Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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creation
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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by creation » January 11th, 2020, 8:25 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 6:17 am
Atla wrote:Strong emergence. We get something out of nothing,
If you regard this as magical thinking I presume that means you think we don't get something out of nothing.

What is your evidence for supposing that we don't get something out of nothing - Is it logical or empirical? i.e. do you conclude this by deduction purely by thinking about it, in the absence of any sensations, or do you conclude it by induction, by spotting patterns in sensations?
How could something logically come from nothing?

Until that is answered, then logically everything comes from something else

Logically absolutely every thing came from at least two other things, which come together.

From observations and experience this can also be clearly seen to be. Obviously, ALL things come to exist, because of at least two things prior.
Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 6:17 am
So if I zoom out and squint this way, it's all 'real' and it's the classical world. If I zoom in and squint that way, none of it is 'real' and it's the quantum world.
The act that you refer to as "zooming out and squinting" is a colloquial way of talking about reducing the range and accuracy of observations. Laws of physics are models, extrapolated from finite subsets of all possible observations. New observations, at new accuracy levels, are made as time goes by. Where the new observations don't fit the old model, a new model is created which fits all of the observations so far made and which includes the old model as a special case. i.e. you can derive the old model from the new one by making simplifying assumptions. ("assume the horse is spherical").
The model that supersedes all the other models is the one that forms a whole and full picture of ALL-THERE-IS. This picture is all so clear, because ALL the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly together.

This "model" already exists.

Observations continually being made, from the most accurate and advantages level, forms this big picture, which is continually becoming more crystal clear all the time. What is crystal clear becomes more crystal clear to another, and so on.
Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 6:17 am
So Quantum Mechanics includes Classical physics as a special case. The laws of Classical Mechanics and Classical Electromagnetism can be derived from the laws of Quantum Mechanics by making simplifying assumptions.
But why make any assumption at all?

Assumptions are not needed, and they also are a prevention from seeing far more clearly.

Because of assumptions human beings think or believe that quantum mechanics and classical physical are incompatible. But they are certainly not, that is; once you know how to see things how they truly are.

creation
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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by creation » January 11th, 2020, 8:30 am

Atla wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 6:48 am
Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 6:44 am


Things don't "behave classically" or behave quantumly (new word I've invented). See my description of the way that models work.
Everything is a model then so what's your point? And we usually use one model for the the classical and another model for the quantum, that's what I'm criticizing.
The reason human beings have made two different models is a direct cause of the way they look at and interpret things, incorrectly, I will add.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by creation » January 11th, 2020, 8:59 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 7:10 am
Can you without a doubt demonstrate that we can get something out of nothing?
No. And I've never knowingly experienced such a thing. Can you without a doubt (in other words by using pure logic without any reference to sensations/experiences) demonstrate that we can't?
If there is a logical way that something can come from nothing, then something can come from nothing.
But no one has ever provided any logical way that something could come from nothing.
Considering something exists, then logically every new hing will come from something.

If the Universe has always existed, then logically absolute every thing has and will come from something.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 9:39 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 7:01 am
Atla wrote:I neither said that software is not hardware, nor that software doesn't exist.

viewtopic.php?p=345355#p345355
Steve3007 wrote:I disagree. I don't think that software is hardware.
Atla wrote:Yes and that's factually wrong.
In the concrete sense, software is a part of the hardware. Or hardware is the extended software if you like. It is / they are literally 'made of' matter.

And in the abstract sense, software is a 'code', it's usually a bunch of 0s and 1s. So then people tend to think that software is 'made of' information but that's a reification fallacy, magical thinking.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 9:43 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 7:10 am
Can you without a doubt demonstrate that we can get something out of nothing?
No. And I've never knowingly experienced such a thing. Can you without a doubt (in other words by using pure logic without any reference to sensations/experiences) demonstrate that we can't?
Well logically it makes no sense, and there is no known empirical evidence for it either. So assuming that reality is probably 'logical', I see no reason to think that something out of nothing is possible. So strong emergence remains magical thinking, probably.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 9:45 am

chewybrian wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 7:18 am
Atla wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 6:26 am

That's factually completely wrong. Windows is a software, and a software is always a part of the hardware. Software is just electrons flying around and such, depends on how the hardware is manufactured. There is no such thing as information by itself.
Is the English language a part of your physical being? Were you born with the English language inside you? I think, rather, you were born with an ability to understand ideas, and the English language is one way of encoding ideas, and encouraging you to have an idea in your head similar to the idea in the head of the speaker or writer. You could just as easily have learned French or some other language, just as the computer could run on different software. But the language, for you, and the software, for the computer, are not physical elements built in.

If the computer had its memory wiped out, windows would go away with it, though you might have windows stored separately on discs or something. Similarly, if all humans died today, the English language would die with them, though it may remain stored in dictionaries or other means. In either case, the hardware of the computer could still be present, and your 'hardware', your dead body, may still be present, but the software is not part of that hardware. Software is only information, which the hardware stores, just as language is information which we store.
No, you are just making a similar reification fallacy with language, and then you draw a parallel with software.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 9:48 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 7:28 am
Atla wrote:I neither said that software is not hardware, nor that software doesn't exist.
In that case, I think you should avoid making sweeping assertions like "that's factually completely wrong" when referring to entire passages. E.g:
Steve3007 wrote:2, Encoded information. Obviously information exists. The Windows Operating System on this computer that I'm using exists. But it is not matter. So if you think it doesn't, you'll have to explain to me exactly what it means to you for something to objectively "exist" and we'll see if we disagree as to the definition of that word.
Atla wrote:That's factually completely wrong. Windows is a software, and a software is always a part of the hardware. Software is just electrons flying around and such, depends on how the hardware is manufactured. There is no such thing as information by itself.
I have to assume that if what I said was, in your view, "factually completely wrong" then you think I'm wrong to say "obviously information exists" and wrong to say "the Windows Operating System on this computer that I'm using exists. But it is not matter" and wrong to ask you to define the word "exists". Don't I?

But if that assumption is correct then it contradicts the quote from you at the top of this post.
The problem is that you keep mixing abstracta and concreta, and I try to respond based on whether we are in the abstract or the concrete context, but that can look like contradicting myself.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Steve3007 » January 11th, 2020, 10:03 am

Atla wrote:The problem is that you keep mixing abstracta and concreta, and I try to respond based on whether we are in the abstract or the concrete context, but that can look like contradicting myself.
OK. In the following passage, which are the sentences in which, in your view, I mixed abstracta and concreta?
Steve3007 wrote:2, Encoded information. Obviously information exists. The Windows Operating System on this computer that I'm using exists. But it is not matter. So if you think it doesn't, you'll have to explain to me exactly what it means to you for something to objectively "exist" and we'll see if we disagree as to the definition of that word.
I'd like to know what this "mixing abstracta and concreta" thing looks like. (< Am I doing it here?)

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 10:21 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 10:03 am
Atla wrote:The problem is that you keep mixing abstracta and concreta, and I try to respond based on whether we are in the abstract or the concrete context, but that can look like contradicting myself.
OK. In the following passage, which are the sentences in which, in your view, I mixed abstracta and concreta?
Steve3007 wrote:2, Encoded information. Obviously information exists. The Windows Operating System on this computer that I'm using exists. But it is not matter. So if you think it doesn't, you'll have to explain to me exactly what it means to you for something to objectively "exist" and we'll see if we disagree as to the definition of that word.
I'd like to know what this "mixing abstracta and concreta" thing looks like. (< Am I doing it here?)
Information is an abstraction about matter. Windows is also technically made of matter.
No, information does not "exist" in the sense that matter "exists".

Treating 'abstract concepts' like they were 'concrete physical events' is the reification fallacy.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Steve3007 » January 11th, 2020, 10:28 am

OK.

I hadn't heard that term "reification fallacy" before (as far as I remember) so I Googled it (although I suppose it's possible to guess what it means from the name). It seems that it's essentially a form of the whole "mistaking the map for the territory" thing which has been discussed a lot on this website.

I'm afraid I'm one of those people who have been accused of "mistaking the map for the territory" and have set out my views of such things in various topics on this site.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Steve3007 » January 11th, 2020, 10:33 am

Atla wrote:Information is an abstraction about matter.
So, what's so special about this "matter" concept that makes it "concreta"? Is it the only concept to which you give that status? How about energy or charge or entropy? In your view, are those things concreta, like matter?

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 10:42 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 10:28 am
OK.

I hadn't heard that term "reification fallacy" before (as far as I remember) so I Googled it (although I suppose it's possible to guess what it means from the name). It seems that it's essentially a form of the whole "mistaking the map for the territory" thing which has been discussed a lot on this website.

I'm afraid I'm one of those people who have been accused of "mistaking the map for the territory" and have set out my views of such things in various topics on this site.
Unfortunately the vast majority of scientific models completely ignore the problem of reification, I wasn't really aware of it either for a long time. The instrumentalist approach makes predictions, but philosophically none of that has to make any sense.

And paradoxically, IT people in particular do not understand what information actually 'is'. I studied IT for a few years too, and I've seen that if all we do is 'work with information', we of course tend to reify it, kinda like how a mathematical Platonist reifies numbers.

This wouldn't be that much of a problem, if such magical thinking wouldn't then eventually find its way into rather mainstream ideas, like information encoded on black hole horizons for example, which is absolute nonsense.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Steve3007 » January 11th, 2020, 10:51 am

If you haven't already seen it, you may enjoy this topic:

viewtopic.php?p=232485#p232485

In the video which inspired the topic, the presenter of the lecture discusses this idea of theories that are predicatively accurate but which some might regard as philosophically unsatisfying.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Atla » January 11th, 2020, 10:51 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 11th, 2020, 10:33 am
Atla wrote:Information is an abstraction about matter.
So, what's so special about this "matter" concept that makes it "concreta"? Is it the only concept to which you give that status? How about energy or charge or entropy? In your view, are those things concreta, like matter?
The concrete directly refers to the observable world, the abstract is, well, abstract.

If by matter we mean material or physical, then it's all concrete, and information is abstract.

If by matter we only mean a subset of physical things, and there are others like energy and charge, then those too are concrete. I would say that entropy is rather abstract though, but that may depend on the context.

Or alternatively you can treat information as abstract, and say that everything is 'made of' information, but then there's no room for the matter concept.

It isn't really important what kind of concepts we use to describe the observable world, as long as we don't mix the abstract with the concrete, as long as we don't cognitively duplicate the world.

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Re: Magical thinking in science and philosophy

Post by Steve3007 » January 11th, 2020, 10:52 am

I first saw the video in this topic:

viewtopic.php?p=110699#p110699

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