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 The Anthropic Principle

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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:12 pm

There seems to be some confusion, and understandably so, that we're fighting in classic, contemporary fashion about whose flag is flying the highest, most colorful or boldest. From my little slice of life over here, I'm not. Philosophy isn't wrong. Science isn't wrong. Neither are necessarily right, either. But both are valid viewpoints. Sometimes they coincide, sometimes they don't (and who cares). That's all I'm saying. Dichotomy in human minds is a natural thing, I'm not going to break it, neither is anyone else. If it's just a matter of saying "Yes, you're right," okay cool. You're right. So am I. Happy days. cheers

I have no idea why this discussion has anything to do with love (or lack thereof) of fellow humans. Laughing Always another twist and turn. Gotta love the Internets.

As far as Veet's comment, its quite natural for people to ask questions, get answers, and then ask more questions. I also notice people like to ask questions, skip over the answers, ask more questions, dodge acknowledgment of the answers, and ask more detailed questions. That's not happening here to any major degree, but I've always had a hard time talking to people that do that. Kind of like our "bunk science" mention earlier: it's almost as if people already have the answers, and the spirit of the question is merely to challenge, not to gain knowledge. Fascinating.

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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:13 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
...As far as Veet's comment, its quite natural for people to ask questions, get answers, and then ask more questions. I also notice people like to ask questions, skip over the answers, ask more questions, dodge acknowledgment of the answers, and ask more detailed questions. That's not happening here to any major degree, but I've always had a hard time talking to people that do that. Kind of like our "bunk science" mention earlier: it's almost as if people already have the answers, and the spirit of the question is merely to challenge, not to gain knowledge. Fascinating.
YES! What you said. Its as though the purpose of communicating isn't to understand, but to challenge, provoke, befuddle, obfuscate, play games of one-upsmanship, and God knows what else. I've never understood the point of debate for its own sake, as though every interaction were a zero-sum sparring match.

I can even accept that the purpose of participating in these discussions is not (necessarily) to seek knowledge, but rather simply to understand where someone else is coming from, regardless of whether you agree. That's what it often boils down to for me. Where it usually breaks down is in the semantic noise...that is, the use of different definitions, wherein two people are using the same words to mean different things, or different words to mean the same things...or in some cases, words whose meanings are so ambiguous that they could mean anything (or nothing specific) at all.

My penchant for definitions in particular and semantic precision in general is motivated solely by the desire to understand. Alas, it doesn't always sit well with folks who don't care whether anyone else understands what they're talking about. I'm happy to say that most of the participants in this discussion so far don't seem to have that affliction. Cool

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alfredo_buscatti

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Age : 62
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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:14 am

Hi Vito,

Good. Ask questions that have answers. Ask the questions that will yield maximum knowledge. You may not be able to get an answer that satisfies what you really want to know, but at least you push back the darkness and get a better view, so as to ask a better question next time.

In my thinking I have always felt that the questions science asks are too small. Even when the test has been successful, it only cuts a new facet in the stone; the stone already has many such cut facets, and what does the new facet really add?
More, I get a very uneasy feeling that anthropism, and its close relative egocentrism, choose the questions to a much higher degree than a real quest for new knowledge. I feel that we perceive what we already know.

I submit these thoughts to your much greater understanding of science.
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:49 am

alfredo_buscatti wrote:
...In my thinking I have always felt that the questions science asks are too small...
Mike:

I had to chuckle when I read that. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "too small", considering the fact that science concerns itself with things like the fundamental laws that govern the entire physical universe, the origins of life, and the genesis and evolution of the universe itself. You know...the small things. Laughing

Please feel free to provide some examples of the "big" questions.

Part of the chuckle about your statement was that it immediately called to mind the immortal words of "Dirty" Harry Callahan: "A man's gotta know his limitations." I think that's what people who commit real science have to do if they're going to be intellectually honest. "Asking the right questions" doesn't mean "asking questions to which you already know the answers". Rather, it means asking questions that it is possible to answer. There are some kinds of questions that science has no business asking—such as, "What will it take to make you happy?", or "Why are things the way they are?" You probably can think up some of your own.

Science can tell you how things got to be the way they are, but "why" is off limits. "Why" is teleological. That's a different domain — the domain of purpose, of volition. Volitional life is a complex system, and with the exception of some primitive beginnings we've begun to make in complexity theory, for the most part science doesn't know how to handle complex systems.

Yet. Wink

Anyhow, you don't need to convince me that contemporary science has its limitations. I know perfectly well that it does. It asks some HUGE questions within the domains in which it can operate, but there's plenty that it avoids. Physics, in particular, is really for simple minds, because it deals only with simple systems — that is, systems that can be modeled by finite algorithms. Throw a complex system at it, and physics runs for cover.

Most of the greatest physicists of the 20th century recognized those limitations. Guys like Planck, Einstein, Schrodinger, Eddington, and others knew damn good and well that we would need "a new physics" — a very different kind of science — to handle complex systems. That new science is in its infancy. Progress is always slow at the beginning, when you're still figuring out the right questions to ask.

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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:29 pm

Classic case of confusing big with simple, and small with complex. Irrelevant, if you ask me. Much like my view of the very "large" and very "small" as traveling forward and backward when I was a youth (I still believe that). Size is perspective. Is a tree a mile away small? Reach out and measure, it becomes clear it is barely there. Walk toward it, it becomes "bigger." Walk away further, look back, and it becomes "small" again. Science walks to the tree and yet stays there. It is in focus. You can see the bark. You can see the branches. The animals, the fungi, the shade, the color...

...why this is something only science can do (or that it doesn't do enough) is why we have these facets cutting the stone even further. A "diamond in the rough" was cut by nature. It is rounded, flawed, untouched. It will return to this state with infinite facets, none capturing the light fully, but all doing so partially...will end up being matte and flat...just another round rock. Just like it began. Completely touched and formed. Beauty? Who knows. Right or wrong? *shrug* The process to get there in experience, perhaps? Try measuring that--and good luck doing so. Smile

Small and large. Also, fascinating.

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KevinM



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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:43 pm

Verrry interesting, bros.

Why would they substitute the "as seen through the eyes of" shot for the original? One reason could be that it shows slightly more detail. This is desirable, yes? (Or it looks to me as if it does. To decide for yourself, pick any rock and try to isolate details. Which rock left or right, shows detail better, do you think?)

Also -- in a summer trip Up Nawth, my missus and I got into a discussion about which seascape to buy at a gallery. We already have half a doz pics from the same artist, and we just enjoy waking up in the a.m. and seeing a beautiful seacape which captures familiar scenes just as we recall them, and yet not being drearily photographic. Or do they?

My missus said she "didn't like" the sand in one picture. Looks too brown, she insisted. "Well, no," I rejoined to the ex-art major, "that is very close to wet sand on the Southern Maine coast. It lightens up as the tide goes out, but normally it's brownish gray with maybe a little rose in it." She wouldn't believe it, until later that afternoon, she got to see for herself.

Turns out that the painter spends quite a bit of time striving for an accurate color, not necessarily the most pleasing color.

I don't know what color the human eye might see on Mars, but it would likely depend a lot on sun position, just like here. I'm wondering if the color was shifted for some other purpose -- like raising detail -- rather than simple anthropomorphism.





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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:32 pm

KevinM wrote:
...I'm wondering if the color was shifted for some other purpose -- like raising detail -- rather than simple anthropomorphism.
In fact, that's precisely why the color is shifted. As I stated in my OP and in subsequent posts, as a scientist, I'm certainly not being critical of employing any such devices as a means of enhancing our ability to learn new things, and to understand natural phenomena more thoroughly, and at a deeper level than we could without such tools.

I guess I was struck by the fact that NASA chose that particular color-enhanced photo to post on its website, for release to the general public. It seems that someone there must have thought that the appeal to the masses would be greater by making the photo...I dunno—"more relatable to Earthlings", or something.

Or maybe I'm just nuts. Never mind.

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sonarman

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:41 am

I see a Starbucks in the pic, it's right behind the McDonalds lol!
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:56 am

sonarman wrote:
I see a Starbucks in the pic, it's right behind the McDonalds lol!
There. That. Exactly! Laughing

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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: The Anthropic Principle   Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:21 pm

Vito wrote:


Or maybe I'm just nuts. Never mind.


Nah. Or...we all are.

I think the electron-mentalscope has thought beyond its real range of focus for the moment. All of us grabbed for the eyepiece and were tweakin' knobs...pretty fun, more fun drunk, but I believe we might have gone past the useful metaphors. Again. I always seem to be at the root of that shyte. Laughing cheers

I use science constantly in my work. As a bona-fide dropout with no future and destined to work pumping gas for the rest of my life, being ugly, fat and undesirable to the populace, breathing through my mouth and dying at an early age, I've had to work a little harder on lessons and observations that give me facts. What I see is irrelevant, what I interpret can only go so far...if I could only take a big cake-slice of the earth and see the layers and where they go...but no, I must rely in geophysics, magnetics, gravity, chemistry and...*gasp*...creativity...to fill in the gaps. Being wrong is fine--it just means there's more work to be done. Work is cool.

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