Foundations of Logic – Postmodernism and science

Foundations of Logic Facebook Page – postmodernism and science

Science seems to me to be a process of observing, contemplating, producing hypotheses to account for observations, then designing experiments to eliminate one or more of the available possible models.

The repeated application of this process builds successively more useful models of reality, successively more useful approximations in more contexts.

The repeated application of that process seems to indicate that our existence as conscious entities is very likely the result of a process of evolution which involves over 15 levels of cooperative systems, from molecular up through levels of cellular, organs, ecosystems to culture, language and higher order abstractions.

We seem to be far more complex than we are capable of comprehending in anything other than the broadest of brush stroke terms using sets of heuristics that allow us to make some sort of sense out of systems that are extremely complex across many levels.

The reality we find ourselves in seems to require a sort of fundamental balance between order and chaos at many different levels – from Heisenberg uncertainty on upwards.

It seems that this balance is capable of simultaneous allowing for the existence of free will (to the degree that we approximate it) and computers.

This is the view of someone who has practiced at being a generalist for 50 years.

[followed by]

Hi Mark,
I find mathematics and logics very useful tools in building models, and I use them frequently, and they are not the only modelling tools available or useful.
Science doesn’t have to be about mathematical models, and in most cases one can construct mathematical models, and in almost all non-trivial experiments mathematical tools are a necessary part of the analysis and interpretation of results.

And I have a very clear distinction between mathematical tools that are useful in giving sufficiently accurate predictions and the thing that they model (whatever it actually is).

It seems to me that quite a few people fall into the trap of thinking that reality is actually like the mathematical model, rather than accepting that the mathematical model is, in a very deep sense, a heuristic tool for understanding.

And provided one is clear on that distinction, yes – maths is very often a very useful tool, and it is not the only tool, and it is not the tool set used by most people.
So when one is translating scientific models for broader public consumption, one needs to develop a translation matrix appropriate to the audience involved. That is often a non-trivial task in itself.

[followed by]

Hi Mark,
I find mathematics and logics very useful tools in building models, and I use them frequently, and they are not the only modelling tools available or useful.
Science doesn’t have to be about mathematical models, and in most cases one can construct mathematical models, and in almost all non-trivial experiments mathematical tools are a necessary part of the analysis and interpretation of results.

And I have a very clear distinction between mathematical tools that are useful in giving sufficiently accurate predictions and the thing that they model (whatever it actually is).

It seems to me that quite a few people fall into the trap of thinking that reality is actually like the mathematical model, rather than accepting that the mathematical model is, in a very deep sense, a heuristic tool for understanding.

And provided one is clear on that distinction, yes – maths is very often a very useful tool, and it is not the only tool, and it is not the tool set used by most people.
So when one is translating scientific models for broader public consumption, one needs to develop a translation matrix appropriate to the audience involved. That is often a non-trivial task in itself.

[followed by]

Consider the following:
RNAs cooperate to produce proteins
RNA and proteins to produce lipids and sugars
DNA RNA proteins and lipids to produce a cell
Prokaryotes to produce nucleated eukaryotes
Add mitochondria and chloroplasts
Cells to produce colonies
Subsets of cells to produce organs
Individuals to produce populations
populations to produce ecosystems

Then we get into the more abstract behavioural levels of cooperation, and that also includes the levels of cooperation between the many different sets of information and decision systems within an embodied human, from the purely mechanical, to the chemical to the electrochemical, to the electronic, then to the levels of software running on those systems.
Looking within myself, I have no difficulty getting to 20 levels.
But I have been looking recursively since the early 70s, as someone interested in both biochemistry and systems, and how evolution works in practice across multiple levels of systems simultaneously.
I have run a software company since 1986, and have had retained interest in existential risk communities, AI communities, psychology, systems, technology, communications, complexity and evolution particularly in terms of impacts on economics and politics.

The probability of me being able to communicate anything approximating the totality of the relationships present in my brain is very low. I need to focus on key areas that seem to me to offer the greatest probability of moving the very complex system that is us on this 3rd rock from the sun to a “space” where indefinite individual life and maximal individual liberty have a reasonable probability of universal instantiation. And that is written acknowledging the deepest sense of complexity present, including many aspects that are chaotic and random in the most technical of senses.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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