Posts Tagged ‘Karl Popper’

Science True, Popper False

November 15, 2017

Abstract: Philosopher Karl Popper put out in 1934 a nonsensical theory of what science was. Unfortunately, that nonsense has ruled science ever since. And it shows!

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Truth is contained in what’s left after the rest has been proven false.

Human beings think with theories, which are digital depictions or even chains of emotions, of an underlying neuronal reality.

It is better for the elite in power to have a much less understandable vision of the world posing as ultimate wisdom. Enter Karl Popper, an establishment philosopher.

Popper: “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

This upside down masterpiece makes much more sense than Popper view of science, or reality!

How does Popper falsify reality? By being God? Did Popper believe he was God? Is a lion non falsifiable? Does lack of falsiability make a lion’s claw unreal? With a philosophy of relity like that, one can’t do anything, and that suits the establishement just fine.

Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder in How Popper killed Particle Physics rightly explodes the Popper falsification obsession:

Popper is dead. Has been dead since 1994 to be precise. But also his philosophy, that a scientific idea needs to be falsifiable, is dead.

And luckily so, because it was utterly impractical. In practice, scientists can’t falsify theories. That’s because any theory can be amended in hindsight so that it fits new data. Don’t roll your eyes – updating your knowledge in response to new information is scientifically entirely sound procedure.

So, no, you can’t falsify theories. Never could.”

In 1934, Popper said that science is what can be shown to be potentially false. This.has impressed physicists, ever since.Let me disintegrate Popper falsification a bit further from the logical viewpoint.

After proposing the heliocentric theory, using his concept of inertia, circa 1350 CE, Buridan observed that the heliocentric theory could not be experimentally distinguished (yet) from the geocentric theory, and thus, one may as well believe the latter, as “Scripture” said so.

It was definitively proven that Venus turned around the Sun (Sol) more than three centuries after Buridan wrote, when telescopes became powerful enough to observe the phases of Venus (how the Sun illuminated Venus). So the question of falsifiability is not new.

Even earlier, 14 centuries ago, the ancient Greeks demonstrated the atomic theory by observing perpetual motion of small particles (what we call now according to an Englishman, Brownian motion, because nearly everything was discovered by Englishmen say the English).

Popper believed that a scientific theory should be “falsifiable”. As he wrote: “A theory is falsifiable, as we saw in section 23, if there exists at least one non-empty class of homotypic basic statements which are forbidden by it; that is, if the class of its potential falsifiers is not empty.”

Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, p. 95

Pure mumbo-jumbo. (Popper’s mumbo-jumbo would make the epicycles theory “scientific”… as it was false in some computational consequences, as Tycho found; epicycles partisans could have fixed that with more cycles…)

Popper’s mumbo-jumbo enabled Popper to speak of science, while avoiding the concept of truth. Under the cover of  sounding scientific (thus honorable). If science itself was not about truth, nor induction, neither was society in need to be about truth… or induction (so no revolution). That could only please an establishment put in place by the history of privilege. So Popper became Sir Karl, got plenty of honors, and part of the elite. That was good for Sir Karl. After all, if there is no truth, there is still the Queen.

On the face of it, believing, as Popper affected to, that one should be able to prove that a theory could be false, to make it true enable us to make zombies “scientific” (they could be false!) To be true something just has to potentially be false.

God is not falsifiable, because God can’t “conceivably” be false (at least to the believer in said God). Thus, if God exists, that makes God true, yet unfalsifiable. So we would have the problem of a God which is true, yet non-scientific.

The more general problem is that, how could something which is true be falsifiable?

Popper was a good physicist: he corresponded as early as 1934 about nonlocality with Einstein. Out of it came what’s known as the Popper nonlocality experiment. Although he himself said his early nonlocal ideas were not correct, it’s highly likely that he put Einstein on the track of the EPR nonlocal paper of 1935. However, on science, his own theory is self-contradictory ( and for the “Open Society” Popper is famous for, the basic ideas come straight from the philosophers behind Pericles).

Popper himself threw the science as falsifiability theory under the bus in his later years:  Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification — the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit.” The Open Universe : An Argument for Indeterminism (1992), p. 44

“Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.” Ch. 1 “Science : Conjectures and Refutations”, Section VII

Physicist Lisa Randall made a profitable scientific discovery, and proved it experimentally: she found that Dark Matter sells book. According to Lisa, her nonsensical theory, that Dark Matter annihilated dinosaurs, makes sense, because it can be proven to be false. I should sell her a bridge on Mars, or a zombie for a lover.

In truth, the dinosaurs were in bad trouble for millions of years (the fossil record about the number of species shows), because the Dekkan Traps hyper-volcanism had been acting up for millions of years, smothering the planet, perniciously heating from CO2, between brutal bursts of cooling, from sulfate aerosols, while acidifying the oceans with all that volcanic CO2 (and having all those pesky mammals and birds around didn’t help!) Warm blooded animals and those who burrow survived. Such hyper-volcanism cools the planet’s radioactive core, and happens every 200 million years or so. 

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/

Popper’s insane view of reality has long dominated. Thus physics headed the wrong way. And biology too (as the fanatical attacks against Lamarck, and thus epigenetics, showed; an English (of course!) professor, Medawar, was even given in the 1950s the Nobel for proving Lamarck wrong, as if a single experiment on rats could disqualify all of epigenetics, now a gigantic field steering genetics itself, as Lamarck guessed cogently) .

That was the good news. The bad news about Popper? His adversaries fostered a depiction of reality which was even more insane! So I used to be popperian, before I realized that poppy Popper was all poppycock…

Patrice Ayme’

 

With Physics Like That, Who Needs Reality?

June 9, 2015

The quest for reality has been exemplified by science. However:

From a recent New York Times op-ed, “A Crisis at the Edge of Physics:”

“DO physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories?

You may think that the answer is an obvious yes, experimental confirmation being the very heart of science. But a growing controversy at the frontiers of physics and cosmology suggests that the situation is not so simple.”

In December 2014 famous physicists George Ellis and Joseph Silk, published in the journal Nature…Scientific Method: Defend the Integrity of Physics…Attempts to exempt speculative theories of the Universe from experimental verification undermine science.”

Science is immensely old. I pointed this out for dogs in “Very Ancient Relationships“. The Ancient Greeks had more than six breeds of cattle which had been evolved in Greece, specifically, to genetically modify them in a suitable manner:

Obtained By Ancient Greece Artificial & Natural Selections

Obtained By Ancient Greece Artificial & Natural Selections

[The Greeks were famous for their mix of natural and artificial selection of cattle.]

Ellis and Silk wrote that:

“This year, debates in physics circles took a worrying turn. Faced with difficulties in applying fundamental theories to the observed Universe, some researchers called for a change in how theoretical physics is done. They began to argue — explicitly — that if a theory is sufficiently elegant and explanatory, it need not be tested experimentally, breaking with centuries of philosophical tradition of defining scientific knowledge as empirical. We disagree. As the philosopher of science Karl Popper argued: a theory must be falsifiable to be scientific.

Actually, Ellis and Silk are completely wrong there. The theory that the Earth turned around the Sun, originated by Aristarchus of Samos (a Greek island in sight of Anatolia, presently swamped by refugees). Its competitor was the geocentric theory. However, there was a strong argument against geocentrism: it stretched credulity. Indeed, the Greeks could compute that the Sun was much much larger than the Earth. It made sense that the little thing turned around the big thing as Buridan pointed out (around 1330 CE). To this geocentrists could only reply with silly arguments such as: man and his creator are big, etc.

So Karl Popper was also wrong. In the most spectacular case.

The Heliocentric Theory was a full blown scientific theory, so was the Geocentric Epicycles. However only a careful study of the illumination of the phases of Venus showed definitively that the the latter was wrong. This happened only in the mid-Seventeenth Century.

Ellis and Silk: “Chief among the ‘elegance will suffice’ advocates are some string theorists. Because string theory is supposedly the ‘only game in town’ capable of unifying the four fundamental forces, they believe that it must contain a grain of truth even though it relies on extra dimensions that we can never observe. Some cosmologists, too, are seeking to abandon experimental verification of grand hypotheses that invoke imperceptible domains such as the kaleidoscopic multiverse (comprising myriad universes), the ‘many worlds’ version of quantum reality (in which observations spawn parallel branches of reality) and pre-Big Bang concepts.”

In other words, many leading physicists are arguing for leaving behind the search for evidence, the old fashion way, leaving no stone unturned, just like smart prehistoric men did. Instead:

“These unprovable hypotheses are quite different from those that relate directly to the real world and that are testable through observations — such as the standard model of particle physics and the existence of dark matter and dark energy. As we see it, theoretical physics risks becoming a no-man’s-land between mathematics, physics and philosophy that does not truly meet the requirements of any.

The issue of testability has been lurking for a decade. String theory and multiverse theory have been criticized in popular books1, 2, 3 and articles…. In March 2014, one of the founders of inflation theory, theorist Paul Steinhardt wrote5 in Nature that “the theory of inflationary cosmology is no longer scientific because it is so flexible that it can accommodate any observational result”.

As I said above, Popper was wrong: falsifiability is neither necessary, nor sufficient to qualify a theory as scientific.

Another example of untestable theory was biological evolution through natural selection: they Greeks knew it to be true. One can read the theory explicitly stated in Lucretius’ giant poem about the universe. However the Greeks did not. know how to test it. The only tests they knew were indirect, they had to do with ARTIFICIAL selection.

Still biological evolution was a valid scientific theory, although untestable for millennia, and perhaps even hundreds of thousand of millennia. Many a shaman is bound to have stumbled upon it.

New York Times: “Implicit in such a maneuver is a philosophical question: How are we to determine whether a theory is true if it cannot be validated experimentally? Should we abandon it just because, at a given level of technological capacity, empirical support might be impossible? If not, how long should we wait for such experimental machinery before moving on: ten years? Fifty years? Centuries? …

Are superstrings and the multiverse, painstakingly theorized by hundreds of brilliant scientists, anything more than modern-day epicycles?”

Not even that. Epicycles were useful and observable. They actually are true in some sense, because they reflect Fourier Analysis of periodic motions.

Today’s most brandished “scientific” theories have nothing good about them, and worse of all, they don’t pass the smell test. Just as the Geocentric Theory did not pass the smell test. Just much worse. Theories were a gazillion universes get created in every cubic millimeters are just insane. Arguable even more insane as the worst from Daesh.

And guess what? Both insanities are related. If all what our supposedly best minds, our most rational, most scientific minds can produce, and brandish, is sheer insanity, why can’t Islam Fundamentalists, Saudi despots, North Korean dictators, and hordes of degenerated plutocrats not be crazy too?

So why not go with the flow? There are jobs to be had there. Saudi Arabia is looking for more eight more executioners to execute those who “insult Islam“. No experience necessary. Just a willingness to whip and “amputate”.

Patrice Ayme’