The Spectrum of Indubitability

Busy days but not much interesting going on. Computer crashed, enjoyed the last (long) weekend of summer and got drunk Saturday night. Not much to write about.

Guess its time to start digging into some old insights about the human condition.  On today’s menu is The Spectrum of Indubitability. This particular gem of our quantum kitchen discussions was a result of the ongoing debate on the merits of the global warming scene. My argument that the term “consensus” used too loosely when compared with the consensus regarding other scientific theories such as quantum mechanics, evolution, relativity and Newtonian mechanics led to Thorn plotting various theories and psudo-theories on a graph he aptly named The Spectrum of Indubitability.


Note that The Wiki Religion was placed between quantum mechanics and 2+2=4.

2 thoughts on “The Spectrum of Indubitability

  1. Ah, nostalgia.

    One of the problems about this plot is the old Aristotelian dual-valued true/false logic. The second level of the same problem is the idea that a philosophical problem like nature versus nurture or free will versus determinism can be conflated to a normalised linear combination of the two supposed opposites. For example, the idea that (even just for a given trait) there is some specific numerical value that reflects the biological heredity of that trait as opposed to the influence of social factors.

    Back to the problem of whether a theory is true or not: There are several factors one could demand be in place:
    1) That the theory unambiguously delineates the part of reality to which it applies.
    2) That ALL the predictions made by the theory within this domain are true.
    (a) always.
    3) That the theory is complete, in the sense that it does make predictions about all things in its domain.

    I’m sure one could add to this list. Then just assign some value between 0 (false) and 1 (true) to each factor, multiply them all together, and you have another numerically conflated expression for something that is ineffably and confoundedly mystifying regardless of our Sisyphean efforts to know something. But you could make another plot.


  2. I think that the spectrum is meant to capture all of these ideas: QM, and F=ma certainly meet conditions 1,2 and 3. Although the domain of QM is a bit fuzzy, with the classical world being one (very fuzzy) boundary and the unknown (eg. quantum gravity, dark energy etc.. ) being another.

    Ofcourse most of the other points on the graph are arbitrary in that sense (of points 1,2,3) since we all know just about fuck all regarding issues like dark matter and climate science.

    The final expression (I think its yours) 1+1=2 (1984) is a bit confusing in this regard. 1+1=2 is always true in say the domain of arithmetic, however I am not sure it is always true in the domain of 1984.


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