LS Re: Newcomer
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 13:37:40 +0100

I've been busy studying for my Quantum Mechanics midterm so I haven't
responded to any messages (I did read them and responses will be
forthcoming...). However, I just felt like I had to reply to this...

On Mon, 30 Mar 1998, Mary Wittler wrote:

> 1) If F=ma is not an 'absolute' truth, yet we all still experience gravity,
> then what is true? Is it that F=ma is a shorthand acknowledgement of the
> high probability of its occurrence?

look at this question in itself, in our current cultural/scientific
context. all we know right now is that things fall towards each other,
and we call it gravity, and it seems to predict things just fine. so the
statement "we all still experience gravity" is actually loaded with a
cultural context. for instance, what if 10 years from now we realize that
it's not really gravity that pulls us down, it's rather an as-yet-unknown
force/action? then we *don't* really experience gravity, since "gravity"
is no longer an accurate description of the interaction. we only know
what we measure, and we measure that things fall towards each other. any
laws and theories we generalize from that, and any given model of reality
and science we generate from those laws and theories, are all subject to
change. for instance, after aristotle, wasn't the Harmony of the Spheres
a "fact"? we may laugh at the believers of that science now, but we must
realize that even though our theories are more grounded in experiment,
they are just as culturally and temporally contextualized.

but what about the evidence, the observations we make? are those not
*fact*? yes and no, because at the heart of the matter, what we
choose to measure and what we choose to observe are also dependent on
what we already know. for instance, the greeks observed as much as newton
did - they saw the planets move, they saw things falling. and they had
materials to build a Cavendish torsion balance and measure the
gravitational constant G. but this was an observation they never made, or
chose to make, because their scientific framework simply did not account
for it. we look at everything everyday, but our current scientific
context dictates what we see.

> 2) If the Universe runs on probability, is it really necessary to apply the
> constuct of MOQ to it? Why can't the idea of probability stand alone? Is
> something more moral if it is more probable?

first, as far as we know, probability only runs at the Quantum level, and
it somehow becomes deterministic at a macro level (even if the determinism
is chaotic and nonlinear). and at the quantum level, i think "morality"
is sort of DEFINED in the MoQ to be whatever is more probable. the
argument basically goes like this: things do what they think are better
for them. electrons don't think (as far as we know), but they do seem to
choose between actions and states via changing their probability
wavefunctions, so we might as well call that device "morality" at the
quantum level.

at least, this is how i see the argument as going, someone please correct
or comment on it if they disagree.

> 3) Where is the evidence for a moral engine operating in the Universe?

the fact that things always seem to evolve UP for some reason; that
lower-order patterns of value seem to spontaneously change their
relationships with other lower-order patterns of value to create larger
patterns superimposed upon themselves.

> I await enlightenment. Feel free to shake up my world view!

don't await enlightenment, come to it. :)


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