Critique of "The Scientific Worldview": Part 11a The Ten Assumptions of Science: Relativism

Bill throws in a bit of absolutism to stir the pot and keep his own assumptions consupponible.

I am ever so grateful to Bill Westmiller, whose comments are marked "BW: ". The quotes marked TSW are from "The Scientific Worldview[1]" and my comments are marked "[GB: ".

TSW: Ninth Assumption of Science, relativism (Part 1 of 3)

“All things have characteristics that make them similar to all other things as well as characteristics that make them dissimilar to all other things.”

BW: ... an assumption depending on the definition of "things". I know a lot of dictionaries simply define "thing" as any material object, but I prefer the broader definition from Merriam-Webster, which encompasses events, acts, situations, and qualities as "things":


For clarity, I'll assume (you don't say) that your "things" are only "material objects", in contrast with my "things" as any object or condition amenable to abstraction. This presumptive "attitude" is just "my thing".

[GB: Right. For the univironmental determinist, “things” always have xyz dimensions and location with respect to other things. True to the indeterministic approach of Merriam-Webster and the religious culture in general, your definition of “thing” objectifies motions (events and acts) in the same way Einstein did in his most important philosophical error.[1]]

BW: So ... it is true that all *material objects* are similar to all other things that have matter. It is also true that all material objects have position, motion, and environments that are dissimilar from all other material objects. Therefore, for Borchardt Things, your statement is true.

[GB: Glad to see that you agree.]

BW: However, for Westmiller Things, it isn't necessarily true. Gravity is not "similar to" any other things. Mass in any one thing is not "dissimilar" to mass in all other things. Electrons have characteristics that are not "dissimilar" to other electrons, although electrons are "dissimilar" to all things that are not electrons.

[GB: Sorry, Bill, but gravity is not a thing. It is a motion. If you think it is a thing, please give me some of it so I can use it to hammer my next nail without exerting any effort. Similarly, mass is not a thing. Mass is a measurement of a thing’s resistance to acceleration. As in the case of snowflakes, which we can see, we may assume that no two electrons, which we cannot see, are identical. Like other idealists, you have only imagined them to be so. Whenever we compare any two snowflakes in detail, we find that they have dissimilarities as well as similarities. If we could do that for electrons, we would get a similar result. When the dissimilarities among microcosms become great enough, we consider them to be members of a different class. The transition from one class to another is never as distinct as indeterminists imagine. That is the essence of relativism. There are always some similarities between microcosms.]

TSW:  "The Law of Identity or Equality, A = A, that is, every concept is equal to itself."

BW: That's not the usual meaning. It isn't that concepts are equal, but that a "thing" is what it is. It can't be an Apple and a Non-Apple at the same time. This is a statement about nature, dictated by logic, not consciousness. Granted, we use concepts to refer to "things", but that just requires that our definitions of terms be rational and consistent with reality. E.g.: You can't have nothing that is something.

[GB: Remember that the quote above was written by an absolutist. The other end of that continuum is the Law of Inequality, A / A. The reality is, as in the empty space-solid matter idealization, always in between. Because all matter is always in motion, no single thing is equal to itself for even a microsecond. As you recognize, the apple that you speak of will not always remain an apple. Eventually it will rot, becoming a “non-apple” part of the soil that engulfed it. Absolutists, such as yourself, tend to think of things as being static. That kind of “reality” does not and cannot exist.]

TSW:  "There are no strict identities because all matter is in constant motion; no thing can be what it was just a moment before."

BW: There's a difference between identity and position. A Borchardt Thing doesn't cease to be what it is, simply because it's position, relative to other things, has changed. Since all translational motion is relative, we can't even say that a thing has moved. Maybe it's just the other things that are moving. Your formulation suggests that a Borchardt Thing becomes *something else*, or nothing else, because other things are moving.

[GB: Bill, look at it this way: All microcosms (Borchardt Things, as you say) are composed of submicrocosms and exist in a sea of supermicrocosms, all of which are in motion. There is a continuous exchange of matter and the motion of matter between the microcosm and its macrocosm. Thus, a person, for example, continually breathes in and out, exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen, losing hair, and gaining or losing weight with every microsecond. This occurs even for operationalists who think that they are not moving with respect to anything else just because they cannot measure it.]

BW: IF you're considering the Westmiller Thing called "motion" to be a *characteristic* of the Borchardt Thing called "object", then nothing ever has any identity at all. One second, an Apple is an Apple, but the next millisecond (due to the rotation of the earth) it is something else. That's a VERY strange way to view Borchardt Things.

[GB: Huh? Motion is not a thing.]

TSW:  "Absolutism is consupponible with certainty and that bulwark of classical mechanism, the notion of finite universal causality."

BW: I understand your intent, but I think you're just defining terms in such a way as to make them appear to be logically coherent (consupponible). For example, it isn't "absolutism" to assert that a Borchardt Thing retains its identity, irrespective of its relative motion. It might be "absolutism" to say that an Apple is forever an Apple, even after it rots and disintegrates into a pile of chemical compounds.

[GB: Right. I use no definitions or assumptions that are not consupponible. And, as I just explained, it is indeed “absolutism” to assert an identity for a real object at any time. Such claims are of a piece with Plato’s ideal objects, which could exist nowhere except in his head. The removal of every little bit of absolutism is a critical component of univironmental determinism and its reduction, neomechanics. When you get to neomechanics, you will see that I was careful not to draw the abstract microcosms as spheres. The irregularities in a microcosmic boundary imply that the microcosm has parts, submicrocosms capable of semi-independent motion, reflecting the observation that no microcosm retains perfect identity for even a nanosecond. The perfect identities of the absolutist are not necessary for an apple to be good enough to be called an apple for a long time.]

TSW:  "Only if an object could be described completely by a finite number of unchanging characteristics could it be absolutely identical to another object with the same description."

BW: The logically coherent interpretation of this sentence is that no Borchardt Thing can ever be described. Nothing has any identity unless every Westmiller Thing about it remains static. The conclusion has to be that we can never know anything about reality, even if what we assert is an unmitigated truth. If that's the case, why even bother to make the effort of putting one word after another in an effort to describe reality, or relativity, or infinity?

[GB: Now, now, Bill, do not get discouraged. I am sorry that the infinite universe did not turn out as perfect or absolute as you had hoped. Remember the Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty, (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything.) We can make wonderful descriptions about things in spite of those things having infinite qualities and existing in an infinite macrocosm. Many of these descriptions will even hold up long enough to be published. Those of us who have examined the real world continually find endless detail. The mathematically inclined and others who think they have discovered an identity invariably have not done their homework. Upon closer examination, each portion of the universe reveals its infinite variety.]

Next: Relativism (Part 2 of 3)

cotsw 021

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Einstein's most important philosophical error, in Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 18th Conference of the NPA, 6-9 July, 2011 ( http://www.worldsci.org/pdf/abstracts/abstracts_5991.pdf ), College Park, MD, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, p. 64-68.


Glenn Borchardt said...

Comments about relativism from Captain Bligh (CB:) and my response:

CB: Re absolute vs. relative:

The only absolute is that there are no absolutes?

[GB: One might assume that, just as one might assume, as some often do, that the only constant is change. I prefer to avoid such a claim, however. That is because, there is no way to prove such a statement, just as there is no way to prove that there are material causes for all effects. The preponderance of evidence favors your statement, but in an infinite universe, there is no way to provide a complete proof. Like determinism itself, all we can do is assume that it is true.]

TSW: “Just as there is no motion without matter...”

CB: Glenn, given that matter is everything in the universe that is real and that matter moves there still needs to be an explanation of what is doing the moving. Does matter magically move itself? This is a return to Parmenides and Heraclitus. I am not sure we are making any progress.

[GB: Captain, you have hit upon the beauty of Infinite Universe Theory. The motion of each microcosm is the result of an impact from yet another microcosm. That only works in an infinite universe.

Deep down, your question can never be answered by those who assume finity without getting into bed with indeterminists who need to hypothesize a supernatural “first cause.” That is one reason the Big Bang Theory is so popular. Even the Vatican has endorsed it!]

CB: Does Bill propose finite particles?

[GB: Yes. He is working on a FPT that he calls the “Unimid Theory.”

CB: I thought that was your position. Sorry, I am very new to sorting out the ideas in your blogs and emails.

[GB: By no means. At PSI, we assume the Eighth Assumption of Science, infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions).

CB: And believes in free will? You are very patient with him.

[GB: He does. Thank you. I hope the necessary repetition does not get too boring. Bill and I had quite a discussion on this Blog on determinism vs. free will, during which, like most people, he would not budge. Those debates normally are not very fruitful, but in this case, it shows how belief in free will is consupponible (non-contradictory) with finity and the classical version of mechanics.]

CB: “immaterial fields”: Just so you know, my Q field is very material, it’s just that we have no way of knowing how it operates down there, at those micro-mini levels.

[GB: Good. Looks like we are making progress. The sooner we get rid of Einstein’s immaterialism, the better. You will enjoy are latest book, "Universal Cycle Theory: Neomechanics of the Hierarchically Infinite Universe,” which covers that subject. We disagree about whether or not it is possible to know “how it operates down there.” That is because we use 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) in our speculations about aether-1, aether-2, etc. In the infinite universe, that is precisely where ordinary matter comes from.]


Glenn Borchardt said...


CB: BTW, I am working on trying to describe “levels of thought” as a mini project of mine.

You know:

Level one: Unknowable infinite levels of reality.
Level two: Hypothetical levels of the level one reality.
Level three: Scientifically observable level. But with probability statements thrown in, like Higgs field evidence, most recently.
Level four: Scientifically accepted as in the SOL [speed of light] e.g.
Level five
Etc., until we reach the upper (or lowest) level:

Level 10 or so.
Imaginary abstract ideas and creatures etc. “God” e.g.
Do you have any literature or thoughts along this line?

[GB: Ok, by “unknowable infinite levels” I assume that you mean that it is impossible to produce experiments involving microcosmic collisions that could give us specific information about them. This, of course, will be true at some level. Steve and I have speculated about the formation of baryonic matter from aether-1 particles via a process involving vortices. Aether-1 presumably forms from aether-2 in a similar way, although we do not expect get any data to prove it.

I must admit that I have not considered various levels of thought in the same way you have. ]

CB: Yes, Einstein said the Earth and Sun do not live at the same moment. He ruled out simultaneity. We agree?

[GB: No. In the philosophy of science, Einstein’s solipsistic viewpoint is a classic example of “operationalism.” In short, operationalism states “unless I can measure the presence of something, it does not exist.” Like the toddler who pulls the blanket over his head, the world disappears whenever he cannot see it. Our statement that Earth and Sun exist simultaneously must always be an assumption. That is because it takes 8 minutes for the Sun’s light to arrive on Earth. If the Sun disappeared in the meantime, our assumption would be wrong. Perhaps that will occur someday, putting the kibosh on Bill’s idea of “unmitigated truth.” In the meantime, we can assume that all the microcosms in the universe exist simultaneously.]

Glenn Borchardt said...

Another from the Captain:

Here is another view for your use.

Plato’s Timaeus

“Timaeus describes the substance as a lack of homogeneity or balance, in which the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) were shapeless, mixed and in constant motion.” Wikipedia.

So, even Plato, a mere idealist, and some of his predecessors intuited that the universe is a neutral or balanced potential at its ground and that matter and motion appear here and there in it. The field is primary and infinite. Matter and motion are secondary manifestations in it.


[GB: Thanks for that. It is interesting to see that Plato was erroneously objectifying motion (fire) early on, just like Einstein did. I don't see where that quote mentions the field as something primary and apart from matter. It is interesting, however, to see that the lack of homogeneity was noticed by Plato. That has always been a puzzle for Big Bangers.]