Impossible space engine, that apparently works

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Redspear » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:25 pm

Disembodied wrote:Hmmm ... imagine a court case, where I'm accused of piracy...
The court case example is a good one, and well argued if I may say so, but it also illustrates some other things.

What's believable is not necessarily what's true. Furthermore, preconceptions or expectations can easily lead to a narrowing of perception.
Sadly, courts are places of lies as well as truths; perhaps especially of the sort that ClymAngus mentions:
ClymAngus wrote:What I'm saying is, people con themselves all the time, "I'll be alright", "It doesn't matter", "That didn't hurt", "he/she still loves me" Etc etc etc.
I suspect there are a great many people who would appear to have "impeccable character" judging by their actions in public and yet their actions in private may suggest otherwise (er, I'll avoid the recent, real life examples if I may...) Likewise a peccable character does not neccesarily equate to every word spoken being untrue.
Of course, scientific method addresses this with elements like 'controls' and verifications by repitition etc. but I'm not convinced that it solves them.

(Assuming for a moment that the "battling demons" claim needed to be proven as such in order to validate the claim that those doing so were too busy to be involved in the "piracy"...)
It would certainly be a much more surprising defence, and probably be more difficult to support (perhaps "probably" doesn't belong in that sentence :lol: ). However, despite its shakiness, it need not provide evidence in order to be true. To convince or persuade, yes, evidence is helpful and so we build our science on it and so to the heart of it...
Disembodied wrote:Science isn't universally applicable: it is only capable of dealing with the quantifiable and the falsifiable. The universe doubtless contains many unquantifiable and unverifiable things, and no system of formal logic can prove all true statements and disprove all false ones. But if something isn't quantifiable and falsifiable, then it's not science, and there's little point in expecting scientists to work on it.
I'd agree with that for the most part. Science is a tool, a very uselful one but it's built on a particular paradigm. Even ignoring (for the moment) the fallabilities of human perception, understanding and lack of neutrality, uncertainty looms large. And so to statistical analysis which gives us a probability that something is true (again, ignoring human failings, or at least not accurately recording or measuring them convincingly). Ninety something percent sounds good, so we'll tick that box and move on. 100% certainty is unobtainable (at least in any practical sense) and arguably that's one of the most important lessons that science teaches us. What tests science? The best we have is science itself, something that is built on a particular set of assumptions.
I know that I know nothing.
Is that to be interpreted as, 'we can't trust anything, so what's the point?', I would argue no. Without scientific endeavour and 'progress', we wouldn't have this game (and many of us may not be around to play it). Science appears to have served us well (whether or not we've abused it is a different matter).
Rather it is something to remember and to temper our preconceptions with.

Science attempts to discover truth. The virtues of its goal, though noble, do not match the virtues of its quarry.

That extraorinary claims should requiring extraordinary evidence may be true if you are to be convinced of them but it is in not necessary for them to be true; and that, I think, is easilly forgotten.
Besides which, being convinced of something doesn't strike me as very scientific.
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Redspear » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:38 pm

NigelJK wrote::)
:lol:
spud42 wrote:Hilarity aside we do not know everything about our universe, to say we do is conceited and delusional.
I didn't read it as anyone saying that (perhaps you didn't either... sorry, I seem to be using a depreciated version of IQ_Booster.oxp :P ) but yes, I agree with you.
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by spud42 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:08 pm

This space drive may well be up there with perpetual motion machines and room temperature superconductors. But science is a box that encompasses our current knowledge. Granted as the years go by the box gets bigger , all i wanted to say is that at any given time it may be impossible to prove or disprove something because of our current limited knowledge. it may be outside the box. as for the courtroom scenario. if the defense has two corroborating witnesses is it really up to them to prove they did what they claimed or is it up to the prosecution to prove they didnt do as they claimed? there are 2 sides to an argument. The analogy falls down due to the fact that its a jury that decides if they believe or not.

Disembodied wrote: Science isn't universally applicable: it is only capable of dealing with the quantifiable and the falsifiable. The universe doubtless contains many unquantifiable and unverifiable things, and no system of formal logic can prove all true statements and disprove all false ones. But if something isn't quantifiable and falsifiable, then it's not science, and there's little point in expecting scientists to work on it.
So for Shakespeare's time radio couldn't be quantified and therefore is not science yet we all know it is science NOW. Nobody knows what will be common knowledge
in 200 years time?
Arthur: OK. Leave this to me. I'm British. I know how to queue.
OR i could go with
Arthur Dent: I always said there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe.
or simply
42

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Neelix » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:13 pm

ClymAngus wrote:
Neelix wrote: Calling something a con implies an intention to deceive.
Are you saying it's not possible to get excited over a false positive without such an intention?
What I'm saying is, people con themselves all the time, "I'll be alright", "It doesn't matter", "That didn't hurt", "he/she still loves me" Etc etc etc.
Well that's exactly my point. If they are conning themselves then what they are presenting to others is what they themselves perceive as true. If they are presenting a perceived truth then that presentation can not itself accurately be called a con, because there is no intention behind it to present falsehood as truth.

- Neelix
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Mauiby de Fug » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:17 pm

I have no idea how accurate this is, but it was interesting nonetheless: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/201 ... ible-drive

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by ClymAngus » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:55 pm

Neelix wrote:
ClymAngus wrote:
Neelix wrote: Calling something a con implies an intention to deceive.
Are you saying it's not possible to get excited over a false positive without such an intention?
What I'm saying is, people con themselves all the time, "I'll be alright", "It doesn't matter", "That didn't hurt", "he/she still loves me" Etc etc etc.
Well that's exactly my point. If they are conning themselves then what they are presenting to others is what they themselves perceive as true. If they are presenting a perceived truth then that presentation can not itself accurately be called a con, because there is no intention behind it to present falsehood as truth.

- Neelix
But it's still the product of self delusion;

A man believes himself a messiah,
he convinces others; this to be true.
They kill themselves for the promise of 'ascension'.
So which is what and who is conning who?

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Disembodied » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:56 pm

spud42 wrote:So for Shakespeare's time radio couldn't be quantified and therefore is not science yet we all know it is science NOW. Nobody knows what will be common knowledge
in 200 years time?
It's not really the same thing, because in Shakespeare's time they didn't really have science, in the modern sense. In Shakespeare's time the idea of a radio - or at least the idea of the communication of messages across great distances, instantaneously - could be fitted into their somewhat loose and baggy system of world knowledge, because it was full of holes and vague cloudy bits marked "spirits", "magic", and "here be dragons". Things were believed (at least academically, in public) because they had been handed down from some form of Authority, e.g. the Bible, or Aristotle, or some other ancient, unquestionable (if you knew what was good for you) source, no matter how obviously wrong they might be.

The scientific worldview is not so accommodating, nor so respectful of authority: things which we regard as real need to fit in with, and not contradict, other things which we regard as real, and we need to comprehend how they function, and we need to see good, hard evidence for them before we give them houseroom, no matter how ancient or authoritative the source material might be. And stuff gets thrown out, when it's shown to be wrong - in fact, that's how you get the top scientific prizes: by proving, to a skeptical audience, that some authority is wrong. Prove Einstein wrong, and you'll be in the running for a Nobel prize.

I don't doubt that, in 200 years time, common knowledge could encompass things that might seem fantastic to us now. After all, any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic. But I don't think the universe is infinitely open-ended in what is possible, and I think there are lots of things which we believe now which are, at heart, right, in ways which are very different from the beliefs of the Shakespearean age. The scientific process lays good, strong foundations.
Redspear wrote:That extraorinary claims should requiring extraordinary evidence may be true if you are to be convinced of them but it is in not necessary for them to be true; and that, I think, is easilly forgotten.
Besides which, being convinced of something doesn't strike me as very scientific.
Science, technically, never proves something to be true. It only ever proves that something isn't true. A scientific theory makes a claim that something will happen under certain circumstances (for example, that time will slow down if you accelerate). When Einstein's theory made this claim, it was untestable: no object could go fast enough, and no clock was accurate enough, to test it. Eventually we got atomic clocks and jet aircraft, and tested it, and on a very fast jet, time did slow down, by the merest fraction. This didn't prove that Einstein's theory was true - it just showed that it still worked, to the limits of our ability to test it. Eventually we may test it to destruction, and then we'll need a new theory, or at least a refinement of the old one, which can accommodate the new information.

Certainly, whether or not something is believable has no bearing on whether or not it is true: quantum physics stretches credulity, and yet consistently holds up against theoretical assault. The human brain is not really equipped to properly comprehend things beyond the human scale. That's where mathematics comes in (and IANAM, not by any stretch of the imagination). And from what I can grasp, Gödel put the tin lid on ever reaching truth via formal logic.

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Neelix » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:01 pm

ClymAngus wrote: But it's still the product of self delusion;

A man believes himself a messiah,
he convinces others; this to be true.
They kill themselves for the promise of 'ascension'.
So which is what and who is conning who?
That's not a con either - that's a cult - and that's a whole different kettle of fish.

- Neelix
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Redspear » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:09 pm

Disembodied wrote:It only ever proves that something isn't true
Can it do that?... really?
Disembodied wrote:And from what I can grasp, Gödel put the tin lid on ever reaching truth via formal logic.
I'll have to look him/her up. Thanks for the tip.


Are we in an Escherian argument yet? :P
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Disembodied » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:37 pm

Redspear wrote:
Disembodied wrote:It only ever proves that something isn't true
Can it do that?... really?
I think so. If Theory X says that time should slow down if you put on yellow shoes, and you put on yellow shoes and time speeds up, instead, then Theory X isn't true.
Redspear wrote:Are we in an Escherian argument yet? :P
:D You should try to get hold of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter. There's a set of video lectures on the book available via MIT Open Courseware, too, although I have to admit I've not watched them yet!

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by ClymAngus » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:37 pm

Neelix wrote:
ClymAngus wrote: But it's still the product of self delusion;

A man believes himself a messiah,
he convinces others; this to be true.
They kill themselves for the promise of 'ascension'.
So which is what and who is conning who?
That's not a con either - that's a cult - and that's a whole different kettle of fish.

- Neelix
Ok we'll take this slow.
What does con stand for?

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Redspear » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:52 pm

Disembodied wrote:I think so. If Theory X says that time should slow down if you put on yellow shoes, and you put on yellow shoes and time speeds up, instead, then Theory X isn't true.
With that example I'd say that it showed that X didn't appear to be true in that particular instance. What if the next time you tried them on time did slow down? Where would our 'proof' have gone?
Proof is 100% certainty, right? So if the above seems pedantic then I'd suggest it's with good reason.

I suppose you could disprove the idea that it always happens every single time but even that relies on the assumption that everything was tested and recorded accurately.
"Huh? I thought these were the yellow shoes???",
"What? You have to tie the laces???" etc. etc.
Disembodied wrote:
Redspear wrote:Are we in an Escherian argument yet? :P
:D You should try to get hold of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter. There's a set of video lectures on the book available via MIT Open Courseware, too, although I have to admit I've not watched them yet!
Ooh, yeah, I'll be checking some of them out. Thanks :)
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Redspear » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:53 pm

And, more importantly, where can I get these shoes that you speak of? :wink:
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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by JensAyton » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:59 pm

spud42 wrote:This space drive may well be up there with perpetual motion machines and room temperature superconductors. But science is a box that encompasses our current knowledge. Granted as the years go by the box gets bigger
It’s more useful to think of science as a loose wrapper that encompasses the true nature of reality; as science is refined, it gets tightened and our ignorance gets smaller. In general, when a scientific theory is overturned, it will nevertheless have been less wrong than what went before it, and the replacement will differ only in small details. (For example, the validation of Einstein’s relativity proved that Newton’s laws of motion were – strictly speaking – wrong, but the error was far to small to measure in most practical cases.)

A good example I saw somewhere is the shape of the Earth. A long time ago, people probably did believe that the Earth was broadly flat. The ancient Greeks realized it was round, and assumed a perfect sphere (partly because it was the simplest assumption, and partly for mystical reasons). A few centuries ago, measurements along the surface showed it was slightly “oblate” (i.e., flattened along one axis), and this was explained as a balance between gravity and centrifugal force. After we started lobbing satellites into space, it was found that local density variations produced large-scale deviations from the “oblate spheroid” model, and an irregular shape called the “geoid” was measured.

In each case, the previous model was “wrong”, but at the same time it was correct up to the precision with which it was possible to measure the shape of the Earth when the model was proposed. New science could result in refinements to the geoid, and that would be an “ordinary claim”. On the other hand, if you propose a hypothesis that requires the Earth to be a cube, that would be pretty extraordinary, and almost entirely certain to be false.

Reactionless thrusters are somewhat more plausible than a cubical Earth, but can be reasonably argued to be less likely than, e.g., perpetual motion machines.
Mauiby de Fug wrote:I have no idea how accurate this is, but it was interesting nonetheless: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/201 ... ible-drive
Given that it contradicts the commentary I’ve read from at least five reputable physicists, and is written by a journalist who seems to specialize in “fringe science” and breathless overexcitement (cold fusion is totally around the corner, invisibility cloaks will work from multiple viewpoints in arbitrary environments Real Soon Now, etc), I’ll give it about as much credence as a Daily Mail FAQ on nutritional theory.
ClymAngus wrote:Ok we'll take this slow.
What does con stand for?
I believe it stands for “Hello; my name is Etymological Fallacy. Prepare to lie.”
Redspear wrote:
Disembodied wrote:I think so. If Theory X says that time should slow down if you put on yellow shoes, and you put on yellow shoes and time speeds up, instead, then Theory X isn't true.
With that example I'd say that it showed that X didn't appear to be true in that particular instance. What if the next time you tried them on time did slow down? Where would our 'proof' have gone?
Nowhere. If the hypothesis was that putting on yellow shoes necessarily leads to time slowing down, a single counterexample proves it wrong. This property is known as falsifiability, and is often claimed to be a necessary condition for a proposition to be a scientific hypothesis; this is the current orthodox position, although there are other schools of philosophy of science.

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Re: Impossible space engine, that apparently works

Post by Mauiby de Fug » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:19 pm

JensAyton wrote:I’ll give it about as much credence as a Daily Mail FAQ on nutritional theory.
*laughs out loud* I'm definitely going to have to use that at some point!

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