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valiantv
2003-Dec-10, 06:10 AM
I am not sure of the protocol on beginning a new thread; however, I don’t believe my responses to the following questions fall under “Galileo and Jupiter”. I would like to start a thread regarding pseudo-science.


What do you mean by pseudo-sciences? Is that to say that you realize they are scientifically unsatisfactory but enjoy reading them for their fictional value? Or that you are interested in the psychology of pseudo-scientists?

Unfortunately, the answer is neither of those options.

Given that my first posting on BABB requested information and assistance in differentiating the pseudo-science of Hoagland’s Galileo article and real science; I humbly admit my interest in pseudo-science is not because I know it is fiction, but rather my curiosity to either validate or disprove it as non-fiction. That is why I am here on BABB seeking information. Very helpful information, I might add.




My favorite is theoretical physics. Is that a real science or pseudoscience?
Not sure if thats a serious question, but in any case: no.

Unfortunately, my question required an "either, or" answer, not a "yes, no" answer. So, is Theoretical Physics a pseudo-science or real science? Since it’s testable, I believe it is real. Which leads me into this new thread.

valiantv
2003-Dec-10, 06:15 AM
First, is this the right forum in discussing Space-Time Dimensions. If so, what type of science would this fall under?

freddo
2003-Dec-10, 06:25 AM
Against the Mainstream is certainly the forum where such topics are to live, you've got that much right.

Got a theory - and its specifics, people here will soon work out if it's testable, and others will likely tell you if it withstands scrutiny...

So what exactly are you wishing to discuss?

kilopi
2003-Dec-10, 12:59 PM
First, is this the right forum in discussing Space-Time Dimensions.
Sure. When do we start discussing them?

Ian Goddard
2003-Dec-10, 01:43 PM
Pseudoscience refers to claims that lack falsification criteria. Falsification requires a pass-or-fail detectability test. Therefore the claimed existence of invisible, or undetectable, beings has no falsification criteria and is thus pseudoscientific. The claim "Everything became uniformly larger over night" cannot be falsified since all things (including measuring apparatus) would still have the same size relationships. Science has not disproved the existence of oft-claimed invisible beings, it's just allowed us to detect causes for natural phenomena within the set of detectable entities.

Cougar
2003-Dec-10, 04:21 PM
....I humbly admit my interest in pseudo-science is not because I know it is fiction, but rather my curiosity to either validate or disprove it as non-fiction.
An excellent topic for discussion. Ian's posting above goes a long way toward clarifying the situation. Here is another quotation that may help in detecting the pseudoscientific:

"If a theory is crazy, or unorthodox, or seemingly bizarre, that does not make it pseudoscientific. Crackpot and pseudoscientific theories are bizarre in a particular way. They tend to ignore long-established scientific ideas. They operate in a world of their own, not in the world of scientific discourse."
But this implies that you have to have some understanding of the "world of scientific discourse" in order to identify something outside of it.

I guess I'd say that common sense is a fairly good guide in distinguishing the pseudoscientific from the scientific. I'm not sure if there is a single "litmus test" that will give a definitive answer. Content is, of course, a major consideration, but context is often very helpful in making the determination. This includes who is making the assertion? What level of education does the person have? Some 11-year-old kid making assertions on his personal webpage is much more likely to be spouting pseudoscience than a PhD professor from Sonoma State.


My favorite is theoretical physics. Is that a real science or pseudoscience?
Theoretical physics is quite a real science, of course. I know that there are branches of theoretical physics these days that are considering hypotheses and there doesn't seem to be any way to test them, thus if we were to apply Ian's criterion literally, we'd have to place a lot of cutting-edge theoretical physics into the pseudoscience category. But as science becomes more and more cutting-edge, direct testing often becomes more and more difficult. So other factors come into play. Does the hypothesis build on what was known previously? Does it imply a certain outcome (or prediction) that we can check?
http://www.xmission.com/~dcc/kaleid.gif

Ian Goddard
2003-Dec-10, 04:36 PM
Ian's criterion literally, we'd have to place a lot of cutting-edge theoretical physics into the pseudoscience category.
That criterion stems from the standard definition of pseudoscience traceable to Karl Popper (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html).

But as science becomes more and more cutting-edge, direct testing often becomes more and more difficult. So other factors come into play. Does the hypothesis build on what was known previously? Does it imply a certain outcome (or prediction) that we can check?
Right, and making a prediction establishes a criterion for falsification.

valiantv
2003-Dec-10, 05:41 PM
Unfortunately, I have neither a specific hypothesis nor theory. I am interested in validating the existence of higher space-time dimensions. At this point the eleven space-time dimension of the M-Theory is way beyond my grasp and want to start with a simple 5 (4d space-1d time) dimension.

My starting “point” is just that …a one-dimensional point. Unfortunately, according to Ian Gooddard:

…the claimed existence of invisible, or undetectable, beings has no falsification criteria and is thus pseudoscientific.
Replacing “beings” with “concepts” such as a one-dimensional point would make this thread a discussion of pseudo-science. Since the 1d point is only a concept and does not physically exist in our 4-dimensional reality. It can be represented by a dot on a piece of paper, a point of a pin, or even a raised atom. Although, each representation has depth, width and length, the 1-d point is ” invisible, or undetectable”.

However, isn’t the 1-d point the foundation of our 3-d reality and possibly beyond? (Proof: extending one point creates a line; extending perpendicular to the line, creates a plane; extending perpendicular to the plane creates a cube; …and extending perpendicular to the vertices of the cube creates a projection in 3-d space of a 4-d hypercube).

Can the above proof be applied to our physical reality?

russ_watters
2003-Dec-10, 06:51 PM
My favorite is theoretical physics. Is that a real science or pseudoscience?
Not sure if thats a serious question, but in any case: no.

Unfortunately, my question required an "either, or" answer, not a "yes, no" answer. So, is Theoretical Physics a pseudo-science or real science? Since it’s testable, I believe it is real. Which leads me into this new thread. Heh - when I read fast, sometimes I misread. I thought you were asking if it was pseudoscience. So the answer really is: real science.

Cougar
2003-Dec-10, 07:02 PM
That criterion stems from the standard definition of pseudoscience traceable to Karl Popper (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html).
Thanks. That's an excellent paper and an excellent historical foundation for the question at hand.

But I might point out that the linked paper, well devised as it is, was written and published 40 years ago, well before a lot of today's science was discovered and well before a lot of today's cutting-edge concepts were conceived. Would Popper brand string theory pseudoscientific? It would appear that from his strict interpretation of the doctrine of falsifiability, he indeed would. It is interesting that Leon Lederman - not a philosopher but an experimental physicist - would make the following point....


....superstrings and GUTs are speculative efforts to extend current understanding, building on what we know. The better theories are verifiable. Once upon a time that was the sine qua non of any theory. Nowadays, addressing events at the Big Bang, we face, perhaps for the first time, a situation in which a theory may never be experimentally tested." [Leon Lederman, The God Particle, p 389]

So Popper's hard and fast rule of scientific viability may no longer be quite the simple determination as Sir Karl's philosophy of science originally declared. If Popper can be likened to Newton, perhaps we now need an Einstein to extend his philosophy of science to the extreme and subtle cases that arise in today's science....
http://www.xmission.com/~dcc/cougarrelax.jpg

Ian Goddard
2003-Dec-10, 10:52 PM
However, isn’t the 1-d point the foundation of our 3-d reality and possibly beyond? (Proof: extending one point creates a line; extending perpendicular to the line, creates a plane; extending perpendicular to the plane creates a cube; …and extending perpendicular to the vertices of the cube creates a projection in 3-d space of a 4-d hypercube).
A point in Euclidian geometry is zero dimensional, so I'm not sure what you mean by a one-dimensional point. But as you note it's a concept. I'd say that a point is an element of descriptions of nD space, which should be distinguished from physical 3D space.


So Popper's hard and fast rule of scientific viability may no longer be quite the simple determination as Sir Karl's philosophy of science originally declared. If Popper can be likened to Newton, perhaps we now need an Einstein to extend his philosophy of science to the extreme and subtle cases that arise in today's science....
You raise good points. I'm actually skeptical of much of Popper's work, especially his claim that science can be described as operating without induction. In The Rationality of Science W H Newton-Smith presents a strong critique of Popper. So does Martin Gardner (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/gardner_popper.html), who cites additional critique by Ernest Nagel. Nevertheless I think Popper's falsification standard is generally useful. If a claim about the physical world cannot be falsified it's outside the range of detectability, and science is about what can be detected.

valiantv
2003-Dec-10, 11:50 PM
However, isn’t the 1-d point ...
A point in Euclidian geometry is zero dimensional, so I'm not sure what you mean by a one-dimensional point. But as you note it's a concept. I'd say that a point is an element of descriptions of nD space, which should be distinguished from physical 3D space.


Thank you for the correction. With this correction, the jist of my question is slightly altered... Given that points, lines, planes, cubes and hypercubes are "elements of descriptions of nD", can these elements of description be applied to physical 3D space?

When I misspoked and asked, "...isn’t the 1-d point the foundation of our 3-d reality", I should have asked, "isn’t the point the foundation of how we describe our 3-d reality?"

With these few posts on this thread, I am beginning to realize that postulating a higher space-time dimension may be a fun mathematical exercise of the mind, but not necessarily applied to our physical 3-d space. :(