RE: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised
From: Brian Harper (email@example.com)
Next message: Steve Petermann: "Re: Fragility and tendentiousness"
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 16:30:25 EDT
At 02:59 PM 9/18/2003 -0400, Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
The distinction between the
theories of Ptolemy and Copernicus was not merely aesthetic.
Simplicity plays a major role. The behavior of a double pendulum
can be predicted, the equations are deterministic. However, long-range
predictions are difficult to obtain but can be obtained in
Cosmology is akin to forensic science. It is more deductive than
inductive. Just like evolutionary theory but unlike physics, which
is an experimental science. Of course, cosmologists do use all that
physicists can provide but there is more to it since one is dealing with
a unique event.
First regarding Ptolemy I could point out that Copernicanism as
originally formulated was not really simpler since it also required
epicycles to obtain predictions as accurate as Ptolemy. I could also
quibble that simplicity is aesthetic. But the main point is that
we apparently agree that predictive capability was not the main concern.
The double pendulum cannot be predicted (for very long) in practice. What
happens in principle is of little use. It is like a reductionist arguing
that evolution can be predicted in principle. Given enough information
and a big enough computer etc. etc. To say that the double pendulum can
be predicted long term in principle just begs the question regarding the
accuracy (predictive capability) of the model.
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: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 16:32:10 EDT