Criteria…

Today I am going to speak about the lack of criteria in modern life… no, I am not going to talk about these decadent times and the moral dissolution of modern society (mainly because I cannot compare it with anything else, I am not THAT old)… No, instead I am going to talk about the lack of criteria in our understanding of nature. Now, many of my followers here with not that much training and expertise in the higher levels of advanced theoretical physics (yes I am sarcastic) will consider arguments based on invocations of some beliefs as sloppy… Indeed they are so but while it is the trivial calculation of the eigenvalues of the problem of electrons in a molecule or directly the sankt-string-burg theory many people are using these arguments in order to escape. Actually, I was trained in some string theory lectures that arguments of the form “this is the only way I get the right result” should be accepted as valid. So, when you have no clue what to do, just try until you get something that’s right… then you can construct a hypothesis that if left alone long enough becomes a conjecture that in the end is generally accepted. What this way of thinking implies is of course lots of arrogance. We cannot know yet all the laws of nature and we cannot assume we thought about everything that is mathematically possible. In fact the criteria we actually have (which can be resumed to relativistic covariance and quantum principles) are not even remotely enough to specify any situation unambiguously. We like to believe that science is about constructing exact solutions (or at least exact probabilistic distributions, if we insist to speak in quantum terms) but in reality things couldn’t be farther away from reality: Only by imposing restrictions given by what we understand as “laws” nowadays we couldn’t predict a thing. This is why people, facing two options (direct numerical calculation or invention of convenient restriction criteria) might in many cases chose the second path. That would be allright if these were not more often than not, completely wrong! I see the attraction of being able to make statements about things but if your criteria are incomplete or ill-defined your predictions will be the same! All-mighty as one may feel one keeps being WRONG!

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