Ralph D, particle physics, and BS

Jim Jaszewski ab975 at main.freenet.hamilton.on.ca
Sun Jun 18 02:49:40 MDT 1995

On Sun, 18 Jun 1995, Rahul Mahajan wrote:

> Well, Jim, I knew if I posted anything about science, I would have to
> respond to a lot of turbulent crap. Here goes:

	You know, I'm REALLY starting to not like your attitude...

> >        How can you be so categorical?  Especially if you are a marxist??
> I wouldn't call myself a Marxist because I wouldn't call myself an
> anybody-ist, but I think most people I know would call me one -- at least,
> I'm somewhere on the spectrum between anarchist socialism and Leninism, but
> I don't think there's any particular reason to refer everything back to
> Marx.

	Talk about crap (turbulent or otherwise...)

 Dialectical materialism is just a couple of words, and very ambiguous
> ones at that, not some system given by God for arriving at Truth.

	...just a coupla words...

	Listen, kid:  You've got a lot more than physics to learn...

> universe existed before dialectical materialism,

	The universe was both operating dialectically and was material
long before you were ever born...

 and DM is not either a
> testable idea or a coherent philosophy which can be applied to everything
> under the sun.

	Why don't you just say you want to ignore what I posted earlier?

 Nature does not have to conform to DM,

	It conforms dialectically, and it _IS_ material.

 certainly not to any
> one person's idea of DM.

	Well, here we get to the source of your confusion. 'Dialectical
Materialism' is indeed a belief system which implies that the holder of
the beliefs can be partly, or even completely wrong about their view of

	But a dialectical universe is another matter -- as is matter.

	Now which are we talking about??

 To say DM leads one to the conclusion that there
> are infinite layers of reality (a very non-testable idea) means no more
> than to say Buddhism does.

	I quoted a text. I myself might prefer to say 'near' infinite...

	I'm sure YOU could've come to that conclusion and not bother me
with scholastic minutiae...

> >        For one thing, it seems to me a non-sequitur to compare Lysenko to
> >the prediction I mentioned (actually, Lamarck's idea of evolution isn't as
> >much of a dead letter as you may think...).
> I thought the connection was obvious -- to say the DM mandates one view of
> reality, rather than another.

	??????     Isn't that what prediction is SUPPOSED to do??

	Just why are you sniffing at 'Diamat' that way?? You think the
reductionist crap that passes for much of scientific thinking these daze
is so much more superior??  |>

 By saying Lamarckian evolution is not dead, I
> think you mean the idea that the environment can have an effect on
> heredity, which is obvious.

	I am indeed implying that the 'jury is still out' on the matter --
which I'm sure will come as a surprise to a few generations of

	That environment can have an 'effect' on heredity is trivially
OBVIOUS, and a patronizing statement. DON'T patronize me, kid -- I doubt
there's much else besides physics where you could hope to best me...

 I've never heard of any evidence of the other
> crucial component of Lamarckianism -- that the changes in genetic material
> due to the environment lead to directional changes in the phenotype (i.e.,
> the organism will always change so as to be better adapted, rather than
> worse).

	There's a book by, of all people, Arthur Koestler -- the guy who
wrote 'Darkness at Noon' -- regarding unfinished research in this field.

	I'm not saying it necessarily *IS* true, but I *AM* saying that my
and other peoples' experience with the arrogance, stupidity and corruption
of Establishment Science EASILY leads me to believe that any research into
Lysenko-ism yielding positive data WOULD be suppressed.

	I am suspicious of ALL present attempts to denigrate such research
-- ESPECIALLY if it is of an eager anti-communist kind...

> >        I am unclear on something here.  Are you a marxist? Or is this
> >knee-jerk reaction to using the dialectical method -- instead of the
> >'empirical' 'logical' (the actual term escapes me) status quo beloved of
> >bourgeois scientists -- simply a conditioned reflex developed from
> >spending so many years in a bourgeois university environment??  :)
> >
> Marxism is not a religion, goddammit.

	Who said it was??  YOU??

	Just because I am firm in my belief -- especially in the face of
petty bourgeois scoffing, doesn't give YOU any damned right to imply my
beliefs are 'religious' -- implying unscientific.

	If we had HALF the resources that YOU have access to at your
bourgeois institution, maybe _WE_ could do some research that made diamat
'scientifically' respectable...

 And there's no conceivable
> application it can have to particle physics.

	So the proof I quoted to you is MEANINGLESS, eh???

	Or do you just want to get away with ignoring it?

 For you to question my
> political credentials because of remarks about particle physics is inane.

	YOU are the pompous little one who came in here and sneered at
dialectical materialism. (Not unlike a few so-called 'socialists' in here.)

	I didn't come to the **MARXISM LIST** to argue with non-marxists
frankly. It's like what goes on in feminism echos where women have to put
up with no END of opinionated males infesting the bandwidth...

> And, no, I don't have any knee-jerk reaction to the phrase -- I'm quite
> happy with it and I think it's a useful heuristic tool.

	It's THAT too -- but it's MUCH more than that...

 Even in physics,
> one can make dialectical analogies -- it may be very nice to think about,
> but it doesn't really mean anything.

	And one can spout positivist bull-dada too... So what??

> >> Many scientists have arrived at important results by the use of heuristic
> >> ideas that we now recognize as absurd -- viz. Heisenberg's creation of
> >> quantum mechanics by using the idea that a theory must refer only to
> >> observable quantities. We know now that we are unable to formulate quantum
> >> mechanics entirely in terms of observables.
> >
> >        What are you saying? That you fall for that metaphysical crap
> >called the 'Copenhagen' interpretation??
> If you understood what I was saying, there's no way you could ask that
> question.

	No, I *DIDN'T* understand what you were saying -- you were
beating around the bush so much...

 No, I not only don't believe in the CI, I don't think it's very
> meaningful.

	GEE.  We actually AGREE on something...

 What I am talking about is the real thing, not the
> interpretation -- the mathematical formulation of QM requires the use of
> unobservable quantities.

	Like what Bohm predicts.

> >        Einstein didn't, and frankly, I'll go along with HIM. As a matter
> >of fact, I was reading in Scientific American (5/94) about a 'suppressed'
> >interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (the theory was developed by David
> >Bohm -- who was forced to leave the U.S. on account of being branded a
> >communist by "Oppie" (or is that 'Opie'?) Oppenheimer. He was fired from
> >Princeton and blacklisted, etc.), which dispenses with all the mumbo-jumbo
> >about uncertainty.
> I agree with Einstein about the CI, but his own ideas about the subject
> were dealt a serious blow many years later by the experiments which
> validated Bell's inequality, showing that no local hidden-variable theory
> of QM is valid.

	This doesn't negate his belief that there is an objective reality
where 'God does not play dice with the universe'[sic].

	Bell's Theorum only proves that Einstein was 'wrong' about
locality -- the Uncertainty Principle

 Physics is not like political economy, where you can always
> go back to Marx

	I think your views on PE are simplistic.

 -- there was so much Einstein simply could not know, that
> his ideas on such subjects are essentially irrelevant today.  You seem to
> be implying that David Bohm's views were blacklisted as well. In fact, he
> is one of the best-known physicists, is given credit by all physicists for
> a very important piece of work in the '50's (the Bohm-Aharononv effect) and
> has always had an audience for anything he said.
> >        You take the wave function as something REAL, as a FIELD -- NOT as
> >a mere statistical spread -- and VOILA': all the 'uncertainty' goes away!
> >(within reason.) No need to throw bones or study chicken entrails...
> This is meaningless. Nobody ever said the wavefunction is a mere
> statistical spread. Furthermore the so-called "undertainty" (very bad name)
> is not a matter of interpretation, but a mathematical consequence of the
> formal structure of quantum mechanics. You can use different _words_, but
> the facts will remain the same.
> >        And certainly no need to dream up 'alternate' metaphysical
> >universes... Leave that for the scriptwriters on Star Trek...
> >        I remain PROFOUNDLY unimpressed by the superficiality and
> >dogmatism of bourgeois scientists...
> I'm really not sure what you mean by the phrase "bourgeois scientist," but,
> notwithstanding their superficiality and dogmatism, they've accomplished
> hundreds of times as much as the Marxist scientists.
> I'm amazed that you think it makes sense to apply dialectical materialism
> to nature (as more than a very vague heuristic principle) and you call
> other people dogmatic.
>             Doing my best to squash the worldwide proletarian revolution
> under the heavy weight of dogmatic, superficial, undialectical,
> empirico-logical, reactionary bourgeois-scientism,
>                                     Rahul
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   Jim Jaszewski   <jazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca>

   WWW homepage:   <http://www.freenet.hamilton.on.ca/~ab975/Profile.html>

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