Friday, September 09, 2005

Why Can't We Have More Congressmen Like This?

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) states it plain:


Science, by definition, is a method of learning about the physical universe by asking questions in a way that they can be answered empirically and verifiably. If a question cannot be framed so that the answer is testable by looking at physical evidence and by allowing other people to repeat and replicate one's test, then it is not science. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study. Intelligent design offers no way to investigate design scientifically. Intelligent design explains complicated phenomena of the natural world by involving a designer. This way of thinking says things behave the way they do because God makes them behave that way. This treads not into science but into the realm of faith. A prominent physicist, W. Pauli, used to say about such a theory “It is not even wrong”. There is no testable hypothesis or prediction for Intelligent Design.

It is irresponsible for President Bush to cast intelligent design - a repackaged version of creationism - as the “other side” of the evolution “debate.” Creationists and others who denigrate the concept of evolution call it a theory, with a dismissive tone. They say that, as a theory, it is up for debate. Sure, evolution is a theory, just as gravitation is a theory. The mechanisms of evolution are indeed up for debate, just as the details of gravitation and its mathematical relationship with other forces of nature are up for debate. Some people once believed that we are held on the ground by invisible angels above us beating their wings and pushing us against the earth. If angels always adjusted their beating wings to exert force that diminished as the square of the distance between attracting bodies, it would be just like our idea of gravitation. The existence of those angels, undetected by any measurements, would not be the subject of science. Such an idea of gravity is “not even wrong”. It is beyond the realm of science. So, too, is intelligent design.


I'm swooning! Go read the whole thing.

Holt, incidentally, holds a PhD in physics from NYU. Every once in a while, someone comes along to remind me why I'm a Democrat.

23 Comments:

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous JPD said...

Jason - WTF?! How did you find this guy? I thought ALL politicians were charletons, but Rush Holt actually makes sense! Is it too early to form the Citizens For President Holt in 2008 Committee?

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous kevin said...

Hey welcome back!!

Oh teh fundies are restless and overweaning...

 
At 6:24 PM, Blogger Jason said...

jpd-

Well, I found the link from the Panda's Thumb. As it happens, though, I knew of Rep. Holt anyway. I grew up in NJ, and the district he represents happens to be very close to where I grew up. (Alas, the representative for the district I actually grew up in is the odious Chris Smith. Verrrry right wing kind of guy.

As I recall, the Republicans who were running the NJ state house until recently tried to gerrymander Holt out of his seat. Happily, they failed.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

Love this post. I never heard of this guy before I read your article but I am going to try to follow him. Never thought I'd see an intelligent argument from a politician. The Democrats NEED this guy. Where was he during the election with his well thought out arguments. I love the blog and I put a link onto mine. I need to get more substance into mine but I just started so I have to work it all out.

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger Orac said...

Actually, redistricting after the 2000 census made Rush Holt my Congressman, replacing the twit we had before (who was also a Democrat). Fortunately, though, it meant that I got a chance to vote for Rush Holt last year for the first time (and hopefully not the last time).

A bumper sticker about him:

"My Congressman IS a rocket scientist!"

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

this argument is absurd. evolution is a theory in the same sense that gravity is?!

when i hear people say that, i know they've got no idea what they're talking about.

evolution, it's clear he's speaking of a "macroevolution" here is in no way like the theory of gravity. you cannot test and directly observe "macroevolution" nor can you see real time effects of the so-called mechanism.

you CAN test and observe gravity and do so in real time. you can see the direct effects of gravity on items in real time, in a lab. the same cannot be said for "macroevolution." you can't get anywhere near it, since the process supposedly takes millions of years (or, if you follow the fossil record, the change is in sudden bursts and NOT gradual as most darwinists still claim- which is why we have PE theory.)

the theory of evolution, in the sense that all life has a common ancestor cannot be tested at all, let alone tested the way gravity can (you can test gravity and its direct effects today, in a lab, repeat it, etc). common ancestry is one interpretation. life being comprised of the same materials, same general body forms for different animals, the fossil record, etc. can easily be interpreted in a totally different manner. neither is science as science is defined. it's more history than anything else. presuppositions of common ancestry will clearly convince some that this is the case, presuppositions of the case against common ancestry will be the same case for the other side.

not to mention, holt isn't even honest with his proclamations of ID theory. they have developed ways to test if something is designed. and ID theory makes no claim that things behave the way they do because God made them behave that way.

then, he claims, without evidence, that ID is a repackaging of creationism. so, you're telling me the ID theorists that support common descent (some of them DO) and a universe that is billions of yrs old are really creationists (who don't buy into common ancestry?)

that's only TWO purposeful distortions (or you can call them lies if you want) in the piece i've pointed out. yet, you trumpet the guy as wonderful for your cause. too funny.

how, may i ask, do you test and repeat the idea of macroevolution btw? since holt claims this is what is demanded in science, and it's the reason why he says ID isn't science. i'd love to see these lab tests that have done repeated tests of macroevolution (it's been tried before, but golly darn if those fruitflies didn't remain fruitflies even WITH intelligent coaxing into changing!)

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"not to mention, holt isn't even honest with his proclamations of ID theory. they have developed ways to test if something is designed. and ID theory makes no claim that things behave the way they do because God made them behave that way. "

They have?...who's Demski's Mathematical BS? You are totally incorrect. There are no ways to test design.

Regarding Macroevolution:

We would not expect to observe large changes directly. Evolution consists mainly of the accumulation of small changes over large periods of time. If we saw something like a fish turning into a frog in just a couple generations, we would have good evidence against evolution.


The evidence for evolution does not depend, even a little, on observing macroevolution directly. There is a very great deal of other evidence (Theobald 2004; see also evolution proof).


As biologists use the term, macroevolution means evolution at or above the species level. Speciation has been observed and documented.


Microevolution has been observed and is taken for granted even by creationists. And because there is no known barrier to large change and because we can expect small changes to accumulate into large changes, microevolution implies macroevolution. Small changes to developmental genes or their regulation can cause relatively large changes in the adult organism (Shapiro et al. 2004).


There are many transitional forms that show that macroevolution has occurred.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Lantern Bearer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Lantern Bearer said...

Intelligent design is a perversion of logic that must resort to agency outside the visible to explain the complexity and diversity of form and purposeness.

Ideation may be literal or abstract.

Pious certitude is the circular logic that seeks to foster the exclusion of non-literalist ideation.

Ideation may be based on the whole or a part of a body of knowledge.

Ideation may be learned, instinctive, perceived, or conceived.

Ideation may result from racial, ethnic, social, national, or relational interpretation.

Ideation may be limited to the conditions of locality.

Ideation may conceive conditions outside the limits of local reality.

Ideation conceived outside the conditions of local reality may be the result of ritual insight.

Ideation by way of ritual insight may be limited to the actions and behaviors of one, of a few or of the many.

Ideation of a group or social nature may take the form of shared psychosis.

Ideation of a psychotic nature may be as benign as the celebration of the Catholic Mass or as cruel as the cutting out of a living beating heart and flinging down the steps of a temple.

Whatever ideation that is necessary to maintain cohesion in a social setting is proper and operative within that setting. It is when the object of ideation is to become dominant in the wide world at any cost materially or intellectually to the ideators that trouble begins.

 
At 9:05 AM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

He should contact the editors of the major physics and cosmology journals. They routinely permit and entertain questions about multiverses, yet multiverses fail his definition of science. Or perhaps he selectively applies his test?

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger LiberPaul said...

Anon,

"And because there is no known barrier to large change and because we can expect small changes to accumulate into large changes, microevolution implies macroevolution."

Absolutely the best point about Evolution ever. I have heard it before (maybe you are the guy who coined it?) and it really sums up the whole issue in one clear sentence. If they "believe" in microevolution, then you have to accept Macro.....

 
At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Whitney said...

Great article. Do you think Bush will start listenting to Holt...lol, I doubt it. But we can always hope. I love your blog and have added it to my rss feeds.

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger Oolon Colluphid said...

Mr. Heddle,

Multiverses do not fail his definition of science, because the scenarios which involve multiverses, whether they are multiverse forms of inflationary theory or string theory, do have consequences which are, in principle, physical and testable. Inflationary theory has, in fact, passed all current tests of its accuracy, although certainly not enough to make it a final theory (indeed, it can be subsumed under string theory, as Andrei Linde has shown). I'd encourage you to not talk about things you know nothing about, but you've shown little inclination to do that before now every time you've ventured into a discussion of any of the physical sciences.

 
At 11:41 AM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

Oh I know a lot about them, apparently more than you do--namely that inflationary models do not require multiverses, they can accomodate them, and they can always be recast as universe models. They do not demand multiverses. So in truth, the only way to verify multiverses is to detect another universe. Compatibility has never, ever been accepted as proof.

Don't tell me I don't know about science.

 
At 9:38 PM, Blogger Oolon Colluphid said...

No, some of the inflationary theories can be reformulated as single universe models. Linde's chaotic inflationary scenario does require multiverses, and furthermore, even those which can be reformulated to a single universe do imply other universes and it takes a dogmatic and untestable ad hoc claim to rule them out. Apparently you want to make that untestable ad hoc claim but cosmologists are not required to follow you in that career. Since multiverses are not simply proposed for their own sake, but because they are implied or necessitated by existing cosmological theories, your claim that multiverses are prima facie unscientific remains ignorant, despite your posturing to the contrary.

By the way, congratulations on having missed my point entirely. I'm not saying that multiverses exist based on their compatibility with existing theory, but merely stating that discussion of multiverses in theoretical physics is reasonable and scientific given that they're strongly implied or necessitated by existing cosmological theory. Claiming that they're unfit for journal discussion, even when implied by theory, implies that anything which hasn't already been confirmed cannot be discussed in science journals even when it's implied by theory. In short, it would be the death of theoretical science, which is all about stretching the boundaries of knowledge and providing avenues of exploration for experimental scientists. Intelligent design is an ad hoc construct which is not implied by any existing theory--indeed, there's no clear mechanism for this alleged 'intelligent design'--and simply exists to soothe the religious preconceptions of its adherents while following a plan to duck under the radar of Edwards v. Aguillard. There is, therefore, no reasonable analogy to be made between intelligent design and multiverses.

 
At 6:05 AM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

Linde's theory can be recast into a universe theory, and in likening multiverses to all other cases where speculation is discussed in journals you omit one important fact that is inconvenient to your cause. To wit, other universes (even if they were requirements, which they are not) cannot be detected. Things that cannot be detected have long been thought of as outside the domain of science, but multiverses get a free pass.

Of course, even granting that multiverses are a requirement (they are not) means nothing whatsoever about their truth. There was a time when classical E&M was all we knew about the subject. Classical E&M requires that an electron spinning around a nucleus radiates and decays into the nucleus. Because classical E&M required it, did not mean that we accepted it. Although it is a perfectly reasonable topic in a journal; the the mere existence of the journal was proof that matter is stable.

So Linde's theory, or any other that you wrongly claim cannot be cast into a universe theory is sort of irrelevant. Even if Linde's theory required multiverses and even if Linde's theory was the only cosmology that explained the observable data -- even then the history of science would (a) provide us with examples where things required by a successful theory turn out to be false and (b) did not allow serious journal space to be devoted to things that cannot be detected, recognizing that at that point we are crossing over into metaphysics.

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Oolon Colluphid said...

Still worse and worse:

"Linde's theory can be recast into a universe theory...."

That's really funny. Okay, then do so, please, showing the math, and also show that there are no more assumptions in your reformulation than are required by the evidence, otherwise your reformulation will be unparsimonious. Don't forget that the theory involves that our universe bubbled off from the quantum "foam" of a parent universe. I'd love to see you turn that into a single-universe theory. By the way, Lee Smolin's cosmological idea of universal "natural selection" also requires at least one other parent universe. And M theory proposes that our universe is one of many that resulted from the collision of two branes in a parent 11-dimensional universe. Try turning that into a single universe theory too. After you do so, you might want to contact Andrei Linde himself, Leonard Susskind, etc. and tell that they've been totally wrong about cosmology. I'm sure they'll love to hear from you.

"...and in likening multiverses to all other cases where speculation is discussed in journals you omit one important fact that is inconvenient to your cause."

And what cause would that be? You still don't seem to have grasped the purpose of my response, even though I made it explicit above.

"To wit, other universes (even if they were requirements, which they are not) cannot be detected. Things that cannot be detected have long been thought of as outside the domain of science, but multiverses get a free pass."

You have a very simplistic notion of what consititutes the domain of science. Positivism is long dead, you know. Neutrinos, in general, as well as the tau neutrino specifically, Higgs bosons, the Omega-negative particle, gravitational waves, etc. are all things which were hypothesized based on theory, but unobservable for many years. Indeed, gravitational waves and Higgs bosons still haven't been directly observed. All of those are fit subjects for the physics journals. Theory always runs ahead of what is currently observable, and that's what provides new avenues of research for the rest of us. The "free pass" you claim is simply what ordinarily goes on in science, and that's how I came up with so many other examples. You may claim that they're not observable in principle, but that argument is even more tendentious, given that wormholes do exist as a cosmological solution which may well allow us many centuries from now to directly observe another universe, if any exist.

"Of course, even granting that multiverses are a requirement (they are not) means nothing whatsoever about their truth."

Bzzzzzzt! I wasn't arguing for the truth of multiverses, as I said above, but merely that they are a fit subject for theoretical physics. Aleksandr Friedmann theorized the "open", "closed", and "flat" universes based on nothing more than the solutions of Einstein's general relativity, which, at the time, hadn't really been sufficiently confirmed either. Given that GR has been confirmed even more extensively than it was in Friedmann's time, I don't see the problem in exploring other solutions of GR, plus even more radical theoretical explorations (like M theory, which is one step removed from GR).

"There was a time when classical E&M was all we knew about the subject. Classical E&M requires that an electron spinning around a nucleus radiates and decays into the nucleus. Because classical E&M required it, did not mean that we accepted it. Although it is a perfectly reasonable topic in a journal; the the mere existence of the journal was proof that matter is stable."

Yes, and it was discussed in journals. Thank you for coming up with an illustration which concedes the point. (See, for a historical review, Lieb, E. H. [1976] "The stability of matter." Rev. Mod. Phys. 48: 553–569.)

"So Linde's theory, or any other that you wrongly claim cannot be cast into a universe theory is sort of irrelevant. Even if Linde's theory required multiverses and even if Linde's theory was the only cosmology that explained the observable data --"

Sorry, you've got several cosmologies which propose multiverses. Susskind has even argued that multiverses are inescapable.

"even then the history of science would (a) provide us with examples where things required by a successful theory turn out to be false"

Again, I was never arguing that multiverses exist.

"(b) did not allow serious journal space to be devoted to things that cannot be detected, recognizing that at that point we are crossing over into metaphysics."

Perhaps if that journal's Editor-in-Chief was Ernst Mach, but the rest of us recognize the value of theoretical explorations. That's why there's been such extensive theoretical work not only in cosmology, but also QCD, string theory, etc.

 
At 3:44 PM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

I don’t have to prove it, Linde himself says (in his SciAm artcle) --that there is a chance that all parts of the universe (which in general is really a multiverse of separately created bubbles) created themselves at the same time, which is effectively a single universe. He says something to the effect that this is a completely unnecessary assumption, but there it is.

However, to keep the argument on track I'LL GRANT that some theories are multiverse only so we can stick to the relevant point: the other universes are not detectable.

You wrote:

“Neutrinos, in general, as well as the tau neutrino specifically, Higgs bosons, the Omega-negative particle, gravitational waves, etc. are all things which were hypothesized based on theory, but unobservable for many years. Indeed, gravitational waves and Higgs bosons still haven't been directly observed. All of those are fit subjects for the physics journals.”

Do you really not get it, or are you just pretending? All these things are perfectly fine topics of discussion because when they were introduced, I could, at least, in principle, detect them or rule them out with current or near-term foreseeable non worm-hole based technology, even the Higgs.

There is no hope of detecting other universes; the pesky event horizon of General relativity gets in the way.

“Yes, and it (electrons spiriling via E&M) was discussed in journals. Thank you for coming up with an illustration which concedes the point.”

Um..that’s not a concession, that was my point. I didn’t say that it should not have been discussed; I said it was a requirement that turned out to be wrong and it was reasonable for it to be discussed. (??)

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger Oolon Colluphid said...

"I don’t have to prove it, Linde himself says (in his SciAm artcle) --that there is a chance that all parts of the universe (which in general is really a multiverse of separately created bubbles) created themselves at the same time, which is effectively a single universe. He says something to the effect that this is a completely unnecessary assumption, but there it is."

Indeed, there it is, proof positive that you couldn't fulfill my request:

"Okay, then do so, please, showing the math, and also show that there are no more assumptions in your reformulation than are required by the evidence, otherwise your reformulation will be unparsimonious."


"However, to keep the argument on track I'LL GRANT that some theories are multiverse only so we can stick to the relevant point: the other universes are not detectable."

Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, positivism is still dead. Theoretical science is not limited to what is currently observable and it really never has been.

"Do you really not get it, or are you just pretending? All these things are perfectly fine topics of discussion because when they were introduced, I could, at least, in principle, detect them or rule them out with current or near-term foreseeable non worm-hole based technology, even the Higgs."

I notice a great deal of qualifiers are creeping in here. Apparently we've shifted down from what's observable from what's foreseeably observable and not based on wormholes. But even then you are wrong. There was nothing which was foreseen, at the time, which could make neutrinos observable, and they languished undiscovered for a quarter of a century. And yet again, only positivists require that a theoretical proposal be directly observable, and their ideas have been rejected for the last seven decades based on criticisms by Popper and others which showed that they were excessively restrictive and self-defeating.

"There is no hope of detecting other universes; the pesky event horizon of General relativity gets in the way."

You know what I find most frustrating about you? You know just enough science to make pronouncements with supreme self-assurance, and dig yourself into a hole in the process. Here's the lowdown on the current physics: Michael Morris, Kip Thorne, and Ulvi Yurtsever demonstrated that it was possible to defeat the event horizon by the placement of a certain amount of exotic matter in the middle of the wormhole ("Wormholes, Time Machines, and the Weak Energy Condition." Phys. Rev. Lett. 61: 1446–1449 [1988]."). Then Matt Visser, Sayan Kar, and Naresh Dadhich may have shown that the amount of exotic matter necessary was minimal ("Traversable Wormholes with Arbitrarily Small Energy Condition Violations" Phys. Rev. Lett. 90: 201102 [2003]). Still, the technology would be many centuries away, but even by the overly restrictive positivism, an Ernst Mach couldn't find fault with the current theoretical investigations.

"Um..that’s not a concession, that was my point. I didn’t say that it should not have been discussed; I said it was a requirement that turned out to be wrong and it was reasonable for it to be discussed."

For what I hope will be the final time, I am not arguing that multiverses are real, just that they're fit subjects for theoretical physics journals. The obviousness of its fitness is that articles about them are published in theoretical physics journals. It takes an astounding amount of arrogance (something I've noticed Christian fundamentalists have in abundance) to say that the editors don't know their business and that it truly needs someone who has no expertise in the relevant science to set them all straight.

 
At 7:02 AM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

Yes, this would be a great forum for complicated mathematics, especially when they are not needed.

"It takes an astonishng amount of arrogance to say that editors don't know their business?"

Does that comment apply to the editor who published Stephen Meyer's paper?

First of all, like in so many of your comments, you are putting words in my mouth. (And you are appealing to authority--bad form) I did not say editors do not know their business. My post wasn't about bashing editors, it was about bashing Holt. I like reading about multiverse theories. It wouldn't take a Fellini to figure that out or to reckon what I am really saying is that in avoiding cosmological ID discussions the reasons offered by frauds like Holt are disingenuous. It would be much more honest and acceptable to me if Holt said (something that I myself have said on PT) "look, ID is religion and religion doesn't belong in journals, go away." Instead he and others like you are transparently dishonest, hiding behind a self-righteous "level-playing field" myth. If Holt said ID doesn't belong in a journal, I'd agree with him. But he tries to be clever by adding a because, when that because applies to multiverses as well. Holt’s definition of science has been violated many, many times by journals (remember when tachyons were the rage?)—and that’s ok—but it is then cowardly to use it as a reason for excluding cosmological ID. That’s what Holt is: another in a long line of cowards.

Saying we could we could test it with worm holes with the correct amount of exotic matter is only marginally better, if better at all, than we test it with magic. Besides, I could claim that a test for cosmological ID is to build the same device to demonstrate there this is the only universe. Imagining a way to test something, when the test itself involves physics and technology that are as speculative as what you are trying to test, doesn't cut it.

Knowing science? Maybe we should provide our publication records as evidence that we are not just googling for arguments, which is such a danger these days?? I’m game.

And stop the incessant whining that I keep claiming that you think multiverses are real. Where did I write that?

 
At 2:10 PM, Blogger Oolon Colluphid said...

"Yes, this would be a great forum for complicated mathematics, especially when they are not needed."

Nice misdirection. In this case, the request that wasn't being fulfilled, which I highlighted, was that you didn't make any more assumptions than were required by the evidence. Of course, it doesn't fool me for a minute, nor is it likely to fool anyone reading this blog, so they really look like the last flailings of someone who can't make their case.

"Does that comment apply to the editor who published Stephen Meyer's paper?"

Sure. I'm sure he's a competent taxonomist, but Meyer's paper wasn't about taxonomy, and it was forced in without going through the proper channels of peer review. So it's not that he doesn't know his business, but that he's dishonest in attempting to provide a forum for Meyer's ignorant paper where it was not relevant nor adequately peer reviewed according to the standards of that journal.

"First of all, like in so many of your comments, you are putting words in my mouth. (And you are appealing to authority--bad form) I did not say editors do not know their business."

Actually, an appeal to authority is only bad form if it's an appeal to irrelevant authority. In a discussion of whether or not multiverses are a fit subject for the physics journals, noting that they're already published in physics journals of high caliber is a relevant point.

"My post wasn't about bashing editors, it was about bashing Holt. I like reading about multiverse theories. It wouldn't take a Fellini to figure that out or to reckon what I am really saying is that in avoiding cosmological ID discussions the reasons offered by frauds like Holt are disingenuous."

Great, but you seem to have imposed your own logical positivist ideas about what science is, which have been repeatedly shown to be indefensible by numerous philosophers of science, and imputing that logical positivism to Holt. Here's what Holt said:

"Science, by definition, is a method of learning about the physical universe by asking questions in a way that they can be answered empirically and verifiably."

And that's true, but it doesn't mean that every seperate solution of a theoretical edifice has to be within the realm of immediate or even forseeable direct observation, just that we raise questions which can be addressed empirically and verifiably. In practice, we really don't know what sort of questions may be answered empirically in the far-flung future, so those interesting, but they have to be introduced in theory to get scientists at some point in the future thinking about them. The issue, then, is a question of mechanisms; if the mechanisms of the theory are going to render results which may be empirically verified and cross-checked. All the current theories in cosmology which lead to multiverses either by implication or direct necessity at least have physical mechanisms which lend themselves, in principle, to predictions which may come under empirical investigation. Multiverses themselves may never be directly confirmed and exist for physicists only to the extent that the successful reigning theory demands it, but we have to at least put the idea out there to try. ID cosmology, which doesn't really exist as a research program, has no mechanism. Even if you assert that these plans existed in the mind of God/s or the Designer/s (keeping it vague to duck under Edwards v. Aguillard), nobody in the ID movement has advanced a mechanism for how the Designer/s instantiates design in what he/she/it/them is creating. They haven't even identified the Designer/s, so there's no being able to tell what is in and outside the range of ability of this/ese alleged entity/ies. That's why ID fails Holt's standard, and babbling on about multiverses is a red herring.

"Instead he and others like you are transparently dishonest, hiding behind a self-righteous "level-playing field" myth. If Holt said ID doesn't belong in a journal, I'd agree with him. But he tries to be clever by adding a because, when that because applies to multiverses as well."

Only if you assume logical positivism (and, as I've pointed out, perhaps not even then) and you've made no defense of that assumption. So my alleged "transparent dishonesty" is actually due to your willful misreading in attributing to Holt and myself a position we may well not have--and indeed that I do not have. Unless you are capable of showing that logical positivism is the only reasonable and accurate picture of the scientific process, I am not bound to accept the rigors of logical positivism as normative for the practice of science.

"Holt’s definition of science has been violated many, many times by journals (remember when tachyons were the rage?)—and that’s ok—but it is then cowardly to use it as a reason for excluding cosmological ID. That’s what Holt is: another in a long line of cowards."

Tachyons aren't a violation of scientific standards either. They exist as a reasonable set of relativistic solutions to problems of particle physics. They don't appear to exist, but it was a reasonable subject to broach. In fact, you should be celebrating it as an example of your own ideas, because they were readily testable by measuring the output of Cherenkov radiation as they sped away. Even non-interacting tachyons would occasionally bump into ordinary matter with observable consequences, and that was testable too. The fact that you claim it's a violation of the scientific standards you're advocating indicates that your ideas about science are hopelessly muddled.

"Saying we could we could test it with worm holes with the correct amount of exotic matter is only marginally better, if better at all, than we test it with magic."

Still worse and worse and worse....

Exotic matter is not magic, even though it hasn't been confirmed, it is, in principle, confirmable. You should then welcome it as a reasonable idea to throw in the ring, because if we ever succeed in fixing the problem of electrical attractions and repulsions overwhelming the gravitational interactions, then we might be able to determine if there are any particles with negative mass.

"Besides, I could claim that a test for cosmological ID is to build the same device to demonstrate there this is the only universe."

You could claim that, but without a mechanism or identified Designer/s, you'd have no basis for making that prediction.

"Imagining a way to test something, when the test itself involves physics and technology that are as speculative as what you are trying to test, doesn't cut it."

On the contrary, it cuts it just fine in practice in the real scientific world, because the theoretical explorations have to precede the existing technology and physics in order for us to know what to look for in the future.

"Knowing science? Maybe we should provide our publication records as evidence that we are not just googling for arguments, which is such a danger these days?? I’m game."

I've seen your publication record, as a matter of fact, and you look like someone I'd ask over to reprogram my computer, not to lecture about physics. The fact that you are apparently unaware of longstanding and extensively cited papers like Morris, Thorne and Yutsever (1988) is already enough to call your competence in this area into question.

"And stop the incessant whining that I keep claiming that you think multiverses are real. Where did I write that?"

Well, you either implied it or were simply constructing red herrings to waste my time:

"Compatibility has never, ever been accepted as proof."

"Of course, even granting that multiverses are a requirement (they are not) means nothing whatsoever about their truth. Classical E&M requires that an electron spinning around a nucleus radiates and decays into the nucleus. Because classical E&M required it, did not mean that we accepted it."

"even then the history of science would (a) provide us with examples where things required by a successful theory turn out to be false"

"Um..that’s not a concession, that was my point. I didn’t say that it should not have been discussed; I said it was a requirement that turned out to be wrong and it was reasonable for it to be discussed."

If you weren't under the mistaken idea that I was arguing that multiverses existed, then the above four quotes can only be interpreted as a red herring designed to distract the casual reader and waste my time.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous David Heddle said...

What is there to fool? The statement that multiverse theories can be recast as universe theories is a fact. It the case of Linde it may represent an unnatural realization of his model, and certainly not what he indended, but it is a true statement. You little ploy “call Linde because he will be so shocked” or however you worded it is just grandstanding. On PT they did the same thing with Krauss when I mentioned that he described the cosmological constant as the greatest fine tuning problem in physics.

I see that you have attested to the paucity of you own claim that it is so arrogant to question editors (even though it was a red herring in the first place, since I never criticized an editor) by arguing the the one exception to this inviolate rule is Meyer’s editor.

You just keep missing the boat. Multiverses do not pass Holt’s test for science, for once again, they cannot be verified. However, even “using a superconducting linac as large as the Milky Way” would be acceptable—but not postulating a wormhole device. I mean, can we at least wait until wormholes have been verified, or is this a dual experimental proposal where wormholes and multiverses are verified in one fell swoop? Or should we propose to use other universes to show that wormholes exist?

“On the contrary, it cuts it just fine in practice in the real scientific world, because the theoretical explorations have to precede the existing technology and physics in order for us to know what to look for in the future.”

That true in practice—as I said multiverses are fine fodder for journals, but we are not talking about that, we are talking about Holt and his idiotic rant. What Holt wrote excludes multiverses, not what the real scientific world says.

“You could claim that, but without a mechanism or identified Designer/s, you'd have no basis for making that prediction.” True, but, once again, we are talking about Holt and his pontificating, not what yours or mine or anyone else’s definition of science is. From his statement, multiverses are not science. And if you claim they are (by his definition) because of wormhole technology, then ID is too, for the same reason.

I concede that tachyons were a poor example. Or in other words, even tachyons are within Holt’s definition of science, while multiverses are not. I used tachyons as a first-thing-that-came-to-mind example of why I approve of multiverses being discussed, but you are correct, tachyons (as proper objects of speculation, in their day) are on much firmer footing than multiverses. I need to come up with something much weaker than tachyons to justify my view that multiverses are proper areas of discussion for journals. Right now it is just because I think they are cool.

You misunderstood, intentionally or not, when I used the word magic. If you parse correctly you will see that I did not refer to exotic matter as magic. Here we have something perfectly within the realm of science, and something for which indirect evidence is acceptable (and approaching compelling.) This a very different story from multiverses, the only proof of which we’ll ever have (your wormhole fantasy notwithstanding) is that models that can (but do not have to) predict them work very well in the domains in which they actually can be tested.

Nothing in the list of my quotes meant did yourself out of the hole (of claiming that I was insisting you believe in multiverses, not that it is relevant or that I care) accomplished what you intended. Not one alone to taken collectively proves your point.

Oh, so you’ve seen my publication record. May I see yours? It may knock my socks off, but based on the quality but your replies, you have not ruled out that you are googling for your responses.

In fact, this ends my responses, regardless of your next response, unless you present your scientific credentials.

 
At 12:46 AM, Blogger Austin said...

Interesting picture of zoroastrianism

 

Post a Comment

<< Home