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Re: [ontolog-forum] Grand Unified Theories

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:16:38 -0500
Message-id: <54F60896.5070702@xxxxxxxxxxx>
David and Bruce,    (01)

> Johnson at a Management Accounting seminar in 1992 ...
> "We have come to the end of our ability to understand & describe
> the world around us within the confines of Newtonian physics."    (02)

Johnson was about a hundred years late.  In the 1890s, physicists
began to see that Newtonian mechanics had serious limitations.
In 1905, the "annus mirabilis", Einstein pointed the way to
the future with four amazing publications:    (03)

  1. Brownian motion:  He showed that particles that are visible
     in an ordinary microscope are being kicked around by much
     smaller invisible particles.  This was the first direct
     evidence for the atomic hypothesis.    (04)

  2. Quantum mechanics:  He showed that Planck's theory of radiation
     implied that light energy is quantized in discrete photons.    (05)

  3. Relativity:  Physicists knew that Maxwell's equations for
     electromagnetism -- which predicted that the speed of light
     is the maximum possible speed -- are inconsistent with
     Newtonian mechanics.   Einstein developed a new theory of
     mechanics that is consistent with electromagnetism.    (06)

  4. Mass-energy equivalence:  The famous E=mc^2 and its derivation
     from the theory in paper #3.    (07)

For a summary, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annus_Mirabilis_papers    (08)

> Double entry accounting—to which we are all beholden—was created
> from the same intellectual ferment that produced The Calculus.    (09)

Versions of calculus are used in all theories of physics.  I don't
know what metaphor Johnson was using.  But bringing physics into
the discussion seems to be more confusing than enlightening.    (010)

> I wonder why we presume that a "theory of everything" has to be
> grounded in physics.    (011)

The idea of a GUT was first conceived by the physicists, whose
theories are more precise than theories in other empirical sciences.
Researchers in the other sciences tend to suffer from "physics envy".
They compensate by trying to be "more mathematical than thou".    (012)

As Marcus and Davis pointed out, they tend to "decorate" their
theories with abstruse mathematical equations that are more
confusing than helpful.  Unfortunately, reviewers and investors
who are hopelessly confused by the math, don't want to admit
their confusion.    (013)

> ideas rule the world.  We need to understand ideas -- good ones,
> bad ones, confused ones, crazy ones. It's ideas that cause teenage
> girls to join ISIS.    (014)

I agree.  The ISIS propagandists wrap their crazy ideas in a thin
veneer of theology.  Marcus and Davis were trying to warn investors
that a thin veneer of mathematics can be just as confusing.    (015)

John    (016)

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