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The nature of natural law
Posted: 06 April 2015 10:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 April 2015 09:06 AM

GdB,

Let’s try this. Past regularities either will continue into the future or they will not.

Now if I don’t think nature is restricted some how my conclusion rightly is they will not, since there are so many other possibilities it’s almost certain the actual future will be one of those other possibilities.

Sorry Stephen, it just doesn’t work. What you are saying is that laws of nature are causally effective. That is just nonsense.

Real laws, in our society, are causally effective. If a rule is made, e.g. that all cars must always have their headlights on during the day, then this (ideally) happens. There is an explanation for how this works, via fines, car drivers being conscious of this rule, etc etc. But in the case of laws of nature there is no such explanation, simply because there is no mechanism that causes events to happen because of the validity of those laws of nature.

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Posted: 06 April 2015 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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GdB - 06 April 2015 10:53 PM
StephenLawrence - 06 April 2015 09:06 AM

GdB,

Let’s try this. Past regularities either will continue into the future or they will not.

Now if I don’t think nature is restricted some how my conclusion rightly is they will not, since there are so many other possibilities it’s almost certain the actual future will be one of those other possibilities.

Sorry Stephen, it just doesn’t work. What you are saying is that laws of nature are causally effective. That is just nonsense.

I’m not saying the laws of nature are causally effective. And I think my argument is a good one which is why you are not tackling it head on.

I have the option of assuming A) past regularities are laws of nature. Or assuming they are B) just past regularities.

If you set things up so I’m right to assume B) you set up a paradox.

I say you don’t want to look at this. I think it’s good to. We might have to say we just can’t solve it. But better to say there is an unsolved puzzle than deny it’s existence.

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Posted: 07 April 2015 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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StephenLawrence - 06 April 2015 11:04 PM

I’m not saying the laws of nature are causally effective. And I think my argument is a good one which is why you are not tackling it head on.

I have the option of assuming A) past regularities are laws of nature. Or assuming they are B) just past regularities.

But that is the good old induction problem. We have no logically compulsory ground to believe that these regularities will continue. Of course the opposite is also true: we have no logically compulsory ground to believe that these regularities will not continue. But we have the experience that the regularities continue. Obviously, nature is that way. And as said, the anthropic principle shows that it cannot be otherwise: in a nature in which these regularities do not hold, an evolutionary algorithm would not work, so we could never have come into existence.

So given this fact, there is no reason to believe that these regularities would not hold. Another reason to believe the regularities hold is the success of science and technology.

So in the end, I think it is pretty useless to bring in some methodological argument, that you in your daily life also do not believe in.

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Posted: 07 April 2015 02:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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GdB - 06 April 2015 06:23 AM
BreakUp - 06 April 2015 06:04 AM

Back to the differentiation between a law of nature and the description of the events that are dictated by the laws of nature, the observer needs to be careful to know which one the observer is referring to.

I don’t think I get your point. There is of course a difference in description of events, and a description of the regularities in these events (e.g. compared with other events), but I do not get what you want to say or argue for.

The laws don’t change, only our despriptions do. I agree, it depends which state has Priority, the observer or the observed natural constants.

[ Edited: 07 April 2015 02:21 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 07 April 2015 11:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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GdB - 07 April 2015 01:23 AM

But that is the good old induction problem. We have no logically compulsory ground to believe that these regularities will continue.

Right.

Of course the opposite is also true: we have no logically compulsory ground to believe that these regularities will not continue.

This is what we disagree about. So if I assume nature is not restricted so that it follows past regularities in the future there are logical grounds for assuming it almost certainly will not.

Bear in mind I’m using assume in relation to knowledge. So I can’t know this message will get through to you if nature is not restricted to continue to folllow past regularities, because it almost certainly will not, so my belief cannot be justified in the right way to have knowledge.

To assume nature will continue to follow past regularities only makes sense if we also assume nature is restricted so that it will probably do so.

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Posted: 07 April 2015 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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So at every moment there is a chance past regularities will cease. I say that’s what it means to say nature is not restricted.

We don’t know what the probability is but again if it is very small that’s saying nature is restricted so that there is only a very small chance of it ceasing to follow past regularities.

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Posted: 07 April 2015 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Posted: 08 April 2015 04:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 April 2015 11:40 PM

So at every moment there is a chance past regularities will cease. I say that’s what it means to say nature is not restricted.

We don’t know what the probability is but again if it is very small that’s saying nature is restricted so that there is only a very small chance of it ceasing to follow past regularities.

While nature has infinite potential (degrees of probability), some potentials will never become reality, even as they may lay latent forever. IMO, nature is restricted to the physical expression allowed by the probabilty function. As I understand it, you are proposing that there will be future instances of “spontaneous symmetry breaking”, which IMO, is highly unlikely, unless one accepts the possibility of a multi-universe, where chemicals have different structures and our “constants” do not apply.

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Posted: 08 April 2015 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Write4U - 08 April 2015 04:07 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2015 11:40 PM

So at every moment there is a chance past regularities will cease. I say that’s what it means to say nature is not restricted.

We don’t know what the probability is but again if it is very small that’s saying nature is restricted so that there is only a very small chance of it ceasing to follow past regularities.

While nature has infinite potential (degrees of probability), some potentials will never become reality, even as they may lay latent forever. IMO, nature is restricted to the physical expression allowed by the probabilty function. As I understand it, you are proposing that there will be future instances of “spontaneous symmetry breaking”, which IMO, is highly unlikely, unless one accepts the possibility of a multi-universe, where chemicals have different structures and our “constants” do not apply.

I basically agree with you I think nature is restricted.

I think to say it isn’t and to expect past regularities to continue is a contradiction.

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Posted: 08 April 2015 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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StephenLawrence - 07 April 2015 11:40 PM

So at every moment there is a chance past regularities will cease. I say that’s what it means to say nature is not restricted.

We don’t know what the probability is but again if it is very small that’s saying nature is restricted so that there is only a very small chance of it ceasing to follow past regularities.

Stephen, I think you have not enough insight in how fundamental the laws of nature are. There is no ‘chance’ that they will change. See e.g. wikipedia about physical laws, especially this.

The most basic physical laws are derived from very basic principles:
- the law of energy conservation is based on the fact that the same experiment some time later will give the same result, i.e. is based on time symmetry, or if you want on the uniformity of time, or invariance of time, or invariance against the time scale you are applying
- the law of momentum conservation is based on the fact that an experiment I do here gives the same result when I do it at another place, i.e. is based on space symmetry, or invariance for space, or the coordinate system you are using
- special relativity is based on the fact that it does not matter with which uniform speed I am moving, i.e. symmetry for rotation in spacetime, or invariance of ‘spacetime-length’, or what speed I define as ‘being at rest’
- general relativity is based on the symmetry of inertial and gravitational mass
etc.

So nature behaving according these laws is as natural as natural can be. There is no restriction, there is just nature developing in uniform spacetime. To suppose that the regularities do not hold is saying that spacetime is not uniform, that dependent on the coordinate system I use, nature would behave differently. There are no restrictions, particles and fields just are what they are, and develop as they do.

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Posted: 08 April 2015 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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StephenLawrence - 08 April 2015 04:33 AM
Write4U - 08 April 2015 04:07 AM
StephenLawrence - 07 April 2015 11:40 PM

So at every moment there is a chance past regularities will cease. I say that’s what it means to say nature is not restricted.

We don’t know what the probability is but again if it is very small that’s saying nature is restricted so that there is only a very small chance of it ceasing to follow past regularities.

While nature has infinite potential (degrees of probability), some potentials will never become reality, even as they may lay latent forever. IMO, nature is restricted to the physical expression allowed by the probabilty function. As I understand it, you are proposing that there will be future instances of “spontaneous symmetry breaking”, which IMO, is highly unlikely, unless one accepts the possibility of a multi-universe, where chemicals have different structures and our “constants” do not apply.

I basically agree with you I think nature is restricted.

I think to say it isn’t and to expect past regularities to continue is a contradiction.

This my intuitive take on it also. IMO, the nature of the universe is both conditionally permissive for some expression in reality, but also conditionally restrictive in the forms of those expression at the same time.

An atomic explosion is an expression of E=Mc^2 (a permission), but it requires an initial externally created implosion to get the process started, or nothing will happen (a restriction).

However if a star is large enough, its internal gravity is causal to the implosion (collapse) of the star, resulting in a nova. OTOH, if a star is not large enough (our sun) the forces are not powerful enough to initiate the nuclear process and that star burns out to form a red dwarf. Clear examples of permissiveness of action and restrictions in forms of action.

[ Edited: 08 April 2015 11:37 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 09 April 2015 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Write4U - 08 April 2015 11:33 PM

An atomic explosion is an expression of E=Mc^2 (a permission), but it requires an initial externally created implosion to get the process started, or nothing will happen (a restriction).

However if a star is large enough, its internal gravity is causal to the implosion (collapse) of the star, resulting in a nova. OTOH, if a star is not large enough (our sun) the forces are not powerful enough to initiate the nuclear process and that star burns out to form a red dwarf. Clear examples of permissiveness of action and restrictions in forms of action.

You are confusing initial conditions with ‘restrictions’. If I understand Stephen correctly, then he sees laws of nature as restrictions, and not initial conditions.

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Posted: 09 April 2015 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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GdB - 09 April 2015 09:47 AM
Write4U - 08 April 2015 11:33 PM

An atomic explosion is an expression of E=Mc^2 (a permission), but it requires an initial externally created implosion to get the process started, or nothing will happen (a restriction).

However if a star is large enough, its internal gravity is causal to the implosion (collapse) of the star, resulting in a nova. OTOH, if a star is not large enough (our sun) the forces are not powerful enough to initiate the nuclear process and that star burns out to form a red dwarf. Clear examples of permissiveness of action and restrictions in forms of action.

You are confusing initial conditions with ‘restrictions’. If I understand Stephen correctly, then he sees laws of nature as restrictions, and not initial conditions.

yes, but the initial conditions dictate the potential permisision or restriction of action. If the initial conditions do not dictate future action we lose Determinism. Determinism, IMO, is a form of natural selection; some potential of the initial condition becomes reality, other potentials of the same condition remain latent.

H2O has the potential to become expressed as a gas, a liquid, or a solid. The external condition (temperature) dictates which potential becomes expressed, while the other potentials remain latent. In different geographical areas on earth, H2O can exist simultaneously in all three states, depending on its location.  As a geyser in Yellowstone, a lake in Michigan, or a glacier at the North pole. Most revealing is the fact that a partially frozen lake with a hotspring at one end (causing steam to rise from the surface) can display these potentials even under the exact same initial condition, except for temperature.

I can understand that one might argue that ultimate “permission” is a result of “natural restrictions”, but is a permission nonetheless.Thus my viewpoint that the nature of Natural is both permissive and restrictive.

If taken hierarchically, the Wholeness is fundamentally permissive of action. I see this as without any restriction. Example, the BB where everything happened in the same place at the same time (inflationary epoch), creating our physical universe and its attendant potentials and its conditionally restrictive/permissive laws. 

OTOH, evolution of constructs are in accordance with these laws which restrict the way the constructs may form. When all restrictions are met, permission for a specific action and expression in reality is granted (by default?).  Hence my dualistic take.

[ Edited: 09 April 2015 07:26 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 09 April 2015 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Write4U - 09 April 2015 04:40 PM

yes, but the initial conditions dictate the potential permisision or restriction of action.

Nothing is dictated. That is an anthropomorphism. Nature does what it does because it is what it is.

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Posted: 09 April 2015 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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GdB - 08 April 2015 10:45 PM

Stephen, I think you have not enough insight in how fundamental the laws of nature are.


True. I think debating helps which is the reason to do it.

There is no ‘chance’ that they will change.

Saying there is no chance certain past regularities will change in the future is saying past regularities have to continue into the future. Saying they have to, is saying nature is restricted to behave in certain ways, it seems to me.


[ There are no restrictions, particles and fields just are what they are, and develop as they do.

With no chance of doing anything else. So in other words particles and fields just are what they are and develop as they must do given they are what they are.

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