Author Topic: Episode #697  (Read 5727 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steven Novella

  • SGU Panel Member
  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1825
    • http://www.theskepticsguide.org
Episode #697
« on: November 17, 2018, 12:31:39 PM »
Guest Rogue: Devin Bray; What’s the Word: Cybernetics; News Items: Earth’s Dusty Satellites, How We Think, The Mad Russian, Engineering Photsynthesis; Is Stuff Real; Who’s That Noisy; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline stands2reason

  • Empiricist, Positivist, Militant Agnostic
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10159
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2018, 01:50:49 PM »
Why are the dust balls found in some L-points but not others? Solar wind, fluid mechanics. How big would one have to be to develop a gravitational field to retain the particles?

Also, if we are doing indoor/vertical farming with synthetic light, LEDs are not only the most thermodynamically efficient way to produce light, they produce an exact wavelength. i.e. the color of the plant (green) is what's not being absorbed. It might be more efficient (using electricity from solar thermal and then back with LEDs), than traditional plants with the same amount of sunlight exposure.

Offline elert

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 87
    • The Physics Hypertextbook
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2018, 06:07:45 PM »
Why are the dust balls found in some L-points but not others?

L1, L2, and L3 are points of unstable equilibrium. Small perturbations tend to push objects out of these orbits. L4 and L5 are stable. Explaining why it works this way is pretty tricky. Lots of calculus and drawings are required.

Offline Sawyer

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1312
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2018, 06:40:13 PM »
Lagrange points are intimately tied to the SGU podcast in my mind.  They were mentioned on the very first episode I ever listened to, and I can remember trying to solve the equations to see how L4 and L5 were stable.

Offline The Latinist

  • Cyber Greasemonkey
  • Technical Administrator
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • *****
  • Posts: 7262
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2018, 07:23:30 PM »
Oh good god: quantum woo on the SGU. 
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline mabell_yah

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 59
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2018, 08:46:50 PM »
I'm screaming at the podcast: "That's no moon"!

Congrats on the guest spot Devin. Livin' the dream.

Offline bachfiend

  • Not Any Kind of Moderator
  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1465
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2018, 09:32:01 PM »
I'm screaming at the podcast: "That's no moon"!

Congrats on the guest spot Devin. Livin' the dream.

I agree.  Calling that a ‘moon’ is just silly.  I think the definition of moons should be changed to include being large enough to be spherical.  Currently, there are hundreds of moons in the solar system, including around 68 Jovian moons, many of which are irregular fragments of ice or rock.  If a natural satellite orbiting a planet isn’t large enough to be spherical it should have some other designation.

‘Moon dust’ isn’t a bad designation for what’s present at the Lagrange points.
Gebt ihr ihr ihr Buch zurück?

Offline CarbShark

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10624
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2018, 09:38:50 PM »
They are satellites to astronomers. I don’t think they have a formal definition for moon.

You can make up your own definition if you want. Maybe it will catch on.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline Devin Bray

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2018, 09:40:53 PM »
Oh good god: quantum woo on the SGU.

Hmm, I'm not sure how you got the impression that I'm peddling quantum woo.  I don't think quantum mechanics has any relevance whatsoever to free will questions, I don't think "expectations determine our reality," I don't think that quantum effects have any real significance above Planck scale.  What I was trying to say wasn't at all outlandish or unknown in the world of physics, which is that "particle-talk" may all be a matter of convenience, which has consequences for how we think about questions relating to what causes what.  It may be the case that all causality in the universe is determined "bottom-up," so to speak, but there are some well-known metaphysical issues with this view (Ned Block's 'causal drainage' among them,) and I think such a conclusion is currently underdetermined by evidence, especially given what seems to be causal relevance on multiple levels of organization.

I'm not trying to say "If you think you'll get checks in the mail, you'll get checks in the mail," or that you have some radically free ego which can break free of physical determination.  I just want to understand the precise *nature* of that physical determination, so that we can get a clearer picture of what, if anything, self-control or "free will" amounts to.  Is there *any* sense in which it makes sense to say that there are greater or lesser ways you could be "in control" of your actions?  That your deliberations, desires, and intentions might have some role to play in the overall causal picture? 

It could be that considerations about process ontology are irrelevant to thinking about the scientific plausibility of compatibilism - the idea that there could still be a way of making sense of "willing," even if all of the relevant causal processes are deterministic.  The working parts of a process-ontological compatibiilism would involve dynamic systems theory concepts, rather than quantum ones, since this wouldn't be a theory of free will based on indeterminism - that is, the idea that my "willing" can cause an actual forking in the causal evolution of the universe, or that I can be a cause unto myself.  Compatibilists try to make sense of how we might be "free" in some meaningful sense without invoking any indeterminism at all.  I'm interested in the potential causal relevance of structures or patterns instantiated at the psychological level, as bound up with processes at lower levels of organization (perhaps through some kind of constraining effect - think of how a traffic jam can impede the actions of single cars.)

I could still be on the wrong track in thinking there's a scientifically defensible way of looking at mental causation - perhaps all of the causal "oomph" is all at the level of physics and A-level chemistry.  But I don't think this falls right out of a responsible reading of contemporary science.  Causal relationships have to be tracked experimentally, and when it comes to that, we track real patterns on all kinds of levels of organization.  I don't think there's any reason to conclude that modern-day science necessitates us all being hard determinists, OR substance ontologists for that matter (whether or not they turn out to be related!)

Either way, thanks for listening!  Feel free to ask follow-up questions or challenge me further, if you still think what I'm saying sounds fishy.  I can also recommend the work of some naturalistic philosophers in this area who have influenced me considerably - Daniel Dennett, who first offered the notion of "real patterns" as a basis for ontology, and James Ladyman, who has articulated a number of ways an ontology based on "real patterns" might avoid the difficulties of an ontology based fundamentally on "objects."
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 02:37:29 PM by Devin Bray »

Offline lonely moa

  • A rather tough old bird.
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4822
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2018, 02:04:52 AM »
The average lifespan in the US in the 1800s was only 30ish years.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Offline bachfiend

  • Not Any Kind of Moderator
  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1465
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2018, 03:06:01 AM »
They are satellites to astronomers. I don’t think they have a formal definition for moon.

You can make up your own definition if you want. Maybe it will catch on.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Astronomers do use the word ‘moon’ to describe natural satellites of planets, not just satellites, which also include artificial satellites.

I’m not making up my own definition.  I’m just saying that I think it should be changed.  Definitions often do change in science.  The definition of a kilogram has just recently changed without controversy.  And the kilogram is much more important in general life than the definition of a moon.
Gebt ihr ihr ihr Buch zurück?

Offline 2397

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2465
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2018, 04:30:02 AM »
Hence the need for changing it, we need something more accurate than a physical object subject to entropy.

Offline CarbShark

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10624
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2018, 10:58:35 AM »
You said we need to change the definition of moon to exclude certain objects.

I said astronomers do not have a formal definition of the word moon. They do have a formal definition for the word satellite. They sometimes use moon informally as a synonym.

You might think “we” need a new definition, but astronomers don’t.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7033
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2018, 11:26:50 AM »
(click to show/hide)

I haven't listened to that section of the show yet (too much dirty brain juice to focus on what you were talking about). In these forums we have talked about 'static' and 'process' views of the stuff of the world (often using a chair for the first and a flame for the second).

On the subject of quantum effects on the macroscocpic scale, I'd be surprised if they are NOT found to be important at scales that matter to DNA and cellular machinery. The Planck scale is around 10-35m and 10-44s. Molecules are in the 10-9m or 10-8m range, and chemical reactions are often in the 10-7s to 10-6s range. Quantum effects can be seen at molecular scales. That doesn't mean that the process of consciousness depends on those effects - but it's just wrong to limit the 'quantum realm' to Planck scales. (FWIW I suspect consciousness is substrate-independent.)
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline Devin Bray

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Episode #697
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2018, 11:50:13 AM »
I haven't listened to that section of the show yet (too much dirty brain juice to focus on what you were talking about). In these forums we have talked about 'static' and 'process' views of the stuff of the world (often using a chair for the first and a flame for the second).

On the subject of quantum effects on the macroscocpic scale, I'd be surprised if they are NOT found to be important at scales that matter to DNA and cellular machinery. The Planck scale is around 10-35m and 10-44s. Molecules are in the 10-9m or 10-8m range, and chemical reactions are often in the 10-7s to 10-6s range. Quantum effects can be seen at molecular scales. That doesn't mean that the process of consciousness depends on those effects - but it's just wrong to limit the 'quantum realm' to Planck scales. (FWIW I suspect consciousness is substrate-independent.)

A good correction to make.  It's not that quantum effects have *no* measurable effects above Planck scales whatsoever.  I, like you though, don't think these effects are causally relevant to producing minds, selves, consciousness, self-awareness, first-person perspectives, or whatever you want to call it.

I agree with you on another point in your post - being a functionalist, I also think the physical realization of a mind could be done with any number of substrates.  It doesn't HAVE to be brain tissue, or even carbon - it would just have to be a machine of sufficient functional, structural complexity - the right kind of input-output-input relations among its parts.  Even when it comes to a silcon-based machine of sufficient complexity, however - at what point, if any, do the patterns on the level of what we would call its "goals" and "desires" (Cybernetic goals and desires!) come to have causal relevance?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 11:54:09 AM by Devin Bray »

 

personate-rain
personate-rain