Critique of TSW Part 28a The Last Chapter

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Bill still has trouble with the univironmental concept, eschewing anything that could be construed as dialectical. In his mind, this apparently falsifies concepts such as microcosm/macrocosm, divergence/convergence, and probably yin/yang too.

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: ".

The Last Chapter (Part 1 of 2)

BW: First, let me say that I found the book intellectually challenging and comprehensive. I very much appreciate your attempt at intellectual consistency and admire the effort you put into expressing your views. I know my critique has been harsh and petty, but I considered the issues important enough to point out faults in the facts or the arguments. As I've said before, I agree with nearly every conclusion and most arguments.

[GB: Bill, thank you so very much. Glad you liked "The Scientific Worldview." Again, I greatly appreciate your detailed critique, which addressed many of the objections entertained by other folks as well. We are all deterministic products of our indeterministic culture, and you have demonstrated that overcoming mainstream thought is no easy task. Each of us learn the elements of univironmental determinism at our own pace, which is made especially difficult by the necessity to confront the philosophical struggle head-on. I am afraid that I was of little help during that process, since you had written your entire review before I responded. One major purpose of the book was to change minds, which, as we all know, is never an easy task. Most of us are confronted with the religious world view at an early age, with daily reminders to continue along that path—or else.]

BW: >Ten Assumptions

You can call them assumptions or premises, but your arguments attempt to *justify* them as propositions ... sometimes successfully, sometimes not. My rating of your main claims on a 10-point scale:

[GB: Remember that, by definition, fundamental assumptions cannot be proven, they always have opposites, and must be consupponible. Attempts to justify a particular assumption ultimately fail to convince those holding fast to its opposite. I am always grateful for any additional facts and arguments in support of the assumptions, which might actually convince a doubter to switch sides, but I won’t be holding my breath in the meantime.]

1. Materialism - Agree, with minor qualifiers: +10
2. Causality - Agree: +10
3. Uncertainty - Agree, if "unmitigated truths" are added: +9
4. Inseparability - Agree, with the exception of light sphere and inverse square law: +9
5. Conservation - Agree: +10
6. Complementarity - Agree somewhat, if you discard arbitrary and subjective "cosms": +8
7. Irreversibility - Agree: +10
8. Infinity - Agree in the macro sense, but only "nearly infinite" in the micro sense: +7
9. Relativism - Agree, but the argument lacks definitions: +8
10. Interconnection - Similar #4, though I prefer "related", which makes it similar to #9: +9

Overall, we agree on at least 90% of these propositions, as you've presented them.

However, some major components of your arguments, to my mind, are faulty.

A. Micro/inside v. Macro/outside is an arbitrary, subjective attempt to introduce a "dialectic" that doesn't exist in nature. It adds nothing useful to your discussion of the issues.

[GB: Sorry Bill, you are completely wrong on this one. "The Scientific Worldview" is based on univironmental determinism, the universal mechanism of evolution stating that what happens to a portion of the universe is dependent on the matter in motion within (the microcosm) and without (the macrocosm). Even many systems philosophers do not regard system boundaries to be absolute, objective features of the universe. In science, we are forced to use arbitrary boundaries all the time. For instance, “Bodies of soil and nonsoil occur as a continuum at the surface of the earth. They merge into one another often at imperceptible though arbitrarily defined boundaries” (http://www.pedosphere.com/resources/cssc3rd/chapter02.cfm). In soil descriptions the transition between soil and bedrock varies from millimeters (very abrupt) to tens of centimeters (diffuse). It is true that the novice in science is often confused by nature’s refusal to provide the clear distinctions that were promised them by the absolutists at church. Nonetheless, we gradually learn to live with it. You can be as subjective and arbitrary as you wish, as long as you come up with meaningful and correct answers. The only difference between systems philosophy and univironmental determinism is whether or not you consider both sides of that boundary as equally important. And as we have seen throughout the book, one often reaches completely different conclusions by using univironmental analysis. Indeterminists might consider the results to add “nothing useful to…discussion of the issues” only because they contradict their opposing preconceived notions.]

B. Neo-Darwinism is misrepresented and confused with generic evolution.

[GB: Neo-Darwinism is currently regarded as the mechanism of evolution. However, it is only applicable in biology, involving only genes and natural selection. This should never be confused with generic evolution, for neo-Darwinism is only a special case—it doesn’t even include the entire biological microcosm. Until the discovery of univironmental determinism, there was no mechanism for generic evolution.]

C. Equal causation (within/without) is simply false, though you frequently abandon this claim.

[GB: A cause was defined by Newton in the Second Law as the collision of one body with another. As put forth in his Third Law, the resulting accelerations are equal and opposite. It is pointless to declare these as “false” or “simply false.” In univironmental determinism we view the collider as the microcosm and the collidee as the macrocosm. We could just as easily reverse that conception, seeing the collider as the macrocosm and the collidee as the microcosm. In either case, both contribute equally to the “cause” of the particular event in question. Even in Newton’s First Law, we can view the inertial body as a microcosm traveling through a macrocosm that is sufficiently non-resistant to allow that to happen. The key is to look on both sides of the univironmental boundary to discover why events occur—not only one or the other. It is true that, being human, we often tend to overemphasize the importance of either the microcosm or the macrocosm in our analyses. We need to avoid that, so I welcome your calling attention to it whenever that becomes evident.]

D. Divergence/convergence is vague and probably contrary to Newton's laws with respect to convergence.

[GB: Definitely not vague. What could be clearer that the Sixth Assumption of Science, complementarity (All things are subject to divergence and convergence from other things)? In addition, Newton’s laws of motion do not expressly forbid complementarity. True, the “unless” in the First Law takes no position on whether the universe is finite or infinite. My substitution of “until” for “unless” in my revision of the First Law in neomechanics expressly assumes that the universe is infinite. After all, the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions) is what distinguishes neomechanics from classical mechanics and one of the reasons for the “beyond Newton” claim in the book’s subtitle. I suspect that your difficulty with such a simple concept stems from the anathema with which you hold its dialectical implications. Simple concepts like this idea of things coming and going tend to become vague in our minds when they contradict our presuppositions. We would rather keep them fuzzily in the background than admit their validity.]

E. Gravity as a Push is contradicted by the evidence, as is the aether medium.

[GB: Sorry, but there is no evidence for the pull theory either. Newton’s laws of motion have only pushes. Newton proposed two theories for gravitation, one a pull and the other a push. Indeterminists chose to popularize attraction because it fit their world view and did not require an actual physical cause. I mentioned the Le Sage theory in the book because it appeared to be the best push theory at the time. Since then, Steve Puetz and I have discovered the actual physical cause of gravitation (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). Perhaps surprisingly, after working this all out, we discovered that Newton had proposed a similar push theory.

Although regressive physicists dare not use the word “aether” there is plenty of evidence for it. As Robert Louis Kemp put it: “Various models of the aether are being published in current scientific journals under different names: Quintessence, Higgs Field, Vacuum Expectation Value Energy, Zero Point Energy, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), and Ground State Energy. All are Aether Theories at their core, each with their own twist, but Aether theories never-the-less!”( http://superprincipia.wordpress.com/about-the-author/)]

Next: The Last Chapter (Part 2)

cotsw 069

1 comment:

Glenn Borchardt said...

BW: The... "within and without"...are almost never "equal"…

[GB: Remember that when determining causality, the absence of something is just as important as the presence of something. This is clear from Newton’s First Law of Motion, in which Newton’s body moves in a straight line only because: 1) it exists and is in motion and 2) nothing exists in its path that would stop it. The goal of univironmental analysis is to focus on both sides of the univironmental boundary equally.]

GB: Either term is correct according to Wikipedia: “Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the natural process of life arising from non-living matter ..."

BW: …biopoesis specifically claimed that reproducing cells (living) evolved from viruses (non-living), which has been disproved: NO virus is capable of self-replication.

[GB: Obviously, your last sentence is false. If that was true, none of us would ever get a cold or flu. Your statement demonstrates one of the errors produced by systems philosophy and its overemphasis on the microcosm and ignorance of the macrocosm. Viruses replicate only within the host cell. In other words, they need a special macrocosm, an environment, that contains the proper ingredients, in the same way that a computer virus needs a special macrocosm (your hard drive?) for replication. DNA also requires a special macrocosm, a living organism, for its replication. You are correct that the hypothesized transition from virus to cell was not the pathway by which nonliving matter became living matter. It was a somewhat different pathway.]

BW: You skipped over my rather lengthy commentary about free will as *compatible with determinism*, not an exception.

[GB: Sorry, not interested. There is extensive literature supporting both sides of the interminable compatibilism-incompatibilism debate (e.g., https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/author/whyevolutionistrue/ ). The transition from compatibilism to incompatibilism takes place very slowly. Jerry Coyne is doing a wonderful job in that effort, despite his adherence to cosmogony, the destruction of which I believe to be a even more important step in human evolution.]

GB: "... I define fatalism as the belief that only the macrocosm (our environment) controls what happens to us and solipsism as the belief that only the microcosm (ourselves) controls what happens to us ..."

BW: I don't think any fatalist or solipsist would accept that definition. The fatalist believes we have NO "control" and the solipsist believes we have TOTAL "control" over our choices. Your position seems to be that we have NO "control" over any of the causes, within or without. That's fatalism.

[GB: Each of us, being portions of the universe, is controlled by the within and without regardless of what we can say about it. In other words, we exert control over the macrocosm and the macrocosm exerts control over us. Those univironmental interactions produce the causal chain responsible for who we are. They are what makes me a determinist and you an indeterminist. Without further significant inputs, neither of us will suddenly change our minds. Each of us must work with what we have: the information obtained from the macrocosm and stored in our brains as knowledge. I have the “feeling of freedom,” while you claim to have “free will.” In neither case do we have a real choice—we cannot exist without changing the macrocosm. Thus it is not true “that we have NO "control" over any of the causes…without”—that truly would be fatalism. On the other hand, like the eye that cannot see itself, we really cannot change ourselves. We cannot climb into ourselves and make rearrangements like we could do to the furniture in our house. The only way we can “change ourselves” is by changing our environments.]

[GB: Sorry to have gotten Rand’s sophisticated selfishness in the same pen with Ringer’s vulgarity. Thanks for inadvertently pointing out the connection between libertarianism, free will, and voluntarism.]

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