Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Laws Of Nature, Source Unknown

I have mixed feelings after reading this article. On one hand, it is a compact, brief summary of the differing opinions among physicists on the issues surrounding how we comprehend our world. On the other hand, I don't think someone without a good background in physics would read it with the same comprehension as a physicist, and that could create a whole different perspective that may not be entirely accurate.

The problem here is that it is trying to "describe" the problem using a series of short, quick quotations from various sources. Such a thing is never accurate, especially on something as complex as this. This is where a physicist read this does see the actual physics associated with the quote being shown, while the general public ONLY see the quote and take it at face value without realizing the underlying physics. This is where the differing perspective from reading the same article comes from.

Still, I suppose this is an interesting enough article. At least, it reminded me again that hilarious quote attributed to Feynman:

These kinds of speculation are fun, but they are not science, yet. “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds,” goes the saying attributed to Richard Feynman, the late Caltech Nobelist, and repeated by Dr. Weinberg.

I have to remember to use that one of these days. :)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds” is a cute comment, but I've seen things in Philosophy journals that are more Physics than Philosophy. Couldn't we also add that "Theoretical Physics is about as useful to Experimental Physics"? There are times when experimentalists are rightly exasperated with the flights of fancy of theorists, other times when theorists point out some experiment or another that the experimentalist would never think of. Sometimes, perhaps its only every 50 years, someone whose principal interest is Philosophy points out something that a Theoretical Physicist can do that they would never think of. It's worth having that kind of redirection every few decades.

Thanks for this post, incidentally, because I had scandalously never heard of random dynamics before.