17 August, 2021

Special Issue 74: Flawed Logic

This edition collects together several recent papers by Jim Schofield, looking more closely at the fundamental problems with Formal Logic, and Schofield's theories on how Mathematics became a corrupting influence on the Sciences. 

This fascinating journey takes us from Stephen Wolfram trying to explain the Laws of the Universe using little black and white squares, to Troika's mesmerising visual art using Wolfram's Cellular Automata, to Sabine Hossenfelder's critique of "beauty" in Mathematics, to the Buddhist Logic of the Tetralemma. 

Along the way we discover that we cannot transcend the straightjacket of reductionist formalism until we appreciate the logic of evolving natural systems.

14 August, 2021

Theory and Cosmology


Addressing the impossibility
of its Experimental Confirmation

The performance of cosmological theory over millennia has taken an unavoidably distorted trajectory, due entirely to who were involved in both initiating and then developing it. They were, most certainly, NOT in immediate, detailed possession of what they needed, to begin to interpret the Night Sky, which was where they sought answers, to what it displayed, as the context for where-and-how they then were. And, in spite of the clear evidence everywhere else around them of almost constant change, The Heavens above seemed different - while they were seemingly in constant movement regularly across the sky, they were otherwise fixed (or highly predictable) in content, displaying an intricate-but-unchanging order to the Universe!

Surely, the clear unchanging order of The Heavens must also underlie the complexities of things down here on Earth?

So, a general Ordering-Mythology was constructed, in the image of the observers - Mankind - by those who resided up there in the Heavens, and consciously-directed things down here, like pieces within a game! It wasn't very effective in influencing things down here on Earth, but it satisfied the majority - by reflecting those evidently occupying positions of power on Earth - while justifying largely what those Rulers did also.

But, it could not suffice, as clear causes and effects were increasing evident down here on Earth, and certain privileged individuals, with both the time and the resources, began to look for analyses, not only for what happened here, but also for the Nature of The Heavens, as they were increasingly observed in ever greater detail.

And, even more damning, there were increasing numbers of ordinary people, certainly not of the privileged class, who were intervening ever deeper into Nature, down here on Earth, with regularly increasing success, even if it was in the areas that were restricted to the privileged classes, such as those who planted crops, and both tended them, along with their captive food animals, built wheeled carts, and even smelted iron from naturally occurring ores.

The increasing intellectualism of the privileged classes, more and more, had to include these real concrete achievements made by those who had to successfully build things using natural resources, but always somehow-and-necessarily subordinated to the overall Philosophy that justified the current Political Order, down here on Earth!

The discoverers certainly weren't what we would now call scientists, and so their devised incantations were just as important, if not more so, than their sequences of appropriate material processes: for at that stage they only knew How, but never Why, things worked as they did.

Their basic Principle was Pragmatism, and this worked very well for many thousands of years.

And, the early attempts of the philosophic wing of the privileged classes did nothing to throw a revealing light upon these Pragmatic Discoveries. But they did, ultimately, in the Greek Intellectual Revolution of the 5th century BC, impose the general Principle of Plurality.

They imposed Plurality, first legitimately upon the Emerging Discipline of Mathematics, and, thereafter, wholly illegitimately, upon both General Reasoning and all of the emerging Sciences.

But, literally from even before the Bronze Age, Mankind had been observing both the Heavens and the varying times of sunrise and sunset, the Moon's rise and set: and also crude means of measurement of both Heavenly events and their Times, all slowly-but-surely related to measurable things, and these were purely for crucial prediction purposes - such as the planting and gathering of crops. The most advanced of these early cultures were always connected with rivers, due to their flooding, and then with primitive irrigation. But, as to any overall Explanatory Meaning to all these observations: that was only present in the form of being the controlling Decisions of the Gods!

It was only by the time of the Greek Intellectual Revolution, that they arrived at the entirely Pluralist Conceptions of Mathematics, and also linking their measurements to Causes, and these were, always, wholly idealistically, arrived at, with Number itself, being given Causal Weight, when it could, while all the rest still being due to the Will of the Gods.

Indeed, several millennia were dominated by such "explanations", and it was not until the early Middle Ages that Mankind added Investigative Experiments to the crucial means of developing the first real attempts at Causal Explanations, independently of Mathematics, though that continued to be a major means at the Scientists disposal! It was only when supposedly Explanatory Equations were developed, that Plurality was imported along with the increasingly dominant Mathematics, making all of these "Laws" also permanently fixed.

It must be emphasised that literally all Explanations were originally wholly independent of Mathematics, and always involved concrete physical Causes, which NEVER DID gel completely with the Equations formulated by the inclusion of Algebra and its evident Rationality into the System. They were similar, or even close, but as accuracy gradually improved, they increasingly differed ever wider from each other.

So, to cap it all, the technicians and engineers, who established the practical conditions for these Experiments, became supremely adept, by drastically limiting the context and content delivered, so that what went on was artificially converted into a wholly-artificial Pluralist State, in which the Pluralistic Equations DID reflect exactly what happened there! Yet, a further wholly WRONG assumption, underlying this whole process, was that, even in the World of Reality-as-is, the many naturally-simultaneous, individual Laws acting together were definitely NOT exactly-the-same as the artificially Pluralist Equations obtained from such Experiments.

For that was wholly UNTRUE!

And that has major implications for a supposed Generally Applicable Science, developed wholly-mathematically from a collection of uniquely constructed experiments, each strictly pluralised for that situation alone, yet here merged illegitimately into a "generally-applicable set of coherent Laws", achieved wholly by algebraic substitutions between its actually unique, individual, Pluralist Laws.

Now, in spite of these wholly damaging effects theoretically, yet technologically, as a whole sequence of wholly separate processes, they could be successfully marshalled into an overall Successful Production. And what had been the perennial, justifying tenet for many millennia?

"If it works, it is right!"

But Real Laws DO NOT remain exactly the same in all circumstances: they ARE affected by both context and content of their situations! Pluralist Fixed Laws were always a simplification: a "holding still of Reality", in order to tightly restrict its natural relations, and substitute a Single Fixed Law as a step towards understanding a situation.

Sadly, it Absolutely NEVER does that! It is, at best, a crude approximation, that, along with others of the same ilk, takes the overall theory ever further from the Truth, while in experentially demonstrated sequences can still achieve desired objectives. But, it is NOT an adequate means for extending our understanding of Reality-as-is, for it uses only Fixed Laws, which, at best, move in and out of Dominance!

To illustrate just how lame this is, it cannot ever predict-and-explain any Qualitative Changes at all: and the absence of predictions of the Emergence of the Wholly New are because they are always totally impossible, and even when such do happen, they can NEVER be explained!

The whole Dynamical Trajectory of Evolutionary Changes, were-and-are wholly unobtainable, because so-called Science hasn't ever addressed such things!

The most important, and really-existing Natural Laws are all to do with how purely locally-defined-laws can relate to one another: in fixed ways, and even then it isn't simple addition: nor should it be replicated by Overall Randomness, and Probability Theories, especially when Qualitative Changes occur, and remove the situation from its wholly Pluralist conditions... It is then, on the contrary Holistic!

For, in Reality-as-is, absolutely NO law exists or acts either alone, or in such simple relationships as occur in all cases in Plurality. All results involve a number of contributions, that always affect one another: and all the involved qualitative changes, which can only be addressed in some sort of Holistic way.

But, the Laws governing these interactions are largely, wholly unknown, and never sought, because they appear to result in endlessly complicated, and forever varying results! And, though that is almost true, it isn't entirely so - for these seemingly un-analysable complexities DO indeed settle into regularities, but with frequently initially-totally-unpredictable outcomes!

Perhaps, the very best illustration of the difficulties involved in Holist Science, was demonstrated by Stanley Miller's famous Experiment upon the Origin of Life on Earth. He set up a sealed System, containing all the known components of a pre-Life Earth, with the elements of a primitive Atmosphere, Water and the application of Heat, with a condenser to deliver Rain, and electric Sparks as Lightning, and set the System in Motion! Within a week, he opened it up, and analysed the Reddy-brown liquid that had been formed, and discovered that it contained Amino Acids - the Key Building Blocks of All Life, which had been produced. But, he had no idea, and could not discover, just how it had all happened: as well as no idea how, then, to proceed further with his investigations! The Experiment was abandoned as impossible to achieve anything further that would be useful.

But, as this physicist has discovered, developments since Miller's time, along with, instead, a required whole sequence of experiments that would be necessary: each one determined by questions arising within prior-produced versions. And also, the included provision of inert channelling barriers - devised, to allow alternative simultaneous paths of development, along with non-intruding monitors - built into those barriers - gathering a great deal of information that could be gleaned, in detail, about what exactly was going on.

Clearly, such means simply must be a major part of the Holistic Experimental Procedures, for what, generally, needs to be revealed are NOT Single Fixed Pluralist Laws, but whole sets of related circumstances, with their contained, but varying Laws - and, of course, sufficient validations of any extracted theoretical conclusions! And, instesd of merely linear addutive "development, there surely has to be an effective means of recognising the precursors of a Coming Qualitative Change, that will change almost everything involved.

Now, the reader will probably be wondering now exactly when we are going to address Cosmology!

But, clearly, though in the usual Pluralist Approaches to the topic, many obvious criticisms could be validly made - they would, most certainly NEVER lead to new and revealing solutions, because the whole Pluralist Basis is both wrongly and wholly incapable of revealing what is necessary! Clearly, the only possible effective approach has to be Holistic too.

So, the above clarifications had to be essential, to have any hope of making real progress in the area of Cosmology! Just think about the difficulties of effective Confirmation Experiments on Earth.

They would be wholly impossible in Cosmology!

But, the very variety of outcomes with a Holistic Approach, could only match with a profoundly close set of holistic explanations: and further possibilities could be suggested and examples of them sought in The Cosmos! Indeed, the very variabilities become an advantage so mere Observations would be far better confirmations than they could ever be with Fixed Pluralist Laws.


Just imagine Miller's Experiment, re-designed as described earlier, involving long sequences of versions, with separated paths of development, along with others in an investigative-remix! What could be learned there would be the best possible primers for a subsequent set of applications in Cosmology...