March 2nd, 2015
Kuhn on Scientific Revolutions and Paradigm Shifts
- Scientific revolutions are here taken to be those non-cumulative developmental episodes in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one. Paradigms are incommensurable (no common measure—can we really do that and still talk about different models?). (g. planets)
- “Suddenly the fragments in my head sorted themselves out in a new way, and fell into place together. My jaw dropped, for all at once Aristotle seemed a very good physicist indeed, but of a sort I’d never dreamed possible. Now I can understand why he had said what he’d said, and what his authority had been. Statements that previously seemed egregious mistakes, now seemed at worst near misses within a powerful and generally successful tradition.”
- When paradigms enter into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigm’s defense. (This circularity doesn’t necessarily make the arguments wrong or ineffectual.)
- There’s no such thing as paradigm independent data. Interpreting the data is paradigm specific. There is no theory-neutral data. No theory-neutral data ≠ objective knowledge. (Kuhn claimed this criticism was the result of a misunderstanding of him.) He claimed that when a scientific revolution occurs, “The world changes.” (He wanted to apply Scientific Revolutions to the contemporary science of his day but was constantly having to modify his philosophy in responding to critics.)
- Anomalies: The parallax of the angles between stars and the earth every six months. The lack of difference between angles was thought to show a Ptolemaic universe; however, the Copernican view allowed for this by suggesting that the angles were insignificant to their measurements (technological limitation) because the stars were too far away. Anomalies may also simply be ignored or counted as, simply, irrelevant until they build an undercutting consensus.
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November 20th, 2013
Several years ago I was taking a [required] course that teaches creationism. I have a few comments about the course I’ll keep to myself [as in it shouldn’t be in the university] but I think most readers know where I stand on university and academia issues and standards. I was asked the question, “Is it surprising that scientific evidence supports a young earth perspective?”
My response is simply that this is a loaded question. I don’t think I can say there’s no evidence for a young earth; however, I find the record of nature to support the proposition that the universe is old (billions of years) by overwhelming evidence. There is hardly any evidence for a young earth, if indeed there is any at all.
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June 21st, 2013
Below is the abstract from Ben Nasmith’s paper “Classical Electrodynamics and Absolute Simultaneity”. I’m quite pleased to say that I was able to be an official endorser for Nasmith’s paper to arXiv. Please feel free to investigate and enjoy this research.
Maxwell’s equations and the Lorentz force density are expressed using an alternative simultaneity gauge. As a result, they describe electrodynamics for an observer travelling with a constant velocity through an isotropic medium.
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April 26th, 2013
In 1865 James Clerk Maxwell had unified electricity and magnetism by developing his equations of electromagnetism. It was soon realized that these equations supported wave-like solutions in a region free of electrical charges or currents, otherwise known as vacuums. Later experiments identified light as having electromagnetic properties and Maxwell’s equations predicted that light waves should propagate at a finite speed c (about 300,000 km/s). With his Newtonian ideas of absolute space and time firmly entrenched, most physicists thought that this speed was correct only in one special frame, absolute rest, and it was thought that electromagnetic waves were supported by an unseen medium called the ether, which is at rest in this frame.
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March 18th, 2013
My name is Chad Gross and I am the director of Truthbomb Apologetics. Brian Auten of Apologetics315 recommended that I email you with a question that I have.
My question deals with gravity and whether or not it is immaterial. It seems to me that gravity is not composed of matter and/or energy; therefore, it is immaterial. However, when interacting with an unbeliever on the topic on this post and he said the following:
“Without mass there would be no gravity, right? It’s true that gravity itself isn’t made of atoms, but you must admit that the material world is more than just particles. Einstein showed that matter and energy are equivalent and can transform into each other. When I talk about something being material, therefore, I’m thinking of both matter and energy.
It’s true again that gravity might not be a form of energy, since it’s just a force. Maybe gravity arises due to the nature of space and time. But without matter, there would be no space and time. So I think it’s uncontroversial to consider the physical forces to be “material.”
When I think of things that are not material, I’m thinking of spirit, or soul. God isn’t made of matter or energy, and God would still exist even without any matter or energy, right?”
Now, I realize gravity is not immaterial in the same way that moral judgments, mathematics, logic, etc. Here is my reply to him:
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January 2nd, 2013
The Pre-Socratics were the first philosophers of science. They were known as the sophos (the wise ones). They were ecliplised by the British and German philosophers of science in the seventeenth century and were largely disconnected from science hence forth. Science sets the agenda, but philosophers bring philosophical reasons instead of scientific reasons. Science answers the questions. The Pre-Socratics were the first to deal with metaphysics and did so to provide a rational philosophy. This allowed for a rational and objective observation and the use of reason to systematize and order the content to make it coherent.
The Sophists were worldly-wise in contrast with the sophos–frustrated by the plurality of answers in the current philosophy. The Sophists were the original skeptics as evidenced in Pyrrho. They came out of the sixth century BC and broke away from religious dogma, which had never happened before. Their methods were pragmatic and subjective–rhetorical and fashionable. The phrase, “The One and the Many” became important. The One (reality) had everything related to it (Many). This is where we get Monism–the quality of oneness. We see Monism appear later in Leibniz’s monads, which take us to a single substance and leads to atomic theory.
Ionian cosmology picked up the discourse. The poet, Hesiod, promoted a moral consistency with the gods and the Milesians used this as the next step of consistency to get to the natural order. Thales (624-546 BC) is often referred to as the first philosopher when he predicted an eclipse of the sun. This was the first step in the evolution of metaphysical discovery. Thales’ theorem postulated that if angles A and C were the diameter of a circle then angle B was a right angle. The world was rational and could be predicted and ordered.
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July 25th, 2012
The universe was created 13.73 billion years ago. At about 10-44 seconds after the big bang inflation kicked in and underwent a period of rapid inflation (expansion, this inflation force is thought to be dark energy depicted in Einstein’s lambda term (the cosmological constant) in the right hand side of his field equation describing the energy momentum of the universe.) The cosmological constant is a characteristic of the spacetime fabric of the universe related to its stretching energy (space energy density—commonly referred to as dark energy). The more the universe expands, the greater this stretching energy becomes. When the spacetime fabric stretches, the bodies of masses, such as galaxies, move farther apart by the stretching of space. The cosmological constant is in effect a pulling property that works against gravity. Since creation, the cosmological constant’s effect has been increasing.
Initial expectations were for the expansion to slow down and for the universe to collapse back in on itself. For instance, when a ball is tossed in the air its speed slows down and the ball falls to the ground. If the cosmological constant were applicable on the scale of tossing a ball in the air the ball would not slow down and return to the ground, it would actually increase in speed and move farther away from where it was tossed. This immediately leads to questions concerning the end of the universe. Either way, gravity contracts back in on itself or dark energy expands the universe to equilibrium (due to the cosmological constant’s effect), the universe is condemned to eventual futility. The advent of relativity theory and its application to cosmology altered the shape of the eschatological scenario on the basis of the second law of thermodynamics.
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July 10th, 2012
The Enlightenment restricted knowledge to experience and the phenomenal. Post-Enlightenment thought sought to progress in knowledge while considering the advances the Enlightenment had made. The Christian faith attempted to develop a new relationship between transcendence and immanence. Transcendence has to do with God’s being self-sufficient and beyond or above the universe. Immanence corresponds with God being present and active in creation, intimately involved in human history. Newtonian physics did not permit God to be immanent in the universe. This was brought into light by the unmistakable success of science.
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June 25th, 2012
I have a new paper in moderation at arXiv. The two papers below are currently listed there:
- “Epistemological-Scientific Realism and the Onto-Relationship of Inferentially Justified and Non-Inferentially Justified Beliefs,”arXiv: 1205.2896 (May 2012)
- “Albert Einstein and Scientific Theology,” arXiv: 1205.4278 (May 2012).
The multiverse hypothesis is the leading alternative to the competing fine-tuning hypothesis. The multiverse dispels many aspects of the fine-tuning argument by suggesting that there are different initial conditions in each universe, varying constants of physics, and the laws of nature lose their known arbitrary values; thus, making the previous single-universe argument from fine-tuning incredibly weak. There are four options for why a fine-tuning is either unnecessary to invoke or illusory if the multiverse hypothesis is used as an alternative explanans. Fine-tuning might be (1) illusory if life could adapt to very different conditions or if values of constants could compensate each other.
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June 20th, 2012
Word of the Week: A Series of Time
Definition: Time has an actual temporal becoming to it. There is an objective past, present, and future.
More about the word: The special theory of relativity (STR) states that clocks in motion slow down. This time dilation occurs with respects to the observer. In the early 1900’s, Albert Einstein’s STR changed how physicists and philosophers viewed the previous Newtonian paradigm of absolute simultaneity. If STR is correct, then an observer in motion will experience time at a slower rate than an observer at rest. Perhaps, given STR, the A series of time is really illusory since the experience of time is relative to the subject (the object being the spacetime fabric).
STR may still permit an A series of time where the subject’s experience of objective becoming is supported by the object’s relation to the subject. There are two concurrent ways this may be done: Lorentzian simultaneity (from the physical approach) and God as the prime reality (from the metaphysical approach). Hendrick Lorentz proposed the idea that time and length are absolute but there is no way these measurements could be made since the measuring devices are in motion.
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