Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 48 (9179 total)
6 online now:
Newest Member: Jorge Parker
Post Volume: Total: 918,259 Year: 5,516/9,624 Month: 541/323 Week: 38/143 Day: 11/17 Hour: 2/2


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   What got into Hoyle?
Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 16 of 38 (398568)
05-01-2007 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by cavediver
05-01-2007 12:29 PM


Re: The Reasons....
cavediver writes:
Hoyle thought that space-translation invariance alone was rather against the spirit of relativity, and time-translation invariance should be included.
So in other words, Hoyle felt the universe should appear the same across all eras of time?
The SS was an attempt to salvage this desire from the rather upsetting observation of the expansion of the Universe.
I think this is probably where other scientists began to question Hoyle's scientific judgement. As I understand it, Hoyle's proposals reconciling SS with observational evidence for an expanding universe became increasingly fanciful. Incredibly resourceful, he sought and found gaps in knowledge into which to squeeze his SS views, with the result being that while they didn't directly conflict with observation, neither did they have any direct supporting evidence. Do I have this right? And if so, do you know what his proposals were?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by cavediver, posted 05-01-2007 12:29 PM cavediver has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by cavediver, posted 05-02-2007 3:54 AM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 17 of 38 (398597)
05-01-2007 4:16 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by cavediver
05-01-2007 12:29 PM


Re: The Reasons....
I just checked out the Wikipedia entry for Hoyle, and while it provides no insights into what was going on in Hoyle's mind, it does remind me of some of the details and place things in time context.
The Nobel Prize for what was essentially Hoyle's work was awarded to William Alfred Fowler and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar in 1983, so by this time Hoyle was already making other scientists look at him askance. Part of it was probably due to his persistence with the SS model in the face of increasing amounts of falsifying data beginning in the 1960's, including distribution of quasars and galaxies, and the cosmic background radiation.
But persistence with a failed idea is not unusual in science. Einstein was guilty of the same thing when it came to quantum theory. There must have been something else going on that caused the Nobel committee to ignore Hoyle for work for which he was the primary contributor.
I have to believe that the cause must be Hoyle's rejection of chemical evolution on earth as a possible explanation for the origin of life on earth. He advocated panspermia, but that alone wasn't sufficient to raise questions about his scientific judgement. What I think raised these doubts was the way he questioned it. This is from Wikipedia:
Wikipedia on Hoyle writes:
He concluded, "If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure or order must be the outcome of intelligent design."
...
He claimed, "The notion that not only the biopolymer but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order."
Hoyle compared the random emergence of even the simplest cell to the likelihood that "a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein." Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a solar system full of blind men solving Rubik's Cube simultaneously.
This is pretty damning stuff, and it is why I named this thread What got into Hoyle?. I could also have named it, "What was Hoyle thinking?" Because it almost seems as if Hoyle wasn't thinking at all. Such statements could only be made out of incredible ignorance. They're embarassing.
And that's not all. While his public papers only appeared in 1985 after the Nobel award, it was probably well known in scientific circles that Hoyle believed the Archaeopteryx fossils were forged, which is yet another embarassing position.
So one can understand why the Nobel committee wanted no part of him. He might use his award speech to talk about such things. But what the heck was going on in the brilliant Hoyle's head to make him suddenly goofy about cosmology, abiogenesis and fossils, to list the specific topic areas, but more generally, to render him incapable of engaging in sound scientific practices of study, investigation and analysis, skills which he possessed in spades early in his career.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by cavediver, posted 05-01-2007 12:29 PM cavediver has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by PaulK, posted 05-01-2007 4:33 PM Percy has replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17857
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 18 of 38 (398600)
05-01-2007 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Percy
05-01-2007 4:16 PM


Re: The Reasons....
I can think of other reasons why Hoyle might be denied a Nobel.
Firstly, he had been involved in some serious academic squabbles. Including one over the award of a Nobel prize (in 1974, but something not likely to endear him to the Nobel committee)
Secondly his first attempt on abiogenesis in space (popularised in Lifecloud) had suffered severe (and apparently justified criticism) for (very) poor science. That was in 1978. So it was not just advocating panspermia, but publishing poor science in an attempt to support it that has to be taken into account.
So he had a very mixed record, and had likely acquired a lot of enemies - quite possibly including some of the people responsible for awarding the Nobel - by 1983.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Percy, posted 05-01-2007 4:16 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by aristarchus, posted 05-01-2007 4:58 PM PaulK has not replied
 Message 30 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 7:04 AM PaulK has not replied

  
aristarchus
Member (Idle past 424 days)
Posts: 31
Joined: 01-11-2005


Message 19 of 38 (398603)
05-01-2007 4:58 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by PaulK
05-01-2007 4:33 PM


Re: The Reasons....
The incident with the Nobel committee is something that could be to his credit. Pissing them off to expose what he felt was an injustice to another person is commendable.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by PaulK, posted 05-01-2007 4:33 PM PaulK has not replied

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 5149 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 20 of 38 (398605)
05-01-2007 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by aristarchus
05-01-2007 12:10 AM


Re: Polkinghorne on Hoyle's reasoning process
Thanks for clearing up my recollection process.
In the context of questioning Hoyle's reasoning process, I should say that while Polkinghorne spoke with clear tonal differences among creation and evolution broadly speaking while maintaining that both could be combined he seemed to only speak about Hoyle in the way you represented it, "Hoyle reasoned that for us to exist the universe had to provide a way for carbon to be formed, and since we exist, there was a way" wich gave me renewed interest in Hoyle as I had always been "skeptical" of his ideas otherwise than on this point.
I am fairly sure Polkinghorne said "five nucleon problem" (John narrated from Dirac beauty in equations and the three body problem to this nucleon issue I think) and now that you named it, that does seem familiar to my memory. I guess I was so focused on the "carbon" part and his ossilating between what for me was clearly "creation" or "evolution" that I did not remember that the data was in helium instead.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by aristarchus, posted 05-01-2007 12:10 AM aristarchus has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by JustinC, posted 05-01-2007 5:24 PM Brad McFall has replied

  
JustinC
Member (Idle past 4961 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 21 of 38 (398607)
05-01-2007 5:24 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Brad McFall
05-01-2007 5:07 PM


Re: Polkinghorne on Hoyle's reasoning process
quote:
I guess I was so focused on the "carbon" part and his ossilating between what for me was clearly "creation" or "evolution" that I did not remember that the data was in helium instead.
Actually, I think you may be right. Feynman talks about this in The Character Of Physical Law
Professor Hoyle and Salpter said that there is one way out [of the dilemma that stars could not produce heavy elements]. If three helium atoms could come together to form carbon, we can easily aculate how often that should happen in a star. And it turns out that it should never happen, except for one possible accident-if there happened to be an energy level at 7.82 million volts in carbon, then the three helium atoms would come together and before they came apart, would stay together a little longer on average than they would do if there were no level at 7.82 million volts
Maybe this is related to the energy levels of helium, so barfly may be correct as well.
But as far as Hoyle, how can he be an atheist and not accept abiogenesis? Or is it that he didn't think it would could happen on earth but could in space?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Brad McFall, posted 05-01-2007 5:07 PM Brad McFall has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by aristarchus, posted 05-01-2007 5:56 PM JustinC has not replied
 Message 24 by Brad McFall, posted 05-01-2007 6:03 PM JustinC has not replied

  
Hyroglyphx
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 38 (398608)
05-01-2007 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by NosyNed
05-01-2007 11:51 AM


Re: The Reasons....
But that seems to be the issue doesn't it? What were his reasons? How 'reasonable' were they?
Could you elaborate since I don't know much about his arguments?
Well, you've got to think that Hoyle was and is a respected astronomer for his work. But at the same time, Percy makes a good point. To a lot of people, Hoyle seemed to be one of the more eminent scientists of his day, but then his theories began to go against the grain of the mainstream.
As for his Steady State theory, his reasons for not believing in an expanding universe may have had more to do with some personal philosophical dilemmas than they did with actual data that countered the Red Shift. I sense that much like one of Hawking's pet theories, Hoyle, in the face of evidence to the contrary, tried to stubbornly stick to his model and to occasionally trim it up when evidence clearly was not in his favor.
As far explaining what his cosmological theory entailed, Cavediver's description would probably do far more justice than any attempt made by me.
If you're willing to sit down and peruse through the objections against the SS model, here is a link. Here is another link outlining the objections against the BB theory. Both are very dry information for a layman like me, so I wouldn't blame you for losing interest.

"God is like the sun. You can't look at it. But without it you can't look at anything else." -G.K. Chesterton

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by NosyNed, posted 05-01-2007 11:51 AM NosyNed has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by aristarchus, posted 05-01-2007 6:08 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied
 Message 26 by cavediver, posted 05-02-2007 3:49 AM Hyroglyphx has not replied
 Message 28 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 6:48 AM Hyroglyphx has replied

  
aristarchus
Member (Idle past 424 days)
Posts: 31
Joined: 01-11-2005


Message 23 of 38 (398609)
05-01-2007 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by JustinC
05-01-2007 5:24 PM


Re: Polkinghorne on Hoyle's reasoning process
I originally posted from memory. I just checked my source and it was carbon.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JustinC, posted 05-01-2007 5:24 PM JustinC has not replied

  
Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 5149 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 24 of 38 (398610)
05-01-2007 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by JustinC
05-01-2007 5:24 PM


Re: Polkinghorne on Hoyle's reasoning process
OK then it was in carbon after all.
Perhaps a physics person can verify this. I wonder now if it was 7.82 carbon value that was asked of Folwer.
Polikinghorne had me worried because these three heliums could not be narrated differently than a Bosochovichs'
Roger Joseph Boscovich - Wikipedia
biology of the three body problem re-historicized(so says I), but regardless Hoyle's thought process only required Humans being carbon beings and a universe existing and then thinking with the likes best physicists (Salpeter was a Cornell Prof I saw a couple of times).
I do not know of Hoyle's later ideas and the quote about IDinter thread alia seems interesting. It seems to me that Hoyle could/ may be generalizing from a CARBON UNIVERSE to ID but if that is what is being questioned in this thread then I would like to know how one is going to enforce questioning any physicst who wants to reason from THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION to MAN IS A MACHINE. Without obvious connections between levels of physical reality (quarks, nucleons, atoms, macromolecules) and biology (cell, organism, population, species) either direction of thought seems suspect to me. That is why I only hold out the topology of phenomenological thermodynamics as Gladsyhev has qualified it as the only way to get a more determinatve science. It seems to me that the ideas of evolutionary dynamics as pursued at Harvard may supply the angle to address this but I have yet to master all of the possible linkable equalities.
Edited by Brad McFall, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JustinC, posted 05-01-2007 5:24 PM JustinC has not replied

  
aristarchus
Member (Idle past 424 days)
Posts: 31
Joined: 01-11-2005


Message 25 of 38 (398611)
05-01-2007 6:08 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Hyroglyphx
05-01-2007 5:30 PM


Re: The Reasons....
As for his Steady State theory, his reasons for not believing in an expanding universe may have had more to do with some personal philosophical dilemmas than they did with actual data that countered the Red Shift.
Actually, I don't think Hoyle questioned the expansion of the universe, he just came up with a different explanation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-01-2007 5:30 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 3760 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 26 of 38 (398674)
05-02-2007 3:49 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Hyroglyphx
05-01-2007 5:30 PM


Re: The Reasons....
If you're willing to sit down and peruse through the objections against the SS model, here is a link. Here is another link outlining the objections against the BB theory. Both are very dry information for a layman like me, so I wouldn't blame you for losing interest.
Maybe, but I would still hope that the interested layman would have no trouble differentiating these two pieces - one is a piece of formal science, presented casually; the other is a layman touting someone else's work... badly. Or am I being too hopeful? What was your honest opinion, Nem?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-01-2007 5:30 PM Hyroglyphx has not replied

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 3760 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 27 of 38 (398675)
05-02-2007 3:54 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Percy
05-01-2007 1:03 PM


Re: The Reasons....
So in other words, Hoyle felt the universe should appear the same across all eras of time?
Yes.
Do I have this right?
That certainly seem to be the case. And it's no accident that he found company with Arp in the latter days, and they have a number of joint publications.
And yes, Hoyle and gang certainly made

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Percy, posted 05-01-2007 1:03 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Percy, posted 05-02-2007 6:50 AM cavediver has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 28 of 38 (398682)
05-02-2007 6:48 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Hyroglyphx
05-01-2007 5:30 PM


Re: The Reasons....
nemesis_juggernaut writes:
But at the same time, Percy makes a good point. To a lot of people, Hoyle seemed to be one of the more eminent scientists of his day, but then his theories began to go against the grain of the mainstream.
I was saying something a little bit different. It wasn't the ideas he pursued but the way he pursued them, i.e., with questionable scientific judgement. What happened to the mind of the man who figured out where all the elements in the universe beyond lithium came from? Did he experience some mental decline or disease? Or was he perhaps far less responsible for this accomplishment than is generally believed, as perhaps the Nobel committee suspected.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-01-2007 5:30 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Hyroglyphx, posted 05-02-2007 12:47 PM Percy has replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 29 of 38 (398683)
05-02-2007 6:50 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by cavediver
05-02-2007 3:54 AM


Re: The Reasons....
cavediver writes:
And yes, Hoyle and gang certainly made
Did something get chopped off the end?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by cavediver, posted 05-02-2007 3:54 AM cavediver has not replied

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 30 of 38 (398684)
05-02-2007 7:04 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by PaulK
05-01-2007 4:33 PM


Re: The Reasons....
PaulK writes:
Secondly his first attempt on abiogenesis in space (popularised in Lifecloud) had suffered severe (and apparently justified criticism) for (very) poor science. That was in 1978. So it was not just advocating panspermia, but publishing poor science in an attempt to support it that has to be taken into account.
So Hoyle published poor science. Anyone have a clue why? How did he come to this?
I'm reminded somewhat of something John Nash is rumored to have said. When asked how he could believe such bizarre ideas (the ones that overtook him during his periods of illness), he said it was because they came to him in the same way as his good ideas.
There's a neat podcast called The Skeptics Guide to the Universe (see The NESS), and in an August, 2005, show it was mentioned that Hitler was suspected to have been afflicted with early Parkinson's, and that it contributed to the mental state behind his rigid and unswerving approach to the war, even to the point of ignoring his generals and in effect running the war himself.
Mental state can be affected by many things. Were Hoyle's later scientific bloopers just the odds eventually catching up with a mediocre mind (albeit of enormous energy)? Or was his a mind of immense grasp and resourcefulness eventually brought down by some malady to which the flesh is heir?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by PaulK, posted 05-01-2007 4:33 PM PaulK has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024