Gosh. I'm honoured. You're usually quite terse.
Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by rich23
Newton's theories continue to work fine after more than three hundred years and they will continue to work. There are cases where relativity must be
accounted for (e.g. the GPS system)
Which is, pardon me, exactly
the point I was making. However, to say that they will continue to work is
, like it or not, an act of
faith. There could be all sorts of strangeness in the universe that we don't know about yet that might, over millennia, erode the cosy mathematical
certainty afforded us by Newtonian mechanics.
I note that, perhaps out of politeness to me, you've gone from calling them "laws" to "theories". Now at school, I was taught Newton's
of Motion. Nowadays my position is that laws are prescriptive in character, and hence have no place in science. I carefully didn't
refer to Newton's theories because they seemed like just a short set of descriptive rules without an underlying theory. This isn't intended as a
criticism of Newton: he was, as are we all, a man of his time.
Consider them approximations if you must but in science the term law has a specific meaning, as does the term theory.
I do consider them approximations: and you very thoughtfully provided the GPS example to show that they are such.
If you can go into the meanings you allude to above in greater detail, I'll be very interested.
It isn't fair to link physical science to things involving the human psyche.
Phage, I'm surprised at you. Don't you see how petulant that looks?
And actually, it is not only fair to link the two, there is a school of quantum physics that believes it is impossible to do otherwise.
If you can't, at some point, say "under these conditions, this will always happen" it isn't science.
That's your opinion, and a rather dogmatic one if you'll forgive me for saying so. People love rules, they love certainty, and one of the reasons I
disdain the term "law" when it comes to science is that people are apt to confuse the descriptive
function of something like Newton's Third
Law of Motion with the prescriptive
function of the laws which constrain our society.
The major problems I have with your statement above are, one, use of the word always
: and two, the phrase "under these conditions", which
requires a list of conditions. How exhaustive must this list be? Presumably, the longer the list, the less useful the law. How long is a long
enough list of conditions? This long? This
long? I hope you don't misinterpret my having a bit of fun with this as any kind of personal
dig. I just don't think things are as cut-and-dried as you'd like them to be.
I don't believe it will ever be possible to do this (prove me wrong ).
If you developed a machine to alter the weather, how would you do controlled experiments? Where and what would be the control? How would you
evaluate the results? Tricky, isn't it? I don't know. I'm just throwing stuff out there.
I'm not saying psychology (or even parapsychology) has no value, just that there is no way to nail down human behavior (or that other stuff)
to the rigors of physical science.
I think it's important to distinguish between the vagaries of human behaviour and the science of what actually constitutes a human being. I've been
doing t'ai chi long enough to be certain in my own mind that the current scientific paradigm has
to change. My personal experiences tell me
that the science I've been taught is not enough. Not by a long chalk. I want scientists to start looking into it properly, because I experience
unpleasant cognitive dissonance between my universe and the description I get of it from those who would call themselves authorities.
For further details, have a look at this thread
: funny how stuff comes around again
on here, isn't it?
I said earlier on we tell ourselves stories. Part of that is using the current hot technology as a metaphor to explain the world around us.
Descartes compared the yelps of a dog in pain to the grinding of gears. We've had a long time thinking of ourselves and the universe as machines,
and this metaphor has been overtaken by the new hot technology, the computer. We're currently pushing this as far as it will take us, and gradually
moving into metaphors of pure information, where the universe is actually represented as data. i've noticed this as an emerging trend (please don't
ask for references!) and I find it a somewhat hopeful sign.
Whatever, we will soon have to move away from materialism. It's running out of road as a useful way to represent the universe, and it's an absolute
hindrance when it comes to trying to figure out what human beings are.
Now one aspect of scientific history that I find fascinating is the tendency of anyone who posits the idea of a "life force" to be attacked, quite
viciously, by their colleagues. Wilhelm Reich was the last well-known guy to get this treatment. Denounced as a charlatan, imprisoned and jailed. I
suspect he'll be seen as a figure akin to Galileo in a couple of hundred years' time.
But the viciousness of the attacks and a consistent refusal to look at the data - it's not rational. Sheldrake's on the end of it at the moment,
and I don't necessary agree with his theories, but I'd say he's gathering useful data and certainly chipping away at the foundations of
materialism, which, make no mistake, is going to have to go if we're to move to a new and more inclusive paradigm. To say that this stuff is not
susceptible to scientific inquiry shows a startling lack of faith, considering your willingness to grant scientific descriptive rules the same power
as prescriptive laws.
You'll notice I don't often, if ever, get involved with this sort of discussion
Indeed, as noted at the top of this post. I'm honoured.
because in the end it is usual only a matter of personal perception and opinion. There is nothing to discuss.
I've been lucky enough to study briefly with the only Westerner to become a lineage Master in various Taoist arts. For someone unfamiliar with the
culture, it's hard to put across how extraordinary that is: but he's the first one in about 4,000 years. He can produce, reliably, truly
extraordinary effects, and part of his teaching is done through direct mind-to-mind transmission. More accurately, it's body-to-body transmission,
because he's able to produce unmistakable sensations inside one's body from a considerable distance.
i get fed up with being told I'm lying or deluded when I simply try to describe his teaching methods. Don't go there.
My point is that he can produce these effects quite reliably. As far as suggestion goes... He was transmitting chi in such a way as to open a pathway
along the spine. To me, it felt like a metal rod was being pushed down the inside of my spinal cord. There was no pain, but a sensation of pressure
and an unmistakably metallic feel. He didn't say anything about what we were supposed to feel. It was only about five years later that I found out
that there's a tradition of five elements in chi gung, and metal is the element associated with the energies of the brain and spine. No-one
mentioned the word "metal", no-one discussed it at the time - yet apparent corroboration showed up in unrelated reading years later.
Can you give me a solid reason why scientists aren't investigating this?
(Edit: not my personal experience - I mean this whole field. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the same model, some of their doctors use similar
methods, but we in our infinite Western arrogance, whoops, wisdom, write it off as superstitious mumbo jumbo.)
At the risk of being oxymoronic, I have faith in physical science.
That is charmingly and touchingly clear. I have faith in almost nothing. I'm more inclined to listen to what Bruce Frantzis (www.energyarts.com)
has to say about things because he has demonstrated abilities that others don't have, and because the stories he tells me make my world more
comprehensible and even predictable - to the extent that, if you do the practice, results follow.
New, ground breaking concepts have always been subject to close scrutiny.
And often unwarranted derision. Check my other thread, I think there may be a link to the article about how bats echolocate.
As I said, that is the way science works. The concepts with value do rise to the surface if they can survive the scrutiny.
Or they can be buried for 200 years.
Look at some of my posts. with any luck you'll reach the conclusion that I'm all for rigour. for reasons of my own I'm impatient for a new
paradigm that copes with both physics and the mysteries of consciousness and I think it may not be too far away. But ignoring data and treating
descriptive rules as prescriptive laws is not going to get us anywhere.
And while I am glad you know and like a lot of scientists (I'm too lazy too, and too useless at maths, even though I'm a musician and they're
supposed to go together) are they really
all involved in groundbreaking work?
I hope you check out that thread. There's some stuff on there you might find interesting.
[edit on 24-1-2009 by rich23]