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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 26

Re: Defending The Indefensible - Shough

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 17:06:12 +0100
Fwd Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 12:21:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible - Shough


>From: Cathy Reason <CathyM.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 16:26:44 -0000
>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

>>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 21:57:24 -0000
>>Subject: Re: Defending The Indefensible

Hi Cathy

I've thought about this over the weekend, trying to
understand/sympathise with your point of view on materialism. I
haven't done very well I'm afraid. But, deep breath . . .

I suspect you might feel less antagonistic to a physicalistic
monism if it called itself idealism (perhaps along the lines of
Jeans' "great thought"), but of course the question, "Is the
monistic substrate material or mental?" turns out to be empty,
because the world remains unchanged under the transformation.

So therefore I take it you are a dualist by inclination and are
sceptical about the hope of physical completeness because of an
expectation - derived in part from 20thC quantum philosophy -
that the programme of physics will eventually encounter (if it
hasn't already) mental entities or qualities that cannot in
principle be represented in other than mental form - i.e, are
not "material" in terms of your broad definition of physicalism.

It feels to me as though you are going to define as "material" -
and thus by implication as straight-jacketed by an a priorism -
whatever entities, actions etc constitute the scientific model
of nature at any future time - unless it incorporates an
irreducably mental substance or quality.

So, what has physics encountered? It is at the moment pluralist,
unlike either materialism or idealism, and the parts of its
ontology relate in strangely abstract and sometimes
counterintuitive ways. The conventional standard model contains
a number of types of entities and qualities that may themselves
have inimical dual characters and are in tension with one
another. For example, we presently have particle/wave,
boson/fermion, observer/observed (subject/object),
particle/antiparticle, real/imaginary, categories which cut
across one another in various ways. The term "matter" now sums
over a rather complicated set of symmetry groups and categories
of other kinds with multiple ambiguous and contingent quantum
properties, set generally against the background of a currently
still-continuous spacetime metric of unknown dimension and
unknown topology in a way which is not at all understood
(spacetime/matter or continuity/discontinuity) .

Still, the aim of final unification is to integrate these
various entities, qualities and interactions within one coherent
possibly supersymmetric quantum description. Even though this
final description is presently held to be self-destructive (only
fully realised in the moment of creation, so very remote from
the diverse world of our mental experience) arguably that will
lead to a discretist rather than to a continuous description,
and discreteness is culturally identified with materiality, as
opposed to continuity which has associations of intangible
immateriality. So if it is held that mental phenomena are to be
sought somewhere in amongst these entities and interactions then
there's a casual sense (though a technically redundant sense) in
which physicalism might still be called materialism. But names
are emotive. Call the unified stuff of this physics quality X.

Let's suppose we are not happy with that - that we have tried to
model mentation using loops of chaotic spacetime, or self-
organised causal set theory, or whatever unknown thing it might
be (this being the future), without success, and there are no
permutations left. We have exhausted physicalism, it would seem
to fair to say, and (it follows) materialism as well, and have
to postulate some additional quality beyond the phsyics of X,
call it quality Y. By definition we don't know much about
quality Y, mainly we have some negative properties of its
antisymmetry to quality X. Possibly we know as little about it
as we knew about quality X in the time of ancient Greek
materialists, or even less. Y-ology is evidently going to be
tricky and slow, probably highly abstract. Some physicists may
complain at the start that it isn't proper physics at all, and
some critics may even claim that it's the end of science. But
any guarantee that the problem will forever resist investigation
is a hostage to furtune. Once people start to think about
knitting strands of Y-theory into the loose ends of X-theory the
probability that they will eventually discover how to rotate X
and Y into one another inside a Z theory becomes non-zero.

Is Z theory still physicalist? Of course. Is it still
materialist? If anyone by then still remembers what that meant I
don't think they will care.

Yes it _might_ happen that Z theory crashes, or only gets as far
as Z theory v.3, that science does end for ever at the borders
of the mind - howsoever redefined the conception of mind and its
borders may be by that time. It might fail in other ways - for
example we might populate the universe and yet still fail to
explain the origin of spacetime before it is destroyed. But I
don't see the possibility of ever proving a physical non-
completeness theorem in the present.

Nobody disputes that some people espouse opinions that seem
psychologically related to those of 19th C materialists. Let's
say that had they lived at that time one feels they would have
characterised themselves as materialists, even if they deprecate
the term. But what we feel as objectionable about this is surely
not that this 19th C person might have been sceptical of the
wisdom or economy of a dualistic ontology, not that he might
have cautioned that a future physics would so redefine the terms
of the apparent dichotomy as to resolve it on an unforeseeable
new level; but that he would have insisted on the
comprehensibility of mental phenomena within the terms of the
physics _of_his_day.

Since that physics did not include ideal substance, he would have
been an anti-idealist, and therefore by default a materialist,
which, encouraged by the popular scientific philosophy of his
day, he probably would have interpreted in a manner shall we say
lacking nuance - basically Laplacian causal determinism played
out on the big billiard table in the sky - without much inquiring
into the meaning of "matter" beyond possibly kicking the leg of
his own billiard table with a Johnsonian boot after a
postprandial snifter.

I do see some cases of people defending what they see as
established truths from the past, too important to their own
philosophy to be exposed to challenge, but I don't think this is
necessarily the psychology (in general) of those who are re-
examining the issue of objective probability in QM. You take
issue with this tendency as though it were a harking back to the
19th C classical reductive causal determinism of Laplace, but I
don't see that. On the contrary I see the possibility that an
orthodoxy in which "hidden variables" seemed to become a swear
word may be approaching a rebirth. With genuine respect, I do
wonder if you are inclined to see it the way you do because you
have a prejudice in favour of the ideal and this point of view
retains a clearer form by perpetuating the dichotomy.

There's no going back to 19thC determinism, for one thing
because it is now well established independently of QM that it
had always been incoherent even in classical terms. Exner and
Schrodinger independently showed around 1920 that even the
simplest classical system of particles is not predictable in the
Laplacian sense, because initial conditions include velocity and
are thus unknowable in an instant. The future motion of a
particle is not determined at an instant but is context-
dependent over time. This is obviously related to the
unpredictablity of chaotic systems with their sensitivity to
"initial conditions" and the discovery that approximately
deterministic-type behaviour is really a rather special case of
isolated systems in nature. This doesn't come from QM, but it
does have implications for QM and highlights a question about
its borrowing of the classical notion of indeterminism as a
model for quantum systems. It might be better to say that QM
begins a process of redefining what probabilty is, and to
suggest that chance may not be bedrock is in this sense not at
all a return to a fallacious classical determinism but is a
second phase of a continuing revolution overturning it.

A future new quantum physics incorporating nonlocal correlations
and complex system behaviour might reinterpret the whole
thermodynamical picture and with it the meaning of probability,
in effect perhaps explain what chance _is_ - and why we are - in
terms of an entirely new causal order, instead of accepting it
as a given. Perhaps the causal structure need not be the same as
the local-historical structure after all, but a distributed
structure - something like Bohm's implicate order, neither prior
nor final cause but if you like an orthogonal point of view that
subsumes both.

Of course there will be a mixed bag of responses to this
possibility, and some individuals may indeed be encouraged in a
secret nostalgia for Victorian simplicity. But I think for the
most part it has some attraction for the quite good reason that
many people are still uncomfortable with the resolution (or lack
of resolution) of the measurement problem, and with the
technical completeness of QM, and get discouraged by failure to
resolve the old incompatibility with GR. So they look around for
another framework. There is no reason in the world why we should
think it creditable for physicists to suppress their
conscienscious suspicions so as not to appear to "peddle" ideas
that some people will find offensive. That would be just the
sort of politically-correct self-censorship that critics _could_
rightly condemn as establishment science gone bad.

><snip>

>>ironically it's only an interpretation of mind in
>>terms of the "archaic distinction" between matter and spirit
>>that denies that mind can be part of the loop, that denies
>>science the right to model it, and then complains because
>>science won't recognise it.

>A lot depends on what you are assuming about the nature of
>mind.

I'm not assuming anything about it, because I think the nature
of mind remains to be understood. But I can see that the terms
of the question are already very different from those of the
19th C, because of developments in physics including nonlocal
entanglement and self-organised complex systems, and I fully
expect that next century the terms will have been altered again,
unpredictably, because formal changes in future physics will be
coupled to massive changes in outlook. The world will have a
different flavour and texture to 22ndC philosophers. I don't see
any likelihood of spontaneous philosophical revolution occurring
except insofar as it is coupled to the system of self-
regenerating theories and reality-checks that is physics.

>There is nothing about a distinction between matter and spirit,
>"archaic" or otherwise, which requires that mind cannot be
>scientifically understood, or be "part of the loop". If you are
>assuming nothing a priori about the nature of mind, then I
>agree that what you are saying is wholly unexceptionable - but
>it certainly is not the case that materialism, either in the
>nineteenth century or today, assumes nothing a priori about the
>nature of mind.

Physicalism assumes nothing a priori about anything - it is an
abstraction ;-). People do, of course. But the point to hang on
to is that neither they nor science can operate at all without
doing so. It is inevitable that we send conjectures into the
future and that they will be refuted. It is essential that
people and science pursue ideas that are mistaken. What makes
science possible is that we are ignorant. Omniscience would be
the heat death of the intellect.

><snip>

>>>But the doctrine of physical completeness - which is actually
>>>what most people today mean by materialism -

>>"most people today" yes, because _today_ materialism has
>>acquired different connotations from those of yesterday (when it
>>had a clearly defined meaning as the obverse of spiritualism)
>>and this is precisely because the scope of the idea of "physical
>>completeness" has expanded like a floodtide and washed across
>>archaic category boundaries to submerge both of those ancient
>>islands - but for small hilltops, where tiny remnant populations
>>of archaists gaze balefully at one another across the rising
>>water.

>In which case the question remains, does materialism in its
>modern sense (or what you see as its modern sense) make a
>priori assumptions about the nature and type of the entities
>which fall within its scope, or does it not? If not, then
>materialism as a concept is now tautological, indeed redundant.

Well, people make individual assumptions. But insofar as the
product of theose assumptions translates into some evolving
thing we can call physics, my point of view is that physics
makes only the assumptions connected with necessary consistency,
integrativity, intelligibility, refutability, measurability and
predictivity. Obviously consistency means that new ideas and
entities must make contact with past ones, hopefully improving
the whole (no sane person would envisage wiping the slate clean
at each paradigm shift - this would defeat the whole notion of
progress). So there is an array of tools and "materials" that
serves as the basis state for each new adaptation and the
adaptation can be dramatic but not arbitrary. Does this amount
to "assumptions"? Yes. A priori assumptions? No. Individual
attempts at a priorism do sometimes work, but only by rare
accident.

So to get to a priori assumptions I think you have to go right
back to the basic desiderata of measurability and predictivity
etc. Making these stipulations initially is, as far as I can
see, a priori in a strict sense, and it does lead to certain
parts of experience being unamenable to science's method. That
very definitely doesn't mean that everything science leaves out
is unreal or unimportant. At one time of course the amenable
part was very tiny; nowadays it's rather larger, but because
science expands the totality of experience it is constantly
running to catch up with itself and the TOE which explains not
only quark-gluon interactions but also the ineffably pitiable
wave of mystery that suddenly engulfs your mind in the 3AM
darkness is not even a gleam in anyone's eye. But, although the
decision to corral off measurable and predictable systems of
observables as giving rise to a special type of knowledge is not
justifiable a priori it is so far justified by its results. The
area of experience incorporated has continued to grow before,
despite periodic crises. I don't see any compelling evidence
that the growth (of the whole process, of both conjecture and
refutation) must stop at any point.

<snip>

>>QM . . . will have to find/invent what it needs.

>QM will find/invent nothing at all Martin, since it is purely
>an abstract theoretical construction. It's real-life human
>beings who will do the finding and inventing.

Exactly. Which has been a large part of my point in objecting,
since before you joined this thread, to an infantile conception
of science that expects of it the whole Truth and wants it now,
that screams "unfair" and "cover up" when all that is
forthcoming is the imperfect product of conscientious human
effort, and which seems to me to abuse the luxurious freedom
afforded them by science to belabor it with cudgels of its own
hard-fought making.

>And real-life human
>beings are prone to all sorts of individual and social
>prejudices and preconceptions, which predispose them to find
>and invent what they want as much as what they need.

This is to me so self-evidently and exhaustively true of all
activities as to take the definition of "trivial" to a new
level. The predispositions of human beings are involved in all
their productions, good and bad, right and wrong, the conjecture
and the refutation. "Character is fate". Individually,
culturally and specifically we are in hock to our past.

But what you need to remember is that without our past we would
have no ideas at all and any type of cultural progress would be
unthinkable - literally. This is why we have no alternative but
to put up with imperfect mental constructions, of which the
inherited dualism of material and ideal substances, or the
inherited monistic point of view towards which science tends
because it believes it to be simpler, may either or both be
examples.

>>That no-one knows how to reconstruct QM is correct, but that it
>>will need to be reconstructed is an increasingly widely held
>>view in connection with the stubborn issue of gravitation and
>>it is possible to speculate that this might allow
>>reinterpretation
>>of the old issues surrounding determinism/indetermisnism and
>>the status of so-called hidden variables.

>And it's quite reasonable to speculate along these lines. But I
>think your interpretation of the actual state of affairs is
>rather too generous. What I see is not so much an opening up of
>possibilities, but a shutting down.

You seem to see what ought to be a smooth curve of advance
towards your preferred destination having a kink put in it by
the sheer perverseness and/or crudity of a generation of
theorists unwilling to concede the completeness of the form of
QM hammered out during the mid 20th C and disrespectful of
received wisdom with no good reason.I disagree. What I see is
that the two-branched paradigm of 20thC physics (QM +GR) has
failed to unify itself by internal means and the whole thing is
jostling up against a limit to growth that causes friction
points and and some questioning reflection. This questioning is
natural and right when progress appears stymied. What happens if
you tweak this? Has anyone really tried pushing that obviously
wrong idea to the limit? What happens if we relax this
condition? And it is most natural and most right that attention
focuses especially on those areas which have widely been spot-
lit in the past as extraordinary central characteristics of the
old paradigm.

>>But if the fact that no-one knows all the answers now is
>>unacceptable, then I guess the vandals must be right. It's the
>>End. Science has Failed. Turn out the lights and leave the
>>hordes to sack it. This is the implication of the views you are
>>defending.

>If science has failed (and that is an "if" because I'm not
>necessarily endorsing the view that it has) then surely the
>appropriate course of action is to ask why.

We can ask why new physics should seem so difficult these days.
I think much of it is an illusion born of unrealistic
expectations on the part of the hugely swollen numbers of people
following the activity as interested spectators and
commentators. Physicists can become minor celebrities at a young
age. More pressure for the new big theory, the new big book.
Part of it is the speed of communication, the ease with which
results and ideas are spread around in blogs and e-archives.
There is an accelerated reaction rate and a certain febrile
quality that couldn't have been there a few decades ago, so the
clock rate is faster and the world of real change seems sluggish
in relation to the information flow.

But underlying this it seems that the wagon train of theoretical
physics has got itself into difficult terrain where the going is
getting difficult and two lines of wagons are stuck in divergent
ruts. As you say the appropriate thing is to ask how they got
there, in order to be able to spot a route to some virgin hard
ground. Unfortunately the hard ground is off the current map on
the sheet that you haven't got yet. You don't know which
direction it lies in and you don't know what the magnetic
variation might be over there either. The only way to predict
how to get there is to go back over the old ground looking for
where you might have taken a different turning in the past. This
is what I think is happening and will probably have to happen
more radically yet. QM and GR might both have to go back a long
way, in some sense, to go forward. Whether the old philosophical
compass will still be useful when they set out across that
unknown territory it isn't really possible to know.

>Smolin appears to
>put the blame on an increasingly rigid and institutionalized
>bureaucracy with the academic community itself. It's certainly
>true that science as a social enterprise is a very different
>thing today from what it was fifty years ago. It may also have
>something to do with the exponential increase in the cost and
>complexity of the equipment needed to perform even basic
>observations in some fields, together with an increase in the
>complexity of theories and correspondingly in the amount of
>data needed to specify them.

It's a tough old game I'm sure and is not likely ever to get
easier. I don't see any need to blame anybody. Still less do I
see the justification for some people ranting about
institutionalised corruption and suppression of the Truth in
theoretical physics.

That current models are almost certainly flawed would be an
unexceptionable claim in any age, as science's own critical
self-examination of how and why it works has taught us. To throw
that back in the face of physics with the accusation that the
the game is systematically "fixed", on the evidence that physics
is in disarray, is outrageous and internally inconsistent. Yes
there is indeed, now as so often before, trouble in paradise,
and I'm certain none knows that better then the physicists
who've fomented it and who, if allowed to, will put the next 50-
year sticking plaster on the open wound that is the human
condition. Should we take surgery out of the hands of doctors
because none of us live forever? By all means let's give them
advice, but let's not ransack the operating theatre out of self-
defeating impatience.

><snip>

>>My personal view is that most people don't actually think about
>>it in 'ism' terms at all, exactly because they are not inclined
>>to be philosophers, not of a deeply speculative turn of mind,
>>just well-educated, competent practicioners of their specialisms
>>who try to make modest advances that people in other fields
>>rarely care much about except for lucky accidents when some
>>result escapes from a backwater of materials science into the
>>big time because it happens to be relevant to superconductivity
>>or whatever But isms, schmisms, what does it matter to them?
>>Just make the experiment and write the paper. And why not? Not
>>everyone can be at the frontiers of profound problems as a pure
>>theoretical physicist, which has been described as one of the
>>most difficult of all human activitites; and only a few of those
>>can be lucky and clever enough to be in at the birth of a new
>>paradigm of thought. But you, and some others, seem to find
>>some cause for opprobrium in this fact. I don't. Neither I think
>>does any person with a sensible and pragmatic view of what science
>>is and how it works. But I've been boring on this elsewhere.

>The question is whether this is really what is happening or
>whether latent or even unrecognized assumptions are restricting
>the development of theory, not in the mainstram of science, but
>at the very frontiers of knowledge.

Well certainly they are. I wouldn't know how to begin to
converse with someone who held any other view. The implication
that we might ever have unrestricted freedom to know inner
nature in some way other than through theories which are there
to be disproved as quickly as possible strikes me as
astonishing. Minds laced with latent assumptions generate all
the successful theories as well as the dud ones. But which ones
are the restrictive ones? At a point of paradigm shift it's
possible that the bottleneck turns out to be not little
assumptions around the edges but one at the middle so big and so
much a part of the furniture that no-one sees it anymore. What
might there be in QM, say, that has this character? Right away
you'd guess it might have some connection with the measurement
problem or the "actualisation of probabilities". Lots of people
assume that already. No-one knows quite what has to be done. But
you should perhaps anticipate that the issues surrounding our
20thC framing of the measurement problem could change - and in
particular that speculations about mental reduction of the
quantum state _might_ one day become irrelevant. I would say
this is as likely as anything else.

<snip>

>Kuhn's theory of science is after all retrospective rather than
>predictive - but science simply hasn't been in existence long
>enough for us to say that it follows a regular pattern of
>punctuated equilibrium. Science today is not what it was
>twenty, thirty, fifty, or a hundred years ago.

Of course it isn't. And in Kuhn's "day" (c.1960?) it was very
different from science in the days of Copernicus, Kepler,
Priestley, Roentgen, Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Einstein or many
of the others whose work he uses to construct his thesis. A mere
account of a particular scienrific event in Berkely in 1960
would rightly have given Kuhn lasting obscurity. What gave his
theory value and resonance was finding the universal in all
these particulars. The implication that we live in a special
time when the usual patterns of change have ceased to apply
seems to me like special pleading and, when coupled with hints
of the End of Science (title of an unintentionally amusing
retrospective on the last days of a dying culture, published by
John Horgan 10 or 12 years ago now) has almost millenialist
overtones.

>>What motivates it is the search for something that works. Yes
>>it is possible to discern a subtle change in mood, the feeling
>>that maybe those arguments that ruled out deterministic
>>underpinnings for all time should be revisited.

>I don't think there's anything subtle about it Martin. It looks
>to me like a wholesale attempt to turn the clock back to the
>materialist dogmas of the past. Admittedly, I haven't taken a
>poll of any sort but it does look to me like a generational
>thing.

OK, but isn't it always a generational thing? Every major change
starts as or becomes a generational thing. It might be possible
to characterise someone's sticking up for the philosophical
conventions established by the big names of the early 20thC as a
generational reaction against those young whippersnapper
"peddlers of dogma" seeking to undermine the great work of the
past :-)

<snip>

>>You evidently dislike this
>>rather much for personal emotional reasons - "peddling" "old
>>fashioned" "distinctly dusty". I wouldn't myself want to
>>proscribe any attempt to make theories that work. If they
>>don't, they don't. I think they might. But you are free to make
>>any alternative suggestion you wish.

>I dislike nonsense that is peddled as solving problems when in
>fact it does nothing of the kind, Martin.

It's usually difficult to tell what suggestions will work to
solve problems until after they have been suggested. I see no
alternative to allowing theorists and experimenters to put ideas
before their colleagues and before nature to find out if they
work or not. If you are in a better position than they to see
that the problematical mid-20thC formalisations and explications
of QM are bedrock for all time then you are clearly gifted in
this area and I can only suggest that you redouble your efforts
to persuade them.

>Particularly nonsense
>that involves a lot of waffle about decoherence (check out that
>dreadful article in last week's New Scientist) and which tries
>to pass off anything remotely embarrasing to a modern
>materialist point of view (such as Wigner's idea about
>consciousness "collapsing" the wavefunction) as an obsolete
>notion we should erase from our mental vocabulary.

I haven't seen the article so can't comment on your objections
re decoherence, but note that Wigner's Friend was the product of
a physicist who got his Nobel for fundamental work on symmetry
groups in quantum theory. The Friend grew out of decades of
agonising by physicist's about Schrodinger's cat paradox and
that eminent physicist's own speculations about a unitary cosmic
consciousness. And whilst we're on the topic of what "works",
Wigner's original intention did _not_ work, as he proposed that
his Friend required changes to the rules of QM, which if found
necessary would have been evidence for his theory. But they
weren't found necessary and I don't believe any experimental
evidence has ever been inconsistent with the decoherence point
of view. Nevertheless it was part of a highly influential strand
of thought and the resulting cultural debate about the human
significance of the QM measurement problem has come to represent
QM in the eyes of the world. I can't for the life of me see any
justification whatsoever for thinking that physics has been shy
of these issues. On the contrary I don't see any evidence that
the issues would exist for discussion were it not for physics.

The difficulty with Wigner's point of view is that although it
has been analysed inside and out by some of the smartest people
in the world for decades and has motivated huge changes in
popular philosophy, it has not got anywhere concrete. It was
developed in the context of a quantum theory which everybody
agrees is difficult to interpret, not really rigorously well-
defined, and is presently unable to cope with large areas of the
world of our experience.

I may be wrong, but I don't think the "consciousness collapse"
interpretation has since the 1930s been able (any more than
"many worlds" has) to introduce a single change into the
formalism of QM, or helped to explain or remove questions
surrounding the use of renormalisation group methods (Feynman's
"dippy hocus pocus"), or predict anything like a new effect or a
new symmetry, or reconcile QM with general relativity. In short
the topic of consciousness remains _in_ QM, but not _of_ QM.
Should it be the essence of QM? Maybe it should. But we can't
resort to established QM as authority for the claim that
consciousness must be central to interpreting it, or for the
even larger claim that physical coherence is unrealisable, if
there are good reasons for believing that QM itself is not fully
coherent. I think the issue is vulnerable to changes in the
underlying theory that are not predictable but are inevitable.

Which brings us back to the question of whether this imperfect
and changeable state of affairs is due to a conspiracy of
suppression on the part of a corrupt and incompetent scientific
establishment or whether it is because science is very
difficult, because existence is very mysterious and because
plateaux in the curve of advance are the natural order of things
- in short because it is the human condition to do our best and
find perpetually that it is not enough.

And the secondary question is whether things can be improved by
taking control of the process in some different way that
corrects whatever it is about the way people's minds work that
causes us to be unable to see today what conclusions they are
going to reach tomorrow. I don't think there is any evidence in
favour of this. As long as there is progress in physics - as
elsewhere - there will always be an orthodoxy and there will
always be people who complain about it. Fortunately, some of
those people will be physicists and they are the people who
(influenced of course by cross-fertilisation between other
cultural areas) will lay the foundations of the next orthodoxy
to become the taken-for-granted reference basis of another
generation of scientists, their popularisers _and_ their
critics. I think it's a realistic possibility that by the time
QM and GR are turned upside down to be reborn inside 22nd C
physics the terms of the question "why do I exist?" will have
changed so dramatically that if the answer were given us now
none of us would recognise it.

Anyway, that's as far as I can go at the moment with this
mysteriously-titled thread - I'll leave the last word to you as
I'm all out of energy and the sun is shining. But it's all very
interesting.
Sorry for the prolixity.


Martin



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http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/


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