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Author Topic:   Mlodinow & Hawking on Model-Dependent Realism
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 2968 days)
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From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010

Message 1 of 2 (588462)
10-25-2010 7:59 PM

In their new book, The Grand Design, and in the October issue of Scientific American, physicists Leonard Mlodinow and Stephen Hawking explain their philosophy of science:

[W]e shall adopt an approach that we call model-dependent realism. It is based on the idea that our brains interpret the input from our sensory organs by making a model of the world. When such a model is successful at explaining events, we tend to attribute to it, and to the elements and concepts that constitute it, the quality of reality or absolute truth. But there may be different ways in which one can model the same physical situation, with each employing different fundamental elements and concepts. If two such physical theories or models accurately predict the same events, one cannot be said to be more real than the other; rather, we are free to use whichever model is more convenient.

Based on this philosophy, Mlodinow and Hawking conclude that the big bang theory is “more useful” than the account given in Genesis because it “explains the most about our present observations” and thus “is the best representation we have of the past.” “Still,” they add, “neither model can be said to be more real than the other.”

What are your thoughts about this philosophy? Is it naïve to believe that the Earth is really less than 6,000 years old and life really evolves?

Edited by Stephen Push, : No reason given.

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Message 2 of 2 (588501)
10-26-2010 8:24 AM

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