KnightsofSquare (6:55:46 PM): IM then?
Idran1701 (6:55:52 PM): No, I mean the "repsonse during response" thing.
Idran1701 (6:55:55 PM): *response
KnightsofSquare (6:56:02 PM): Ah, but this at least tells you when the other guy is typing
Idran1701 (6:56:06 PM): True.
Idran1701 (6:56:39 PM): Anyway...all right, see, I think you're misinformed about what a thought experiment is.
Idran1701 (6:56:59 PM): It's meant to establish a situation and then, through the application of the mathematics of the field to that situation, come up with a result.
Idran1701 (6:57:11 PM): It's not meant to be a bunch of BSing about what might or might not be true.
Idran1701 (6:57:18 PM): Like the relativistic "pole in a barn" concept.
Idran1701 (6:57:20 PM): Or the twin paradox.
Idran1701 (6:57:40 PM): The results from those came out of actually calculating the Lorentz transformations involved on the starting scenarios, and getting the results out.
Idran1701 (6:57:47 PM): They're simulations, not hypotheticals.
Idran1701 (6:58:37 PM): And if they don't match the math, they're thrown out.
Idran1701 (6:58:43 PM): The math comes first.
KnightsofSquare (6:58:58 PM): You are neglecting the existence of thought experiments in fields not governed by mathematics.
Idran1701 (6:59:10 PM): Because we aren't talking about a field not governed by mathematics.
Idran1701 (6:59:13 PM): We're talking about physics.
Idran1701 (6:59:40 PM): Talking about thought experiments in other fields isn't relevant to the fact that things like this "Tenth Dimension" nonsense are harmful to the subject as a whole.
KnightsofSquare (7:00:16 PM): I don't see "Visualizing the Tenth Dimension" as being presented as a guide to string theory.
KnightsofSquare (7:00:22 PM): Because it says jack shit about string theory.
Idran1701 (7:00:33 PM): "In string theory, physicists tell us that the subatomic particles that make up our universe are created within ten spatial dimensions (plus an eleventh dimension of "time") by the
vibrations of exquisitely small "superstrings". The average person has barely gotten used to the idea of there being four dimensions: how can we possibly imagine the tenth?"
Idran1701 (7:00:55 PM): It presents itself as a guide to imagining ten dimensions, as presented in string theory.
Idran1701 (7:01:12 PM): Look at the title!
Idran1701 (7:01:13 PM): "Imagining the Tenth Dimension: a new way of thinking about time, space, and string theory"
KnightsofSquare (7:01:14 PM): Yes. "Physicists tell us there are 10 spatial dimensions, how can we visualize this?" is not a claim to any knowledge of the mechanisms of string theory
Idran1701 (7:01:44 PM): No, that one segment of the paragraph that you excerpted is not.
KnightsofSquare (7:02:10 PM): Oh, wait
KnightsofSquare (7:02:19 PM): Sorry, I was skimming some stuff, and stopped before the wackiness
Idran1701 (7:02:27 PM): Hmm?
KnightsofSquare (7:02:40 PM): In the picture we are drawing for ourselves here, we can now start to see how each of us are collapsing the indeterminate wave of probable futures contained in the fifth
dimension into the fourth dimensional line that we are experiencing as “time”.
KnightsofSquare (7:04:09 PM): Now we're trying to connect our made-up visualized geometry to an actually observable occurance.
Idran1701 (7:04:42 PM): Aha. So you assumed this was _entirely_ theoretical, just a way to get folks to imagine _something_ that had more than ten dimensions?
Idran1701 (7:04:48 PM): *more than 4
KnightsofSquare (7:05:03 PM): Exactly. In fact, if you remove that sentence I think that's what you're left with
KnightsofSquare (7:05:15 PM): You have passing mentions of how science talks about the other dimensions
Idran1701 (7:05:20 PM): (Which is a little confusing, since I'm using theoretical in two different senses in this discussion, but I think you know what I mean.)
Idran1701 (7:06:11 PM): Anyway, in this text summary, yeah. But this is a summary for a book on this concept, that does profess to be a way of visualizing string theory itself.
KnightsofSquare (7:06:49 PM): Right. People are uncomfortable with things that can be visualized only in mathematics, perhaps reasonably so. The reality is that a lot of things which are very complicated to
visualize are very simple when treated mathematically
Idran1701 (7:07:06 PM): Right. But the problem is that the math is simple, _when you have the proper grounding_.
KnightsofSquare (7:07:20 PM): But there is a distrust of mathematics that you can't touch.
Idran1701 (7:07:24 PM): Indeed.
KnightsofSquare (7:07:37 PM): Mathematics you can't even visualize is worse.
Idran1701 (7:08:21 PM): But creating a false analogy for people to fall back on...it doesn't help. It gives people a better sense of understanding, yes, but it's a false sense of understanding. It makes them know
more than they do, it gets ingrained, and when you try to teach them a better analogy that actually does give understanding...wham, you run right up into that massive wall known as cognitive dissonance.
Idran1701 (7:08:26 PM): *think they know more
Idran1701 (7:08:43 PM): I'm talking about adults, here, not kids.
KnightsofSquare (7:08:46 PM): How does it get ingrained? All the people that are talking about string theory, right? All the times they use it?
Idran1701 (7:09:01 PM): It gets ingrained because there isn't anything to contradict it.
Idran1701 (7:09:06 PM): So they assume it's true.
Idran1701 (7:09:40 PM): Maybe you've been lucky on this, but I've met more than a few folks that know just enough to think they know a lot, without actually knowing a lot. And trying to teach them
otherwise, where they're mistaken...it's harder than you might think.
Idran1701 (7:09:53 PM): And I don't mean leading them through the math.
Idran1701 (7:09:59 PM): I mean using amalogies that actually are helpful.
Idran1701 (7:10:10 PM): Or telling them where the sketchier analogies fail.
KnightsofSquare (7:10:17 PM): No, I've definitely encountered it. But it's typically in fields where the misconception is constantly reinforced by outside sources.
KnightsofSquare (7:10:24 PM): String theory isn't relevant enough to be dangerous yet.
KnightsofSquare (7:10:29 PM): Err, for this book to be dangerou.
KnightsofSquare (7:10:31 PM): *dangerous
Idran1701 (7:11:11 PM): Maybe not, but when it does get to that point, do you want a clean slate to start from, or folks that grew up knowing just the slightest bits of it from things like this?
KnightsofSquare (7:12:32 PM): How bad off is relativity, would you say?
Idran1701 (7:12:43 PM): Honestly? It's pretty stuck in there too.
KnightsofSquare (7:12:56 PM): Relativity which has had an actual, physically implemented system that relies upon its mathematics
KnightsofSquare (7:13:13 PM): (GPS requires adjustments for relativistic effects)
Idran1701 (7:13:18 PM): Yeah, I know.
Idran1701 (7:13:22 PM): Same with quantum mechanics.
Idran1701 (7:13:30 PM): Flash drives require electron tunneling to read/write.
KnightsofSquare (7:13:48 PM): To what extent do most people care?
Idran1701 (7:14:00 PM): The problem isn't the people that don't care.
Idran1701 (7:14:10 PM): It's the people that care wrongly, that spread the misinformation thinking that it's correct.
Idran1701 (7:14:19 PM): The loud minority.
KnightsofSquare (7:14:23 PM): I disagree. The problem is precisely that people don't care, because they're told the truth is too complicated.
Idran1701 (7:14:36 PM): But Mike, I'm not arguing "don't educate them at all".
Idran1701 (7:14:42 PM): I'm arguing "don't educate them wrong".
KnightsofSquare (7:15:05 PM): My argument is basically that this book is not worse than no book at all.
Idran1701 (7:15:07 PM): Don't start them off with geocentricism because it's easier to understand, then try to move them onto heliocentricism later in life.
Idran1701 (7:15:29 PM): Which I disagree with.
Idran1701 (7:16:06 PM): It's folks like Bryanton that are the loud minority I refered to.
Idran1701 (7:16:19 PM): The people that learned it wrong, and so are going on to spread that wrong information.
Idran1701 (7:16:37 PM): But yeah, the answer isn't "don't publish anything on the topic at all".
Idran1701 (7:16:57 PM): The answer is "get people that know what the heck they're talking about to publish these sorts of works and have them peer reviewed before publication".
Idran1701 (7:17:30 PM): (There's no reason why things meant to instruct the general populace shouldn't be under the same standards of rigor as actual journal articles, after all.)
KnightsofSquare (7:17:38 PM): Yeah
Idran1701 (7:18:00 PM): I want more folks like Asimov, that have the great ability to actually teach people that don't understand a subject at all, letting them understand it _correctly_.
KnightsofSquare (7:18:09 PM): Don't we all?
Idran1701 (7:18:23 PM): And if I had to choose, yes, I'd say no books at all. But I don't think we have to choose.
KnightsofSquare (7:18:24 PM): But assuming such people do not exist, I would rather this book exist than nothing on the topic.
Idran1701 (7:18:28 PM): Because there are books like that.
Idran1701 (7:18:35 PM): They just aren't as popular.
KnightsofSquare (7:18:58 PM): I'd rather pull a bait and switch than have no bait at all.
Idran1701 (7:19:28 PM): Wait, you'd rather someone pay for something they didn't want then not get anything at all.
Idran1701 (7:19:30 PM): *?
KnightsofSquare (7:19:31 PM): The trouble is that they have to be popular. The subset of the population that would have actually found those books but won't now that they have this one is vanishingly small
Idran1701 (7:19:39 PM): How do you know that?
Idran1701 (7:19:43 PM): Can you back that up?
KnightsofSquare (7:19:43 PM): I believe it to be.
Idran1701 (7:19:47 PM): But can you back it up?
Idran1701 (7:20:04 PM): How do you know they won't stay here, content in their "understanding"?
Idran1701 (7:20:15 PM): "Nah, I don't need that, I already have this. Explained it great!"
KnightsofSquare (7:20:15 PM): Understanding of something that has no predictive power?
KnightsofSquare (7:21:32 PM): We may have different notions of what this book actually contains, but the summary at least didn't have any sort of predictive power.
Idran1701 (7:22:28 PM): But why would the general populace care about predictive power? They don't want to predict things, they just want to understand the stuff the scientists are predicting.
Idran1701 (7:22:56 PM): It's a false contentment, is what it is.
KnightsofSquare (7:22:58 PM): Why would the general populace look for obscure books about string theory?
Idran1701 (7:23:05 PM): the problem is this _isn't_ obscure.
Idran1701 (7:23:07 PM): *The
Idran1701 (7:23:15 PM): Like I said, it's up there with What The Bleep Do We Know.
KnightsofSquare (7:23:24 PM): I'm not talking about this
KnightsofSquare (7:23:29 PM): I'm talking about the good books
KnightsofSquare (7:23:36 PM): The ones they'd be reading if this didn't exist, right?
KnightsofSquare (7:23:38 PM): The question you asked me.
Idran1701 (7:24:04 PM): The ones I'd hope they'd read if this didn't exist.
Idran1701 (7:24:17 PM): Look, Mike, what field are you in?
KnightsofSquare (7:24:22 PM): Well, can't we both hope they'll read them even though this does exist? :P
KnightsofSquare (7:24:30 PM): I'm an Electrical Engineer
KnightsofSquare (7:24:42 PM): Minors in physics and math
Idran1701 (7:25:53 PM): What would you say if someone asked you how it can make sense for complex numbers to be used in circuit design? Would you brush them off with a simple-to-grasp explanation
that went nowhere near the truth, or would you explain about how differentiation in the complex plane is miles simpler than having to deal with the trigonometric identites in a purely real number system?
Idran1701 (7:26:16 PM): And how would you feel about someone that knows nothing about EE that was giving people the former?
KnightsofSquare (7:27:27 PM): Ah, but this book isn't primarily appealing to the market that's been asking around for information on string theory.
KnightsofSquare (7:27:47 PM): The target audience is people who didn't give a shit before, but are now interested because this stuff will blow your mind, man.
KnightsofSquare (7:29:51 PM): I think we both have fairly low opinions of the common man, but we differ on where their obvious deficiencies lie.
Idran1701 (7:30:37 PM): Maybe.
KnightsofSquare (7:32:01 PM): Supposing the common man loses his television remote. You are suggesting that if given a DVD remote, he may stop looking, having found a remote.
I'm saying that the common man won't get off his lazy ass unless he can see a suspiciously remote-shaped object somewhere nearby.
(Analogy's legitimacy not guaranteed)
Idran1701 (7:32:40 PM): Part of my view is that I consider it the duty of scientists to educate the populace. Both by giving them information, and by discouraging misinformation.
KnightsofSquare (7:32:48 PM): I agree with you
Idran1701 (7:32:50 PM): Both lead to an overall increase of the education level, in my view.
KnightsofSquare (7:33:02 PM): I am not saying I would right this book.
Idran1701 (7:33:25 PM): All right, let me ask you this. After this discussion, if someone spoke to you about it, would you direct them to find a good work on the subject?
Idran1701 (7:33:37 PM): And tell them about the deficiencies in this one?
KnightsofSquare (7:33:41 PM): Yes.
Idran1701 (7:33:47 PM): All right, that's good enough for me.
Idran1701 (7:33:55 PM): And if more people can do that, I suppose it is just as well.
KnightsofSquare (7:33:59 PM): I would rather have misinformation and interest than no misinformation and no interest
KnightsofSquare (7:34:23 PM): I would prefer well-written, accurate books with pretty pictures, but we live in a fallen world.
Idran1701 (7:34:35 PM): *nod*
Idran1701 (7:35:22 PM): Might have something to do with the base conflict between theory and application in our respective fields as well, the source of our disagreement. It seems at least slightly analgous to
Idran1701 (7:35:36 PM): What's practical vs. what's ideal and all.
KnightsofSquare (7:38:03 PM): Don't get me wrong, I care about the ideal. More than one of my math professors, actually. There was some principle he stated in class, and I asked him if it was true all the
time. He said "No, but it's good for everything we're doing"
Idran1701 (7:38:08 PM): Heh.
KnightsofSquare (7:38:17 PM): After class I asked him to look over my reasoning that it was, actually, always true.
KnightsofSquare (7:38:39 PM): That got my third "Why are you an engineer, again?" question I've gotten from the math department.
Idran1701 (7:38:45 PM): Ha. :D
KnightsofSquare (7:38:50 PM): The answer, I'm sorry to say, is mostly the money.
KnightsofSquare (7:39:19 PM): I enjoy it, it's fun, but career options are basically why I went with the engineering degree. :(
Idran1701 (7:40:02 PM): *nod*
Idran1701 (7:40:11 PM): I'm sticking with pure math myself, money aside.
Idran1701 (7:40:14 PM): It's just...too fun.
Idran1701 (7:41:27 PM): Anyway, though, I'll go ahead and upload this log, link it on the board if you don't mind.
KnightsofSquare (7:41:33 PM): Sure