Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stephen Hawking's Scientism

  • "The laws that explain the universe's birth are less comprehensive than Stephen Hawking suggests," suggests Paul Davies, asking "What is the source of those ingenious laws that enable a universe to pop into being from nothing?" — Stephen Hawking's big bang gaps.

  • "Hawking and his fellow-travelers want to attribute the beginning of the universe to physical laws, while ignoring the issue of their source," says Matthew Cullinan Hoffman — Stephen Hawking's Junk Science Atheism. "A law is a concept, a principle, it is not a physical thing," the reviewer notes. "How do such laws exist without a lawgiver? How do concepts exist without a mind to conceive them? If so, where and how do they exist? Are they floating around in the mythical ether?"
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    7 Comments:

    Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

    It is a mystery that may never be explained...much like the plot of David Lynch film...or a short story by Robert Aickman...

    Which are actually more enjoyable by not having their mysteries explained...

    The Big Bang? I can't even begin to comprehend the conclusion of Paul Schrader's film The Comfort of Strangers, with Christopher Walken, Helen Mirren.

    12:41 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    I talked about this with a physicist friend today. I asked him about the whole "multiverse" idea Hawkings and ilk propose to get around the anthropocentric implications of Quantum Mechanics. He said, "I hate it."

    10:19 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What's anthropocentric about QM

    7:45 AM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    John von Neumann's observation that "a quanton's state changes abruptly and discontinuously with time in accordance with the laws of probability when (and only when) a measurement is made on a quanton."

    8:17 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Now you have to tell us what constitutes "measurement."

    Contrary to what you may believe, physicists do not entirely agree and your Wigneresque approach is (more likely than not deservedly) marginalized in the field. In fact, some QM interpretations do not even require measurement for the wave function to collapse.

    On a personal note, I'm a neuroscientist (posting here in between tweaks to a Kohonen-type model I'm working on in the context of V1 in rhesus monkeys) and I find the Goddiddit approach to mental phenomena tedious and unproductive. It has never given sharp, useful answers on any facet of the mind.

    1:00 PM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    "In fact, some QM interpretations do not even require measurement for the wave function to collapse."

    Then some do.

    1:45 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "Then some do."

    Not necessarily. For someone who makes a big deal out of dead philosophers you can't get your logic straight. "Some S is P" is a subaltern of "All S is P" and as such both can be true.

    That point aside, most quantum physicists do not hold to the unfalsifiable notion that consciousness is required for wave function collapse. That you pretend things are otherwise is cute.

    5:34 PM  

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