Physics – Excited about the wrong things? @skdh @alomshaha @jonmbutterworth @LKrauss1

Three recent twitter & facebook items via “Bee” (Sabine Hossenfelder @skdh) that need joining up, together with an older link left hanging – unanswered.

(1) The Gravitational Waves story – the betting that we are about to get the announcement that they have actually been detected – subsequent to Larry Krauss’ tweets. Everyone likes to be proven right (as Bee responded to my comment), but science (unlike the rest of life) is distinctively about testing to destruction; (technology and engineering are about exploiting the bits that don’t break). My pooh-poohing the story is really saying – OK, it’s an exciting confirmation inside physics, particularly given how hard they have proven to be to detect – but not in any wider sense is it earth-shatteringly newsworthy. Basically confirming common sense.

(2) The Cosmological “non-Constant non-Story” – the fact that long-running controversy over how close to either side of zero – or how large – it must be, is overshadowed by the fact that as a model it is proving to be a useless predictor of expected relationships to quantum effects. This must surely ring alarm bells that something might be significantly wrong with the models underlying so much of fundamental physics on so many scales? Time to look for new ideas, not simply test the existing ones for confirmation. Such creativity is – has always been – a big part of science, but science has no monopoly on creativity. Isn’t that infinitely more important and exciting to the wider public as well as exciting, even scary, for science itself? [Interestingly, the new constraint from the Ashfordi & Nelson paper is a version of the Anthropic Principle. Is anyone listening?]

(3) The public communication of science being two-way – scientists need to listen to their public too.

(4) On the topic of listening to your public, here’s a question I left hanging on free-will. (And her earlier “free-will is dead” post which contained the “gaffe” that Gabe refers to as well as a comment thread that goes off into all the other classic conundrums of subjective conscious experience, qualia et al.) There are alternative conclusions.

Thanks for taking the time Sabine, so …

You say “any change that happens in nature is to our best knowledge a mixture of being pre-determined and being fundamentally random”

(a) the “best of your knowledge” may be inaccurate / incomplete?

(b) that best knowledge as stated already presumes there is no kind of free-will that contradicts that kind of determinism in nature. This logic is flawed already?

Then you say “That statement can be made without ever using the term free will.”

(c) So how can you then honestly conclude (on the basis of a & b) that something called free will doesn’t exist?

That’s the “gaffe” Gabe refers to in your own previous paper. The right conclusion is your knowledge is incomplete. No?

(5) But I’ve suggested listen to your – non-scientist – friends before too. On (2) above coincidentally. Larry Krauss too.

One thought on “Physics – Excited about the wrong things? @skdh @alomshaha @jonmbutterworth @LKrauss1”

  1. By definition, Physics will forever remain stuck in self-fulfilling prophecy, so long as it refuses to recognise the mutual inclusion of receptive space and informational flux in all natural bodies.

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