0675: "Revolutionary"

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Cpt.DaveyJones
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Cpt.DaveyJones » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

@the guys with the racecar on train&@philip1201
Imagine there's spaceships that move with 0.6c.
I sit in one, you sit in one. I accelerate into one direction, you accelerate into the other direction.
Now, from your point of view, with what speed am I moving away from you?
AFAIK The adding speeds theorem applies when your actually within an object that moves with light speed, since time and space are bent.
As object in the spacecraft, my time would be slowed down too, but that would actually accelerate the other thing even more, wouldn't it?
Another thing:
If such a spaceship would pass our planet, then from the point of the pilot, he could be standing still and we are the ones moving with 0.6c. For us it's the exact opposite.
What will happen?

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folkhero
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby folkhero » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

This is part 'physics cranks are annoying' and part insult towards philosophers. I'm not sure which part, if any, is supposed to be funny. I don't really understand where the shot at philosophers came from, but maybe it's just to distract from the fact the the other part isn't an interesting or novel idea. Are philosophers more likely to be cranks than other people? In my experience they are probably less likely to be cranks, especially if they know anything about philosophy of science (I had an entire course on the philosophy of space and time). Any philosopher worth his goatee would realize that other smart people have thought about this, and that science isn't really dogmatic and would have someone who knows about science and philosophy of science to explain the situation to them.

Also, "your philosophy degree equips you to ask interesting questions," is nonsense. Any curious person is well equipped to ask interesting questions. A philosophy degree equips one to be better prepared to work out the logical implications and to read and analyze what other people have written about it. A better response would have been, "as someone with a philosophy degree, you ought to be ashamed of yourself."

In case anyone was wondering, (as I'm sure you all are) I minored in physics and philosophy.
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MrGuy
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby MrGuy » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:50 pm UTC

SciBoy wrote:
FCN wrote:Special relativity implies time dilation: moving clocks go slower than stationary clocks.

So let's say that you're standing still, and a racecar goes by you at half the speed of light - the racecar's clock goes slower than your clock.

But actually, you and the racecar are on a train moving at half the speed of light in the opposite direction from the direction that the racecar is moving - that doesn't change anything from your point of view, so it's still true that the racecar's clock goes slower than your clock.

I'm standing still next to the train, and you're on the train going at half the speed of light, so your clock is going slower than my clock.

The racecar's clock is slower than your clock which is slower than my clock, so the racecar's clock is slower than my clock.

But the racecar and I are stationary relative to each other - it's right next to me, working really hard to stay next to me on a train that's moving at half the speed of light by driving in the opposite direction at half the speed of light. So my clock and the racecar's clock must be going at the same rate.

Contradiction! Special relativity is overturned.

Wrong.

The guy on the train is travelling at relativistic speeds. Compared to you, the stationary person, his time is dilated. This means that if the race-car is going 0.5c in HIS frame of reference, in yours it is going FASTER than 0.5c. If it is travelling 0.5c in YOUR frame of reference, then the car is not going 0.5c in his, it is going slower. How much slower I can't be bothered to calculate. :)

So the "philosophical" argument fails right there, you can't have the race-car going at 0.5c inside the train AND stand still from the outside perspective at the same time. You must choose one.


Actually, no. He's wrong, but not for this reason.

In the stationary observer's frame of reference, the the train is moving 0.5c and the racecar is apparently stationary. It appears to this observer that the relative velocity between the train and the racecar is 0.5c.

For an observer on the train, the stationary observer is moving at 0.5c away, and the racecar is moving away at the same speed as the stationary observer. This observer would agree the relative velocity between the train and the racecar is 0.5c.

What's really going on is that the relative velocity between the two frames of reference is 0.5c. There's nothing magic about the racecar because it happens to be on the train with it's wheels turning really fast. It's stationary with respect to the ground, and so is in the same frame of reference.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby -.Mateo.- » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

relativity was a staged inside job by the devil!
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Althizor » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

I'm reminded of .999...=1, and all the people convinced that is in fact, not true.

Its especially onerous with mathematical concepts since a valid proof proves them in much more strict a sense than scientific concepts are proven through experiment.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Carleas » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:23 pm UTC

Amen, FolkHero.

The origins of the terms 'Science' and 'Philosophy' are a good illustration of how the disciplines are related. From etymonline:
Main modern (restricted) sense of "body of regular or methodical observations or propositions ... concerning any subject or speculation" is attested from 1725; in 17c.-18c. this concept commonly was called philosophy.

It used to be that 'Science' and 'Philosophy' meant the same thing, the process of finding truth by examining the world. 'Natural Philosophy' or 'Natural Science' was a sub-discipline of Philosophy/Science, one which focused on examining the world empirically. 'Natural Philosophy' fell into disuse, and 'Natural Science' was shortened to 'Science', and 'Science' stopped referring to a lot of things that Philosophy does. But the modern term 'Science' still refers to the subset of 'Philosophy' that 'Natural Science' referred to. So, scientists are just a specialized form of philosopher, and both employ similar thought processes to examine problems. Both fields have their cranks.

So yeah, scientists, your discipline is a subset of ours. How cute. :mrgreen:

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby jeffreyearly » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:40 pm UTC

Jumping to conclusions just like that? You think it's about global warming; I think it's about the physics cranks who e-mail professors claiming to have overturned special relativity/quantum mechanics/general relativity/etc. using some ridiculous thought experiment or bad math.

Given that his comic contains a physics crank, and says nothing about global warming, smart money's on my idea.


Given the 1000 post slashdot conversation on Saturday addressing exactly this issue, but in the context of global warming, the comic is either incredibly lucky timing, or a damn good analogy.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby zombiedinosaur » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

this is really freaky :shock: i was thinking about this exact idea last night... it just pop into my head (i am not saying im right or anything i was just using basic understanding)

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Mokele » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:53 pm UTC

Carleas wrote:So yeah, scientists, your discipline is a subset of ours. How cute. :mrgreen:


So, you're like a platypus - an isolated, cute, weird relict of a formerly important clade, now vastly outnumbered and out-competed by your more derived kin? :lol:
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby -.Mateo.- » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:59 pm UTC

science and philosophy shouldn't be enemies, they should team up and finish religion off...then they can settle thing (But they better not mess with art!)
Magus wrote:If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh.

Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby π=3.15 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:02 pm UTC

FCN wrote:I just edited my post to make it even clearer, since apparently even some people at this very intelligent webcomic forum fail to understand my brilliance. To simplify and draw a diagram in words, I am standing still. Relative to me, the train is moving left to right at .5c. Relative to the train, the racecar is moving right to left at .5c. So, relative to me the racecar is stationary, which means that the racecar clock must be going at the same rate as my clock. But the train clock is slower than my clock (by time dilation) and the racecar clock is slower than the train clock (for the same reason), so the racecar clock must be slower than my clock. Contradiction.


Relative to you, the race car is going at half the speed of light. s=(v+u)/(1+vu/c^2) v=.5c, u=.0c, so s is still .5c, the velocity of the race car relative to you.
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby aterimperator » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

tim314 wrote:Here's the thing people always seem to overlook . . . if a theory has been thoroughly tested and confirmed by experiment, then we at least know that it's correct within the domain in which it was tested.

People like to say "Einstein proved Newton was wrong", but Einstein's theory of relativity agrees with classical Newtonian physics in all the limits where Newton's physics had already been confirmed, while showing better agreement with the data in the areas where Newton's theory breaks down. Newton wasn't wrong, his work just turned out to be a limiting case of the true physics.

So if you want to prove Einstein "wrong", your great new theory had better reproduce all the successes of Einstein's relativity in the many areas where it's already been tested and confirmed. Otherwise, your theory is dead on arrival.

Thanks for that, I might have to copy this in the future (do you want attribution or not?), though I have tended to prefer to say that scientific theories are approximations of reality, and we found that newton's theories weren't perfectly accurate, and we came up with relativity which is more accurate (though we now have places where we can see relativity is also not perfectly accurate). To say that "not perfectly accurate" means false is simply incorrect.

EDIT:
Carteeg_Struve wrote:It's not because it's wrong for somebody with the audacity to say "We've missing something important." It's because it's important that the new idea be analyzed and criticized to an extreme before it becomes accepted as common thought.
This too. Too often I find that those claiming science is a religion are really just protesting that their ideas are criticized and analyzed instead of being blindly accepted.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Innocent » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:This is part 'physics cranks are annoying' and part insult towards philosophers. I'm not sure which part, if any, is supposed to be funny. I don't really understand where the shot at philosophers came from, but maybe it's just to distract from the fact the the other part isn't an interesting or novel idea. Are philosophers more likely to be cranks than other people? In my experience they are probably less likely to be cranks, especially if they know anything about philosophy of science (I had an entire course on the philosophy of space and time). Any philosopher worth his goatee would realize that other smart people have thought about this, and that science isn't really dogmatic and would have someone who knows about science and philosophy of science to explain the situation to them.

Also, "your philosophy degree equips you to ask interesting questions," is nonsense. Any curious person is well equipped to ask interesting questions. A philosophy degree equips one to be better prepared to work out the logical implications and to read and analyze what other people have written about it. A better response would have been, "as someone with a philosophy degree, you ought to be ashamed of yourself."

In case anyone was wondering, (as I'm sure you all are) I minored in physics and philosophy.


Well said. This comic really irritated me with that stupid shot at philosophers. It just betrays ignorance of what philosophy is or what the study of it would prompt you to think. Even all that aside, who was it who came up with our current system for determining scientific truth as distinct from other types of truth? Oh, it was Karl Popper, a philosopher, who created the system of critical rationalism that all modern science now relies upon as its underlying philosophy. Yes, science needs to have an underlying philosophy. Otherwise science could not be done. There would be no rational way to organize the data that you learn from experiments. The philosophy of science is considered a very important branch of philosophy, up there with the philosophy of ethics and the philosophy of politics. Educated philosophers would be unlikely to make the simple mistakes that the bearded man in the comic makes, and certainly wouldn't be so arrogant as to assume that any challenge to an idea automatically disproves it. The dialectic process is the oldest and most effective way of doing philosophy and it always starts with a challenge to an idea. This doesn't end the discussion, it opens it! For a philosopher there is little difference between "challenging established ideas" and "learning about said ideas." Instead of continuing the dialectic by responding to the objection, and thus educating the bearded man and improving his own understanding of the things he believes, the non-bearded man (could we please have characters with some sort of defining characteristics?) just responds with a sarcastic jab at philosophers that doesn't even make sense. Way to increase knowledge, non-bearded man. You are very helpful. And by that I mean: you are an asshole. Bearded man is also a bit of an asshole, but maybe he's just overenthusiastic.

In conclusion, this comic:
-is not funny
-does not make sense
-pisses off a group of people who Randall should realize are basically on his side if he stopped and thought about it for five whole seconds
-seems to lead pretty clearly down the path to misologism for both members, the bearded guy because he can't get an explanation about why he's wrong, just sarcastic comments, and the non-bearded guy because he thinks it's OK not to understand things you believe to be true. This is something that Socrates warned against. Socrates was a philosopher. You ought to listen to him.

I am a bearded philosophy major and I am not amused.

Note for all you fools who can't be bothered to try to parse the tone of written words: at least read this post carefully since it is likely to set your undergarmets aflame, and I do not wish to bludgeon my audience emoticons in order to make my meanings more blindingly obvious.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:53 pm UTC

Cue long debate over special relativity and inertial frames of reference when applied to a racecar atop a moving train.

Goddammit SpellCheck, that is how "racecar" is spelled! It's a palindrome! And don't tell me I spelled "SpellCheck" wrong either!

schrodingasdawg wrote:
Innocent wrote:I am a bearded philosophy major and I am not amused.

I am a bearded physics major, and I'm not amused either.

Okay guys, I don't think this strip was intended as a crack at bearded philosophy majors or bearded physics majors. It's intended to mock people who think they can derail a generally accepted truth that they have little knowledge of after having just learned about it using a simple idea that was probably thought of before, particularly those who do so without real-life testing, and possibly particularly those who try to derail one of Einstein's theories (one of which is special relativity).

No need to get worked up over a little comic.
Last edited by SpringLoaded12 on Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Game_boy » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:55 pm UTC

Feynman's rant about 'cocktail party philosophers' applies here. He was also talking about relativity.
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby chaospet » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:56 pm UTC

It is undoubtedly true that philosophers (and other non-specialists) sometimes get carried away when discussing ideas from physics and other sciences that they really don't understand very well, and this comic is a very funny depiction of that.

However it is also worth remembering that when scientists dabble in philosophy and other areas they don't understand very well, they often do the exact same thing.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby aterimperator » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

nmccrina wrote:I agree that the comic is about what you're saying, but apparently some people took it to mean that no one should ever question the 'official' Science position on things, even in the case where Science has only given us theories. Such as the Big Bang Theory or the theory of global warming.
I really hate it when laymen criticize the word "theory". Science is theories: thermodynamics, maxwell's equations, the earth being round, heliocentricity, relativity, evolution, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, materials failures, atoms, quantum physics, semiconductor materials etc. are all "just" theories; this does not mean "uneducated guess" in science, rather it's recognizing that all we have are approximations of reality that seem to be very very accurate but we can't be certain we've seen everything there is to see; it's how science works, get over it.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby schrodingasdawg » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:58 pm UTC

Innocent wrote:I am a bearded philosophy major and I am not amused.


I am a bearded physics major, and I'm not amused either.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Pesto » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:09 pm UTC

Carteeg_Struve wrote:Sorry folks, but Al Gore is as much a champion of science as L. Ron Hubbard is a religious prophet.

L. Ron Hubbard is as much a religious prophet as any other. ;-)

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Innocent » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:15 pm UTC

schrodingasdawg wrote:
Innocent wrote:I am a bearded philosophy major and I am not amused.


I am a bearded physics major, and I'm not amused either.


I am a bearded philosophy major, and I sense the beginning of a beautiful friendship that will bridge our two disciplines and bring to an end this terrible conflict!

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby thesophist » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:32 pm UTC

Dear Science,

Please let us know when you've solved the problem of induction.

Sincerely, Philosophy

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby schrodingasdawg » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:34 pm UTC

Innocent wrote:
schrodingasdawg wrote:
Innocent wrote:I am a bearded philosophy major and I am not amused.


I am a bearded physics major, and I'm not amused either.


I am a bearded philosophy major, and I sense the beginning of a beautiful friendship that will bridge our two disciplines and bring to an end this terrible conflict!


Indeed. Only together can the disciplines slay the crackpots!

...yeah, now I'm getting overzealous.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Mr Jack » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:43 pm UTC

Can I just mention that this comic made it to Pharangula? http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/12/the_discovery_institute_contam.php?

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby PaleBlueDot » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:57 pm UTC

Ouch. Sciences ripping on liberal arts much?

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Makri » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:07 pm UTC

Even all that aside, who was it who came up with our current system for determining scientific truth as distinct from other types of truth? Oh, it was Karl Popper, a philosopher, who created the system of critical rationalism that all modern science now relies upon as its underlying philosophy.


Er... What? How do I get a glimpse into that alternate universe you're describing? :P

No, seriously; I'm not aware that Popper is of particular significance for any of the natural sciences. The modern scientific method developped a while before Popper, and it's not easy to make sense of what scientists actually do in his terms. Have they even solved their problem with defining closeness to truth by now?
Also, what on earth is scientific truth supposed to be, as opposed to other types, and what does that have to do with Popper?
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby JWalker » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:20 pm UTC

thesophist wrote:Dear Science,

Please let us know when you've solved the problem of induction.

Sincerely, Philosophy


Dear Philosophy students,

Please withhold all criticism of science unless you actually understand science and have something constructive to say. Until then, we will continue to mock you. Seriously, we don't tell you how to think about ethics, don't tell us how to think about quarks. We are well aware that we might not be discovering the truth; that is not what we are trying to do anyways.

Sincerely,
Physics

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby linkskywalker » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:23 pm UTC

I've avoided joining the forums up til now, but as it seems the only way to leave feedback, here I am.

I just wanted to say that as a Philosophy student, I really enjoyed this comic. I usually find comics regarding philosophy/philosophy students pretty funny, but I appreciate one which also gives the field its due.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Innocent » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:32 pm UTC

Makri wrote:Er... What? How do I get a glimpse into that alternate universe you're describing? :P


You... already live there?

No, seriously; I'm not aware that Popper is of particular significance for any of the natural sciences.


You're seriously like the only one who isn't aware of that.

Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was also a social and political philosopher of considerable stature, a self-professed ‘critical-rationalist’, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally, a committed advocate and staunch defender of the ‘Open Society’, and an implacable critic of totalitarianism in all of its forms. One of the many remarkable features of Popper's thought is the scope of his intellectual influence. In the modern technological and highly-specialised world scientists are rarely aware of the work of philosophers; it is virtually unprecedented to find them queuing up, as they have done in Popper's case, to testify to the enormously practical beneficial impact which that philosophical work has had upon their own.


Emphasis mine. That's from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Popper's entry is found here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/


The modern scientific method developped a while before Popper, and it's not easy to make sense of what scientists actually do in his terms. Have they even solved their problem with defining closeness to truth by now?
Also, what on earth is scientific truth supposed to be, as opposed to other types, and what does that have to do with Popper?


I was going to post a long thing explaining all this, but it turns out that the Stanford Encyclopedia is really better at this than me. Just read the section on the Problem of Demarcation, it's got explanations for just about everything you mention here. Tell me if there's anything left out, but I think it's all there: what scientific truth is, why Popper's philosophy is highly relevant to modern science, what it takes for a scientific theory to be considered valid and why it's ok for theories to be kept around even if they can't predict every case correctly.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/#ProDem

If you get through all of that, we can talk about different types of falsification, rational objections to Creationism and Intelligent Design, and differing truth levels. I have a 1500 word essay already written on this part that I could post with little or no provocation, so be careful. After that I'm not sure how much help I could be since my own studies don't go any further than that.

JWalker wrote:Seriously, we don't tell you how to think about ethics, don't tell us how to think about quarks. We are well aware that we might not be discovering the truth; that is not what we are trying to do anyways.


First of all, what? If you're not trying to discover truth, or at least scientific truth, then what the hell are you doing with all your grant money? Second of all, philosophy is perfectly justified in "telling [you] how to think about quarks." The philosophy of science, as mentioned before, is an important and influential branch of philosophy and if not for people like Popper we wouldn't have sophisticated ways of understanding what makes a scientific theory a good scientific theory— or even what makes a scientific theory scientific in the first place! Philosophy and natural science both rely on logical reasoning to reach conclusions. The problem of induction is a logical problem, and thus is relevant to both philosophy and natural science. I daresay philosophers might be more inclined to attempt to solve it though.
Last edited by Innocent on Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby phlip » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:34 pm UTC

p=3.15 wrote:
FCN wrote:I just edited my post to make it even clearer, since apparently even some people at this very intelligent webcomic forum fail to understand my brilliance. To simplify and draw a diagram in words, I am standing still. Relative to me, the train is moving left to right at .5c. Relative to the train, the racecar is moving right to left at .5c. So, relative to me the racecar is stationary, which means that the racecar clock must be going at the same rate as my clock. But the train clock is slower than my clock (by time dilation) and the racecar clock is slower than the train clock (for the same reason), so the racecar clock must be slower than my clock. Contradiction.

Relative to you, the race car is going at half the speed of light. s=(v+u)/(1+vu/c^2) v=.5c, u=.0c, so s is still .5c, the velocity of the race car relative to you.

What? No. v = velocity of train relative to you the observer = 0.5c; u = velocity of racecar relative to train = -0.5c. s = velocity of racecar relative to you the observer = (v+u)/(1+vu) = 0. The racecar is stationary relative to the outside observer.

The point is that while "the racecar's clock is slower than the train's" is true in the train's reference frame, it is not true in the (shared) reference frame of the outside observer and the racecar. Because relativity of simultaneity. See also the twin paradox, another paradox based around the fact that time dilation is symmetric - if you and I are moving relative to each other, I see my clock as running faster than yours, but you see your clock as running faster than mine... but because of relativity of simultaneity, this is not a contradiction.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby thesophist » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:37 pm UTC

Every good scientist is a good philosopher, but not every good philosopher is a good scientist.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby JWalker » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:47 pm UTC

Innocent wrote:First of all, what? If you're not trying to discover truth, or at least scientific truth, then what the hell are you doing with all your grant money? Second of all, philosophy is perfectly justified in "telling [you] how to think about quarks." The philosophy of science, as mentioned before, is an important and influential branch of philosophy and if not for people like Popper we wouldn't have sophisticated ways of understanding what makes a scientific theory a good scientific theory— or even what makes a scientific theory scientific in the first place! Philosophy and natural science both rely on logical reasoning to reach conclusions. The problem of induction is a logical problem, and thus is relevant to both philosophy and natural science. I daresay philosophers might be more inclined to attempt to solve it though.


No, it isn't. Sorry. You think it is because that is what you were taught, but the philosophy of science has no bearing on what scientists actually do. You claim Popper is influential, he is influential amongst philosophers maybe, but certainly not scientists. His theories are irrelevant to how we do business. You claim the problem of induction is important to science, well it certainly would be if science ever claimed something were true. We don't care about what is 'true,' we only care about wether or not our prediction appears to match our observation. Consider that very carefully, please. No claims of truth need be made there. This is why philosophers frustrate scientists, you simply don't understand what we do. You claim you can tell us how to think about a quark, but any scientist worth his salt freely admits that a quark is merely a construct to arrive at a prediction, and must be thought about as such. I know you wont listen to what I am telling you, and will respond in an attempt to refute this, so I will have to do something I hate to do, which is make the blanket statement "Philosophers do not understand science." and leave it there.

You are perfectly justified in saying "Scientists do not understand philosophy," but that is beside the point. We don't need to understand philosophy to do science. Thats what you must understand. Scientists were doing science before Popper. Scientists can do science without induction. Hell, scientists can do science without math, causality, determinism, dare I say, even without logic. We don't need you. If you think we do, I invite you to show me so. Just don't criticize science unless you are prepared to be constructive about it.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby achan1058 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:56 pm UTC

JWalker wrote:Hell, scientists can do science without math, causality, determinism, dare I say, even without logic. We don't need you. If you think we do, I invite you to show me so. Just don't criticize science unless you are prepared to be constructive about it.
I would disagree with this statement. Scientists need math and logic, at least of some form. Though, they would still be fine without mathematicians, since a lot of math is actually derived by physicists before mathematicians looks at it and put it on rigorous footing.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby thesophist » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:12 am UTC

Of course practically scientists don't care about what philosophers say, but what does that have to do with anything? Nobody's really cared about what philosophers have said since philosophy began. And again, practically scientists don't care about truth, we care about puzzle solving and getting published, but that's irrelevant too. For when we are not interested in what's practical but what's true, it is important (or at least interesting) to understand why it is that scientist's predictions match observation. Is it because they have been lucky for centuries, or is it because they have somehow gotten at truth; and if they have gotten at truth how and why? You may find it convenient for now to pretend that science is nothing more than an internally consistent fiction, but I doubt you'd be so humble when someone is trying to convince you of intelligent design or some other "crackpot" theory.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Greyarcher » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:14 am UTC

JWalker wrote:Scientists can do science without induction. Hell, scientists can do science without math, causality, determinism, dare I say, even without logic.
Nah. For instance, thought requires inference, and logic is inference treated in a formalized manner. And since naturally we need to think to engage in science, logic underlies scientific work.

It would be more accurate to say that scientists can engage in fruitful scientific endeavors without bothering to deal with any of the theoretical baggage that philosophy may try and heap upon it.
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Ghona » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:20 am UTC

jc wrote:We have lots of examples of this. Back in the 70s, a few radicals suggested that an asteroid impact was the cause of the major extinction event 65 million years ago. It was widely ignored, with the above "That's interesting ..." reaction. Here and there, field researchers tried to collect data that, among other things, might disprove this hypothesis. What they turned up was more and more small observations that were all consistent with it. Eventually, scientists looked at the growing mound of evidence, and said "Yup; it sure looks like something big hit the Earth at Chicxulub, and the error bars in its date match the start of the mass extinction." But they didn't persecute the impact "believers"; they just challenged them to find better data. When the data was found, the hypothesis graduated to "theory" status, and is now the conventional explanation for the mass extinction.

Interestingly enough, this is also how the new theory that there was a second impact in India is being treated.
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Brace » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:39 am UTC

Steroid wrote:They may not be assuming, but just applying Platonic metaphysics. If relativity in physics can say that motion depends upon the mover, then philosophy can say that the nature of the world depends upon the observer. Science is very Aristotlean.


MEASURE THEORETIC PROBABILITY THEORY.

Ugh. The real problem is that training in math/chemistry/physics whatever tends to equip people to understand the theories of the day, but not so much the scientific method itself. This is particularly true of undergraduates. Almost every undergraduate scientist I've ever talked to is at heart either a platonist or an aristotelian.

Carleas wrote:So, scientists are just a specialized form of philosopher, and both employ similar thought processes to examine problems. Both fields have their cranks.

So yeah, scientists, your discipline is a subset of ours. How cute. :mrgreen:


A good scientist differs from a philosopher in both the types of propositions which they advance, argue, and give weight to, and the manners in which they do so.

thesophist wrote:Dear Science,

Please let us know when you've solved the problem of induction.

Sincerely, Philosophy


Dear Sophist, you're about 70 years behind the scene.

Sincerely, Better Philosophy.

Makri wrote:Have they even solved their problem with defining closeness to truth by now?


Gross.
"The future is the only kind of property that the masters willingly concede to the slaves" - Albert Camus

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby EvlDragonMonkey » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:44 am UTC

Steroid wrote:The straw man is a very underrated form of argument. It delineates a logical conclusion to which the opposing argument must not reach. From there, you can work backwards to find conclusions the opposing argument *does* claim, and then attack those. So, I would follow up with: if you agree that science can never be 100% certain, you would also agree that any practice based on science should never be mandatory, yes?


I can't believe nobody else caught this, this is a really big pet-peeve of mine, I can't stand people misusing terms like straw-man fallacy. The term you were looking for is reductio ad absurdum. The straw-man fallacy is when you construct an argument that superficially looks like your opponent's argument but is fundamentally different and much weaker, and you then attack this argument instead of your opponent's actual argument but claim that you have proven the original argument invalid. Reductio ad absurdum is when you start with a contradictory conclusion that your opponent's theory allows for and show that the theory must be false since it allows for such a contradiction. A weaker form of that is simply finding an undesirable conclusion and proving that the theory is therefore undesirable.

On second thought your definition of a straw-man man fallacy really doesn't fit either very well but I still think reductio ad absurdum was what you were going for. Mostly because of the two features of starting with "a logical conclusion to which the opposing argument must not reach" and working backwards. The most important thing is that straw-man fallacy is certainly not the right term and is never a valid argument. People who use straw-man fallacies are at best misinformed and at worst bold faced liars.
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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby thesophist » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:49 am UTC

Kilroy(ZTC) wrote:Dear Sophist, you're about 70 years behind the scene.

Sincerely, Better Philosophy.



The only scene is the Humean scene! Word.

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Gazow » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:59 am UTC

so theres this train, going half the speed of light... and on this train theres a race car going backwards at half the speed of light.. and on this race car, theres a treadmill moving half the speed of light in the direction the train is moving... and on this treadmill there is an airplane traveling half the speed of light.

Now my questions is-











--- Thats a damn good sequel to planes trains an automobiles now isnt it?






Also- i expect my check from the president of physics in no later than one month!

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Re: "Revolutionary" Discussion

Postby Brace » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:59 am UTC

thesophist wrote:The only scene is the Humean scene! Word.


An "inductive" theory is just a theory which hasn't failed yet. When it does fail, it is replaced. Science is the process of facilitating the expedient failure of theories, whereas philosophy in its most popular modern form is simply the process of elevating theories to dogma.
"The future is the only kind of property that the masters willingly concede to the slaves" - Albert Camus


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