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The Beginning of Infinity (Deutsch, David)

Started by droqen, October 06, 2021, 12:37:26 AM

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Infinity! This book puts forward the idea that knowledge is an infinite climb towards truth, if constructed and approached properly. FL recommended it when I brought up Lulie.


Quotewhat is the vital, process-enabling ingredient that is present in science [and not] the prophet and the gambler?

[..] prediction is not, and cannot be, the purpose of science.


data-driven design is an instrument of the, in this example, prophet and gambler - not concerned with understanding reality but instead which inputs give which outputs...

Quote from: p14-15I may predict that if the conjurer appears to saw someone in half, that person will later appear on stage unharmed. [This is a] testable prediction[..] But that does not even address, let alone solve, the problem of how the trick works.


Quote from: p18no amount of observing will correct [a] misconception until after one has thought of a better idea;


Quote from: p27You may not like these predictions[The ones that follow from your explanation of something]. Your friends and colleagues may ridicule them. You may try to modify the explanation so that it will not make them, without spoiling its agreement with observations and with other ideas for which you have no good alternatives. You will fail. That is what a good explanation will do for you:  it makes it harder for you to fool yourself.


October 07, 2021, 05:35:25 PM #7 Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 05:38:05 PM by droqen
Quote from: p32, end of chapter 1The real source of our theories is conjecture, and the real source of our knowledge is conjecture alternating with criticism.


The role of experiment and observation is to choose between existing theories, not to be the source of new ones.


Quote from: p36the fact that a computer or a robot can perform a task mindlessly does not imply that it is mindless when scientists [people] do it.



October 27, 2021, 04:39:39 PM #9 Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 04:42:00 PM by droqen
Quote from: p40Like conjuring tricks in reverse, such instruments [as telescopes, as well as good explanations, all perhaps only through "sophisticated chain[s ] of theoretical interpretation"] fool our senses into seeing what is really there.


Quote from: p44-45anti-anthropocentrism has increasingly been elevated to the status of a universal principle, sometimes called the 'Principle of Mediocrity': there is nothing significant about humans (in the cosmic scheme of things). As the physicist Stephem Hawking put it, humans are 'just a chemical scum on the surface of a typical planet that's in orbit round a typical star on the outskirts of a typical galaxy'.

Quote from: p45as I shall explain [..] in the broader sense [this] is so misleading that, if you were seeking maxims [..] you could do a lot worse than to use [its negation]. That is to say, the truth is that

People are significant in the cosmic scheme of things

Quote from: p46We scums are mainly infra-red emitters because we contain liquids and complex chemicals which can exist only at a much lower range of temperatures [than that of visible light-emitting plasma in stars]

I love the term 'chemical scum' and Deutsch's casual usage of the term: 'We scums'.


Quote from: p46What is a typical place in the universe like? Let me assume that you are reading this on Earth. In your mind's eye, travel straight upwards[..]

Also 'Let me assume that you are reading this on Earth' is a hilarious beautiful joy to read, at least in context, hahaha <3