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

The infinite universe consists everywhere of infinitely dividable and integrable matter in motion. Bill resists, as a good indeterminist should.

I am ever so grateful to Bill Westmiller, whose comments are in bold and marked “BW:”. The quotes marked “TSW:” are from "The Scientific Worldview[1]" and mine are marked “[GB:”.  Despite Bill’s claim that he is in agreement with inseparability[2], the fact that his comments and my response are so lengthy (five blog entries), indicates this is really not true. Throughout, note that Bill never wavers from the mainstream assumption of microcosmic finity. This logically requires him to posit ideal solid matter as well as perfectly empty space. He needs these indeterministic assumptions to formulate a theory he is working on, which posits a finite particle and denies aether.

We are extremely fortunate to have Bill’s comments. Regressive physicists generally dismiss deterministic assumptions out of hand. Most are like the religious folks who are careful to avoid any association with atheists. Bill obviously put a lot of effort into his review of TSW. He has given us the opportunity to view opposing assumptions side-by-side. A living, breathing advocate is preferable to the possible straw men and cherry picking that could pop up in the process of writing a book. Throughout these discussions, I don’t expect Bill to suddenly morph into a univironmental determinist[3] for two reasons: First, he did the entire review before my input, and second, he has been an indeterminist his entire life. Once on the finite track, it is hard to get off, as I explained in my blog on Sidetracking the Big Bang Theory” and demonstrated in my extended debate with Bill on freewill. One characteristic of indeterminists is that they are not particularly bothered by contradictions. As you will see in the discussions below, Bill is no exception. On the other hand, Bill caught me in one, which surely will be removed from the 2nd edition. See if you can find it before he points it out. There will be a quiz!  

BW: I'll start and end with the same statement: In general, there's very little to disagree with in this chapter (in spite of my prolific notes on syntax and terminology). At worst, we disagree on whether motion "creates" matter or that matter "requires" motion for its existence.

TSW: "Just as there is no motion without matter, so there is no matter without motion."

BW: I agree with the first clause but dispute the second. I think it conceivable to have a universe with static matter and no motion, but it wouldn't be the one we live in. In fact, it couldn't have any features whatever, let alone any conscious beings. So, I concur with the sentiment, but not the phrasing. More on my dispute with the Hegel proposition below.

[GB: Bill, I am glad that you finally are beginning to realize that matter without motion is only a pipe dream despite your contradictory statement that “I think it conceivable to have a universe with static matter and no motion.” No one has ever found matter without motion in all the centuries we have been studying it. Perhaps your reluctance is a reflection of your belief in microcosmic finity, which requires the atomistic belief in “solid matter.” Like you, some atomists thought that the universe ultimately consisted of identical particles containing solid matter. They were a bit more advanced, however, in that they considered these atoms to be in motion, at least partially negating your objection. Of course, a universe with identical atoms wouldn’t work either, because there would be no reason for them to join together, forming the complexes we know as matter.]

TSW: "How many people really understand that the conceptual unification that Einstein was trying to achieve is, in the end, impossible? ... His belief in finity led to the conceptual and mathematical closure that gave him the equation."

BW: I'm reluctant to give Einstein credit for a concept of energy that "was to guarantee physical inseparability for all time." It was Newton who described energy as the product of mass in motion (½mv²). All Einstein did was substitute c² for v² and drop the conversion factor. There's a very interesting background story to *why* he did that, but the effect was to make mass a *variable* and velocity finite ... *rather than* relative. It seems to me logically incoherent to call such a theory "Relativity". It is correct to say he added "finity" to the velocity, but in so doing, he added *infinity* to mass.

TSW: "... neither matter nor motion should be considered more important than the other ..."

BW: I understand your point that both are necessary, but either formula makes it clear that the quantity of motion is the square greater influence than the quantity of matter in properly calculating kinetic energy. Otherwise, it would just be E=mv.

[GB: Bill, interesting point, but I believe we should not be so literal when using these abstractions. The main idea here is that, without matter, motion contributes nothing to energy. Choosing between matter and motion is like choosing between width and length in calculating the area of a rectangle. Although the width and length could be vastly different, both are equally important. You can’t have one without the other.]

TSW: "What gives an object its materiality is, first, its consisting of other objects in motion, and second, its existing among other objects in motion."

BW: Hegel is just speculating. Matter isn't "given" substance, it IS substance ... whether moving or not, relatively or objectively. Its existence is not dependent upon "containing" other forms of matter in motion, nor the existence of any other form of matter being in motion. Hegel is trying to objectify motion, which you rightly condemn. I might be able to understand his reductionist presumption (from the evidence at hand), but the remainder is a meaningless self-referential definition: matter gets its substance from matter and other matter, otherwise "it" wouldn't have matter or be matter. Silly.

[GB: Disagree, of course. I don’t see an objectification of motion in that statement. I don’t know where Hegel said that “matter was given substance,” and would not agree with it in any case—smacks of some kind of creationist atomism. Matter always contains other matter, not some magical “substance.” There is no such thing as matter per se. Matter is an abstraction for all things. Each of those things must contain other things in motion and exist among other things in motion. Believers in finity cannot understand this, of course. Without the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions), one needs to hypothesize solid matter to provide the substance. Because the universe cannot produce empty space or solid matter, neither will ever be found and no regressive physicist will be able to define matter properly.]  

BW: I realize that you like Hegel's micro and macro-cosmic infinity, but I don't think they're logically sound. He talks about "pure matter", as though other forms were "impure". He says that all matter has charge: "the essence of matter is attraction and repulsion", but I've never heard of negative gravity. He asserts that matter is both divisible and continuous, and at the same time neither of the two. Oddly, these statements appear in a book titled "Science of Logic", when they are anything but logical.

[GB: I am not familiar with “Hegel’s micro and macro-cosmic infinity.” Do you have a reference? Actually, aside from the dictum I use as the Fourth Assumption of Science, I don’t agree with most of Hegel’s stuff—he was a dualist, after all. You are right that the use of “pure” and “impure” implies microcosmic finity, not microcosmic infinity, despite whatever else he says. I also agree with you that all matter does not have charge. If there is an essence to matter, it is not attraction and repulsion, but convergence and divergence (Sixth Assumption of Science). I especially did not like his habit of attributing opposing properties at the same time. That’s why I included 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). As you will see, his “divisible and continuous” observation is well handled by 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: "... motion always refers to an object that is moving relative to other objects ..."

BW: Almost always. Relativity is correct for all translational motion, but not for spin. Rotational motion is relative to the center of mass, not another object. Once spin is imparted, it is an inertial state of motion.

[GB: Sorry Bill, but your analysis has a macrocosmic error. Each submicrocosm within the microcosm of the rotating body moves with respect to all other submicrocosms within. In addition, each of these submicrocosms is moving with respect to each of the supermicrocosms without. Whether the motion is inertial or accelerated makes no difference. The fact that one may not be able to measure any of this has nothing to do with it.]

BW: For example, you're in your space ship, in an inert state, and an irregular object passes you. Relative to your position, you detect motion and can quantify it. You accelerate and match the object's motion. Now, relative to you, it has no motion. Both you and the object are in the same inertial frame. However, if the object is spinning, you cannot move your ship to an inert position that creates the appearance of a non-spinning object. That requires constant acceleration to maintain an orbit. There is no internal frame of reference for the observer, even though the spin itself is an inertial state.

[GB: It actually is impossible for the space ship and the irregular object to be absolutely motionless with respect to each other. For instance, both have tiny motions indicative of the vibrations we measure as temperature in addition to the tendency to rotate in response to irregularities in the macrocosm. This nicely illustrates why there are no perfectly inertial frames. The fact that you cannot establish an inertial frame for the spin of the object has nothing to do with whether the object is in motion or not. Your approach, operationalism, is a form of positivism that defines scientific concepts in terms of the operations used to determine or prove them. Einstein was particularly plagued with this form of solipsistic indeterminism, being fixated on frames and measurement. One example is his mysterious denial of simultaneity. Most anyone with any sense knows that there are many events occurring at exactly the same time in the universe, even though we cannot prove that without making fallible measurements involving the velocity of light.]

Next: Inseparability Part 2 of 5

cotsw 007

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

[2] The scientific assumptions mentioned above were discussed in Chapter 3 of TSW and in:
Borchardt, Glenn, 2004, The ten assumptions of science: Toward a new scientific worldview: Lincoln, NE, iUniverse, 125 p. (http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/assumptions.html )

[3] Univironmental determinism, the observation that what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter within and without, was presented as the universal mechanism of evolution in TSW (footnote 1 above).


Glenn Borchardt said...

Glenn: "This logically requires him to posit ideal solid matter as well as perfectly empty space. He needs these indeterministic assumptions to formulate a theory he is working on, which posits a finite particle and denies aether."

BW: I'll make my case when the time is ripe, but I don't see why solid matter or empty space means that my view of matter or motion is "indeterministic". Every effect still has a cause and all events are physical. I'll also have to make the case for my view that "free will" is compatible with determinism, which I did describe in a separate "review" commentary.

[GB: Bill, remember that there are two major forms of determinism: 1) Classical and 2) Univironmental. The classical form is based on finity, while the univironmental form is based on infinity. The classical form is consupponible with classical mechanics, while the univironmental form is consupponible with neomechanics and the Ten Assumptions of Science. As I define it, this new form of determinism makes the old one indeterministic—such is progress in scientific philosophy. Thus, infinity assumes that solid matter and empty space are impossible. Inseparability assumes no motion without matter and no matter without motion. You have expressed views that use the opposing assumptions, at least to a slight degree. Also, you have spent an inordinate amount of effort on the interminable determinism-freewill debate, which, in its classical form, also has been called the determinism-indeterminism debate. The univironmental form of the contest is no different, although I use the infinite form of universal causality and have dismissed freewill as a useful starting point. There are, of course, many forms of indeterminism, with yours being less harmful than most. Some only express a belief in freewill, eschewing most of the rest of the indeterministic cant. Others do it to support political causes, as in statements like this: “If we don’t do something, our species is done for.” While that may be helpful in rousing the troops and is certainly one of the causes for action and inevitable solutions, I don’t believe that lies are theoretically useful. The correct statement is: “As always, we will do something and our species will survive—until the macrocosm of our species changes beyond our capabilities.”]

Glenn: "No one has ever found matter without motion in all the centuries we have been studying it."

BW: I agree, but I don't consider it logically impossible to reach "absolute zero" Kelvin, even if that means there is only motion internal to the atoms. In any case, you couldn't "find" matter that wasn't affecting other matter, producing a sensation (or device reading). You could only impute their existence by their effects.

Glenn: "... Each submicrocosm within the microcosm of the rotating body moves with respect to all other submicrocosms within."

BW: My point was that the spin of an object is matter in motion relative to itself, rather than relative to other objects. That applies whether the spinning object has submicrocosms within or not. It's a form of motion that doesn't fit Newton's (or Einstein's) conception of linear motion being relative to the observer's frame.

Of course, I agree that no frame of reference can be *perfectly* inertial in every respect. The relevant criteria for measuring relative motion is that there is no acceleration being applied in the linear direction being observed. But, circular motion isn't linear. Therefore, it is *objective*, rather than *subjective* (relative) motion.

[GB: I agree that your belief in absolute zero logically follows from your indeterministic assumption of separability. Glad you recognize that no microcosm can exist without a macrocosm. Any test for absolute zero requires an instrument, which itself has temperature (i.e., vibratory motion).]

Glenn Borchardt said...

[GB: Sorry Bill, but spin means nothing without a macrocosm. A similar criticism was hurled at Newton’s First Law of Motion as well: What can be said of a body moving by itself through absolute space? Granted, such idealizations are helpful, but like solid matter and empty space, they cannot exist in reality. One reason that frames of reference were so important to Newton and Einstein, was that they were not univironmental. As in today’s systems philosophy, no macrocosm was evident. Newton’s absolute space and Einstein’s perfectly empty space had nothing in it, so they had to offer themselves or some mathematical construct instead. My view is that infinite, univironmental nature doesn’t give a dam about us or any other referent. It just goes on about its merry way. You can imagine spinning objects without submicrocosms and supermicrocosms, but you will never find any.]