Another remark that I want to make is to really stress the fact that theories are approximations. Usually a new theory just is a better approximation. What happened when the theory of relativity gained popularity was not that Newton’s laws started to be considered to be totally false. They just give an answer that is less accurate. For this to actually give a real effect on calculations speed has to be somewhere around 90% of the speed of light. So the laws of Newton still provides a much better ”answer” to the vast set of phenomena that happens around us on Earth. Better because it’s simpler. I’ve never met scientist involved in the field that seriously suggest that one should employ the concepts of relativity when for instance doing calculations on an apple falling.

Anyway, to me maximum disorder sounds like a rather interesting state!

]]>My remarks were exactly what you have explained. And my point was that absolute proofs and universal truths cannot exist in the real world; not even in logic thank Gödel! I am disappointed to state that economics faces the issue I have stated above. That is, consider something an absolute truth if it is proven mathematically… Yet when another ”proof” comes they embrace it as well, thus not having a coherent theory structure. I am glad to find out that scientists do not believe that there are absolute truths, yet there are some scientists I have met which might disagree with you (due to their ego that is)…

My greatest hope is that in physics, as well in economics, young people are less prone to follow blindly into the same area that their predecessors were before…

Nice talking to you

]]>Ignorant laymen may believe that this or that scientific theory has been proven once and for all and is the absolute and final truth, but scientists know better. A true scientist is always aware that no theory is final and that the currently dominating theory in some field is only the best approximation that has been found so far. The general theory of relativity has been tested time and again and has always passed the tests, and yet scientists keep thinking of new ways to put it to test, just to see if something unexpected shows up.

Absolute proofs exist only in mathematics. Theories about the physical world can’t be proven like mathematical statements, through mathematical reasoning. They are tested through experiments and observations. If the observations don’t match the predictions that a theory makes, then that theory is disproven and a better theory is needed. The theory that explains the observations best prevails and becomes the dominating theory – until new observations reveal its shortcomings and a revision is needed.

I don’t know about economics but in science it’s definitely not true that proofs mean nothing or that anything can be proven. Although theories can’t be definitively proven they can be quite conclusively disproven, and a theory won’t be widely accepted until it has been shown to agree with the observations with a high statistical certainty.

]]>In economics, I believe that a person with good mathematical skills can prove right about anything. People are bad? God is bad? Economists are bad? (not so unsure about that but you get the point). Unfortunately, I cannot propose an alternative to proving things, as just empirical justification will not hold, given our statistical power. Maybe it’s the combination of both empirics and proofs. Yet, there has to be some alternative and I do hope that someone will at least find it.

As for kopying and kreating I would agree that these are the things which drive us forward. If you come to think about it even teaching is a form of kopying. Yet no-one would ever dare to say to make schools illegal right?

]]>Scientists who try to understand complexity work in such fields as information theory, chaos theory, emergent phenomena and numerical simulation. This is very complicated stuff, and not very well understood yet. (It might not come as a big surprise that the study of complexity is complex.) Various approaches to quantifying complexity have been proposed, but no generally accepted measure exists yet as far as I know, and I haven’t heard of any attempts to measure the complexity of the whole universe or how it changes. (None the less it seems obvious that a universe with galaxies, canyons, trees and brains is more complex than the almost homogenous plasma of elementary particles that existed shortly after the Big Bang.) This is an area where creative young scientists can contribute to our understanding of ourselves and our surroundings.

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