Critique of TSW Part 17b Univironmental Analysis

Blog 20140813

Bill does not see univironmental analysis as an improvement on systems analysis, claiming that boundary selection distinguishes them, which it does not.

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: ".

Univironmental Analysis (Part 2 of 2)

TSW:  "... the logical conclusion is that a microcosm without a macrocosm is impossible."

BW: I understand your point, but you're attempting to impose *imaginary boundaries* on nature, which is "idealism". Nature doesn't divide things into dialectical opposites based on size. All things are equally parts of existence. Each "thing" has distinct attributes, imposed by nature. We can either note those distinctions and pursue knowledge, or we can ignore them and relish ignorance. Too often, I get the impression that your dialectic is an argument for ignorance.

[GB: As explained before, idealism is used throughout science. Idealization is not the bad guy. That is why I do not consider materialism and idealism to be opposites as the dialectical materialists do. Instead, I consider the philosophical struggle to be between determinism and indeterminism. Bill, as one who believes in free will, you have demonstrated nicely many of its connections with indeterminism in general. In particular, the word “dialectical” seems to trigger some deep-seated political animosity that appears somewhat unhealthy. I do not think that the observation that all things in the universe are smaller than the entire universe is either unnatural or dialectical. I also do not see how univironmental determinism, the observation that what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter in motion within and without, possibly could be an argument for ignorance. Indeed, what does that statement ignore? Maybe you are disconcerted by infinity, which also is consupponible with the Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything). You certainly are not the only one to have that problem. Hubristic claims about finity are the essence of both classical mechanics and regressive physics.]

TSW:  "Chemists frequently draw such reactions with two arrows pointing in opposite directions, indicating that a reaction may be 'reversible.'"

BW: You're the chemist, but my understanding is that they are reversible *given an appropriate agent*, represented by the two arrows. The fact that it's easier to rust iron than to purify it is evident, but that just indicates that the agents for each reaction are different.

[GB: Bill, how could you miss this? The only way we can claim reversibility is to ignore the macrocosm, as is done routinely in systems philosophy. Of course, in practice we usually do not need to include the motions in other parts of the laboratory or in the rest of the universe to obtain useful information about a reaction. The idealization showing the two arrows pointing in opposite directions (sorry about the dialectics, Bill) is similar to the idealizations we use in math, such as 1 = 1. We know that no real microcosm, being in motion with respect to the macrocosm and containing submicrocosms ever in motion, even can be identical to itself for two microseconds in a row.]

TSW:  Bronowski: "Fire is not a material, any more than life is material. Fire is a process of transformation and change, by which material elements are rejoined into new combinations."]

BW: Correct: fire is a Westmiller Thing, rather than a material Borchardt Thing; a distinct process with identifiable characteristics. Life is also a Westmiller Thing; a series of persistent animated biological events.

[GB: Egads, not that again! Regressive physics surely has taken a toll on you. Things exist; motions occur. Things have xyz dimensions; motions, such as processes and events do not. There is no way for you to get out from Einstein’s thumb until you give up the idea of events as things. Reread my paper on the objectification of motion[1] until you finally understand it.]

TSW:  "The 'cause' for the motion of a microcosm is not to be attributed to either the microcosm or the macrocosm, but to both."

BW: Perhaps, but not *equally*, as you previously asserted. Elsewhere, you've stated that the cause of the *any* microcosm is the macrocosm. Depending upon which motion you're considering, the attribution may be 99-1 or 1-99, depending on where you subjectively imagine an arbitrary boundary. That just means that you need to conform your boundary conditions to reality, which does produce distinct objects.

[GB: False. In univironmental determinism, a cause is always seen as the interaction between microcosm and macrocosm. The resistance or nonresistance of the macrocosm is just as important as the motion of the microcosm. This has nothing to do with imagining anything. Your appellation of the word “distinct” to objects betrays the absolutism that you tend to associate with things.]

TSW:  "... a microcosm can be anything we wish it to be - any portion of the universe."

BW: ... which means that the micro/macro distinction is purely arbitrary and contains no information about reality. Assuming that the human objective is to understand *distinct components* (material constructs, their qualities, and processes) of reality, the boundary conditions that we entertain must be *derived from* reality, not fancy. In other words, it *does matter* whether our abstractions (idealisms) are - or are not - consistent with reality. That is what distinguishes them as (unmitigated) truths or fallacies.

[GB: Also false. Suppose I consider you to be my microcosm of concern. Do you contain “no information about reality”? Is your macrocosm also indescribable? Doesn’t your belief in free will have something to do with how you see the universe? Would it be better if I treated you as a “system” divorced from your environment? Again, you appear to be overly concerned about boundary conditions and whether they are imaginary or not. Boundaries, of course, are a legitimate concern of systems philosophy and univironmental determinism alike. Without selecting the proper boundaries, we cannot get meaningful data and conclusions. The boundary problem is the same for all scientists, whether systems theorists or univironmental determinists. Latching on to the boundary problem is not a legitimate criticism of univironmental analysis.

As an example, systems theorists would describe your running through the woods by including a sufficient number of trees and brush for their “system”. A univironmental determinist would simply consider you as a microcosm within a macrocosm, which includes the rest of the universe. Sure, trees and brush would be included, and so would supermicrocosms within the macrocosm probably ignored by the systems theorist. None of the measurements obtained by either the systems approach or the univironmental approach will be “unmitigated” truths and without error. How is it that you think the systems approach would be better than the UD approach? How does missing a critical element within the macrocosm help the analysis?]

TSW:  "The [theories] I propose ... are highly speculative and require extensive ... development. Nonetheless, ... I believe them to be preferable ... none ... as fantastic as [singularity Genesis]."

BW: Believe what you wish, but your objective is to demonstrate, by evidence and logic, that they provide us with a better understanding of reality.

The singularity Genesis theory can be disproved by *mitigating* the logic or evidence for the assumptions ... without fabricating arbitrary boundaries and imaginary dialectics. Though I recognize that you're trying to segue (segway?) into that topic.

[GB: Huh? Here is the unabridged quote from p. 181: “Some of my ideas may at first seem quite strange, but none, I trust, are as fantastic as the prevailing view that the universe exploded from a point no larger than the period at the end of this sentence.” I cannot quite figure out what you mean by your comment. If logic or evidence was all that it took to disprove the current cosmogony, it would have been done already and Hawking would have retired.

Perhaps your indeterministic hang up about boundaries and dialectics is telling us something crucial. Both the Big Bang Theory and regressive physics are dependent on finity. Both grew up as a reaction to materialists who commonly used the word “dialectics” and saw opposition as important elements in social development. The idea of a universe without a macrocosm is akin to the individual without a social context—a descent into solipsism.]

Next: The Infinite Universe

cotsw 037

[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.


Bligh said...

BW: Correct: fire is a Westmiller Thing, rather than a material Borchardt Thing; a distinct process with identifiable characteristics. Life is also a Westmiller Thing; a series of persistent animated biological events.

[GB: Egads, not that again! Regressive physics surely has taken a toll on you. Things exist; motions occur.

BW, give it up! GB will not try to unify matter and motion. He has his perspective and will not move away from it to other places. He leaves us with the simplistic idea that matter and motion are somehow separate things. At least that is how it comes across. He is not very Bohmian at times.

Glenn Borchardt said...


That is the opposite of what inseparability says. Matter exists and has xyz dimensions; motion occurs and is what matter does. Stop trying to add motion to matter as if it was a thing. Both of you need to reread the Fourth Assumption of Science.