Bob Jeske wrote :
> Please read *Fashionable Nonsense* for a straightforward exposition on how pomos so often
> misunderstand and misuse science and mathematics in their work. Sokol and his co-author provide
> excruciating and embarassing exposes of people such as Latour and others, particularly with
> reference to the preposterous notion that physicists argue we create reality by observing it.
> The fact that our perception of the potential states of matter changes with our observations
> *does not* mean that reality is altered.
> Equally galling is the simple-minded confusion of fact and assertion of fact that is commonly
> used to "show" how reality changes (e.g., Before Copernicus, it was a "fact" that the earth was
> the center of the solar system, now it is a "fact" that the sun is). In actually, the fact that
> the earth revolves around the sun has never changed, only our understanding of that fact has
> changed. In science, one can be *wrong* about facts (i.e., how we percieve or understand the
> facts may change), but the facts themselves never change.
> No amount of psychobabble about objectivity being dependent upon language, culture, etc, will
> change that.
Oh dear. Methinks we have been down this avenue before on this list.
It gets a bit dull to traverse the same route over and over. The Sokal
affair has been thrashed so much, that I have no comment to add.
" Frieden's information-based methods provide a stunningly
clear interpretation of the laws of physics: they represent
the best we can possibly do in our quest to extract
information using our inevitably error-prone methods.
"Through the very act of observing, we thus actually define
the physics of the thing measured," says Frieden. He adds
that while unfamiliar, the idea that "reality"--or, at least,
the laws of physics--are created by observation is not new.
During the 18th century, empiricist philosophers such as
Bishop Berkeley were raising similar ideas. Much more
recently, John Wheeler, a physicist at Princeton University
who is widely regarded as one of the deepest thinkers on the
foundations of physics, has championed remarkably similar
views. "Observer participancy gives rise to information and
information gives rise to physics," he says.
That's not to say Frieden's approach implies that the laws of
physics are "all in the mind". Rather, it means that any
physical attempt to extract information about nature
determines the answer we obtain--and the best information we
can ever extract is what we call the laws of physics."
Now if you put this into the context of Information Theory ( or other
contexts, for that matter ) it makes no sense at all to exclude the
observer. Without a conscious mind at the end of the line, how could
anybody ever 'know' the information ? And if you admit that a conscious
mind is an essential ingredient, then you are into all the problems re
interpretation, and interpretation being 'subjective' ( or not) and a whole
host of other profound philosophical and scientific questions.
Traditionally, scientists have preferred to ignore all that, because it is
so troublesome. It makes life much simpler, just to leave the observer
out, and conduct science 'as if' there was no variable human agency
involved at all.
That said, I cannot deny that there is plenty of fashionable nonsense
and psychobabble around, and it is not likely to go away.There is also
plenty of junk science around, and I don't expect that to change, either.