Article: "Laws of Nature, Source Unknown"

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Reply Fri 21 Dec, 2007 09:35 am
Here's an interesting article from the New York Times Science Section

By DENNIS OVERBYE:

Laws of Nature, Source UnknownRead the Complete Article here >>
 
hamletswords
 
Reply Sat 22 Dec, 2007 01:19 am
@Pythagorean,
That was an entertaining article, thanks.

I think Davies has a point and judging by the amount of vehement reaction he received, he hit a nerve. Like when the one guy said that people are numbers- that shows a rather extreme quasi-religious way of thinking.

That doesn't mean scientists should stop trying to figure out everything. It's a useful endeavor.

Laws of science are very reliable, but that doesn't mean that they are answers unto themselves. There could be more to gravity, for instance, than mass and distance. But it's reliable.
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Tue 7 Jul, 2009 02:27 pm
@Pythagorean,
The laws of nature are descriptions of what happens. They don't force anything to happen anymore than a picture of you leaving a room forces you to leave the room. You can't violate a law of nature because whatever you do is described by the laws of nature.

Some people have it backwards. The truth of laws comes from whatever happens in nature. Nature doesn't bend itself to some preset laws.

The idea of universal governing laws being dictated by some magical universe cop is an obvious throwback to religion.

Read this Laws of Nature [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] and realize that there is no evidence for any kind of forceful governing "laws".

Quote:
There is in fact a kind of chicken-and-egg problem with the universe and its laws. Which "came" first - the laws or the universe?


The universe came first.
 
nameless
 
Reply Tue 7 Jul, 2009 03:10 pm
@Pythagorean,
"The Laws of Nature are not rules controlling the metamorphosis of what is, into what will be. They are discriptions of patterns that exist, all at once, in the whole Tapestry... The four-dimensional space-time manifold displays all eternity at once." -'Genius; the Life and Science of Richard Feynman'
 
vectorcube
 
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 12:30 am
@Satan phil,
Satan;75701 wrote:
The laws of nature are descriptions of what happens. They don't force anything to happen anymore than a picture of you leaving a room forces you to leave the room. You can't violate a law of nature because whatever you do is described by the laws of nature.

Some people have it backwards. The truth of laws comes from whatever happens in nature. Nature doesn't bend itself to some preset laws.

The idea of universal governing laws being dictated by some magical universe cop is an obvious throwback to religion.

Read this Laws of Nature [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] and realize that there is no evidence for any kind of forceful governing "laws".



The universe came first.


The problem with the regularity veiw is that it is not good in explaining anything.
 
TurboLung
 
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 07:59 am
@Pythagorean,
i think it could be fancy bookkeeping.
 
richrf
 
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 08:23 am
@TurboLung,
Hi,

Nice article thanks.

What I have observed is that every law that has been ever published has ultimately been overturned by another law. So, it seems that laws evolve as the universe evolves and as the means for humans to perceive the universe evolves (I have no idea what the laws are for chimpanzees, since I cannot communicate with them).

Someone comes up with a way of describing parts of the universe at one moment, and we agree by consensus that this is going to be the law until something better comes up and is more complete (there is always incompleteness in every law that has been established). It is no different than any other law.

We have not even begun to broach laws for emotions, existence, consciousness etc. What we have done is simply exclude them from current laws. Nice trick.

Rich

Rich
 
William
 
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 08:42 am
@hamletswords,
hamletswords;7144 wrote:
That was an entertaining article, thanks.

I think Davies has a point and judging by the amount of vehement reaction he received, he hit a nerve. Like when the one guy said that people are numbers- that shows a rather extreme quasi-religious way of thinking.

That doesn't mean scientists should stop trying to figure out everything. It's a useful endeavor.

Laws of science are very reliable, but that doesn't mean that they are answers unto themselves. There could be more to gravity, for instance, than mass and distance. But it's reliable.


Hello Hamletswords. If you will pardon my curiosity and getting off topic a bit, but; exactly what is it, as to your signature, about suffering you feel is "OK"?

Thanks,
William
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:48 am
@vectorcube,
vectorcube;76256 wrote:
The problem with the regularity veiw is that it is not good in explaining anything.


The theory of substance fell into disuse because philosophers and scientists came to believe that its putative explanatory power was illusory: there was no empirical test possible for the existence of substance, and positing its existence merely deferred, without genuinely solving, the very problems it was invoked to explain. Similarly, there is no empirical test for [physical necessity]Is it really any more informative to be told that light has a constant velocity because there is a law of nature to that effect than to be told that opium is sleep-inducing because it has a 'dormative power'? The form of an explanation has been given, but the content is chimerical.

There is orderliness is Nature. That's the way Nature is. There are no secret, sublime, mystical laws forcing Nature to be that way. Or at least, there is no good rational reason to believe that there are such queer entities. Physical laws are descriptions, they neither are, nor function like, prescriptions.
-Norman Swartz

So, as you can see, regularity theory offers just as much real explanatory power.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 10:58 am
@richrf,
richrf;76310 wrote:
Hi,

Nice article thanks.

What I have observed is that every law that has been ever published has ultimately been overturned by another law. So, it seems that laws evolve as the universe evolves and as the means for humans to perceive the universe evolves (I have no idea what the laws are for chimpanzees, since I cannot communicate with them).

Someone comes up with a way of describing parts of the universe at one moment, and we agree by consensus that this is going to be the law until something better comes up and is more complete (there is always incompleteness in every law that has been established). It is no different than any other law.

We have not even begun to broach laws for emotions, existence, consciousness etc. What we have done is simply exclude them from current laws. Nice trick.

Rich

Rich
you will have to explain that to me how do laws change? false concepts must be revised but laws are constant,Surely we dont make laws we make observations.Its interesting that what I have always thought was unexplained about laws, did the the bb create them or have they always existed is now being debated.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2009 09:02 pm
@Pythagorean,
Maybe they are just habits, not laws?
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2009 10:01 pm
@prothero,
prothero;80100 wrote:
Maybe their just habits, not laws?


Yes, Sheldrake suggested this. I think it has lots of merit. That the universe just keeps doing certain things until it changes to something else.

Rich
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 11 Aug, 2009 05:16 am
@Pythagorean,
Paul Davies is brilliant and well worth reading. I think he believes that Platonism is still quite a viable philosophy, and admits to having been very much a platonist at some stages in his career.

Me, I think we will never answer that question, not scientifically anyway. Science assumes the laws but it can't explain them. Personally I feel the idea of a divine intelligence or cosmic mind is impossible to deny. I am not planning on trying to prove it to anyone. However I should note that trying to argue from the lawfulness of the universe to 'a lawgiver' is a complete waste of time. Those who believe it will continue to believe it, and those who don't will find thousands of reasons to deny it. These kinds of beliefs are often trans-rational.
 
pagan
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 06:58 am
@jeeprs,
that there is order in the universe is obvious, but complete order that can be completely expressed and understood by science? ...... that is faith until it happens or is shown otherwise.

and surely laws are derived from our methods. They are descriptions of what is. Descriptions came into being with consciousness and language. Why believe that they exist transcendentally, unless by transcendental you mean transcendental description. Matter obeys laws? Matter obeys descriptions?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 04:09 pm
@Pythagorean,
The whole argument from rationalism is that the rationality of the cosmos pre-exists us. this was believed by almost every philosopher, prior to the barbarian influx of Locke and Hume. Intelligence is not an outcome of chance or the result of a bunch of dumb stuff becoming smart through time. Dumb stuff doesn't become smart. The latent intelligence pulls material into the kinds of configurations it can use....

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 08:10 AM ----------

actually prothero's comment is very interesting too, there is a maverick scientist (whom all regular scientists detest) called Rupert Sheldrake who talks about 'the habits of nature'.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 05:23 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;82851 wrote:
..

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 08:10 AM ----------

there is a maverick scientist (whom all regular scientists detest) called Rupert Sheldrake who talks about 'the habits of nature'.


Do you consider repudiation by "regular scientists" (better known as the scientific community) a recommendation?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 06:50 pm
@Pythagorean,
Not at all.

Actually what is interesting is WHY Sheldrake gets such a reaction. I think if we was just a crank then he would be ignored. Maybe it is because everything he says is an afront to the principles of empiricism, or that is the way it is read. Underneath all the scientific arrgumentation and so on, there is a strong emotional commitment to a certain notion of the way things are. Anything that seriously threatens it creates fear and loathing.

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 11:04 AM ----------

Quote:
Sheldrake's is not a scientific theory. Sheldrake is putting forward magic instead of science, and that can be condemned, in exactly the language that the Pope used to condemn Galileo, and for the same reasons: it is heresy
John Maddox, Editor Science Magazine.

I have met Sheldrake. He seemed quite reasonable to me. I need to do a bit more reading on it. At this point in history, science is built an a very strong belief in naive realism. It all grew out of the (understandable) reaction against the religious autocracy - virtually dictatorship - of medieval Europe. This is has created a huge shadow in the western mind. Anything which is perceived as a threat to the idea that we live in a material world that is shaped by causes that we can determine empirically is regarded as a throwback to that earlier time. That is what is really going on in my view.

The unfortunate fact for materialism, however, is that the very notion of 'matter' is no longer intelligible. What we regard as 'matter' accounts for less than 4% of the measurable universe. So where's the rest of it, eh? And if scientific cosmology has moved into the realms of the occult, what is so strange about the idea of 'morphic resonance'?
 
vectorcube
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 07:12 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;82879 wrote:
Not at all.

Actually what is interesting is WHY Sheldrake gets such a reaction. I think if we was just a crank then he would be ignored. Maybe it is because everything he says is an afront to the principles of empiricism, or that is the way it is read. Underneath all the scientific arrgumentation and so on, there is a strong emotional commitment to a certain notion of the way things are. Anything that seriously threatens it creates fear and loathing.

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 11:04 AM ----------

John Maddox, Editor Science Magazine.

I have met Sheldrake. He seemed quite reasonable to me. I need to do a bit more reading on it. At this point in history, science is built an a very strong belief in naive realism. It all grew out of the (understandable) reaction against the religious autocracy - virtually dictatorship - of medieval Europe. This is has created a huge shadow in the western mind. Anything which is perceived as a threat to the idea that we live in a material world that is shaped by causes that we can determine empirically is regarded as a throwback to that earlier time. That is what is really going on in my view.

The unfortunate fact for materialism, however, is that the very notion of 'matter' is no longer intelligible. What we regard as 'matter' accounts for less than 4% of the measurable universe. So where's the rest of it, eh? And if scientific cosmology has moved into the realms of the occult, what is so strange about the idea of 'morphic resonance'?



i say the problem has to do with realism in qm. Dark matter is not really a problem because if they are anything, they are just of exoic matter.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 07:43 pm
@Pythagorean,
Is that so? What a relief. Glad we have solved that one then.
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 08:18 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs

why does the existence of universal laws necessarily imply a law giver? Why does a description imply a scribe behind the thing in itself being described? We may be creatures that communicate and understand largely by the use of narrative and language, but that doesn't imply that the universe is fundamentally made of such...... ie that which gives rise to narrative. Thats like a snake chasing its own tail to try and catch a glimpse of god. It ends up staring at its own image. (to put it politely:)) The evidence is that the material universe gives rise to narrative, not that narrative gives rise to the material universe ..... unless by the latter we interpret 'the material universe' as a conscious construct of our own and at best a subset of reality generally.

Quote:
Intelligence is not an outcome of chance or the result of a bunch of dumb stuff becoming smart through time. Dumb stuff doesn't become smart. The latent intelligence pulls material into the kinds of configurations it can use.
whats wrong with emergence? Intelligence emerging. Narrative emerging.
 
 

 
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