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2 thoughts on “Lawless Universe

  1. says:

    Explores the boundaries between science and metaphysicsRosen who is a retired physicist begins by making a distinction between objective and subjective truth or what I like to call public and private truth Objective truth is something that exists as part of reality and is independent of an observer The sun and earth are objective truths Subjective truth is something inside the mindRosen adds what he calls “intersubjective” truth that is things that are universally accepted as true by human beings truths that stand the test of scientific examination Rosen’s main point here is that even scientific truths are in fact just agreements by human beings found through human experience This is close to the postmodern position that scientific truth is to some extent culturally derivedRosen goes on to explain that for any part of the universe to be amendable to scientific inuiry and to yield scientific laws it must be reproducible and yield predictions The universe as a whole is not reproducible it’s the only one we have Conseuently the universe as a whole is lawless Hence his titleBeginning in chapter four Rosen makes a distinction between metaphysics which “is concerned with what lies around below above and beyond science” p 164 and science itself which operates within the framework of metaphysics He asserts that cosmology for example is a metaphysical endeavor since the universe as a whole is not capable of being understood in a scientific senseNext Rosen brings in realism and idealism and how they relate to science and our understanding of reality and how they relate to holism and reductionism Philosophically speaking a realistic worldview sees laws as things we discover or figure out Moreover a realist sees nature as existing independently of ourselves An idealist sees the laws of nature including perhaps mathematics as something we superimpose on nature while believing there exists something beyond the natural worldUp to this point I found myself in substantial agreement with Rosen’s expression and recognize his worldview as being consistent with that of an empirical realist and a man of science I would only uibble with his dividing “truth” into the three categories of objective subjective and intersubjective Being an amateur philosopher I think it is enough to say there are public truths and private truths Public truths are truths that can be agreed upon by others using the scientific method Private truths are beliefs about things that cannot be confirmed by othersThe last two chapters are about the anthropic principle and what Rosen calls “The Hunt for Reality” It is with his nearly exhaustive delineation of the anthropic principle that I find fault It is not so much in his expression which is excellent or even in his understanding which I think is thorough It is instead with his appreciation of the utility of the principle Simply put the anthropic principle states that the existence of human beings “may within the framework of science serve as an explanation for phenomena and aspects of nature” p 161The key word is “explanation” The anthropic principle may explain or “imply” many things The key point is that “explain” or “imply” is not the same thing as “cause” Thus if the strength of the gravitational force were much greater or much less than it is humans would not exist “Thus according to the anthropic principle the actual strength does seem to follow from the existence of Homo sapiens” p 128 By this reasoning one could also say that the actual strength does seem to follow from the existence of aardvarks or E coli or snow falling on cedars On page 130 Rosen admits that the anthropic principle is “a beautiful circularity” which would seem to weaken its explanatory power The fact that the anthropic principle “explains” or “implies” just about every aspect of our world suggests strongly that it explains or implies nothingSo why is Rosen so enad of the anthropic principle stating on page 132 that it “possesses deep significance”? My guess is that his adoration stems from his sense that the principle emphasizes the intrinsic human nature of science Science is inescapably a human endeavor Rosen doesn’t want us to forget thatFinally because uantum theory is not a complete description of reality Rosen concludes that objective reality” is at least partially hidden from us” He adds “Since this reality transcends nature we’re thus led to a transcendent worldview There’s to objective reality than meets the eyes it seems” p 159This careful and hard to argue with expression concludes the book There’s a glossary an index and suggestions for further reading Additionally Rosen concludes each chapter with a brief summation of what the chapter contains All in all this is a concise and well written book that explores the boundaries between what we know and can know and what we do not and cannot know For another excellent book on similar themes see Dennis Littrell author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

  2. says:

    Specific types of geometric and scientic symmetry are evaluated Symmetry is in nature and can also be used to solve problems

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Lawless Universe [PDF / EPUB] Lawless Universe Can science fully comprehend the whole of the material universe Not according to Joe RosenThere is no uestion that advancements in science—especially in physics—have radically changed our concept Can science fully comprehend the whole of the material universe Not according to Joe RosenThere is no uestion that advancements in science—especially in physics—have radically changed our concept of nature revolutionizing our view of the universe even of reality itself Rosen argues though that the material universe in its entirety lies beyond science Anyone who claims otherwise who proposes a scientific Theory of Everything to explain all aspects and phenomena of nature only misleads and misinformsTaking science—and the scientific method—down a peg Rosen asserts that any understanding of the whole universe if it is to be found at all can come only from outside science from nonscientific modes of comprehension and insight He believes that popularizers of science—think Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins—are mistaken when they declare that science is on the verge of unlocking all the secrets of the universe Perhaps without realizing it they have crossed into the realm of metaphysics in an attempt to explain the unexplainableIn Lawless Universe Rosen explores just how far science can go in comprehending nature He considers the separate—but entangled—domains of science and metaphysics and examines the all too often ignored boundary between the objective and the subjectiveThought provoking and controversial Lawless Universe is a complement to even an antidote for books that create the misimpression that science can explain everything.