a more complete or more accurate abstraction is always possible. Your last sentence betrays your apparent belief that matter is some kind of crème-pie filling suited to your Finite Particle Theory. In univironmental determinism, we define matter as an xyz portion of the universe that contains other matter, ad infinitum. This bedevils absolutists who look for something solid to hold on to. I am sorry that the infinite universe was not able to accommodate you.]

TSW:  "We no longer need suffer the indignities of non-Euclidean curved space, massless particles, matterless motion, and a Second Law of Thermodynamics without its complement."

BW: Suffer "indignities"?? We can reject logically incoherent ideas without resort to fabricating "complements" or assuming that the contrary necessarily follows.

[GB: Sorry Bill, but I have indeed suffered “indignities” concerning the subjects mentioned. The only “C” I ever got in college was in a physics class that tried to force me to accept such logical incoherence. Obviously, I could not do it. You are right that, once out of indeterministic academic control, one need not try to understand the reasons for the outrage. Thousands of folks simply do not believe that stuff without questioning why it exists. Sorry, but convergence as a complement to divergence is not a “fabrication” and the universe is either finite or infinite. What part of that logic don’t you get?]

TSW:  "... systems philosophy, will be discarded as the "environment," previously neglected, becomes increasingly prominent as a factor in our survival."

BW: I don't think any scientific philosophy "discards" the environment. It simply tries to reduce the number of incidental influences (which can't be accounted for) in order to test the validity of theories about substantive features and characteristics of matter in motion. Granted, a lot of those theories are preposterous, but testing them requires experimental *focus* ... eliminating the random influences that are clearly present.

[GB: Remember that systems philosophy was born of solipsism, which, by definition, completely “discards the environment.” That was the pre-Copernican way and it is the way of the Big Bang Theorists. You are right that a proper focus is necessary. Univironmental determinism maintains that the proper focus always must be between the microcosm and its interactions with the macrocosm. In other words, we theoretically divide the universe into two parts, not one part to the exclusion of everything else. You can do this with any experiment. It would have totally prevented the preposterous idea that the universe is finite and has nothing outside of it.]

TSW:  "... our ecological "carrying capacity" of 10 billion people ..."

BW: Strange that you tend to be a radical opponent of orthodoxy, while accepting an orthodoxy at face value. Peak population projections are based on the current state of scientific knowledge. There's nothing inherently "unimaginable" about a world population of 1 trillion by 2200 or 100 trillion by 2300. Current analysis simply assumes perpetual stasis in fertility rates and consumables.

[GB: Sorry Bill, but this has nothing to do with orthodoxy whatsoever. The 10 billion claim is purely based on data. Jump to page 288 to see the figures on population trends. World growth rates maxed out in 1963 at 2.2%. They are now close to 1%. The annual increase in world population maxed out at 90 million in 1989, and has been declining ever since. By using that data as the inflection point, I was able to draw figure 12-3, which includes the mirror image of the data before 1989. This produced the sine curve showing that the maximum population for Earth will be 10 billion, which turns out to be the revised value predicted by population experts in your links above. Although unheralded by the “orthodox,” the year 1989 marks the midpoint in humanity’s growth and development. Until that inflection point occurred, we had little idea of what maximum population would be. This type of “demographic transition” has occurred for semi-isolated situations involving separate countries. Carrying capacity is a prominent concept in biology, especially in game management, with which I am most familiar. It describes a univironmental relationship between a specific species and its environment.

Your imaginings about trillions of people are plainly ridiculous. I have heard this type of silly speculation before, always from indeterminists. They imagine that billions of folks, in the grips of their supposed “free will,” could suddenly decide to reproduce once again at fantastic rates. It is not true that “current analysis simply assumes perpetual stasis in fertility rates.” All the data show that fertility rates decline as countries develop and become urbanized—that is what the demographic transition is all about. True, after 2050, when the population reaches 8.5 billion, the rates will not change much. Like other species, human populations require resources that are clearly limited. The first folks to the table have it easy, the last, not so much. As populations increase, it takes more and more effort to obtain the basics. That is one of the reasons urban families are usually smaller than rural families. Maybe you should try raising 12 kids where you live now. Be sure to budget that $6 million that you will need to put them all through college, which seems to be one of the basics nowadays.

Once we reach 10 billion after 2400, I suspect that there will be fluctuations in world population produced by, as always, fluctuations in resources. For instance, the next continental glacial advance might cover the higher latitudes with as much as a mile of ice as it did 22,000 years ago. This process will be slow, of course, allowing folks to move to warmer climes and appreciate the joys of having even smaller families.

The global demographic transition shows our species to be like all the others. Like all the others, we are microcosms subject to the macrocosm. We exist at the behest of the green stuff growing on this planet. We may be infinitely complicated, but we are a natural consequence of all that came before. The ongoing global demographic transition is a daily reminder of the failure of indeterminism and its doctrine of free will to predict or to understand anything at all.]

Next: Univironment

cotsw 029

[1] Rifkin, Jeremy, 1980, Entropy: A new world view: New York, Bantam, 302 p.

1 comment:

Rick Doogie said...

BW said, "If one assumption is shown to be "unmitigated truth, ...".

I'm having a bad case of déjà vu. Haven't we been down this road repeatedly? What kind of scientist (or even science fan) uses the words "unmitigated truth"?

There goes the flag of "unmitigated truth" up the flagpole again. And when Glenn says there can be no absolute proof for any assumption, Bill jumps on the False Dichotomy train, assuming that must mean that Glenn's assumptions are completely random. (Flag? Train? Did I just mix a metaphor? I'm sorry.)

As one of the handful of people reading this interesting exchange as it happens, I seem to remember Glenn saying just a week or two ago that "assumptions are not picked out of thin air". Of course, I'm paraphrasing.

Assumptions are based on empirical evidence, but no amount of evidence can ever add up to "absolute proof", ... or as Bill prefers, "unmitigated truth".

Not even conventional scientists (except the purest of pure mathematicians) claim absolute infallibility. I gotta say, I've read plenty of science in my 60 years on the planet, and I don't remember very many scientists or science writers talking about "absolute truth" or "unmitigated proof". Most scientists, even though they have a high degree of certainty about many things, they take it as a given that they will always need to refine their theories. A high degree of certainty does not equal "unmitigated truth", and hardly anyone is pompous enough to claim that or demand that.

Even the most popular theories, including Big Bang Cosmology, constantly undergoes all kinds of tweaking. It seems like every few months we see a headline that proclaims that some new observation is going to "Shake the Foundations of Modern Physics".

I thought it would be interesting to google the phrases "absolute truth in science" and "unmitigated proof in science". Funny that practically all the top results were either religious websites pushing creationism or scientific proofs of the bible. The very top search result for "absolute truth in science" was a webpage called "The Foundation of Science Is Absolute Truth". I thought that I was really onto something, but it was another creationist website. It seems like only the most religious are interesting in discussing such absolutism. The rest of the world assumes we have knowledge that is "pretty dang close, or good enough for our purposes", and they get on with their work.

I found a pair of pertinent paragraphs on a page called "What is Science"?

"In that sense, most scientists will concede that, although they seek Truth, they don't know or generate Truth. They propose and test theories, knowing that future evidence may cause refinement, revision, or even rejection of today's theories. Ask a scientist about an issue that's not directly observable, and you probably hear an answer that starts with something like "The evidence suggests that . . ." or "Our current understanding is . . .". You're not hearing waffling or indecision. You're hearing a reasoned recognition that we can't know many things with absolute certainty - we only know the observable evidence. However, we can reach the best possible conclusion based on the most complete and modern evidence available."

"It's worth remembering that a person's admission of uncertainty doesn't mean they're wrong, whether the issue is in politics, economics, religion, or science. In fact, a person who admits some uncertainty in their thinking is often closer to the truth, or at least understands the issues better, than someone who claims absolute certainty. Shouting loudest does not generate truth."

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