Thursday, 22 November 2012

More measurement and mental gymnastics

I've been thinking even more about the stuff in the last post.

And having just listened to, and read about the BBC Radio 4 podcast/show "The Infinite Monkey Cage" (henceforth TIMC).

Now, although I have a certain degree of respect for Prof. Brian Cox, I have to say that his "Philosophy is dead" angle is... misguided, IMHO.

OK, Brian, riddle me this:

If the Planck length (let's call it P) is the smallest measure possible, what is P/2? Sounds a bit metaphysical to me, mate! What is "4"? Ditto!

And just saying that "the universe is made up and follows beautiful simple, elegant rules" or similar while gazing wistfully at the night sky in HD on the BBC is making a direct appeal to aesthetics, a philosophical concept!

And don't give me all that Occam's Razor stuff as justification... just because something is simple doesn't make it right, it just makes it more likely to be so, or at least more likely to be closer to the truth. And the truth is most definitely not immutable.

Many thanks to Rationally Speaking, The Partially Examined Life and various other podcasts and blogs for inspiring and supplying much of the material for this post. If you haven't already checked these things out then you should. Now.

The Partially Examined Life

Rationally Speaking

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