Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html en-gb 30 Fri 19 Sep 2014 18:40:53 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html Blasius http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=99#comment246 Greenpeace should go to Mexican Gulf or S. Korea (hyundai built deepwater horizon) instead of chasing Japanese whaling ship. Greenpeace's activity is crime. Fri 16 Jul 2010 03:47:11 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=99#comment245 #241 davblo wrote:Broken pieces of glass don't (often) jump up off the floor and come to gether to re-form a drinking-glass.But "entangled particles" do seem to do that kind of crazy stuff, as if they can "see into the future" in order to "obey the law".If we drop our assumption that the future "unfolds" in this or that way as past events dictate, these particles are doing nothing more than "obeying the law". And they're not even "obeying" it -- they're just doing exactly what the law simply describes them as doing. (Thanks again, Wittgenstein!)I hope you can see that there is a vast "unexplored area" here -- our own concepts, and how they lead us astray.By the way, some people think that particle physics forces us to give up determinism. I think it forces us to accept a sort of hyper-determinism! Tue 06 Jul 2010 19:21:34 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=98#comment244 #242 davblo wrote:"or did you mean to say 'sub-atomic' level rather than 'microscopic'?"On reflection, I meant teeny-weeny. Tue 06 Jul 2010 17:43:51 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=98#comment243 Agggh it took out my formating, that first paragraph was meant to be strikethrough!! Tue 06 Jul 2010 14:41:15 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=97#comment242 #236 Dave_oxon Modern physics certainly isn't a fun place for the old fashioned scientific realist. Actually I'm not sure the distinction even holds for modern physics, so much is based on advanced mathematical analysis Hamiltonian spaces, Rieman curvature, differential equations in multiple terms, renormalization, probability amplitudes, etc, etc.I was writing one answer then had the brainwave of looking up scientific realist and instrumentalist, talk about hair splitting....Anyway ultimately I'd say that the uncertainty principle is a realist argument about the limits of instrumentation and observation. There are two schools of quantum mechanics Probabilistic and Non-Probabilistic, I would guess that from a philosophical position both would be called realist by some scientists but then all scientific theory is about modeling reality. -Probabilistic quantum mechanics - is a way of producing accurate guesses about the quantum world using complex probabilistic rules, in effect looking inside the uncertainty paradox. As such it is a true instrumentalist theory but it is also one of the most useful and successful theories in science.Non-Probabilistic quantum mechanics - the realist version. In a kind of irony focusing on the actual reality of the quantum world can't easily be used to make useful observations - precisely because of the uncertainty principle. Of course every proof produced by the probabilistic version is an indirect proof of the non-probabilistic version because one is built on the other, but the argument about the reality of the quantum world isn't fully resolved even after decades of arguing. There is also the long on-going fight over gravity, either QM or relativity must fall - and either space time or the graviton will win.On the subject of particle physics that is a very different question, but again no one really knows whether the standard model represents ultimate reality or not. It started as an instrumentality theory intended as an interim 'bodge' but its success has gone on and on. However to me there is something of the 'angels dancing on the head of a pin' about the whole field. (not to say it isn't real though) Tue 06 Jul 2010 13:35:45 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=97#comment241 My #241 continued...or did you mean to say 'sub-atomic' level rather than 'microscopic'?/davblo Tue 06 Jul 2010 12:38:53 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=97#comment240 bowmanthebard #239: "At the microscopic level, the "arrow of time" is quite different from the arrow of time in our familiar macroscopic world."I thought they were pretty similar.Broken pieces of glass don't (often) jump up off the floor and come to gether to re-form a drinking-glass.Products of radio-active decay don't (often) come back together and just happen to reconstruct the original atom of radioactive material.Dump a pile of electrons at one end of a metal bar and they'll disperse and not (often) re-assemble as a group where you put them.etc...; davblo Tue 06 Jul 2010 11:12:27 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=96#comment239 #236 Dave_oxon wrote:How does the scientific realist reconcile the opinion that theories may be literally true or false with the idea that we can never know if a particular theory is true or false?Knowing something does not involve certainty. Of course we can never know with certainty whether a particular theory is true, but we might be lucky and happen to know it as a matter of fact. Tue 06 Jul 2010 09:56:20 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=96#comment238 Dave_oxon #236 wrote:As a 'scientific realist,' what is your interpretation of the Uncertainty Principle?I think that particle physics is in roughly the same state as kinematics when everyone believed "impulse theory". That was the idea that a special force was required to keep something moving -- an idea that was "turned on its head" in the seventeenth century. Our physics has great predictive powers, as did theirs in their time -- but I think we should be much more modest about all so-far attempted interpretations of it, most of which bring trunkloads of metaphysical baggage and macroscopic expectations with them. I think it's likely that some genius will eventually come along and stand the current thinking on its head too.As an example of "metaphysical baggage", I first suggest that particle physics doesn't say anything about individual particles. It makes statistical claims about classes of particles. Yet people keep connecting it with "probability" as if the theory says something about what ought to be believed, which it doesn't. It says what proportion of particles will end up here rather than there -- in other words, it makes statistical claims about relative frequency rather than how much anything ought to be believed. But if we swallow the latter, it suddenly it looks like physics is intimately connected with minds and consciousness and Tao and Yin and Yang and all that sort of nonsense.Aa an example of macroscopic expectations, consider this. At the microscopic level, the "arrow of time" is quite different from the arrow of time in our familiar macroscopic world. Perhaps our expectations about causation itself are shaped by the fact that we evolved at a scale (inches, feet, etc.) in which the dissipation of motion is ubiquitous, and therefore there is a strong asymmetry between past and future, but that is pure speculation. Over the years I have speculated that as soon as we drop those expectations about cause and effect and the "arrow of time", the movement of light becomes much less mysterious (it seems to "choose" the path that takes the least time to travel).But really, all of that is speculation. We are in possession of a brilliant formalism that makes stunningly accurate statistical predictions. But we don't understand it yet, and words like 'uncertainty' and 'principle' are very misleading -- they read far too much into what we actually have, at the same time as misinterpreting it. Half-baked religious ideas that there are "waves of probability" or that "physical reality is consciousness" are too silly and immodest to be taken seriously.The current state of basic physics is actually the usual state of basic physics. The twentieth century, the seventeenth century, ancient Greece -- we are all in pretty much the same boat: we use formalisms that have predictive power, but we don't know much about why they have such power, because we don't yet understand the microscopic world. All we know is that it is very unfamiliar and very unlike the macroscopic world, with its mind-brains in the modest craniums of medium-sized creatures. However, outside of basic physics, our understanding of the world through science (by which I mean non-basic physics, chemistry and biology, nothing involving mere statistical extrapolation) is very much greater than that of our ancestors. I think we have good reasons to think science is slowly pulling back the curtain on the world as it really is. It genuinely reveals the structure of reality. But we must be more modest about our abilities. We should be much, much more modest about what can be achieved by mere extrapolation -- as should be obvious from the endless succession of contradictory medical "studies" in the newspapers. Tue 06 Jul 2010 09:52:32 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=95#comment237 bowmanthebard #235."..the ancient Greeks"stood on the shoulders of giants -- Indian and Babylonian in particular. Tue 06 Jul 2010 09:49:08 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=95#comment236 bowmanthebard #235: "It's an interesting idea, but I think we have to reject it. I would argue that it isn't possible to observe anything -- let alone construct an analog model of what we observe -- without 'interpreting' it through the 'spectacles' of a theory."Somehow I new you were going to say that./davbloPS. Thanks for the Greek history lesson! Tue 06 Jul 2010 08:56:09 GMT+1 Dave_oxon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=95#comment235 @ Bowmanthebard, #231 ( & davblo)this discussion certainly is interesting and I have a question, something of an aside, concerning the distinction raised between 'instrumentalists' and 'scientific realists'. It is this:As a 'scientific realist,' what is your interpretation of the Uncertainty Principle?I ask since the uncertainty principle appears to be an instrumentalist interpretation of observation and, if we accept the principle, it precludes the absolute knowledge of whether a theory is false (I won't say "true or false" as "true" is not within the remit of the scientific method) since we are prevented from determining the falsifying observation to an arbitrary level of accuracy. How does the scientific realist reconcile the opinion that theories may be literally true or false with the idea that we can never know if a particular theory is true or false? Tue 06 Jul 2010 08:18:42 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=94#comment234 234. At 00:56am on 06 Jul 2010, davblo wrote:That at one extreme end of the spectrum of models, lie those 'analogue' models which are (have/could be) constructed to parallel the real world according to observation, with no need whatsoever for any theories. Simple mimicry.It struck me as interesting.It's an interesting idea, but I think we have to reject it. I would argue that it isn't possible to observe anything -- let alone construct an analog model of what we observe -- without "interpreting" it through the "spectacles" of a theory. Even if it's just the classification of everyday things into the categories of common sense, it still a sort of theory.The people who made orreries were lucky enough to have inherited much of the "common sense" of the ancient Greeks. The Greeks did amazing things with little more than the assumption that the Sun was very far away and so its light arrived in roughly parallel lines. First, knowing that the Earth was round, they measured the size of it by seeing the difference in the angle of the Sun at noon at two different places. Next, they measured the size of the Moon by seeing how big the shadow of the Earth appeared on it during a lunar Eclipse. (It's about the size of Australia.) Next, they could tell how far away it was, given its size and how big the full Moon appeared. Next, they were able to guess how far away the Sun was. And so on. These were stunning achievements, and there is much theory involved, theory that later Europeans were able to use, without being fully aware that they were using it. Tue 06 Jul 2010 07:32:20 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=94#comment233 bowmanthebard #233: "I would argue that the people who constructed such models did in fact have a lot of familiarity with -- and facility with -- the underlying principles and theories involved. ... So I don't mean to downplay the absolutely vital role of observation, but would urge you to consider what a huge amount of theory -- i.e. cunning guesswork and often beautiful creativity -- was involved, and above all to consider how none of that theory was 'based on' observation."I'll grant you all that.I didn't mean so much that 'they' had no idea of the principles involved and had no theories. My point was that the 'mechanical replica' model gave me the idea. That at one extreme end of the spectrum of models, lie those 'analogue' models which are (have/could be) constructed to parallel the real world according to observation, with no need whatsoever for any theories. Simple mimicry.It struck me as interesting./davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 23:56:25 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=93#comment232 #232 davblo wrote:the 'replica' or 'simulator' types can be constructed without any knowledge of the underlying principles or theories involved; just as a mechanism which parallels the real thing, based upon observations.I would argue that the people who constructed such models did in fact have a lot of familiarity with -- and facility with -- the underlying principles and theories involved. They were just the principles and theories of their own day. Most orreries were guided by the Ptolemaic theory, with planets going round on circular tracks ("epicycles") whose centres themselves move on circular tracks (with the Earth at the centre). That theory was a great work of human minds, even though it turned out to be wrong. Most great scientific theories have turned out to be wrong so far (but maybe it's like learning to ride a bicycle).Observation was absolutely vital for working out how fast the planets move round their "tracks", but no amount of observation could have told anyone that there were such tracks -- in fact there were no such tracks!So I don't mean to downplay the absolutely vital role of observation, but would urge you to consider what a huge amount of theory -- i.e. cunning guesswork and often beautiful creativity -- was involved, and above all to consider how none of that theory was "based on" observation. Mon 05 Jul 2010 17:49:30 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=93#comment231 bowmanthebard #231: "Personally, I think I'll keep using the word 'model' as I currently do to refer to something (usually realized in a machine of some sort) that isn't true or false, like an orrery or a computer simulation."Ok; if you will.The word Orrery was interesting. I see it shows another possible facet of modelling. That the 'replica' or 'simulator' types can be constructed without any knowledge of the underlying principles or theories involved; just as a mechanism which parallels the real thing, based upon observations. No doubt it's predictive powers would be questionable, but at least testable.So yes I agree, there can be different types of model.As to 'instrumentalist' or 'scientific realist' I guess I'd start out on the former side rather than the latter. So if you have any simple persuading arguments.../davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 17:01:43 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=93#comment230 bowmanthebard #226: But what makes you call that 'a model' at all, rather than 'some theories'?davblo #230: Because it's an application of 'some theories', used in a way appropriate for 'modelling' (predicting or explaining behaviour of) a specific system.Ah, I see -- that makes much more sense. Personally, I think I'll keep using the word 'model' as I currently do to refer to something (usually realized in a machine of some sort) that isn't true or false, like an orrery or a computer simulation.Another reason is this: so-called 'instrumentalists' (opponents of 'scientific realists' like me) say that scientific theories are mere instruments for prediction rather than literally true or false. They often use the word 'model' to express their belief that scientific theories are not literally true.Theories are generally less specifically orientated and are as simple and with as wide a scope as possible. A model will generally be arranged to cope with a specific system.That's true. Maybe we'll have to say there is more than one type of model. Mon 05 Jul 2010 16:23:51 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=92#comment229 bowmanthebard #226: "But what makes you call that 'a model' at all, rather than 'some theories'? "Because it's an application of 'some theories', used in a way appropriate for 'modelling' (predicting or explaining behaviour of) a specific system.Theories are generally less specifically orientated and are as simple and with as wide a scope as possible. A model will generally be arranged to cope with a specific system.The theory of gravitation (or curved space-time if you like) is expected to apply all over (simply speaking), but the modelling of the solar system requires specific application of the theory - a model./davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 15:46:55 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=92#comment228 Robert Lucien #225: "...basically space time scales with the size of space but the speed of light doesn't. So on larger and larger scales space time becomes increasingly flexible and fragile,..."I missed the logical connection there. How does one measure the 'flexibility' of space-time and what do you consider 'fragile'?Why does it depend on the non-scalability of the speed of light?/davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 15:29:52 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=91#comment227 #227 JaneBasingstoke wrote:thought you might be interested in another example of "bewitchment"Yes -- bewitchment is everywhere.Statements of the form 'if... then...' (so-called "conditionals" by almost everyone nowadays, although Dodgson calls them "hypotheticals") are notoriously hard to deal with. The very simplest way of treating them is to pretend that they say nothing more than can be expressed using words like 'and', 'not' and 'or'. Sometimes that is indeed all they mean. For example, 'if it's raining then it's cloudy' can often mean nothing more than "either it's not raining, or else it's cloudy".That can be very useful, especially in mathematics-type proofs, but it's inadequate for dealing with the sort of conditionals typically found in science. For example, a law such as "what goes up must come down" (which has the basic structure of a law) in effect says that if anything were to be thrown into the air, then it would fall back to the ground again, even if isn't thrown into the air. The simple treatment described above isn't good enough for that, because of its simple assumption that the entire conditional is true simply by virtue of the first claim (after the 'if') being false.Even eminent logicians such as Bertrand Russell have been led astray by conditionals. He made the mistake of assuming that the simplest treatment of conditionals described above captures what is meant by "implication". Hence you sometimes hear admirers of Russell talking about "material implication" when really they should limit themselves to "material conditionals" -- i.e. if-then statements which are true or false purely as a combination of the truth or falsity of the claims they are constructed from.I'm interested in conditionals like "if hypothesis H were true, then observation O would be true". That conditional is not rendered true simply by H being false, so we cannot regard it as a material conditional. Instead, we have to think of it capturing a "special link" between H and O -- something like "if we believed H, we would be entitled to believe O as well". Mon 05 Jul 2010 15:17:23 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=91#comment226 @bowmanthebard #207Thanks for that.Not asking you to approve of Dodgson. Just thought you might be interested in another example of "bewitchment". (Incidentally, reading the "Notes" section, I'm not sure that Dodgson actually realises the "paradox" is caused by a misapplication of his logic terminology.) Mon 05 Jul 2010 11:44:42 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=91#comment225 #224 davblo wrote:In general, a good model should be able to use appropriate theories to "do the math"But what makes you call that "a model" at all, rather than "some theories"? Mon 05 Jul 2010 11:43:59 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=90#comment224 #221. At 11:00am on 05 Jul 2010, davblo wrote:"Sorry in advance if you feel that quote is misleading out of context; but statements like that are pretty meaningless without a logical argument to back them up; i.e. why would "absolute simultaneity (or other...)" be a pre-requisite for a universe to "exist"? "Its actually an extremely complex problem. - Its all to do with the nature of the universe on very large scales,basically space time scales with the size of space but the speed of light doesn't. So on larger and larger scales space time becomes increasingly flexible and fragile, now relativity has an answer for that but its unsatisfying itself in a number of ways. The real problem is when we look at the present time directly, do the stars and the rest of space exist? Strictly Relativity says that since they are outside our light cone they exist in the past and future but not now. If you take it to its logical limit all light cones shrink to zero and there are an infinite number of tiny parallel universes each about the size of a living room. IE the big universe doesn't exist, pretty abstract stuff! Mon 05 Jul 2010 11:24:20 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=90#comment223 bowmanthebard #222: "no such thing as a 'non-analog model'"That was exactly what I was trying to correct.The model you describe, that works by iterative progression is only a special case and more of the kind that would be called a 'simulation'.In general, a good model should be able to use appropriate theories to "do the math" as you say and determine a particular configuration (eg of planets) without plodding through a 'mimicry' of reality. Maybe it's the flexibility of models which is causing he problem. They have the ability to incorporate unknowns and uncertainties and make approximate predictions. But surely some theories are allowed to incorporate such approximations as well; it just depends how you formulate the theory./davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 11:14:57 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=89#comment222 @Robert Lucien #199 "notional dimension" [again]Not aware of Einstein demoting time to a "notional dimension". Thought Einstein had both time and the three space dimensions combined into 4-D spacetime. But there you go. Learn something from a blogger every day. Are you going to tell Kip Thorne that his take on general relativity is wrong or shall I? (Hint, I'm not a scientist so it'll have to be you.)"If time really is a dimension then why doesn't someone just go and have a quick look a hundred years into the future to see if climate change is a real threat or not?"Right so because Kip Thorne hasn't built that time machine yet time can't be a dimension. Was it the same deal with altitude before the Montgolfier brothers?first question - coping with lack of absolute simultaneousnessAs for your answer to the first of my two questions. I am having problems reconciling your answer to my question. To recap on simultaneousness. If I am standing equal distance from two clocks travelling at the same velocity as me and in sync with each other I see them as synchronised. But if they are also equidistant from someone on that very fast space ship they will see the two clocks as out of sync. Although the effect is much more noticeable for spaceships going near the speed of light (or particles in the LHC going near the speed of light) the spaceship doesn't even need to be going that fast, the effect is significant enough to require GPS satellites to cope with it. There is no such thing as absolute simultaneousness. Simultaneous is different for different frames of reference. You appeal to coherence. Time being a dimension doesn't destroy coherence because information stays within light cones. (I thought you said you knew relativity.) And as to your comment about a time dimension meaning stars should wobble. Perhaps my #192 needed to be clearer that stars aren't made out of blancmange. (Joke.)So back to my question. Your rejection of a time dimension is dependent on absolute simultaneousness. But there is no such absolute. So how does your work cope with the lack of absolute simultaneousness. second question - directional low entropy in a spatial dimensionYour answer to my second question is even less of an answer to my question. You've basically ignored my question using an aside in my question as an excuse to restate your position. So I repeat, how does your work cope with a spatial dimension with low entropy in one direction? Does such a dimension have any of the properties we associate with time?"Sorry but if time was a dimension all times would co-exist together simultaneously."Um, think you're muddling language appropriate for "outside" our spacetime with language appropriate for an observer who is part of our spacetime.OK you've expanded on your #199 in your #217"silver hat = tin foil hat"Actually I got this reference due to sufficient context and due to the synonym "silver paper" for "tin foil". (Thank you Blue Peter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpiPEWDwK_Q ) Ironically "tin" is also wrong, foil is normally made out of aluminium rather than tin. But "cooking foil hat" or "aluminium foil hat" don't have the same ring. (Where's Bluesberry and his HAARP posts when you need him.)"As relative speeds approach light time and space begin to merge, local time compresses and runs slower, etc. [ie normal reality breaks down]"Don't like you describing the time distortion effects of relativity as normal reality breaking down. These effects exist at much slower speeds, although they are harder to detect. GPS satellites have to be designed to cope with them. And there are no go areas for relativity sums that are far more deserving of the description "normal reality breaks down" than the example you give."bowmanthebard"gave a very gracious reply to me on the issues of understanding posts in his #207. "dyslexic"Genuinely, or just one of those comments people make in conversation? Borderline dyslexic myself, word processors with their cut-and-paste and spellchecks have been a godsend. Used to have a housemate who was a teacher and said dyslexia was just a middle class excuse for being thick (grrr). But you should have seen his handwriting. :-) Mon 05 Jul 2010 11:11:05 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=89#comment221 davblo #219 wrote: "Non analogue models"Maybe what I'm trying to say is that all models work like "analog machines", so there is no such thing as a "non-analog model".For example, a model that predicts the position of the planets would work by being given a range of internal variables whose values correspond to that of variables in the real world. It would then be "set in motion", in the hope that it would mimic the behaviour of the real planets as it unfolds over time.But a theory would work differently. You would simply plug in initial conditions, do the math, and there's your answer. Mon 05 Jul 2010 10:13:16 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=89#comment220 Robert Lucien #217: "Sorry I have an IQ of 130..."...and modest to-boot!Thanks anyway for saying 'sorry'.Robert Lucien #217: "...without an absolute simultaneity or other FTL geometry the rest of the universe doesn't exist."Sorry in advance if you feel that quote is misleading out of context; but statements like that are pretty meaningless without a logical argument to back them up; i.e. why would "absolute simultaneity (or other...)" be a pre-requisite for a universe to "exist"?/davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 10:00:04 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=88#comment219 bowmanthebard #218: The cardinal number of a set is the number of elements it containsdavblo #219: That seems to presume "number" and "countability" even before you've started.My basic assumptions are that sets are real groupings of things, and that mappings are real associations between their elements which can be injective, surjective, or both (in which case there is a one-to-one correspondence between their elements). Given some very basic set-theoretical assumptions like those, sets can themselves can be classified into disjoint groups (i.e. sets of sets) according to whether or not there is a one-to-one correspondence between their elements. Each of these disjoint groups corresponds to a counting number. In my opinion it is an idle exercise to explicitly and fully define numbers in terms of sets of sets, mappings, equivalence relations, etc. as long as we recognize that it can in fact be done. As long as we agree on that, it doesn't matter that I use the words 'number', 'count', etc. in explaining what numbers are, because those are the clearest words to use. The object, remember, is to show that numbers are not "made out of mind-stuff" whatever that means. They belong to the same "realm" as all the other stuff we routinely talk about -- such as colours and tables and chairs -- although they are a bit more abstract.bowmanthebard #218: Models are different because their parts literally mimic aspects of the world.davblo #219: Did my explanation not make my point? I say they aren't different and the don't literally mimic aspects of the world.No, I don't think it did make the point. I think what you described was the use of a theory. I don't see why you'd call it a "model". I got the impression that it reinforced my point that models and theories are different. But even if we say that models and theories shade into one another in places, like herring gulls and black-backed gulls, there are some definite examples of each.It's important, because the test of any hypothesis depends on its being either true or false, and implying something that is either true or false. A model can be more or less accurate, but as long as we treat it as a mere model, without a truth-value, we cannot test it in the usual sense. We might use it, nod cheerfully when it works well and shake our heads when it works badly, but we cannot say "it's right" or "it's wrong" until we interpret it as saying something true or false. Nor can we take it as implying anything about the real world. Mon 05 Jul 2010 09:54:57 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=88#comment218 bowmanthebard #218: "The cardinal number of a set is the number of elements it contains..." [my emphasis]That seems to presume "number" and "countability" even before you've started.bowmanthebard #218: "Models are different because their parts literally mimic aspects of the world."Did my explanation not make my point? I say they aren't different and the don't literally mimic aspects of the world.bowmanthebard #218: "Much the same applies to the terms of a theory. The term 'm' doesn't have mass, 'F' doesn't apply a force, 'a' doesn't accelerate, and so on."The same is true of a model. The 'm' in a model has no mass, the 'F' in a model doesn't apply any force, the 'a' in a model doesn't accelerate and so on. I think you are still distracted by simple 'analogue' replicas, but I'm not talking about those.It is the result of 'using' model which relates (a value of 'F' say) to the real world. in just the same way as a theory, when used to make a prediction will yield a value (eg 'F') which relates to the real world.You can 'formulate' a theory and you can 'formulate' a model (based upon actual or imagined theories).Only when 'using' them do you derive results which relate to the real world. It's the same in both cases.The simple 'analogue' replica (eg a model-car or model-aeroplane) is a special case where the 'formulation' and 'use' of the model are rolled into one; because that's inherent in that kind of model. As soon as you build it, it is displaying it's features. Non analogue models (ie those which are not physical replicas) can easily separate the two stages of 'formulation' and 'use'. /davblo Mon 05 Jul 2010 09:14:23 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=87#comment217 #216 davblo wrote:I didn't see the relevance "fat" and toothacheThe word 'fat' isn't fat, and the word 'toothache ' isn't painful. The words of a language refer to things in the world, and descriptive sentences say how they are arranged, but they don't achieve this through mimicry. Much the same applies to the terms of a theory. The term 'm' doesn't have mass, 'F' doesn't apply a force, 'a' doesn't accelerate, and so on.Models are different because their parts literally mimic aspects of the world.didn't quite see the difference between the "counting numbers" you defined and the "cardinal numbers" you used in the definition.The cardinal number of a set is the number of elements it contains. It seems that our most basic use of numbers involves counting elements of things we have grouped together. All of the other number systems (negative numbers, fractions, etc.) can be derived from that basic use of numbers, so to show that those counting numbers refer to everyday features of the physical world is in effect to show that all numbers are like that. So none of them are in a mysterious non-physical realm, or "in the mind", or "made out of mind-stuff". Mon 05 Jul 2010 07:49:00 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=87#comment216 #215. At 00:21am on 05 Jul 2010, davblo wrote:I quoted one sentence from a two sentence paragraph in your #199. SO I don't know what you think I "twisted", "distorted", took "out of context" or made a "wrong sense of". Also I know nothing about silver hats; sounds rather silly."----Sorry I have an IQ of 130 and I sometimes forget to put contexts in order, or worse include logical leaps that are not exactly intuitive for most. In my sentence I was of course referring to time travel. As to the silver hat my dyslexia fixed that- it should have read 'tin foil' hat, a comment on the irony of Bowman placing one on my head earlier.Maybe I should be labeling things. Actually explaining anything relativity without a lot of diagrams and pages of description is next to impossible. It doesn't help that so much many descriptions written for non-scientists get things wrong.----#199 I wrote: #192 JaneBasingstoke. . . [background description of space time]Hate to point it out Jane but it was Einstein who was treating it[time] as a notional dimension, space time is a map that unifies time and space into a single unit defined by the constant c in vacuum. As relative speeds approach light time and space begin to merge, local time compresses and runs slower, etc. [ie normal reality breaks down][Now showing where SR and GR fail, namely in FTL region geometry]But it is only at FTL velocities that relativity says that time actually behaves like a dimension. ['humorous' aside about time travelling to see if climate change is real]If time really is a dimension then why doesn't someone just go and have a quick look a hundred years into the future to see if climate change is a real threat or not? Maybe that explains why Bowman and the other skeptics are so certain about things, I can see them all sitting in their bathtub time machines with THEIR 'tin foil' hats on. :>Jane - "Incidentally how does your approach deal with Special Relativity's "no such thing as absolute simultaneous" problem?"[One of the most complex problems in physics shortened into one sentence]The trouble with the way relativity defines simultaneity is that it scales with space time. [snip] Einstein was wrong - or rather his devoted followers are wrong, without an absolute simultaneity or other FTL geometry the rest of the universe doesn't exist.Jane - "And I have a second question for you. Would you also make the same claim about a hypothetical spatial dimension which was also low entropy in one direction? Or is that a contradiction in terms, would such a dimension automatically be a/the time dimension?"[the actual meat of the whole argument]Sorry but if time was a dimension all times would co-exist together simultaneously. Of course we do move 'forward' in time but at any one moment we are only ever at one point in time, that is the definition of a point not a dimension. [] Mon 05 Jul 2010 02:04:38 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=87#comment215 bowmanthebard #213: "But models really are similar -- in some respects but not all -- to the things they model. ...a plastic display model aeroplane ... A computer model of the weather really does resemble current weather systems, at least in terms of the internal numbers it manipulates and the values (pressure, etc.) they measure."This is where I think you are wrong.I don't know whether I can explain clearly and simply at the moment, but I think you are mixing up the model itself with the "running" of the model and the results it may produce.Some models can be "analogue" in their nature and working but they don't have to be.A modern model of the solar system would include a selection of relevant theories such as mass, gravitation, relativity etc and use them together to explain/predict the behaviour of the actual solar system. Given an arbitrary starting point it could be used to predict the positions of the planetary bodies at any other time. A good implementation of the model would be able to calculate the positions directly and not need to iterate through second by second as you seem to imply. The numbers you get out from running the model are equivalent to the numbers you get from using a theory to make a prediction. Does that make sense?(I didn't see the relevance "fat" and toothache, but sorry to hear you are suffering pain)/davbloPS. I liked the null set stuff; but didn't quite see the difference between the "counting numbers" you defined and the "cardinal numbers" you used in the definition. Mon 05 Jul 2010 00:16:32 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=86#comment214 Robert Lucien #214: "Especially if taken out of context, deliberately twisted and distorted to make a wrong sense, and only half the words are read."I quoted one sentence from a two sentence paragraph in your #199. SO I don't know what you think I "twisted", "distorted", took "out of context" or made a "wrong sense of". Also I know nothing about silver hats; sounds rather silly./davblo Sun 04 Jul 2010 23:21:30 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=86#comment213 #209"But more seriously; for bomanthbard and MangoChutneyUKOK, I must say that I haven't a clue what you are talking about. Your statements are too hand waving, unclear, jumbled and lacking in any logic."Especially if taken out of context, deliberately twisted and distorted to make a wrong sense, and only half the words are read. Come to think of it thats the whole basis of most climate science skepticism isn't it?Or is it that the remark about the silver hats hit to close to home? Sun 04 Jul 2010 21:18:06 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=85#comment212 #205 davblo wrote:I don't think we can "describe" anything more than by modelling its behaviour.The word 'fat' isn't a big or corpulent word, unlike the people it describes. I am suffering from ghastly toothache at the moment, and wish I had a mere linguistic description of a toothache to contend with, as that would be much more pleasant -- the two things are completely unlike.But models really are similar -- in some respects but not all -- to the things they model. For example, a plastic display model aeroplane resembles a real aeroplane in appearance (but not size). A flying balsa wood model resembles it in flight (but not appearance). A computer model of the weather really does resemble current weather systems, at least in terms of the internal numbers it manipulates and the values (pressure, etc.) they measure. A bit like an old-fashioned "analog" recording on vinyl and the music it "resembles" (the loudest bits really do stand out like squalls on the surface of the sea). Sun 04 Jul 2010 20:57:02 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=85#comment211 #209 davblo wrote:"But more seriously; for bomanthbard and MangoChutneyUKOK"Duly noted with admiration and approval. We really must all learn to be comfortable disagreeing with each other, especially those on our own "side". Disagreement is the lifeblood of science and philosophy, and how our civilization advances. (Oh yeah -- it's also the lifeblood of marriage!) Sun 04 Jul 2010 20:04:25 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=85#comment210 #210 JaneBasingstoke wrote:Can't work out if that is a spoof on Sir Humphrey...and not only is it "grossly inelegant" (as I modestly put it before) it is also inaccurate. (I forgot the pairs have to be disjoint.)There is a sane idea behind it though. The idea is that what the counting numbers refer to can be expressed in terms of set theory, and set theory is so intuitively simple that it becomes hard to say that numbers aren't real (in the everyday sense of the word 'real'). They're not "immaterial" or "mental" or "belonging to another realm" or anything mystical like that.It is easy to prove (!) that there is only one null set (symbolized by{}). We can define 1 as the cardinal number of the set that contains the null set. And so on, so that 4 is the cardinal number of the set {{}, {{}}, {{{}}}, {{{{}}}}}.I know it sounds ridiculous, but just remember the main point of the exercise: to show that numbers are "real", and part of the familiar world of things, although of course they are abstract. Sun 04 Jul 2010 20:01:26 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=84#comment209 @bowmanthebard #197"and the set whose elements are the null set, the set containing nothing but the null set, the set containing nothing but the set containing nothing but the null set, and the set containing nothing but the set containing nothing but the set containing nothing but the null set"Can't work out if that is a spoof on Sir Humphrey, a spoof on Alice Tinker's description of her issues with "I can't believe it's not butter", or a really rubbish way to count to 4 (or possibly 3 if the null set is zero). Sun 04 Jul 2010 19:38:17 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=84#comment208 Robert Lucien #199: "If time really is a dimension then why doesn't someone just go and have a quick look a hundred years into the future to see if climate change is a real threat or not?"For the same reason as I can't suddenly pop up in New York or on a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. It takes time to get there; and guess what, it takes about a hundred years to reach "a hundred years into the future".But more seriously; for bomanthbard and MangoChutneyUKOK, I must say that I haven't a clue what you are talking about. Your statements are too hand waving, unclear, jumbled and lacking in any logic./davblo Sun 04 Jul 2010 19:01:29 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=83#comment207 #206 davblo wrote:Maybe I should have adjusted bowmanthebard's wording to "almost never" to accommodate you.I hate to toot my own trumpet, but I have been quick to admonish everyone -- on both sides -- who expected or demanded "proof" of a scientific theory. Sun 04 Jul 2010 19:00:51 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=83#comment206 #203 JaneBasingstoke wrote:Meanwhile you haven't given an opinion of the Dodgson example of excessive rigidity of languageI will if you insist, but I'm allergic to Lewis Carroll! (I accept he was a significant logician, however.)Excessive rigidity of language is bad, and I'm all in favour of recognizing that words are used in context, and should be interpreted in context. But wouldn't you agree with me that language can lead us astray? Often it leads us astray when a single word has two different meanings, and we mistakenly assign the wrong meaning. To take a few examples close to today's discussions, consider the word 'information'. Or the word 'energy'. Have you not met people who think "imaginary numbers" are imaginary in the everyday sense rather than being one half of an ordered pair of real numbers? And don't get me started on 'real'!I think what you're trying to say, politely, is that I'm a royal pain in the a**! I agree -- I just ask you to treat my irritating nit-picking with its intended frivolity. That way it's slightly less irritating (I gather). Sun 04 Jul 2010 18:56:14 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=82#comment205 MangoChutneyUKOK #204: "no retraction davblo? shame on you, making accusations that can't be substantiated ;)"Two of the comments you linked to were written by you.In them you expressed caution about some extravagant AGW-non-believer claims. For those two, amongst thousands of other AGW-non-believer comments on these blogs, you deserve some credit.Unfortunately it's not enough to tip the balance...(Maybe I should have adjusted bowmanthebard's wording to "almost never" to accommodate you.)/davblo Sun 04 Jul 2010 18:44:45 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=82#comment204 bowmanthebard #202: "A model can be more or less accurate, by resembling some aspect of reality more or less closely. But a theory doesn't resemble reality -- it purports to describe it."I see no difference between the two. I don't think we can "describe" anything more than by modelling its behaviour.But if you have an example to the contrary I'd be "all ears"./davblo Sun 04 Jul 2010 18:38:04 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=82#comment203 @davblo #194(me@195)no retraction davblo?shame on you, making accusations that can't be substantiated ;)/Mango Sun 04 Jul 2010 18:25:06 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=81#comment202 @bowmanthebard #198"theory" ... "model"If "model" is being used as a synonym for "theory" then yes, it can be correct or incorrect. Such use is context sensitive as "model" has other uses. As I said, Bowman dictionary again.Meanwhile you haven't given an opinion of the Dodgson example of excessive rigidity of language being used as a cheat to get the wrong result in a logic problem. Which, as a fan of Wittgenstein, you should at least find interesting.Charles Dodgson "A Logical Paradox"http://fair-use.org/mind/1894/07/notes/a-logical-paradox Sun 04 Jul 2010 17:45:17 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=81#comment201 #200 davblo wrote:A model can be as correct or incorrect as a theory can be true or false.A model can be more or less accurate, by resembling some aspect of reality more or less closely. But a theory doesn't resemble reality -- it purports to describe it. Sun 04 Jul 2010 16:51:38 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=80#comment200 #200. At 4:33pm on 04 Jul 2010, davblo wrote:"A model can be as correct or incorrect as a theory can be true or false."At the end of the day a model is simply a way of reformulating a theory. The definition of model is far wider though, models and simulations have all kinds of uses - like prototyping (ie testing and tuning theories that are works in progress). Sun 04 Jul 2010 16:16:43 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=80#comment199 bowmanthebard #198: "A model is neither true nor false, but a theory is true or false. Do you regard that as a minor detail?"A model can be as correct or incorrect as a theory can be true or false./davblo Sun 04 Jul 2010 15:33:10 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=80#comment198 #192 JaneBasingstoke@Robert Lucien #187"but it is only a notional dimension""It may be useful to treat time's dimension like properties as an artefact within your discipline, and perhaps your approach can explain most of such dimension like properties away without your explanations impacting spatial dimensions in the same way. And perhaps your approach will eventually disprove "time is a dimension".But outside of your eclectic approach time looks like a proper dimension, and is best treated as a proper dimension."Hate to point it out Jane but it was Einstein who was treating it as a notional dimension, time space is a map that unifies time and space into a single unit defined by the constant c in vacuum. As relative speeds approach light time and space begin to merge, local time compresses and runs slower, etc. But it is only at FTL velocities that relativity says that time actually behaves like a dimension. - And that is one reason why another 'higher energy' theory is needed - something Einstein actually tried to solve for several decades. [censored for publication reasons]. Time can also behave like a dimension on very small scales but that is quantum mechanics. If time really is a dimension then why doesn't someone just go and have a quick look a hundred years into the future to see if climate change is a real threat or not? Maybe that explains why Bowman and the other skeptics are so certain about things, I can see them all sitting in their bathtub time machines with THEIR silver hats on. :>"So you have time playing swapsies with the direction of travel spatial dimension. To not treat time as a dimension under such circumstances seems more than stubborn. Especially with the problem that special relativity makes "simultaneous" very difficult to define, even confined to inertial frames of reference.Incidentally how does your approach deal with Special Relativity's "no such thing as absolute simultaneous" problem?"The trouble with the way relativity defines simultaneity is that it scales with space time. This is very interesting and mind twisting but on the vast scale of the whole of space it doesn't provide a coherent universe. The fact that the stars don't wobble about the sky kind of tells us that space is very static and stable on far higher energy scales than 'space time', the problem with the higher energy physics is that its very hard to measure because its all zero's. (a massive simplification)"And I have a second question for you. Would you also make the same claim about a hypothetical spatial dimension which was also low entropy in one direction? Or is that a contradiction in terms, would such a dimension automatically be a/the time dimension?"Sorry but if time was a dimension all times would co-exist together simultaneously. Of course we do move 'forward' in time but at any one moment we are only ever at one point in time, that is the definition of a point not a dimension. Sun 04 Jul 2010 15:28:09 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=79#comment197 #193 JaneBasingstoke wrote:"theory" ... "model"Ho hum. Bowman dictionary again.A model is neither true nor false, but a theory is true or false. Do you regard that as a minor detail? Sun 04 Jul 2010 14:58:35 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=79#comment196 #196 JaneBasingstoke wrote:Sorry Bowman. I know you like to see proof.No I don't -- except in maths and logic sometimes. Where have I ever asked to see proof?Incidentally how does your approach deal with Special Relativity's "no such thing as absolute simultaneous" problem?No problem! -- I mean, I don't have a problem: there's no such thing as absolute simultaneity, and if that seems odd it's because we haven't purged ourselves fully of Newtonian expectations. It takes a lot of effort and diligence to purge oneself of expectations.Is "2 + 2 = 4" mind-stuff?It is if you are thinking it. If you believe it, the belief is true, and what makes it true is an abstract fact, which we might express with gross inelegance as "there is a one-to-one correspondence between the union of any two pairs and the set whose elements are the null set, the set containing nothing but the null set, the set containing nothing but the set containing nothing but the null set, and the set containing nothing but the set containing nothing but the set containing nothing but the null set".If you think sets are "in the mind", then that abstract fact is in the mind. But since most material objects are not in the mind, it seems reasonable to say that sets of those objects are not in the mind either. Sun 04 Jul 2010 14:40:44 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=78#comment195 @bowmanthebard"mind-stuff"Is "2 + 2 = 4" mind-stuff? How about the Mandelbrot Set? Or the first 4 postulates of Euclid? How would you feel about a universe built with "[mind-stuff] in a straight jacket", where everything is about the rules of interaction? Sun 04 Jul 2010 14:04:49 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=78#comment194 @davblo #194bowmanthebard #190: "I find it depressing and disappointing that AGW-believers never seem to disown obvious nonsense if another AGW-believer says it."That's exactly what I've been saying all along (maybe not so much recently) about AGW-non-believers!seems you are wrong davblo:http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/sustainability_choices_choices.html#P96786420http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/sustainability_choices_choices.html#P96799906http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/sustainability_choices_choices.html#P96810167;)/Mango Sun 04 Jul 2010 13:05:35 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=78#comment193 bowmanthebard #190: "I find it depressing and disappointing that AGW-believers never seem to disown obvious nonsense if another AGW-believer says it."That's exactly what I've been saying all along (maybe not so much recently) about AGW-non-believers!/davblo Sun 04 Jul 2010 12:24:24 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=77#comment192 @bowmanthebard(@Robert Lucien)"theory" ... "model"Ho hum. Bowman dictionary again. What do you make of the following piece by Victorian mathematician Charles Dodgson?http://fair-use.org/mind/1894/07/notes/a-logical-paradox Sun 04 Jul 2010 12:23:55 GMT+1 JaneBasingstoke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=77#comment191 @Robert Lucien #187"but it is only a notional dimension"C***!It may be useful to treat time's dimension like properties as an artefact within your discipline, and perhaps your approach can explain most of such dimension like properties away without your explanations impacting spatial dimensions in the same way. And perhaps your approach will eventually disprove "time is a dimension".But outside of your eclectic approach time looks like a proper dimension, and is best treated as a proper dimension. And with respect to the specific issue of relativity:If someone on Earth looks at a spaceship* travelling close to the speed of light the spaceship is shorter in the direction of travel, the time on its clocks run slower, and the time on its clocks depend whereabouts in the spaceship the clock is. Meanwhile someone on that spaceship sees none of these distortions on their spaceship but if they look back at Earth they see similar distortions being applied to the Earth.So you have time playing swapsies with the direction of travel spatial dimension. To not treat time as a dimension under such circumstances seems more than stubborn. Especially with the problem that special relativity makes "simultaneous" very difficult to define, even confined to inertial frames of reference. * This would be a spaceship in normal space-time rather than some of the more exotic situations covered by general relativity.(Sorry Bowman. I know you like to see proof. But I prefer not to clog up this thread with special relativity.)Incidentally how does your approach deal with Special Relativity's "no such thing as absolute simultaneous" problem?And I have a second question for you. Would you also make the same claim about a hypothetical spatial dimension which was also low entropy in one direction? Or is that a contradiction in terms, would such a dimension automatically be a/the time dimension?@bowmanthebard #190"disown obvious nonsense"Not "obvious nonsense".:-p Sun 04 Jul 2010 11:45:04 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=76#comment190 The concept of "information" as used in engineering and physics is quite different from what we normally call "information" in everyday life.The former is statistical co-variation, and it hardly deserves the name 'information' at all; the latter is something like potential knowledge.There are connections between available thermal energy and statistical co-variation, because where there is a lot of available thermal energy, there is a lot of as-yet un-dissipated motion, and statistically motion tends to dissipate in a very reliable/predictable way, especially if many particles are involved.Alas. The word 'information' is a honey-trap for the conceptually unwary and the gullible. The idea that "immaterial mind-stuff underlies physical reality" is enormously attractive to the religiously-inclined wishful thinker. But it's pure baloney. Sun 04 Jul 2010 11:39:28 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=76#comment189 I find it depressing and disappointing that AGW-believers never seem to disown obvious nonsense if another AGW-believer says it. Sun 04 Jul 2010 09:46:11 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=76#comment188 I'm not going to bother replying to Robert Lucien, because he's always talking through his tin foil hat. Sun 04 Jul 2010 09:42:13 GMT+1 MangoChutney http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=75#comment187 @Robert Lucien #187Students of physics might be a little uncomfortable with that definition, in physics argument theory and everything else is secondary to physical observation.So modelled values of climate sensivity (generally high) are secondary to physically observed values of climate sensitivity (generally low), which means the whole CO2 as primary driver of climate is false.This is what I've been saying ever since I first started coming here/Mango Sun 04 Jul 2010 08:37:05 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=75#comment186 Students of physics might be a little uncomfortable with that definition, in physics argument theory and everything else is secondary to physical observation. Mass is just a description of one of the main properties of physical matter, other parts of the description include things like momentum, inertia, and position. - Those descriptions form what physics calls 'information' and they all have energy associated with them. Actually information and energy are a part of my own research, information in physics is a spectacularly complex subject. The physical order of everything in the universe forms an information energy state, a single wavefront, that appears simultaneously at every point in the universe and spreads outwards at the speed of light. (that is an extension of Relativity to cope with a large universe) The past is a memory that represents the entire current state of the present. The future is a 'phase space' generated by the current state of the present.People who talk about relativity and quote time as 'the 4th dimension' mostly don't notice that it is an extremely abstruse way of saying you believe in 'magic'. Time is not a dimension except maybe on very small scales like quantum scales. Relativity does define time as a dimension but it is only a notional dimension - in other words it isn't reality directly. Sun 04 Jul 2010 08:20:00 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=74#comment185 simon-swede #184 wrote:you need to explain your definition of intrinsic, although again I suspect your dictionary has a very Bowmanesque definition as it appears to have for so many other words.The first non-obsolete entry (1. and 2. are obsolete) for 'intrinsic' in the OED is: "3. a. Belonging to the thing in itself, or by its very nature; inherent, essential, proper; 'of its own'."In other words, an intrinsic property of a physical thing (such as the number of atoms it is composed of, say) does not differ between reference frames, but its mass does.Perhaps philosophers and physicists use the word 'instrinsic' in more a specialized way, as do, for example, mathematicians: "c. Math. intrinsic equation of a curve: an equation expressing the relation between its length and curvature (and so involving no reference to external points, lines, etc., as in equations referred to co-ordinates)."But in any case, most words do not get their "meanings" by having definitions. The "meanings" of most everyday words are established by instead by the way they are habitually used by ordinary people who speak the language. When the people who write dictionaries attempt to capture the "meaning" of a word by giving a synonymous phrase, they often capture the conceptual confusion that is embodied in everyday usage.So it would be very strange for a philosopher -- especially one who broadly agrees with Wittgenstein that "philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language" -- to always use words as dictionaries prescribe. That would be to swallow the conceptual confusion whole. You should expect some fine-tuning and the careful drawing of distinctions to avoid the conceptual confusions that are simply echoed in dictionary definitions.This doesn't just apply to philosophers. Students of physics do not learn about mass (i.e. about what the word 'mass' means) by looking up a dictionary. They learn how to use a couple of theories which routinely handle numerical values of 'm'. The word 'mass' is not an everyday word, so to amend a phrase above slightly, its "meaning" is not quite established by the way it is "habitually used by ordinary people who speak the language", but by the way it is habitually used by physicists who apply the theories in which it occurs.Perhaps the word 'mass' is used by ordinary people to mean "bulk" or something vague like that; the fine-tuning applied by physicists to give the word a more precise, specialized meaning is not an idle bit of pettifoggery. Sat 03 Jul 2010 08:45:52 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=74#comment184 184. At 07:16am on 03 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:You do say above that "mass is not an intrinsic property of things that have mass", which to me is a bizarre claim.Compare the claim -- made wholly within the Newtonian system, say -- that "kinetic energy is not an intrinsic property of things that have it".For example, if you are travelling along with a speeding bullet, it has zero kinetic energy relative to your reference frame, and it can do you no harm. But relative to a person who is standing still, the bullet can have lethal effects because it has very high kinetic energy.Being "physically real" is a matter of having causal powers (for example, a centre of gravity is not real in that sense because it doesn't itself have causal powers). The "reality" or casual power of kinetic energy is a function of its numerical value, which depends on the reference frame. Sat 03 Jul 2010 08:00:33 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=74#comment183 Bowman at #183One last try...Recall that my engagement in this was in response to your assertion that Robert was wrong and "According to special relativity, mass is a relativistic property of an object -- its value depends on the reference frame." (in your post at #152) I have no problem with this concept of relativistic mass. Where I find myself in disagreement with you is that to me "relativistic mass" IS mass even if its VALUE changes according to the reference frame of the observer. As such, mass is an intrinsic property of matter, even if its value is not. You disagree with this use of intrinsic, but so far this seems to be because the value of the mass may change. Or are you arguing that "relativistic mass" is something other than mass? You do say above that "mass is not an intrinsic property of things that have mass", which to me is a bizarre claim.If an intrinsic property is a property that an object or a thing has of itself, independently of other things, including its context, then I would argue that a physical object (or matter) has mass as an intrinsic property. The value of that mass is an extrinsic property, as it depends on the context - relative to the frame of reference. If not, then I think you need to explain your definition of intrinsic, although again I suspect your dictionary has a very Bowmanesque definition as it appears to have for so many other words. Sat 03 Jul 2010 06:16:35 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=73#comment182 #174 simon-swede wrote:"So you don't know what a physical object is"No one knows, because there is no fact of the matter of what a physical object is. In English the word 'object' is not used with enough consistency. So what it refers to differs from one speaker to the next. It has been used most consistently to refer to "whatever can be perceived by a subject", but that is too vague to pin things down, as "subject" and "perception" are themselves vague and understood differently by different idiolects.Should we count a tsunami as a "physical object"? -- It is certainly capable of wreaking death and destruction, it has a shape, and it moves through water at a particular speed. But the only mass it has is relativistic mass (by virtue of its mechanical energy), and that differs between different reference frames. (Because mass is not an intrinsic property of things that have mass, at least according to Einstein.)Should we count the crack in the glass of a breaking window as a "physical object"? It has no mass or energy, but a definite location, size and shape, and a speed considerably faster than that of sound. That is the best candidate I can think of so far for a "massless object".But such questions are idle. They of fleeting interest as long as we remember that there is simply no fact of the matter of what a "physical object" is in English. Fri 02 Jul 2010 18:37:40 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=73#comment181 A typical definition seem to be like this...Incorporeal: "Not composed of matter; having no material existence:" Fri 02 Jul 2010 13:17:09 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=72#comment180 #180 davblo wrote:"Once science examined matter below the level of fleeting quarks and muons, it knew the world was incorporeal."I'm afraid I don't know what 'incorporeal' means if not "of the stuff of which bodies are made"!If particles are "fleeting" at the subatomic level, that hardly makes them any less "corporeal". Did they expect microscopic things to be just like familiar medium-sized things? -- How naive of them! Fri 02 Jul 2010 12:13:15 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=72#comment179 bowmanthebard #179: "...information..."IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS 0. AND THEN THERE WAS 1."That life might be information, as biologists propose, is far more intuitive than the corresponding idea that hard matter is information as well. When we bang a knee against a table leg, it sure doesn't feel like we knocked into information. But that's the idea many physicists are formulating.""The spooky nature of material things is not new. Once science examined matter below the level of fleeting quarks and muons, it knew the world was incorporeal."(just need to go off and look-up "incorporeal"; (bet bowmanthebard already knows what it means).)/davblo Fri 02 Jul 2010 11:32:10 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=72#comment178 #178 Robert Lucien wrote:"information itself is made of energy"If no AGW-believers are prepared to correct this claim, I'll assume they agree with it! Fri 02 Jul 2010 10:55:34 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=71#comment177 #172"Back in the eighteenth century, critics complained about Hume's use of the word 'object' when talking about cause and effect. He deliberately chose that word so as to make it apply to as much as possible that could enter into casual relations -- events, processes, durable items made out of matter, and so on. The first of those putative "objects", an event, is a dated individual with coordinates in space and time. A carefully chosen event could be a singularity like a geometrical point, and that wouldn't have mass. But it sounds odd even to speak of events that are non-singularities as having mass. For example, what was the mass of the sinking of the Titanic?"Its funny but physics actually has an answer to that based on entropy. Because the sunk titanic has lower ordered entropy compared to before it sank it has actually lost energy and therefore mass. This is all based on the idea that the order in things is a kind of information, and information itself is made of energy. Fire is the classic example, when a fuel is burned the chemical energy in the fuel is converted into heat. Even if all combustion products and gasses are weighted together they will have slightly less mass than the original fuel - this has been verified experimentally. Fri 02 Jul 2010 10:04:33 GMT+1 davblo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=71#comment176 #145....#174: RL, BB & SS.Thanks for an entertaining argument!/davblo Fri 02 Jul 2010 09:46:28 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=70#comment175 This post has been Removed Fri 02 Jul 2010 09:46:20 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=70#comment174 #174 simon-swede wrote:"So you don't know what a physical object is"What a silly remark. You are obviously not interested in Newton or Einstein or mass or the history of science. Fri 02 Jul 2010 09:43:22 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=70#comment173 Bowman at #172So you don't know what a physical object is, but you do claim to know whether or not it has intrinsic attributes. Interesting.Does your dictionary have 'weasel' in it? Fri 02 Jul 2010 09:29:57 GMT+1 cattyface http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=69#comment172 Whales and Whaling are really a side issue, the central problem is our blatant misuse of the seas. We have treated the top predators in the sea as food and are working our way down the food chain. We are rapidly heading for a situation where the seas will be pretty much vertibrate free. The future's bright, the future's empty! Fri 02 Jul 2010 09:24:55 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=69#comment171 #171. At 09:41am on 02 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:"Are you claiming a massless physical object?"I don't know -- I haven't given it much thought. Till recently they used to think that neutrinos were massless. I gather that some other subatomic particles are speculated to be massless.In Newton's theory, waves are massless, although of course the medium through which a wave moves is not. In more recent physics -- prior to speculation about "virtual particles", empty space was massless. But that is a highly speculative and poorly understood area.Really, the word 'object' doesn't have the precision we need to answer your question as it might stand for something abstract (such as a reference frame) or something without causal powers (such as a centre of gravity), neither of which have mass. Do you count those items as "objects"? Isn't the question of whether the word 'object' applies to them rather idle, like the question of whether Pluto is a genuine planet?Back in the eighteenth century, critics complained about Hume's use of the word 'object' when talking about cause and effect. He deliberately chose that word so as to make it apply to as much as possible that could enter into casual relations -- events, processes, durable items made out of matter, and so on. The first of those putative "objects", an event, is a dated individual with coordinates in space and time. A carefully chosen event could be a singularity like a geometrical point, and that wouldn't have mass. But it sounds odd even to speak of events that are non-singularities as having mass. For example, what was the mass of the sinking of the Titanic?But I repeat, words like 'object' and 'have' (as in 'having' a property, be it intrinsic or relational like mass) is an invitation to the bewitchment of our intelligence. Just think of some of the words we use to describe things without actually attributing a genuine property to them. Fri 02 Jul 2010 09:05:18 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=68#comment170 Bowman at #170Are you claiming a massless physical object? Fri 02 Jul 2010 08:41:16 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=68#comment169 #169 simon-swede wrote:a physical object has some mass. That is what I mean when I say that mass is an intrinsic property of a physical object.Then you do not understand what the word 'intrinsic' means, and I recommend you look it up. Fri 02 Jul 2010 08:15:22 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=68#comment168 Bowman at #165 (intrinsic)You point out that a relativistic mass is "a property of the combination of the object and the [reference] frame". I agree. To put it another way, the object has mass, and it is the value of the mass changes according to the frame of reference. So unless you really are trying to claim that one can have a massless physical object (are you?), then you would agree that a physical object has some mass. That is what I mean when I say that mass is an intrinsic property of a physical object. Fri 02 Jul 2010 07:08:17 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=67#comment167 But special relativity is a theory, not a model. Fri 02 Jul 2010 00:25:54 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=67#comment166 Mutter... calling it a model in physics (urm) simply means that it simulates part of reality but doesn't work in the real universe. Not the same as "climate model" at all. :)...Mutter... Thu 01 Jul 2010 20:22:11 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=66#comment165 #164 Robert Lucien wrote:"Special Relativity by itself is only a model"Oh dear. Now you're going to have to have a shot at explaining the difference between a "model" and a theory! Thu 01 Jul 2010 16:53:51 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=66#comment164 #164 Robert Lucien wrote:"Being relativistic doesn't make mass any less intrinsic"I suggest you look up the word 'intrinsic'. Thu 01 Jul 2010 16:28:21 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=65#comment163 #152 etc bowmanthebard wrote:#151 Robert Lucien wrote:"A. Mass is an intrinsic property of all physical objects, Relativity says that even more clearly than Newtonian mechanics.""Wrong. According to special relativity, mass is a relativistic property of an object -- its value depends on the reference frame."Being relativistic doesn't make mass any less intrinsic, in fact E=mc^2 shows the fundamental nature of mass and energy. Relativity never shows an object to loose mass only to gain it with increasing energy relative to other frames. Bowman if you don't like Newton because its been superseded you should be aware that Special Relativity by itself is only a model and very weak because Gravity breaks it as does non-locality (FTL geometry) or an open universe. General Relativity is a very different beast, and in GR it is mass energy that bends space time. And by the way even General Relativity is on its last legs - at least if the Higgs boson or the graviton is found,/ or Heim theory is proved, or String theory, etc, etc.'Polemics' - Yes I'm a poor speller and clumsy, worse I'm lazy, worse I tend to type very fast and leave letters out because I didn't hit the key hard enough. Then fix I things by re-reading them but of course I tend to be a bit careless and skip over bits now and then ..... caught out. Thu 01 Jul 2010 15:30:09 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=65#comment162 What I find interesting about this discussion is the urge to "paper over" deep differences between Newton and Einstein -- differences of a sort that lead away from the idea that science is a "steady cumulative progression" of knowledge.The reality is quite different. Science is more a series of skirmishes and revolutions -- often involving profound re-conceptualizations of space, time, mass, causation, life itself...That insight makes the "findings" of science suddenly seem more tentative. But instead of mourning our loss of confidence in its "findings", we should rejoice at the realization that it is an exciting adventure! Thu 01 Jul 2010 15:23:36 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=65#comment161 bowmanthebard: The simple fact is that the only mass physics talks about is the sort that has a numerical value.simon-swede #161: Um, isn't this the same as saying that physical objects have mass?If one theory calculates the numerical value as a function of the reference frame as well as the physical object, in effect it's saying that the mass is a property of the combination of the object and the frame, which in effect is to say that it's not a property of the object simpliciter.The other theory, meanwhile, says it is a property of the object simpliciter.So the two theories differ -- profoundly, in conceptual terms -- which was my original point. Thu 01 Jul 2010 15:04:48 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=64#comment160 Bowman at #159"The simple fact is that the only mass physics talks about is the sort that has a numerical value."Um, isn't this the same as saying that physical objects have mass? Thu 01 Jul 2010 14:08:31 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=64#comment159 #74 JaneBasingstoke wrote:I remind you that Mill wrote a book called "On Liberty" rather than "On Liberalism".I don't see the relevance of this. Mill was not a libertarian. Mill was a liberal. Thu 01 Jul 2010 13:15:56 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=63#comment158 #158 simon-swede wrote:I am simply pointing out that relativistic mass has some "mass", and that mass per se is an intrinsic property of physical objects even if the 'value' of that mass is relativistic."Mass per se"? -- What is that supposed to be? It sounds a bit like the "being qua being" of mediaeval metaphysics! (By the way, Newtonian mechanics assumes that some things -- such as waves -- do not have mass.)The simple fact is that the only mass physics talks about is the sort that has a numerical value. Newtonian mechanics assumes that that value is an intrinsic property of any massive object, be it a particle, rigid body, or what have you. Relativistic mechanics gives up that assumption. Conceptually the two theories are very different, and the best bet at the moment is that Newton was wrong.The ideology that says science is a steadily-accumulating body of ever-more-certain knowledge is also wrong. The misinterpretation of relativity to make it seem to mesh smoothly with Newtonian mechanics is a standard symptom of of that ideology. Trying to get Einstein to fit the Newtonian view of the universe is like hammering a square peg into a round hole. Thu 01 Jul 2010 12:57:39 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=63#comment157 Bowman at #155I am simply pointing out that relativistic mass has some "mass", and that mass per se is an intrinsic property of physical objects even if the 'value' of that mass is relativistic. Time which is dilated still is "time". Thu 01 Jul 2010 11:47:17 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=63#comment156 I do find it second-rate when people agree with other people's opinions without any real reflection, because they happen to be "political allies".I'd say a lot of support for AGW comes from disappointed "political allies" who supported Al Gore's bid for the presidency.Four legs good. Two legs bad. Thu 01 Jul 2010 10:41:24 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=62#comment155 #155 simon-swede wrote:It isn't mass per se that may be relativistic, but its measure which may be dependent on the velocity of the observer ("relativistic mass").In that case, you don't really accept special relativity at all, but instead hold some cobbled-together "Newtonian interpretation" of special relativity, with absolute space and time. That may be a more "conservative" approach, but it "multiplies entities beyond necessity".Following Mach, Einstein himself believed that if every conceivable manifestation of time (length, mass, etc.) gave the impression that it was dilated, then it actually was dilated."Rest mass" is different from mass. I was talking about mass in general, not rest mass, and so was Newton. Thu 01 Jul 2010 10:37:10 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=62#comment154 Bowman at #152Actually I believe you are wrong here. Mass is an intrinsic property of all physical objects. It isn't mass per se that may be relativistic, but its measure which may be dependent on the velocity of the observer ("relativistic mass"). Moreover my understanding is that "mass" is defined in two different ways in special relativity. In addition to relativistic mass, there is also "rest mass" or "invariant mass", whereby mass as a invariant quantity which is the same for all observers in all reference frames. Thu 01 Jul 2010 10:09:04 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=61#comment153 153. At 10:50am on 01 Jul 2010, simon-swede wrote:Gotta love typos sometimes: "If Polemics is so accurate[...]"I didn't mention that, hoping against hope that it really was a typo! Thu 01 Jul 2010 10:06:05 GMT+1 simon-swede http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=61#comment152 Gotta love typos sometimes: "If Polemics is so accurate then try using it to calculate the trajectory of a cannon ball". (See post #152)Polemics may be responsible for much of what appears on this blog, but predicting the trajectory of physical objects is not one of the features! Thu 01 Jul 2010 09:50:57 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=61#comment151 #151 Robert Lucien wrote:"A. Mass is an intrinsic property of all physical objects, Relativity says that even more clearly than Newtonian mechanics."Wrong. According to special relativity, mass is a relativistic property of an object -- its value depends on the reference frame. Thu 01 Jul 2010 09:32:10 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=60#comment150 #149 bowmanthebard wrote:#147 Robert Lucien wrote:"You simply don't understand physics language""And I suggest you don't understand physics, partly because you seem to have swallowed whole the textbooks' "whig" history of science.Newtonian mechanics is (slightly) out numerically even at low velocities, and it is conceptually wrong in treating mass as an intrinsic property of physical objects.The Ptolemaic theory of the solar system (geocentric, epicycles for retrograde motion, etc.) was actually much better numerically than is generally realized. In spite of that numerical accuracy, it too was conceptually mistaken."A. Mass is an intrinsic property of all physical objects, Relativity says that even more clearly than Newtonian mechanics. I suppose you've never heard of E=mc^2 or mass energy equivalence - all energy has mass, even photons have mass.B. 'Numerical' in physics is quite a complicated concept, within limits of error different values can be identical. The difference between Newton and relativity is governed by the Lorenz factor 1 /( root( 1 - v^2/c^2 ) ). Since c^2 is very large the curve falls to basically zero as soon as v is much smaller than c. An object traveling at 1 Km/s experiences a dilation fraction of 1/10 the width of an atom, even at 100 Km/s the dilation factor is still only about 1000 atoms across. On a trip from Earth to Mars the error difference is a few centimeters at most.C. If Polemics is so accurate then try using it to calculate the trajectory of a cannon ball, you can't because it doesn't work. Newton simply isn't conceptually wrong - it was the first system of complete mechanics that worked, and if you still don't understand, I don't think I can explain it again. Thu 01 Jul 2010 09:21:39 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=60#comment149 Dave_oxon #146: This paper advocates "drip-feeding" the data to researchers so that they will have the opportunity to test their theories on, what would amount to, data (observations) to be obtained in the future.I don't disapprove of the methodology of "keeping things temporarily covered to make more of a real test". And it even agrees with common sense: we all deliberately hide the answers when taking a practice multiple-choice quiz, to make it more of a test of how much we really know. Of course, in that paper, smoke starts to come out of my ears when I see Bayes' Theorem used in a discussion about belief -- a sure sign of rampant inductivism -- but let's pass over that!bowmanthebard: Loosely speaking, the more of a "hurdle" a test amounts to, the better we can feel about a hypothesis when it manages to get over that hurdle. Dave_oxon: So using this (loosely) as a guide, (I think) you are saying that a test using historic data is still useful in falsifying or corroborating a hypothesis (one might like to call this the "development stage" of the hypothesis/model)I don't mean to say that. I would defend the standard distinction between the "context of discovery" and the "context of justification". In the context of discovery, you can be on LSD, drunk, dreaming (as Kekule claimed he had been when he was struck by the idea of the ring-shape of the benzene molecule)… The way you come up with an idea is irrelevant to the question of how confident you can be that it's true. There are all sorts of reasons for that. For a start, if O is to "do its logical work" in the 'if H then O' pattern we were discussing yesterday, O has to be the sort of claim that we can be practically confident about. It has to describe the sort of thing that everyone can agree on -- usually because it's repeatable, obvious, directly observable -- such as "the needle points to the 5" or "it's turned blue". Historical claims are none of those things, and calling them "data" sounds wrong to me -- it suggests that they are the posits of an ideology according to which "data" work as the "basis" for theory, which as you know I reject completely. In reality, claims about things that happened long before anyone was there to observe them are highly tentative, speculative, "theoretical" claims rather than descriptions of genuine "observations".But perhaps more obviously, if a hypothesis was constructed with the specific purpose of fitting some historical claims, the fact that it still fits them sometime later is hardly surprising, and counts as no sort of "hurdle". Thu 01 Jul 2010 06:07:32 GMT+1 bowmanthebard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=59#comment148 #147 Robert Lucien wrote:"You simply don't understand physics language"And I suggest you don't understand physics, partly because you seem to have swallowed whole the textbooks' "whig" history of science.Newtonian mechanics is (slightly) out numerically even at low velocities, and it is conceptually wrong in treating mass as an intrinsic property of physical objects.The Ptolemaic theory of the solar system (geocentric, epicycles for retrograde motion, etc.) was actually much better numerically than is generally realized. In spite of that numerical accuracy, it too was conceptually mistaken. Wed 30 Jun 2010 21:53:14 GMT+1 blunderbunny http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/06/from_the_international_whaling.html?page=59#comment147 @Robert Lucien and a couple of othersEverything you wanted to know about general relativity, but were afraid to ask:http://www.newscientist.com/special/instant-expert-general-relativitySorry, couldn't resist ;-)Later, we can do strings, loops and branes.... oooh.... and maybe even Newton and wonky orbital sling shots..............One of the Vestibule(I got bored in the Lobby) Wed 30 Jun 2010 20:01:28 GMT+1