Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday morning ramble - #23

Another Saturday morning ramble through just some of the many attractions on offer around the internet...
  • "The nine most terrifying words in the English language," observed Ronald Reagan, are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help'." When Christchurch businessman Dave Henderson was set upon by government, in the form of the IRD, he resolved to fight back. He not only fought back; with the help of Rodney Hide he fought and he won and he changed the thuggish, overbearing culture endemic to the Infernal Revenue System. And then he bought their building. The whole story is now on film, and ready for release in early November. The website for the film is here: 'Here to Help.' Check it out.

  • John Boy visits Porirua market. Nobody wants to talk to him. Poor John.

  • "It seems that every generation has its Shylock," says Yaron Brook -- "a despised financier blamed for the economic problems of his day. A couple of decades ago it was Michael Milken and his “junk” bonds. Today it is the mortgage bankers who, over the past few years, lent billions of dollars to home buyers." See The Morality of Money-Lending: A Short History to understand why the scapegoating of moneylenders is "is unjust but not new."

  • "Saving banks. Ruining money." Not just the recent reaction to the worldwide credit crunch, but a reaction most governments across history have made when they've been able to meddle with the currency. "The bank was saved but the money was ruined." So says William Gouge (1796-1863), one of the best political economists of the American 19th century. He is speaking of the panic of 1819, but his sentence could sum up the whole thesis of his marvelous book, A Short History of Money & Banking, now back in print, and reviewed here.
  • "Imagine an egalitarian world in which all food is organic and local, the air is free of industrial pollution, and vigorous physical exertion is guaranteed. Sound idyllic?"

    But hold on… Life expectancy is 30 at most; many children die at or soon after birth; life is constantly lived on the edge of starvation; there are no doctors or dentists or modern toilets. If it is egalitarian it is because everyone is dirt poor, and there is no industrial pollution because there are no factories. Food is organic because there are no pesticides or high technology farming methods. As a result, producing food means long hours of back-breaking physical work which may end up yielding little. There is – or at least was – such a place. It is called the past.
    Daniel Ben-Ami explains "why we must tackle the critics of economic growth, and finish off the war against scarcity." See: Towards an Age of Abundance - Sp!ked.

  • I bet you didn't know that Google Earth has a flight simulator. I didn't either until now, but it does, and it's great. Marco has all the necessary instructions.

  • Carbon trading is fatuous, unfortunate, and unfortunately almost upon us. Says Nicole Gelinas:
    Carbon trading, the increasingly accepted answer to global warming, will cost far more than we’re being told.
    See: An Inconvenient Solution - Nicole Gelinas.

  • How does your ethical philosophy compare to the efforts of the great (and not-so-great) thinkers? Find out here at The Ethical Philosophy Quiz.

  • Why would today's political activist want to read Brad Thompson's Antislavery Political Writings? Lin Zinser explains why you'd be foolish not to:
    If you want to understand how abolitionists brought slavery to the forefront of American thought in less than 10 years; if you want to study how a good, moral political movement changed the world in 30 years; if you want to get involved in political action today, but you want to do it in a principled, moral way -- this is the book to read, understand and study.
  • But what about the roads? How many times is that question asked of libertarian political activists! Qwertz takes on the question again for all of the so called 'natural monopolies' that theorists insist can only be taken care of by government. He insists that public safety requires that governments not be allowed anywhere near the controls of infrastructure at all. The Road to Ruin, he says, is paved with intervention.

  • Frustrated with postmodern nonsense? With pomo-wanking, with slippery "discourse" about the certainty of uncertainty, of militant agnosticism and armchair multiculturalism? Then check out Stephen Hicks' interview on The Postmodern Assault on Reason.

  • The most succinct explanation yet given by Frank Bainimarama for his coup is contained in his recent speech to the UN. Read it and decide for yourself whether his demonisation is deserved. As he says, "the international community needs to understand the full context of the Fiji situation." Crucial to understanding that context, about which you'll rarely if ever heard expressed in either Australian or NZ media, is that:
    Fiji started its journey as a young nation on a rather shaky foundation, with a race-based Constitution, one which rigidly compartmentalised our communities. The "democracy" that came to be practised in Fiji was marked by divisive, adversarial, inward-looking, raced-based politics. The legacy of leadership, at both community and national levels, was a fractured nation.
  • Read how one art show in 1913 changed the word for ever. Paul Soderbergh issues a "storm warning" to today's art world challenging the notions presented in that 1913 show.

  • More on 'Atlas Month' -- the fiftieth 'birthday of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged: The real significance of 'Atlas,' says Robert Tracinski, is that it is the only novel in all literature to come to grips with the most significant event of the last two-hundred years. "She was the first thinker and artist to fully grasp the meaning of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution and to give them expression both in literature and in philosophy." That artistic vision was so revolutionary, and so benevolent, most critics are still unable to understand it to this day. See: The Historic Significance of Atlas Shrugged - Robert Tracinski.

  • It seems if you bash businessmen, you'll always have the support of the morons in the press gallery, as this disgraceful puff piece in praise of Clayton Cosgrove demonstrates.
    He calls a spade a spade - and then uses it to pummel his opponents with it. I sat through a press conference with Cosgrove earlier this year as he trotted out line after line about how he was going to drag “land sharks” kicking and screaming into the spotlight and “drop the hammer” on them. Seriously. The media loved it. He has been equally tough against dodgy builders and developers...
    Never underestimate how much the media likes a thug.

  • NBR points out why the NZ dollar remains popular with the "carry trade." No amount of Reserve Bank wriggling is going to change that.

  • With the exception of a Boobs on Bikes post which still gets hits from people who have apparently never seen breasts before, the post with the highest reader-to-word ratio ever on Not PC debuted this week. With just twenty-eight words and readers totalling over 1100 and still counting that makes about four readers per word. Go figure. Who would have thought a debate about Cate Blanchett's waste products was so interesting.
  • I see that the former minister for rhyming slang John Banks has announced he is flatly opposed to multi-storey buildings on Auckland's future Tank Farm precinct, and that Banks supporters think this anti-development appeasement is a good thing.
    Wankers.
    The tank farm precinct offers an ideal opportunity for an intensely urban harbour-side precinct unique in New Zealand. What we're more likely to see however is another bloody suburban tract infesting downtown, mandated by council's time-servers and by political appeasers like John Wanks.
    Just another reason to bin your voting form. Don't vote, it only encourages bastards like this.
    Or if you really do insist on voting, then you could follow the advice of a friend: just vote for those bastards who haven't already had their feet under the table.

  • Here's the essay by Robert Bidinotto that won him a 2007 Folio "Eddie" Gold Award for Editorial Excellence: entitled Up From Conservatism, it simply explains the intellectual chaos so characteristic of conservatives.

  • Not that socialists are immune to intellectual chaos either. If "income equality" is one of their primary goals, asks Pommygranate, "then why does Freedom (free trade, capitalism, deregulated markets) correlate so perfectly with Social and Income Equality?" Time for some people to check their premises, it seems.

  • Businessmen and entrepreneurs worldwide deliver the goods and services that keep us alive and flourishing.
    Intellectuals who study the free society have, in the fields of economics and politics, a good understanding of what makes this possible,
    says Stephen Hicks: individualism. It's time to turn this same spotlight on ethics, says Hicks, the head of Rockford College's Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. For too long, he says, the conduct of business has been viewed by mainstream theorists as either amoral or immoral. Following Ayn Rand, Hicks makes a strong case for business activity as a moral act. See his essay 'Ayn Rand and Contemporary Business Ethics.' [26 pages, PDF]

  • Lisa Van Damme says about her school: "I have often been told that, when asked what was special about their VanDamme Academy education, graduates say, "We always understood why we were learning what we were learning." She explains how that process starts from the very first day in teaching history, and grammar, and literature.

  • Have a look at what passes for modern architecture in Britain: Landmark Houses by top British architects invited "to speculate on the architectural poetics and ecological considerations for the design of a 'landmark house'" within the context of a rural site in the Cotswolds.

  • It's worth noting that building on a rural site in Britain -- let alone building anything inventive -- is next to impossible, and has been for a very, very long time. I remember, for example, former Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice (and collaborator on his plans for Baghdad) Nezam Kazan telling me that it was pointless even trying to produce cretive architecture for the English countryside since the English countryside had long since been turned into a museum by planners. James Woudhuysen at Sp!ked argues that the worldwide housing affordability crisis means this presumption to urban containment and rural mediocrity should be urgently overturned.
    If New Labour is serious about making homes more affordable, then it should allow members of the public to buy land and build homes where they please,
    he argues -- a point that the writers of NZ's uber-restrictive District Plans need to take to heart as well. See: This Land is Our Land - Sp!ked.

  • Since Al Bore was offered the opportunity (in person) to facilitate serious debate on the underlying science of global climate change, 1 year, 9 months, 1 day, 21 hours, 52 minutes, and 37 seconds have elapsed. He's still dodging. In this YouTube mash-up, DemandDebate.Com shows why the Goracle might be so reluctant.

  • "What is it about climate change that attract's charlatans?" asks The Australian's Janet Albrechtsen, and why do the serious claims for catastrophe bear no relationship to the cuddly cures proposed by politicians? "They tell us breezily we can have it all, no worries. Where is the probing, sceptical media when these sorts of porkies are told?"

  • A fabulous resource you might want to bookmark as ammunition against the charlatans is The Anti "Man-Made" Global Warming Resource. The most comprehensive bunch o' links on this topic on the planet.

  • If you've had trouble keeping up with the ongoing investigation of the surface stations that are responsible for producing the temperature record, Anthony Watts slide show here is a great introduction to the standards adopted when the phrase "good enough for government work" is your guide.

  • Environmental hysteria is nothing new, of course. Amy Kaleita and Gregory Forbes hav produced a comprehensive guide of several centuries of hysteria, from how we're going to kill all the animals; how we're all going to freeze to death; how we're going to cook ourselves; how we're going to turn the planet into a starving wasteland; how we're all going to overcrowd the earth ... there's nothing new when it comes to hysteria. See Hysteria's History: Environmental Alarmism in Context. [30 pages, PDF]

  • You'll often hear it expressed that "environmentalism is a religion." Not so, corrects blogger Noumenal Self. "Environmentalism is NOT a Religion," he says.
    [Environmentalism] is a manifestly naturalistic philosophy, concerned with the status of the natural world (for better or for worse). This is my chief objection. Perhaps there are ways in which environmentalism is like religion. But it is not literally a religion, and this has important implications... Understanding why environmentalism is not a religion helps to understand why the threat it poses will be relatively short-term... Frankly, I think that the "environmentalism is a religion" charge originated among the religious, particularly those on the right, who saw environmentalism as a competitor.
  • More on the 'Religion in America' debate. Christopher Hitchens points out to those who refuse to take the point that America's founders were skeptics about religion. "It is quite astonishing," he says, "how irreligious the Founders actually were." He cites the founding fathers' famous constitutional 'wall of separation' between church and state, and concludes: In a time when the chief declared enemy of the American experiment is theocratic fanaticism, we should stand together and demand, "Mr Jefferson: Build Up That Wall!"

  • Hitchens fans will enjoy his one-hour talk at Google's headquarters on why God is not great, and how religion poisons everything. You Tube has the somewhat smug vid: Authors@Google: Christopher Hitchens.

  • An interesting aspect of the 'Religion in America' debate is pointed out by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph: God Takes Back Seat on Campaign Trail says the Telegraph. Facinating.

  • And finally, a question that's plagued anyone who's ever spent any time on the internet: just how much are those nice women paid to do all those delightful things that regularly appear in pictures set to my inbox? Kink.Com has the list of rates for all the diverse atrocities it's possible for consenting adults to be photographed doing. If you'd like to get rich by doing what you enjoy, then "training of female bondage slaves by male dom" looks to be the most lucrative.
That's about it for another weekend ramble. I'm off now to prepare for a weekend watching the departure of the northern hemisphere teams from the Rugby World Cup. Bring it on! [And if you haven't yet got TV3's schedules for all the games to come, here's their schedule of live games and of replays. Enjoy!]

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20 Comments:

Anonymous JC said...

"More on the 'Religion in America' debate. Christopher Hitchens points out to those who refuse to take the point that America's founders were skeptics about religion. "It is quite astonishing," he says, "how irreligious the Founders actually were." He cites the founding fathers' famous constitutional 'wall of separation' between church and state,"

Now to reality of the Founding Fathers and God.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness..."

There is absolutely no ambiguity here of the beliefs of the Founding Fathers. To deny this is to say that the FF were charlatans who thought one thing and said another.

To the contrary, these were great men famous for their ability to reason. To them, it was reasonable and even "self evident" to all reasonable, thinking men that there was a creator who endowed mankind with certain rights. They thought it, they said it, and they committed it to one of the best papers ever produced by man.

Because they were great men with powerful reasoning abilities, they had a proper appreciation on the relationship of God and man, and God to the state. Through the Constitution they guaranteed the right of men to worship the God and religion of their choice, and made damn sure that neither Gods or religion would interfere with the proper running of the state.

And one of the reasons why these shrewd and experienced men kept God in His all powerful niche was their knowledge that without God, there could be no control over powerful men who would abuse their power. Without God, the Leader would imagine himself unconstrained and become a dictator. As the saying goes:

"the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe."

Oh yes, those Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about God and governance, and whence our freedoms must come.

JC

10/06/2007 09:52:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

The founding father's were diests to be sure, but religious? That's another matter entirely. The Jefferson bible is a pretty good indication about what that particular founding father thought about the church.

"And one of the reasons why these shrewd and experienced men kept God in His all powerful niche was their knowledge that without God, there could be no control over powerful men who would abuse their power. Without God, the Leader would imagine himself unconstrained and become a dictator."

Knowledge based entirely on anecdotal evidence. Not knowledge but in fact belief. Belief being a product of sociological evolution that once understood becomes irrelevant. Explaining why systems that constrain their leaders evolve becomes the reason to advocate them, and that knowledge can then replace belief.

The idea that "without god there is no morality"* assumes the existence of god. Take away that assumption and we are left with the conclusion that morality must be a natural occurrence, and as such has value based on it's perseverance or lack of it.

*A phrase I've heard a number of times, I get the feeling it's something you might say?

10/06/2007 11:33:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Looks like a certain northern hemisphere team held on!

.......

The Tracinski article on Ayn Rand is a good one. Note the quoted passage describing Hank Rearden's invention of the new metal alloy. Here you have a great description of the process of discovery, "...the meals, interrupted and abandoned at the sudden flash of a new thought, a thought to be pursued at once, to be tried, to be tested, to be worked on for months, and to be discarded as another failure". It is very clear here that what is going on is not in the least bit inductive, it's all inspired guesswork followed through by deductive reasoning and testing to find errors. If only Rand had connected with Popper and followed through.

............

Oh, I should have mentioned: it is also the 50th anniversary of Everett's ground-breaking discovery of the true meaning of quantum mechanics.

10/07/2007 09:23:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Not to mention a certain other northern hemisphere team. Bugger!

10/07/2007 09:49:00 am  
Anonymous Craig D said...

The problem with not voting is that the people in power don't care how few people voted for them. They still think they have the mandate to do what they want.

Look at VUWSA - they got a miserable ~10% turnout to the recent election. Doesn't stop them thinking they represent the students.

10/07/2007 10:30:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

"Bugger" is right.

:-(

10/07/2007 10:32:00 am  
Anonymous JC said...

**The founding father's were diests to be sure, but religious? That's another matter entirely. The Jefferson bible is a pretty good indication about what that particular founding father thought about the church.**

I don't think they were religious either, but the Declaration makes plain their thinking on God.

**"And one of the reasons why these shrewd and experienced men kept God in His all powerful niche was their knowledge that without God, there could be no control over powerful men who would abuse their power. Without God, the Leader would imagine himself unconstrained and become a dictator."

Knowledge based entirely on anecdotal evidence. Not knowledge but in fact belief. Belief being a product of sociological evolution that once understood becomes irrelevant. Explaining why systems that constrain their leaders evolve becomes the reason to advocate them, and that knowledge can then replace belief.**

Knowledge is something these guys had in abundance, that's why I say they kept God in a "niche". Their wisdom was to recognise God had a place, but only so far.

**The idea that "without god there is no morality"* assumes the existence of god. Take away that assumption and we are left with the conclusion that morality must be a natural occurrence, and as such has value based on it's perseverance or lack of it.**

I don't imput God and morality. Rather that God or a higher being is the custodian of human rights, ie, an entity outside of the Leader whom he may fear or trust sufficiently to not abuse his powers.

**A phrase I've heard a number of times, I get the feeling it's something you might say?**

Not particularly. It's not a notion I trust very much at all. When I hear someone talking about it, I check to see if my wallet is secure and my pants well fastened.

JC

10/07/2007 12:47:00 pm  
Anonymous lgm said...

Brian

Re your comment about Hank Rearden.

Have you EVER worked in materials science or engineering?

Thought not.

What is being described in your excerpt relies on induction. One tests a material to discover its properties. Then having recorded the properties one considers the microstructure and may even look at the atomic structure. Next, one starts considering how to modify the system to achieve the properties one wants. BUT in order to do this it is necessary to already possess knowledge of reality, the knowledge you won by induction. You could call this "the rules." You got them inductively- from books, other practitioners and possibly from your own use of the materials.

For example, I could be interested in a well known alloy of magnesium. What I know about this is that components cast from it will exhibit creep (inductive). I also know what is in the alloy (inductive). I can discover the microstructure (inductive). I can determine how the slip planes and dislocations operate (combination of inductive and deductive).

Now I decide that creep is a property that I want to minimise or eliminate. I consider methods that may achieve this (based on previous experience with metal systems that do not exhibit creep to the extent that magnesium does- inductive and deductive). Off I go and design experiments to try various alloys/ treatments/ manufacturing techniques/ processes based on what is likely to lead me to the result I seek (deductive). I record the results (inductive) and consider what is going on with my alloy in each case (deductive). Perhaps I'll have a flash of inspiration during the process and realise that there is an alloy or treatment or method I should try (deductive) and I may try it. In each case the results are recorded (inductive) and analysed (deductive).

See? It's a mixture. induction is present all right. Without that half of the business you'd not be able to win any knowledge at all!

LGM

10/08/2007 06:53:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Just to follow up on LGM's point above, I recall a Dr Peter Lissaman who talked at Auckland's Engineering School an aeon ago.

This was a chap who had done the aeronautics for the frisbee and for the Gossamer Condor (the first man-powered plan to cross the English Channel).

He said that in order to be genuinely creative, it's necessary to know all the old, dusty answers first. As LGM says, "Without that half of the business you'd not be able to win any knowledge at all!"

10/08/2007 07:47:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

Lgm,

Re induction:

Have you EVER worked in materials science or engineering?

Thought not.


Why do you think that? And what has that got to do with the truth of what is at issue?

One tests a material to discover its properties.

How do you know what tests to conduct? There are an infinite number of tests you could conduct. You have to conduct your tests in the light of conjectures.

Then having recorded the properties one considers the microstructure and may even look at the atomic structure.

Again, this is going to be guided by your conjectures. You can't observe anything at the micro-level without these. Not to mention a great deal of other theory.

BUT in order to do this it is necessary to already possess knowledge of reality,

Yes, to do these sort of tests requires that you bring a great deal of knowledge to bear. But, to repeat myself, the tests must be guided by your conjectures. Otherwise you're just gonna be wasting a whole lot of expensive lab time.

the knowledge you won by induction.

Whoa. Back up the cart. Knowledge is never won by induction. It can't be: induction is a myth. Knowledge is won by making conjectures, thinking deductively, and testing. This is what Ayn Rand is describing in the passage I quoted.

One tests a material to discover its properties.

Hank Rearden is testing his material to see whether it conforms with his theory. The theory makes certain predictions about its properties and if the material doesn't have the properties he desires then its back to the drawing board as he tries to come up with a different formulation. This requires creativity and lots more conjectures.

Next, one starts considering how to modify the system to achieve the properties one wants. You could call this "the rules." You got them inductively- from books, other practitioners and possibly from your own use of the materials.

I've never heard people say they got knowledge "inductively" from books. Are you using the word in some non-standard sense? You put "the rules" in quotes because you know the rules might change when someone comes up with a better explanation. Hank Rearden didn't respect "the rules": he had a conjecture that predicted something was possible when everybody else was saying "can't be done".

PC said:

This was a chap who had done the aeronautics for the frisbee and for the Gossamer Condor (the first man-powered plan to cross the English Channel).

He said that in order to be genuinely creative, it's necessary to know all the old, dusty answers first. As LGM says, "Without that half of the business you'd not be able to win any knowledge at all!"


There's that word "genuine" again. To be genuinely creative, it is only necessary to come up with new knowledge. That's all. Being an expert in the field in question doesn't mean you will come up with new knowledge, although you might very well do that. What you are saying, in effect, is that children can't solve problems.

10/08/2007 09:11:00 am  
Anonymous lgm said...

Infinite number of tests? Naaah. As I thought, you have no idea about materials science or engineering. You need to learn by doing.

To test for the properties I am interested in (in this case creep) I would use tests I was already familiar with (previously learned by induction) and which were able to measure the properties I am interested in (previously learned about these by the process of induction).

In the case of creep there are two test machines I would use in my lab. One of them is an electron microscope and the other is a digital tensile tester. That's because I know what I am seeking and I know where to look. Ah mate, you can't beat a good training and lots of practice.

Infinite number of tests? Get off the weed man. I only need undertake a finite number. And I'd likely choose just one test. Yes, it'd be the same test done over for a few iterations until I found what I needed to know.

This process is what Rand is discussing in regards to Rearden and his new alloy. He'd not be stuffing around making directionless guesses with no idea how they related to reality or indeed whether they even did or not. He needs induction to ground his thinking in reality. He makes his deductions on the basis of what he experiences in reality (in the case of materials testing, from what he has measured from his material specimens).

BTW to see the microstructure an optical microscope is sufficient. I'm luckier than most in that I have access to an electron microscope. Still, I don't need conjecture to operate it. I already know how. I gained that knowledge through INDUCTION.

Without gaining knowledge of reality by induction there is no way to undertake any of the work I discussed above. One could make as many conjectures as one liked but about what would one make conjectures? In the end it is the observation of reality (the process of induction) through which one gains the information upon which one may deduct.

---

I couldn't care less what you've heard or who said it. That's about as irrelevant as your opinion really. Don't bother to report the irrelevant. It doen't help your case at all.

I put "the rules" in quotes because that's the common slang used by those "in the know." The full tem is "rule of the game." It refers to the process I've already described for you. BTW Rearden did not violate them. He employed them.

You should have considered the context in which those words were written rather than picking them out in isolation to try some polemic muck. Grow up!

LGM

10/08/2007 02:11:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Lgm,

I said:

"How do you know what tests to conduct? There are an infinite number of tests you could conduct. You have to conduct your tests in the light of conjectures."

You said:

"In the case of creep there are two test machines I would use in my lab. One of them is an electron microscope and the other is a digital tensile tester. That's because I know what I am seeking and I know where to look."

So what can I say, you agree.

Ah mate, you can't beat a good training and lots of practice.

I never said training and practice are not good. But it doesn't mean someone untrained and unpracticed can't discover new knowledge.

...This process is what Rand is discussing in regards to Rearden and his new alloy. He'd not be stuffing around making directionless guesses with no idea how they related to reality or indeed whether they even did or not.

Who said anything about making directionless guesses? That is precisely what I was arguing against when I said that tests must be guided by theories and conjectures. It is these that enable you to whittle down the potentially infinite number of test to just a few. A conjecture is a guess, but a good conjecture is hardly directionless.

.....

I asked:

I've never heard people say they got knowledge "inductively" from books. Are you using the word in some non-standard sense?

You replied:

I couldn't care less what you've heard or who said it. That's about as irrelevant as your opinion really. Don't bother to report the irrelevant. It doen't help your case at all.

I didn't state an opinion. I want to know how you get knowledge inductively from books. But since you raise the question of whether my opinion is relevent or not, whose opinion is relevent? Do, for example, children's opinions count? Or are you just looking for sources of authority?

10/09/2007 01:59:00 am  
Anonymous lgm said...

No. We do not agree. And you are playing an unecessary and superficial game of polemics.

The point is that it is necessary to rely on induction from reality. That's where you get the information to make deductions from. Deductions are based on information previously inducted from reality.

You keep talking about conjecture. That's a form of deduction. No more or less than that. Conjecture is when one posits an idea or theory on the basis of previously possessed information (which ultimately relies on induction in order to be obtained in the first place) in the absence of sufficient evidence for proof. Once the conjecture is formed it is necessary to validate it. Validation requires one seek evidence. That evidence is sought from reality. That means a process of induction is a necessity.

It requires induction to tie one's deductions (including conjectures) to reality. If one does not do that, then deductions become floating abstrations, towers of ideas that do not relate to reality at all. Then they become little more than directionless guesses.

---

How did I know what tests to do? Remember I sought to alter a particular property of magnesium. I knew about that property (in this case creep) by induction. I know that there are two pieces of equipment and one test that I need to measure that property. None of that is conjecture, it is knowledge I have already obtained based on the process of induction from reality. Now I apply that information to seek what I am looking for. The test results are observed through a process of induction. I deduce my conclusions from that.

---

I,m interested in facts and your opinions were not related to fact.

Here you are on a website of a person who has made no secret that his Libertarianism relies on the philosophy of Objectivism. You decide to argue about the Objectivist Epistemology without understanding what you are arguing about. It is clear you have little or no serious understanding of the topic. If you did you'd have known what the term induction means and that the manner with which I was employing it is standard.

Next time before arguing about something and attempting to dismiss it, you'd do well to look it up and find out about it- especially on a topic such as Objectivist Epistemology.

LGM

10/09/2007 07:31:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

The point is that it is necessary to rely on induction from reality. That's where you get the information to make deductions from. Deductions are based on information previously inducted from reality.

I maintain that there is no induction, that the process of generating knowledge is a process of forming conjectures (tentative explanations), of deductive thinking, and of testing. Please explain what exactly you are doing over and above this when you "induce" information from reality.

You keep talking about conjecture. That's a form of deduction. No more or less than that. Conjecture is when one posits an idea or theory on the basis of previously possessed information (which ultimately relies on induction in order to be obtained in the first place) in the absence of sufficient evidence for proof.

A conjecture arises out of a problem situation. It make be a weakness in an existing theory or an incompatible observation. To have a conjecture, you need a problem. You have not mentioned the word "problem" once, but problems are fundamental.

Once the conjecture is formed it is necessary to validate it. Validation requires one seek evidence. That evidence is sought from reality. That means a process of induction is a necessity.

It is necessary to test it and to criticize it. Testing is done to find errors. Testing requires evidence yes, but no induction is going on. You already have your conjecture - what on earth could you be inducing?

It requires induction to tie one's deductions (including conjectures) to reality. If one does not do that, then deductions become floating abstrations, towers of ideas that do not relate to reality at all. Then they become little more than directionless guesses.

Honestly, you've completely lost me.

I,m interested in facts and your opinions were not related to fact.

What opinion? - I asked a question.

You decide to argue about the Objectivist Epistemology without understanding what you are arguing about. It is clear you have little or no serious understanding of the topic.

Oh I understand epistemology all right. But what is clear, Lgm, is that the level at which you wish to debate does Objective epistemology no favours. For all that I disagree with him about epistemology, PC is at least intelligible. You have not even said what induction is and what the process of induction is supposes to involve. Surely that does not require a reader to go away and read some text on Objective Epistemology.

10/09/2007 08:31:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

If knowledge formation depends on induction then how does evolution result in the encoding of information in genomes?

10/09/2007 08:45:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

LGM said...
One tests a material to discover its properties.

LGM, could you please mention one example here to be specific? I am sure I could find one from the literatures and determine whether the test was based on a model already published in peer review journals or the tester was just doing a random testing,ie, he just thought of testing this or that?

I think that BrianS is correct here. Let me ask you, what test are you going to conduct in order to discover, because materials have many properties and new ones are being theorized and published? The reason you are testing is either to :

#1) confirm what other researchers have reported & published in the peer review Journals related to material science.

#2) confirm your own theoretical model that you have developed.

Both steps #1 & #2 are mostly done by researchers who want to publish their work to share with their peers, such as academics. Most academics just do that because it is part of their job requirement to do R&D, then publish, since if you want to be a top notch University this is what you're expected to be doing, ie, R&D and peer review publication.

This is how theoretical science works as in Physics, Computational Economics, Information Retrieval, Signal Processing, Control & Systems Dynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Thermo-dynamics, Computational Statistics, Data Mining, Computational Intelligence and so forth including any field that involves the use of numerical modeling.

Research in Material Science is spearheaded by devising & inventing Physics theoretical numerical models on paper. The next stage would be to test what the model is supposed to predict. You can't go on and test everything or otherwise, you're just a blind person walking aimlessly with no direction in the middle of nowhere.

10/09/2007 09:44:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

LGM,

Here is a peer review journal for material science:

Journal of Materials Science

I don't read this journal, but it is available at the University of Auckland, School of Engineering Library.

The article abstracts are available to be accessed online, but the full article from each volume is not. They could be bought online or read at your local university.

Now, if you go to this paper here, it gives an abstract of a problem as Brian S has said... Here I have cut & pasted it below. This is just one of the abstract that I have chosen here, from the thousands available Springer web site.

Abstract:
Predicting “in-service” lifetime of ceramic thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) is difficult due to the inherent brittle nature of ceramics used. Therefore, the study of metal-based thermal barrier coatings (MBTBCs) has been initiated to challenge the current problems of ceramic-based TBCs (CBTBCs) and create a new generation of thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). In this work, nano/amorphous structured MBTBCs, for use in internal combustion engines, have been produced using high frequency induction plasma spraying (IPS) of iron-based nanostructured alloy powders. Coatings were deposited by IPS using various spray parameters and heat treated up to 850 °C to study the thermal stability of the coating. The thermal diffusivity (α) properties of MBTBCs were measured using a laser flash method. Density (ρ) and specific heat (C p ) of the MBTBCs were also measured for calculating thermal conductivity (k = αρC p ).


I am not knowledgeable in material science, but I think that my Physics and numerical modeling background have no problem at all in reading scientific papers in that field, since that is what I do everyday, reading scientific papers in numerical analysis looking for interesting algorithms to implement. Some of the numerical techniques that I use everyday are also used in material science theoretical modeling and there is no doubt about this. For example, I know Finite Element Analysis (FEA) quite well, which is a familiar technique to Physicists and Engineers. It is heavily used in material science for micro-structural analysis, such as briefly described in the following site:

Finite Element Analysis of Microstructures

I am also using one module of FEA in an online financial application I am developing to target the financial market analysts, fund managers, merchant bankers, market investors, financial institutions, etc, and this is based on the following book:

Financial Engineering with Finite Elements

Mathematic is universal, one technique that applies in one field, turned out that it applies in many fields.

BrianS has a PhD in computational mathematics (signal analysis). This is my area of interest as well, ie, numerical algorithm development (scientific computing). If one understands computational mathematics, then it means that the field that such person could move into without any further training, is enormous, from computational economics, computational linguistics (search engine algorithms), to material science .

Please don't be rude to other posters, such as talking in a condescending manner, because you don't know what others specialties are.

10/09/2007 10:21:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Oops, the abstract that I quoted in my previous message is from this page, at link for the Journal of Material Science at Springer.

10/09/2007 10:25:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

To correct my position here, is that I endorsed both learning by deduction & induction. One area of computing interests is machine learning and data-mining.

I don't dwell too much time on the philosophical definitions of the terms, however in reality, one has to devise an algorithm (alternative or a better one in terms of speed or accuracy) by deducing a new one. If the new one has better performance (accuracy), then it is adopted (if it is commercial application) if it is not, then it is ditched and stick with the current one. The result of using such as algorithm for data-analysis is inductive, that is knowledge is discovered from the data.

10/09/2007 10:50:00 am  
Blogger Brian S said...

More questions for you believers in induction:

1. Surely it is unscientific to presuppose induction is true?
2. How do you test whether induction is true?
3. How do you induce induction?
4. If induction is not induced (but deduced, say, from the law of identity), then doesn't that indicate that induction is actually not a general principle?

10/10/2007 02:16:00 am  

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