Posted on 7 February, 2015 by Mathew
It’s well established that in science we can use Occam’s Razor to decide which is the most likely explanation, that between competing hypotheses that one that requires the lowest number of assumptions should be preferred.
Newton’s flaming laser sword is a philosophical razor coined by Mike Alder in an essay entitled “Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword, Or: Why Mathematicians and Scientists don’t like Philosophy but do it anyway” . To summarise the position that “what cannot be settled by experiment is not worth debating”. It was published in Philosophy Now in May/June 2004. The razor is humorously named after Isaac Newton, as it is inspired by Newtonian thought, Mike characterised this sword as being “much sharper and more dangerous than Occam’s Razor”.
Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword
Newton’s flaming laser sword sounds very useful. It slices, it dices… it might be suggested that such a sword could cut away too much, and prevent one from taking a position on politics or religion. That’s not really true, it would prevent one ever being able to make religious explanations or do other special pleading and claim it was science. In the field of politics it may leave one asking for evidence to support particular political judgements. I don’t think those are bad outcomes. Mike Adler suggests that the flaming sword is a useful tool against Platonic philosophers, who may ask one to engage in an older type of game, than the one usually played by modern science and mathematics.
Anyway, this leaves the question, has anyone every seen Occam’s razor or Newton’s Flaming laser sword? I think we need to mount an investigation as to were these useful historical artefacts have been left.
Download a Flaming Laser Sword from the internet archive (PDF)
I think Newton would be a good suggestion for the next Cambridge scientist movie, although some have already been made such as “Isaac Newton the last magician” (2013) and the 2010 movie “The Invention of Calculus”
Filed under: Fictional Materials, Philosophy, Science, Scientists | Tagged: Newton's flaming laser sword, Occam's Razor, Philosophy, Science | Leave a comment »
Posted on 3 February, 2015 by Mathew
Frequently Bought Bayesian Books
This leaves the question, which books were bought using Bayes’ theorem rather than using the frequentist approach?
Filed under: mathematics, Science | Tagged: Bayes, Data Analysis: A Bayesian Tutorial, David Mackay, Devinderjit Sivia, Inference, Information Theory, John Skilling, Learning algorithms, Science, Statistics | Leave a comment »
Posted on 24 January, 2015 by Mathew
I saw on phys.org website new that Monckton et al have published a paper “Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model” about climate modelling, and why previous models ‘run hot’.
Monckton et al Climate Model
As seen in their figure 6, their model matches very well with the observations. One strange thing to me, is that they have observations of the temperature change until the year 2050, although currently the start of 2015. Does this mean that Monckton et al are able to get information from the future, maybe they have a time machine? It seems more likely that they made a serious mistake in the presentation of their results. Since this paper should have been subject to much scrutiny before publishing (given the controversy of the subject) it seems probable to me that the figure purposefully misleads the reader.
As can reported at skeptical science, in 2012, Christopher Monckton has been using this graph for some time. It seems that the error is to compare data from two different periods of time. The graph presented in the recent paper is less carefully presented than the version used in a 2012 presentation. If we look at the old graph we can understand that the data is not from the future, it’s actually the previous trend.
Monckton’s credibility gap
They also suggest a parallel with another UK time travelling Lord, could it be that Christopher Monckton is a Time Lord?
Filed under: Academic papers, Science | Tagged: Christopher Monckton, climate, climate modelling, Climate sensitivity, David R. Legates, Science, Temperature Feedbacks, William M. Briggs, Willie W.-H. Soon | Leave a comment »
Posted on 21 July, 2013 by Mathew
You can see a video of Jim Al-Khalili’s presentation at the Royal Society, were he is discussed the relations between Quantum mechanics and biology. (Does nature use Quantum mechanics — of course).
I thought of a simple demonstration that shows that Quantum mechanics applies to biological specimens, even seemingly complex ones. The example involves the quantum behaviour of pain. If a child falls over and it is being watched by it’s parents then it will feel pain and cry. If no one is watching, there will be no pain and the child will just carry on.
I thought there was a V-sauce on youtube about pain… but I seem to have imagined it.
Here is a TED-X talk Lorimer Moseley (at Adelaide)
Filed under: Philosophy, Safety, Science | Tagged: Humour, Pain, Quantum Mechanics, Science | 1 Comment »
Posted on 17 April, 2013 by Mathew
BBC report about scientist jailed for faking results. Steven Eaton from Cambridgeshire was convicted in March 2013 under the 1999 Good Laboratory Practice Regulations. The court heard that while working at the Edinburgh branch of US based pharmaceutical firm Aptuit in 2009, Mr Eaton manipulated experimental results, so that a drug would proceed to human trails.
Mr Eaton was convicted by Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC, and received the maximum possible sentence of three months, the Sheriff said his powers were inadequate for this case, and a longer sentence would be justified. Mr Eaton’s defence lawyer, claimed his client did not benefit financially from the fraud, as he was only making £35,000 per year.
Mr Eaton was reported by his employers after they became suspicious and reported him to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
Story with generic science pictures can be found also at these sites:
Filed under: Business, Safety, Science, Scientists | Tagged: Fraud, Horror, Science | Leave a comment »