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Thread: The last and final argument about reality.

  1. #13471
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Len,

    If you believe in MDR, then what (if anything) was happening in the Universe before there was a Mind?

    MDR reminds me of the old aphorism:
    "What is matter? Never mind. What is Mind? It doesn't matter!"
    Perhaps what I was trying to say hasn't come across very well. I don't believe in the MDR model, as I don't believe in any scientific model. A scientific model has no scientific remit to extend to any mind independent realm, the extension can only occur via the philosophy of realism - and that is a belief. I don't believe that newtons laws work, I know they do because I can verify them. But what I may or not believe is whether Newtons laws play out in any reality that exists outside of the mind - I can never know that because I can never ever escape from my mind.

    So I was trying to show MDR in the same light, it is a scientific model to be tested and known about, not believed. Whether there is more to that scientific model within an envisaged mind Independent reality is a belief and we are all free to engage with such a belief.

    Just to clarify my position - I believe in a minimalist form of realism whereby "something" within a MI realm is connected in unfamiliar terms (not causal) outside space and time to our empirical reality, I do not believe in radical idealism. I believe that "something" other than minds are at play within our reality that gives reliability to our existence. It means that we cannot make up the laws of nature as we make up the rules of chess, "something" beyond and outside of our empirical reality is I believe playing out. But I have no idea what that can be, I see it as a MI "something" but since it lay outside of the mind, I cannot ever step outside of my mind to investigate it scientifically. So it can only be a full blown belief of a MI reality. Others will believe in a MI reality that is by and large very similar to our empirical reality, the mind acting in a very passive way. It is all flavours of realism. Some are radical idealists, they believe everything we perceive exists only in the mind - I do not hold that belief.

    I would like to know scientifically what is absolutely the case, it could well be that there exists a MI reality that is identical to our perception. Unfortunately we will never be able to find that out scientifically because we can never step outside of our mind. So I don't say there is or isn't, all I say is that scientific models cannot answer that question for us, science doesn't have a remit to be practiced in an arena where there is no mind.

    The same with the MDR model, it has no remit to say one way or the other whether a MI reality exists, all it can do is to examine scientifically how our minds work by gathering evidence and the only place it can gather evidence from is our reality, it cannot gather evidence from a MI realm that we think (or insist) must exist. That's all the model is, nothing more - the scientific method is being used to examine the way we build our reality using evidence, and like all scientific models it has no scientific remit to extend its applicability to a realm outside of the mind.

  2. #13472
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    A very interesting point. The mind itself, like the brain is a model we know about because we can test it and predict various things. We also believe in it at an extended level beyond what we can presently test. We know there is a philosophy called “realism” but that has to be closely defined in the context of this thread. We separate MDR, MIR, real scientific knowledge, self knowledge, self belief, untestable beliefs and I would add “theory of mind” because that mind model underpins both everyday realism and science. Consensus implies a solid theory of mind which is dangerously close to “those who agree with me”. It’s hard to stay rigorous here!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  3. #13473
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Look i get the point that:

    The universe makes the mind and all the mind can do is make models.
    The mind interprets the (rest of ) the universe and itself in many ways.
    One of the most useful ways is by using ‘the scientific method’.
    The question that mdr has never answered imho is the ‘unreasonable success’ of the scientific method.
    Imho the ‘no miracles’ argument for the success of science is the best argument for the existence of ‘reality’ beyond our models and our minds.
    Lets think about this for a minute. The proponents of MDR on this forum feel that MDR is obvious. If so, it would come as a shock to a great number of philosophers of science around the world that the ‘meaning of life’ (kidding) was revealed in the posts of some physics forum on the internet rather than being published in peer-reviewed journals. Now, this doesn’t mean it is wrong.... if i am incorrect please post references. �� Some on this forum have in the past denigrated philosophers as inferior to physicists but i think that is unfair.
    It is not difficult to persuade philosophical amateurs on the internet...
    Don’t get me wrong - i really think this is a great discussion and no offense intended. Thanks to all for the effort they have put in over the years!
    I think perhaps consider these points in relation to the above post.

    1. The scientific method is only valid within empirical reality. It has no scientific legitimacy at all outside of empirical reality. (If anyone thinks it has, then they have to show how we can step outside of our minds in order to carry out the method within a reality that lay outside of the mind).
    2. The "no miracle" argument is not a scientific argument, it is a philosophical argument to support and make plausible the philosophy of realism. It can be argued against by various arguments (for example see Bernard d'Espagnat - "On Physics and Philosophy" page 114, "On the "no-miracle" argument"). One is free to use whatever side of this argument to personally determine how well it philosophically supports the plausibility of realism.
    3.The success of science has nothing whatever do to with its believed (or not) correspondence with a MIR. The scientific method works in exactly the same way regardless of any personal philosophy concerning the manner in which a scientific model may exist in a believed MI reality.
    4. The model of MDR is a scientific model and if it were to be peer-reviewed, it would have to be a peer review by scientists not philosophers of science. I very much doubt it has sufficient depth at present to be peer-reviewed, I think it is a model very much in its infancy.
    5. The model of MDR, being a scientific model, has absolutely no remit in which to model any aspect of a supposed MI "anything" that would form part of ones own personal belief concerning a realm outside of the mind. It can model only that which can in principle be testable, layer by layer, so that confines itself entirely to the mind as it operates within empirical reality.

  4. #13474
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    A very interesting point. The mind itself, like the brain is a model we know about because we can test it and predict various things. We also believe in it at an extended level beyond what we can presently test. We know there is a philosophy called “realism” but that has to be closely defined in the context of this thread. We separate MDR, MIR, real scientific knowledge, self knowledge, self belief, untestable beliefs and I would add “theory of mind” because that mind model underpins both everyday realism and science. Consensus implies a solid theory of mind which is dangerously close to “those who agree with me”. It’s hard to stay rigorous here!
    Yes I agree, the model of MDR has quite a task ahead of it's self! The question for the future I think is how much of the mind, with all of its very complex layers, will be able to be modelled and tested to give a much more comprehensive MDR.

  5. #13475
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    If an infant were born with a working model of reality, it would support, partially, an MIR but our observations confirm the model evolves from experience and teaching. More mind work, as is happening, might find a point at which external reality becomes a working assumption and hopefully, a later time when that is challenged, as in this thread.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  6. #13476
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    The point is our human 'reality', however you like it, doesn't mean a thing when we are not here i.e. before or after anything else.
    Nor does any other of our words, including "love", "pain", "existence", etc.. It's really not saying anything to pick out one word, "reality", and say that one doesn't mean a thing without us-- because none of them do.
    But some people cannot consider this vacuum of our minds as being a mind independent reality because 'they thought about it, duh', and totally ignore the actual 'reality' for everything else that the universe will not cease to exist when humans cease to exist.
    It sounds like you are returning to the false argument that has been debunked countless times in this thread. Nothing in MDR thinking asserts that the universe will cease to exist after we are gone. MDR thinking asserts that we do hold that the universe will exist after we are gone, and that statement's very meaning depends on our being here now. You still don't seem to understand that difference, so you don't understand MDR thinking and are unable to critique it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    I'm still not convinced (i'm not claiming an argument from incredulity) by arguments about MDR but it is quite possible i have misunderstood them.
    Yes, let's be sure you understand what MDR thinking is all about, because a lot of people have made the mistake of thinking it means something like "reality is whatever we want it to be", but it is actually "our goals and purposes when we use our word reality, and everything we do to give that word the meaning we intend, depends on us in demonstrable ways." The core idea is that we are responsible for our own concept of reality, and the pretense that we have some kind of direct link to What Actually Is only leads to misconceptions, including misconceptions about how science works.
    A scientific realist might say something like "Our best scientific theories are approximately correct in that they map (imperfectly) entities or their relationships onto some underlying reality- as evidenced by the no miracles argument".
    The "no miracles argument" has been addressed above, and in my view, completely destroyed. It is ultimately no different from a person who thinks they can prove doing science means studying the mind of god. It is simply not a logically correct argument, but before I repeat why, let's be sure of exactly what you mean by that argument. So if you would, please give that argument in as complete and logically self-contained form as you can, and we can have a look at its validity.
    If you subscribe to MDR.. it is models all the way down.. and that our best scientific theories are useful (by definition) but can never tell us anything about any underlying reality... of which you may choose (in a religious/non-scientific sense) to either Believe in 'reality' or Not Believe in 'reality'.
    I wouldn't say it can't tell us about underlying reality, I would say it never refers to "underlying reality" at all, it simply has no truck with that concept and never uses it or needs it in any way (and indeed, leads to much confusion and misconception). Just ask yourself, what do you mean by "underlying"? Lying under what, exactly? You can always expose an MIR argument for what it is by simply replacing terms like "underlying reality" with other terms we see, like "the mind of god", and recognize that you haven't changed anything in the statement other than made it more clear you are dealing with a belief system. MDR thinking does not deny an "underlying reality", it merely recognizes that entire notion as a mind-dependent model, one that most people use and most people mistake as something that science needs-- but it doesn't.

    But, if we can disprove / reject some scientific theories- or see that some theories are contradictory with what is 'known'.. then we can't we at least state some 'facts' (in the negative sense) about underlying reality?.. and hence prove there is an underlying reality (that we don't know much about).
    Where have I gone wrong logically? I'm sure others will tell me :-)
    The problem is that you have started and ended your thinking with a belief in the existence of an "underlying reality." MDR thinking does not reject such a belief, it merely identifies it as a belief. Until you can point to some difference between a belief in an "underlying reality", versus a belief in a "god's eye view", then you can see the two function just the same. Why would one be a belief and the other not be? It's very easy, just replace "underlying reality" with "god's eye view" or "god's will" or "the mind of god," and notice you aren't saying anything different, it's just a (slightly) different belief.


    White is not black,
    A statement true by what you mean by the words, and clearly mind dependent.
    Darwinism is correct, and Lamarckianism is incorrect.
    A statement whose truth stems from scientific testing, a process that is clearly mind dependent (just look at all the people who think you are wrong!). The point is, in science, that statement is true not in some "underlying reality" sense, it is true in a "tests out much better with the data" sense. Can you see how an "underlying reality" sense does not need a mind to adjudicate, but a "testing with data" sense does? What's more, if your statement is interpreted in an "underlying reality" sense, it is an example of the fallacy of "black and white thinking" (where one theory is "correct" and another "incorrect"), whereas in a scientifically adjudicated sense, we can actually give it a meaning that is true-- to an extent.
    Red light has a longer wavelength than Blue light.
    A definition that smacks of how we think about light.
    2+3 does not equal 17.3
    Mathematical truths stem from postulates, and are tested by experience, both of which require a mind to interpret (and this is why some people are really terrible at math while others are sublimely accomplished at it). 2+3 does equal 17.3 in the appropriate mathematical system, and there are even real situations where you might put 2 and 3 particles into a box with some excess energy and end up with 17.3 particles (on average, say) in some LHC collision.
    The Earth is not flat and 3000 years old.
    Again these are statements whose truths require a mind to understand and adjudicate. You first have to do a lot of work to establish what the words mean, and although it's easy to argue the Earth is not flat, it is also easy to argue it is not a sphere either. So then the mind must adjudicate which is "closer to the truth", which is actually a contextual issue. Indeed, in most situations, we treat our region of the Earth as flat not round, but we don't say that means the entire Earth has to be flat. But it isn't a sphere either-- all truth is contextual, and that's why it always needs a mind to establish.
    A duck is not a chicken.
    An obviously mind-dependent statement, we are the ones who say what ducks and chickens are-- I suspect any "underlying reality" would be amused by our oversimplifications.
    Too much dopamine does not cause parkinson's disease.
    And how does that favor MIR thinking over MDR thinking? The MDR thinker has no difficulty noticing patterns and incorporating those patterns into their MDR. The only difference from MIR thinking is the recognition of the role the mind is playing in noticing those patterns. If you take MIR thinking to its logical extreme, it's all just atoms and fields, there's no dopamine and no Parkinson's disease. Why would the "underlying reality" need to simplify particles by classifying them by the way they collect into patterns? Why would an "underlying reality" need to categorize diseases? It would all just be a bunch of stuff happening, no need for any classifications of any kind. Classification is what a mind does, to help achieve simplicity that an "underlying reality" would have no need for.
    Gravity is a weaker force than the strong nuclear force and operates over larger distances.
    One of the many useful elements of MDR thinking is how it helps us properly frame our physical theories. The MIR thinker is forced to imagine that Gravity is Actually In some "underlying reality", and so are "forces" and so are "distances." The MDR thinker is able to see how physics actually works-- we build operational definitions for things we can measure, like "distances" and "strengths" of forces, and then we study how those operational measurement phenomena support idealized theoretical frameworks like "gravity" and "force." When we understand this is what we (quite clearly, just look) are doing, we are not surprised to discover there are other ways to frame What Is Going On in completely different ways, that never even refer to "gravity" or "forces," or possibly even "distance", at all! It's pretty easy, actually, you replace the "force" concept with the concept of "least action", and replace "gravity" with a concept of curvature of spacetime. It's a little harder to replace "distance" or "strength", but our theoretical physicists are very clever mathematicians, and clever mathematicians are always replacing our familiar notions with abstract structures that bear no resemblance to our notions that we can detect. For example, some hold that everything we regard as happening over "distances" in 4D spacetime are actually a kind of hologram that is playing out like shadows on the boundary of a region we imagine but doesn't actually exist, and thinking that way gives them insights that our naïve views of space and time do not allow. Others think that what we regard as happening on large scales are actually phenomena playing out on very small scales in a kind of dual space where everything is inverted, but that's just not the sense of what is going on that our minds make. Still others hold that the most unifying dynamical equation ever discovered, Schroedinger's equation, is telling us that the reality we experience is an unbelievably teensy coherent microcosm of a vastly larger incoherent set of phenomena in which everything that can happen does (how's that for an "underlying reality", that's about as underlying as you can get!). A simple inspection of the range of physical theories that can successfully account for what we observe is a clear indicator that our minds prefer certain ways of thinking that we by no means can tell is the nature of some "underlying reality."
    The force between 2 charged particles does not vary with the inverse of the 19th exponent of the distance.
    Nor the 2nd exponent, which is what you probably thought was in the "underlying reality" but in fact is only a mind-dependent approximation that is, admittedly, amazingly accurate for completely mysterious reasons, reasons that belief in MIR accounts for no better than disbelief in it, or belief in god accounts for no better than disbelief.
    The universe doesn't just have 2 extended spatial dimensions.
    But the question is, how many does it have, in that "underlying reality" you believe in in your mind?
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-10 at 07:38 PM.

  8. #13478
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    If you believe in MDR, then what (if anything) was happening in the Universe before there was a Mind?
    Ah, you have fallen victim to several common misconceptions about MDR thinking, which we must correct or you will be talking about something completely different. First of all, whether anyone "believes in" MDR is of no importance here, any more than it would be important if they "believe in" Allah or Vishnu. This is not about belief, it is about evidence. There is a mountain of evidence, described in many places in this thread, that any time anyone uses the word "reality" for some purpose in their daily life, or in any scientific context whatsoever, they are using a version of that word that depends in clearly demonstrable ways on their mind, such that a very different mind could mean something quite different and use it in a different way. So that's what we are saying, we are not stating any personal beliefs we are citing evidence. But no part of MDR thinking asserts that nothing happened in the universe before there was "Mind", or even before there was "my mind." Instead, the statement is that our minds are creating and testing models, and these models depend in obvious ways on our minds, and the ways we test and adjudicate the models also depend in obvious ways on our minds. One of those models, which tests and adjudicates quite well for most human minds, is that the universe did exist before there was "Mind", and before there was "my mind." So the difference between MIR and MDR is not when we find works to say the universe came into being, it is who is responsible for saying when the universe came into being, or even whether time is a real thing or not, and what perceptions will be used, and what idealizations will be found useful and so on, to be able to get it all into our minds so that when we say it, we actually mean something. Something that depends on our minds, in ways we can only benefit by understanding better. The error in MIR reasoning (rather than simply choosing to believe in MIR) is that it claims no responsibility for the conclusions, the conclusions are Just True because they apply in an "underlying reality" that has nothing to do with how I think. That's what has no more evidence for it than any religion you could care to name. The simple fact that the individual mind has the responsibility of choosing to believe in MIR demonstrates the mind dependence-- any scientist can do precisely the same science without making the choice to believe in MIR.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-10 at 07:43 PM.

  9. #13479
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    Yes I agree, the model of MDR has quite a task ahead of it's self! The question for the future I think is how much of the mind, with all of its very complex layers, will be able to be modelled and tested to give a much more comprehensive MDR.
    Right, this is the sense to which MDR thinking can actually point the way to better science, and perhaps even a transformed version of science, but that is likely well down the road. For the time being, its benefits include:
    1) improved facility to properly frame existing physics theories, and navigate the reason they can be interpreted in so many ways that on the surface even seem contradictory.
    2) increased recognition for our own role in, and responsibility for, the conclusions we reach about the nature of things, such that we can no longer fall back on an attitude like "don't blame me, it's just how it is"-- an attitude that has been responsible so many times for so much horrific behavior.
    3) increased sophistication in how we understand the innately contextual character of statements of physical truth, such that we can notice the steps we take in response to our goals and purposes in these various contexts, as we decide how to model any given situation, and how to transpose our choices into descriptive language that we all-too-often mistake for some "underlying reality" that preserves none of those contextual choices.
    All of these are significant benefits for both science and humanity itself. People have blamed religion for many acts of oppression and intolerance, but actually it was always realism that did it-- the religion was just the specific version of realism being used at the time.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-10 at 07:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    ... 2. The "no miracle" argument is not a scientific argument, it is a philosophical argument to support and make plausible the philosophy of realism. It can be argued against by various arguments (for example see Bernard d'Espagnat - "On Physics and Philosophy" page 114, "On the "no-miracle" argument"). One is free to use whatever side of this argument to personally determine how well it philosophically supports the plausibility of realism.
    And yet, paradoxically, the 'no miracles' argument serves to completely expose Realism as being exactly what it purports not to be, once put under scientific scrutiny. Ie: it completely fails in producing an objective test for its core claim, and thus produces exactly zero objective evidence in support of it.
    Its hard to come up with a better example of a miracle than that! (Did d'Espagnat also reach that conclusion?)

    Science however, cannot as easily eject its conclusions when it comes to recognition of the obvious mind dependency which motivates it.

    The asymmetry in the comparison here, is stunningly stark.

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    Wow.. so in order to accept MDR i have to accept this impressive bit of mental gymastics:" 2+3 does equal 17.3 in the appropriate mathematical system". I assume that 3/0=17.3 in some other mathematical system, and that 3=4, that 0=infinity , 7 does NOT equal 7 etc etc. Are such logical paradoxes are accepted in 'the appropriate system'?

    The universe doesn't just have 2 extended spatial dimensions.
    But the question is, how many does it have, in that "underlying reality" you believe in in your mind?

    No I don't think that was the question. Let's say we know from our best scientific theories that we are not living on flatland, and that our universe has at least 3 extended spatial dimensions. Who knows- maybe 11, maybe 4... all I am saying is "NOT 2".
    Thus we can say something definite about 'reality'... we can reject many theories, but can never confirm them... but by rejecting, we glean a tiny bit of information about 'reality'.
    Last edited by plant; 2019-Dec-11 at 05:54 AM.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post

    The universe doesn't just have 2 extended spatial dimensions.
    But the question is, how many does it have, in that "underlying reality" you believe in in your mind?

    No I don't think that was the question. Let's say we know from our best scientific theories that we are not living on flatland, and that our universe has at least 3 extended spatial dimensions. Who knows- maybe 11, maybe 4... all I am saying is "NOT 2".
    We can construct universe models with any numbers of dimensions (and theorists do so regularly for the purposes of illustrating some particular research aspect worthy of emphasis or testing.

    As an example of such, might be the measurement flatness using WMAP CMBR measurements. 'Flatness' could ultimately determine the fate we experience (ie: the effects of continued expansion, or collapse). I don't think I've ever seen a model of the universe which specifically attempts to rule some kind of measurement we can make .. eg: some euclidean (or 'flat' spatial aspect).

    Quote Originally Posted by plant
    Thus we can say something definite about 'reality'... we can reject many theories, but can never confirm them... but by rejecting, we glean a tiny bit of information about 'reality'.
    Except most mainstream theories are rarely 'rejected'. That's because they serve the purpose for which they were constructed in the first place. They may become unpopular .. but they still serve their original purpose, provided their testing still generates consistently verifiable data .. (which is always useful).

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    Selfsim and Ken G,

    100% hindsight might be much more productive than 100% foresight but you two are the main ones here who think that 100% hindsight is equivalent to 100% foresight before the SMDR evolves and changes. It is not and never will be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    Selfsim and Ken G,

    100% hindsight might be much more productive than 100% foresight but you two are the main ones here who think that 100% hindsight is equivalent to 100% foresight before the SMDR evolves and changes. It is not and never will be.
    What I think, is that you don't understand what I think, unless you ask politely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    And yet, paradoxically, the 'no miracles' argument serves to completely expose Realism as being exactly what it purports not to be, once put under scientific scrutiny. Ie: it completely fails in producing an objective test for its core claim, and thus produces exactly zero objective evidence in support of it.
    Its hard to come up with a better example of a miracle than that! (Did d'Espagnat also reach that conclusion?)

    Science however, cannot as easily eject its conclusions when it comes to recognition of the obvious mind dependency which motivates it.

    The asymmetry in the comparison here, is stunningly stark.
    d'Espagnat didn't quite express it so starkly, not because he wouldn't have agreed with what you say, more I think that he took it as a known by his readers that it is not in any manner a scientific argument, rather he sees it as a means by which its supporters can justify objectivist realism. He thus cites alternative philosophical arguments as "seriously reducing the weight of the no-miracle argument".

    But he also provides (based upon his extensive involvement as a physicist and philosopher with Quantum Mechanics) a powerful argument in which you can apply the same "no-miracle argument" as used with objectivist realism to the predictions of QM but without in any way involving the assumption that physical objects exist in themselves. Of course many will say that QM is not applicable to the macroscopic and is thus not a fair comparison, but this very objection is dealt with exhaustively by d'Espagnat in his books, "Veiled Reality", "Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Mechanics" and "On Physics and Philosophy". Essentially he develops his theory that QM is universal in nature showing that its core principles extend into the macroscopic and form a scientific basis upon which objectivist realism can be shown to be erroneous in its claims of there being an independent reality.

    Thus in terms of the no-miracle argument, he says there are two competing conceptions of our reality, objectivist realism and his universality of QM. When you apply the no miracle argument to objectivist realism, the many successful observational predictions from such a conception supports (philosophically) the existence of physical objects in themselves as mind independent entities. But when you apply the same no-miracle argument to the universality of QM (d'Espagnat's) conception, it yields the same many successful observational predictions but without any assumption at all that there exists physical objects in themselves as mind independent entities.

    So essentially d'Espagnat weighs into the no-miracle argument very strongly on two fronts - he provides philosophical refutations citing other philosophers (for example J Worrall (1989)) but also his own scientific conception of an alternative to objectivist realism that is able to scientifically reject the no-miracle argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Right, this is the sense to which MDR thinking can actually point the way to better science, and perhaps even a transformed version of science, but that is likely well down the road. For the time being, its benefits include:
    1) improved facility to properly frame existing physics theories, and navigate the reason they can be interpreted in so many ways that on the surface even seem contradictory.
    2) increased recognition for our own role in, and responsibility for, the conclusions we reach about the nature of things, such that we can no longer fall back on an attitude like "don't blame me, it's just how it is"-- an attitude that has been responsible so many times for so much horrific behavior.
    3) increased sophistication in how we understand the innately contextual character of statements of physical truth, such that we can notice the steps we take in response to our goals and purposes in these various contexts, as we decide how to model any given situation, and how to transpose our choices into descriptive language that we all-too-often mistake for some "underlying reality" that preserves none of those contextual choices.
    All of these are significant benefits for both science and humanity itself. People have blamed religion for many acts of oppression and intolerance, but actually it was always realism that did it-- the religion was just the specific version of realism being used at the time.
    I wouldn't disagree with any of that, though I have reservations about the "religious" bit - I understand what you are implying, but I feel a bit uneasy over extending what is essentially a scientific model (albeit a model dealing with that cognitive processes that give rise to the things you allude to) into those kinds of issues. For many, religion is a source of good in that it provides the only means to account for the utter mystery and complexity of our reality. If in the future many of these fundamental questions could be answered in part by a MDR model that rendered less of a need for a "something" to account for these mysteries - that we could recognise many of the gaps as being a function of cognitive behaviour then I think that a more comprehensive MDR model than we have at present could be used in the direction I think you allude to. But to be honest, I think the model as it stands is very much in its infancy and couldn't be said to be anywhere near that point in terms of its scientific remit.

    There are many issues of incompleteness with the model, primarily connected with the difficult issues of aspects that minds cannot have any influence over. I also think there are difficulties with the use of similar minds to account for objective reality, but it is certainly a starting point. Also the fact that we can't write out the rules of nature with our minds is a serious difficulty, we can create the rules of chess, but we can't rewrite Newtons laws. All of this incompleteness can legitimately be included generally within the remit of the model because it is possible in principle that we will be able to model them one day (I suspect though we are taking centuries away, but who knows, Profloater is continually reminding us of the huge progress taking place within neuroscience).

    But at present, I would say that a large chunk of what is included within the umbrella of the model is the same as the philosophy of idealism. That is not at all to say that the model is deliberately embracing idealism at all, rather I am just saying that at present, there is a very large overlap. In the future I would expect the overlap to diminish in favour of the model, but it is a completely open question at present as to how this will pan out.

    So to come back to the question of using realism - I think it still to very relevant to the nature of our reality. It's relevance to science in it's traditional representative form (whereby empirical reality was seen as being a very good approximation to a mind independent reality) to science is surely now well past its use by date and can only decline in it's acceptance once more and more scientists realise that such representative realism is a philosophical assumption with absolutely no scientific foundation. Whether that will feed into the general public is another question though and I can't really see that happening for a long time. So the MDR model certainly serves as a guiding light on this as I think you allude to, but I think we need to be very careful and not step outside of it's scientific remit (that which has proper and sufficiently tested evidence) in order to "spread" the message of mind dependence. To go in that direction would be following that which resulted in realism being embraced by science but with the roles reversed. Realism was never intended to be anything but a philosophy, if you look at its definition, it in no way purports to be based on an absolute truth or based upon scientific evidence, it was always only framed in terms of a useful assumption in which to hold. It was science that turned its message into something it wasn't for its own ends, it saw it as a means of extending science into a MI realm whilst still claiming the use of the scientific method. The original message of realism as a belief structure was buried by science and so elevated the discipline as having the means by which absolute knowledge could be obtained of a physical universe as it exists independently of our involvement. MDR by contrast is starting as a scientific model that brings into focus many of the issues involving the adoption of realism and acts as a brake on this process of adoption, but it must do so only in terms of its evidence based structure. To go beyond that in small but increasing ways will give the impression of applying a scientific model to these questions, but under close scrutiny will be seen to actually be invoking idealism under the pretence of science.

    And finally in terms of my use of realism, I think at present the status of the model renders my particular conception (for me personally) as being entirely justified and useful as a means of accounting for our reality as we see it being played out. But where I have changed in terms of this discussion is that I no longer see the necessity to frame my philosophy of realism in terms of the model of MDR and its incompleteness, I see its incompleteness as belonging to itself and not to my realism. But at present this incompleteness in the model shows no sign of any immediate modelling and I suspect it will be a long time coming (if at all). So in these terms I still feel it is personally legitimate for me to account for many aspects of our reality that are not yet modelled in terms of the philosophy of idealism and realism, rather than in terms of the MDR model. Idealism I see as accounting for most of what we experience, but not all. I don't see it accounting for the fact that there seems to be "something else" other than our minds at work - we don't get to write the rules of nature as we do with chess. That "something else" I partition into a minimalist philosophical realism as existing within an independent "something" that has no connection with minds. But note that I am framing this personal position purely in terms of philosophy and thus belief. In terms of the model of MDR, I leave the the need for "something" other than minds in the hands of the scientific remit of the model to be explored within the remit of the model. That exploration is entirely different to my personal philosophical investigations.

    However, and for me this is the important bit. If the model starts to show success in testing and modelling many of the aspects that at present I confine to philosophical considerations, then I would take on board those aspects of the model and remove them from my philosophy - not because I see the model as providing any absolute truth, but rather because I would not personally hold what I term a disconnected belief structure. So for example, if we agree that the model currently provides good testable evidence that shows how we give meanings to objects via a cognitive process and thus renders many of our representations as being primarily a function of the mind, I am not going to on the one hand embrace that model (scientifically embrace in accordance with the scientific method) and then on the other hand embrace a realist philosophy that sees those same representations be primarily confined to a MIR - that would be a silly contradiction. It would be like embracing a model of a round earth but believing it to be flat. I know there is nothing to say I couldn't take up that contradictory position (and I know we have discussed this extensively previously) if I really wanted to, but to me personally it seems a senseless position in which to take. But this does boil down to forming a kind of link from a model to a belief, and it is a bit of a difficult issue. So in terms of the model of MDR, my flavour of realism is a very minimal one, one that is personally consistent with what the model adequately accounts for at present and what the model doesn't account for I partition off into the philosophy of idealism.

    I only include the above to illustrate that for me personally, I find that the adoption of my particular flavour of a very minimalist realism serves my personal exploration of our reality very well, I don't feel it is a step in any undesirable position, I feel it acts in the best way possible given all of the competing ideas concerning our reality whilst taking on board the science of the MDR model. But it's not set in stone, I can see the scope of my flavour of realism perhaps reducing as science models more of the mind and the MDR model becomes more scientifically embracing, but I think that program is a very long term one. For the immediate future I see no reason at all to discard this form of realism as providing me with some kind of very small handle on which to hold when considering the enormous complexities and mysteries of our reality.

  17. #13487
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    Quote Originally Posted by len moran
    mdr by contrast is starting as a scientific model that brings into focus many of the issues involving the adoption of realism and acts as a brake on this process of adoption, but it must do so only in terms of its evidence based structure. To go beyond that in small but increasing ways will give the impression of applying a scientific model to these questions, but under close scrutiny will be seen to actually be invoking idealism under the pretence of science.
    Point taken and accepted.

    As far as my own position in this thread goes, (and not attempting in any way to direct the following specifically at yourself .. rather it is intended generally), I reference my comments as having an enormous backdrop of accumulated of examples of objective evidence supporting the MDR Hypothesis. Such evidence has been meticulously developed throughout this extremely unusually long-running thread (in particular, by Ken G).

    Just because the thread is virtually impossible to read, doesn't undermine the quality of the evidence presented either .. (which I'll wager, perhaps remains mostly at the forefront of the minds involved from the thread's conception). This weight of evidence needs to be emphasised I think, particularly for the benefit of those who haven't been continuously involved (or who simply 'missed' the insights it generated).

    Its pretty clear, (I think), that the MDR Hypothesis is unlikely to become 'mainstream' on the sole basis of some highly unusual science web-forum thread, but the hybrid philosophical form of the extensively supported, scientifically argued notions it raises, shouldn't be equated with inferences drawn on singular philosophical viewpoints, and by way of denials of (via the absence of recognition of) the weight of the evidence the MDR Hypothesis produces .. especially when there is no scientific evidence in favour of those alternatives. This is not necessarily a competitive claim .. I'm merely pointing out the gross imbalance in the volume of observable evidence here (whilst simultaneously acknowledging that its not so easy to search for it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by selfsim View Post
    what i think, is that you don't understand what i think, unless you ask politely.
    lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Wow.. so in order to accept MDR i have to accept this impressive bit of mental gymastics:" 2+3 does equal 17.3 in the appropriate mathematical system".
    I'm not sure why a simple fact raises some kind of objection for you. Perhaps you missed the point-- statements don't "just mean stuff", not even in mathematics. Instead, they have meanings that are both contextual and mind-dependent.
    The universe doesn't just have 2 extended spatial dimensions.
    The universe should never be thought of as "having" any of the attributes of any of the models we use to describe it, that is simply an error in the correct "algebra of models." Instead, what can be claimed, because it can actually be shown, is that models that give the universe only 2 spatial dimensions will be of limited value in many situations, and excellent value in just a few. So we can say such a model is not "correct," but that is saying far less than most people seem to realize.
    [B]But the question is, how many does it have, in that "underlying reality" you believe in in your mind? [/B
    It was the question I put to you, along with what you mean by the "no miracles" argument. I ask these specific questions for a reason, and ducking them limits your ability to engage in the issues here.
    No I don't think that was the question. Let's say we know from our best scientific theories that we are not living on flatland, and that our universe has at least 3 extended spatial dimensions. Who knows- maybe 11, maybe 4... all I am saying is "NOT 2".
    What we can certainly say is that in some contexts, a 2-dimensional description works fine (physics books do this all the time), and in others, we need more. As in all models, the context determines the complexity of the model that is needed. Notice that all that is ever tested is the efficacy of the model, which is always contextually dependent. Never is there any need in any scientific theory for a concept of "which model is the actual reality." Never. This is not an opinion, it is demonstrated constantly in every physics book you will find.
    Thus we can say something definite about 'reality'...
    No, that's exactly what we can not say, and for the reasons I just gave. Here's a general corollary of the MDR hypothesis: any time you find someone saying "well at least we can know this in a mind-independent way", you have on your hands an example of a mind that is missing something.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-13 at 12:33 AM.

  20. #13490
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Its pretty clear, (I think), that the MDR Hypothesis is unlikely to become 'mainstream' on the sole basis of some highly unusual science web-forum thread, but the hybrid philosophical form of the extensively supported, scientifically argued notions it raises, shouldn't be equated with inferences drawn on singular philosophical viewpoints, and by way of denials of (via the absence of recognition of) the weight of the evidence the MDR Hypothesis produces .. especially when there is no scientific evidence in favour of those alternatives. This is not necessarily a competitive claim .. I'm merely pointing out the gross imbalance in the volume of observable evidence here (whilst simultaneously acknowledging that its not so easy to search for it).
    Well put.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Moran View Post
    I understand what you are implying, but I feel a bit uneasy over extending what is essentially a scientific model (albeit a model dealing with that cognitive processes that give rise to the things you allude to) into those kinds of issues.
    When I bring in religion, it is only to make a point about science. Here, I am saying that when people malign religion for the patterns of oppression that it has been associated with in history, one can actually trace the problem to the combination of religion and realism (i.e., "my way of thinking is some kind of underlying truth that I am therefore not responsible for.") But I am not making any point about religion here, I'm making the point that people who think they are being scientific fall into exactly the same problem when they combine science with realism. It is always the combination that causes the problem, never either religion or science without realism.

    But to be honest, I think the model as it stands is very much in its infancy and couldn't be said to be anywhere near that point in terms of its scientific remit.
    I agree, that's why I'm not saying the current purpose of MDR thinking is to break through to a new type of physics next year or even next decade, it is merely to avoid the pitfalls and fallacies that currently fall under the heading of "scientific realism." Today's need for MDR thinking is to understand that science creates and objectively tests models, never has any need to do anything else, and fails in its own purposes when people forget that this is all science ever does. Ironically, I think this was better understood in the past, but recent successes have been so beguiling that the language we often see, presented as the knowledge of experts, strongly suggests that science is about discovering the "underlying" or "mind-independent" or "god's eye" truth about the universe As It Is. Just contrast that statement to the wonderful definition of science by Feynman: "science is belief in the ignorance of experts." He clarified better that he means science is a set of instructions to avoid fooling yourself, where you are the easiest person for you to fool. I don't think the mind-dependence of science can be summarized any better than to notice that at every step your enemy is your mind's own tendency to fall into misconception, so you must constantly watch what your mind is doing in order to do science right. That doesn't make it mind independent, it makes the mind a constant player.
    There are many issues of incompleteness with the model, primarily connected with the difficult issues of aspects that minds cannot have any influence over.
    Incompleteness is only an "issue" when the goal is completeness. But that has never been a proper goal of science, the proper goal is always more complete models, not completely complete models. That's why I have always argued that any reference to a "TOE" is a blatant misunderstanding of how science works, and does the whole process more harm than good. Indeed, the point is easy to prove, because if someone did come up with a "TOE" in the sense that it explains from first principles absolutely every physical process ever observed, you can be sure of one thing: the people who come to understand that TOE will get out of bed in the morning and do all the same things they did before they understood it. So what kind of "TOE" could lead to that result? Obviously, "everything" involves a whole lot more than some physics theory. So much for completeness of models! And what kind of "completeness" is involved in MIR belief? The MIR believer ends up having to say "there is some kind of complete and mind-independent reality, but I can't know what it is, or really say anything about it at all." It's completeness by virtue of saying nothing, that's what you get from "completeness." You can't even build the real numbers as a complete system from a finite set of axioms, so why would we think our goal should be to do that for reality? I say completeness is a bug, not a feature.
    I also think there are difficulties with the use of similar minds to account for objective reality, but it is certainly a starting point.
    It may be a problem, but we have no choice. This lack of choice would be easy to show-- simply invite an equal number of creationists to the next cosmology meeting, and watch the Tower of Babel that results. So this is not some arbitrary philosophy problem, it is an inescapable problem for anything trying to be an "objective" undertaking-- you will never be able to support a concept of objectivity until you select a cohort of minds with the necessary similarities to support that notion.

    Also the fact that we can't write out the rules of nature with our minds is a serious difficulty, we can create the rules of chess, but we can't rewrite Newtons laws.
    Again not a difficulty, but a feature. The "bug" is imagining that reality actually "follows rules" that could be written out. That would be exactly the statement that the universe is a simulation, which is why I find it so remarkable that so many people reject the idea that the universe is a simulation, yet imagine at the same time that it actually follows a set of enumerable laws or "TOE."
    All of this incompleteness can legitimately be included generally within the remit of the model because it is possible in principle that we will be able to model them one day
    Yet I would stress that we must banish this idea that the goal of science "one day" is to resolve incompleteness. Science is all about incompleteness, you can scarcely open a science book without immediately being confronted with incompleteness not as a bug, but as the beating heart of how science works. We have theories that start by enumerating idealizations required. We have measurements, and with them come errors-- so there is empirical incompleteness. Yes we want to reduce measurement errors, but why do people think that means we are trying, even in principle, to have exact measurements? And we should not have needed quantum mechanics to tell us that a measurement does not merely establish some fact that pre-existed the measurement, as realists would always like to imagine.

    But at present, I would say that a large chunk of what is included within the umbrella of the model is the same as the philosophy of idealism.
    Let us then agree on what is meant by "idealism", whether the current state of MDR thinking resembles it, and whether it is a good or bad thing for science. The Wiki says:
    "Idealism is the group of metaphysical philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as humans can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In contrast to materialism, idealism asserts the primacy of consciousness as the origin and prerequisite of material phenomena."
    OK, that's three sentences that in my mind say three completely different things! Will the real "idealism" please stand up? Indeed, the first and third sentences I would completely reject as having the slightest thing to do with MDR thinking, whereas the second sentence is exactly MDR thinking. I can explain what I reject about the first and third:
    1) The first sentence makes a claim on the nature of some underlying reality, that is it "immaterial" and "fundamentally mental." That's a claim on the nature of actual reality, so it's not MDR. Not seeing that distinction is to wonder why we cannot change reality by thinking about it. The difference could be understood by framing it in terms of religion-- the analog of MDR there would be to recognize that faith in god is mind dependent, the analog of idealism would be to say that god itself is mind dependent. MDR makes no claim on reality other than that what we are talking about involves our ability to make sense, and that's all science needs. Science simply never needs to assert that there is a "something" out there that we are making sense of that is independent of how we make sense.
    2) The second sentence is self-evident, the contrary wouldn't make any sense (it would look like you could know something mind independent-- how would that be possible, to know something mind independent?) So that doesn't need any philosophical stance, it's pure logic.
    3) The third sentence is the main problem, from the point of view of MDR thinking, because it asserts a contrast with materialism. But MDR thinking could never contrast with materialism, because materialism as a model is just another model that can be used within MDR thinking, and materialism as a belief system is independent of MDR thinking. MDR model-building "asserts primacy" on a model-by-model basis, it recognizes that what we are doing is building and testing models that make sense to our minds. One model could be highly materialistic, another could give primacy to consciousness, just as one model could talk about gas particles moving around a room, while another could talk about excitations of a quantum field. MDR thinking does not even imagine that there is such a thing as consciousness-- that's a model too-- so how could it give primacy to just another model? Primacy is handed out based on success, which is purely contextual and adjudicated by the mind on a case-by-case basis. That's just a fact about how the scientific method works.
    So to come back to the question of using realism - I think it still to very relevant to the nature of our reality.
    And the key word in that sentence is "using." As soon as we allow that realism is a tool, not a statement of truth, then we have already entered model-building. We can all agree that our models must be idealized, and realism is a wonderful idealization (no pun intended). It's so wonderful that we all use it all the time. The core of MDR thinking is the simple recognition that realism is an idealization and hence is in the MDR menu along with the rest. But realism as a statement of mind-independent truth cannot be regarded as an idealization, that would be self-contradictory. So that's why MDR thinking is not realism, and why science isn't either.
    It's relevance to science in it's traditional representative form (whereby empirical reality was seen as being a very good approximation to a mind independent reality) to science is surely now well past its use by date and can only decline in it's acceptance once more and more scientists realise that such representative realism is a philosophical assumption with absolutely no scientific foundation. Whether that will feed into the general public is another question though and I can't really see that happening for a long time.
    Perhaps so, but if the scientists are the ones responsible for selling the general public on scientific realism, then it is the duty of scientists to fix that mess. We have lied about what science is, and as the experts on what science is, we must undo the lie. Not just because we owe it to the population, but because it's the scientific thing to do.
    Realism was never intended to be anything but a philosophy, if you look at its definition, it in no way purports to be based on an absolute truth or based upon scientific evidence, it was always only framed in terms of a useful assumption in which to hold.
    If so, that is certainly not what it has come to mean. Whenever people talk about "scientific realism", it is always, invariably, taken not as an idealization or just another model-- it is always taken as a statement of the mind-independent existence of a true "underlying" or "scientific" reality, and worse, a claim on what science gives us.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-13 at 06:15 AM.

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    To continue:


    To go beyond that in small but increasing ways will give the impression of applying a scientific model to these questions, but under close scrutiny will be seen to actually be invoking idealism under the pretence of science.
    It is certainly a message that must be communicated correctly, and as this thread has amply shown, people seem just determined to hear it wrong. But that just means it must be communicated in a consistent way, constantly repeating what needs to be said over and over so that it is not mistaken for either idealism or solipsism, because it is neither and could not function as either.
    And finally in terms of my use of realism, I think at present the status of the model renders my particular conception (for me personally) as being entirely justified and useful as a means of accounting for our reality as we see it being played out.
    Would you not say the same for the statement that "all matter is made of elementary particles"? All MDR thinking does is recognize that both those statements are statements of a kind of truth that is contextual and mind dependent, a fact that I would say scientific realism goes to great lengths to intentionally obfuscate.

    That "something else" I partition into a minimalist philosophical realism as existing within an independent "something" that has no connection with minds.
    A common mind-dependent model used by many, and there's nothing wrong with it as long as it is recognized as a model. But that's not what people mean by realism-- it's not realism to say "I am building a model that says electrons exist independent of my mind, despite the obvious contradiction which proves I am using an idealization," it is realism to say "electrons exist independent my mind."
    But note that I am framing this personal position purely in terms of philosophy and thus belief.
    Quite so, and so you recognize the belief element, but take care to notice if your claim is the former or the latter of the two things I just put in quotes! That's all the difference. If you say the former, then I say that is not what people mean by realism.
    For the immediate future I see no reason at all to discard this form of realism as providing me with some kind of very small handle on which to hold when considering the enormous complexities and mysteries of our reality.
    The issue is not that realism is an invalid personal philosophy, it is that it has nothing to do with science. It is the term "scientific realism" that I regard as a lie about the nature of science, and it's bad for those responsible for teaching what science is to lie about what it is.

    Next I'll google "scientific realism" to justify my harsh criticisms of it, on the basis that the phrase is not intended as a kind of philosophical gap-filler while waiting for science to advance into the gaps (which is a "god of the gaps" approach, which scientists generally criticize and few would accept for their own philosophy), it is intended as the valid way to frame the purpose of the scientific endeavor. And that's what's so wrong about it, it leads to the idea that completeness is the goal of science and incompleteness is an unfortunate problem. What careful scrutiny of science shows is that its true character is a process of embracing incompleteness as its most powerful ally, but relaxing the reliance on it as much as becomes possible in various contexts. It's a bit like the relation between a person and their doctor-- we may regard the illness as a problem, but the doctor that treats the illness never is. The illness is our mental limitations, while idealizations and incompleteness are the medicine for it, and the reality concept is taking two aspirin and calling in the morning.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-13 at 06:25 AM.

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    If I have a moment, I will explain that my core criticism of "scientific realism" is that what scientists generally mean when they use the term is actually a form of realism that is not scientific at all. Philosophers may try to carefully define it as the personal belief in realism when applied to scientific ontologies, but it generally is meant as some kind of intersection (rather than arbitrarily chosen union) of realism with the scientific method. And that is precisely what it is not, those are completely separate things that can be taken together or separated without any loss of scientific value, which logically requires their intersection be null (as evidenced by how easy it is to hold personal beliefs of any kind and still be an unhindered scientist, as long as the beliefs are recognized as something separate). Hence MDR thinking is only antirealism in the sense that it rejects realism as any kind of core tenet of science, it is not a contrary belief system. Let's see this by googling what people mean by the term:

    The Wiki says "Scientific realism is the view that the universe described by science is real regardless of how it may be interpreted.'
    If that doesn't spell out its unscientific nature, I don't know what could-- for what could possibly be scientific about anything "regardless of interpretation"? Science is all about giving interpretations to observed phenomena. Compounding the problem, the Wiki goes on: "Within philosophy of science, this view is often an answer to the question how is the success of science to be explained?"
    Well it may be a proper philosophical question, but no scientific method can be applied to answering why the scientific method works! Any such attempt would obviously have to go outside the method, because if you used the method to explain why the method works, you'd still have to explain why that worked, and so on. So it's not scientific.

    The Wiki goes on to contrast it with instrumentalism, which clearly includes Bohr's claim that "there is no quantum world" on grounds that all observations must be taken to the macro realm to be understood as observations. So we can see what is going on with scientific realism-- it is an attempt to remove the observer from what is observed, an attempt to extend the concept of reality beyond the mind that is able to apply that concept. For example, it would require that the wave function be real, not as a kind of conceptual convenience in a physicist's mind (as in MDR) but rather as an independently real thing. My criticism of this is that science never (ever) uses the idea that the wave function is real, but it always (testably) uses the wavefunction as a concept in a person's mind. So when we have a mountain of evidence about how the wavefunction is used, what does a personal philosophy about what it is have to do with science? It may be realism, but it sure isn't scientific to choose an unevidenced belief system. It's not antiscience either-- it just has nothing to do with science.

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says "Scientific realism is a positive epistemic attitude toward the content of our best theories and models, recommending belief in both observable and unobservable aspects of the world described by the sciences." I think that makes my point perfectly-- what could possibly be scientific about recommending a belief? Now one might counter that we don't know Stanford intends that word to have the connotation "hold out of personal preference in the absence of objective evidence", so let's dig further into what they mean by that "recommendation" (?!) because this is the key issue. The word appears again with "Traditionally, realism more generally is associated with any position that endorses belief in the reality of something." So we are seeing that what distinguishes realism from the rejection of realism is this belief, for no one in their right mind would think that an antirealist is someone who doesn't think you can use the concept of a "real Moon" in order to get on a rocket to the Moon, the difference must be whether or not they choose to believe the Moon is "actually there" when all they can scientifically demonstrate is that it is helpful to imagine that it is. Indeed, in scientific logic, all "actually there" could possibly mean is "helpful to picture the model," so any claim it means something more is attaching an unnecessary and unused belief. It might float your boat, but it ain't science.

    So there it is-- realism is a belief system, and when the belief system is applied to the ontologies included in scientific theories, it can be called "scientific realism." But of course science ends with the ontologies that can be tested, and never needs to, nor is advised to, extend to any kind of belief system, because that is simply not what science does. Of course, scientists do it all the time, because they are people, and people have beliefs-- and in so doing, they have left the scientific method. MDR thinking is merely the recognition that this has happened. Scientific realism is therefore not scientific, but since most scientific realists wish to believe that it is scientific, they generally end up denying that they have left the scientific method. And that is the lie, and the harm is all the misconceptions it engenders, and the potential for misuse and oppression. Of course, teaching science in school as science is not a misuse, and does not lead to any oppression.

    Now, if it is clear that "scientific realism" means "the choice to marry a personal belief in realism with scientific ontologies" then there is no problem, because that marriage has nothing at all to do with MDR thinking (since MDR thinking has nothing to do with personal belief choices, only how the mind makes sense of and adjudicates objective evidence). Hence, the litmus test is whether or not you see a conflict between scientific realism and MDR thinking (and most people clearly do), because if you do, you must not be taking the meaning stated above-- as with most people, you must be taking the common meaning that scientific realism is the idea that it falls within science (and some even say science requires) to hold that science exposes the true nature of some "underlying reality" As It Actually Is, rather than any kind of personal belief system. That common use is when the term becomes an oxymoron. It is a fundamentally unscientific stance to hold anything as true despite being unable to point to any objective evidence to support it.

    Oddly, I have not actually seen that critique ever raised, not even in the extensive critiques offered in the Stanford Encyclopedia, though I admit I have not read the entire article carefully so I might have missed it. In any event, that's what I see as the problem, the way the phrase is generally taken is self-contradictory.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-13 at 06:33 AM.

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    I found this quote from Neil Armstrong that describes the differences evident in this thread. "Science is about what is; engineering is about what can be."

    The evolutionary aspects of the SMDR might be difficult for pure scientists to understand because they are the ones who receive the feedback (and call it the scientific method) but the engineers are the ones who have to solve the problems that the scientists are incapable of solving i.e. the SMIR.

    The book "The First Man" reveals why the Apollo 13 accident was in the realm of the SMIR as "The Apollo program could only continue when and if NASA discovered the cause of the accident." The solution, and the continued evolution of the SMDR, was entirely in the domain of practical engineers not scientists and their models.

  25. #13495
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    I found this quote from Neil Armstrong that describes the differences evident in this thread. "Science is about what is; engineering is about what can be."
    And we should all be clear by now that MDR thinking has no difficulty accommodating Armstrong's intent here. He is merely saying that the mind of the scientist addresses different questions than the mind of the engineer. Certainly, we can notice without difficulty that both science and engineering are things that different minds do differently, and Armstrong's statement is a perfect example of mind dependence, as he is quite literally underscoring how minds that work differently attack problems from different directions.

    The book "The First Man" reveals why the Apollo 13 accident was in the realm of the SMIR as "The Apollo program could only continue when and if NASA discovered the cause of the accident."
    Certainly it reveals quite the opposite from some "SMIR", because many aspects of the process of attributing a reason are quite clearly mind dependent. Even the very concept that "things happen for a reason" depends on how our minds work! The "discovery" was done by minds that had to adjudicate when they had succeeded, and I'd like to see anyone argue that a "cause" belongs in an MIR, that would be even more difficult to find any evidence for than the claim that the event itself belongs in some MIR. All you need is to understand that two different minds could have all the information about everything that happened, and still focus on a different reason for the accident, and a different solution to avoid it happening again. Indeed, realizing this is the whole point of MDR thinking, and everyone involved in trying to decide when and how the space program should continue after Apollo 13 was knee-deep in the very real issues of that mind dependence. This is not a hypothetical or academic issue, it is what must be navigated in the real world.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-13 at 03:27 PM.

  26. #13496
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    The evolutionary aspects of the SMDR might be difficult for pure scientists to understand because they are the ones who receive the feedback (and call it the scientific method) but the engineers are the ones who have to solve the problems that the scientists are incapable of solving i.e. the SMIR.

    The book "The First Man" reveals why the Apollo 13 accident was in the realm of the SMIR as "The Apollo program could only continue when and if NASA discovered the cause of the accident." The solution, and the continued evolution of the SMDR, was entirely in the domain of practical engineers not scientists and their models.
    'Practical engineers' develop models by applying the scientific method. It makes no difference whether they are engineers or scientists by way of qualifications.

    In the case of Apollo 13, see Part 4: Summary and Analysis of the Accident
    the Board has carefully sifted throughall available evidence and examined the results of special tests and analyses conducted by the Apollo organization and by or for the Board after the accident. (For more information on details of mission events, design, manufacture and test of the system, and special tests and analyses conducted in this investigation, refer to Appendices B, C, D, E, and F of this report.)
    'Special tests and analysis' is the scientific method in progress.

    Also see the charter/methodlogy to be followed by the Design Panel in the investigation: Panel 3 - Design Panel:
    The Design Panel shall examine the design of the oxygen and associated systems to the extent necessary to support the theory of failure.

    After such review the Panel shall indicate a course of corrective action which shall include requirements for further investigations and/or re- design. In addition, the Panel shall establish requirements for review of other Apollo spacecraft systems of similar design.

    The Panel shall consist of four subdivisions:

    Design Evaluation - This activity shall review the requirements and
    specifications governing the design of the systems, subsystems and com-
    ponents, their derivation, changes thereto and the reasons therefore, and
    the design of the system in response to the requirements, including such
    elements as design approach, material selection, stress analysis, de-
    velopment and qualification test programs, and results. This activity
    shall also review and evaluate proposed design modifications, including
    changes in operating procedures required by such modifications.

    Failure Modes and Mechanisms - This activity shall review the design
    of the systems to ascertain the possible sources of failure and the manner
    in which failures may occur. In this process, they shall attempt to
    correlate such modes with the evidence from flight and ground test data.
    This shall include considerations such as: energy sources, materials
    compatibility, nature of pressure vessel failure, effects of environment
    and service, the service history of any suspect systems and components,
    and any degradation that may have occurred.

    Electrical - This activity shall review the design of all electrical
    components associated with the theory of failure to ascertain their
    adequacy. This activity shall also review and evaluate proposed design
    modifications, including changes in operating-procedures required by such
    modifications.

    Related Systems - This activity shall review the design of all
    systems similar to that involved in the Apollo 13 incident with the view
    to establishing any commonality of design that may indicate a need for
    redesign. They shall also consider the possibility of design modifica-
    tions to Permit damage containment in the event of a failure.
    All of the above involves expected mix of science (Physics) theory and modelling and follows the scientific method.

    Also, as an example, the chairman's CV is as follows (see: 'APOLLO 13 REVIEW BOARD PANEL CHAIRMEN'):
    SEYMOUR C. HIMMEL
    NASA Lewis Research Center

    Dr. Seymour C. Himmel, Assistant Director for Rockets and Vehicles,
    Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, heads the Design Panel of the
    Apollo 13 Review Board.

    Dr. Himmel joined Lewis in 1948 as an aeronautical research scien-
    tist.
    He has occupied supervisory positions since 1953.
    Your claim is entirely without foundation.

  27. #13497
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Certainly it reveals quite the opposite from some "SMIR", because many aspects of the process of attributing a reason are quite clearly mind dependent.
    So you infer that there are things that aren't mind dependent because you are not certain.

  28. #13498
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selfsim View Post
    Your claim is entirely without foundation.
    I gather you have the same opinion about the Space Shuttle Challenger Inquiry?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurieAG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SelfSim
    Your claim is entirely without foundation.
    I gather you have the same opinion about the Space Shuttle Challenger Inquiry?
    .. and your evidence for what you imply there is .. what/where exactly? Oh .. hang on .. Its missing?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    It is certainly a message that must be communicated correctly, and as this thread has amply shown, people seem just determined to hear it wrong. But that just means it must be communicated in a consistent way, constantly repeating what needs to be said over and over so that it is not mistaken for either idealism or solipsism, because it is neither and could not function as either.


    A common mind-dependent model used by many, and there's nothing wrong with it as long as it is recognized as a model. But that's not what people mean by realism-- it's not realism to say "I am building a model that says electrons exist independent of my mind, despite the obvious contradiction which proves I am using an idealization," it is realism to say "electrons exist independent my mind."
    Quite so, and so you recognize the belief element, but take care to notice if your claim is the former or the latter of the two things I just put in quotes! That's all the difference. If you say the former, then I say that is not what people mean by realism.

    The issue is not that realism is an invalid personal philosophy, it is that it has nothing to do with science. It is the term "scientific realism" that I regard as a lie about the nature of science, and it's bad for those responsible for teaching what science is to lie about what it is.
    I have once again got caught up in the mindset where I am picturing myself talking about the MDR model from the "outside" of the model - which of course I can't do. I don't think I have been doing that whole scale because I have been conscious of the fact that everything I say is via MDR, but that sort of escaped me when I was comparing the model to idealism. I can consider the need for "something" outside of the mind as accounting for the fact that we cannot influence the physical world, but that very statement is a description from within the model of MDR. The path I was originally taking was that if the model couldn't account for this inability then the model was confining that issue to the mind with no possibility that there could be something outside of the mind. And that scenario is really what radical idealism projects (in a very general sense) as a philosophical position - it requires nothing from any kind of mind independent source in order to build up a coherent knowledge of our reality, any perceived difficulties with that position that are considered to require such an external "something" implies realism rather than idealism.

    So I was getting a bit bogged down with this in terms of the MDR model and the philosophy of radical idealism - to me they both seemed to be merging as we went further away from that which the model could account for scientifically. But of course, as you point out, the model of MDR doesn't exclude any MI element in the manner of radical idealism, it simply scientifically asserts that whenever such a MI element is introduced in order to account for some "incompleteness", that description is fundamentally part of MD thinking. Within the model of MDR I can envisage any kind of element as residing outside of the mind, I am not confined to keeping it within the mind as radical idealism would expect philosophically to do. The crucial bit is to realise that I am using a mind to envisage "something" as existing outside of a mind and that process of "using a mind" is accounted for scientifically by the MDR model itself.

    I can't quite understand why I got caught in that trap of discussing the ramifications of the model of MDR as if I were outside of the model, perhaps just shows how you have to be on your guard! But perhaps it also indicates why the difficulties arise with events like car crashes. The whole process of the car crashing can only have a MD meaning (as per the model), but clearly we have no mind control of the event, we can't undo it or change the laws of nature that resulted in the car front being pushed in. But everything associated with how we think about that aspect of the "fixed in the mind" crash and how we account for our inability to "un-crash" is all MD thinking (as per the model). So we might consider there to be a MI car, MI laws etc. - certainly that's how we build up our picture of that event, but we have to be on our guard, we can't say all of that as if we sit outside of our minds, we can only say it via our minds, via a mind dependence. But this can give the impression that the car crash isn't real, that it's all in the mind etc, but the model really isn't saying any such thing (philosophically radical idealism would say that very thing) - it isn't refuting a MI car crash, in fact more than that, it doesn't have anything to say about a MI anything, all it says is when we build our description of a reality that includes a MI car crash, that whole description cannot be anything other than a mind dependent description. It doesn't say the car crash is a figment of our minds (as per idealism) but nether does it say it resides within a MI reality, it can't offer any such absolute knowledge (and of course neither can realism, idealism or "common sense"). But what it can do is to supply a scientific modelling of how the mind models all of these issues in terms of a mind dependence.

    So from now on, in any future discussion, I promise to be on my guard against thinking I can discuss any issues I have with the model as if I am sitting at my laptop and looking into the model of MDR from the "outside"!
    Last edited by Len Moran; 2019-Dec-14 at 11:23 AM.

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