Critique of TSW Part 14b Theory of the Univironment

Blog 20140618 

Bill adheres to his assumption of finity as he boosts systems philosophy in his review of Chapter 4 on the “Theory of the Univironment.”

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:  Bohm (again!): "The inner character of a thing and its relationships to external causal factors are united in the sense that the two together are what define the causal laws satisfied by that thing."

BW: I'm not sure what it means to "satisfy" causal laws. Perhaps he's just saying that everything is an effect caused by other things. Even if that is true, it doesn't require a differentiation between internal and external causal factors, much less an equality between them. The essential characteristics of a material (Borchardt) "thing" may change, or they may not, as a consequence of internally or externally applied events. It is true that every event causes *some* change, and that interactions among objects are common, but that doesn't alter the validity of the label we have given to identify that distinct material thing.

[GB: In other words, Bohm is the precursor to my claim that 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. As an indeterminist, you are not required to differentiate “between internal and external causal factors,” and you certainly do not have to believe that there is “an equality between them.” That is a job for univironmental determinists.]     

TSW:  Santayana: "Everything that exists by conjunction with other things on its own plane ..."

BW: Specifying "on its own plane" recognizes the fact that Bohm overlooks: objects are *only* affected by collisions ("conjunctions") that cause an effect. Those objects moving "within the circle" (environment) of an object are immensely more likely to modify its characteristics than remote objects. Purely in terms of probabilities, the odds that *any* interaction will change the fundamental characteristics of an object are miniscule. Even to modify an incidental characteristic of an object requires another object with high relative velocity or mass. The solar wind is not going to change my keyboard "L" into an "M", nor change it's incidental characteristics as much as my finger will during the course of this commentary.

[GB: I don’t think that is a fair criticism of Bohm. Nowhere does he give the implication for “totality” in the way you have misunderstood it. Causality, as you explained at length, depends on collisions with the nearest supermicrocosms, not with every supermicrocosm in the universe at once.]  

TSW:  "A microcosm, then, cannot exist by itself, without its macrocosm."

BW: You've taken a conceptual leap, far beyond Bohm or Santayana. They aren't saying that a thing can't "exist by itself", only that it is influenced by external encounters. I don't think either of them are saying that causal events *always have to be occurring* in order for the object to maintain it's existence. What you seem to be asserting is a form of "anti-realism" or "immaterialism": that things only exist by interacting with other things. On the verge of George Berkeley, who might have said: things only exist in the mind of God.

[GB: Boy, did you get that mixed up! Also, you seem to have forgotten the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). The essence of Infinite Universe Theory is exactly that. No microcosm could exist for a microsecond without its macrocosm. The macrocosm of each baryonic microcosm consists of aether particles needed to hold it together. Not only that, but the macrocosm is necessary for the transformation of ordinary matter from the aether that must exist everywhere. I thought we explained this well in our paper on Neomechanical Gravitation Theory.[1] Aether deniers surely would never be able to understand or accept that. They really do think that space is perfectly empty. After all, that fits with their assumption that the universe is both macrocosmically and microcosmically finite. I am afraid that the immaterialism is really all yours, at least with respect to your idea of space.]      

TSW:  "Systems philosophers do not intend to ignore only certain distant, minute, or insignificant portions of the macrocosm; they intend to ignore all of it."

BW: I think I've said before that you're misrepresenting the philosophy. Advocates, like Bánáthy, recognize that models are fabrications created only for the purpose of understanding fundamental natural processes; that their experiments create arbitrary, artificial boundaries that don't exist in nature; and that the objective is only to facilitate analysis, confirmation, refutation, or understanding of distinct processes. It's a "philosophy of scientific investigation", not a philosophy of the universe.

[GB: Right. And when one uses that solipsistic philosophy on a small portion of the universe, one gets a raft of predictable results: perfectly empty space, a finite universe, finite particles, and a slew of microcosmic mistakes. Unfortunately, if you get accustomed to that method of investigation, you will develop a “philosophy of the universe.” It’s called the Big Bang Theory.]  

TSW:  "... the concept of the univironment forces us to keep an open mind about whether a particular macrocosmic factor is likely to be significant."

BW: I don't think any system philosopher would intentionally ignore any factor that might be significant to the particular events or effects they're investigating. However, I do see a *lot* of such evasions in climatology. The solar wind doesn't have much (if any) effect on tumor cells, but it certainly affects climate.

[GB: Bill, you need to get real. We tend to see only what we are looking for. Specialists always have a tendency to automatically emphasize their specialties to the exclusion of all else. That is why medical doctors often are criticized for their microcosmic errors, leaving a niche for new-age “holism.” None of this ignorance is necessarily intentional and a lot of it is unavoidable. Nevertheless, we can do better. If, in a particular analysis, our specialty is microcosmic, we need to recognize that factor by calling in a macrocosmic specialist to provide the correct univironmental balance.]

TSW:  "... whatever the definition of the microcosm, only half of the 'main features' necessary for its motion are contained within. An equally important half remains outside its boundaries."

BW: I don't think there's any evidence supporting the presumption of a 50-50 (micro/macro) split on all effects for all objects. The critical factor is the relationship between internal energy (mass in motion) and any external energy (mass in transit) applied to that object. That may be 1-99 or 99-1, depending upon the objects.

[GB: Bill, you missed the point again. Remember that univironmental determinism is the observation that what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter in motion within and without. The absence of something is just as important as the presence of something. Newton’s law of the universe, the First Law of Motion, said it all. His imagined object (50%) travels through imagined absolute space (50%). It’s obvious: The First Law would not work without the object; it would not work without the space.]  

BW: I have a slightly different view of motion, since I consider rotary motion to be objective (self-referential frame) and longitudinal motion to be relative (dependent on a selected frame). Most of what you might label "microcosmic" motion is rotational: it doesn't depend upon (even if it is created by) external influences. Therefore, nothing is "necessary" for its motion. This is actually a flaw in Newton's First Law: an object in rotary motion is not "at rest", nor does it move "in a straight line". Once an object has rotary motion, that motion is inertial. The Second Law still applies to the acceleration or retardation of that rotary motion, but the motion is *not* relative to anything else.

[GB: I believe that I went over this before when you proposed something similar as being a “state of no motion.” I pointed out that all microcosms contain submicrocosms that are continually in motion with respect to each other and the supermicrocosms in their surroundings. All motion is relative. This has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s “selected frame.” I can see how your indeterminism leads to your incorrect conclusions. The assumption of finity implies solidity (“objective” motion), microcosmic overemphasis (self-referential frame), and the idea that rotary motion “is *not* relative to anything else.” Part of your mistake involves your inability to handle scale. Like the quantum mechanists, you tend to attribute unwarranted special characteristics to the very small. The fact is, that the “straight line” mentioned in the First Law of Motion does not exist either. Every portion of the universe moves around other portions. That does not make Newton’s idealization any less important.]

TSW:  "Like all microcosms, the cell cannot even exist without its surroundings."

BW: It is true that inanimate objects (one kind of microcosm) can't *come into existence* on their own, since they're composed of other components of matter. But, once they exist, the composite is persistent and its motion is preserved by simple inertia. It doesn't *need* any external influence to continue its existence.

[GB: Sorry, but “simple inertia” in the absence of a macrocosm does not preserve existence. Here is an example: A crystal of salt in water totally dissolves under “simple inertia” when the macrocosm is not amenable for its continued existence. If we want to preserve the crystal, we have to increase the solution concentrations of its constituent ions. A “systems philosopher” who ignored the macrocosm, as you just did, would be shocked to see the demise of his little solitary crystal. The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to all microcosms.]  

BW: It is also true that animate objects (another kind of microcosm) require persistent *processes*, which are interactions with external objects. Absent an external energy source, a cell will die. However, a dead cell is still a cell, until it decomposes. Many of its physical characteristics will persist for a long time, even if its primary metabolic process stops.

[GB: I repeat: The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to all microcosms. It is a major mistake to make exceptions biased by systems philosophy and its tendency to de-emphasize the macrocosm.]

TSW:  "The word microcosm virtually demands its accompaniment, macrocosm."

BW: As a referential word, yes. Since it's a subjective term, there must be bigger and smaller things. However, relative to the universe as a whole (macrocosm), every portion is smaller. There doesn't need to be something bigger than everything (God or Void). Nor does there *need* to be anything smaller than a neutrino (or Unimid), even if it is finite.

[GB: Indeterminists have demonstrated quite well what they need. Solipsism has always fought against that bigger material something as well as that smaller material something. That probably is one reason that our recent book on "Universal Cycle Theory: Neomechanics of the Hierarchically Infinite Universe"[2] has met such a rousing reception.]   

Next: Chapter 5 Neomechanics

cotsw 031

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, and Puetz, Stephen J. , 2012, Neomechanical gravitation theory ( http://www.worldsci.org/pdf/abstracts/abstracts_6529.pdf ), in Volk, G., Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 19th Conference of the NPA, 25-28 July: Albuquerque, NM, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, v. 9, p. 53-58.

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


Bligh said...

[GB: I don’t think that is a fair criticism of Bohm. Nowhere does he give the implication for “totality” in the way you have misunderstood it. Causality, as you explained at length, depends on collisions with the nearest supermicrocosms, not with every supermicrocosm in the universe at once.]
GB I couldn't go beyond this one without commenting.
Do not oversimplify. As you know although we can not demonstrate or prove it, the assumption in modern physics since Bohm ( to my knowledge) that all is interconnected. So, yes every microcosm is affected by all events in all the infinite universe. Just happens down at infinitely small continuous wave like phenomena. So, yes it does all happen at once.
If I am missing something here please let me know.

Glenn Borchardt said...


Egads and shades of BW himself: "every microcosm is affected by all events in all the infinite universe"????

Not possible. Most everything in the universe is billions of light years away. How could stuff happening right now on galaxies 13.8 billion light years away affect us right now? What kind of assumption do you use to come up with that?