On Tuesday, September 4, 2012 11:37:37 AM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 12:59 AM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>
> > wrote:
>> > The idea that someone considers the sum total of human thought 
>> irrelevant 
> What on earth  are you talking about? The scribblings of Hume and Leibniz 
> were not the sum total of human thought even 300 years ago when they wrote 
> their stuff, much less today.

Ah, so you are singling out those philosophers in particular as being 

> > in the face of the achievements of recent physics 
> Yes, the idea that these people could teach a modern physicist anything 
> about the nature of matter is idiotic. 

In any sufficiently large group of people tasked with remembering details 
of an environment, even the person who remembers the most details doesn't 
remember more details than the rest of a group put together. What you are 
effectively saying is that whoever knows more than anyone else doesn't need 
to listen to anyone else. This isn't a scientific strategy. It only serves 
to reinforce orthodoxy and suppress innovation.

> > Is it possible that the architects of the pyramids might have known 
>> something that the architects of large hotels don't?
> No. And the reasons to build a modern hotel were much much better than the 
> reasons to build a big stone pyramid 4500 years ago were. 

Let's see, average survival of a Las Vegas hotel is what, 30 years? Then 
they blow them up. The pyramids of Egypt have been a wonder of the world 
for 45 centuries, attracting tourism and representing one of the most 
ostentatious achievements of the history of the human species. Yeah, that's 
lame, we need more disposable dormitories. Screw monuments like Notre Dame, 
the Alhambra, and Hagia Sophia, they are taking up valuable real estate 
that could host things like strip malls and gas stations, since they have 
better reasons to be built.

> And the hotels were successful in doing what they were built to do, giving 
> thousands of people shelter when they were in a foreign city; the pyramids 
> were built to protect the body of the Pharaoh for eternity but in every 
> case they were looted by grave robbers within a decade of their 
> completion.      

It doesn't mean that Donald Trump knows how to build a pyramid or a Gothic 

> > Could Shakespeare know something about writing in English that J.K. 
>> Rowling doesn't?
> The difference between art and science is that there is only one correct 
> scientific theory, 

To quote Francis Crick "what everyone believed yesterday, and you believe 
today, only cranks will believe tomorrow." Every scientific theory seems 
like it is the one correct theory, right up until it is proved to be one of 
many less-than-completely-correct theories.

we may not ever find it but over the years we get closer and closer to it, 
> and there is a objective standard to tell the difference between a good 
> theory and a bad one; but in art there is not just one good book and the 
> difference between a good one and a bad one is subjective. Personally I 
> enjoy the writing of J.K. Rowling  more than that of Shakespeare because I 
> don't know Elizabethan English and Shakespeare didn't know modern English, 
> but J.K. Rowling does. But I'm talking about art so that's just my opinion, 
> your mileage may vary.

Whether you like Shakespeare or not doesn't change his contribution to the 
English language.

> > The philosophers who you dismiss have a lot more to do with why you know 
>> the words cause and effect than does the work of any contemporary 
>> physicist. 
> Bullshit, Hume and Leibniz knew nothing about Relativity or Quantum 
> Mechanics, 

We are talking about defining cause and effect, not Relativity or QM. To 
get to the latter, you need to have already considered the former.

and even if they did I'm quite certain they would not have liked it, but 
> the universe doesn't care what the preferences of 2 members of the species 
> Homo sapiens are, the world just keeps behaving that way anyway and if 
> those people don't like it they can lump it.

Why would you be certain about such a ridiculous thing? Have a look at 
these estimates of the IQ of historical figures 
(http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/cox300.aspx) Note: Goethe: 210. Leibniz: 
205...down much farther...Darwin: 165

Had Leibniz been born in the 20th century, he would, by these estimates, 
have run circles around any living physicist. But you go ahead and go on 
believing that 'new and improved' always means just that.

> > They formulated the way that we think about it to this day, far more 
>> successfully I might add, then the muddle of conflicting interpretations 
>> and shoulder shrugging mysticism that has come out of quantum mechanics. 
> They were successful in formulating ideas that seemed intuitively true to 
> most people, but unfortunately nature found the ideas much less intuitive 
> than people do. Philosophers churned out ideas that seemed reasonable but 
> it turned out the Universe didn't give a damn about being reasonable or if 
> human beings thought the way it operated was crazy or not. 

It didn't 'turn out' anything. What we have now is an incomprehensible mess 
which happens to work well for the purpose it was designed. That doesn't 
mean that we have somehow proven that the universe is incomprehensible - 
only that bad theories can world perfectly for instrumental functions. You 
really imagine that you happened to be born during the generation where all 
of the current science happens to be correct? That doesn't seem a bit 
egocentric and statistically unlikely to you?

> Those philosophers said things that made people comfortable but that's 
> just not the way things are and being fat dumb and happy is no way to live 
> your life.

Made people comfortable? To the contrary, most philosophers were notably 
iconoclastic. I don't know how Leibniz was received, but I would think that 
they encountered at least as much resistance to their ideas as a modern 
academic scientist. If Leibniz was dependent on grant money like today's 
theorists are, I doubt we would have seen the development of comfortable, 
people-pleasing ideas like calculus.

> > I don't care much for elevating the past either, but the more I see of 
>> the originality and vision of philosophers
> Originality and vision philosophers may have had but they were also dead 
> wrong.  Regardless of how appealing those philosophers ideas were if they 
> don't fit the facts they have to go because just one stubborn fact can 
> destroy even the most beautiful theory.

Leibniz and Newton invented calculus. You act as if they were bumbling 
rhetoricians amusing themselves. You are living in their world. You will 
never in a thousand lifetimes achieve what either of them achieved. Guess 
we can ignore them now though, since we have Stephen Hawking now. Now that 
we know about black holes, we surely don't need to know anything about 
acceleration anymore.


>   John K Clark 

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