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Author Topic:   What is a Theory?
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1928 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 196 of 249 (494619)
01-17-2009 8:10 AM
Reply to: Message 135 by erikp
01-15-2009 5:14 AM


Re: Beautiful!
Stephen Hawking was originally a believer in the Theory of Everything but, after considering Gödel's Theorem, concluded that one was not obtainable.

As Rrhain has pointed out, this was based on analagous thinking to Godel, but was actually based on Hawking's ideas around information loss. He finally changed his mind (long after the rest of us did!) on this in 2005 so his comments from 2002 regarding a potential Thoery of Everything are now obsolete...

Edited by cavediver, : No reason given.


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 Message 135 by erikp, posted 01-15-2009 5:14 AM erikp has not yet responded

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1928 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 197 of 249 (494620)
01-17-2009 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 193 by Rrhain
01-17-2009 5:22 AM


having studied all of those, being a mathematician, I see the differences between them. For a mathematician, you study set theory first. For a physicist, you never get to set theory.

:laugh: so perhaps you'll explain to me how I, a physicist by your definition, was teaching set theory on the Tripos? Beyond a certain level, Rrhain, the distinctions blur. Perhaps you have yet to reach those levels to realise that.

There's a reason that the tensor algebra class has different versions for the physicists and the mathematicians.

:laugh: we're not talking about undergraduate courses, Rrhain. But even so, I have taught those tensor classes to mathematicians. And I agree there is a world of difference between a physics tensor course and a mathematics tensor course. Which is why Hawking and I are(were) in the maths department and not the physics department... and in the main, the Relativity Group takes its members directly from the Maths Tripos.

But the Dyson's of this world who are both mathematician and physicist are few and far between

Yes, and guess where most of them are...

No. As far as I am concerned, he's a cosmologist. I am a mathematician.

Perhaps if you move forward in the field, you'll realise your error :) By degree, my peers were a mix of mathematics, physics, and astrophysics. Two years afterwards, you would have a very hard time telling them apart. Several year later, you would not be able to tell them apart.

But mathematical physicists are still physicists, not mathematicians.

So Atiyah and Witten are physicists? :eek: are you going to tell them to give back their Fields medals? You should spend some time at John Baez's This Week's Finds In Mathematical Physics - you may learn something about the underpinnings of set theory, as John is a Category Theory nut. Or is category theory *too* fundamental for mathematics, and should be considered physics again? :laugh: And when we start looking at different topoi, I guess we're just performing experimental physics :)

nd thus no, I do not expect Hawking to understand the field of set theory.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: ROTFLMAO :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Edited by cavediver, : No reason given.

Edited by cavediver, : No reason given.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20156
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 198 of 249 (494627)
01-17-2009 9:51 AM
Reply to: Message 194 by Ambercab
01-17-2009 5:48 AM


Definition,He not Theory
Hey Ambercab, welcome to the fray.

I like the notion (starting with post 169) of debating whether water boils at 100C. Celsius invented a scale by saying that he would make the freezing point of water 100 and the boiling point 0. He didn’t discover it, there is no theory. He simply invented a definition. The scale was reversed after his death to make the one that we know today. (In modern usage, the Celsius scale is linked to the kelvin, which measures absolute temperatures, and the definition has become rather more complicated.)

See ericp's response to Message 115 ... oh wait, there was no response.

Enjoy.

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shalamabobbi
Member (Idle past 1134 days)
Posts: 397
Joined: 01-10-2009


Message 199 of 249 (494658)
01-17-2009 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 195 by Ambercab
01-17-2009 6:15 AM


theological theory based upon scripture?
In theology the test is based on scripture, and in philosophy on logic. The emphasis in both is usually on proof.

I hope this is on topic. A theory of theology anyhow.

Two points:

1. If in theology the test is based on scripture, you are saying that the scripture is, in the language of linear algebra, an independent set rather than a dependent set. The distinction between a unique solution and infinitely many solutions for the math, but while perhaps short of infinitely many for beliefs, still allows many perceptions to exist.
If this idea is correct that scripture determines only one 'correct' perception, why does Constantine in convening the council of Nicaea, call for a vote after differing views are presented? Why are there differing views? And after being outvoted what happens to Arius's view and to the significance of the scriptures he quoted?

2. If in theology the test is based on scripture, what happens 'in the limit' as we approach Adam in this basis for 'Adam's theology' and finally before anything is recorded about theology?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 195 by Ambercab, posted 01-17-2009 6:15 AM Ambercab has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 200 by Ambercab, posted 01-18-2009 10:05 AM shalamabobbi has responded

    
Ambercab
Inactive Junior Member


Message 200 of 249 (494753)
01-18-2009 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 199 by shalamabobbi
01-17-2009 2:54 PM


Re: theological theory based upon scripture?
I said:

In theology the test is based on scripture, and in philosophy on logic.

On your first point, statistically we could probably prove any proposition from a scripture, because they tend to be long books containing lots of words. A pedantic example from the bible: Jesus says "whoever is not against you is for you" in Luke 9:50 and "he who is not with me is against me” in Luke 11:23. One statement is unifying and the other divisive. We need something other than logic, such as context and what we believe, to choose between them in a particular case.

OK, I should have said that the test is based on 'interpretation of scripture' instead of just 'scripture'. Hopefully that deals with your second point - without any scripture, Adam has nothing to interpret.

Let me make a shameful admission: There are examples in science (including math?) where an idea has developed because of its beauty alone, and the logic filled-in later. It’s intriguing, and useful, that theories can be stated in math or simple logic, but I’d rather trust objective reality any day. Thanks, I feel much better now.

(Thanks RAZD for the welcome and posting tips, I had wondered how to do the snazzy graphics).


There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made - Richard Feynman

This message is a reply to:
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shalamabobbi
Member (Idle past 1134 days)
Posts: 397
Joined: 01-10-2009


Message 201 of 249 (494797)
01-18-2009 6:39 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by Ambercab
01-18-2009 10:05 AM


Re: theological theory based upon scripture?
I should have said that the test is based on 'interpretation of scripture' instead of just 'scripture'. Hopefully that deals with your second point - without any scripture, Adam has nothing to interpret.

Well not really, as there is then no basis for theology according to your statement. Whether theology is based on scripture or the interpretation of scripture, the problem remains.

What basis did theology have before the first written scripture? In other words maybe you have it backwards.
Scripture is based on theology.

Anyhow.. back to what is a theory.. hopefully..


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 391 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 202 of 249 (495631)
01-23-2009 6:04 PM


Standards (Prophet, from the Ark Volume thread)
On the Ark Volume thread Prophet posts:

This seems to have produced quite good results for the past few centuries. But if evidence is found to show that this assumption is not accurate, I'm sure that science will adjust its assumptions and methods to accommodate.

This is yet another problem... "science will adjust"!
That is not what you expect to be able to do with truth, but rather what one expects to be capable of doing with a lie. Science like lies are malleable.

You clearly have no idea what science is, or how it works. Here are a couple of definitions that may help:

quote:
Truth: This is a word best avoided entirely in physics [and science] except when placed in quotes, or with careful qualification. Its colloquial use has so many shades of meaning from ‘it seems to be correct’ to the absolute truths claimed by religion, that it’s use causes nothing but misunderstanding. Someone once said "Science seeks proximate (approximate) truths." Others speak of provisional or tentative truths. Certainly science claims no final or absolute truths. Source

Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses. Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws.

Theory: A scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena. In scientific usage, a theory is distinct from a hypothesis (or conjecture) that is proposed to explain previously observed phenomena. For a hypothesis to rise to the level of theory, it must predict the existence of new phenomena that are subsequently observed. A theory can be overturned if new phenomena are observed that directly contradict the theory. Source

When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith.


See the difference?

Now if scientists advertised each theory as the unchanging truth, Truth, TRUTH, or even TRVTH, then I can see why you would question any changes. But science doesn't do that. It is religious believers who fail to make the distinction between scientific theory and some form of truth, Truth, TRUTH, or even TRVTH.

Don't blame science for doing what it is supposed to do.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

Replies to this message:
 Message 203 by Coyote, posted 01-24-2009 4:28 PM Coyote has not yet responded
 Message 204 by prophet, posted 01-24-2009 10:20 PM Coyote has responded
 Message 237 by prophet, posted 01-27-2009 3:49 PM Coyote has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 391 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 203 of 249 (495863)
01-24-2009 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by Coyote
01-23-2009 6:04 PM


Bump for Prophet
See the above post.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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prophet
Member (Idle past 3814 days)
Posts: 54
From: Florida
Joined: 01-19-2009


Message 204 of 249 (495894)
01-24-2009 10:20 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by Coyote
01-23-2009 6:04 PM


Re: Standards (Prophet, from the Ark Volume thread)
"I clearly have no idea of science?" You know not what you think.
Since you got me here... I'll clue you in on something. truth, Truth TRUTH - and so on... is truth and anything short of that is not truth! An almost truth is still and untruth and an untruth is still a lie. Ya'll sound so much cooler on-line.

By the way... I am so much cooler off line!


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 207 by Coyote, posted 01-25-2009 3:10 AM prophet has not yet responded
 Message 208 by Percy, posted 01-25-2009 8:32 AM prophet has responded
 Message 209 by Ambercab, posted 01-25-2009 12:42 PM prophet has responded
 Message 215 by RAZD, posted 01-25-2009 8:25 PM prophet has responded
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CosmicChimp
Member
Posts: 306
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 205 of 249 (495895)
01-24-2009 11:04 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by prophet
01-24-2009 10:20 PM


Re: Standards (Prophet, from the Ark Volume thread)
Prophet, can you tell me what time it is? Be careful now I would like to have the exact truth.

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Rrhain
Member (Idle past 157 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 206 of 249 (495902)
01-25-2009 1:15 AM
Reply to: Message 205 by CosmicChimp
01-24-2009 11:04 PM


CosmicChimp writes:

quote:
Prophet, can you tell me what time it is? Be careful now I would like to have the exact truth. Prophet, can you tell me what time it is? Be careful now I would like to have the exact truth.

I realize I'm not prophet, but here goes:

It's "now."

:D


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

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Coyote
Member (Idle past 391 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 207 of 249 (495906)
01-25-2009 3:10 AM
Reply to: Message 204 by prophet
01-24-2009 10:20 PM


Re: Standards (Prophet, from the Ark Volume thread)
Since you got me here... I'll clue you in on something. truth, Truth TRUTH - and so on... is truth and anything short of that is not truth! An almost truth is still and untruth and an untruth is still a lie.

Try again, and address the definitions I posted this time.

And remember, those definitions are terms as they are used in science, not religion, theology, or philosophy, etc.

Or if you still want to play games with truth, Truth, TRUTH, and TRVTH, please provide some clue as to which term you are using and how you define it. Short of a tight definition from you, my post and the definition I used still stands.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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Percy
Member
Posts: 18871
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 208 of 249 (495944)
01-25-2009 8:32 AM
Reply to: Message 204 by prophet
01-24-2009 10:20 PM


Re: Standards (Prophet, from the Ark Volume thread)
Instead of replying to what Coyote actually said in Message 202, you repeated your claim about truth. If you're in effect just going to cover your ears while repeating "Science is a lie" then it isn't a discussion and there's no point in you being here.

--Percy


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Replies to this message:
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Ambercab
Inactive Junior Member


Message 209 of 249 (495965)
01-25-2009 12:42 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by prophet
01-24-2009 10:20 PM


Re: Standards (Prophet, from the Ark Volume thread)
A theory: Theology and baseball do not exist until invented by humans.

That is scientific because it can be falsified by finding pre- or non-human evidence of baseball or theology.

Another theory: There is always a trade-off with the truth - a theory that has passed tests against reality can only ever be tentatively true (we may find buffalo playing baseball tomorrow), and an eternal truth can’t be tested against reality (‘God is eternal’ is only true if you believe it).

Yet another theory: Truth only exists in the human mind :).

Is that true?


There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made - Richard Feynman

This message is a reply to:
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prophet
Member (Idle past 3814 days)
Posts: 54
From: Florida
Joined: 01-19-2009


Message 210 of 249 (496000)
01-25-2009 6:19 PM
Reply to: Message 206 by Rrhain
01-25-2009 1:15 AM


That "now" of yours was written when?
The only answer to the question that can remain correct to;
What itme is it? must be conveyed in the past tense for the present is always becomming the past; my answer: "then"

However, "then" must be given liberal understanding, yet defeats "now" except in a general format such as; 21st century (using USA's dating techniques and only remans accurate for a time)


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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