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Sunday, May 3 - 10:36pmSanction this postReply
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When scientists talk about "parallel universes" they're talking about estensions of the known universe which can be inferred under the laws of science. For instance, one theory of quantum mechanics states that a range of probabilities (Or some concept mathematically equivalent to probability) occurs simultaneously. So for for instance, if my probability distribution allows for a certain probability of me typing this post on my keyboard, and another probability of me getting up to use the bathroom, then both sequences of events will occur at the same time, but I will only percieve one because it's a different version of myself that's using the bathroom. However, the mathematics of quantum mechanics imply discrepancies in our understanding of physical reality, which could be explained by a parallel "universe" in which I'm using the bathroom instead.

 

Another example would be higher dimensions. For instance, if string theory is true then there's eleven dimensions instead of just the three that we're used to. So there could be another three dimensional space that exists next to the one we live in. And while we would only be able to percieve our own three-dimensional space, the other three-dimensional must exist in order to be consistent with reality, assuming that string theory is accurate.

 

How would these theories contradict Objectivist metaphysics?



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Post 1

Monday, May 4 - 11:55pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Lancelot,

 

I'm just curious why you choose a thread about the existence of a god to discuss quantum mechanics and parallel universe theories.  In any case, I'll address your post and give what I think would be an Objectivist answer to it.  You wrote,

 

When scientists talk about "parallel universes" they're talking about estensions of the known universe which can be inferred under the laws of science. For instance, one theory of quantum mechanics states that a range of probabilities (Or some concept mathematically equivalent to probability) occurs simultaneously. So for for instance, if my probability distribution allows for a certain probability of me typing this post on my keyboard, and another probability of me getting up to use the bathroom, then both sequences of events will occur at the same time, but I will only percieve one because it's a different version of myself that's using the bathroom. However, the mathematics of quantum mechanics imply discrepancies in our understanding of physical reality, which could be explained by a parallel "universe" in which I'm using the bathroom instead.

 

Another example would be higher dimensions. For instance, if string theory is true then there's eleven dimensions instead of just the three that we're used to. So there could be another three dimensional space that exists next to the one we live in. And while we would only be able to percieve our own three-dimensional space, the other three-dimensional must exist in order to be consistent with reality, assuming that string theory is accurate.

 

How would these theories contradict Objectivist metaphysics?

 

Objectivist metaphysics would say that probability pertains not to the real world but to our lack of knowledge about the real world.  For example, if I flip a coin into the air, the probability that it will land heads is 50/50, but in reality it can only land one way, given its nature and the nature of the causal forces acting upon it.  Therefore, any theory which says that probabilities apply to reality itself instead of simply to our lack of knowledge about reality would contradict the meaning of probability, which is an epistemological, not a metaphysical concept.  Insofar as quantum mechanics says that probabilities are part of the real world, it is per force inconsistent with Objectivist metaphysics.

 

According to Objectivism, the properties of an entity exist independently of our knowledge of them, yet quantum theory says that by observing subatomic particles one literally brings their identities into existence.  In other words, consciousness -- observation -- creates what it observes simply by observing it.  Quantum mechanics says that a measurement does not tell us about the pre-existing state of a particle; instead, it creates that state.  This is subjectivist metaphysics with a Kantian legacy.  Furthermore, QM does not explain just how a measurement could transform nothing in particular into something with definite properties.  It is not, as you referred to it, a "law of science."  It is mysticism masquerading as science.  

 

String theory is no better, proclaiming that there are eleven dimensions instead of just three.  What is that supposed to mean?  How does such a theory refer to anything in the real world that can be confirmed by observation?  It doesn't.  It is pure rationalism -- abstract theory divorced from an empirical foundation.  Again, this is not science; it is the abdication of the scientific method, and it flies in the face of common sense.  Scientific theory should make difficult-to-understand events intelligible.  String theory does the opposite; it makes them less intelligible.

 

For a more complete discussion of this and related issues, see The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics by David Harriman.



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Tuesday, May 5 - 9:43pmSanction this postReply
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@Lancelot Thorsbane (lol, wow)

 

When scientists talk about "parallel universes" they're talking about estensions of the known universe which can be inferred under the laws of science. For instance, one theory of quantum mechanics states that a range of probabilities (Or some concept mathematically equivalent to probability) occurs simultaneously. So for for instance, if my probability distribution allows for a certain probability of me typing this post on my keyboard, and another probability of me getting up to use the bathroom, then both sequences of events will occur at the same time, but I will only percieve one because it's a different version of myself that's using the bathroom. However, the mathematics of quantum mechanics imply discrepancies in our understanding of physical reality, which could be explained by a parallel "universe" in which I'm using the bathroom instead.

 

There are multiple definitions of the term "multiverse". Contrary to what the author of the article says, scientiests do not invariable define the word "universe" as "all that exists". Sometimes, what is meant by "universe", in a sceintific context, is the observable universe, or, the part of the universe we can see with our telescopes. Beyond that, the current inflationary theories of the Big Bang imply that the universe as a whole is vastly larger than just the part we can see. First of all, there are parts of the universe which are so far away that the light from those regions will never reach us due to the expansion of space between us and those regions. This divides up the universe into "Hubble Bubbles", which consist of all things which are close enough to each other that they can exchange light-signals. Beyond that, there are also bubbles of false vacuum, which themselves consist of regions of the universe which have a specific vacuum energy. Different bubbles of false vacuum will have different values for physical constants than our part of the multiverse, so they are very different from anything we are familiar with.

 

Then there is the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, which is essentially as you describe it here. However, this interpretation is not considered standard, and has never been shown to be able to do all the things that the Copenhagen Interpretation can do.

 

Another example would be higher dimensions. For instance, if string theory is true then there's eleven dimensions instead of just the three that we're used to. So there could be another three dimensional space that exists next to the one we live in. And while we would only be able to percieve our own three-dimensional space, the other three-dimensional must exist in order to be consistent with reality, assuming that string theory is accurate.

How would these theories contradict Objectivist metaphysics?

 

They don't. The author is presenting a silly argument from definitions. Nothing more than a word game.

 

@William Dwyer

Objectivist metaphysics would say that probability pertains not to the real world but to our lack of knowledge about the real world.

Objectivism has no official position on probability. This is because it isn't really a matter of philosophy, but rather about what tool is right for what job.

 

Subjectivist and frequentist interpretations of probability differ in that the subjectivist interpretation uses probabilities to model beliefs about the world, while the frequentist interpretation uses probabilities as a part of models about the world. Under frequentism, metaphorically speaking, a car is for going places, but under subjectivism a car is also a place where someone might sometimes want to go. Neither "interpretation" of cars is more correct than the other.

 

To better illustrate the difference between the two, a subjectivist probability interpreter, when talking about Newtonian physics might say that "There is an x% chance that the path of the orbiting planet will correspond to the path predicted by Newton.", whereas a frequentist probability interpreter would say that "Newton's theory predicts that there is a 0% chance that the path of the orbiting planet will not be an ellipse."

 

It gets kind of confusing because the frequentist interpretation sees probabilities as something that is only a part of a model of the real world, whereas the subjectivist interpretation is itself a model of the real world which seeks to capture how a rational agent might process his beliefs.

 

This is important because physicists never use the subjectivist interpretation of probability. If a physicists says that there is a 50% chance of a flipped coin landing on heads, then he does not mean that he does not know on which side the coin will land on (since what he does or does not personally know or believe is irrelevant scientifically, only the model and data are important). What he is saying is that, while the laws of mechanics governing the coin are completely deterministic (and that, in principle at least, with enough information and computing power you could predict exactly how the coin will land each time), it is best to simply assume that the coin will land on heads 50% of the time, since modeling all of the motions of the coin would be too complicated to make any calculations feasible.

 

In science, probabilities are merely a method used to simplify extremely complex phenomena. They are simply a tool, and have no deeper epistemological or metaphysical significance.

 

 For example, if I flip a coin into the air, the probability that it will land heads is 50/50, but in reality it can only land one way, given its nature and the nature of the causal forces acting upon it.  Therefore, any theory which says that probabilities apply to reality itself instead of simply to our lack of knowledge about reality would contradict the meaning of probability, which is an epistemological, not a metaphysical concept.  Insofar as quantum mechanics says that probabilities are part of the real world, it is per force inconsistent with Objectivist metaphysics.

 

According to Objectivism, the properties of an entity exist independently of our knowledge of them, yet quantum theory says that by observing subatomic particles one literally brings their identities into existence.  In other words, consciousness -- observation -- creates what it observes simply by observing it.  Quantum mechanics says that a measurement does not tell us about the pre-existing state of a particle; instead, it creates that state.  This is subjectivist metaphysics with a Kantian legacy.  Furthermore, QM does not explain just how a measurement could transform nothing in particular into something with definite properties.  It is not, as you referred to it, a "law of science."  It is mysticism masquerading as science. 

Luckily, none of this is actually true. When I began studying QM at uni, I was very  much relieved to find out that the underlying reality it describes makes perfect sense and is really quite mundane when you understand it.

 

There is an excellent video series in youtube which provides a detailed description of quantum theory:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhq8_63SrvU&list=PL193BC0532FE7B02C&index=1

 

QM says that a particle is actually a cloud of stuff that extends throughout the entire universe and is "denser" in some places (its "density" is actually descibed by a complex number, so it also has a phase and the whole story is a bit more complicated). This cloud has a very specific nature and obeys the laws of physics entirely deterministically. However, since it is an extended entity, it obviously has no unique position or momentum, etc.

 

The part where probability comes in is when that cloud interacts with other clouds. More specifically, when it interacts with high-energy macroscopic objects like people or rocks. When that happens, we have to use statistical mechanics and combine it with the cloud description of the particle to figure out what will actually happen. The mathematics of QM transform the cloud (the actual description of the particle) into a wave of probabilities with respect to its positon or momentum or whatever. And, of course, statistical mechanics uses (frequentist) probabilities, so really, QM is not fundamentally different than Newtonian mechanics.

 

In fact, the first two videos of the series I linked to above describe exactly how Max Planck started QM by using statistical mechanics and an assumption that the enrergy of particles comes in discrete packets or "quanta" to resolve the UV-catastrophe.

 

Also, if you don't have the time to watch the entire series above, just skip to this video to see how an electron acts as a cloud rather than a little hard ball:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee4LqXRlQmE&index=11&list=PL193BC0532FE7B02C

 

 

Here's also a cool simulation of the double-slit experiment:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHyO0A7C86E

 

String theory is no better, proclaiming that there are eleven dimensions instead of just three.  What is that supposed to mean?  How does such a theory refer to anything in the real world that can be confirmed by observation?  It doesn't.  It is pure rationalism -- abstract theory divorced from an empirical foundation.  Again, this is not science; it is the abdication of the scientific method, and it flies in the face of common sense.  Scientific theory should make difficult-to-understand events intelligible.  String theory does the opposite; it makes them less intelligible.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Consider the state of modern physics. We have two extremely well supported theories of how the universe works, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (none of their competitors come even close), and yet, they disagree with each other.

 

GR says that matter affects things only locally. That is, an infinitesimal piece of matter at any point in spacetime affects only the shape of spacetime at that single point. It is impossible for it to affect things at other points, because at other points, there are other pieces of matter, and between any two points there are more points each with their own piece of matter.

 

QM, on the other hand, says that it is nonsensical to talk about matter at a single point in spacetime. Since it describes things in terms of waves and wave properties such as frequencies, it takes on a global view of matter, because only the wave as a whole can have a frequency.

 

In other words, each theory says that the other is insane. So how do we resolve these contradictions? The same way contradictions in physics have always been resolved. By abstracting the underlying mathematics until tthe contradiction disappears and things start making sense.

 

Einstein discovered special and general relativity by abstracting the geometry of spacetime until the contradicitons between Newton's mechanics and Maxwell's electrodynamics disappeared. The famous mathematician, Riemann, discoverd that Euclidean, Hyperbolic, and Elliptic geometries could be unified by taking each point of the plane and assigning to it an abstract quantity called a "tensor" which is like a little machine which will give you the squared length of a vector at that point (this particular tensor is called a "metric tensor"). The resulting structure is called a "manifold",and  depending on how you configured these "little machines", a specific geometry would result and its rules could be figured out entirely by looking at what the little machines do.

 

This is essentially how GR works. At every point in spacetime, there are two machines. One of them, called the "stress-energy tensor", describes properties of matter if you send a "test particle" through the point (properties such as energy, momentum, pressure and sheer-stress). The other, called the "Einstein tensor", describes the shape of spacetime at that point. Einstein's equation says that the output of this machine is simply 8*pi times the output of the matter machine. The Einstein tensor itself is made up of a collection of metric tensors (and other pieces), and by reverse engineering the Einstein tensor (that is, solving Einstein's equations), we can figure out how its metric tensor is configured, and from that we can figure out the geometry of spacetime generated by matter. We then use our knowledge of spacetime geometry to figure out how matter will move through it, which will in turn change the shape of spacetime again, and so on.

 

Similarly Paul Dirac was able to derive the properties of an electron by abstracting over Hamiltonian mechanics (a modern theory of Newtonian mechanics that focuses on energy). He saw that a mathematical structure in HM, called a Poisson bracket, which appears in Hamiton's equations of motion (which describe how energy changes across positions and momenta of a particle), followed the same algebraic rules as another abstract algebraic structure called a commutator. He simply wrote out Hamilton's equations and replaced the Poisson brackets with commutators. However, Poisson brackets act on functions (which are rules that assign a single number to each point in spacetime), whereas commutators act on operators (which themselves are rules that describe how a function changes). So Dirac, instead of treating position and momentum as numbers, changed them into operators. The functions that the positon and momentum operators act on are called wave functions, and lo and behold these are the functions that describe matter at the most fundamental level in QM.

 

Note that an individual wave function is a specific rule that assigns a single complex number to each point in spacetime. So if you could examine a wave function point by point and looked at a wave function at two different points, then the complex numbers at the two points are both part of the same wave funciton even if they have different values.

 

Contrast this with a tensor, which is defined completely only at a single point, and if you look at two different points, then, even if their tensors have the exact same values, they are in fact two completely different tensors.

 

It is important to realize that a number is also a kind of tensor. Indeed, early naive attempts at the unification of GR and QM tried to treat wave functions as a collection of tensors (or, a tensor field), or they tried to treat tensor fields as if they were wave functions, but this resulted in nonsense.

 

In order to resolve these contradictions at the basis of our very understanding of reality, it is necessary to invoke the theory of fiber bundles.

 

At some point, mathematicians realized that they did not have to restrict themselves to assigning just numbers, vectors, and tensors to points in a manifold. Really, one could assign any sort of mathematical structure, even other manifolds.

 

This is where the extra dimensions of string theory come from. By assigning a six or seven-dimensional complex manifold to each point of spacetime, one can derive all of QM and GR (with a few additional assumptions because the theory is incomplete).

 

Now, we could say that string theory is actually about a Newtonian universe made up of points which themselves are extremely complicated abstract machines in order to account for relativistic and quantum mechanical deviations from newtonian physics. Or we could make things much simpler and say that spacetime is simply folded up in a weird way.

 

Similarly, you could say that the Earth is actually flat, and that it simply has a metric tensor at every point of its surface which produces the illusion of a spherical geometry. But why would you, really? It's much easier to just say that the Earth is round.



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Wednesday, May 6 - 6:19amSanction this postReply
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@Naomi Ludenberg: „The author is presenting a silly argument from definitions. Nothing more than a word game.“

 

 

It isn’t I who is playing word games but rather you, for while I strictly adhere to the non-contradictory definition of Universe, you, just as most scientists and media writers do, are smuggling a wrong sense into what “Universe” means, giving an invalid signification to its use. Thus, you show a lack of understanding of what words stand for, a most unfortunate fact, for language is one of the pillars of civilization.. I recommend you to read Ayn Rand’s “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology,” that states on page 12: ”Words transform concepts into (mental) entities; definitions provide them with identity (Words without definitions are not language but inarticulate sound)" [My emphasis].

 

 

By using “Universe” in the wrong sense, a void is produced in its significance, since it isn’t used in the sense of its definition: ALL that exists. Thus, a new word would have to be coined to correspond precisely to the definition given, a rather senseless and useless endeavor, for the word specifying the given definition exists already, namely “Universe” (ALL that exists).

 

 

Note: Hawking, for example, who is very prone to add glossaries to his books, is VERY careful not to include the definition of “Universe”, as this allows him to change the sense of the word to his own liking.

Should you want to take a look at the definitions I use, please refer to the final part of http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Schieder/The_Refueling_of_our_Power_for_Creation.shtml (It’s the final chapter of my book [yet unpublished] “Ayn Rand, I and the Universe”].

 

(Edited by Manfred F. Schieder on 5/06, 6:22am)



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Wednesday, May 6 - 8:18amSanction this postReply
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@Manfred F. Schieder

 

It isn’t I who is playing word games but rather you, for while I strictly adhere to the non-contradictory definition of Universe, you, just as most scientists and media writers do, are smuggling a wrong sense into what “Universe” means, giving an invalid signification to its use. Thus, you show a lack of understanding of what words stand for, a most unfortunate fact, for language is one of the pillars of civilization.. I recommend you to read Ayn Rand’s “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology,” that states on page 12: ”Words transform concepts into (mental) entities; definitions provide them with identity(Words without definitions are not language but inarticulate sound)" [My emphasis].

By using “Universe” in the wrong sense, a void is produced in its significance, since it isn’t used in the sense of its definition: ALL that exists. Thus, a new word would have to be coined to correspond precisely to the definition given, a rather senseless and useless endeavor, for the word specifying the given definition exists already, namely “Universe” (ALL that exists).

 

Do you know what a homonym is?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homonym



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Wednesday, May 6 - 6:34pmSanction this postReply
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Naomi wrote,


[S]cientiests do not invariable define the word "universe" as "all that exists". Sometimes, what is meant by "universe", in a sceintific context, is the observable universe, or, the part of the universe we can see with our telescopes. Beyond that, the current inflationary theories of the Big Bang imply that the universe as a whole is vastly larger than just the part we can see. First of all, there are parts of the universe which are so far away that the light from those regions will never reach us due to the expansion of space between us and those regions. This divides up the universe into "Hubble Bubbles", which consist of all things which are close enough to each other that they can exchange light-signals. Beyond that, there are also bubbles of false vacuum, which themselves consist of regions of the universe which have a specific vacuum energy. Different bubbles of false vacuum will have different values for physical constants than our part of the multiverse, so they are very different from anything we are familiar with.

 

Observe that Naomi defers to the original or classical definition of "universe" as 'all that exists' in the very act of arguing that there are different definitions of the term -- as, for example, "the observable universe" or "part of the universe we can see with our telescopes" or "regions of the universe which have a specific vacuum."  She can certainly use the term 'universe' to refer to parts of the universe, as people often do, but I don't think it's a sound epistemological practice, as it does not facilitate communication and can only lead to confusion.  It makes more sense to restrict the term to its original or classical definition.  From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

 

universe (n.) 1580s, "the whole world, cosmos, the totality of existing things," from Old French univers (12c.), from Latin universum "all things, everybody, all people, the whole world," noun use of neuter of adjective universus "all together, all in one, whole, entire, relating to all," literally "turned into one," from unus "one" (see one) + versus, past participle of vertere "to turn".

 

Wikipedia offers a similar definition:  The Universe is all of time and space.[8][9][10][11] This includes planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy.

 

Manfred replied to her as follows:  By using “Universe” in the wrong sense, a void is produced in its significance, since it isn’t used in the sense of its definition: ALL that exists. Thus, a new word would have to be coined to correspond precisely to the definition given, a rather senseless and useless endeavor, for the word specifying the given definition exists already, namely “Universe” (ALL that exists).

 

Or one could simply qualify it with an appropriate adjective, e.g., "the observable universe."  Clearly, if one is referring to the observable universe, then one should call it 'the observable universe' and not just 'the universe.' 

 

However, in response to Manfred's post, Naomi replied:

 

Do you know what a homonym is?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homonym

 

I think he does, Naomi, but thanks for pointing it out.  What Manfred is saying, I believe, is not that there are no homonyms, but that assigning more than one meaning to the term 'universe' is not a good idea, as it does not facilitate communication and understanding.  Better to stick with the commonly cited definition.



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Wednesday, May 6 - 7:08pmSanction this postReply
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@William Dwyer

 

No one person or group of people decided to use the term "universe" to refer to both all of existence and just the observable universe. That's just how the term "universe" has been used historically.

 

Manfred foolishly criticized multiverse theories by attacking the nomenclature, rather than the theory itself. Apparently, he has never heard of the phrase "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."



Post 7

Thursday, May 7 - 5:36amSanction this postReply
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@ Naomi Ludenberg: As William correctly said, I know what a homonym is, but I don’t use it for unsound debates. Do you?

 

 

What are you trying to demonstrate? That “ALL that exists” is not all that exists but there is “something” else? If so, it’s really amazing that you neither know what “All” and “exists” mean. Please look it up at a dictionary. As a helping hand: “All” can, of course, be used not as a general but as a particular, limiting term, as in “All blue marbles,” which means that none of them are white, red, multicolored, etc, but this is NOT the way I use it in my article. In my article I use it in its general sense.

 

 

Does “All that exists” include also what doesn’t exist? Of course NOT. My article went to the “farthest corner” on this point too. Remember my way of presenting Parmenides’ premise 2)

 

 

But perhaps you want to say something else, which again shows that you lack an understanding of “ALL” and of synonyms. I could just as well have spoken of “EVERYTHING that exists,” which doesn’t change one bit the sense of what I meant. Do you know what a synonym is?

 

 

I will clear something additional, perhaps then what I said becomes clear to you: The known or observable universe has a radius of some 14,000 million light years. Is there something “beyond”? Perhaps there is, perhaps not, I don’t know and, so far, I don’t care, but should there be, it’s already INCLUDED in “ALL that exists”. Should the universe be infinite (one possibility among others I mention in my book “Ayn Rand, I and the Universe”), well, no problem, for “ALL that exists” includes that too. Nothing EXISTING is excluded! Only what doesn't EXIST is excluded! “ALL that exists” has a VERY specific meaning and every intention to deny it produces a self-contradiction in terms, as Ayn Rand said: If there’s a contradiction in terms , at least one of its premises is wrong and must be corrected and bla, bla, bleah… Perhaps if you had known the German language, what I wrote would have been easier for you, for “All” in German means “Universe” as well as “Everything”.

 

 

But keeping any contact with you is a loss of time, for you should have learned language before plunging into math, physics and chemistry.   Well, as an afterthought that I almost forgot: Logic, you should have learned logic, at least basic logic, and what's so dear to Ayn Rand: REASON! Wow! Do you still have a lot of things to learn!

 

(Edited by Manfred F. Schieder on 5/07, 6:56am)



Post 8

Thursday, May 7 - 7:53amSanction this postReply
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"Naomi" is Comprachico'd beyond all hope of repair...



Post 9

Thursday, May 7 - 1:35pmSanction this postReply
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@ Jules: You're right, but then, come to think of it, perhaps David Kelley could do the trick, if she were to read his book "The Art of Reasoning". Though sometimes it's totally useless, we Objectivists should never give up hope; don't you think so too?

 

(Edited by Manfred F. Schieder on 5/07, 2:26pm)



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Thursday, May 7 - 3:34pmSanction this postReply
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@Naomi Ludenberg

 

No one person or group of people decided to use the term "universe" to refer to both all of existence and just the observable universe. That's just how the term "universe" has been used historically.

 

Yes, it's been used that way historically, but that doesn't mean that it is rational or desirable to apply the same term both to all of existence and to just part of existence, especially since it was originally coined to apply universally.  Using it ambiguously in this way can be confusing and can interfere with communication.  Do you get that that's what I'm objecting to?  I'm not objecting to the fact that the same word has had and can have different referents.

 

Manfred foolishly criticized multiverse theories by attacking the nomenclature, rather than the theory itself. Apparently, he has never heard of the phrase "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

 

In Post 2, you wrote, There are multiple definitions of the term "multiverse".   Here it would seem that you're talking about nomenclature -- about different definitions of the same object (namely 'multiverse', whatever that is).  I'm still not clear on what you mean by the term.  Are you referring to multiple universes?  If so, then you're talking about multiple definitions of the term 'universe', not about multiple definitions of the term 'multiverse'.

 

Yes, a rose by any other name (e.g. rosa, roze) would smell as sweet, but what we're objecting to here is the same name ('universe') having different referents, not the same referent ('all that exists') having different names.

 

In Post 1, I wrote, Objectivist metaphysics would say that probability pertains not to the real world but to our lack of knowledge about the real world.

 

You replied, Objectivism has no official position on probability. This is because it isn't really a matter of philosophy, but rather about what tool is right for what job.

 

You say that with such confidence.  Do you know something about Objectivism that I don't?  ;-)  In fact, Objectivism does have a position on probability, which is a matter of philosophy in the following respect:  Theists argue that the phenomenon of life couldn't have arisen "by chance"; therefore, there had to be a designer -- a god or supreme being.  This is a philosophical argument.  Objectivism replies that events do not happen by chance (i.e., probabilistically), but are instead governed by the law of causality.  In his course on The Basic Principles of Objectivism (delivered in the 1950's and '60's), Nathaniel Branden gives the same example I gave, and states, "Chance" [i.e., probability] is a concept pertaining not to reality but to human knowledge -- and in a manner of speaking, to a state of ignorance.  Men say that an event happens 'by chance' only because they do not, in fact, know why the event did happen." (from the published lectures in The Vision of Ayn Rand, 2009, p. 103)

 

Before proclaiming that Objectivism has no official position on a particular issue, it helps to know something about the philosophy.



Post 11

Friday, May 8 - 10:32pmSanction this postReply
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I may be wrong Bill but I believe the term multiverse is very much in line with Plato's idea of the "forms".



Post 12

Friday, May 8 - 11:44pmSanction this postReply
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Ah, yes, Jules.  Now I understand.  A 'multiverse' is a heavenly object, an abstract form that resides in Plato's heaven and unites all the universes into one giant "multiverse."  

And here I thought that a multiverse was a poem with multiple verses!  Shows how much I know!



Post 13

Saturday, May 9 - 8:23amSanction this postReply
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@Manfred Schieder

 

You're grasping at straws and are incapable of forming a coherent argument. Arguing with you is a waste of time. Good day.

 

@William Dwyer

Yes, it's been used that way historically, but that doesn't mean that it is rational or desirable to apply the same term both to all of existence and to just part of existence, especially since it was originally coined to apply universally.  Using it ambiguously in this way can be confusing and can interfere with communication.  Do you get that that's what I'm objecting to?  I'm not objecting to the fact that the same word has had and can have different referents.

I understad the issue, and while it is unfortunate, that's not what Schieder was objecting to.

 

You say that with such confidence.  Do you know something about Objectivism that I don't?  ;-)  In fact, Objectivism does have a position on probability, which is a matter of philosophy in the following respect:  Theists argue that the phenomenon of life couldn't have arisen "by chance"; therefore, there had to be a designer -- a god or supreme being.  This is a philosophical argument.  Objectivism replies that events do not happen by chance (i.e., probabilistically), but are instead governed by the law of causality.  In his course on The Basic Principles of Objectivism (delivered in the 1950's and '60's), Nathaniel Branden gives the same example I gave, and states, "Chance" [i.e., probability] is a concept pertaining not to reality but to human knowledge -- and in a manner of speaking, to a state of ignorance.  Men say that an event happens 'by chance' only because they do not, in fact, know why the event did happen." (from the published lectures in The Vision of Ayn Rand, 2009, p. 103)

Before proclaiming that Objectivism has no official position on a particular issue, it helps to know something about the philosophy.

 

No one except Ayn Rand is the authority on Objectivism. As far as I know, Rand never said a thing on probability, and Nathaniel Branden is no more of an authoritative source on Objectivism than I am.



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Saturday, May 9 - 1:42pmSanction this postReply
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@Naomi Ludenberg -- who wrote,

 

Objectivism has no official position on probability. This is because it isn't really a matter of philosophy, but rather about what tool is right for what job. 

 

I replied, You say that with such confidence.  Do you know something about Objectivism that I don't?  ;-)  In fact, Objectivism does have a position on probability, which is a matter of philosophy in the following respect:  Theists argue that the phenomenon of life couldn't have arisen "by chance"; therefore, there had to be a designer -- a god or supreme being.  This is a philosophical argument.  Objectivism replies that events do not happen by chance (i.e., probabilistically), but are instead governed by the law of causality.  In his course on The Basic Principles of Objectivism (delivered in the 1950's and '60's), Nathaniel Branden gives the same example I gave, and states, "Chance" [i.e., probability] is a concept pertaining not to reality but to human knowledge -- and in a manner of speaking, to a state of ignorance.  Men say that an event happens 'by chance' only because they do not, in fact, know why the event did happen." (from the published lectures in The Vision of Ayn Rand, 2009, p. 103)

 

Before proclaiming that Objectivism has no official position on a particular issue, it helps to know something about the philosophy.

 

No one except Ayn Rand is the authority on Objectivism. As far as I know, Rand never said a thing on probability, and Nathaniel Branden is no more of an authoritative source on Objectivism than I am.

 

Branden's lectures were overseen and approved of by Rand herself.  If his statements on chance and probability were not ones that she agreed with, she would never have allowed him to present them as part of her philosophy. 



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Saturday, May 9 - 2:06pmSanction this postReply
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No one except Ayn Rand is the authority on Objectivism. ...Nathaniel Branden is no more of an authoritative source on Objectivism than I am.

That is like saying no one is the authority on Austrian Economics but Ludwig Von Mises.  That kind of approach would be just like Fundamental Islam where only Mohamed is the authority.  It substitutes faith in the statements of one person for reason about the statements.  

 

Branden was THE expert authority on Objectivism (next to Rand herself) until he and Rand had a personal falling out (a falling out that did not include any philosophical disagreement).

 

(Edited by Steve Wolfer on 5/09, 2:09pm)



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Saturday, May 9 - 2:24pmSanction this postReply
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@William Dwyer

 

Branden's lectures were overseen and approved of by Rand herself.  If his statements on chance and probability were not ones that she agreed with, she would never have allowed him to present them as part of her philosophy.

Until they weren't, and she retoractively withdrew her approval of everything Branden ever said.

 

@Steve Wolfer

That is like saying no one is the authority on Austrian Economics but Ludwig Von Mises.  That kind of approach would be just like Fundamental Islam where only Mohamed is the authority.  It substitutes faith in the statements of one person for reason about the statements.  

 

Exactly. So why is this even an issue? If you and Dwyer have any real arguments or thoughts on probability, then show them instead of going on and on about what Branded and Rand did or did not say about the subject.

Branden was THE expert authority on Objectivism (next to Rand herself) until he and Rand had a personal falling out (a falling out that did not include any philosophical disagreement).

Rand would STRONGLY disagree with this, and you know it.



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Saturday, May 9 - 3:09pmSanction this postReply
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Naomi, who is the authority on all things (just ask her), is telling those of us here at an Objectivist forum, who is and isn't an authority.  I'd forgotten how little reason there is to make any replies to her posts.



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Saturday, May 9 - 3:35pmSanction this postReply
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#16:

Until they weren't, and she retroactively withdrew her approval of everything Branden ever said.

 

This is not quite accurate.  She withdrew her approval ("sanction" being the Objectivist jargon) of anything he might say from then on, but not of what she had already acknowledged to be the Objectivist canon.  Through Holzer she repudiated the NBI audios Branden later sold, but in that case she had no control over the contents.

 

(Edited by Peter Reidy on 5/09, 3:37pm)



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Saturday, May 9 - 4:03pmSanction this postReply
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@Naomi

 

If you [Steve] and Dwyer have any real arguments or thoughts on probability, then show them instead of going on and on about what Branded and Rand did or did not say about the subject.

 

It was Lancelot Thorsbane who raised the issue initially.  I was simply responding to his question, which was as follows:

 

Another example would be higher dimensions. For instance, if string theory is true then there's eleven dimensions instead of just the three that we're used to. So there could be another three dimensional space that exists next to the one we live in. And while we would only be able to percieve our own three-dimensional space, the other three-dimensional must exist in order to be consistent with reality, assuming that string theory is accurate.

 

How would these theories contradict Objectivist metaphysics?

 

In order to answer his question, I had to introduce Objectivist metaphysics and give a supporting reference.  For what it's worth, the arguments that Branden (and Rand) have presented on this issue are ones that I agree with, since they accord with the law of causality as a corollary of the law of identity.  Necessity in causation precludes causes and effects that are merely probable.  As I said, chance or probability is an epistemological concept, not a metaphysical one.

 

(Edited by William Dwyer on 5/09, 4:06pm)



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