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Re: [ontolog-forum] Grand Unified Theories

To: Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2015 13:58:44 -0400
Message-id: <54FC8DD4.7040500@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Avril and Rich,    (01)

>> Simplicity is an important criterion.  But simplicity (like
>> beauty, taste, elegance, etc.) is in the eye of the beholder.    (02)

> Do you really think that simplicity is in the eye of the beholder?    (03)

I mean it in *exactly* the same sense as beauty, taste, and elegance.
You can find cases where the difference is so great that most people
will make the same choice.  But there is an overwhelming amount of
disagreement about intermediate cases.    (04)

Nominalists, such as Quine, have used Ockham as an excuse for the
claim that a theory without abstract entities is "simpler" than
a theory that postulates them.  But even Quine admits that you
have to admit the existence of sets (or something similar) if you
want to define all of mathematics.  That "simple" admission opens
the door to the unending hierarchy of infinities.    (05)

I enjoy citing Alonzo Church's talk about the ontology of women
and abstract entities.  He deliberately presented that talk at
Harvard -- because he liked to annoy Quine:    (06)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/ontology/church.htm    (07)

> Is it subjective that the standard model requires that around 70%
> of the total energy must be dark energy, whereas DU does not require
> dark energy at all? Recall that dark energy was added in the 90's
> in order to make the model match the observations.    (08)

Even the physicists who proposed dark energy agree that it's a
complication, and they've been searching for ways to explain it
or eliminate it.    (09)

> How do we determine, when a new theory is postulated, where its
> predictions mismatch experiment?  There should be a tool for that.    (010)

There is a tool.  It's called mathematics.  For a theory that covers
as much territory as DU (namely, all of physics), the amount of testing
required is huge.  If DU merely changed a few minor assumptions, it
would be relatively easy to check a limited number of implications.    (011)

But DU makes fundamental changes in the basic definitions.  There is
a century of experience in using those definitions to make predictions
that agree with observation.  Physicists are not going to make a
revolutionary change without a lot more testing and analysis.    (012)

John    (013)

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