Critique of TSW Part 12c Interconnection

Blog 20140402 

Bill tries to disconnect himself from the environment and declares hypotheses about unseen things to be mystical as he continues to review The Tenth Assumption of Science: Interconnection.

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: "It is ironic that at one time the hypothesizing of things for which there was no direct evidence was pretty much left to indeterminists."

BW: I don't think "hypothesizing" is the exclusive province of any ideology. However, the assertion of something for which there is NO evidence whatever is the province of mysticism, not determinism.

[GB: Obviously incorrect, as indicated in my diatribe in the previous post. I am sorry, but that is clearly not the case. For instance, I do not think that I am being mystical when I hunt in an area that has absolutely no evidence for the species I am seeking. My travels through the area are a test based on the deterministic belief that such evidence eventually will be found. We call it hunting, not shooting.

There is no evidence for solid matter either, but, as a finite particle theorist, you continue to hold that belief, just as I continue to hold the belief that matter is infinitely subdividable. So far, with all the evidence brought forth to date, it seems that your belief is closer to mysticism than mine is.]

TSW: "Today, however, it is the determinist who believes that interconnecting objects must exist, while it is the indeterminist who more often believes that they do not."

BW: I don't think that's a valid characterization. A determinist believes there is a cause for every effect, whether known or not. However, there can be no "determination" of cause in the absence of an effect. So, IF a determinist sees an event, he will try to find a "connection" to the objects which might cause it. That's different than the automatic assumption that some unknown objects are "interconnected" in the absence of ANY event whatever. That's "idealism", not determinism.

[GB: Again, just more positivism, combined with the inability to see that an assumptive choice must be made.]

TSW: "If a thing is not subject to interactions with other objects in its surroundings, then it would exist like the solipsist: all alone in a universe supposedly of its own making. Insofar as we distinguish among things, but fail to relate them to other things, we reveal a juvenile bias in favor of disconnection ..."

BW: Your mixing insults and misrepresentations. The question is NOT whether objects are "subject to interconnections", but whether ALL things are physically connected to ALL other things. That's your proposition: "All things are interconnected." It isn't "juvenile" to believe that objects are not connected UNTIL there is evidence that those specific objects have produced an event which requires a causal explanation.

[GB: The reason that it is juvenile, is that, like causality, the belief in interconnection grows over time. After having seen so many causes for effects and interconnections in specific cases, we eventually generalize, taking the lazy shortcut that continues to succeed. Instead of mouthing the indeterministic pronouncements of positivism, which have proven to be so useless, we just get on with the work.]

TSW: "It begins with the child’s egocentrism, develops along with the bourgeois notion of individualism, and retreats, finally, to the citadel of free will."

BW: So, totally abandoning the effort to demonstrate your case, in favor of insults, characterizations, and Marxist rhetoric?

[GB: Huh?]

TSW: "Solipsism, egocentrism, individualism, anthropocentrism, and systems philosophy are merely variations on a theme."

BW: But, none of them correspond to Leibniz's assertion that God "implanted" all things with fixed and totally distinct identities. You're wandering off into religious, social, and psychological commentary, rather than pursuing the premise of your stated proposition about the interconnection of all Borchardt Things.

[GB: Huh? What does Leibniz or any imaginary being have to do with those themes? BTW: I wish for you to give up on the “Borchardt Things” rhetoric. By now you should be familiar with my use of the term “microcosms” to mean any portion of the universe. The thematic variations I mentioned are all portions of the universe suffering from microcosmic overemphasis. Remember, the book is entitled “The Scientific Worldview.” I would be remiss in leaving out any portion of the universe just because some indeterminist had turf issues.]

TSW: "... the search for a universal disconnection fails with each improvement in knowledge."

BW: Now, you're flipping the burden of proof on it's head, with a strawman that doesn't exist: the claimed assertion of "universal disconnection" of all objects, rather than defending what you claim: universal connection of all objects. I don't know of any philosophy that says ALL objects are *disconnected*, much less "absolutely separate" in every way from ALL other things.

[GB: Boy, I do not see how you get that out of my observation that improvements in knowledge lend support to interconnection. How could it be otherwise? Any apparent disconnection exists for a time, and then is removed by new discoveries. Those new discoveries do not simply disappear to once again provide support for disconnection.]

TSW: "Absolutists believe otherwise."

BW: It's hard to determine what form of "absolutism" you're characterizing. Hegel was an "absolute idealist", so I guess he's repugnant. There are those who believe in "absolute space" and others in "absolute truth":

[GB: Bill, I get the feeling that you do not realize that you are using the assumption of absolutism when you claim that you are privy to some “unmitigated truths.” Also, I would not quite characterize Hegel as an idealist, absolute or otherwise. He was a dualist who considered the universe to contain two phenomena: matter and spirit. This major philosophical error appeared even though he was famous for what I deem the 4th assumption of science. He might have left idealism altogether if he would have been able to dump the religious “spirit” in favor of the scientific “motion.”]

BW: You also seem to be stuck on the term "Systems Philosophy", which isn't what you make it out to be. It asserts that there are NO systems in nature. They believe that systems are just conceptual models created by humans for the purpose of understanding causation. Those models have an arbitrary boundary, chosen to isolate specific events. So, it would seem to me that you agree with them!

[GB: Do not kid yourself. I do not know of any systems philosopher who would claim that there are no systems in nature. Read the literature. It is true that their boundaries and the boundaries of my microcosms are necessarily conceptual. (They can be nothing else because of interconnection, which prevents them from being absolute, finite, and absolutely disconnected.) The key difference between systems philosophy and univironmental determinism is the microcosmic overemphasis that plagues systems philosophy. That is, after all, how we got the Big Bang Theory: A finite universe with no macrocosm. This apparently suits systems philosophy just fine. Above all, systems philosophers certainly are not bound by the demand to consider the inside and outside of a thing to be of equal importance.]

TSW: "... their own bodies demonstrate against disconnection."

BW: Humans are an *effect*, caused by the Earth environment. Like all living things, we are created by, composed of, and survive in the environment. Does that mean we are "physically connected" to the environment? Not necessarily.

[GB: Yes, of course. Are you serious about trying to exist without the environment? You would not last for a microsecond.]

BW: First of all, the environment is not a Borchardt Thing, it is a Westmiller Thing: the interaction of a multitude of material objects. Some of those objects occasionally collide, creating effects. But each of those collisions is a momentary impact, not a persistent connection. Some objects combine with others upon collision, with the effect that they become a new, distinct object, composed of their constituents (e.g.: C+O2 = CO2). Are they "connected"? No, they are *combined* and have unique attributes, distinct from their components.

[GB: Your belief in classical mechanics and its assumption of finite causality is showing through here. That is why you believe that the interaction between microcosm and macrocosm is only “occasional” with the intervening period being a disconnection consistent with your consupponible belief in absolutely empty space. With the assumption of infinity, all microcosms are forever subject to collisions from supermicrocosms at all times. It is true that when objects collide, they may combine to form new entities with unique attributes (the guts of evolution). I do not think that many chemists consider the oxygen and hydrogen in water to be an example of disconnection.]

BW: Second, because one thing is caused by an interaction with another thing does not mean they are "connected", only that they were once in contact and produced a result. For example, humans build a house. That doesn't mean that all those humans are physically "connected" to the house, only that humans are logically associated with the construction of the house ... some more and some less. The objects "humans" are always *disconnected* from the object "house".

[GB: That is a matter of opinion. Personally, I feel connected with every house, every object, and every person I have come in contact with. These relationships are what I am. Take all those memories of those former convergences away, and I am nothing. You have illustrated very well that disconnection is more important to you than any kind of interconnection.]

BW: Third, an abstract composite of things does not make them "connected". Every object in existence is a "part" of the concept "universe". Because we formulate that abstraction does not mean that our thought *makes them* connected (that's idealism). A molecule of water in the Indian Ocean is not "connected to" a molecule of water in my teardrop, even if they both correspond to our definition of water: H2O.

[GB: Again, you have illustrated nicely what indeterministic absolutism is all about. It is more important to you to emphasize disconnection rather than interconnection. You could just as well have emphasized that the H2O in the ocean and the H2O in the teardrop were similar, but you did not. Already, when we get into individualism versus collectivism, I have no doubt which side of that equation you will overemphasize.]  

Continued as 12d…

cotsw 026

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