Le 29-nov.-06, à 20:41, Brent Meeker wrote:

>
> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>>
>> Le 29-nov.-06, à 05:57, Tom Caylor a écrit :
>
>>> However, from the birth of modern science, we have taken a journey to
>>> dispense with any kind of faith
>>
>> Let us define "faith" by belief in unproved or unprovable truth. The
>> idea that science dispense with faith is a myth. A lot of physicists
>> have faith in a primitive physical reality (I lost *that* faith unless
>> you enlarge the sense of "physics").
>
> This is a somewhat idiosyncratic definition of "faith".  It makes my 
> belief that I'm married to a woman named Marsha a matter of faith, 
> since that is unprovable in the logical or mathematical sense of 
> proof.  On the other hand if you accept the commonsense or legal 
> standard of proof, then belief in physical reality is very well 
> proven.




I am not sure we can apply the common sense or legal standard of proof.
Having said this, again I DO agree that a belief in physical reality is 
very well founded or "legally proved" ...
But I was talking about a *primitive* physical reality. Of course, in 
all plausibility, we have been "programmed" by years of evolution to 
attribute sense or reality to what we perceive, and until QM or comp 
this kind of belief works well FAPP (For All Practical Purpose), but 
here we approach fundamental questions so we have to introduce nuances: 
in particular we have evidence for a physical reality---I have never 
doubt this--- but this does not mean we have evidence that physical 
reality is *primitive* (a much stronger statement which is addressed to 
and by philosophers or theologians or fundamental scientists, not to 
busy people or animal trying to survive in their local neighborhood.



>
> I'd say let us continue to define "faith" as a belief in the absence 
> of evidence or contrary to the weight of evidence. All that is needed 
> to pursue comp and AR is an hypothesis - not a belief.


I have never met someone having belief in the absence of evidence. Even 
concerning insane or mentally ill people, I suspect they have internal 
and just incorrect (or 1-incorrectly interpreted) evidence.
Of course comp is an hypothesis. Axioms for theories are always 
hypothesis (although some nuance can be added at some point but I would 
say that this can be premature here).




You say also in another post:

> What is the basis for truth?  What is truth?
>
> True (and false) are abstract values we assign to sentences for the 
> purpose of making inferences.



Actually many logicians would define logic by the art/science of making 
inference independently of ascribing truth value on sentences or 
propositions. From A & B you can deduce A, says the logician, 
independently of the truth of A or B.




>  In application we usually try to assign "true" to those sentences 
> that express facts supported by evidence -



In daily application, ok. Not in research on fundamental things where 
we put anything in doubt, if only by cartesian methodology.





> unless we are religious, in which case we may ignore evidence and go 
> with revelation.



Of course here, given the results I usually refer too, but also given 
the history of theology (on which I do allusion too) I would just say 
"... unless we have been victim of some tyranny confusing state and 
religion, collective brainwashing, etc.".




Here you quote Frank Wilczek, the guy who made very interesting work on 
condensed matter and open my interest in axiomatic quantum field 
theory, something which has helped me to get some concrete view on what 
could be a quantum topological computer:


> "The reason that there is Something rather than Nothing is that
> Nothing is unstable."
>       -- Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate Physics 2004.



OK, that's funny, but that shows only that the quantum nothingness is 
not nothing. This does not explain why there is something, because we 
have to ask why is there a "nothing" obeying QM.  Note that through the 
work I have completed I am proposing something very specific, perhaps 
wrong but testable, and which, well,  does not explain why there is 
something, but which at least explains why, once we accept numbers and 
their additive and multiplicative structures, there will be stable 
belief in quanta and qualia.




> Part of it makes sense to us because we evolved to make sense of it.


True, but begging the fundamental question.



> Quantum mechanics doesn't really "make sense", it's just an inference 
> from what does make sense.


  OK, but unless we abandon the "search of knowledge", it is up to us to 
make sense of the QM. The MWI helps in that direction, for example. 
Then with comp we see that *classical* physics does *no more* make 
sense at all and many (not yet all to be sure) quantum weird facts are 
no more weird in that setting.

"Making sense" is relative. Many people find the idea of an all-loving 
all-powerful God letting his son being tortured sense-full, I guess the 
reason is just that most people take sense to be the opinion of the 
majority or even just the teaching of their parents.

But (in free country) we are free to think twice, and to put in doubt 
any theory and to pursue the research ...

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/


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