Philosophy Of Computers
The role of software programming and positivism in the place of science
Positivism is a convenient word to use. The reader will notice I am skeptical of the term ‘science’, for science is increasingly losing its Positivist grounding. Science is guilty of all the worst fallacies of the sophists and the dogmatic religions. Many theorists still defend ‘scattering’ as if it adds up to something any more than existentialism does.
If Rayleigh scattering is science, then science is dead.
Both scattering and existentialism are vague to the point of nihilism. Positivism insists on the direct experience of the observer. Nothing less will do. Positivism is no respecter of mere titles either.
The obvious shortcoming with the method of Positivism is that it takes time, effort and money for the individual to examine the world empirically themselves. So this is how science gains an advantage as it claims to be the empirical account of others. Thus science is open to all manner of errors, from outright corruption on the one flank, to rounding errors on the other. Between these two extremes, exists the esoteric, the valid misconception, fear of the figure of authority, the territorial threats to financial income, the confusion within complexity, and the sheer laziness of some to bother in trying to understand a new paradigm.
And the most awful error of all is that so many confuse understanding with the ability to memorize text by rote. Here is where the computer algorithm plays a crucial role. In trying to program a real-time data model, contradictions in any theory become self-evident. Of course, to merely use a computer as a calculator is quite different from a computer model which iterates in real-time. The algorithm that allows a graphic demonstration to evolve temporally according to the laws which it operates under – is vastly preferable to mere numbers which simply give a mathematical answer. At the same time a video can be made to appear to do anything, so it is the interaction between the visual and the mathematical that is the infinitely superior paradigm. The real-time algorithm is the enhanced thought-experiment of the philosophers. But it is a thought experiment that is rigidly defined by that which is mathematical possible.
The duality within the structure of computer programs uncannily echoes the age-old mind-body problem; which itself demonstrates the Platonic distinction between the realm of form and the realm of substance. The computer code is strikingly similar to the Platonic form whereas the graphic representation has the same structure as the realm of substance. One can generate a graphic with mathematics which is in-keeping with the laws of nature; or one can not do so – in the same manner that the shadows on the walls of Plato’s cave may be illusionary. But those shadows can only be a representation of an underlying real and logical structure. If that underlying structure has no logical basis then shadows will not be possible.
The shortcomings within science are counteracted by the thought experiment. Many claims can be examined quickly and efficiently by looking for internal logical consistency before taking on the rigor of the Positivist approach. If one considers the Moon and Earth orbiting alone in space, and then using thought alone, we introduce the Sun’s gravity; we can imagine that the Sun must have an effect on the Moon’s orbit which can only be a force of attraction.
The thought experiment is a methodology that has limited arithmetical power. It seems an easy idea in retrospect to notice the Sun pulling the Moon from the Earth. So the real-time computer algorithm now becomes the thought-experiment of the 21st century. The computer program is not perfect. In the computer program I can recreate gravity with an exponent of whatever I choose, which is not entirely realistic.
And yet, the computer program is rigorous when it comes to that essential feature of any theorem: internal logical consistency. If an idea has contradictions in terms, the computer will produce an error on most occasions. The computer program is not entirely Positivist. But it is exponentially more Positivist than a piece of paper with hastily scribbled symbols on it! And it is vastly superior to even the ‘accuracy’ of a calculator. Very often in attempting to devise an algorithm, the shortfall within a theory becomes apparent in the planning phase before the programmer even touches the keyboard. A result from mere calculation assumes that a given formula is applicable. In a real-time algorithm, if the formula is not applicable the result will visually not be a representation of reality.
In examining the notion of quantum gravity, it was earlier claimed that I was capable of adding the feature of Einstein’s Relativity. Before I got to this point, the math of the gravity-assist called the slingshot effect became apparent. Later I then began to calculate Relativity in purely computational terms. But in trying to plan the programming of a real-time model, I crashed head-on into the reality of how easy it is to accept that which is, in retrospect, illogical. The astonishingly unexpected results of that will be discussed in the final chapter.
The computer program is the modal artifact of this era. Many years ago, philosophers used the spoken word only, and then along came the scribes who must have been a serious threat to the vocal philosophers. Then after that came the mathematicians, like Copernicus, Descartes, Galileo, and Newton. The sophists with their wordy treatises were full of spite and envy; and the revolutionary ideas yielded by mathematics were treated shabbily before they were heralded.
But math is no guarantee of correctness, much as writing is no guarantee over the spoken word. To this day there are those that espouse the nonsensical idea of being able to take the square root of a negative number. And then, with much long-winded ‘calculation’ (deliberately or not) they confuse the unsuspecting student into a state of bewildered agreement. But no computation can give a Positivist answer to the square root of a negative number.
Of course the computer can be programmed to give incorrect results. In these early days of the internet, the vast majority of claims and sales gimmicks online are bogus. One still has to examine each claim according to one’s own inner imagination. Examining a claim for internal logical consistency is the most efficient method for assessing information. When one finds contrary statements, one can very often shortcut the need for the labor of Positivist empirical testing. There is no methodological substitute for patient curiosity.
often the easiest way to shortcut the need for empirical testing is
to examine the psychological state of the claimant. But this has to
be the least reliable, and seemingly the most time-saving method ever
devised in general terms. The role of subconscious prejudice is immense.
Most often, psychological intuition reduces to the bias of ‘just
agree with the majority status-quo’, which is precisely the opposite
mindset to that which yields progress...
A computational analysis of the theory of gravitational waves; as expressed within Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and the wider realm of Astrophysics. Essentially a critique, this study has been written for the purpose of explaining the unobvious challenges faced in building graphically dynamic evolutionary computer models. These models compute the theoretical functionality of gravitational waves in the celestial paradigms of solar system formation and galaxy formation.
from the book
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