Tuesday, November 11, 2014

550: The Rationality of Science...

Concerning The Human Brain Project, which I mentioned in my previous lecture, an open letter was sent on 7th July 2014 to the European Commission by 154 European researchers (currently 595 signatures)
 complaining of an overly narrow approach which they claim gives a significant risk that it will fail to meet its goals, and threatening to boycott the project, which means waisting millions of euros of research money.
Central to this controversy are changes made by Henry Markram at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology to sideline cognitive scientists who study high level brain functions, such as thought and behaviour. 
Peter Dayan, director of computational neuroscience at University College, London, argues that the goal of a large-scale simulation of the brain is radically premature.
We saw that in some sense reality can be mathematical, but when it comes to mathematical models there still are a lot of non computational issues involved.
What does this mean for the philosopher of science? What position should he take. It is easy to say, that science is right, but in what sense?
Is it possible to unveil the source of scientific rationality? And can this rationality only be defined by formal systems like logic and mathematics?
The main stream of traditional philosophy of science starts off with a normative or prescriptive attitude. It seeks rationality in science, i.e, it looks for the logic and reasoning behind scientific acts.
Scientific rationality depends on the goals of science. It is therefore the first task of the philosopher of science to uncover these goals.
Thus we could find an answer to the question why science is right. If the goals are known, the philosopher can try to answer the question as to whether or not the proposed means for achieving them are appropriate, that is,  rational.
Most traditional philosophers of science have taken for granted the assumption that the main goal of science is reaching comprehensive truth about the world. The goal of explaining natural phenomena is related to the this goal.
Truth is a property of statements. Therefore, assigning to science the goal of truth means that the task of science is to generate true statements about the world.  
Hence, the rules of propositional calculus or predicate calculus, of classical logic, are the natural candidates for showing us how to do good science. 
If we see the task of science as generating statements which are highly probable rather than true, then some theory of probabilistic inference will guide us in doing science rationally. 
Thus, deductive, inductive or probabilistic inference schemes will be the basis for rational acts in science. This may sound very attractive as an explanation of scientific rationality, but is it the whole story?
Is science indeed a truth-seeking system, or does science have other goals too?  If we take declarations of the scientists themselves throughout the history of science, we also learn of other goals.
The goal of predicting natural events and phenomena or the goal of advancing technology and mastering nature.
A more radical approach is to look for the goals of science in the realm of the subconscious,  to look for collective motives which scientists are not aware of.
Scientists declare that they seek comprehensive truth, objectivity, etc., but their real motives may be psychological or social.
You could say, for example, that the goal of the scientific community is to arrive at a consensus, rather than truth; this goal of consensus is what distinguishes science from other human activities.
You might come to such conclusions, when you read about the motives of the man behind “The Human Brain Project”,  Henry Markram, when he said in an interview with the New York Times, referring to his autistic son, Kai:
“You have a child with autism, and you, even being a neuroscientist, have no clue at all about what you could do.”
Thank you… ^_^..the floor is yours…
Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, John Losee (2001)

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, T. Kuhn (1962)

The Discussion

[13:15] paddikin: claps
[13:15] Gemma Cleanslate: that one was tough!!!
[13:15] Gemma Cleanslate: needs more thought
[13:15] herman Bergson: I know Gemma
[13:16] herman Bergson: But the basic idea is...
[13:16] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:16] herman Bergson: is science based on some logic rationality or on other things or a mix
[13:17] Qwark Allen: other things can be financial issues
[13:17] Qwark Allen: related with whom is paying the research
[13:17] Gemma Cleanslate: and ethical questions also
[13:17] herman Bergson: in other words...what we call science today...it is about truth seeking or just big business....to put it bluntly
[13:17] paddikin: oooooooo
[13:17] paddikin: good
[13:18] Qwark Allen: i think a lot of the time its just a business, nothing l«related with science
[13:18] Qwark Allen: its getting more dogmatic then the church it self
[13:18] paddikin: but we discover things
[13:18] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:18] Gemma Cleanslate: well a a medical person you have to know that science saves a lot of lives
[13:18] science24: a mix is always the best answer even we don't know the reason
[13:19] Qwark Allen: yes true, but then instead of seeking the truth behind the new facts, they just try to fit it in the old paradigm
[13:19] Gemma Cleanslate: and makes living more easy for all of us
[13:19] herman Bergson: We do Paddikin ...but we patent it also immediately :-)
[13:19] Lizzy Pleides: and you can earn money with it
[13:19] paddikin:  ~~** lol **~~
[13:19] paddikin: for profit and must have
[13:19] Gemma Cleanslate: so it is a mix!!!!
[13:19] paddikin: yes
[13:19] herman Bergson: It is indeed, I think, Gemma...as Science said...
[13:20] paddikin: money and ideas don’t come together often
[13:20] science24: yea, but it's mainly for truth seeking , money is an outcome
[13:20] paddikin: good or evil
[13:20] paddikin: uses
[13:20] Qwark Allen: that was what was supposed to be, seeking the truth, then get the finances
[13:21] paddikin: smiles whose truth
[13:21] herman Bergson: That is an interesting issue to think about.....that science is...or shoudlbe only ....truth-seeking...
[13:21] paddikin: many argue truth so profit is next
[13:21] Qwark Allen: you are not going to prove, the part is financing you, its wrong!
[13:21] Gemma Cleanslate: wonders if it ever was
[13:21] paddikin: see adds take this and u get well but u got so may side effects OMG!
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:22] Bejiita Imako:
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: right!!!
[13:22] paddikin: profits
[13:22] science24: bad intention can transform its decent goal
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: but getting to mars is science
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:22] paddikin: yes
[13:22] Qwark Allen: i can give lots examples of this
[13:22] herman Bergson: YEs it is Gemma and a total waist of resources ti is too :-)
[13:23] science24: paper-clip project is one of them
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: not so sure
[13:23] science24: not a waist 100 %
[13:23] herman Bergson: Getting to the moon was a political prestige project...
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: maybe
[13:23] herman Bergson: nothing to find there...what is there  on Mars to find?
[13:24] paddikin: and we wanted it too
[13:24] paddikin: back then
[13:24] paddikin: moon
[13:24] science24: it has its advantages , but they wasn't on purpose
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: that is what we don’t know yet herman what is on mars
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: or if we might need to go there some day
[13:24] paddikin: and at bottom of our oceans too
[13:24] paddikin: same as space
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: to save humankind from extinction
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:24] herman Bergson: we know Gemma...rocks and dust....of some kind....that is all
[13:24] Gemma Cleanslate: not us
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: would be cool if we could do like start trek someday
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: but great grandchildren
[13:25] science24: they discovered the carbon pucky balls =in space ;)
[13:25] paddikin: smiles
[13:25] science24: another form of carbon nano tubs
[13:25] paddikin: what is life then ???
[13:25] paddikin: breath
[13:25] science24: coincidence as I told you ;)
[13:25] paddikin: heart beat
[13:25] paddikin: ect
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: lots of stuff that we use today in our lives came from exploration preparation for going to the moon
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: interesting
[13:25] herman Bergson: ok...let's get back to science and its rationality :-))
[13:25] science24: not on purpose
[13:25] science24: LOL
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:25] science24: but it is a good thing
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: well that is the question
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: is that kind of exploration rational or not
[13:26] paddikin: yes
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes Gemma...that is always the argument....we profit form the spin offs of those projects :-)
[13:26] paddikin: we human are curtious
[13:26] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: very curious
[13:27] herman Bergson: But that is a bit silly in my opinion.....
[13:27] paddikin: silly or not that how we are
[13:27] herman Bergson: ok,,,granted....so we go to the moon :-)
[13:27] paddikin: nods
[13:27] herman Bergson: so true paddikin ^_^
[13:28] science24: curiousity is the motivation
[13:28] science24: included but not limited
[13:28] herman Bergson: I guess it is indeed :-)
[13:28] paddikin: and some time we just stumble on stuff no science
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: serendipity
[13:29] herman Bergson: a grave yard of Martians , maybe :-))
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: can curiosity be rational only?
[13:29] paddikin: nope
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: I think so
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: some discoveries are actually mistakes, like vulcanized rubber
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: was forgotten experiment that turned out to be a revolution
[13:29] paddikin: crazy think they rational
[13:30] science24: as the US Kenedy said when they send the first man to the moon , we choose to work on big problems not because it's easy but because it s hard ;)
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: how about cern .. a 17mile tunnel in two countries
[13:30] herman Bergson: No Ciska..don’t think curiosity is a rational quality of homo sapiens...
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: rational??
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: must be
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:30] herman Bergson: it i just a drive of the organism..exploring its environment finding out how to survive
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: as a non scientist I think it all must be rational
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: right
[13:31] herman Bergson: I don’t think so Gemma....
[13:31] science24: CERN is the necleus of the internet you are using now ;)
[13:31] science24: it's not on purpose though
[13:31] science24: is it ?
[13:31] herman Bergson: Take for instance fraude in science...manipulating data....
[13:31] Gemma Cleanslate: that is bad science
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: yes cern made the ww
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: BAD
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: www
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: but
[13:32] herman Bergson: take individual rivalry....and competition among scientists
[13:32] science24: but it was supossed to study particles
[13:32] Gemma Cleanslate: there has always been fraud and always will be
[13:32] science24: not WWW
[13:33] science24: you are not sure where you will end up in science
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: arpanet is the structure CERN only made links and web browsers possible
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: the interface we use to use internet
[13:33] science24: you have just to close your eyes and jump in
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: internet itself come from USA
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: correct
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: ARPANET
[13:33] herman Bergson: Internet comes from DARPA eventually
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate GIGGLES!!
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: ...LOL...
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: even though Europe has better internet
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: that we do!!!!
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: and cheaper
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: tsk
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: not rational at all
[13:34] herman Bergsonherman Bergson smiles
[13:34] herman Bergson: I wont say a word to that Gemma :-))
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate GIGGLES!!
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: ...LOL...
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: no don’t
[13:34] science24: relativly rational ;)
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: ticks me off
[13:35] paddikin: hands Gemma a Halloween candy
[13:35] herman Bergson: Welll I guess it is a rational act to thank you all again for your participation today....:-)
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ LOL ♥
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: stale stuff
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:35] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
[13:35] paddikin: no fresh
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: thank you!
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: ok l
[13:35] paddikin: ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:35] paddikin: and all
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone: thanx folks
[13:35] Qwark Allen: AAHH!!!
[13:35] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T  * ::::::::::
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: awesome
[13:35] Qwark Allen: ¸¸.´ ¯¨.¸¸`** **´ ¸¸.¨¯` H E R MA N ´ ¯¨.¸¸`** **´ ¸¸.¨¯`

[13:35] paddikin: was very interesting

Thursday, November 6, 2014

549: Why science is wrong......

You may be surprised about the title of this lecture, because the whole project is named “Why Science is Right”
I primarily try to show you the development of the concept of science and the relation between science and reality from a historical perspective.
However, we paid some extra attention to the question “Why is reality mathematical” and we saw that according to Pythagoras this is the case indeed.
He used numbers as magical-metaphysical entities, which described the structure of the universe, while Aristotle paid more attention to the way we conceptually describe reality.
Both approaches existed next to each other in those early days.In fact they are the roots of two lines of thinking since then.
On the one hand one assumed that our universe is mathematical and the first instance of this was found in astronomy.
And on the other hand one assumed that out conceptual thought processes could be formalized, which was instantiated by the Aristotelian logic..
This all related for me to what is happening today. Quintessential in this is the philosophical question of the relation between language and reality.
In science it is assumed that language represents reality and this reality is described in the specific languages of symbolic logic and mathematics.
Ordinary language is regarded to be an inadequate tool for real scientific description of reality, because it too difficult to reach unambiguous interpretations.
Thus we can create a mathematical model of our world or at least of a smal part of our reality. And due to the increased computer power, we may even be inclined to put our faith into these models.
But as John Adam of Princeton University says, “the ‘art’ of good modeling relies on (i) a sound understanding and appreciation of the problem…; 
(ii) a realistic, but not unnecessarily math­ematical representation of the important phenomena; (iii) finding useful solutions, preferably quantitative ones, 
and (iv) interpretation of the math­ematical results—yielding insights, predictions, …, and so on. Sometimes the mathematics used can be very simple…; 
indeed, the usefulness of a mathematical model should not be judged by the sophistication of the mathematics, but by its predic­tive capability, among other factors. Mathematical models are not necessarily ‘‘right’’ …”
Back to the question how mathematical reality is, we read here terms like “sound understanding”, “realistic representation” and “interpretation of results”.
For such actions mathematics is not sufficient. The most recent and painful proof is “The mathematical equation that caused the banks to crash”.
The Black-Scholes equation was the mathematical justification for the trading in derivatives, that plunged the world's banks into catastrophe.
Here http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/feb/12/black-scholes-equation-credit-crunch you find an interesting article about this Black-Scholes equation.
But what made me wonder even more was what I read in my newspaper a week ago. The article begins like this:
“Not far from the Dutch border, in the German town of Jülich, is a special machine. Black columns with thousands of green lights stand in the shed. 
I count seven of these columns. The thing uses non-stop energy as many as three thousand households together. 
This is JUQUEEN, the second fastest supercomputer in Europe. And soon there is a brain in this supercomputer. Not literally: it is, to be precise, the intention, that it will able to simulate the human brain.
Henry Markram, neurobioloog aan de École Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL) in Swiss Lausanne is the big man behind the project, which will cost hundreds of millions of euros.
Will such a computer  and the language, which  is used to activate it, be a proper model of reality. I don’t believe in such a project. Here science is wrong.., ignoring fundamental philosophical questions.
Thank you……. ^_^

The Discussion

[13:17] ZANICIA Chau: WOW Thank you Harman
[13:17] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you professor!
[13:17] Bejiita Imako:
[13:18] herman Bergson: If you  have any question or remark...the floor is yours :-)
[13:18] Bejiita Imako: the name Black-Scholes got me wondering, Black holes equation maybee is a more suiting name for it after what happened
[13:18] Bejiita Imako:
[13:18] Loo Zeta: The question is when will computers become sentient in the inevitable singularity of human and computing?
[13:19] Lizzy Pleides: I never heard of this project in Jülich
[13:19] herman Bergson: That is the name it got, Bejiita ^_^
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: hehe ok
[13:19] herman Bergson: Is called The Human Brain Project, Lizzy
[13:19] herman Bergson: Brand new.....
[13:19] herman Bergson: and utter nonsense in my opinion.....
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: think ‘ve read something about that, the tricky part is a machine can never think like we can
[13:20] herman Bergson: 500+ scientists have signed a petition not to waste money on it....EU money!
[13:20] ZANICIA Chau: Quite a frightening concept among those who take it seriously
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: a computer is just a machine consisting of billions of electrical switches
[13:20] ZANICIA Chau: on all levels
[13:20] herman Bergson: yes Zan....
[13:20] herman Bergson: Waht I wanted to say today is...
[13:20] Lizzy Pleides: if it is EU money then it doesn't matter, lol
[13:21] herman Bergson: that we can make models of reality and play with them....but they are not reality
[13:21] Loo Zeta: People in computing leadership like... Steve Jobs, Dwight Prowty, and others have 'downloaded' their brains into neural networking already
[13:21] ZANICIA Chau: as we;re doing at the moment
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: it depends on how you will go on at simulating the brain
[13:21] herman Bergson: Fairy tales Loo...
[13:21] herman Bergson: We not even know what the brain is...
[13:21] Loo Zeta: nope I know Dwight
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:22] Loo Zeta: he has done it....
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: thats true
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: but i don’t think a computer can feel in any way for example
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: probably only a human being can understand another human being
[13:22] herman Bergson: No...Loo..he has linked with some machinery and that machinery may have copied something of what happens in the brain...
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: so can u simulate feelings in a good way then?
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: with a machine
[13:23] herman Bergson: But believe me.....uploading to WHAT?? wont bring back his consciousness
[13:23] ZANICIA Chau: I think the truth is that the scientists involved in the project have actually lost sight of reality, as we generally see it
[13:23] Loo Zeta: Well as a lot of them are autistic can we know the difference?
[13:23] herman Bergson: I think so too, Zan...
[13:23] herman Bergson: Just imagine....it works.....
[13:23] herman Bergson: and the computer says....wow I think, so I am!!!
[13:24] ZANICIA Chau: hehehe
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: question is however how do we feel, its all but chemistry and electrical impulses here too
[13:24] herman Bergson: Would switching of the power after w working day be murder?
[13:24] Loo Zeta: /nods
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: but we are analog, computers are digital
[13:24] Lizzy Pleides: laughs*
[13:24] herman Bergson: and switching o the power the next day....are we dealing with the same mind then???
[13:24] ZANICIA Chau: yikes
[13:25] Loo Zeta: ahh we are more than analogue... we are complex biofeedback mechanisms
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: hmm interesting
[13:25] herman Bergson: Does the conscious computer have human rights???
[13:25] Lizzy Pleides: yes Loo
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes Loo we are.....
[13:25] herman Bergson: and a "mind" stored in those things on the picture behind me is not
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: a computer can only be a copy but never be the original
[13:26] ZANICIA Chau: Hahah imagine a robot with a placard saying....rights for computers. Computers rule!
[13:26] Loo Zeta: :)
[13:26] herman Bergson: But it is going to absorb millions of euros.....which could heave been spent on better research
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: hehehe
[13:26] Loo Zeta: 'we are thus we exist'
[13:27] herman Bergson: We already had HAL in Space Odyssee, Zan ^_^
[13:27] herman Bergson: HAL
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: but thats a sci fi
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: not reality
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: a good sci fi though
[13:27] Loo Zeta: closer than you think
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: with a legendary soundtrack
[13:28] Loo Zeta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity
[13:28] herman Bergson: Artificial Intelligence from the 90 hasn’t brought us what it promised....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:28] ZANICIA Chau: It's only equiv to the waste of pursuing settlements on the moon etc. The world should rally against all this stuff
[13:28] herman Bergson: and now this project
[13:28] Loo Zeta: it isdeveloping explananatory
[13:28] herman Bergson: I agree Zan...
[13:28] Loo Zeta: faster and faster...
[13:29] herman Bergson: you mean exponential, Loo?
[13:29] Loo Zeta: sorry I guess my spelling useless...... and admits I English
[13:29] herman Bergson: np.....we are multi-lingual here ^_^
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: when it comes to experiments like LHC some good knowledge comes out of the thing at least
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: with this mind simulator we don’t even know if it will give any results at all
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: seems to complicated
[13:30] Loo Zeta: Will we be able to pull the plug on it?
[13:30] Lizzy Pleides: nevertheless the idea is interesting. If you copy somebody's brain you can ask the computer after his death what he would have thaught about a matter
[13:30] herman Bergson: No....but they cover their action by claiming to need ten years or so....
[13:31] ZANICIA Chau: creepy thought, Lizzy!
[13:31] Lizzy Pleides: yes Zan
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes....finally his wife could ask him....did you cheat on me or not......answer or I pull the plug :-)
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: loool
[13:31] ZANICIA Chau: lol
[13:32] ZANICIA Chau: hahahaha
[13:32] Beertje Beaumont: hahahah
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: ehehe
[13:32] herman Bergson: I think it is utter nonsense....
[13:32] herman Bergson: to begin with...
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: but maybe he will just come back again when power restores unless u erase the drive
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: like any other computer program
[13:32] herman Bergson: on a philosophical level we have not even a clue how to understand consciousness
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: interesting thought
[13:33] herman Bergson: Mathematical models of  reality have clear shortcominfgs...
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: I guess so
[13:33] herman Bergson: we don’t need to worry about that....
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: someone first of all have to make the formulas, u can do misscalculation and then formula is worthless
[13:34] herman Bergson: when you begin to see the model as reality, things go simply wrong...
[13:34] herman Bergson: But the mind in the computer idea is beyond common sense...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: seem far fetched
[13:35] herman Bergson: It is like we also have tried to create life.....
[13:35] herman Bergson: We put all chemical together....create the right environment....
[13:35] Loo Zeta: Vidz .... ie husband contends there is no such thing as common sense
[13:35] ZANICIA Chau: lol
[13:36] Bejiita Imako:
[13:36] herman Bergson: Ok Loo, I might agree with you but it is a different chapter :-)
[13:36] Loo Zeta: and after 28 years of marriage I agree he has none
[13:36] ZANICIA Chau: hahahahaha
[13:36] herman Bergson: lol
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: loool
[13:36] Beertje Beaumont: lol
[13:36] Lizzy Pleides: lol
[13:37] herman Bergson: But what I wanted to say is that they even never have been able to create a single LIVING cell....
[13:37] herman Bergson: so how do you think you can create aLIVING brain with computers???
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: thats not going to work
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: not with computers
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: its a machine ao impossible
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: probably with cell cultures?
[13:38] herman Bergson: Look at the scheme here.....
[13:38] Loo Zeta: Oh hang on that cell tech thingy not that far off.......
[13:38] herman Bergson: That is what they always say, Loo
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: while life is about chemistry and that is not inside ccomputers
[13:38] herman Bergson: Look at the scheme....
[13:39] herman Bergson: Problem of interest ----> SIMPLIFICATIONS....
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: wwoooow my head spins now
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:39] ZANICIA Chau: They ARE replicating like hell though. Whole organs can be replicated but just for healing. The brain is quite something else
[13:39] Loo Zeta: at the moment computing is wires and electricity.....
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:39] herman Bergson: that kills all 1 to 1 relation with reality
[13:39] Loo Zeta: but.... in the future?
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes Zan....they can do such things....but to begin with ..they need LIVING cells...stem cells
[13:40] herman Bergson: not dead matter
[13:40] ZANICIA Chau: yes
[13:40] Beertje Beaumont: no one can see in the future, maybe we don't need selfthinking computers at all
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: metal silica and electricity can never become alive
[13:41] Loo Zeta: Stem cells can be stored and cultured, I collect them
[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes Loo that is what the Artificial Intelligence people always said.....just wait till we have better and faster computers
[13:41] ZANICIA Chau: you kill me, Loo. So funny
[13:41] Loo Zeta: *explains I am a midwife and takes cord samples*
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:42] Loo Zeta: My colleague is a pHD in stem cell research gave it up to look after Mums and babies
[13:43] herman Bergson: II guess the message of today is clear :-))
[13:43] ZANICIA Chau: now that's waste
[13:43] Loo Zeta: He would say 'no'
[13:44] herman Bergson: Who is 'he' and to what statement, Loo? :-)
[13:44] Loo Zeta: Sorry he is a male midwife whom was a stem cell researcher and never regrets changing his job
[13:44] herman Bergson: I see...
[13:44] bergfrau Apfelbaum: that was so interesting! the idea is frightening.... but progress, nonetheless great. ty herman & class!
[13:45] herman Bergson: Guess I have delivered my baby again myself today...again....:-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: YAY! (yay!)
[13:45] Loo Zeta: :)
[13:45] ZANICIA Chau: hehehe
[13:45] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your participation:-)
[13:45] Loo Zeta: Thanks
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: great class again!
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
[13:45] ZANICIA Chau: Bravo Herman once again
[13:45] Beertje Beaumont: Thank you Herman
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ok cu soon again
[[13:45] herman Bergson: Thank you Zan
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: time to let my brain spin down a bit
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: with some nice jazz
[13:46] Bejiita Imako:
[13:46] ZANICIA Chau: Bye everybody
[13:46] Beertje Beaumont: have a goodnight all:) sweat dreams
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: bye

[13:47] Lizzy Pleides: good night everybody!

548: Is reality mathematical....?

In my previous lecture I showed you scientific inquiry slowly moved from conceptual to mathematical. The origin of this move is Pythagoras, who regarded the universe as mathematical.
There is mathematics everywhere in science nowadays. Without it there would not be science. We use mathematics, in fact in a rather pragmatic way: it just works.
But the question “Why is reality mathematical” kept bothering me. Is it the right question or is it just a silly question? I thought: let’s Google “Why is reality mathematical”.
The result was…on one word……exciting. The question showed to be philosophical gold. I am not the only one who is wondering about it.
First hit was “Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality”, (2014) is a nonfiction book by Swedish-American cosmologist Max Tegmark. 
Written in popular science format, the book interweaves what a New York Times reviewer called "an informative survey of exciting recent developments in astrophysics and quantum theory" with Tegmark's mathematical universe hypothesis, which posits that reality is a mathematical structure.
This mathematical nature of the universe, Tegmark argues, has important consequences for the way researchers should approach many questions of physics. So the Pythagorean spirit is still alive.
But some critic already raises the question…..”perhaps the most important question about Tegmark’s claim is, Does it matter, except perhaps to those interested in metaphysics? 
Most of his assertions can’t be tested, and whether you accept them as true or not seems to make no difference to the future development of physics.” — end quote
At least the question keeps thinkers and scientist still busy. Then take this story:
When Albert Einstein finally completed his general theory of relativity in 1916, he looked down at the equations and discovered an unexpected message: the universe is expanding.
Einstein didn't believe the physical universe could shrink or grow, so he ignored what the equations were telling him. 
Thirteen years later, Edwin Hubble found clear evidence of the universe's expansion. Einstein had missed the opportunity to make the most dramatic scientific prediction in history.
How did Einstein's equations "know" that the universe was expanding when he did not? If mathematics is nothing more than a language we use to describe the world, an invention of the human brain, how can it possibly churn out anything beyond what we put in?
Then we go to the question: “Does Mathematics Reflect Reality?” on the site www.marxist.com and there we read this answer:
The content of "pure" mathematics is ultimately derived from the material world. The idea that the truths of mathematics are a special kind of knowledge that is inborn or of divine inspiration does not bear serious examination. 
Mathematics deals with the quantitative relations of the real world. Its so-called axioms only appear to be self-evident to us because they are the product of a long period of observation and experience of reality.
Unfortunately, this fact seems to be lost on many present-day theoretical mathematicians who delude themselves into thinking that their "pure" subject has nothing to do with the crude world of material things.
This is a clear example of the negative consequences of carrying the division of labour to the extreme.
From Pythagoras onwards, the most extravagant claims have been made on behalf of mathematics, which has been portrayed as the queen of the sciences, the magic key opening all doors of the universe. 
Breaking free from all contact with the physical world, mathematics appeared to soar into the heavens, where it acquired a god-like existence, obeying no rule but its own. 
Thus, the great mathematician Henri Poincaré, in the early years of this century, could claim that the laws of science did not relate to the real world at all, but represented arbitrary conventions destined to promote a more convenient and "useful" description of the corresponding phenomena. 
Certain theoretical physicists now openly state that the validity of their mathematical models does not depend upon empirical verification, but on the aesthetic qualities of their equations. End of www.marxist.com
When sending such a question into the Google Universe and then being rewarded with such an abundance of information is really exciting.
It is exciting to read, how justified the question is. Is reality mathematical? If so, how can that be the case? How did we discover this? It looks like a miracle.
Thank you… ^_^
One concluding message: Next week we’ll make a short Autumnbreak. Thus we’ll also avoid one week of confusion due to asynchronous changing to daylight saving time in the US and Europe….^_^

547: Is science really inductive - deductive in reasoning?

In the previous two lectures I presented to you the inductive-deductive method of scientific inquiry as developed by Aristotle.

He cited the syllogism in Barbara as the paradigm of scientific demonstration. 

 Barbara is the medieval acronym or mnemonic for the A - A -A syllogism.  This syllogism consists of A-type statements arranged in the following way:

                    All birds need food.
                    All chicken are birds.
               All chicken need food.

This had a great impact on the ideas about the growth of knowledge. What the scientist should do is observe and gather more and more knowledge about all this and all that.

Science thus becomes the total of facts, theories and methods,which are  collected in the current textbooks. And the scientist is the person who adds bits and pieces time and again.

According to such opinions, science develops by the addition of new truths to the stock of old truths, 

or the increasing approximation of theories to the truth, and in the odd case, the correction of past errors. 

Such progress might accelerate in the hands of a particularly great scientist, but progress itself is guaranteed by the scientific method.

Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922–1996) is one of the most influential philosophers of science of the twentieth century, perhaps the most influential. 

In his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions he questions this way of looking at this apparently linear growth of knowledge.

The traditional way of looking at the history of science is asking which man or woman discovered which fact or law and what was the next step.

The other question is, what kind of errors, superstition and myths were hindering the development of science then.

But when do you call something myth and when real science? In many early stages of development of sciences you see a continuous competition between philosophies of nature.

These different schools did not differ in scientific method. They all relied on empirical observation and logic, but the decision what the real scientific answer was in a certain issue was also decided by other aspects.

It means that the development of science is not just guided by observations, more observations and more discoveries.

In the days of Galileo and Kepler the growth of knowledge is not just decided by scientific method and more observations.

There were parties involved with their own interests. So, what is scientifically right or wrong is not only decided by method and observation.

Such a party for instance also decides what are the right questions to ask, what is the right direction to search.

[For instance, these days, there are questions like, what is the alternative for the gasoline driven combustion engine?

I guess everyone knows a story about someone who really asked that question a 60 years ago and how a whole scientific community qualified such a question as nonsense.

The following of rules (of logic, of scientific method, etc.) was regarded as the absolute condition of rationality. 

Kuhn claims however that scientists do not just employ rules in reaching their decisions and this would imply that de development of science isn’t such a linear process at all.

And he holds the view that it is impossible that we can distinguish between the psychological process of thinking up an idea and the logical process of justifying its claim to truth.
This puts science in a special daylight and forces us to think over the claim that science is right, really thoroughly.
Thank you ... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:22]  Lizzy Pleides: Thank you herman!
[13:22]  Dawn Rhiannyr: thank you Herman
[13:23]  Dawn Rhiannyr: trying again to say Thank you Herman
[13:23]  herman Bergson: It took till 1962 that we left the Aristotelian idea of growth of knowledge
[13:24]  herman Bergson: The interesting thing here is,is the idea that scientific development is not completely guided and controlled by logic and method
[13:24]  Merlin Saxondale: All I know about 1962 is that it was the year the Beatles became known
[13:25]  herman Bergson: oh....^_^...it was that year/ :-))
[13:25]  Merlin Saxondale: hehe yes but I cannot see the connection with logic
[13:25]  Lizzy Pleides: by which other reasons is it guided?
[13:26]  herman Bergson: oh many....
[13:26]  herman Bergson: pretige, vanity, stubbornness, financial interests, tradition, name it
[13:26]  herman Bergson: the pressure of the group....
[13:27]  herman Bergson: Don't think out of the box...!
[13:27]  Lizzy Pleides: and some new insight have been discovered by accident
[13:27]  herman Bergson: You even may wonder whether it only have been some insights
[13:28]  Lizzy Pleides: i always loved the idea of brainstorming
[13:28]  herman Bergson: Like Kunh doesn’t split up the psychology of grabbing an idea and the rational justification of the idea
[13:29]  herman Bergson: Such a justification is almost always afterwards...
[13:29]  Lizzy Pleides: true
[13:29]  herman Bergson: That is what I learnt  about methodology.....
[13:29]  Lizzy Pleides: not only in science
[13:30]  herman Bergson: the scientific procedure is described in detail....
[13:30]  herman Bergson: and in the scientific article afterwards too.....
[13:31]  herman Bergson: But in reality it is just a big mess when working on your research :-))
[13:31]  Merlin Saxondale: There was a TV series by James Burke in the 70's or so....
[13:32]  Merlin Saxondale: Maybe called connections or something... he showed how scientific developments depended on previous ones
[13:32]  Lizzy Pleides: abit like in statistics, you say what you want and somebody makes a statistic which to proves it
[13:32]  herman Bergson: hehe...you look cute with your iPhone Merlin ^_^
[13:32]  Merlin Saxondale: lol
[13:33]  Merlin Saxondale: Oh Dawn has gone.... I didn’t see her go
[13:33]  herman Bergson: Yes....in real life it often goes like this...you get some idea...more or less intuitively...
[13:34]  herman Bergson: You look around for some confirming data.....
[13:34]  herman Bergson: then begin to work somewhat more systematically.....
[13:35]  herman Bergson: and in the scientific article you tell the story as if it all went along the lines of correct methodology
[13:35]  Merlin Saxondale: oh yes ... looking for confirming data can be dangerous
[13:35]  Merlin Saxondale: There have been some cases of researchers rigging their data to suit their theory
[13:35]  herman Bergson: hehe..if you can find them ...some even create them themselves.....
[13:35]  herman Bergson: like this Dutch prof. Stapel...
[13:36]  herman Bergson: some cases, Merlin????
[13:36]  Merlin Saxondale: Even some of the great scientists of the past did it somewhat... Millican?
[13:36]  herman Bergson: Even so bad...a cardiology prof rigged his data....went all over the world....
[13:36]  Lizzy Pleides: many I guess
[13:36]  herman Bergson: His conclusions may have caused the death of people even
[13:37]  Merlin Saxondale: oh dear
[13:37]  Lizzy Pleides: some are unscrupulous
[13:37]  herman Bergson: yes...it was about the use of beta blockers in relation to surgical operations on patients with heart problems
[13:38]  Merlin Saxondale: yes, they used to say that 90% of all the scientists who have ever lived are still alive now
[13:38]  Merlin Saxondale: Probably not true any more
[13:38]  Merlin Saxondale: but there are some career scientists funded by the government
[13:39]  herman Bergson: yes....and that influences the research....
[13:39]  Merlin Saxondale: Getting political even without Bejiita
[13:39]  herman Bergson: Ahhh :-)))
[13:39]  Merlin Saxondale: yes it does indeed Herman
[13:40]  herman Bergson: Thomas Kuhn was one of the first to point out such features in the development of knowledge
[13:40]  Lizzy Pleides: science seems to be subordinated to economy at first
[13:40]  herman Bergson: today you might say that indeed...
[13:41]  Lizzy Pleides: why we don't have already medicin against ebola, it was a disease of the poor 
[13:41]  herman Bergson: For instance....people love to do research which generate results which are popular in the media
[13:41]  Merlin Saxondale: Yes Lizzy
[13:41]  Lizzy Pleides: now its getting interesting
[13:42]  Merlin Saxondale: Or, ... it was once
[13:42]  Lizzy Pleides: it is increasing
[13:42]  Merlin Saxondale: What happens if it gets to London?
[13:42]  herman Bergson: YEs....That might be a very clear reason why what is happening to day is happening...
[13:43]  Merlin Saxondale: Just think if the crowds in the underground stations
[13:43]  herman Bergson: Because...all of a sudden there yet is some vaccin in Canada developed.....but only in a small quantity...
[13:43]  Lizzy Pleides: it might become the ”pestilence ” of our time
[13:43]  Merlin Saxondale: On radio today..... Ebola mutates and could even become airborne etc
[13:44]  herman Bergson: I don't think so, Lizzy :-)
[13:44]  Merlin Saxondale: albeit unlikely they say
[13:44]  Lizzy Pleides: why you don't think so herman?
[13:45]  herman Bergson: The development in Africa is mainly caused by the fact that people lack the understanding of the situation....
[13:45]  herman Bergson: They even hide their sick people....want to go to their tribal medicine man...
[13:45]  herman Bergson: Are scared of western medicine.....
[13:46]  herman Bergson: Just look at the TV images....
[13:46]  herman Bergson: People dressed like martians come  to your house....
[13:46]  herman Bergson: People who havent seen a European ever, for instance....can't read or write.....
[13:47]  herman Bergson: It is a very sad situation.....
[13:47]  Merlin Saxondale: Well the latest who got it in USA died of it
[13:47]  Lizzy Pleides: oh yes
[13:47]  Lizzy Pleides: in germany too
[13:47]  Merlin Saxondale: despite modern medicine
[13:47]  Lizzy Pleides: and in spain
[13:47]  herman Bergson: No No Merlin.....
[13:47]  Merlin Saxondale: No?
[13:47]  herman Bergson: The one in the US>....
[13:48]  herman Bergson: there are reports that the people at the hospital didn’t take the proper precautions and soon....
[13:48]  Merlin Saxondale: yes I agree
[13:48]  Lizzy Pleides: they must have made mistakes in hygiene
[13:49]  Merlin Saxondale: but that shows that simple avoidance of the primitive is not enough
[13:49]  herman Bergson: Yes they had...
[13:49]  herman Bergson: true.....
[13:49]  herman Bergson: But I don’t believe it ever can become epidemic here in Europe
[13:50]  Lizzy Pleides: did we wander off the topic now?
[13:50]  Merlin Saxondale: lol
[13:50]  herman Bergson: We are too well organized for that
[13:50]  herman Bergson: I guess we did :-))
[13:50]  Merlin Saxondale: As ever Lizzy
[13:50]  herman Bergson: So time to dismiss class ^_^
[13:51]  herman Bergson: thank you  for your participation :-)

[13:51]  Lizzy Pleides: thank you again herman!