Hat tip to Sabine Hossenfelder for this. She is going to destroy them in Munich.
I hope the brawl doesn’t fall out into the Munich streets and only ends up in a Bavarian beer hall.
Reasoning in Physics
International Workshop under the direction of Ben Eva, Ph.D., and Prof. Dr. Stephan Hartmann (CAS Senior Researcher in Residence)
Program and Abstracts Download
Reasoning in Physics – International Workshop at the Center for Advanced Studies, LMU Munich
Modern Physics provides an extremely rich testing ground for philosophical theories of scientific reasoning. In recent times, we have seen the emergence of many new forms of theory confirmation (analogue simulation, the no-alternatives argument, anthropic reasoning, …), necessitated by the empirical inaccessibility of some of the most prominent theories of modern physics and cosmology (string theory, cosmic inflation, …). This workshop will bring together researchers working on the epistemological problems posed by contemporary physical theory, in order to better understand some of these new patterns of physical reasoning and their relationship to traditional theories of scientific reasoning and argumentation in general (e.g. Bayesianism). Another key theme of the workshop will be to explore the ability of traditional Bayesian confirmation theory to account for the wide range of argumentative patterns used by physicists. Relevant issues include, for example, the role and epistemological status of toy models in physics, the ability of Bayesianism to distinguish between neutral and disconfirming evidence, the possibility of providing a Bayesian account of anthropic probabilities, and the question of how strongly a theory can be confirmed in the absence of direct empirical evidence.
Woo and wooism is officially an established branch of physics now, I guess.
I can save Sabine a lot of time with this, though. Naturalness is posited that all of physics should be renormalizable to something expressible in quantum units of order unity. Well, they’re right.
It is. They’re called fundamental particles and the elements. You know them well, I presume, it’s called ‘chemistry’. In my world, I call it quantum chemistry, and underlying all that is something called arithmetic and the fundamental axioms of set theory. You see, I got the Bourbaki math in my first grade education. By the fifth grade I had seen it all. Cantor, Newton and Hilbert, et al.
So what’s the deal with these really big numbers and really small numerical values?
How could this be? Who ordered that?
Well unfortunately, in my nutshell universe there is this fundamental finite speed limit called the speed of light, denoted by the symbol c, and a fundamental unit of action commonly denoted by Planck’s constant called h. And when doing the math it’s convenient to renormalize these values to unity, h/2π = ħ = c = 1, which greatly simplifies the mathematical notation and the resulting equations. And that involves things like the numerical value of π, which being a transcendental value, requires an infinite (endless) number of numerical digits to express exactly. This kind of renormalization to unity procedure can be applied to any number of a wide variety of physical units and constants with very great success. They’re called natural units.
So problem solved! But there is another problem in my nutshell universe. The speed of light in the microscopic world is extremely fast, but in the cosmic astronomical universe it is extremely slow, so slow that a vast portion of my nutshell is now unobservable after 13.8 billion years. And get this, that speed, the speed of light, can never be attained by any macroscopic assemblage of atoms, no matter how much energy is applied, as demonstrated by both the special and general theories of relativity. You remember that guy, right? Albert Einstein? And Max Planck?
And even worse for my nutshell universe, entropy is continually created along with disorder and order in the nutshell. The integer value for that entropy just keeps getting larger and larger as the universe continues to self order and then decay into chaos as the rest of the cosmos continues to expand away from me, at speeds approaching, but never reaching, the finite speed of light.
That is, 1/n → 0 as n → ∞ and 0 ≠ 1 ≠ ∞. QED. Just be sure to trap out any division by zero.
When dealing with finite attractive forces, sooner or later something is gonna break.
Damn. I hate arithmetic already. And nature and physics sucks.
I wish Al Gore never invented the axion angle.
I’m going to become a philosopher.
The money is good, I hear.
Update: Now let’s all give a big hand for the whole, positive, real, exact integer, number 137.
Welcome back into my math cult.
Update 2: Try setting 0 = 1 and then build a mathematical framework around that relation. I tried that once, and it was moderately insightful. Or alternatively, toss out the zero, and then proceed.
That works in a fashion as well.
Update 3: Until it breaks.
Like in Star Trek.
Update 4: It’s like landing exactly on the pole in the 3D Graphics Orbital Space Flight Simulator.
There is a singularity in the math program.