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Why are there laws of nature?
Posted: 26 September 2011 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 03:24 AM

That gives us as much chance as any other method only if the universe is not governed by natural laws.

No, it gives us as much chance as any other method only if there is as much chance of the universe continuing according to natural law as not.

But nobody really believes that.

Stephen

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Posted: 26 September 2011 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 06:03 AM
Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 03:24 AM

That gives us as much chance as any other method only if the universe is not governed by natural laws.

No, it gives us as much chance as any other method only if there is as much chance of the universe continuing according to natural law as not.

But nobody really believes that.

Stephen

Not quite.  No matter what the probability of the universe being ordered is, the probability of induction working is always greater than or equal to the probability of any other method of prediction working.  That is because if any method of prediction works, inductive reasoning would point to it working.

If there is as much chance as the universe continuing according to natural law as not (making the probabilities 50-50), then there is a 50% chance that repeated induction will make accurate predictions, and a 50% chance induction is as useful (or useless) as any other method.  Overall, induction “wins”.

[ Edited: 26 September 2011 07:54 AM by Mingy Jongo ]
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Posted: 26 September 2011 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 07:51 AM
StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 06:03 AM
Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 03:24 AM

That gives us as much chance as any other method only if the universe is not governed by natural laws.

No, it gives us as much chance as any other method only if there is as much chance of the universe continuing according to natural law as not.

But nobody really believes that.

Stephen

Not quite.  No matter what the probability of the universe being ordered is, the probability of induction working is always greater than or equal to the probability of any other method of prediction working.  That is because if any method of prediction works, inductive reasoning would point to it working.

If there is as much chance as the universe continuing according to natural law as not (making the probabilities 50-50), then there is a 50% chance that repeated induction will make accurate predictions, and a 50% chance induction is as useful (or useless) as any other method.  Overall, induction “wins”.

I’ll accept there are practical reasons to believe the future will resemble the past in certain ways.

I think the idea is rather like Pascal’s wager, a reason to believe in God.

But it doesn’t address the question why is it probably true that God exists. (not saying it is of course)

Stephen

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Posted: 26 September 2011 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 08:52 AM
Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 07:51 AM
StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 06:03 AM
Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 03:24 AM

That gives us as much chance as any other method only if the universe is not governed by natural laws.

No, it gives us as much chance as any other method only if there is as much chance of the universe continuing according to natural law as not.

But nobody really believes that.

Stephen

Not quite.  No matter what the probability of the universe being ordered is, the probability of induction working is always greater than or equal to the probability of any other method of prediction working.  That is because if any method of prediction works, inductive reasoning would point to it working.

If there is as much chance as the universe continuing according to natural law as not (making the probabilities 50-50), then there is a 50% chance that repeated induction will make accurate predictions, and a 50% chance induction is as useful (or useless) as any other method.  Overall, induction “wins”.

I’ll accept there are practical reasons to believe the future will resemble the past in certain ways.

I think the idea is rather like Pascal’s wager, a reason to believe in God.

But it doesn’t address the question why is it probably true that God exists. (not saying it is of course)

Stephen

Like I said, it is not an epistemological justification, but a pragmatic vindication of induction.  However, I wouldn’t mention it in the same light as Pascal’s Wager, which is a deceptive argument; most glaringly in that it completely ignores the possibility that God may reward some non-believers or punish some believers, not to mention that it makes no distinction between different possible gods.  It ends up falling completely apart.

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Posted: 26 September 2011 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 09:34 AM
StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 08:52 AM
Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 07:51 AM
StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 06:03 AM
Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 03:24 AM

That gives us as much chance as any other method only if the universe is not governed by natural laws.

No, it gives us as much chance as any other method only if there is as much chance of the universe continuing according to natural law as not.

But nobody really believes that.

Stephen

Not quite.  No matter what the probability of the universe being ordered is, the probability of induction working is always greater than or equal to the probability of any other method of prediction working.  That is because if any method of prediction works, inductive reasoning would point to it working.

If there is as much chance as the universe continuing according to natural law as not (making the probabilities 50-50), then there is a 50% chance that repeated induction will make accurate predictions, and a 50% chance induction is as useful (or useless) as any other method.  Overall, induction “wins”.

I’ll accept there are practical reasons to believe the future will resemble the past in certain ways.

I think the idea is rather like Pascal’s wager, a reason to believe in God.

But it doesn’t address the question why is it probably true that God exists. (not saying it is of course)

Stephen

Like I said, it is not an epistemological justification, but a pragmatic vindication of induction.  However, I wouldn’t mention it in the same light as Pascal’s Wager, which is a deceptive argument; most glaringly in that it completely ignores the possibility that God may reward some non-believers or punish some believers, not to mention that it makes no distinction between different possible gods.  It ends up falling completely apart.

Ok I accept all that, it’s just that it by- passes what I’m interested in.

Try this: Why isn’t it overwhelmingly likely that the regularities we have seen so far will break down at some point in the next 10 years?

My reasoning is if they can why is it that they won’t and in the absence of anything preventing them from doing so they almost certainly will.

This underlies why it seems to me there must be some reason that the regularities hold even if it’s unknowable.

Stephen

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Posted: 26 September 2011 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 09:50 AM

Try this: Why isn’t it overwhelmingly likely that the regularities we have seen so far will break down at some point in the next 10 years?

My reasoning is if they can why is it that they won’t and in the absence of anything preventing them from doing so they almost certainly will.

This underlies why it seems to me there must be some reason that the regularities hold even if it’s unknowable.

Stephen

Then we can ask what the reason for the reason is, ad infinitum. smile

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Posted: 26 September 2011 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Mingy Jongo - 26 September 2011 10:49 AM
StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 09:50 AM

Try this: Why isn’t it overwhelmingly likely that the regularities we have seen so far will break down at some point in the next 10 years?

My reasoning is if they can why is it that they won’t and in the absence of anything preventing them from doing so they almost certainly will.

This underlies why it seems to me there must be some reason that the regularities hold even if it’s unknowable.

Stephen

Then we can ask what the reason for the reason is, ad infinitum. smile

That’s as may be but that doesn’t mean there doesn’t need to be an answer to this particular problem.

My guess is certain regularities are necessary or overwhelmingly likely to occur.

Induction can work because the more times a certain regularity occurs it means it’s more likely to be occuring because it’s necessary or overwhelmingly likely rather than by chance. And that’s why when we have enough data we can start to say we are almost certain the future will be a certain way like NASA do here http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2012Nov13Tgoogle.html.

Stephen

[ Edited: 26 September 2011 11:43 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 26 September 2011 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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author=“StephenLawrence”

Try this: Why isn’t it overwhelmingly likely that the regularities we have seen so far will break down at some point in the next 10 years?

My reasoning is if they can why is it that they won’t and in the absence of anything preventing them from doing so they almost certainly will.

This underlies why it seems to me there must be some reason that the regularities hold even if it’s unknowable.

Stephen

Perhaps some regularities are fundamental properties of the cosmic fabric. The point I was trying to make is that natural laws do indeed prevent chaos. Thus, there has to be natural law or else it all would fly apart without a doubt.  However we always have the uncertainty effect. There is your irregularity. The rest is mathematical.

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Posted: 26 September 2011 10:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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StephenLawrence - 25 September 2011 11:48 PM

It doesn’t work because we could be going to cease to exist when past regularities break down in 5 minutes.

Yeah. Live with it.

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Posted: 26 September 2011 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Write4U - 26 September 2011 01:52 PM

author=“StephenLawrence”

Try this: Why isn’t it overwhelmingly likely that the regularities we have seen so far will break down at some point in the next 10 years?

My reasoning is if they can why is it that they won’t and in the absence of anything preventing them from doing so they almost certainly will.

This underlies why it seems to me there must be some reason that the regularities hold even if it’s unknowable.

Stephen

Perhaps some regularities are fundamental properties of the cosmic fabric. The point I was trying to make is that natural laws do indeed prevent chaos. Thus, there has to be natural law or else it all would fly apart without a doubt.  However we always have the uncertainty effect. There is your irregularity. The rest is mathematical.

by Gove Writer4U I think you’re right.

The way the man in the street sees natural laws is that they are necessary, rules that can’t be broken. The philosophers say no, but we want to protest but if they can be why on earth aren’t they?

Also we naturally think that there is a reason induction works and that is because we are discovering things that are necessary or at least have a very low probability. The bigger the sample the more likely we’ve done that. The scientists think that along with the man on the street and talk of laws governing the behaviour and even the philosopher is tempted to think that. But no, we’re told that isn’t true. It just so happens that regularities hold and induction working is just a base level fact along with laws of nature.

So it comes down to what is the best explanation? We have the explanation that the universe continues to behave in certain ways because it has to (or as near as damn it), or it just miraculously does. 

I think it’s a question of asking where does probability come from? Does it come from past statistics? Or are the past statistics pointing to an underlying probability.

If it comes from past statistics there is no reason for them to hold into the future, they just do confused

If the statistics are there because of the underlying probability we have a solution to the problem of induction.

That looks much more reasonable to me, although I’ll be interested to find out the reasonable objections that I suppose there also must be.

But I do wonder how much of this current view of laws of nature does come from the desire to over throw God and keep free will.

Stephen

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Posted: 26 September 2011 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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GdB - 26 September 2011 10:35 PM
StephenLawrence - 25 September 2011 11:48 PM

It doesn’t work because we could be going to cease to exist when past regularities break down in 5 minutes.

Yeah. Live with it.

GdB,

I’m, not worried about it, far from it, might be the best thing that can happen from the point of view of alleviating suffering.

The point is you don’t believe it’s going to happen. You believe that there are statements we can make that are true and for all time and that we have knowledge of what they are through empiricism.

You firmly believe in laws that you have good reason to believe will continue. edit (a contradiction)

Also we’ve discussed what would happen if the laws were different and you’ve said it’s all idle speculation because we don’t know if they could be. (another contradiction)

 

Stephen

[ Edited: 26 September 2011 11:24 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 26 September 2011 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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GdB - 25 September 2011 10:46 AM

For God’s sake, what does this mean?

it would be so very highly unlikely that the actual world would have these regularities.

This comes from a a couple of premises that look right at least, so one way for me to change my mind is to over turn them.

1) Probability is graded possibility.

2) All possibilities have a probability of being actual.

If you agree with those then just about any probability you assign to past regularities breaking down at any moment will give the result that they are bound to in the next 10 seconds. grin

Stephen

[ Edited: 26 September 2011 11:36 PM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 26 September 2011 11:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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StephenLawrence
I think it’s a question of asking where does probability come from? Does it come from past statistics? Or are the past statistics pointing to an underlying probability.

IMO, it is more fundamental than that. I believe it is tied to the inherent potential of things. This potential can only be expressed in reality in accordance with a strict mathematical formula. The greater the potential of a thing the greater the probability of its becoming reality, but also restricts its choice of expression until only one possible expression is realized.

The very ability to develop an entire field in science and in life (mathematics), based on empirical observation and proved by falsification, cannot be just regularities. There has to be a controlling geometry. Order must evolve from chaos as it is much simpler in form than chaos (Ockham). There must be a fundamental property, a common denominator of all things, past, present, and future. This property must be recognizable and predictable.
Philosophers call these properties, functional Regularities (regulated functions).
In my paradigm I propose that Potential (latent ability) is this fundamental property.
Spiritualists assign awareness and propose that this fundamental property is God, or Deity, or I.D.

[ Edited: 27 September 2011 12:39 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 27 September 2011 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 10:49 PM

Also we naturally think that there is a reason induction works and that is because we are discovering things that are necessary or at least have a very low probability. The bigger the sample the more likely we’ve done that. The scientists think that along with the man on the street and talk of laws governing the behaviour and even the philosopher is tempted to think that. But no, we’re told that isn’t true. It just so happens that regularities hold and induction working is just a base level fact along with laws of nature.

Sorry Stephen, it is just a thinking error. There was a time the man in the street thought witches really exist. The way you, as man in the street, sees natural laws is just wrong. You make natural laws as a cause of the way planets move. But natural laws cause nothing. They are descriptions on how events in the universe are causally connected, but they themselves are not physically discovered.

StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 10:49 PM

I think it’s a question of asking where does probability come from? Does it come from past statistics? Or are the past statistics pointing to an underlying probability.

Your use of the word ‘statistics’ is rather rhetorical. The physical world is rather stable. There is no proof of that, but you experience it everyday.

StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 10:49 PM

But I do wonder how much of this current view of laws of nature does come from the desire to over throw God and keep free will.

None of it. But the pseudo problem of free will forces one to reflect what natural laws really are.

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Posted: 27 September 2011 12:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 11:01 PM

You firmly believe in laws that you have good reason to believe will continue. edit (a contradiction)

What is the contradiction? When it was not the case, science would be impossible. Did you already read Hume and Kant? We are just doing the whole stuff over again…

StephenLawrence - 26 September 2011 11:01 PM

Also we’ve discussed what would happen if the laws were different and you’ve said it’s all idle speculation because we don’t know if they could be. (another contradiction)

Again a contradiction? I’m afraid you have to spell it out…

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