0793: "Physicists"

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flyingdics
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby flyingdics » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:38 pm UTC

Callback opportunity: There is always a quick shut down for these physicists. "Sorry, in this field, we can't assume a frictionless vacuum."

Retsam
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Retsam » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:40 pm UTC

Mr. Mack wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Computer science is actually a huge misnomer. It's really more of a branch of mathematics or engineering.

I'm so glad I read this thread. I always thought of science as a method for explaining naturally occurring phenomena. As a result, I've been confused as to why it's called "computer science" instead of "computer technology" or something. I've just been assuming that it's because computers are just that complicated. Which still seems reasonable to me, considering everything I've read relating to CS just leaves me with the conclusion that I don't know enough basic information to understand the words in front of me.


Well, Computer Science is sort of on the line, depending on where you are in the subject. If you're just a programmer, then I'd probably lump that more in with engineering than anything else, though that depends on the program even. Math is fairly consistently needed, but any branch of science can be used in programming. (Video games are pretty dependent on physics engines, which obviously involve physics)
But then other areas of the subject are more theoretical and more deserve the word "science". Artificial Intelligence certainly deserves the word, and there are many other aspects as well.
The problem is trying to put a generic label on such a broad category of related subjects. Personally, I might call it "Computer Systems", but that probably has just as many flaws as a name.

Tath
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Tath » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:44 pm UTC

Read it as psychiatrists last night.


Now, though...niice.

desetgled
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby desetgled » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:50 pm UTC

You're trying to predict the behavior of the universe? Just model it as a unified field theory. You don't even need secondary terms.
Why does physics need a journal anyways?

caje
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby caje » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:53 pm UTC

Yeldarb43 wrote:I'm not sure economists aren't in the lib arts position too. Everyone who has taken ONE economics course (AND MANY WHO HAVEN'T) knows why the field is flawed.
[/b]
Take this thread for example.


....I am beginning to see the problem.
Last edited by caje on Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:57 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

caje
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby caje » Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

I think all people everywhere no matter what their profession or area of study is tend to do this with all others areas of study. Everything SEEMS simple when you have no underlying knowledge of it, we will find the most simple pattern possible to explain something given the information we know about it, if we know less information the simpler the explanation will be. Now the difference is whether or not you take your self seriously.

EDIT: Yeah I just made an ultra simple explanation for a very complex psychological issue :D .

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Karilyn
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Karilyn » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

You're trying to predict the behavior of men? Just model it as an woman, then add secondary terms to account for their bad smell, low intellect, and compulsive compensation. Why does feminism need a journal anyways?
Gelsamel wrote:If you punch him in the face repeatedly then it's science.

Cal Engime
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Cal Engime » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:24 pm UTC

philippos42 wrote:
Cal Engime wrote:The problem with economics is that economists try to apply empirical methods from the natural sciences to the study of agents with free will acting under ever-changing conditions which cannot be subjected to experiment.

Historical experience can be useful in guiding our thoughts, but the legitimate source of economic theory is a priori reasoning, and such theory can be neither verified nor disproved by experiment.
Oh look, it's an "Austrian"! So you want to use a priori arguments, relying on dubious assumptions about universal psychology, to predict the behavior of "agents with free will acting under ever-changing conditions"--and you consider this more legitimate, more useful, & less unreliable than repeated empirical observation & extensive historical analysis.

Yeah, a priori, you're wrong. If the "Austrian" belief that history is an unreliable guide were true, there would be no use to macro-economics at all. But then, considering "Austrians'" propensity for misapplying micro-economics to macro problems, I suppose that's what they think.
Apriorism was the explicit mainstream opinion in economics before the rise of the Historical school in the early 20th Century. Austrians still say that apriorism is what distinguishes them from other economists, but pure theory and reasonable assumptions play more of a role in neoclassicists' research than they will admit. Austrian criticisms of the mainstream on methodological grounds are usually wide of the mark because the mainstream does not practice what they preach.

Yes, I consider deduction more useful than repeated empirical observation because there are no constant relationships to be empirically observed. If a 5% increase in the price caused a 2% drop in sales of potatoes in New York in 1986, a 5% increase might still cause a 4% drop in sales in Chicago in 2008. You haven't "measured" the elasticity of demand of potatoes; in each case, you have established a unique historical fact which illustrates, but does not test, the law of demand. If we found that the price increased and sales rose, we would still say "the sales were lower than they otherwise would have been" because we are certain of the law of demand.

Empirical observation has no more place in economics than in calculus. An economist should react to results contradicting theory the same way a mathematician would react to the "experience" of three apples being the same as five apples, or the way a logician would react to A being equal to not A. The simple price theory you can find in any economics textbook (which never make reference to any empirical study that established these so-called laws of supply and demand) allows us to say, "if we set a minimum wage of $1,000,000 an hour and enforce it strictly, the result would be massive unemployment." If you say, "well, we would have to try it out; a $1,000,000 an hour minimum wage might reduce unemployment, if it had any effect at all," even the proverbial man in the street is going to think you're crazy.

As far as the usefulness of economics without empiricism, Austrian economic theory apparently makes it possible to build a time machine and explain the financial crisis and the Great Depression before they happen. But call yourself an Austrian and you're non-mainstream, a crank, not a real scientist.

tlbs
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby tlbs » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:34 pm UTC

Minchandre wrote:Gah, so true, except replace "first encounters" with "ever encounters". My favorite was a physicist telling me that he didn't understand why we had 6 Circuits courses, he learned it all in one semester. Presented with a typical problem in the last course in that sequence ("Design a circuit that can filter, and then digitize a 2.4GHz signal"), he said that it sounded pretty straightforward; I mean, he knew all the fundamentals, right?

That's not to say that physicists are in general conceited...just about other fields of science.


Hey! I've done that. It was a 'piece of cake'.....NOT.

juggernaat wrote:Engineers do this too. :D

Guilty!

As for the main discusion of #793; This is one is the funniest I can remember.
#2 funniest would be the one about the EE who went back in time to tell Ben Franklin to change the convention of "+" and '-'.

Wallace
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Wallace » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:19 pm UTC

Best XKCD in a while!

I read this quiet differently to what most commenting here have done. To me this sums up perfectly the way physisists feel about the other fields within physics, rather than areas outside of physics. The text doesn't really make sense applied to Biology or Comp sci etc, but you can describe most areas in physics in that way... until you look a bit closer at the PITA details!

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

Burned the liberal-arts majors and the physics majors? Oh, here we go again...

Although to be honest, I think this could apply to any variety of major encountering a problem in any field that is not their own. So really, the only insult is to the liberal-arts majors. But really, it says right in the disclaimer --
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
-- that this comic is not for liberal-arts majors, so there shouldn't be any of them reading this and getting offended. Right?

jspenguin wrote:It's so simple! You don't have to be the smartest person in [subject hometown here] to figure it out.
You are the official king of this thread.
"It's easy to forget what a sin is in the middle of a battlefield." "Opposite over hypotenuse, dipshit."

Morituri
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Morituri » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:06 am UTC

Cal Engime wrote:As far as the usefulness of economics without empiricism, Austrian economic theory apparently makes it possible to build a time machine and explain the financial crisis and the Great Depression before they happen. But call yourself an Austrian and you're non-mainstream, a crank, not a real scientist.


So empiricism doesn't matter, except when it does? Most of what you've said is "we don't have to listen to your objections" stuff, which is crankery by definition, not because of what you call yourself.

But, honest question: since xkcd is a celebration of the cultures that grew up around empirical disciplines, and Austians' defining feature is a rejection of empiricism, what brings you to this thread in the first place?

The1exile
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby The1exile » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:08 am UTC

Glaug-Eldare wrote:Is this serously Randall's idea of an apology? Acknowledging that sometimes the intellectual nobility have difficulty adapting to the ways of the feeble-minded peasants who don't study the Hard Science of selling t-shirts with stick figures on them? If Randall's "in your head" on this one, I hope I never meet you.

Chill out. The comic is merely poking fun at the tribalism and selfishness inherent in most people that makes them think what they're doing is more worthy than anyone else. Nearly every subject at my university had a lecturer saying "this is the hardest/most important course you can take", and for physics' part this was my quantum lecturer. Medics traditionally view all other sciences as superfluous while biomed dismisses medicine proper as being "old fashioned". English students don't see the need of historians, who snort at economists.

Except, of course, they don't. Actually, most people - physicists included - understand that the other fields of peoples expertise are a lot more complicated than they first seem, and it's only a select few - law, medicine and physics, traditionally - that escape it by being self-evidently complicated enough not to be able to simplify.
mosc wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:The military wrote custom PS3 software and bought a bunch of them for some very specific application.

A modern warfare lan party, duh.

The1exile
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby The1exile » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:10 am UTC

Also, many of the "model as x instead of y" are making a flawed analogy. You could say "why model for women? Just model for humans generally and add in the effects of estrogen" or "why model for snakes? model for the wildlife of the ecosystem generally and add in known qualities of it being a reptile." A lot of simplifcation is "find simple theory to extrapolate from, experiment, add variables, experiment, add variables, rinse, lather, repeat".
mosc wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:The military wrote custom PS3 software and bought a bunch of them for some very specific application.

A modern warfare lan party, duh.

dean.menezes
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby dean.menezes » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:13 am UTC

So you're trying to model making a webcomic? Just model it as making a lolcat with corrections for drawing skills and math why does xkcd have a whole journal anyway?

So you're trying to model the zeroes of the Riemann zeta function? Just model it as shopping with corrections for being hard. Why does math need a whole journal anyway?

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aurumelectrum13
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:18 am UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:Burned the liberal-arts majors and the physics majors? Oh, here we go again...

Although to be honest, I think this could apply to any variety of major encountering a problem in any field that is not their own. So really, the only insult is to the liberal-arts majors. But really, it says right in the disclaimer --
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
-- that this comic is not for liberal-arts majors, so there shouldn't be any of them reading this and getting offended. Right?


Of course, a liberal arts major can parse that sentence properly :wink: . And no, advanced mathematics isn't a foreign language to this English major. The reason I'm a liberal arts major is because calculus was too simple.

Subject17
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Subject17 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:20 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:You're trying to predict the behavior of men? Just model it as an woman, then add secondary terms to account for their bad smell, low intellect, and compulsive compensation. Why does feminism need a
journal anyways?

...
Karilyn wrote:an woman

Ahem. Anyway.

You're trying to predict the behavior of the busy beaver function? Just model it as a .... as an.... ummmm. Hmm. Why does Theoretical Computer Science need a magazine, anyway?

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StNowhere
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby StNowhere » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:25 am UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:Burned the liberal-arts majors and the physics majors? Oh, here we go again...

Although to be honest, I think this could apply to any variety of major encountering a problem in any field that is not their own. So really, the only insult is to the liberal-arts majors. But really, it says right in the disclaimer --
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
-- that this comic is not for liberal-arts majors, so there shouldn't be any of them reading this and getting offended. Right?


Of course, a liberal arts major can parse that sentence properly :wink: . And no, advanced mathematics isn't a foreign language to this English major. The reason I'm a liberal arts major is because calculus was too simple.


Nah, you're a liberal arts major because you like nebulous, opinion-ridden diatribes described as literature or debate. Real scientists also find calculus easy; they just keep climbing the ladder until they reach their own personal level of incompetence. I'm hoping mine kicks in right after I get my 15 minutes of fame. :D

Morituri
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Morituri » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:39 am UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:And no, advanced mathematics isn't a foreign language to this English major. The reason I'm a liberal arts major is because calculus was too simple.


Really? What hypotheses are necessary on a continuous function f : R -> R with an almost-everywhere defined derivative to ensure that the integral from a to b of this derivative is equal to f(b) - f(a)?

By the way, great literature is no stranger to this Math grad student. The reason I'm in STEM is that The Lord of the Rings didn't hold my attention.

(Not that there's anything wrong with being an English major, or finding Calculus boring. I'm just saying.)

Minchandre
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Minchandre » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:39 am UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:Burned the liberal-arts majors and the physics majors? Oh, here we go again...

Although to be honest, I think this could apply to any variety of major encountering a problem in any field that is not their own. So really, the only insult is to the liberal-arts majors. But really, it says right in the disclaimer --
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
-- that this comic is not for liberal-arts majors, so there shouldn't be any of them reading this and getting offended. Right?


Of course, a liberal arts major can parse that sentence properly :wink: . And no, advanced mathematics isn't a foreign language to this English major. The reason I'm a liberal arts major is because calculus was too simple.


Right, because multivariable integral calculus (the highest level typically taught to non-mathematicians) is the apex of mathematics.

Maybe you because a liberal arts major so you could make smug statements about fields that you decided to never fully explore? Actually, per the comic, I guess that would make you a physicist :D

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aurumelectrum13
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:49 am UTC

Lol. :D
Morituri wrote:
aurumelectrum13 wrote:And no, advanced mathematics isn't a foreign language to this English major. The reason I'm a liberal arts major is because calculus was too simple.


Really? What hypotheses are necessary on a continuous function f : R -> R with an almost-everywhere defined derivative to ensure that the integral from a to b of this derivative is equal to f(b) - f(a)?

By the way, great literature is no stranger to this Math grad student. The reason I'm in STEM is that The Lord of the Rings didn't hold my attention.

(Not that there's anything wrong with being an English major, or finding Calculus boring. I'm just saying.)


It didn't hold my attention either, so no worries there. And since we're on the topic, could you perhaps explain whether the ghost of Hamlet's father is good or not in the context of Shakespeare's time as well as your personal viewpoint, backed with textual evidence as well as previous critical works, and, further, explain why Hamlet is so particularly distraught at his mother's marriage?

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Shelagh » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:24 am UTC

caje wrote:I think all people everywhere no matter what their profession or area of study is tend to do this with all others areas of study. Everything SEEMS simple when you have no underlying knowledge of it, we will find the most simple pattern possible to explain something given the information we know about it, if we know less information the simpler the explanation will be. Now the difference is whether or not you take your self seriously.

EDIT: Yeah I just made an ultra simple explanation for a very complex psychological issue :D .



Here I am, forming a post in my head, and you go and say pretty much what everything I was going to say.

Non-physicist here and I know I do these analogic comparisons with things I'm not familiar with to get a sense of how big the issue is within my frame of knowledge. Then I make more analogies until I a) help fix the issue, or b) realize that this is way beyond me, pat whoever it is on the back and say, "Welp, good luck with that. I'm not gonna be any help," and move on.

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Flexico
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Flexico » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:33 am UTC

I love the little balls for fists. XD And the way everything is just floating in empty white n-D space! But, they're floating in just the right places to appear to be sitting on a solid plane so that the brain can fill in the gaps. =P

Yeldarb43
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Yeldarb43 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:32 am UTC

caje wrote:
Yeldarb43 wrote:I'm not sure economists aren't in the lib arts position too. Everyone who has taken ONE economics course (AND MANY WHO HAVEN'T) knows why the field is flawed.
[/b]
Take this thread for example.


....I am beginning to see the problem.


I can't tell if my sarcasm came through or not. Surely my dismissive attitude IS a problem, but so are the expectations for models that must be simple enough for students to learn in one semester.

yours truly,

-An economist

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Stanistani
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Stanistani » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:06 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:And what's hilarious is that it took Randall seven hundred comics before he felt the need to make a joke at his own expense... ...

*Snerk* Try harder.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:01 am UTC

Morituri wrote:But, honest question: since xkcd is a celebration of the cultures that grew up around empirical disciplines, and Austians' defining feature is a rejection of empiricism, what brings you to this thread in the first place?

Right, because mathematics is such an empirical field...

(And don't get all Quine on me, either!)
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Glaug-Eldare » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:53 am UTC

Stanistani wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:And what's hilarious is that it took Randall seven hundred comics before he felt the need to make a joke at his own expense... ...

*Snerk* Try harder.


Actually, you'll have to try harder than that. Being "strange" isn't really considered a character flaw to people who know about xkcd. I'm loath to accept #793 as a joke at the shirt vendor's expense, either, since it's a very insincere criticism preceded by quite a few genuine denials of the ability of humanities students/professionals to progress cognatious thunk.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby caje » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:41 am UTC

Yeldarb43 wrote:
I can't tell if my sarcasm came through or not. Surely my dismissive attitude IS a problem, but so are the expectations for models that must be simple enough for students to learn in one semester.

yours truly,

-An economist


Aye, I missed and I was referring to the fact that people who take one semester or have no real economics education feel as if they know why the field is flawed. (which leads us right back to the main topic of the thread)

The basics courses teach are really meant to give you a fundamental idea to use as a basis for comparison in more advanced models and not ends in themselves. When people don't take the higher level classes they think the basics models are supposed to be the end-all for real-life human behavior and that's where the weird impressions come from. Though I think this impression is most often the fault of the basics professors.

- a fellow money grubbing, heartless, utility-maximizing asshole... :mrgreen:

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby RockoTDF » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:50 am UTC

Retsam wrote:Well, Computer Science is sort of on the line, depending on where you are in the subject. If you're just a programmer, then I'd probably lump that more in with engineering than anything else, though that depends on the program even. Math is fairly consistently needed, but any branch of science can be used in programming. (Video games are pretty dependent on physics engines, which obviously involve physics)


Where in computer science do they test hypotheses and record empirical data?

Game programmers do *use* a lot of physics, but I would never call them physicists because of it.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:40 am UTC

caje wrote:The basics courses teach are really meant to give you a fundamental idea to use as a basis for comparison in more advanced models and not ends in themselves. When people don't take the higher level classes they think the basics models are supposed to be the end-all for real-life human behavior and that's where the weird impressions come from. Though I think this impression is most often the fault of the basics professors.


I feel like this is a problem in how contemporary academic philosophy is taught (and thus how it is perceived by the educated laity), too. Introductory philosophy classes present you with extreme categories which are usually at least several centuries old, and effectively ask you to choose which of them your beliefs fit into. Pretty much all of the views presented in an introductory philosophy class are far off the mark from "common sense", unexamined views of the world in one way or another. This gives people who only take introductory classes the impression that philosophy is all crazy off-the-wall speculation in defiance of common sense.

However, those crazy views came into being because someone was arguing against a problematic aspect of "common sense", and usually just went too far with it. At the more advanced levels you start learning about more nuanced theories which try to keep the headway made in correcting for the problematic element, without throwing the baby out with the bath water. As such, more sophisticated, nuanced philosophical views that you discuss at the higher levels are often closer to "common sense" than the stuff you learn about in introductory classes.

A part of me suspect that they do this intentionally to shake people of their assumptions so that when they come back to a more settled view on the world, even if that is very much like their old view of the world, they now know why they believe as they do, and can defend their beliefs against criticism of them. I read a (Taoist?) adage along these lines once, sorry I've forgotten the attribution, but it went something like "Before you walk the path to enlightenment, a table is a table and tea is tea. When you walk the path of enlightenment, you see that tables are no longer tables and tea is no longer tea. Once you have reached enlightenment, a table is once more a table, and tea is once again tea."
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby rcox1 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:53 pm UTC

Physics is a relatively new way of looking at the world, and cannot really compete with older traditions that tend to give more precise answers to life's complicated question. Physics in it's quest for accuracy, often at the expense of some precision, simply cannot compete. For example, people want to know why some people are more successful than others. The simple answer is that have the right parents, they are in the right location, and they have talent. Or that god selected them to be successful. No one wants to hear the long answer about developing skills and hard work.

Most other philosophies begin with an opinion, such as the earth is the center of the universe, and the construct a priori arguments to justify the opinion. When a physics person says, yes, that may be true within a reference frame, they get pissed. It is like because they were clever enough to come up with a contrived argument, the rest of us are supposed to bow to their superior articulation, even if it is based on verifiably false assumptions.

Simplification is valuable. I know when I turn on a light what is generally happening. I know how to fix a broken light switch. I do not worry about direction the electrons are flowing, or if there are electrons, or if the light switch is really a ritual in which I invoke the all mighty god to make the light glow. All these other things are complications that prevent a working light switch, and are the purview of those that wish to believe in something other than observation.

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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby acarrtauchenius » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:35 pm UTC

I'm a theoretical ecologist and I had the EXACT SAME discussion with quite a few physicists!

I also really like the following paper on macroecology by some physicists:

http://www.image.unipd.it/a.rinaldo/allegati/Banavar_et_al_2007.pdf

They tell you what the main problems of ecological research are (from a physicist's point of view):

A physical system in the vicinity of a critical point is different from an
ecosystem in several respects, and a straightforward appli-
cation of scaling ideas in ecology is not possible for the
following reasons: (i) there is a lack of knowledge of the
Hamiltonian governing the dynamics of the ecosystem;
(ii) in an ecosystem, there are no obvious dials similar to
the temperature, pressure, and magnetic field in condensed
matter physics to tune the system to or away from criticality ...


I will not comment on this ...

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Karilyn
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Karilyn » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:47 pm UTC

Subject17 wrote:
Karilyn wrote:You're trying to predict the behavior of men? Just model it as an woman, then add secondary terms to account for their bad smell, low intellect, and compulsive compensation. Why does feminism need a
journal anyways?

...
Karilyn wrote:an woman

Ahem. Anyway.

Damn those rascally typos.

Always getting in the way of my plans.

I'll get you next time! NEXT TIMEEEEEEE

That's what I get for being lazy and copy-pasting.
Gelsamel wrote:If you punch him in the face repeatedly then it's science.

Alero
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:56 am UTC

Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Alero » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:21 pm UTC

You're trying to predict the behavior of China? Just model it as Japan then add secondary terms to account for communism and the fact they hate each other. Why does Political Science need a journal anyway?

User avatar
Username4242
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 9:03 pm UTC
Location: (Previously) Montana State University--Bozeman, Montana.

Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Username4242 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

Also, cryptozoology. It's like zoology for crazy people that believe in magic and love to travel. Except I'm pretty sure that if they ever did find something they'd leave all of the actual research to actual zoologists.


Yes and no. Cryptozoology encompasses the search for fauna that has yet to be well documented, but for which lines of evidence can be found indicative of the fauna's existence. This may (and sometimes does) include fantastical creatures, but it certainly isn't limited to such things. It also has some overlap with cultural studies (i.e. folklore, etc.)

More on this:

http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology ... _no_no.php
http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology ... oology.php
Last edited by Username4242 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:36 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Moose Hole
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Moose Hole » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:58 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:Computer science is actually a huge misnomer.
As a computerologist, I take offense to this statement.

Töz-R
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:31 pm UTC

Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby Töz-R » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:15 pm UTC

If we're discussing soft vs. hard science here, I would just like to say that

Real science is known by being useful

If not, well, it's an amusing thread anyway

imantodes
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 12:52 am UTC

Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby imantodes » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

user42 wrote:I many not personally find the soft sciences as interesting, but I wouldn't seriously argue that they could be completely absorbed into physics. My only peeve with them would be their tendency to hold onto disproven theories and by 'hold onto', I mean continue to talk about them. No physics text book includes a chapter on the Ether and why people don't use that model any more. As an experimentalist turned teacher (well, once I finish my masters anyway), I can't tell you how sick I am of hearing about Piaget. He wasn't remotely scientific in his research and other researches with better data have contradicted him. Why are we still talking about his ideas?


You've never heard of Newton, then?

tesseraktik
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby tesseraktik » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:43 pm UTC

jspenguin wrote:It's so simple! You don't have to be the smartest person in [subject hometown here] to figure it out.
Can't... ...resist...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHcsWvWjSJ8

P.S. Working towards my Bachelor's Degree in Physics, here, so I'm not even a master of my subject and still I manage to do this from time to time (sometimes jokingly, sometimes out of curiosity, and sometimes, well, because I'm an arrogant prick ;)) D.S.
ni'o mi nelci le zirpu sovmabrnornitorinku
Spoiler:
++$_ wrote:What's a "degree"?

EDIT: I looked it up on Wikipedia. Apparently it's some ancient Babylonian unit for angles :/

CBrachyrhynchos
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Re: "Physicists" discussion (#793)

Postby CBrachyrhynchos » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:
Retsam wrote:Well, Computer Science is sort of on the line, depending on where you are in the subject. If you're just a programmer, then I'd probably lump that more in with engineering than anything else, though that depends on the program even. Math is fairly consistently needed, but any branch of science can be used in programming. (Video games are pretty dependent on physics engines, which obviously involve physics)


Where in computer science do they test hypotheses and record empirical data?

Game programmers do *use* a lot of physics, but I would never call them physicists because of it.


Not a computer scientist or a programmer, but this confusing the two. A fair chunk of computer science has been necessarily speculative. The theory behind a programmable computing machine developed before people actually managed to build them with gears, vacuum tubes, and semiconductors. And there's still a fair bit of esoteric theoretical work on what a logical computing system could do that happens before those ideas are tested with physical systems. Quantum computing is still very much in that formative stage, as are biochemical computing systems.

And that's not getting into the applied hypothesis testing. Do robots with one algorithm perform better than robots with another algorithm in real-world trials? Do human beings respond better to one form of interface than another? These are applied questions, certainly, but they're empirical ones as well.


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