Moriarty-Thims debate (part two)

In debates, the Moriarty-Thims debate (part two), of three parts in total (see: part one and part three), is shown below:

Note
Comment numbers are not exactly aligned in numerical sequence as referenced in comment, but will be in the vicinity, e.g. comment #112 (tread version) → comment #97 (webpage version), owing to thread-to-webpage conversion issues, such as deletion of non-relevant posts, etc.

Debate: part two
The following is thread-to-page conversion re-paste of the debate, which took place in the general discussion forum of the eoht wiki from September 02-19, and is broken up into three approximately 20-page sections, the second part of which is shown below:

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Comment #87
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 10 2009, 7:52 AM EDT
"Truth is correspondence to reality in assertions. Assertions are Ontological statements such as employ the verb: to be. "'im now going to stop posting here because it will get confusing if there are two anonymous users. Comments #95 and #96 are not from me (Philip Moriarty). Moreover, the discussion is going off topic - I do not want to get dragged into a pointless discussion on creationism/religion vs. science. In any case, I can't follow or understand the vast majoirty of what Petrologist writes. (I refer Petrologist to Comment # 54 above).

Libb Thims: I would appreciate an answer to the many unanswered questions I have posed above. *Please* confirm the date and host for your university lecture. Feel free to respond to my criticisms of the Journal of Human Thermodynamics as well, given that you are the General Editor of the "journal".

Goodbye.
Philip Moriarty
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Comment #88
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 10 2009, 10:38 AM EDT
To: Sadi-Carnot/Libb Thims

In response to my e-mail to Prof. Muschik (see comments #79 and #80 above on pages 4 and 5 respectively), I received the following message:

"Dear Colleague Moriarty,

This is a ghostlike discussion. From a thermodynamical point of view, the procedure is clear: If one have a distribution (that means some items must be distributed), you can define an not necessarily thermodynamic entropy (if it is thermodynamic or not, depends on the items which are distributed). If one additionally can define an energy belonging to the set of the distributed items, one can define a temperature by differentiating the entropy to this energy. Then one can call the set of the distributed items a thermodynamical one (if you want).

Let us consider a set of students having different heights. Then one can introduce a distribution function describing the distribution of the different heights spanning the R1. The one can define an entropy (information measure). But because there no energy belonging to the considered set of students, you cannot define a temperature and this set of students does nor represent a thermodynamical system (as we knew that from the very beginning).

You can use this letter for contributing the discussion on which I will not participate anymore. Thanks for your e-mail and with my best regards W. Muschik"

So, as was pointed out in Comments #76 and #77 above, not only do Muschik and I agree but your suggestion that you can write down a thermodynamic entropy for a group of students is entirely flawed. Please stop trying to propagate your pseudoscientific human thermodynamics nonsense any further. More importantly, stop launching groundless ad hominem attacks.

Thank you. Enough,
Philip Moriarty
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Comment #89
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 1:04 PM EDT
First of all, sorry, I am used to systems warning me that I'm logged off before allowing me, if at all, to post anonymously.

Next, Phil, your application of thermodynamic equations to student height distribution is a splendid example of arbitrary and inappropriate application thereof. Of course, Sadi-Carnot applied said thermodynamic equations not to student height distribution, but to the notably particle-like movement of individuals in crowns in confined spaces. Again, this is metaphoric, because actual particles only move because of readily quantifiable physical forces, and people may be said to move in response to psychological forces, another metaphor and not so readily measurable. At best quantitative methods may be intelligently and approximately applied to such a qualitative problem.

My point is, that with some effort, any student could deliberately begin moving in as non particle like a manner as conceivable, simply to ruin the observations! And that will never happen with actual particles. So: apples and oranges! That the analogy goes as far as it does, is already note worthy. If Sadi-Carnot insists that it goes any further, let him propose an experiment with proper conditions of falsification. But making entirely different analogies, even from the same thermodynamics, only demonstrates the facility of concocting analogy. The connection is unclear, at least to me, given that the catagories are so entirely different,

And as to the scale of degrees set for measurement of the correlated analogous heat, surely that would be arbitrary, considering what sort of particle each student is taken to represent, differential in scale, and so forth. Analogy allows that range of freedom. It's not real heat. The real temperature in the room, is entirely another matter.
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Comment #90
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 1:34 PM EDT
Once again, just because both Hitler and Stalin wore mustaches, it would be folly to conclude that only bad men wear mustaches! Plant breading and animal breading are extremely similar, but even so, there remain some differences. All analogies break down at some point, except for tautology, the analogy of any one thing actually with itself. Because nothing is entirely like anything else. Anything is only entirely like itself. At some point, all things are each sui generis. Now, Darwin actually tested to find the extent of similarity in plant and animal breeding. Will Sadi-Carnot propose proper experiments with conditions of falsifiability, in order to discover the range of similar applicability of Thermodynamics? Or will he simply wait for the bold denizens of his fabulous future to buckle down on the due diligence?
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Comment #91
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 10 2009, 5:55 PM EDT
"Aaron, you are entirely correct to dismiss the concept of human thermodynamics, as put forward by Libb ThimsSadi-Carnot, as tripe. Sadi-Carnot has studied the history of thermodynamics in quite some detail - and is certainly better versed in the minutiae of the historical development of certain concepts than I - but he has little or no grasp of the underlying physics.

"Sadi-Carnot gathers ever more sociological observations that can be correlated by whatever strained metaphors to thermodynamics, but has yet to make predictions, testable hypotheses with standards of refutation".

Indeed. Moreover, instead of debating the scientific issues using reasoned counter-arguments, he continually simply quotes from experts (often entirely missing the point of the question) and arrogantly attacks those who do not share his outlandish views via nasty ad hominem attacks. Richard Feynman once put forward an interesting single sentence definition of science: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts". Once an argument is *solely* based on, as I put it above, "recourse to authority" - Sadi-Carnot's preferred approach - then one appreciates the point that Feynman was trying to make. It's a question of critical thinking.

All the best,
Philip (Moriarty)
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Comment #92
Lynn Liss 75lynnliss (Lynn Liss)
Sep 10 2009, 6:04 PM EDT

Human thermodynamics (or human chemistry) is an entirely radical thinking from a scientific viewpoint.....how can you state Libb doesn't embrace Feynman's "ignorance of experts" approach, in this light?
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Comment #93
Lynn Liss 75lynnliss (Lynn Liss)
Sep 10 2009, 6:10 PM EDT

"I made mention of light and sound both actually BEING waves. Again, waves are waves. Yes, that's more than analogy, indeed it is tautology. Sadi-Carnot strays into nonsense by pressing argument from analogy way too far. The observation of people in crowds under confined space moving at all like particles, is all fine and good. It could be a true observation, that most would make as a joke, because it doesn't really necessarily indicate much more. The most viable application is still to architectural traffic flow, but even then not exclusively, due to distinctly non Thermodynamic human conduct. For example, The way to avoid crows at Disneyworld, is always to turn left, because crowds tend to turn right. Will Sadi-Carnot now chalk that up to some sort of social coriolis effect [see: turning tendencies]? In Situationism, even aesthetics factors of as experienced inside an environment are observed to repel or to attract human movement through the streets. But such qualitative factors are difficult to quantify in order to apply equations. So any possible application of thermodynamics remains poetical, useful in forcing unusual inventive associations, which is more valuable than Sadi-Carnot's obscurantist pseudoscience."

Just because 'qualitative factors are difficult to quantify in order to apply equations' does that mean we don't attempt to? Isn't that evolutionary thinking...something we science aspire towards?
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Comment #94
Lynn Liss 75lynnliss (Lynn Liss)
Sep 10 2009, 7:42 PM EDT

"Next, Phil, your application of thermodynamic equations to student height distribution is a splendid example of arbitrary and inappropriate application thereof. Of course, Sadi-Carnot applied said Thermodynamic equations not to student height distribution, but to the notably particle like movement of individuals in crowns in confined spaces. Again, this is metaphoric, because actual particles only move because of readily quantifiable physical forces, and people may be said to move in response to psychological forces, another metaphor and not so readily measurable. At best quantitative methods may be intelligently and approximately applied to such a qualitative problem.

My point is, that with some effort, any student could deliberately begin moving in as non particle like a manner as conceivable, simply to ruin the observations! And that will never happen with actual particles. So: Apples and oranges! That the analogy goes as far as it does, is already note worthy. If Sadi-Carnot insists that it goes any further, let him propose an experiment with proper conditions of falsification. But making entirely different analogies, even from the same Thermodynamics, only demonstrates the facility of concocting analogy. The connection is unclear, at least to me, given that the catagories are so entirely different,

And as to the scale of degrees set for measurement of the correlated analogous heat, surely that would be arbitrary, considering what sort of particle each student is taken to represent, differential in scale, and so forth. Analogy allows that range of freedom. It's not real heat. The real temperature in the room, is entirely another matter. "

But you are presuming that the 'decision' of a student to move is 'deliberate' vs. driven by their innate nature or scientific structure.....thoughts?
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Comment #95
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 10 2009, 10:26 PM EDT
Of course all events are subject to sequence of causality, one way or another. The question is of applicable reduction to thermodynamics. Psychology has yet to reduce to neurology, much less thermodynamics. And even such an achievement, if ever successful, would still be complex enough seemingly to rule out reduction of sociology or sociometry directly to thermodynamics equations.

PS. I think that we are all familiar with and clear about the logical falsity relevance of appeal to authority. Nevertheless, if one posts credentials, one opens the door to requests for verification. And, seriously lynnliss, not even Sadi-Carnot posts degrees yet to be graduated into! I mean, doesn't that violate entropy?
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Comment #96
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 1:20 AM EDT

As I noted in one of the preceding comments, I was going to walk away from this argument with Sadi until he (yet again) personally and visciously attacked the credentials of Frank Lambert, somebody who has helped countless students get their heads around the very difficult concept of entropy. This, not to put too fine a point on it, pissed me off immensely, particularly as Sadi/Libb clearly does not understand even the most basic concepts in thermodynamics and quantum physics. He certainly knows the history of the subject (better than I do in some cases) but does not understand the physics and chemistry.
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Comment #97
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 1:43 AM EDT

"Human thermodynamics (or human chemistry) is an entirely radical thinking from a scientific viewpoint.....how can you state Libb doesn't embrace Feynman's "ignorance of experts" approach, in this light?"

...smacks face with palm of hand and starts to sob gently...Arrrgggghh. Right, here's *my* new radical theory:

All human interactions are based around the transfer of energy "hoops" - best thought of as "micro-bagels" in layman's language - which exist in forty-seven higher dimensions on fractions of the Planck-length and for fractions of Planck-time. These *undetectable* micro-bagels give rise to a force between humans which mediates all of our interactions and, moreover, ensures that the arrow of time is defined. Love is simply a manifestation of a force between fermionic micro-bagels, whereas hate is a repulsive force due to boson-like energy hoops. Loss, sorrow, and, indeed, even homesickness, are all simply due to a reduction in the rate of energy hoop production by the body.

**Definitively* prove me wrong. (Remember, those energy hoops are undetectable...) Oh, and by the way, stay tuned because I can generate another theory, just as "radical" as that tomorrow. And the day after. And for an infinite number of days following that. I'll quote Robert L Park again, seeing as you apparently missed it the first time 'round (in the comments above):

"It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo - that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.”

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #97
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 1:54 AM EDT

"Let students and professors make their own decisions about what they will and won't debate....open dialogue (vs. trying to shut down dialogues) only stunts innovative thinking"

Yes, fine, I entirely agree. If Libb's "theory" (for want of a better term) is being presented for discussion in terms of its scientific viability, well and good. I made this point in Comment # 24 above. (Before you post in future, would you do me the courtesy of reading all of the comments in the debate thus far? It'll save us both some time).

However, it's an entirely different matter if Libb's human thermodynamics baloney is being presented as a viable scientific theory to undergraduate students. If Libb would respond and let me know who is hosting his talk then we could get to the bottom of the conext in which he is presenting his lecture. After all, would you be happy for me to present my "theory" on the micro-bagel model of human interactions (outlined in comment #112 above) to undergraduates as part of a module on biochemistry?

*Anyone* can put an innovative new theory. The difficult bit is making sure that your theory agrees with the evidence/observations.

In suggesting that I am trying to stifle debate you are either being wilfully disingenuous or, as I suspect, you really don't understand the scientific method (and Libb has got it so wrong).

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #98
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 1:59 AM EDT
"Just because 'qualitative factors are difficult to quantify in order to apply equations' does that mean we don't attempt to? Isn't that evolutionary thinking...something we science aspire towards?"
Yes, you're entirely correct that we should aim to develop quantitative **predictive** models even in cases where this appears extremely difficult. What we shouldn't do, however, is dress fanciful "theories" - with no grounding in observation or experiment - up in the language of physics and/or maths in order to make them appear more valid than they are. This is precisely the approach Libb uses.

I'll refer you, yet again, to a preceding comment, Lynnliss. See my discussion of Alan Sokal's masterful expose of pseudoscientific "mumbo jumbo" in Comment # 54 above.

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #99
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 2:11 AM EDT

"But you are presuming that the 'decision' of a student to move is 'deliberate' vs. driven by their innate nature or scientific structure.....thoughts?"
Lynnliss....

Have you taken in *any* of the preceding debate? Please go back and read comments 77 and 99 above. It is an entire waste of your time to attempt to couch human interactions and distributions in terms of Sadi/Libb's nonsensical human thermodynamics "theory". There is, of course, the much more compelling "micro-bagel"/energy hoop theory of human interactions which you could adopt... :-)

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #101
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 4:46 AM EDT
Mr Agassi, I think you've found the elephant squeezing through the door, but I'll answer these questions anyway.

Anonymous (Mr Agassi?) wrote yesterday at 7:33am EDT:

"3. The scientific use of the word 'true', which scientists strive to replace with 'false', is treated the same as the 'true' used by philosophers."

'Truth is correspondence to reality in assertions. Assertions are Ontological statements such as employ the verb: to be.'

Yes, that's the philosophers' definition, even in their jargon. However, it's not the scientists' definition of truth. Unless reality changes, metaphysical truth will never change. Most anything in science true today may be false tomorrow. When that happens, science has progressed (see: scientific realism (link)).

' "Thin" Truth: Both Putnam and Fine assert that one can (and should) accept the well established theories of science (even about unobservable) as (probably) true, but that this should not be understood as accepting the "metaphysical realist" (Putnam's term) view that the statements which constitute those theories correspond to reality. '
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Comment #102
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 4:51 AM EDT
Mr Agassi next wrote:

"4. Hypotheses are judged by examining their explanations, not their predictions."

'Both explanatory power and testability are always crucial.'

No. Thermodynamics, in fact, is almost unique in never explaining. Frustrating. Even statistical mechanics does not really help:

' Although statistical mechanics is based on the presumed reality of atoms and molecules, it does not provide, any more than does thermodynamics, a detailed description of atomic and molecular behavior and of atomic and molecular interactions. ... Thus statistical mechanics adds something very useful to thermodynamics, but it neither explains thermodynamics nor replaces it. ' Van Ness, H.C. 1969. Understanding Thermodynamics. NY: McGraw-Hill.

After an invited lecture I gave at CalTech (on a new thermodynamic theorem useful to geologists), a post-graduate student asked 'Why are only three curves needed?' My answer was 'I haven't the slightest idea.'
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Comment #103
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 4:57 AM EDT
Mr Agassi then wrote:

' "5. Religion and art are not viewed as important irrational activities of the mind: faith is treated as logical and thus blurred with scientific belief. Irrational thought is viewed as inferior to rational thought."

What in Hell is "scientific belief"? '

See 'thin' truth, answering your question #3 above. This statement I added because my introduction to the methodology of science came from reading D.T Suzuki's 'Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism', decades ago. Suzuki even refers to the similarity of Buddhist philosophy to the Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle. Next was an outstanding little article by Albert Einstein, which I've never found since. A good reference, however, is P.W. Bridgman, 1932. The Logic of Modern Physics. NY: Macmillan. Its purpose was to tighten the definiton of science. When creating one's own theory (as opposed to using one -- as in T.S. Kuhn's 'normal' science), one needs to be extraordinarily careful.
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Comment #104
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 5:09 AM EDT
Anonymous (Philip Moriarty) wrote:

' In any case, I can't follow or understand the vast majoirty of what Petrologist writes. (I refer Petrologist to Comment # 54 above). '

The only anonymous post I offered, which I signed, was that pointing you to probably another alias of Msr Carnot. I should hope my posts were more generous than #54! You may find my posts confusing because they addressed the whole subject of 'Human Thermodynamics'. I felt focusing on its definition of entropy lets it be treated as a hard science, which is bad. My first posts focused on the requirements of a 'hard science', and thermodynamics in particular.

Pseudosciences such as creationism have silently changed objective to subjective, scientific (or 'thin') truth to philosophical truth, and replaced the production of 'falsifiable' predictions with happy explanations.

You've noticed this. :-)

My last post noted that most all these substitutions are on the website, which should set off huge alarm bells. I don't mean to imply that this was done on purpose; but I wondered why people were talking about entropy when this implied the tacit acceptance of 'Human Thermodynamics' as hard science (not 'science' as in 'Wissenschaft', as defined on the website).

One could, however, turn cute relationships (and Msr Carnot knows more than I can imagine) into nice contributions to such fields as sociology or psychology. These are not, however, 'hard sciences', and 'Human Thermodynamics' does not appear to be one, despite its name.

' Moreover, the discussion is going off topic - I do not want to get dragged into a pointless discussion on creationism/religion vs. science. '

I fear that may be what has been happening ... and remember, the Dark Ages weren't called dark because it was cloudy.
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Comment #105
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 6:17 AM EDT
"Mr Agassi, I think you've found the elephant squeezing through the door, but I'll answer these questions anyway.

Anonymous (Mr Agassi?) wrote yesterday at 7:33am EDT:

"3. The scientific use of the word 'true', which scientists strive to replace with 'false', is treated the same as the 'true' used by philosophers."

'Truth is correspondence to reality in assertions. Assertions are Ontological statements such as employ the verb: to be.'

Yes, that's the philosophers' definition, even in their jargon. However, it's not the scientists' definition of truth. Unless reality changes, metaphysical truth will never change. Most anything in science true today may be false tomorrow. When that happens, science has progressed.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-realism/

' "Thin" Truth: Both Putnam and Fine assert that one can (and should) accept the well established theories of science (even about unobservable) as (probably) true, but that this should not be understood as accepting the "metaphysical realist" (Putnam's term) view that the statements which constitute those theories correspond to reality. '
"
That's verisimilitude.
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Comment #106
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 6:28 AM EDT
"Mr Agassi next wrote:

"4. Hypotheses are judged by examining their explanations, not their predictions."

'Both explanatory power and testability are always crucial.'

No. Thermodynamics, in fact, is almost unique in never explaining. Frustrating. Even statistical mechanics does not really help:

' Although statistical mechanics is based on the presumed reality of atoms and molecules, it does not provide, any more than does thermodynamics, a detailed description of atomic and molecular behavior and of atomic and molecular interactions. ... Thus statistical mechanics adds something very useful to thermodynamics, but it neither explains thermodynamics nor replaces it. ' Van Ness, H.C. 1969. Understanding Thermodynamics. NY: McGraw-Hill.

After an invited lecture I gave at CalTech (on a new thermodynamic theorem useful to geologists), a post-graduate student asked 'Why are only three curves needed?' My answer was 'I haven't the slightest idea.'
"
Laws are the broadest and most consistent observations except for logic itself. Even though laws in and of themselves do call for explanation, nevertheless, consistency with laws does often offer a great measure of explanation of a system and event therein, as well as prediction.
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Comment #107
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 6:31 AM EDT
"Mr Agassi then wrote:

' "5. Religion and art are not viewed as important irrational activities of the mind: faith is treated as logical and thus blurred with scientific belief. Irrational thought is viewed as inferior to rational thought."

What in Hell is "scientific belief"? '

See 'thin' truth, answering your question #3 above. This statement I added because my introduction to the methodology of science came from reading D.T Suzuki's 'Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism', decades ago. Suzuki even refers to the similarity of Buddhist philosophy to the Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle. Next was an outstanding little article by Albert Einstein, which I've never found since. A good reference, however, is P.W. Bridgman, 1932. The Logic of Modern Physics. NY: Macmillan. Its purpose was to tighten the definiton of science. When creating one's own theory (as opposed to using one -- as in T.S. Kuhn's 'normal' science), one needs to be extraordinarily careful.
"
Again: verisimilitude.
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Comment #108
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 8:43 AM EDT
"Anonymous (Philip Moriarty) wrote:

' In any case, I can't follow or understand the vast majority of what Petrologist writes. (I refer Petrologist to Comment # 54 above). '

The only anonymous post I offered, which I signed, was that pointing you to probably another alias of Msr Carnot. I should hope my posts were more generous than #54! "
Dear Petrologist/Bruce,

My referring you to Comment #54 was indeed rather brusque and "tetchy" of me. Please accept my apologies. The points you raise in Comment #120 are all well-made and perhaps I should have taken rather more time reading through your earlier comments. Once again, my sincere apologies.

The key points arising from this whole sorry saga are:

(i) Those who are well-read in the history of a scientific subject can generate large amounts of pseudoscientific text which, to those who are not scientists and mathematicians, can sound convincing;

(ii) Being well-read in the history of a subject does not necessarily mean that one understands that subject;

(iii) If every argument (and counter-argument) is based around recourse to authority (and quotes lifted directly from textbooks and articles), there are very likely strong deficiencies in that person's understanding of the subject;

(iv) Treat with great care the claims of someone who purports to be doing an MS in Physics, a PhD in biochem, and an MD in neuroscience **in parallel**!

I am now going to contact the university directly regarding Sadi's/Libb's lecture.

Best wishes,
Philip
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Comment #109
Peter Pogany 75telosx (Peter Pogany)
Sep 11 2009, 9:55 AM EDT
Individuals who resist grasping the physicality implicitly present in such statements as “idea is matter,” “conscious unity is communication,” “signs mediate shared understanding,” “social history is (also) natural history” are probably not fit to be discursive partners in the multidisciplinary cultivation of “human thermodynamics.”

This is not intended as a putdown. Rather, it is meant to encourage a change of perspective by recalling that the spirit of adventure expressed in the wish to broaden the hermeneutics of reality at the expense of self-contained formalisms resulted in many remarkable breakthroughs in the history of science. What important contribution the physicist Schrödinger made to biology; the chemists Soddy, Prigogine and (Michael) Polanyi to economic thought, physics, and philosophy, respectively! And did they take some flak along the way! Not only from the fields into which they ventured but also from their own.

May Libb’s lecture go well!
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Comment #110
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 10:43 AM EDT
"Individuals who resist grasping the physicality implicitly present in such statements as “idea is matter,” “conscious unity is communication,” “signs mediate shared understanding,” “social history is (also) natural history” are probably not fit to be discursive partners in the multidisciplinary cultivation of “human thermodynamics.”

"
...wry smile...

In this case I unapologetically refer you back to Comment #54, telosx. Obscure, jargon-ridden language in general disguises a lack of substance in an argument. (Interesting that you use that term "hermeneutics" - cf the title of Alan Sokal's paper referred to in comment #54).

Let me translate your comment into something approaching English:

"Someone who expects a theory to be based on sound physical/mathematical principles and reasoning, and to be supported by evidence and observation, is clearly not sufficiently radical in his/her thinking to contribute to the "multidisciplinary cultivation" of human thermodynamics. "

So, forget rational thinking. Forget reason. Forget logic. Forget connection with experiment/observation. The only thing that matters is that the "theory" goes against currently accepted views.

There is as little evidence for human thermodynamics as there is for my radical new theory of "micro-bagel"-mediated interactions in Comment #112. (I guess that I need to point out that I was being sarcastic when I put forward that "theory". It's a shame that I have to highlight this, but I'm beginning to wonder if some of those who embrace "human thermodynamics" actually "get" the sarcasm).

Just because a view is radical and challenges accepted wisdom, does not make it right...

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #111
Jing Chen 75jingchen (Jing Chen)
Sep 11 2009, 1:21 PM EDT
Hi Libb,

It is great to read about the debate. I feel that the differences of both sides are not very big. I certainly agree with you that entropy can be used to describe human populations. There are many useful applications. For example, it has been found that the income distribution of populations largely follow Boltzmann distribution. The challenges from Moriarty are also very helpful. They push people to think more rigorously.

I don't have much to add on this debate. I wrote a paper called The Physical Foundation of Human Mind sometime ago. It was based on the concept of entropy. Maybe it is indirectly related to this debate. The link is provided for your reference.
http://web.unbc.ca/~chenj/papers/Mind.pdf
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Comment #112
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 3:58 PM EDT
"Hi Libb,

It is great to read about the debate. I feel that the differences of both sides are not very big. ...."
Dear Jingchen,

Given that you suggest that "the differences of both sides are not very big", and with all due respect, I strongly advise you to read back over the 126 preceding comments a little more carefully. My position is that Libb's/Sadi's human thermodynamics "theory" is nonsensical, pseudoscientific rubbish with as much viability as the theory of "micro-bagel" interactions I put forward in comment #112. Libb's viewpoint and mine could not be *more* different.

Best wishes,

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #113
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 11 2009, 4:19 PM EDT
"Just because a view is radical and challenges accepted wisdom, does not make it right...

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano) "
Moreover, for that matter, a view being obtuse and obsurantist hardly renders it radical and challenging!

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Comment #114
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 6:51 PM EDT
Mr Agassi,

How could a scientist who believes the mind can't capture reality possibly use 'true' to label a thought that captures reality?

You should probably send your scientific experiences to Stanford University, not me. I'm guessing (hoping) you are considering 'scientific truth' the same as 'philosophical truth' because you believe our minds can capture reality, and some day scientists will 'get it right'. This is a valid, though extremely 'realist' point of view. I suppose the rare scientist could believe his mind and his pet theory have captured reality; and when proven wrong, says, 'Rats, I was wrong again.'

Good scientists, even during the paradigm switch from the theory of geosynclines to theory of plate tectonics, didn't do this. Empiricists, many of whom believe the mind can't capture reality, and realists as well, consider the above use of 'truth' non-scientific. It inhibits the mind from remaining open to new ideas, and prohibits scientific growth. Good scientists simply qualify their use of 'truth' to agree with current theory, not reality. They hope to make it false tomorrow. This describes the usage I observed among faculty at Dartmouth College and at Princeton University, and it is proper in lexocography. It is essential in defining science and distinguishing it from metaphysics and religion.

Denying this usage forces a conflict between some extreme religious groups and science. This has forced, in some parts of the US, a requirement to teach religion as science. It is important, I believe, to distinguish these two uses of 'truth'. (Ignoring the difference between objective & subjective in this debate would have the same effect: it would expand 'hard science' to include sociology, philosophy, religions, &c, and create the conflict necessary to nurture 'creationism'.)
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Comment #115
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 8:10 PM EDT
What gives you the impression that I hold that the mind can't capture reality, whatever exactly you mean by that? Truth is correspondence with reality in assertions. No single assertion encompasses the totality of being. What problem? No problem.

"Good scientists simply qualify their use of 'truth' to agree with current theory, not reality." That's not truth but validity, meaning only internal logical consistency.

A successful scientific research narrows the field of viable hypotheses. Such is enlightenment by refutation. There is no reasonable obligation to keep the mind more open than that.
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Comment #116
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 9:38 PM EDT
My statement was that scientists who find a philosophical definition of truth acceptable (must logically) believe that the mind can (not 'can't') capture reality. You misread it.

Your 'truth' is a logical constant, mine is a logical variable.

' "Good scientists simply qualify their use of 'truth' to agree with current theory, not reality." That's not truth but validity, meaning only internal logical consistency. '

It would be if the definiton were applied to mathematical theories; but scientific theories are well grounded in objective, operational measurements of nature.

My definition was formed by observation long before I read of 'thin truth'. It mine were an opinion, I would likely not have found it in Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

You can disagree with it, but it isn't just an opinion. It is, however, my opinion that the distinction is extremely important.
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Comment #117
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 9:47 PM EDT
Telosx,

I, too, have no objection to Msr Carnot's lecturing on his ideas. My initial course in geology was to read a traditional text and read Velikovski's work on catastrophism (considered pseudoscience) and evaluate the validity of each. I should feel more comfortable, however, if he were lecturing to scientists rather than engineers. (Many engineers, however, practice science.)

My only disagreement with your post, in fact, is equating the methodology of social history & natural history. A food's color can be measured by everyone with a spectrometer, so they all agree upon its color: it is an objective variable. A food's taste, however, differs from person to person: it is a subjective variable. When a machine is invented that tastes, can it measure taste as everyone does? No. 'My sensation in tasting broccoli is the same as yours' logical positivists consider 'meaningless'. Meaningless simply means they don't see how natural science can address it.

Now, scientific methodology does not especially produce theories & theorems that are more accurate than, say Jung's theory of the collective unconscious. (When I needed medical help, I preferred an intuitive diagnostician in neurology to MRIs & EEGs.) Scientific methodology produces theories that everyone agrees are the best we can come up with: every step is objective, so everyone should agree what the theories mean and why we believe them.

Carl Jung's theory of the 'collective unconscious' is attractive & very fertile: it explains much in folklore, mythology, & fairy tales, whose study I once considered making my life's work.

My criticism of 'Human Thermodynamics' is simply its being sold as an objective, 'hard science', as its name implies. This comes with great dangers.
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Comment #118
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 11 2009, 10:00 PM EDT
I haven’t had a chance to look at all of the debate comments since my last post (which I will do shortly), but in the mean time I decided to post up the 2006 Rossini-Leonard-Wojcik debate on the issue of whether or not one can apply entropy and enthalpy terms to the study of human freedom and security in social life. The debate, essentially, is the same discussion we are having here, which seems to highlight the fact that the issue on whether (or not) one can apply thermodynamics to the study of humanity seems to be embedded in the general scientific community, with scientists split on the issue.

Of note, I do find it humorous (based on an email that I received today) that Moriarty has tracked down the professor who invited me to lecture at the university, essentially warning him not to let me lecture on what he calls “pseudoscientific drivel”.
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Comment #119
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 11 2009, 11:26 PM EDT
Sadi, Nice to hear from you. Of the three scientists I know of here, we are all in agreement that 'Human Thermodynamics' is currently not a valid scientific theory.

Don't worry, the professor who invited you to speak is ethically bound to ignore such communications, which are considered unethical.

One needs know nothing of 'Human Thermodynamics' to offer this constructive criticism. Classical Thermodynamics is what logicians term an interpretation of the mathematical theory of affine geometry. A fundamental theorem in model theory states that any theorem valid for the mathematical theory is valid for its interpretation. Because there is a 1-to-1 correspondence between axioms & theorems in each, 'Human Thermodynamics' should be easily associated with affine geometry on the application level, and then easily traced back to its axioms and primitive definitions. I read earlier that 'Human Thermodynamics' was having problems with this 'trace back'. Because affine geometry can be axiomatized in many ways, there is no unique 'formula' for doing this.

However, thermodynamics differs from mechanics in the consideration of heat. Volume & temperature are usually the state variables one starts with. So, make sure your entropy is the correct partial derivative of an energy wrt your temperature. Though it is remotely possible to create an interpretation of affine geometry in sociology, it will not be a 'hard science', as thermodynamics is. Objective, operational definitions are needed for this.

Best of luck. Fix your site's scientific definitions. Love the photos.

Bruce
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Comment #120
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Sep 11 2009, 11:53 PM EDT
To Petrologist, what you and your two scientific associates consider “not a valid scientific theory”, others consider a Nobel Prize. To cite one example, in 2007 Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev, author other 1998 book Thermodynamic Theory of Evolution (something he has spent 30-years working on), flew out from Moscow to Chicago, with his wife, to take me out to dinner to tell me that he had sent my work into the Nobel Prize organization for nomination. To quote from social anthropoligist Max Gluckman:

“A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation.”

To note for everyone, I might not be able to get back to these debates till Monday.
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Comment #121
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 12 2009, 12:00 AM EDT
Petrologist:

"My statement was that scientists who find a philosophical definition of truth acceptable (must logically) believe that the mind can (not 'can't') capture reality. You misread it." Again: What is capturing reality?

"Your 'truth' is a logical constant, mine is a logical variable."
Huh??????????????????

"' "Good scientists simply qualify their use of 'truth' to agree with current theory, not reality." That's not truth but validity, meaning only internal logical consistency. '
It would be if the definiton were applied to mathematical theories; but scientific theories are well grounded in objective, operational measurements of nature."
Wrong: What you are spouting is the Coherence Theory of Truth, which indeed conflates truth with validity. If one accepts, for example, current best science as premise, then consistency thereto is merely validity. Because truth, indeed, is objective, Ontology, a separate question.
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Comment #122
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 12 2009, 12:01 AM EDT
(continued)

Truth remains correspondence with external reality. If one were to declare: "Really, that guy ran out into the street naked. It's true!" By the appended qualifier: "It's true" is meant that the initial statement corresponds with reality, just as the prefacing "really" signifies that an Ontological statement follows.

Now where one to declare: "It stands to reason that if someone where naked in the sun and wind for very long, that he might have suffered from exposure." -That would be a logically valid inference, even if entirely hypothetical.

"My definition was formed by observation long before I read of 'thin truth'. It mine were an opinion, I would likely not have found it in Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy."
All assertions, no matter how authoritative and common place, are both opinion and claims of truth. Any can be either true or false, for all we know.

"You can disagree with it, but it isn't just an opinion."
All assertions are opinion even while at the same time claiming truth. All can be either true or false, for all we know.

"It is, however, my opinion that the distinction is extremely important."
Here we can agree. This is my opinion as well, as to the importance of the distinctions.

"“A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation.”"
But not every fool. There can be no guaranteee.
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Comment #123
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 12 2009, 3:18 AM EDT
Mr Aggasi,

As I once said, I don't argue. My posts were all to help and clarify, not to change one's religious beliefs or obfuscate the truth. All were offered in good faith.

You won't find the scientists' use of 'truth' in your little logic book (though page 1, the monadic predicate calculus, will have its formal expression, devoid of substance).

I think I've explained science enough. There are three essential features that 'creationists' (whom I avoid like the plague) do their best to obscure, because these distinguish science from religion, which would allow both to coexist happily (and even compliment one another). These features are:

1. objectivity, not subjectivity
2. falsifiable predictions, not explanations
3. the attempt to make true theories false

Every scientist I have ever met knows the above to be requirements of science. This is Science 101. Every registered user but me who participated in this discussion appeared to refuse at least one of the above. What conclusion am I to reach? (Don't answer, for I'm not going spend more time with my granddaughter instead.)

So this post contributes something of value to everyone, I refer any person interested in what science is to the two classics in this field. The second is more of a reference book, containing much new material on logic.

Whewell, W. 1858. Novum Organon Renovatum, 3d ed London: John Parker.

Jevons, W.S. 1877. The Principles of Science, 2d ed: A Treatise on Logic and Scientific Method. London: Macmillan.

Though free on Google Books, you may want your own hardbacks. 'Natural classification' is where science begins. Darwin's Origin of Species has some discussion of this topic, which produces the most fertile theories. There is much more. Dover has published classroom notes by R. Carnap that are very good.
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Comment #124
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 12 2009, 4:27 AM EDT
You may need to talk to better scientists and get a new reading list. Of course falsifiability is crucial. But explanatory power is certainly a scientific value, an article of critical preference. Valid inference from verisimilitude is entirely consistent with Hypothetico Deductive Method in the scientific quest for truth which is correspondence to reality in assertions.
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Comment #125
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 12 2009, 5:45 PM EDT

"Sadi, Nice to hear from you. Of the three scientists I know of here, we are all in agreement that 'human thermodynamics' is currently not a valid scientific theory. Don't worry, the professor who invited you to speak is ethically bound to ignore such communications, which are considered unethical."

In response to comments #135 and #136:

Dear Petrologist and Sadi-Carnot (aka Libb Thims),

As ever, Sadi-Carnot puts his own particular "spin" on the situation. The message I sent the university is in the next comment. I ask for confirmation that Sadi-Carnot/Libb Thims is speaking and in what context. Where in that e-mail do I warn the academic not to let you lecture, Sadi-Carnot?

I resent the accusation (by Petrologist) that contacting the university regarding Sadi-Carnot/Libb Thims' lecture is unethical. I am still waiting for Sadi-Carnot/Libb Thims to provide details of where he is studying for his MS in Physics/PhD in biochem/MD in neuroscience. I therefore take all his claims with a "pinch of salt". Note in the e-mail below that I ask the university academic first to confirm that Thims is speaking (and then, if he is, in what context). In what sense is checking on Thims' claim to be speaking at the university unethical?

If the university is happy to have its undergraduate students be lectured by an individual who (i) puts forward a "theory" of human interactions based on such nonsensical notions as "sexual temperature" and quantum-mechanical human "bonds", (ii) clearly does not understand basic 1st year undergraduate physics (despite claiming to be studying for an MS in physics), (iii) cannot substantiate claims in their biog related to their pursuit of an MS in physics, a PhD in biochem, and MD in neuroscience, and (iv) has not published one peer-reviewed paper, then that's its prerogative.

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #126
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 12 2009, 5:49 PM EDT
My e-mail to the academic at the university reads as follows:

Dear Prof. ****,

I am a physicist at the University of Nottingham in the UK (see links and contact details below). I recently became “embroiled” in an online debate with someone who uses the pseudonym “Libb Thims” and who has set up a website and “journal” on a subject he calls “human thermodynamics”. Unfortunately, Thims’ “human thermodynamics” is pseudoscientific drivel.

The reason I am contacting you is that Thims has stated – publicly – that he is giving a lecture in bioengineering thermodynamics in the spring. I Googled the terms “bioengineering thermodynamics” and found that you are listed as the convener of this module. Could I ask you whether a formal invitation has been extended to present a lecture as part of the bioengineering thermodynamics course? If a formal invitation has been extended, could I ask in what context Thims has been asked to deliver a lecture?

Thank you and best wishes,
Philip
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Comment #127
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 12 2009, 6:16 PM EDT

"To Petrologist, what you and your two scientific associates consider “not a valid scientific theory”, others consider a Nobel Prize. To cite one example, in 2007 Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev, author other 1998 book Thermodynamic Theory of Evolution (something he has spent 30-years working on), flew out from Moscow to Chicago, with his wife, to take me out to dinner to tell me that he had sent my work into the Nobel Prize organization for nomination. To quote from social anthropoligist Max Gluckman:
“A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation.”

To note for everyone, I might not be able to get back to these debates till Monday."
Every week or so, I get an e-mail from someone or other who has developed a radically new theory of "everything", claiming that Einstein/Heisenberg/Planck/Bohr/Maxwell/(insert the name of your preferred scientist) got it wrong and that the author of the e-mail has got it right. Strange that I never see any of these individuals subsequently receive a Nobel prize. I guess that the Nobel Prize committee must similarly have to sift through very many crackpot nominations.

As regards your quote from Max Gluckman, I refer you to the statement from Robert L Park I have quoted a number of times above (see comment #22, for example).

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)

P.S. Perhaps you could refer Dr./Prof. Gladyshev to my "energy hoop/micro-bagel" theory of human interactions in Comment #112? This seems to fit all the criteria he requires for a nomination to the Nobel prize committee...
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Comment #128
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 12 2009, 8:50 PM EDT
"I haven’t had a chance to look at all of the debate comments since my last post (which I will do shortly), but in the mean time I decided to post up the 2006 Rossini-Leonard-Wojcik debate.

on the issue of whether or not one can apply entropy and enthalpy terms to the study of human freedom and security in social life. The debate, essentially, is the same discussion we are having here .... with scientists split on the issue. "

Thank you for the link to that debate. You are correct - the theme mirrors that of our argument. Your suggestion, however, that scientists are "split on the issue" is, as ever, a remarkable overstatement. Silverstein's observation is that "Although Rossini’s analogy is amusing and entertaining and makes some political sense, unfortunately, its thermodynamic conclusions are flawed." Even Leonard, in his closing response, appreciates the difference between drawing an *analogy* between thermodynamic functions of state and features of society, and the claim that one can **equate** a thermodynamic entropy/enthalpy/free energy with properties of human relationships/society. It is this distinction between analogy and mathematical/physical equivalence that is so important and which you seem unable to grasp.

Hence, you misinterpreted the analogy I drew in the Sixty Symbols YouTube video on entropy and argued that I was actually claiming that one could associate a thermodynamic entropy with the arrangement of students. That someone could confuse the analogy with the actual thermodynamic quantity just never occurred to me. Of the ~ 750 physics majors who took the 1st year Thermal and Kinetic Physics module I taught, not one made this fundamental error. Similarly, the number of professional scientists who have made this error is very small indeed.

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #129
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 12 2009, 8:53 PM EDT
"Phil, if you don't want to bias the response to your perfectly legitimate inquiry, perhaps you should have used the more positively connotative term 'nom de plume' rather than the possibly pejorative word 'pseudonym.' I know it is never your intent actually to compromise freedom of speech for cranks. "
Aaron,

Very good point - thank you. Yes, "pseudonym" is rather pejorative. Thank you also for describing my inquiry as "perfectly legitimate" - I appreciate that.

All the very best.

Philip

P.S. Insomnia at least helps me keep up with e-mails and responses to comments here! 2 am in the UK...
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Comment #130
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 12 2009, 11:29 PM EDT
I've taken AaronAggasi's advice and offer here some more modern references from my shelf for natural sciences. The only proseminar I've had in the philosophy of science was in 1964. Since then, however, I've read regularly in philosophy and scientific methodology. However, I've not read much in the philosophy of science, preferring to read mathematical logicians, & scientists on this subject: Darwin, Peirce, Duhem, Mach, Einstein, Eddington, Weyl, Bridgman, &c. Popper's 'Logik der Forschung' contained nothing I could agree with.

For an original & pleasant discussion of physical chemistry, I can recommend C.N. Hinschelwood's 1951 'The Structure of Physical Chemistry' by the Clarendon Press, Oxford. On the creation of deductive theories, I can recommend A. Tarski's 1941 'Introduction to Logic' by the Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Some more moden books, no doubt considered obsolete, would be

Hempel. C.G. 1952. Fundamentals of Concept Formation in Empirical Science. Chicago: Univ Chicago Press.

Hempel. C.G. 1966. Philosophy of Natural Science. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Carnap, Rudolph. 1966. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. NY: Dover.

Nagel, Ernest. 1960. The Structure of Science. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Press.

Nagel's book covers the social sciences. Explanation is defined neatly by Carnap (though I've felt it is, in use, subjective). Carnap considers observations or measurements already known to be explain by a theory, observations or measurements not yet know to be predicted by a theory. This would make classical thermodynamics an explanatory theory, for those whom energy is intutive. (This excludes me.) To be continued ...
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Comment #131
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Sep 12 2009, 11:55 PM EDT
Unfortunately, Tarski doesn't present his most famous definition of truth in the book recommended.

To Dr Aggasi's insistence that: 'Truth is correspondence with reality in assertions', I offer that the following statement does not correspond with reality, and is false.

This sentence is false.

Concerning unsolicited communications that contain: 'Thims’ “human thermodynamics” is pseudoscientific drivel.', and AA's response, I can only urge you both to consult your Deans of Faculty for ethical help. (I thought AA was a philosopher.)

I'm sorry to see my old academic mentors & friends have been blamed for my ignorance. Any ignorance of scientific methodology is solely mine, and, glancing at the books I've recommended here, I see my methodology is really my own. Parts and ideas were built from observations, cafe conversations I miss, reviews for journals, and readings from works on the subject, on physical science, and on natural science. Any fault is not those of my associates at universities.

My apologies for causing the demeaning of my friends, and tutors in thermodynamics who no longer live:

Prof Martin Kruskal, of Princeton University
http://www.math.rutgers.edu/docs/kruskal

Prof Walter Kauzmann, of Princeton University
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S23/42/01I78/index.xml

Prof Walter Stockmayer, Dartmouth College
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chem/faculty/stockyobit.html

Prof Peter Rock, University of California
http://www.dateline.ucdavis.edu/dl_detail.lasso?id=8874

and especially to my good friend of old, the late David Crerar. I could not have had better tutors & friends. Any fault is mine. With this apology, I remove myself from this whole, vile, affair.

Bruce Bathurst
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Comment #132
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 13 2009, 2:32 AM EDT
Petrologist, how is it that you actually still manage to avoid Popper?

And as for that old chestnut, the liars paradox:
Truth is correspondence to external reality, in assertions. But the liars paradox is recursive, and does not clearly redress a separate or external reality. The conundrum is purely logical. Truth is singular, therefore to be true, an assertion must first be clear. The liars paradox is a leading question and ambiguous. The liars paradox is true in claiming to be false, and therefore false in claiming to be true. The correct answer depends which linguistic possibility is intended. Only a clearer statement could even be valid, much less true or false. So that means, that regarding the liars paradox, neither embracing the Post Modern coherence theory of truth conflating truth and validity nor conflating truth and verisimilitude, either, would improve matters much. So raising the liars paradox is fairly irrelevant anyhow.

Moreover, an explanation is not merely subjective, because explanations are, after all, assertions, therefore valid or not, true or false. Validity is internal self consistency, logically, in assertions, and truth is correspondence to reality, in assertions. Assertions are Ontological statements such as employing the verb: to be. What is more direct, applicable and elegant?

If you are correct in attributing your views to your teachers or colleagues, then it follows that you have been misinformed. There is nothing to be so melodramatic about.

And it's my father who has the doctorate.
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Comment #133
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 13 2009, 3:33 PM EDT
"Concerning unsolicited communications that contain: 'Thims’ “human thermodynamics” is pseudoscientific drivel.', and AA's response, I can only urge you both to consult your Deans of Faculty for ethical help. (I thought AA was a philosopher.)"
Dear Bruce,

We have very different views regarding what constitutes unethical academic behaviour. Let me ask you this: should it be possible for any person, regardless of their training/academic track record and the validity of their "theories", to deliver a lecture to undergraduates as part of a BS/MS degree in a scientific subject? That is, is it OK for science undergraduates to be given a lecture in an entirely baseless "theory" which, for the weaker students, is likely to damage their understanding of a complicated subject, and for the best students is simply a waste of time?

You seem to think that it would be a violation of academic freeedom to suggest that it is wrong to present nonsensical pseudoscience as valid science. If you are happy for Thims to present a theory based around quantum mechanical "bonds" between humans to undergraduates, would you similarly be comfortable with a scenario where I presented my radical new theory of "energy hoop" interactions (see Comment # 112)?

In the UK, a number of pseudoscientific BSc degrees have recently been closed due in no small part to the efforts of Prof. David Colquhoun at UCL (http://www.dcscience.net/?p=1329 ). Are you suggesting that the successful campaign to shut down these ludicrous courses was somehow unethical?

What I think is unethical is the presentation of material with zero scientific validity to undergraduates as part of a BS or MS degree. This is a waste of their time and money. If Thims' lecture is being presented in the context of a debate, well and good. If, however, it is being presented as valid science then that is wrong.

Philip Moriarty
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Comment #134
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 13 2009, 3:45 PM EDT

"To Petrologist, what you and your two scientific associates consider “not a valid scientific theory”, others consider a Nobel Prize. To cite one example, in 2007 Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev, author other 1998 book Thermodynamic Theory of the Evolution of Living Beings (something he has spent 30-years working on), flew out from Moscow to Chicago, with his wife, to take me out to dinner to tell me that he had sent my work into the Nobel Prize organization for nomination. To quote from social anthropologist Max Gluckman: 'A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation'.”

(Another) reply to Comment #137:

I note from the "Human Thermodynamics (Objections to)" page at this Wiki that Stephen Lower has previously (and quite correctly) described Libb Thims' "theories" as crackpot. I came across a wonderful webpage by John Baez called the "Crackpot index" - see . Congratulations, Libb, you've just scored 20 points on the Baez scale for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel Prize.
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Comment #135
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Sep 13 2009, 3:55 PM EDT
"To quote from social anthropoligist Max Gluckman: A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation."

Libb, you're *really* racking up the points on Baez's crackpot index. You get "40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is." (Point 36 on Baez's list). I'll leave you to tick off the other points on Baez's list...
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Comment #136
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Sep 13 2009, 5:22 PM EDT
Phil, the protection for the ignorant and impressionable whereof you seek, and without abrogation of fragile freedom of speech, might best be provided via any sound autonomous reasoning capability fostered by a succinct coherent philosophy of science background. You finally begin to see, as I have all along, how such confusion accrues from failing to grasp the distinction between metaphor and simile. One should not need to be sated with scholarly wisdom and expert proficiency to glean the falsity of over extended argument by analogy, and the need to explore how far any similarity actually extends, instead of simply declaring grand unsupportable application.
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Comment #137
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Monday, 4:52 PM EDT
"I will likely make a YouTube correction video to his last video where he stated: "Concepts of entropy apply to gas molecules; you cannot say that a particular arrangement of students has a thermodynamic entropy.” Comments would be appreciated...."

I've just come across the following websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents/Sadi_Carnot
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Human_chemistry

Wow, Libb/Sadi, you kept the fact that you've been banned from contributing to Wikipedia quiet, didn't you?! [see: human molecule (banned)] The articles above make for fascinating reading. A few choice quotes are as follows:

" This article is out-and-out fraud. I do not feel comfortable with the idea of Sadi Carnot continuing to contribute to Wikipedia - how can we trust him after this? "

"Trying to confound unrelated subjects is exactly what this article attempts to do. Why else would it cite a National Geographic article about neurochemistry and dopamine/oxytocin as an example of "Human chemistry", in article that actually states specifically in the introduction that "This analogy of an "interpersonal chemistry" should be distinguished from discussion of actual biochemistry involved in human bonding,". I am in no mood to mince words and try to be polite about this. The article is in my opinion deliberately written to mislead and is one of the worst examples of original research posing as genuine science I have seen."

"It [Sadi-Carnot's contribution on Human Chemistry] is at best pseudoscience, and, by being at the extreme fringes of kookery, completely undeserving of five articles. Perhaps footnotes under Pseudoscience, Fraud, and Crank (person)."

..contd in next comment.
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Comment #138
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Monday, 4:57 PM EDT
"I've spend some amount of time looking through the contributions of Sadi Carnot. What I see there is a large, elaborate subtle walled garden of pseudoscience— probably for the purpose of hawking his books (or simple self agrandizement)."

". Over the past two years Sadi Carnot has undertaken a campaign to spam his personal website and push his own fringe theories across a wide variety of articles. In the process, he has subtly vandalized many articles by inserting pseudoscience and by misrepresenting sources. Numerous editors attempted to stop him along the way, to no avail. His strategy was to retreat when confronted, and move on to other articles. In light of this evidence, User:Kww proposed a community ban."

"I became aware of the problem with Sadi Carnot during the AFD discussion on Human chemistry. After reviewing his contributions, the pattern became very clear: distortion of his sources, used to prop up a pseudoscience agenda. Most of the edits I checked that did not directly support his particular form of nonsense were incorrect or strangely biased. I am left with two choices: he is either a fool or a con artist. If he is a fool, he can be morally excused, but Wikipedia still needs protected from him. If he is a con artist, he doesn't even get to be morally excused, and Wikipedia still needs to be protected from him. "

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #139
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Monday, 9:29 PM EDT
Yes, there seems to be ethics problems in that many articles are plagarized, and an educational problem in that John von Neumann & most everyone else were chemical engineers. Such bogus sites have been constructed, but this one took a great deal of work to build. I think it's real.

SC: "To Petrologist, what you and your two scientific associates consider “not a valid scientific theory”, others consider a Nobel Prize.

Please don't refer to them as my 'associates'. One has a theory of micro-bagels which I do like, for the assertion 'prove it wrong' is something that may help you. Each of my posts, I hope, contains observations of general, lasting value. This one offers a reference I could find only last night. (Those with grandchildren will understand.)

A copy of Wilson, which is probably the one book I should recommend every student of science have.

Wilson, E.B. 1952. An Introduction to Scientific Research. NY: McGraw-Hill.

PM: ' ... If you are happy for Thims to present a theory based around quantum mechanical "bonds" between humans to undergraduates, would you similarly be comfortable with a scenario where I presented my radical new theory of "energy hoop" interactions (see Comment # 112)? '

Of course. On this point, Mr Agassi's posts are selling pseudoscience as science, and offer no useful ideas. I've not seen any reproaches by you. He has replaced prediction with subjective explanation, replaced 'thin' truth with concordance with reality (so science can't progress), and twice insulted the dead. I meant each of my posts to complain that selling 'scientism' as science is wrong.

Mr Thims makes no attempt to hide his whacky-sounding views. If a university chooses to have him speak on them, it is no business of mine. Spend your time better. Bye.
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Comment #140
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Monday, 11:16 PM EDT
Petrologist, are you actually suggesting that I have somehow endorsed Phil's satiric micro-bagels theory?

"replaced 'thin' truth with concordance with reality (so science can't progress)" How so? I have explicitly stated that valid inference from verisimilitude is entirely consistent with hypothetico-deductive method. How is any of that Scientism, let alone speaking ill of the dead?
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Comment #141
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Tuesday, 4:22 AM EDT
"Mr Thims makes no attempt to hide his whacky-sounding views. If a university chooses to have him speak on them, it is no business of mine. Spend your time better. Bye."
Dear Petrologist (Bruce),

We also have very different views on what is "our business". An endorsement from a Chicago university (via an invitation to lecture) means that undergrads, who are trying to get to grips with already very tricky subjects such as thermodynamics and quantum mechanics, will be effectively told that Thims' nonsense is something they should take seriously. Moreover, Thims will of course use the endorsement from the university to support his human thermodynamics baloney in the future.

I am disappointed that you say that I should have the opportunity to lecture undergrads on my satirical "micro-bagel" theory. This means that you would be happy with BS/MS courses being filled with whatever pseudoscientific nonsense is "out there".

As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time trying to understand thermodynamics himself, and a significant amount of time dealing with undergraduates' queries and questions, I certainly consider it "my business" - indeed, my responsibility - to counter Thims' ludicrous views. That you do not agree worries me.

It seems that you would also be happy for Thims' crackpot contributions to Wikipedia to have been left in place. Is this correct? (If not, then please explain why this is different from him giving a lecture as part of a bioengineering course to undergrads).

I'm disappointed, I must admit. (I do agree with you, however, on your point that there are better uses of my time!)

Best wishes,

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #142
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Tuesday, 4:26 AM EDT
Petrologist states in Comment #158: "Such bogus sites have been constructed, but this one took a great deal of work to build. I think it's real."

Errmm, "real" in what sense? You seem to think that amount of effort equates directly with the level of validity of the site! Just because Thims has put a lot of work into building up his human thermodynamics nonsense does not make it correct!

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #143
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Tuesday, 8:21 AM EDT
Dr Moriarty,

Your message I read by accident, having come here to offer a book that might help AA understand that that the existence of an external reality is not believed by many, many who have no trouble with science. D.T. Suzuki's 'The Zen Doctrine of No Mind' is out of print, but reference 'suchness' in any book on Buddhism. A very depressed person's 'reality' differs greatly from a manic person's. 'Concordance with reality', satisfactory to Aristotole, is not a scientific concept. One has to be careful.

Why have you not corrected AA's comments, which offer no interesting ideas, as Mr Thim's zillion pages surely must? :-) I find the site pleasant; and people can change it!

However, I was disturbed to misread that 'Human Thermodynamics' was in the Wikipedia. It was not. Looking for Thim's contributions there I don't believe is healthy. (Geology there is terrible, but those who 'own' the articles refuse my suggestions. Check the talk page on Gibbs' [sic] Phase Rule.)

Sorry, I never said I should be happy having you lecture on micro-bagels. Look back at your query. I treated it logically.

I, too, am converting theorems into a theory. Because of the expense of journals, I've considered publishing on-line as well. My theorems are not to be compared with N.H. Abel's, from Norway; but he, too, had to publish privately. Thus, this website serves as a model to people like me. (A structural model!)

When I stated this website is 'real' (which I checked), I make no comment on the validity of the opinions expressed on it. In fact, I have not taken the time to glance at 'Human Thermodynamics'. I have my opinions, based upon threads, but I feel no need to warn the World of dangers. Msr Carnot does that for me by being perfectly open. Pick your fights and go after the insideous ones.
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Comment #144
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Tuesday, 10:34 AM EDT

"Why have you not corrected AA's comments, which offer no interesting ideas, as Mr Thims' zillion pages surely must? :-) I find the site pleasant; and people can change it!"

In response to Comment #162:

"Interesting", "pleasant" (!) and "correct" are not synonymous! I find it remarkable that you are perfectly happy for pseudoscientific nonsense to be presented to undergraduates - and, via this website (and Sadi-Carnot's **attempts** to vandalize Wikipedia), to the world - because you feel it's "pleasant". Moreover, you seem to suggest that the sheer volume of pages Thims has constructed must mean that there are some "interesting" ideas there! Errr, no.

Sorry, but you **did** say that you would be happy for me to present a lecture on micro-bagels. From Comment #158:

"PM: ' ... If you are happy for Thims to present a theory based around quantum mechanical "bonds" between humans to undergraduates, would you similarly be comfortable with a scenario where I presented my radical new theory of "energy hoop" interactions (see Comment # 112)? ' Of course".

You had previously said that you are happy for Thims to present a lecture on human thermodynamics at a university. How else am I meant to interpret your "Of course" response?!

My argument is not with AA or you - it's with Sadi-Carnot/Libb Thims. You and AA are having a debate in parallel with that between Sadi-Carnot and myself. My concerns lie with Sadi-Carnot's pseudoscience being presented as valid scientific theory. As you yourself suggested earlier, I have better things to do with my time than get dragged into the debate between you and AA.

Best wishes,

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #145
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Tuesday, 10:38 AM EDT
In Comment #162, Petrologist stated: "I was disturbed to misread that 'Human Thermodynamics' was in the Wikipedia. It was not."

No, and the reason it's not there is because the human thermodynamics-related entries were deleted, and Sadi-Carnot banned as a contributor because of his abuse of Wikpedia - see the websites I refer to in Comment #156 above. The comments in those webpages regarding Sadi-Carnot's attempted vandalism of Wikipedia also show that "Msr Carnot" is far from "open", as you put it. I quote (again):

"Over the past two years Sadi Carnot has undertaken a campaign to spam his personal website and push his own fringe theories across a wide variety of articles. In the process, he has subtly vandalized many articles by inserting pseudoscience and by misrepresenting sources. Numerous editors attempted to stop him along the way, to no avail. His strategy was to retreat when confronted, and move on to other articles. In light of this evidence, User:Kww proposed a community ban"

Best wishes,
Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #146
Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Tuesday, 11:02 AM EDT
Oh, sorry. I won't look back, but I'm surprised I said I was happy to have 'Human Thermodyamics' presented as science.

However, I do not think it will result in the University of Illinois moving its Religion or Philosophy Departments into the science building. This is because Thims' opinions are clear to read.

'Religion', however, is being taught to elementary- and secondary-school students in parts of the United States as science, and one can make one's choice to believe either; but not both, of course.

The trigger than identifies creationists in hiding is suggesting that religions and science are compatible. The Wikipedia is supposed to be edited by the unbiased. When I suggested this in the 'creationism' discussion, many less sophisticated editors of it responded violently; these responses were instantly deleted by their more mature 'leaders', who have ensnared even State Assemblymen. If this sound like a conspiracy by a small group, it is.

The Near East today shows the consequences of such thinking. This movement will make its way to Britain. Sometime extremists flip from one extreme to the other: Mr Thims I can't place, but his ideas seems relatively innocuous compared with the above.

If you want to really preserve the integrity of science, help keep this movement out of Britain. Speak with the campus chaplain. Make 'science' clear to your students; wait until you have tenure; and don't write any unsolicited letters. I'm too old & sick to spend much time on such people; but, you're always welcome to write.

Bruce Bathurst, PhD
BSc, AM, MA, PhD
bathurst@alumni.princeton.edu
geology, thermodynamics, philosophy of science
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Comment #147
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Tuesday, 11:27 AM EDT

"If you want to really preserve the integrity of science, help keep this movement out of Britain. Speak with the campus chaplain. Make 'science' clear to your students; wait until you have tenure; and don't write any unsolicited letters.

Bruce Bathurst, PhD
BSc, AM, MA, PhD
bathurst@alumni.princeton.edu"

Petrologist/Bruce,

It's clear that you have a different "agenda" to mine. Although I appreciate the parallels between my arguments re. the lack of scientific rigor in Thims' "theories" and creationism, that is a much broader argument that I don't want to get involved in at the moment.

As regards the passage from your comment quoted above: Why would I ever want to speak with the campus chaplain? See my response to Lynnliss in Comment #11 on Page 1 of this debate. Second, I have tenure (see: link). And, third, what do you mean by "don't write any unsolicited letters"?! Are you suggesting that I have to wait until someone contacts me before I can write to them?! I sent an e-mail to the academic at the university pointing out that Thims' "theories" were pseudoscientific drivel and asking the academic to confirm that Thims was speaking to undergraduates there. Given Thims' history of disingenuous behaviour, I remain of the opinion that this is an entirely valid question to ask. Moreover, if someone were to write to me to tell me that a person invited to speak at the University of Nottingham (in a module with which I was involved) was evasive about their track record and promoted nonsensical pseudoscience, I would like to know about it. That the e-mail/letter was unsolicited would not concern me a jot.

Yours sincerely,
Philip Moriarty
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Comment #148

Person icon 75Petrologist (Bruce BathurstExternal link icon (c))
Tuesday, 11:53 AM EDT
Dr Moriarty,

My posts weren't very clear. My statement that I was happy with your bagel theory was because it has no testable hypotheses, and is pseudoscience. Assuming good faith, this might help Mr Thims or explain the deficiencies of his theory to others. Don't forget to read my happy faces.

I think I've made it clear than subjective variables are valid in many theories, but not scientific ones. Machines, such as 'lie detectors' or IQ questionaires measure something, but it is not 'belief' or 'intelligence'. Relations among other statistics observed in other certain ways (double-blind tests), however, can yield scientific theorems in non-sciences.

Mr Thims may have a bad 'record' elsewhere, but I'm speaking only of this website. See, however, my thread on 'Why I'm not a Molecule'. It sounds as if you're trying to persuade me to not visit this site. I'm not fond of blacklisting. Classical thermodynamics is an interpretation of a mathematical theorem. All you have to do is check the math to see whether 'Human Thermodynamics' is a thermodynamics.

It already failed the third test by having subjective variables. I think I've made it clear that such theories are pseudoscience. I'm not happy if pseudoscience that can't be fixed (which I don't know is the case) be presented blindly as good science. However, I have faith that the faculty at Illinois knows what they're doing. They have surely read some of his writings. Unsolicited communication is not uncommon. Its consequences, however, can me dire--for the writer as well as the one being written about. Please inquire with senior colleages about this.

Lastly, I don't debate. Consequently, I won't be reading this thread again.
Bruce
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Comment #149
Aaron Agassi 75AaronAgassi (Aaron AgassiExternal link icon (c))
Tuesday, 12:58 PM EDT
Petrologist, actually, I do "understand that the existence of an external reality is not believed by many". Indeed, I shudder to think! So Phil, why haven't you corrected me? Don't you even see the fundamentals of Methodology and such as crucial in inoculation against pseudoscientific balderdash? For that matter, have closet Creationists actually hijacked Wikipedia?
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Comment #150
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 7:39 AM EDT
Since Moriarty (as many have in the past) seems to be more concerned with my background, name anagram, etc., then with clarification of entropy, I posted up the following page as to the etymology of my name:

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Comment #151
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 7:40 AM EDT
The following comment (8 Sep 2009), on this discussion, was sent to me by Danish chemist John Schmitz (author of the 2007 book The Second Law of Life):

“In my opinion it is wrong if somebody would apply this formula [Boltzmann’s famous H-theorem that links directly entropy to the amount of microstates that forms a macrostate through S = k ln W (as formulated indeed by Planck)] to a group of students to calculate an entropy for the group as this would be meaningless from a thermodynamic point of view. But, of course all systems (including humans) are constructed out of atoms and therefore will follow thermodynamic laws. But the calculation must start at atom level not at macroscopic level. Of course one could always use the macroscopic equation of Clausius but then one has to show what the reversible change in heat is. Rearranging a group of students or other macroscopic objects will not cause an heat exchange I would say and thus the entropy change would be zero. Interaction between humans will change the chemical reactions inside the body and thus the entropy of the system.”
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Comment #152
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 7:41 AM EDT
The following comment (9 Sep 2009), on this discussion, was sent to me by German physicist Ingo Muller (author of the 2007 book A History of Thermodynamics):

“Of course one may define an entropy for a group of students ‘in the field’ as well as for a battalion of marching soldiers. And for an anchor-chin, and polymer chain. And for a protein molecule and the human genome. The question is, however, what to do with such entropies and what predictions are possible by the use of the concept.”
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Comment #153
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Wednesday, 8:30 AM EDT

"The following comment (09/08/09) on the discussion was sent to me by Danish chemist John Schmitz (author of the 2007 book The Second Law of Life):

“In my opinion it is wrong if somebody would apply this formula [Boltzmann’s famous H theorem that links directly entropy to the amount of microstates that forms a macrostate through S = k ln W (as formulated indeed by Planck)] to a group of students to calculate an entropy for the group as this would be meaningless from a thermodynamic point of view.""

Sadi-Carnot,

This is *precisely* the point I made in Comment # 7 and that Muschik makes in Comment #99. Do you understand anything that you post here or do you simply cut-and-paste? It looks suspiciously that it's the latter.

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #154
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Wednesday, 8:33 AM EDT
"Since Moriarty (as many have in the past) seems to be more concerned with my background, name anagram, etc., then with clarification of entropy, I posted up the following page as to the etymology of my name:

http://www.eoht.info/page/Libb+Thims+(etymology)
"
No, I'm just as concerned with your propagation of pseudscientific baloney as I am with the etymology of your name. For the reasons discussed in a considerable number of comments above, I am also concerned about your claim to be pursuing an MS in physics, an MD in neuroscience, and a PhD in biochemistry in parallel. Perhaps you might like to publicly address that claim here?

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #155
Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Wednesday, 8:46 AM EDT
"The following comment (09/09/09) on the discussion was sent to me by German physicist Ingo Muller (author of the 2007 book A History of Thermodynamics):

http://www.eoht.info/page/Ingo+M%C3%BCller

“Of course one may define an entropy for a group of students ‘in the field’ as well as for a battalion of marching soldiers. And for an anchor-chin, and polymer chain. And for a protein molecule and the human genome. The question is, however, what to do with such entropies and what predictions are possible by the use of the concept.”
"
Sadi-Carnot,

Oh, for crying out loud, how many times to we have to address this? It's very simple:

If I have one hundred students in a field, I cannot assign a thermodynamic temperature to that group of students **based on their distribution**. (See comments #99 and #170). Similarly, those students are not spontaneously rearranging and exploring different microstates as would the molecules in a gas. There is no free energy function we can write down which is associated with the **distribution** of the students. Thus, we cannot define a **thermodynamic** entropy for the **distribution** of students. Or, as stated in Comment #170, "rearranging a group of students ...will not cause a heat exchange and thus the entropy change would be zero".

And, whether you like it or not, bringing your nonsensical and laughable notions of "human chemistry" into this discussion is not at all going off the topic (as you've suggested previously). The question of interactions between the elements of the system is central to the problem. My theory of micro-bagels (see Comment #112) is just as valid as your "human chemistry" baloney.

And, once again, instead of trying to put forward your own counter-arguments and rebuttals, you instead quote from experts/authority. See my comments above re. "recourse to authority".

Philip Moriarty
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Comment #156
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:11 AM EDT
#174: Moriarty: “If I have one hundred students in a field, I cannot assign a thermodynamic temperature to that group of students **based on their distribution**. (See comments #99 and #170). Similarly, those students are not spontaneously rearranging and exploring different microstates as would the molecules in a gas. There is no free energy function we can write down which is associated with the **distribution** of the students. Thus, we cannot define a **thermodynamic** entropy for the **distribution** of students. Or, as stated in Comment #170, "rearranging a group of students ...will not cause a heat exchange and thus the entropy change would be zero".”

I think what we have here is an issue similar to not seeing the forest through the trees, in that Phil cannot see the observable phenomenon through the equations with which he is acquainted with from statistical mechanics.

Entropy is entropy. It is a formulaic way of quantifying heat flow. Heated bodies expand, cooled bodies contract. This called Boerhaave’s law (1720). One expansion, followed by a contraction is called a heat cycle. During this process, the entropy of the body will increase, due to the mathematical result that some of the net heat inputs and outputs will be converted irreversibly into internal system work. These processes and law hold for every system or body in the universe. To argue against this is to argue against natural phenomena.
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Comment #157
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:11 AM EDT
#174 (cont): Phil seems to have a one-track statistical mechanics (the subject of attempts to explain the laws of thermodynamics on mechanical principles) mindset. When one attempts to measure the entropy of a system using statistical mechanics methods, in terms of logarithms of estimations of microstates and distributions, it assumes that the Boltzmann chaos assumption holds (particles have non-correlated velocities). Humans, of course, have correlated velocities, meaning that statistical mechanic methods are of no use here. In this case, one turns to thermochemistry methods to measure entropy, as is the case with all chemical reactions. Sixty-six percent of people believe that love is a purely chemical reaction. All chemical reactions (e.g. rearrangements of bondings of students in their distributions) release or absorb heat. Hence there will be an entropy change for changes in the positions of students and it can be measured.
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Comment #158
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:15 AM EDT
#153: Regarding crackpots “who claim that their work deserves a Nobel Prize”, the actual comment I made, as a point noted to cite differing opinions, is that “others consider [my work to deserve] a Nobel Prize.”
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Comment #159
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:22 AM EDT
#152: Moriarty: “is it OK for science undergraduates to be given a lecture in an entirely baseless "theory" which, for the weaker students, is likely to damage their understanding of a complicated subject, and for the best students is simply a waste of time?”

What we have here is the typical case where a person who is not acquainted with the work being presented (i.e. Moriarty has never read my Human Chemistry textbook) gives objections to imagined conceptions, based on open talk page discussions. The thermodynamics professor, who invited me to lecture, has my textbook, and in response to Moriarty’s repetitive pleas to terminate the invitation, comments: “I am very glad Libb has accepted my invitation to give a talk in my BioEngineering Thermodynamics course.”
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Comment #160
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:34 AM EDT
#128: Moriarty: “Even Leonard, in his closing response, appreciates the difference between drawing an *analogy* between thermodynamic functions of state and features of society, and the claim that one can **equate** a thermodynamic entropy/enthalpy/free energy with properties of human relationships/society. It is this distinction between analogy and mathematical/physical equivalence that is so important and which you seem unable to grasp.”

To clarify, I am not the originator of the premise of the non-metaphor application of thermodynamic entropy/enthalpy/free energy functions to human society, although I arrived at this view independently. People to have pioneered this view include:

Johann Goethe (1809) – affinity (free energy), human chemical reactions
Georg Helm (1887) energy, entropy
Leon Winiarski (1897) – energy, entropy
Wilhelm Ostwald (1906) – social energy
Mehdi Bazargan (1950) – free energy, internal energy, entropy, temperature

and so on (dozens more).

So to Phil: are all of us crackpots for thinking that state functions apply to systems of humans, or am I the only crackpot?
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Comment #161

Philip Moriarty 75Anonymous (Philip Moriarty)
Wednesday, 10:44 AM EDT
" Sixty-six percent of people believe that love is a purely chemical reaction. All chemical reactions (e.g. rearrangements of bondings of students in their distributions) release or absorb heat. Hence there will be an entropy change for changes in the positions of students and it can be measured." Oh, dear me. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

We're now reduced to the level of "sixty-six percent of people believe that love is a purely chemical reaction". *That* is a key component of your argument?! How incredibly scientific. Let's dig out a few more statistics:

Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. [http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/science_literacy_american_adults_flunk_basic_science_says_survey ]

"One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth" [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/30profile.html ]

In 1992, "63% of adult Americans thought that lasers work by focusing sound waves" [Reported in Beardsley, T. "Teaching Real Science" in Scientific American, Oct. 1992, p. 98; See also http://www.astrosociety.org/education/resources/useduc.html ]

A Gallup survey in 1990 revealed that 25% of the adult American population believes in astrology. [http://www.astrosociety.org/education/resources/useduc.html] (Actually, Sadi-Carnot, in comparison to your human chemistry junk, astrology almost looks sensible...)

Do you really want me to continue?

So your argument is this: 66% of people believe love is a chemical reaction. Therefore, love is a chemical reaction. Therefore, thermodynamic principles apply to "human reactions".

Astounding.

Philip Moriarty (www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics/research/nano)
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Comment #162
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:46 AM EDT

#143: Moriarty: “If the university is happy to have its undergraduate students be lectured by an individual who (i) puts forward a "theory" of human interactions based on such nonsensical notions as "sexual temperature" and quantum-mechanical human "bonds", [etc.], then that is its prerogative.”

Again, you are picking up loose talk page discussion (e.g. sexual temperature) and assuming that it is what is presented in a very rigorous 824-page textbook.

Also regarding the human chemical bond, no one before me has even attempted this gargantuan topic, of which most of the Human Chemistry textbook is devoted to. To give a comparison idea of my efforts: in 1917, an unknown American undergraduate chemical engineer named Linus Pauling was learning the Dalton hook-and-eye bonding method at the Oregon Agricultural College, which was the vogue description of bonds between atoms at the time. Each atom had a certain number of hooks that allowed it to attach to other atoms, and a certain number of eyes that allowed other atoms to attach to it. A chemical bond resulted when a hook and eye connected. Pauling, however, wasn't satisfied with this archaic method and looked to the newly-emerging field of quantum physics for a new method.

In terms of human attachments, we don’t even have the hook-eye model. The subject is not even discussed in chemistry class, the subject is left to the psychologists: who have their “cuddle chemical” oxytocin models, Bowlby attachment theory, Klaus and Kennell Parent-Infant bonding theories. It is obvious that humans evolved from smaller chemical systems; by deduction it must also be obvious that human attachments evolved from smaller chemical bonds. I don’t see how your attempts to derogate this formulation (which you have never read) can be at all worth anything?
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Comment #163
Thims 75Sadi-Carnot (Libb Thims)
Wednesday, 10:48 AM EDT
#127: JingChen: “I certainly agree with you that entropy can be used to describe human populations. There are many useful applications.”

Thanks for commenting. Moriarty seems to have little knowledge how prevalent the use of entropy is in economics (publications coming out at a monthly rate).


Continued
Moriarty-Thims debate (part one)
Moriarty-Thims debate (part three)

See also
Rossini debate

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