It seems I managed to miss this forum...

Unrepentant_Elitist
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It seems I managed to miss this forum...

...for quite a few weeks. I have been reading quite a bit of the posts over the past weeks and finally posted a few comments of my own. Unfortunately I have neglected to introduce myself. I am an instructor in reactor kinetics and applied thermodynamics at a nuclear generating plant in the United States. I have been an atheist for many years, which is an interminable source of exasperation for my evangelical parents. Nonetheless, it is the only conclusion I can arrive at given the preponderance of doubt derived from years of experience and observation. I am not necessarily a proselytistic atheist, but I refuse to apologize for my convictions nor dilute their content for those who are off-put by them. On a lighter note, when I am not at work I enjoy classical music, reading, wine, and road cycling. I am also a free-lance composer, but I have little time to devote to it these days. I am currently working on my PhD, hopefully to be completed before the Rapture, but I have been given a wide variety of dates...

I look forward to interacting with non-believers and believers alike, and I am emboldened by this site: who would have thought it possible 15 short years ago?

   


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:3

 Hi. Laughing out loud


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Hi unrepentant

 

Nice to meet you and good luck with beating that rapure to the posts with your studies...

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Hola

Welcome to the forums, hope you enjoy it as much as I have Laughing out loud


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Welcome. 

Welcome.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Welcome aboard, there are

Welcome aboard, there are nachos at the table over there.

 


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Hello!

Hi UE ~ I see you have jumped right in !  Welcome aboard 

Slowly building a blog at ~

http://obsidianwords.wordpress.com/


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Welcome and enjoy.

Welcome and enjoy.

____________________________________________________________
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me

"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.


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For some reason I keep

For some reason I keep reading all of your posts in a British accent.  I know your OP says you're from the U.S.  though. 

Anyway, hello!


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Unrepentant_Elitist,It's

Unrepentant_Elitist,

It's really nice to have you here, you're just the kind of person I'd like to see more of.  I like seeing your science background, and kudos on the PhD attempt.  Do you mind if I ask you how you first came across this site?  Was it an ad?  

Have fun here!

 

- Brian 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


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Gallowsbait wrote:For some

Gallowsbait wrote:

For some reason I keep reading all of your posts in a British accent.  I know your OP says you're from the U.S.  though. 

Anyway, hello!

I live in Minnesota, so perhaps the British accent would be less aurally grating. From now on, I will refer to elevators as "lifts" and car trunks as "boots."


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Sapient

Sapient wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist,

It's really nice to have you here, you're just the kind of person I'd like to see more of.  I like seeing your science background, and kudos on the PhD attempt.  Do you mind if I ask you how you first came across this site?  Was it an ad?  

Have fun here!

 

- Brian 

 

 

Thank you for the welcome. A friend of mine who is in the evolutionary biology field sent me a link to a youtube video featuring the demolition of Cameron and Comfort (sounds like a poor quality law firm) that she planned on using in one of her lectures. I followed the trail from there...


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Thank you all for your

Thank you all for your responses... methinks I shall avail myself of yon nachos!


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 Welcome to the forums!  I

 Welcome to the forums!  I hope everyone can learn at least as much as I have from here.


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"When we stop learning, we

"When we stop learning, we begin dying..."

I think someone much more famous than I may have said that, but if not, I'd like to take credit for it!

Thank you for your response.


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Sorry for the belated

Sorry for the belated Welcome here, but "Welcome!".

At least we have already 'met' on other threads.

FWIW, my science knowledge starts with an Engineering degree and many decades of subscription to New Scientist magazine as the main sources, plus many books and podcasts and occasional issues of other science mags.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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I appreciate the welcome!A

I appreciate the welcome!

A fellow engineering type (I started my career in nuclear eng. ) is always a good sign. I have read many of your posts and I enjoy your approach to rational discourse: logical with just a hint of disgust (I consider this phrase to be complimentary). If I may ask, do you teach?


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Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:I

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:

I appreciate the welcome!

A fellow engineering type (I started my career in nuclear eng. ) is always a good sign. I have read many of your posts and I enjoy your approach to rational discourse: logical with just a hint of disgust (I consider this phrase to be complimentary). If I may ask, do you teach?

No I don't teach.

For a little while some time ago I was giving a weekly lecture in my old Uni Electrical Engineering Dept, basically outlining aspects of my then employer, which was our national Telephone company.

For the record, my study was in Electrical Engineering, majoring in Electronics and Communications, for which I gained a Bachelor's degree with honors.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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I currently teach reactor

I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S. I found the transition from the ivory tower of academia to the base ethics of corporate employment difficult to say the least. Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation (this translates into substantial income increases). Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I had naturally assumed that when I transitioned to a corporate entity I would find at least some "kindred spirits" (to borrow a phrase), but...

I recently overheard one of my students describe his fear that "the celebration of Halloween is just a celebration of devils and demons; we don't celebrate it 'cause I don't want my kids turning out like that." This comes from a student who can perform Fourier series differential equations in his head with a decent level of accuracy. It boggles the mind...

 


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Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:I

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:

I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S

I am going to graduate school at UC, Irvine and as apart of my studies this past quarter I attended a nine week long/two hours per week seminar on nuclear science and the politics of nuclear power in the US. It was some pretty interesting stuff. I am seriously considering contacting one of the speakers of that seminar and asking him about working at the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

You say you teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics. You don't happen to be a chemical engineer?

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Unrepentant_Elitist

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:

Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation

 

I would think that they found an appreciation for knowledge of science somewhere down the line...  We just messed around with a physics app involving two masses with a spring in between in my vibrations class.  For some reason, seeing the plot of the displacement of each versus time and the 3D objects that were essentially painted there gave me an appreciation for the math behind it all.  Although money is enticing, I think there has to be some appreciation behind it to actually enjoy the job. 

 

But maybe I'm just a nerd.


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Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:I

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:
I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S. I found the transition from the ivory tower of academia to the base ethics of corporate employment difficult to say the least. Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation (this translates into substantial income increases). Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I had naturally assumed that when I transitioned to a corporate entity I would find at least some "kindred spirits" (to borrow a phrase), but...

As someone who has taught physics at a university with a substantial engineering college, I have to say I share these sentiments somewhat. Most of my engineering students were engaged, eager, and enthusiastic too, but not about the science I was trying to teach. They were eager to be able to crunch numbers. Crunching numbers gets you the job with the $$$, so they feel. Who cares if you understand where the formula you're using comes from? I can imagine that it only gets worse the further into the corporate world you go...


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Jormungander

Jormungander wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:

I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S

I am going to graduate school at UC, Irvine and as apart of my studies this past quarter I attended a nine week long/two hours per week seminar on nuclear science and the politics of nuclear power in the US. It was some pretty interesting stuff. I am seriously considering contacting one of the speakers of that seminar and asking him about working at the San Onofre nuclear power plant.

You say you teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics. You don't happen to be a chemical engineer?

Chemistry and I never got along all that well (with the exception of radiolytic processes and decay problems). My undergraduate work was in nuclear engineering (and music composition, just to keep people guessing). I would imagine the course you mentioned was indeed interesting. I have found that the politics surrounding the industry are often driven by fear and lack of knowledge. Having spoken with several protesters over the years, I was confronted with a single overarching observation: though their "hearts may be in the right place," they typically had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. 

As to your interest in San Onofre, I work with several people who have been at that plant. Their opinion seems to be universally positive. I will warn you that the industry is nerve-racking, difficult, and horrifyingly complex...and ultimately very rewarding: you would be working with an incredibly smart group of people who demand nothing less than perfection of themselves. Please let me know if you end up pursuing this idea.  


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v4ultingbassist

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:

Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation

 

I would think that they found an appreciation for knowledge of science somewhere down the line...  We just messed around with a physics app involving two masses with a spring in between in my vibrations class.  For some reason, seeing the plot of the displacement of each versus time and the 3D objects that were essentially painted there gave me an appreciation for the math behind it all.  Although money is enticing, I think there has to be some appreciation behind it to actually enjoy the job. 

 

But maybe I'm just a nerd.

You are correct, of course. Perhaps I was being a bit despondent! What is your current course of study? By the way, I have always considered the word "nerd" to be one of the highest compliments one can be paid!


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KSMB

KSMB wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:
I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S. I found the transition from the ivory tower of academia to the base ethics of corporate employment difficult to say the least. Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation (this translates into substantial income increases). Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I had naturally assumed that when I transitioned to a corporate entity I would find at least some "kindred spirits" (to borrow a phrase), but...

As someone who has taught physics at a university with a substantial engineering college, I have to say I share these sentiments somewhat. Most of my engineering students were engaged, eager, and enthusiastic too, but not about the science I was trying to teach. They were eager to be able to crunch numbers. Crunching numbers gets you the job with the $$$, so they feel. Who cares if you understand where the formula you're using comes from? I can imagine that it only gets worse the further into the corporate world you go...

 

As an engineering student myself, I'd like to make a few comments.  While the math behind the formulas is fascinating if understood, when your tests are 80% of your grade, and are based entirely on the application of said equations, you do not want the professor spending time on proofs.  You want to get as much teaching as possible on what is actually being tested. 


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KSMB

KSMB wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:
I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S. I found the transition from the ivory tower of academia to the base ethics of corporate employment difficult to say the least. Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation (this translates into substantial income increases). Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I had naturally assumed that when I transitioned to a corporate entity I would find at least some "kindred spirits" (to borrow a phrase), but...

As someone who has taught physics at a university with a substantial engineering college, I have to say I share these sentiments somewhat. Most of my engineering students were engaged, eager, and enthusiastic too, but not about the science I was trying to teach. They were eager to be able to crunch numbers. Crunching numbers gets you the job with the $$$, so they feel. Who cares if you understand where the formula you're using comes from? I can imagine that it only gets worse the further into the corporate world you go...

As I mentioned above, perhaps I was overly cynical about the situation. However, you make an excellent point as to the mechanics versus the bases behind physical processes. Some of the corporate types I have met over the years remember the Feynman diagrams for Compton scattering...but have no idea why they're important. I find that disconcerting to say the least.


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v4ultingbassist wrote:KSMB

v4ultingbassist wrote:

KSMB wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:
I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S. I found the transition from the ivory tower of academia to the base ethics of corporate employment difficult to say the least. Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation (this translates into substantial income increases). Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I had naturally assumed that when I transitioned to a corporate entity I would find at least some "kindred spirits" (to borrow a phrase), but...

As someone who has taught physics at a university with a substantial engineering college, I have to say I share these sentiments somewhat. Most of my engineering students were engaged, eager, and enthusiastic too, but not about the science I was trying to teach. They were eager to be able to crunch numbers. Crunching numbers gets you the job with the $$$, so they feel. Who cares if you understand where the formula you're using comes from? I can imagine that it only gets worse the further into the corporate world you go...

 

As an engineering student myself, I'd like to make a few comments.  While the math behind the formulas is fascinating if understood, when your tests are 80% of your grade, and are based entirely on the application of said equations, you do not want the professor spending time on proofs.  You want to get as much teaching as possible on what is actually being tested. 

Believe me, I understand the sentiment. As both a student and a teacher, I have witnessed this dichotomy time and again. Perhaps I am a bit romantic (about science? HA! I have now out-nerded you!), but allow me this question:

If you graduated with a "C" average, but felt that you had more insight into the "why" than even the professor did, would it be worth it?

I admit it's a subjective question with a wide range of possible answers, but I'm curious. I did o.k. in my undergraduate work and nearly perfect in my graduate work...and I still think I got more out of undergrad by far. As I am currently working on my PhD, I am having a bit of conflict: proceed as I did in undergraduate, questioning everything and arguing with anyone who looked at me cross-eyed, or towing the line as I did in graduate school. It's an odd position in which to find myself!


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Unrepentant_Elitist

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:

v4ultingbassist wrote:

KSMB wrote:

Unrepentant_Elitist wrote:
I currently teach reactor kinetics and thermodynamics (from a strictly "applied" sense of the word) at a nuclear facility in the U.S. I found the transition from the ivory tower of academia to the base ethics of corporate employment difficult to say the least. Admittedly, my students are engaged, eager, and enthusiastic; I wonder, however, if the end result of a Senior Reactor Operator License is the sole motivation (this translates into substantial income increases). Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I had naturally assumed that when I transitioned to a corporate entity I would find at least some "kindred spirits" (to borrow a phrase), but...

As someone who has taught physics at a university with a substantial engineering college, I have to say I share these sentiments somewhat. Most of my engineering students were engaged, eager, and enthusiastic too, but not about the science I was trying to teach. They were eager to be able to crunch numbers. Crunching numbers gets you the job with the $$$, so they feel. Who cares if you understand where the formula you're using comes from? I can imagine that it only gets worse the further into the corporate world you go...

 

As an engineering student myself, I'd like to make a few comments.  While the math behind the formulas is fascinating if understood, when your tests are 80% of your grade, and are based entirely on the application of said equations, you do not want the professor spending time on proofs.  You want to get as much teaching as possible on what is actually being tested. 

Believe me, I understand the sentiment. As both a student and a teacher, I have witnessed this dichotomy time and again. Perhaps I am a bit romantic (about science? HA! I have now out-nerded you!), but allow me this question:

 

Trust me, science is sexy.

 

Quote:

If you graduated with a "C" average, but felt that you had more insight into the "why" than even the professor did, would it be worth it?

 

I guess that question depends on what your goals are.  If you get an engineering degree with the intent of doing design work for some company, you would have little use for the insight, and would be frustrated having to understand it in order to get the degree.  On the other hand, if your goal was to do research work, you're more likely to be into the science (IMO) and also have much more use for that insight.  Personally, I don't want to be required to have that background, even though I am someone who is interested in the math and science behind it all. 

 

Also, as an example, I was frustrated with my fluid dynamics class this quarter.  Our professor stressed the importance of understanding the derivations, but never tested us on them, and did not spend enough time in class on them for us to actually understand it.  The only classes I've had that have stressed AND tested derivations and proofs are calculus classes. (and what else would they test on?) 

 

I guess to sum it up, you don't get an engineering degree to understand how the equations were found, and what strategies were used to develop them, because it won't be your job to do that.  Your job will (most likely) be applying known equations to systems.  As such, I don't feel it is necessary to learn that background in an engineering curriculum.

 

And with the economy the way it is, you don't want C's.  (which sucks for me... lol)


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"Science is sexy." Well

"Science is sexy." Well said!

As to the subject, I appreciate your candor. Perhaps I approach the topic from a somewhat "ivory-tower" aspect, but you are correct in asserting that the research-vs.-applied conundrum is not one to be easily marginalized. While I certainly respect your decision to focus on the applied aspects in the interest of self-preservation as concerns the current economic climate, I do hope that you will nonetheless continue your interest in the more theoretical aspects of our chosen field. To me, the proofs and rationales behind a given equation or concept are some of the highest offerings of humankind. Again, I may be a bit of a romantic! 


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Haha, I totally agree. 

Haha, I totally agree.  I've done some learning on string theory, and that certainly won't help me in my career.  Stuff like that fascinates me, but typically I don't have time to dive into the complex side of things.  As of right now I am content with knowledge of the subject.  I'm sure I'll eventually attempt to learn the background, but for now my hands are full.

 

It's amazing how artistic mathematics can be... we grow thinking they're the exact opposite, only to find that, once understood, math is one of the most beautiful aspects of our universe...  (You aren't the only romantic... lol)


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String theory and the

String theory and the off-shoot M-theory are two of the most fascinating subjects in contemporary physics. If you have the time, the Brian Greene book that I mentioned in the 2nd Thermo forum is an excellent overview of the subject without the exceptionally difficult mathematics required for mastery of the subject. His follow-on, The Fabric of the Cosmos is equally impressive, but it delves a little farther into philosophical reasoning in order to avoid some of the multi-dimensional matrices needed for rigorous explanation.

As a confirmation of your statement as to the interrelation of mathematics and the arts, consider modern musical composition (I am speaking here of chamber/symphonic works): Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, and Karlheinz Stockhausen all used relatively formal mathematics to derive some of their compositional material. In a sense, I suppose the connectedness is reflected on both sides!


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There are two discoveries in

There are two discoveries in mathematics, or mathematical logic, which I feel have so fundamentally shifted our perspective on so many things, or certainly should have, that they render much of traditional philosophy and metaphysics utterly obsolete. Wonder what your views might be.

The first was Chaos theory, or the study of non-linear feed-back systems, which really rendered most traditional ideas of deterministic vs. non-deterministic systems totally invalid.

IOW, fully deterministic systems, in the traditional sense, could nevertheless give rise to genuinely unpredictable outcomes, ie outcomes which would require knowledge of the initial conditions to infinite precision, which amounts to practically the same thing.

Please feel free to correct me if you think I have got something wrong here.

The other is Göedel's incompleteness theorem, which nailed the problem which Russell and Whitehead had been troubled by about unresolvable statements in math, in particular their problem was in set theory, to do with definitions of 'sets which were not members of themselves', and related reflexive definitions. This demonstrate that the pursuit via math and logic of a perfect complete system to describe the world was futile, that you cannot prove the validity of a formal system from within the system.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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I'll definitely follow up on

I'll definitely follow up on those books and musicians.  I need some new music and a few good books.


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BobSpence1 wrote:There are

BobSpence1 wrote:

There are two discoveries in mathematics, or mathematical logic, which I feel have so fundamentally shifted our perspective on so many things, or certainly should have, that they render much of traditional philosophy and metaphysics utterly obsolete. Wonder what your views might be.

The first was Chaos theory, or the study of non-linear feed-back systems, which really rendered most traditional ideas of deterministic vs. non-deterministic systems totally invalid.

IOW, fully deterministic systems, in the traditional sense, could nevertheless give rise to genuinely unpredictable outcomes, ie outcomes which would require knowledge of the initial conditions to infinite precision, which amounts to practically the same thing.

Please feel free to correct me if you think I have got something wrong here.

The other is Göedel's incompleteness theorem, which nailed the problem which Russell and Whitehead had been troubled by about unresolvable statements in math, in particular their problem was in set theory, to do with definitions of 'sets which were not members of themselves', and related reflexive definitions. This demonstrate that the pursuit via math and logic of a perfect complete system to describe the world was futile, that you cannot prove the validity of a formal system from within the system.

 

In my opinion, the two developments that you mentioned are definitive of the twentieth century as concerns mathematics and physical science. Chaos theory, as you noted, represented a complete shift in how we think about dynamic, non-linear systems. I have personally found Edward Lorenz's paper on Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow (1963) to be one of the defining documents of the era. As to Goedel (I have no idea how to execute an umlaut on my keyboard), his recognition of the inability of a system of logical coherence to prove its own foundations to be one of the most disturbing yet enticing subjects of the 20th century (I actually felt sorry for Bertrand Russell when I read it...a life's work negated by a few sentences). To be honest, I have often wondered why theists didn't try some variance of this argument as a "logical" impaling of mathematics.

To your list, I would add the emergence of M-theory as a significant development as well. Edward Witten is on a different level than the rest of humanity. As a pure mathematician, he has published multiple papers worthy of recognition (hell, he won the Fields medal)...and then he turned his attentions to physics. His ideas are fresh, completely devoid of supposition, and incredibly prescient as concerns the current conversation the scientific community is having with itself as regards "grand unified theories." While I tend to shy away from the term, I believe that Chaos, Goedel, and M-theory have laid the foundations for an adequate understanding of our physical world.


BobSpence
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Encouraging that you share

Encouraging that you share my views on Goedel and Chaos theory.

I must look into Witten.

BTW, to access a collection of special characters, click on the omega symbol in the top row of icons above the composition window.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Unrepentant_Elitist
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Thank you for the computer

Thank you for the computer tip!

Witten is difficult to read but ultimately rewarding. As a thought-dropping, when you mentioned Göedel (see, I can be taught!), I recalled a conversation that Paul Erdòs had with Ron Graham in which he mentioned that having spoken personally with Einstein at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Einstein did not "believe in a personal god," and likewise related that Göedel's citizenship exam was somewhat complicated when he tried to convince the interviewer that the U.S. constitution contained the logical necessities to foment a dictatorship. I have never researched the contention, but it's certainly nonetheless amusing (I hope Big E doesn't come after me now...).