On Sun, Jun 26, 2011 at 8:49 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 6/26/2011 2:37 PM, Rex Allen wrote:
>>> We can never be sure it's real (and in
>>> >  general it may incoherent patches), but on the other hand we can't be
>>> > sure
>>> >  any particular part of it is not real.
>> Right, but asserting that the theories are true of the world doesn't
>> add anything to their usefulness,
> But I think it does.  To say the theories have some element of truth is
> to say that any better theory must do just as well in predicting phenomena
> and must explain why the displaced theory worked as well as it did.

So if some Super-Einstein came up with a complete predictive framework that
had no concepts in common with QM + GR, but which was more accurate, easier
to work with, more intuitive, and made important verified predictions that
weren't made by QM + GR - the scientific community would *still* say "No
thanks...we're not interested unless you can *also* explain the success of

That doesn't sound plausible to me.

I think the scientific community would say:  "Ya, that does work a lot
better, and makes sense.  Let's use that."

Being able to explain the success QM+GR might speed the adoption process,
but not being able to explain QM+GR wouldn't stop it.  Because nothing
succeeds like success - and if it works better, it works better.

But, given that the new theory must account for a super-set of the
observations that QM+GR currently account for - maybe that fact alone
guarantees that there's some way to connect the theories with some sort of
"bridging" story.

> So it's an attitude that helps guide the development
> of better theories.

Another Dennettian stance?  "The metaphysical stance."

I don't have a problem with it, except that people tend to forget that it's
just an attitude, taken for pragmatic reasons - which causes confusion
amongst the masses.

> Even Bruno, who proposes a radically different theory of the world,
> recognizes that he cannot just discard the success of physics; he
> has to explain it.

Bruno needs to have some plausible explanation of the success of physics in
order to get people to help him develop his theory to the point that it can
make testable predictions.  He is, apparently (and understandably), not
quite up to the task of doing it alone.

We can't all be Super-Einsteins.  In fact, maybe none of us can...

Ultimately I think you're just describing an aspect of human psychology and
social dynamics, which sometimes works out well and saves a lot of wasted
effort, and other times probably doesn't work out quite as well and results
in missed opportunities.

But, regardless, if Bruno had in hand today a fully developed theory that
made novel predictions which were subsequently verified and which further
provided a practically useful framework for manipulating the world and
making additional predictions...then Bruno would be golden, regardless of
what his theory had to say about QM+GR.


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