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Idealism vs. Materialism

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Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 25 Nov 2013, 14:39
Mabool:

Quote:
Because of its enormous mass, the top quark is extremely short-lived with a predicted lifetime of only 5×10−25 s.[3] As a result top quarks do not have time to form hadrons before they decay, as other quarks do. This provides physicists with the unique opportunity to study the behavior of a "bare" quark.


The argument hasn't been: nothing changes. It has been that not everything changes all the time -- or, rather, there is no evidence that everything changes all the time (which is what you alleged). Sure some quarks change, but even the one you mentioned remains the same for 5×10^−25 seconds (on average, according to theory but not observation); so even this quark isn't changing "all the time". It remains the same for at least this amount of time.

But even if it were changing all the time, it wouldn't be doing this because of its 'internal contradictions', since it has none, it being an elementary particle.

And, of course, the Proton isn't formed of top quarks.

Quote:
Photons exist within time, they emerge and are absorbed. You are claiming that a wave is without change. Jesus Christ.


What has 'existing in time' got to do with anything? If something stays the same, it will do so in time, too.

And sure, waves change, but in the atom (as electrons wave/particles), they exist as standing waves -- that is, as waves that do not change.

But, let us suppose that all waves change all the time (even though I'd like to see the evidence that, say, on the outer reaches of the universe, every single wave has always done this since the 'Big Bang'), even then, the electrons and photons involved do not change. Certainly, you have yet to show that they do.

But, let us suppose that they do change all the time (even though you have yet to provide the evidence that they do); since photons and electrons are also elementary particles, they too wouldn't change because of their 'internal contradictions', for they have none.

Either way, this 'theory' of yours takes yet another a body blow.

Quote:
Chemistry is full of dialectics. Titration is quantity and quality. Acids and bases are quantity and quality. The whole periodic system is a glorious demonstration of quantity and quality.


This declaration of faith is like those we witness from Born Again Christians who see 'god' in everything -- but, since they, like you, fail to tell us what they mean by many of the words they use, their 'theory' only seems to work because it is terminally vague and/or confused.

So, until you tell us what, for example, a "quality" is (and good luck with that; philosophers have been struggling with that one for over two thousand years), it is impossible to decide whether or not 'Chemistry is full of dialectics'.

But, we'd better hope it isn't, since I have shown that if this 'theory' of yours were true, change would be impossible.

[The argument was summarised in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=107&t=49251]

So, if we needed a theory of change (which we don't), Dialectical Materialism wouldn't even make the bottom of the reserve list of viable, possible candidates.

---------------------

Added on edit:

Mabool:

Quote:
The whole periodic system is a glorious demonstration of quantity and quality.


Not so, there is no 'break in gradualness' here, as I have noted elsewhere:

Quote:
In this particular case, the argument appears to be that as elementary particles are added to certain atoms they change qualitatively into others, which is not, of course, how Mendeleyev saw things, nor is it how Engels interpreted this 'Law'. That is because elementary particles were unknown in their day; indeed, the atomic theory of matter was not widely accepted until after the work of Jean Perrin, 40 or 50 years later. As is clear from what he said, Engels interpreted this change in terms of atomic weight.

[On this, see Nye (1972). On Mendeleyev, see Gordin (2004), and on the Periodic Table in general, see Scerri (2007).]

Of course, the elementary particles involved do not themselves appear to change (in the relevant sense --, that is, qualitatively), but even if they did, the atoms concerned do not. What seems to happen is that as new particles are added, new atoms come into being with new qualities. So, the old qualities and the old atoms simply disappear. Change of quantity, disappearance of quality, perhaps?

Naturally, dialecticians will want to argue that this is not what this 'Law' depicts here, maintaining perhaps that a change in quantity does indeed lead to a change in quality, and that this is a classic example confirming this Law. It is only the deliberate mis-description above that raises any doubts.

Or, so it could be maintained.

But, even dialecticians will agree that not just any old quantitative increase in elementary particles or energy will alter the relevant qualities to produce the different elements in the Periodic Table. It takes certain sorts of elementary particles to change one element into another, and since these particles exhibit their own qualities -- and they effect the changes they do because of those qualities --, it is clear that it takes qualitative and structural-geometric change to induce development of the elements in the Periodic Table. So, if we ignore for the moment the 'disappearing atom' observation above, when new qualities (not merely additional quantities) are added to atoms they change in quality themselves. In which case, the application of this 'Law' is not as clear-cut as DM-enthusiasts would have us believe, even in this allegedly classic example -- for here we have a change in quality leading to a change in quality.

Of course, dialecticians might still want to insist that quantitative increase or decrease effects qualitative change here; but, again, there is nothing in the phenomena themselves that forces that description on us. Hence, this 'Law' is subjective at best when it is applied here, too; i.e., it only appears to work if a preferred description is imposed on the facts.

Once more, how is this different from "foisting" a certain view onto nature?

Furthermore, since even dialecticians will admit that it is only certain qualities that effect the desired changes in this area, the depiction outlined in the previous paragraph is in fact consistent with a more honest qualitative re-appraisal of the phenomena in question. In that case, by clinging to Engels's First 'Law' as stated, dialecticians would be foisting onto nature a view that is not even in line with their own more honest appraisal of it!

Of course, Hegel had already appreciated this fact in his 'nodal line of measure' -- it isn't just a mere increase in quantity that induces change. As noted above, these changes are also qualitative in a different sense because of the new geometry (i.e., the new orbital structure) of the resulting atoms, and it is this new geometry as much as anything else which determines the new properties of the resulting atomic change. Here quantity is only tangential. Hegel knew nothing of this, and neither did Engels, Plekhanov or Lenin.

Moreover, as we saw earlier, there are many different ways that change can be depicted in Physics and Chemistry (for example, in relation to Isomers and the ordering relations that occur both naturally and artificially in nature), and the energetics involved can be parsed in many different ways. In that case, plainly, there is no single law that governs every chemical change (except, perhaps, the Conservation of Energy) -- or, all change in general. Indeed, in this, which is one of its best examples used by DM-fans, we discover that even if we accept the standard picture, it is as much quantity as it is geometry that determines quality.

However, a far more fatal observation is that the Periodic Table does not in fact conform to Engels's 'Law'! To see why, we need to re-examine once again what Engels and others have actually said about this 'Law':

"With this assurance Herr Dühring saves himself the trouble of saying anything further about the origin of life, although it might reasonably have been expected that a thinker who had traced the evolution of the world back to its self-equal state, and is so much at home on other celestial bodies, would have known exactly what's what also on this point. For the rest, however, the assurance he gives us is only half right unless it is completed by the Hegelian nodal line of measure relations which has already been mentioned. In spite of all gradualness, the transition from one form of motion to another always remains a leap, a decisive change. This is true of the transition from the mechanics of celestial bodies to that of smaller masses on a particular celestial body; it is equally true of the transition from the mechanics of masses to the mechanics of molecules -- including the forms of motion investigated in physics proper: heat, light, electricity, magnetism. In the same way, the transition from the physics of molecules to the physics of atoms -- chemistry -- in turn involves a decided leap; and this is even more clearly the case in the transition from ordinary chemical action to the chemism of albumen which we call life. Then within the sphere of life the leaps become ever more infrequent and imperceptible. -- Once again, therefore, it is Hegel who has to correct Herr Dühring." [Engels (1976), pp.82-83. Bold emphasis added.]

"It is said, natura non facit saltum [there are no leaps in nature]; and ordinary thinking when it has to grasp a coming-to-be or a ceasing-to-be, fancies it has done so by representing it as a gradual emergence or disappearance. But we have seen that the alterations of being in general are not only the transition of one magnitude into another, but a transition from quality into quantity and vice versa, a becoming-other which is an interruption of gradualness and the production of something qualitatively different from the reality which preceded it. Water, in cooling, does not gradually harden as if it thickened like porridge, gradually solidifying until it reached the consistency of ice; it suddenly solidifies, all at once. It can remain quite fluid even at freezing point if it is standing undisturbed, and then a slight shock will bring it into the solid state." [Hegel (1999), p.370, §776. Bold emphasis alone added.]

"It will be understood without difficulty by anyone who is in the least capable of dialectical thinking...[that] quantitative changes, accumulating gradually, lead in the end to changes of quality, and that these changes of quality represent leaps, interruptions in gradualness…. That is how all Nature acts…." [Plekhanov (1956), pp.74-77, 88, 163. Bold emphasis alone added.]

"The 'nodal line of measure relations'... -- transitions of quantity into quality... Gradualness and leaps. And again...that gradualness explains nothing without leaps." [Lenin (1961), p.123. Bold emphasis alone added. Lenin added in the margin here: "Leaps! Leaps! Leaps!"]

"What distinguishes the dialectical transition from the undialectical transition? The leap. The contradiction. The interruption of gradualness. The unity (identity) of Being and not-Being." [Ibid., p.282. Bold emphasis added.]

"Dialecticians call this process the transformation of quantity into quality. Slow, gradual changes that do not add up to a transformation in the nature of a thing suddenly reach a tipping point when the whole nature of the thing is transformed into something new." [Rees (2008), p.24. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]

The argument here is plainly this: (1) Quantitative increase in matter or energy results in gradual change, and that (2) At a certain point, further increase breaks this "gradualness" inducing a "leap", a sudden "qualitative" change.

But, this doesn't happen in the Periodic Table! Between each element there is no gradual increase in protons and electrons leading to a sudden change -- there are only sudden changes as these 'particles' are added! For example, as one proton and one electron are added to Hydrogen, it suddenly changes into Helium. Hydrogen does not slowly alter and then suddenly "leap" and become Helium. The same is true of every other element in the Table. In that case, one of the best examples dialecticians use to 'illustrate' this 'Law' in fact refutes it! There is no "interruption" in gradualness.

Now, this is a more honest reading from the extant data, is it not? And not a single "foisting" anywhere in sight!


References (and more detail) can be found here.

Here is what Engels had to say:

Quote:
"Finally, for me there could be no question of superimposing the laws of dialectics on nature but of discovering them in it and developing them from it." [Anti-Dühring]


But, that is precisely what you, Engels, Plekhanov and Lenin do all the time: impose this 'theory' on nature.

Proof here.

[If you are using Internet Explorer 10, you will need to engage 'Compatibility Mode' (in the Tools Menu), or many of the above links won't work properly.]
Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein on 25 Nov 2013, 20:39, edited 1 time in total.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 25 Nov 2013, 19:40
Mabool wrote:
Chemistry is full of dialectics. Titration is quantity and quality. Acids and bases are quantity and quality. The whole periodic system is a glorious demonstration of quantity and quality.


But why choose to examine it that way when you could examine it scientifically? Surely science is the most accurate way of examining these things rather than philosophy?
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 25 Nov 2013, 20:38
gRed:

Quote:
But why choose to examine it that way when you could examine it scientifically? Surely science is the most accurate way of examining these things rather than philosophy?


Especially when the 'dialectical' way of looking at anything is far too vague and imprecise for anyone to be able to say precisely what it implies, let alone if it is true or false, correct or incorrect.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 9263
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 12 Dec 2013, 00:26
So Rosa, how do you feel about Dialectical Behavior Therapy?
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 12 Dec 2013, 00:51
gRed Britain wrote:
But why choose to examine it that way when you could examine it scientifically? Surely science is the most accurate way of examining these things rather than philosophy?


I don't get your either-or approach to the question. Anyone who claims that dialectics can "replace" science is a moron.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 12 Dec 2013, 13:02
Kirov -- I'm sorry, I've never heard of it.

Mabool:

Quote:
Anyone who claims that dialectics can "replace" science is a moron.


So, (1) you think name-calling is an argument, and (2) you are happy with a 'theory', which, if true, would make change and movement impossible?
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 12 Dec 2013, 13:46
Quote:
I don't get your either-or approach to the question. Anyone who claims that dialectics can "replace" science is a moron.


Because if you claim to be a scientific socialist, you should be using science - not a vague and inconsistent philosophy. If a surgeon was going to operate on you, would you prefer it if he applied his scientific knowledge of the procedure or his philosophical ideas about surgery?

You argue against either/or and I suppose that's fine if you strictly apply the science whilst leaving the philosophy as an interesting aside. But people tend to end up applying philosophical dialectics as scientific method which is clearly false. When we look at Marx's work we recognise that it bears the stamp of dialectics because it emerged out of German idealism with its dialectical heritage from Kant, Hegel and others. But if you look at Capital vol I - Marx's magnum opus (and of the late, developed Marx) that he published during his lifetime, it is clear that dialectics are not a key requirement for understanding the book. Marx doesn't say that the reader needs a crash course in dialectics in order to understand Capital.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 6211
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2004, 20:49
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Embalmed
Post 12 Dec 2013, 14:54
I think Rosa denies that a dialogue can ever actually take place at all, Kirov. Language is therefore technically impossible.
You can stick to your monologues if you like Rosa, we prefer dialogue here.
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"Phil Spector is haunting Europe" -Dr. Karl H. Marx
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 12 Dec 2013, 16:04
EPC:

Quote:
I think Rosa denies that a dialogue can ever actually take place at all, Kirov. Language is therefore technically impossible.


Where have I expressed such a crazy idea, EPC -- or even implied it?

Quote:
You can stick to your monologues if you like Rosa, we prefer dialogue here.


That just tells me you are incapable of defending your ideas.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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