Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

William Hobba

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Previous Fields

  • Country
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Not Specified
  • Relationship status
  • Real Name
    Bill Hobba
  • Copyright
    Public Domain
  • Biography/Intro
    Interested in why the world is as it is. Have fond partial answers in Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry
  • Experience with Objectivism
    Read a lot on it when young. Now reading The Passion Of Ayn Rand
  • School or University
  • Occupation
    Retired computer programmer

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

William Hobba's Achievements

Junior Member

Junior Member (3/7)



  1. Interesting take. Would the Turing test now being passed make any difference? https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27762088#:~:text=The 65-year-old Turing,London that it was human. Thanks Bill
  2. Interesting view. We do not know if the laws that govern the world are simple or not, but modern physics has shown the importance of symmetry. This is part of the work of a very remarkable woman, IMHO as remarkable as Ayn Rand was, whose story is not as well known as it should be: https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/how-mathematician-emmy-noethers-theorem-changed-physics. She fought against terrible misogeny, but her genius could not be denied, and is generally considered one of the top 20 mathematicians of all time - quite possibly top ten. She was not even allowed to study mathematics at university - but that did not stop her. Now 42%, and rising, of all math majors are women. Surprisingly, and for reasons I do not understand, in physics it is just 20% - go figure - obviously it can't be the math. I know Ayn Rand in her youth was advised to study math - but did not. From Barbra Brandon's biography: 'The subject [Rand] most enjoyed during her high school years, the one subject of which she never tired, was mathematics. 'My mathematics teacher was delighted with me. When I graduated, he said, "It will be a crime if you don't go into mathematics." I said only, "That's not enough of a career." I felt that it was too abstract, it had nothing to do with real life. I loved it, but I didn't intend to be an engineer or to go into any applied profession, and to study mathematics as such seemed too ivory tower, too purposeless—and I would say so today.' Mathematics, she thought, was a method. Like logic, it was an invaluable tool, but it was a means to an end, not an end in itself.' I often wonder how things would have turned out if she studied it under Noether like the philosopher Grete Herman did. Sorry for the double post - something funny happened. Thanks Bill
  3. There is nothing to reconcile. Even if the world is totally deterministic, because of the phenomena of chaos (ie any lack of knowledge of initial conditions, no matter how small, will always grow, so eventually any prediction made is wrong), it means there is no way to make use of that determinism. You may want to argue - that is just a practical objection - I am speaking of matters of principle. It is often said QM is fundamentally probabilistic. That it must be is incorrect - the DBB interpretation is perfectly deterministic - but because the laws of QM do not allow knowledge of all initial conditions (the Heisenberg uncertainty relations still hold) that determinism in principle is of no value . It is an example of a deterministic system that in principle, not just in practice, is effectively not deterministic. Thanks Bill
  4. Replying to the original question, two physicists have an interesting take: https://www.sciencealert.com/quantum-complexity-rules-out-our-universe-as-a-computer-simulation People here might find it interesting. Just as an aside, while the above looks fine, in general beware of popular articles discussing Quantum Mechanics - many are to be blunt total BS. If you really want to know about QM get Susskind's book: https://www.amazon.com.au/Quantum-Mechanics-Theoretical-Art-Friedman/dp/0465062903 Thanks Bill
  5. Everybody has studied Euclidian Geometry at school. That is reason laid bare. I will not go deeper into it - you can do that yourself and make up your own mind if you agree with what Ayn Rand says or not. I have my own views, very close to Ayn Rand's - but not quite the same - I call it a modelling perspective. But geometry contains the essence of it. What you figure out for yourself, using of course discussions, readings etc as pert of the process, you always understand better. Thanks Bill
  6. I didn't realise my little post had generated so many further replies. I thought the original answer I got was satisfactory so didn't pay any more attention to the thread until now. But to add further context, the Feynman Lectures are very famous textbooks in physics - although written for freshman students, is not generally recommended as a text for such a course, but nearly universally recommended as supplementary reading for the serious thinking student - the one that wants to go beyond the usual textbooks that are more about passing the final exam. In the opening chapters he discusses the basics of physics and points out we often model things in ways that are good enough for most practical purposes, but when looked at closely are not quite correct. An example he uses is a flat table and when solving problems of balls rolling on tables etc we can model to great accuracy it as a flat surface from euclidian geometry. But look at it closely. If you do that you see the top of the table has molecules evaporating off it and intermingling with air molecules/atoms. So the surface of a table is difficult to define exactly. He then moves onto the quote I gave as a further example of this kind of difficulty. It isn't really - and I am sure Feynman knew that - he just wanted students to think a bit about the fundamentals of what they are studying. Like I said the books are best used by the serious student who wants a deeper understanding. I must also say something about Quantum Mechanics. Just about all the stuff written at the layman level is rubbish. A notable exception is Susskind's book: https://www.amazon.com.au/Quantum-Mechanics-Theoretical-Leonard-Susskind/dp/0141977817 The worst load of total rubbish I have seen about it is the following: Evidently school students are actually made to sit through this junk - poor kids - no wonder our education system destroys bright young minds eager to learn - it's a scandal really. Even better if you have a more advanced background is Ballentine's 'bible' on Quantum Mechanics: https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Mechanics-Development-Leslie-Ballentine/dp/9810241054 It debunks so many myths, such that there is a measurement problem (there isn't - its an invention of the Copenhagen Interpretation). It's a must have for anyone that wants to seriously understand it. It even derives Schrodinger's equation, not postulates it, but derives it, from its true foundation, symmetry - which is the actual foundation of a lot in physics. I personally hold to what I call a modelling view of QM but that would be another thread in itself - still Ballentine debunks so many myths it truly is a classic. Thanks Bill
  7. Sometimes. I remember being forced to read 1984 at school. When asked for my comment I said it was silly - you would have to be nuts to let a world like that come about in the first place. How silly I was - the thought police today with things like gender dysphoria, a psychiatric condition that needs treatment by professionals, as a guiding principle, are even worse. I occasionally joust with them on twitter, and about the only reasoning method they know is the ad-homenem attack. When I point out can't you be more creative and at least come up with a logical fallacy other than the most common one it mostly goes right over their heads. Thanks Bill
  8. What was it Hilbert said, and had engraved on his gravestone - 'We must know. We will know.'. You are a sentient human being - it follows directly from that. Thanks Bill
  9. Ever see the series 7 up? At 28 when they look back at their younger self's they wince. My father was a communist when young but later saw the light. Young people often realize how silly the ideas they hold when young, mostly just picked by a sort of cultural osmosis, really have no basis. Thanks Bill
  10. What would Ayn Rand say to what Feynman said in his famous lectures 'We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: you don’t know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by ‘talking’? What do you mean by ‘you’? What do you mean by ‘know’?' Thanks Bill
  11. Hi All There is a very important theorem discovered by the greatest mathematician who you probably never heard of, Emmy Noether, that says something very profound about nature. I have chatted to philosophers about it but they seem totally unaware of it, or as an aside the struggle this great mathematician had to endure because she was a woman. I know of a professor who teaches this stuff to math and physics students. The class reaction is always the same - stunned silence as its importance sinks in. But it doesn't seem to hold the same sway in philosophy departments. Also what would an Objectiveist take on it be? I will give a spoiler upfront - I think its the most profound example of Quantum Mechanics being the underlying basis of reality - whatever that is (I don't want to get into a discussion of that even though of course its an important question - but we may touch on it in discussing this). Anyway here are the details: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/27/science/emmy-noether-the-most-significant-mathematician-youve-never-heard-of.html Thanks Bill
  12. As said plainly and clearly in the links I gave. Here is the exact logic. The links I posted says - and I quote - ' but belches are actually the primary source of cattle-produced methane, accounting for 95 per cent of the problematic greenhouse gas'. The first article said the total is 18%, but the second said it has been upgraded by 11%. This gives (.18 x 1.11) X .95 - about 19% - so if you want to argue 1% I will give you that. Your arguments about managed grasslands etc are beyond my competence - I accept them as true but do not really know. However I am very confident in my math, and the calculation required so simple, there is no other conclusion. If you are still not convinced there is nothing more I can say - sometimes in a discussion each side retreats to their own position and further talk about it useless. I think it has reached that here. I will leave it to those reading it to judge. Thanks Bill
  13. As I quoted: 'We typically think of farts as being the culprit, but belches are actually the primary source of cattle-produced methane, accounting for 95 per cent of the problematic greenhouse gas. So Belching does account for 95% of the emissions. And the second link showed the original amount of 18% in the first link was now thought to be lower than the real amount by 11% giving the 20%. You said: 'What I said above, in a nutshell, is this: pasture that is managed according to regenerative principles sequesters more carbon in the soil than a typical temperate climate forest (like the ones in Europe, most of North America, and most of Asia).' The link I gave seemed to cast some doubt on that here in Aus: 'The NSW Department of Primary Industry has compared soil organic carbon under perennial pasture in high rainfall areas in the mid-north coast of NSW to native hardwood forests within a 100km radius. They found that for the high-rainfall areas studied, there was no significant difference between soil organic carbon in the pastures and native forests at 20 centimetres depth, with an average storage of 72.9 tonnes per hectare in the pasture versus 76.5 tonnes per hectare in the native forest site' Of course you are free to argue otherwise - but I do not get how this does not, at least, need further clarification on your part to support your claim. You have done that - pointing out you said properly manged pasture - and that's fine - I don't know if its true or not as I am not knowledgeable in the area but will accept it until I come across evidence to the contrary. As to the rest of the stuff - of course I read what links I post. Although I am prone to go off on tangents such as my comments on Feynman and Dyson. Guilty as charged on that one. I suspect however we are on different wavelengths in how we engage in discourse. All that you needed to say was something like - interesting Bill - but I was referring to properly manged pasture where the situation is different. I engage in a lot of scientific discussion over on Physics Forums and I find your approach somewhat different to what I am used to. So please bear with me and I will try to get a feel for the style on this forum and post more in line with that. Thanks Bill
  14. No - eg Dyson has his credibility of course. So does Gell-Mann, but he has a different view. He says correctly the trend has a component that is random, cyclical caused by things like sunspot activity, and the actual warming caused by the emissions. It exasperates him people do not get this. He didn't say so but you get the impression until people understand this, and scientists know better how much each will contribute, why are we arguing it? But he does think the emissions will eventually predominate - but when - your guess is as good as mine - and the effect - Dyson thinks it could be good. I could have his view wrong - but that seems to be his gist. Another view in the myriad that is promulgated. Contrast it to what Dyson says. Interesting inst it. Feynman had great credibility with the public for being a no nonsense type guy as well as an extremely good explainer of complex subjects. But he was so good people thought they understood it perfectly well when they attended a lecture of his but after couldn't, for some reason remember exactly what he said. In some ways he was somewhat of a paradox. Thanks Bill
  • Create New...