I hope you will excuse a bit of off-topic self promotion. One of my hobbies is puppetry. It has come up now and then over the years in the blogs and jokes about me and puppetry have sometimes been made in LDS blog circles.
So I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve launched a web-based video series for kids featuring my puppets. It’s called Rusty & Ollie’s Fun, Facts, and Follies.
Check it out. And please share it with your friends and family.
You can watch a brief introduction to the series here.
And here is the first episode:
In previous posts I responded (or gave other people’s responses anyhow) to the ideas that science is primarily about prediction, Reductionism, or Holism. In those ideas we found some truth, but not the whole truth.
Another common point of view is that science is really about observation. Related to this is the idea that science is primarily about empirical evidence or in other words must be falsifiable. As it turns out, these points of view are somewhat correct, but also misleading.
Science is Not Primarily Observation
I doubt science would have any meaning if we didn’t take the ideas of observation and empirical evidence seriously. Descarte is rumored to have tried to argue in favor of pure reason, but we know that this doesn’t work out in real life. The problem is that our reasoning capacity is too broad. We can think of logical possibilities that just happen to not exist. Continue reading
…the chameleonic nature of numbers [is] so rich and complex that numerical patterns have the flexibility to mirror any other kind of pattern. (Douglas Hoftsadter in I am a Strange Loop, p. 159)
In my last post, I discussed the point of view known as ‘reductionism’ and the problems with that point of view. In summary, reductionism is the false belief that sciences that work with the smallest units of nature – atoms and below – are somehow more fundamental explanations of reality than emergent ones, such as thought or computation.
A few posts ago, I discussed computability and comprehension. My final conclusion was that while algorithms and explanations aren’t the same thing, you can’t have an explanation without having an algorithm. Continue reading
A while back I did a post about my three favorite non-fiction authors: David Deustch, Roger Penrose, and Douglas Hofstadter (Gesundheit!). This post is about Roger Penrose.
Roger Penrose has an interesting categorization system for scientific theories that I’d like to share. (Later on, I’ll give David Deutsch’s alternative approach.) Penrose believes there are three categories of theories. They are:
He goes on to say that say he’s considered making a fourth category called MISGUIDED but then thought better of it because he didn’t want to lose half of his friends.
In this post I want to talk about the seven scientific theories Penrose considers to be in the SUPERB category. These are the theories that, as Penrose puts it, have been phenomenal in their range and accuracy. Continue reading