Thursday, June 14, 2007


(in response to an entry in Stephen Hawking's blog on myspace and a tv show I saw the other day on the Science Channel)

I don't know what Bayes Statistics are, but I am having a real hard time comprehending why a scientist would use an a-priori argument. Are not all scientists empiricists by definition? If not, does that mean the distinction between science and philosophy is as fuzzy as it always used to be until modern times? Regardless, the first leap of faith we all make is in believing that there is anything in existence beyond our own perceptions of that existence. If all science is based upon such a fundamental leap of faith, does that make what you say about the universe any less scientific? Should scientists not be working with philosophers and ideas instead of numbers and equations to find that elusive unified theory? The more I understand, the more questions I have...

If the "M" really stands for monad then m-theory starts to make a little more sense to this student of philosophy. And if that is so, it's not a new idea, it's just a different way of expressing the same ideas Leibniz had 200 years ago....???

Why is there a need to overcomplicate explanations to the point where hardly anyone can understand what you are talking about? It seems that when many modern philosophers do it (at least the ones I've spoken with personally), it serves to create within themselves some sort of feeling of superiority, else it hides the fact that they don't know what they are talking about. If their big words are utter nonsense most people would be afraid to argue against them or admit it makes no sense for fear it would make them look the fool.

In order for science to change the world for the better (which I have no doubt it could), scientists need to speak to the people instead of only to each other. The people aren't stupid, they could totally understand if you gave them half a chance, and if they only believed in their ability to understand science. But we must be speaking the same language in order to understand what the other has to say. Scientific mumbo-jumbo only serves as a language barrier between scientists and the rest of humanity. If your ideas are important enough to people, people would have no problem understanding them. Show us why we should care! There is so much we could learn from you, if the door were only open wide enough for you to learn from us as well...

Using mathematical equations in attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe engenders the same sort of mistake philosophers make when they speak of their own subjective perceptions using objective language. There are certain things that human language (even the most complex human languages of mathematical equations) cannot adequately describe or explain. It is not a flaw in reasoning or of the ideas themselves, but rather a mistake in the way we talk about those ideas. Eventually, at some point in the argument you are going to have to rely upon a subjective leap of faith instead of objective empirical evidence. Only if we can all agree upon that original basic leap of faith can we have any sort of intelligent discussion about anything.

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