iSoul In the beginning is reality.

Category Archives: Science

Science particularly as related to creation and the creation-evolution controversy

History and science balanced

As I’ve noted before (here etc.) history and science have different aims and methods. Mixing them just confuses both of them. There is no genuine “historical science” or “scientific history”. History narrates particulars among unique events. Science theorizes universals among repeatable events. In physics time is homogeneous: an experiment is the same whether conducted today or 100 years in the past or future. That is not true in history. Time is not homogeneous there.

History and science can and should balance one another. The more science expands its universals, the more history can point out particulars that are overlooked or are important in a particular context. The more history focuses on unique particulars, the more science can point out the significance of universals.

The homogeneous and inhomogeneous aspects of time can both be known only by balancing history and science. One could say something similar about all universals and particulars. The universal and particular aspects of reality can both be known only by balancing history and science.

Abstract and concrete movements

Abstraction in Western culture has increased over time, so much so that Hegel made this the engine of history: his dialectic is a progression from the concrete to the less concrete, the abstract to the more abstract. Certainly, the history of natural science shows this progression. Modern physics is more abstract than classical physics. Every science becomes more abstract over time.

Increased abstraction in society and politics requires larger collections of people. Equality with increased abstraction requires equality within larger groups of people. For example, pan-European equality is less abstract than equality within global equality. Increased abstraction requires loyalty to ever larger groups.

History does seem to progress toward greater abstraction. Tribal cultures gave way to city-states, then to nations, then to globalism. In the U.S., there has been a progression from an English culture to a European culture, to a Euro-Afro-Latin culture, to an increasingly global culture. Those who promote this movement are called “progressives”. Those who resist it or support caution about it are called “conservatives”.

In sub-cultures of the West and in some non-Western societies there are movements in the opposite direction, toward more concreteness. They are often called “regressive”, which assumes a prior progressive movement. They could simply be called “concretive” (or “introgressive”) since they prefer the more concrete to the more abstract.

Those who prefer more concrete or at least a less abstract culture are considered traditional, old-fashioned, or backwards. In order to engage their opponents, traditionalists need to justify their preference for the concrete in more abstract ways, which they may find difficult. But the concrete has its advantages as much as the abstract does.

One danger of greater abstraction is that one loses touch with concrete reality. After all, human beings are concretely embodied. Concrete food, shelter, and much more are necessary for human life. Traditional social and political structures have much experience and stability behind them and so “should not be changed for light and transient causes” (the U.S. Declaration of Independence). And the new global human who ignores the local culture where they happen to be is looking for misunderstanding and worse.

In fact, there is no global, pan-religious, pan-racial, pan-sexual, pan-economic, pan-linguistic culture. Is such a culture even possible? In this world, that is highly doubtful. People are both concrete and abstract, body and spirit.

Concrete and abstract movements both have their place. Cultures will lean more toward one than the other, but both are legitimate.

Lorentz factor from light clocks

Space and time are inverse perspectives on motion. Space is three dimensions of length. Time is three dimensions of duration. Space is measured by a rigid rod at rest, whereas time is measured by a clock that is always in motion relative to itself.

This is illustrated by deriving the Lorentz factor for time dilation and length contraction from light clocks. The first derivation is in space with a time parameter and the second is in time with a space parameter (placepoint).

The first figure above shows frame S with a light clock in space as a beam of light reflected back and forth between two mirrored surfaces. Call the height between the surfaces that the light beam travels distance h. Let one time cycle Δt = 2h/c or h = cΔt/2, with speed of light c, which is the maximum speed.

The second figure shows frame with the same light clock as observed by someone moving with velocity v relative to S. Call the length of each half-cycle d, and call the length of the base of one cycle in space b.

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Set theory and logic and their dual

(1) Set theory and logic, (2) number and algebra, and (3) space and time are three foundational topics that each have duals. Let us begin with the standard approaches to these three topics, and then define duals to each of them. To some extent, the original and the dual may be used together.

(1) Set theory and logic

A set is defined by its elements or members. Its properties may also be known or specified, but what is essential to a set is its members, not its properties. The notation for “x is an element of set S” is “x ∈ S”. A subset is a set whose members are all within another set: “s is a subset of S” is “s ⊆ S”. If subset s does not (or cannot) equal S, then it is a proper subset: “s ⊂ S”.

The null set (∅) is a unique set defined as having no members. That is paradoxical but not contradictory. A universal set (Ω) is defined as having all members within a particular universe. An unrestricted universal set is not defined because it would lead to contradictions.

The complement of a set (c) is the set of all elements within a particular universe that are not in the set. A union (∪) of sets is the set containing all members of the referenced sets. An intersection (∩) of sets is defined as the set whose members are contained in every referenced set.

Set theory has a well-known correspondence with logic: negation (¬) corresponds to complement, disjunction (OR, ∨) corresponds to union, and conjunction (AND, ∧) corresponds to intersection. Material implication (→) corresponds to “is a subset of”. Contradiction corresponds to the null set, and tautology corresponds to the universal set.

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Three kinds of empirical science

This post is related to an old post here.

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of empirical science, which correspond to three views of nature.

(1) The ancient view of empirical science is represented by Aristotle, which includes the careful observation of undisturbed nature. Motion, for example, meant natural motion, not “violent” motion in which there is a change of the natural course of things. Experimentation was not considered a way to understand undisturbed nature.

(2) The early modern view of empirical science includes experimentation because nature is understood to include what happens after an intervention in the course of nature. These experiments allowed early modern scientists to isolate causal factors in nature. The human observer was not considered part of any experiment.

(3) The late modern view of empirical science includes the observer as part of nature. The distinction between natural and artificial is discarded. The origin and nature of humans is included in his view of nature. Empirical science covers all aspects of human beings that can be observed. The scientist has a double life in which they both are and are not the object of science.

The second kind of empirical science is superior because it goes beyond the undisturbed nature of the first kind and does not include the contradiction at the heart of the third kind.

Terminology contexts

This post continues the one here. While I avoid coining new terms or new definitions, some have been necessary. To have a consistent vocabulary, I try to imagine contexts in which they easily fit.

Some words are simply variations of words in use: distime is like distance; dischronment is like displacement; chronation is like location; elaphrance is like mass; levitation is the opposite of gravitation; and oldtons are the units for release, analogous to newtons for force. Odologe is like horologe, which is a clock.

One context is racing. The term pace is used, particularly in running and (bi)cycling to mean the time interval per unit distance, which is the inverse of speed. The direction is ignored or assumed to follow the course of the race so a new term is needed to indicate the vector version of pace. A term that has been used is lenticity, from Latin lentus, slow. [Note: previously used legerity, which is an old literary term for lightness of movement.]

The second context is transport, such as package delivery. Consider an order to expedite a delivery. That means to reduce the time of transport, analogous to de-retardation. Release is analogous to a force applied. A package stamped with “RUSH” gets a greater effort to reduce the time of delivery, analogous to a negative release. Drawing means a release over a distance, analogous to a force applied over time (which is called impulse). Repose is a release applied over a dischronment, and is the inverse of work. Lethargy is the capacity for repose, which is analogous to energy.

Intentional and extensional causes

This post continues previous posts on causes, especially the one here.

Final and formal causes constitute top-down causality, which may lead to efficient and material causes. Material and efficient (mechanism) causes constitute bottom-up causality, which may lead to formal and final causes. Top-down is intentional. Bottom-up is extensional.

The Inverse Causality Principle states that top-down causality is inverse of bottom-up causality.

The Inverse Correspondence Principle states that intentional motion is the inverse of extensional motion and experimentation is the inverse of observation. Similarly, transmission is the inverse of reception, developmental is the inverse of empirical, and time is the inverse of space.

The goal of science is empirical theory. The goal of engineering is development of something practical.

Goal and action go together like form and content or matter.

Consider Galileo dropping two balls, one wooden and one metal, from the tower of Pisa. One observer says it’s a race to the ground. Another observer says it’s an experiment. What is the nature of the balls? Or what does Nature do?

Final and formal causes are the inverse of efficient and material causes.

Science and history, part N

Science is inherently dualistic because it is based on distinctions, and cannot keep denying one side of a distinction without denying the distinction altogether.

Duality is as far as science can go. Unification is a temporary state, to be superseded by a more abstract duality.

Low-entropy science seeks fixed relations. High-entropy science seeks stochastic relations.

Science cannot properly speak of the universe because that ventures into metaphysics. Science can only speak of cosmos and chaos. Cosmos has low entropy. Chaos has high entropy. Also called law and chance.

Scientific history is potential history. Historical science is potential science.

Science boosters add metaphysics to science.

Life to a Darwinian is noise that happened to produce some harmonious sounds.

To a materialist chaos predominates. To an idealist cosmos predominates.

Science is a method, not a metaphysics. Science is the duality of induction and deduction.

Science is empirical mathematics. History is multi-experiential narrative.

Science is synchronic, so physics can replace time with a kind of length. History is diachronic, so history can replace space with a kind of duration.

The first scientist was Euclid. Classical geometry is the theory of length.

Half-duplex relativity

Galilean relativity requires the speed of light to be instantaneous (i.e., zero pace). Because the one-way speed of light is not known, it may be instantaneous as long as the mean speed of light is finite. Such a situation is possible if light is conceived as in half-duplex telecommunications: one direction at a time is observed or transmitted, but never both simultaneously.

Consider a light clock in this context:

light at restSaw-tooth light path

Let Δt be the time for one cycle of light at rest (top diagram). Let Δt’ be the time for one cycle of light traveling at relative velocity v (bottom diagram). The mean speed of light is c. Then

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Interchange of length and duration

Length and duration are independent measures of the extent of motion, which are measured by comparing the target motion to a uniform reference motion. Although uniform linear motion is simpler in theory, uniform circular motion is simpler in practice – especially for unstopped motion. With one addition, the classic circular clock with hands serves as a reference motion. The addition is to mark the circumference in length units along with the duration units of the angles between the hands and the vertical. See post on an odologe here.

Galileo uses horizontal uniform linear motion to mark length and duration below (from his Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, Fourth Day):

Falling projectile

The horizontal uniform motion of a particle coming from the right at a-b is continued with b-c-d-e as the horizontal component of the particle descending with uniform acceleration b-o-g-l-n. The vertical component represents the dependent variable, which has the form of a semi-parabola. The uniform horizontal motion, which could be any in direction, is the independent variable in units of either length or duration.

To interchange length and duration in an equation with a parametric function of time requires four steps: (1) with a change of variables switch the independent and dependent variables, time and stance; (2) linearize the stance, that is, break its dependent relation; (3) bring time under a functional relation with the new parameter, stance; and (4) expand time to include angular components. Functions are inverted and the independent and dependent status of variables is switched. An inversion and a kind of re-inversion return to the same function.

In the example above, the horizontal uniform motion which was taken by Galileo to represent time is re-conceived to represent the independent length variable, stance. The constant acceleration of the vertical component is re-conceived to represent the dependent duration variable with constant lenticity. The quadratic sequence in units of length becomes a sequence in units of duration at a constant rate.

The result of this interchange process is that the equations of motion for length and duration are interchangeable without functional change. All of the equations of physics in terms of parametric functions of time may be adopted as parametric functions of stance. In that sense it would be best to abstract a functional representation that applies to both length and duration, time and stance.