By George Edwards
the link below to go to the topic you choose.
Proposed Bases for Sensible Behavior and Ideals that will most likely
result in pleasantness or happiness for everyone
paraphrase: “We hold these truths self evident that all people are
entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of pleasantness.” The
principle of justice is implicit in use of the word “all.” This reflects
the American Declaration of Independence that was applied to government
as the proposed rational basis for the behavior between all people and
Truth is essential. No one should pass
on as truth anything that one knows to be false. Such is unjust with
respect to people and will lead to false results when applied to
Reason is essential in that
conclusions are false if they are based on inconsistencies or contradict
Justice means that everyone should
be treated equally and have equal opportunity to make things pleasant
for themselves. This results if everyone treats others as they would
wish to be treated if they were in the same situation.
Statesman-philosopher Thomas Jefferson substituted the word
happiness which I equate with
pleasantness for an individual for what had traditionally
of property has been a traditional function of government to protect
things that people had acquired through there own efforts, such as
protection from theft, or destruction of an individual’s property by
others and evolved to also include community help to protect individuals
from loss of their property, even that not intentionally caused by
others—such as fire. This protection was certainly conducive to
individual happiness. Unfortunately, humans were sometimes considered
property of others, i.e. slavery and those who are slaves do not have
the entitlements to which everyone is entitled—so the overall term
property did not fit the overall intention of the Declaration of
Independence nor sensible ideals.
standards of behavior and ideals are not original. They merely reflect
standards that are commonly accepted in many societies. Their individual
statements here collect them in one place and provide their logical and
desirable because there are societies or groups which do not adhere to
them and lead their members to believe otherwise and there are those who
have not had the experience to realize their universal desirability nor
have not yet reasoned through their desirability. I am in my 83d year of
life and have been blessed with the training and logical capability to
reasonably understand and explain the universal desirability of this set
of ideals and bases of behavior--for everyone to accept as logically
consistent and proven successful for general human happiness or
pleasantness whenever practiced.
and goals for a good society
Society=people at large,
Individual=single human being
which makes things pleasant (pleasing) for individuals and others
Noble=helping others especially those who can not help themselves
Life=assured for all good individuals
Happiness=pleasant or pleasing condition for for all good individual
happiness or pleasant conditions=right available for all good
Liberty=freedom for good individuals to make their own choices
Justice=equal treatment of good individuals by government or between
[Below was written earlier]
for Individuals—treat others as you would want to be treated if you were
in their position
protect those unable to fend for themselves
opportunity for all, especially children—a goal
of labor of no one to be taken or allow to be taken by force or
for government=limited to the consent of those governed
for protection against enemies and evil-doers
government equal opportunity for all, especially children
Philosopher representatives or philosopher statesmen not philosopher
Constitutional limits of all government powers
of recall for officials of all branches
limits for officials of all branches
of powers between the branches of government
government officials covered by the same laws as those governed
taxpayer paid benefits for public officials or their families other than
Republican government representing the people
What is the ideal
society for humans?
[This and all below was written earlier than the above and so
undoubtedly at least partially redundant]
Life and freedom from physical injury
Equal opportunity for
everyone to develop to their own potential insofar as they do not
prevent that same opportunity for others.
these ideals require?
Protection from those who
would murder, maim or cause physical injury
Protection from those who
would limit the opportunity of others
Protection against any
teachings or exhortations to kill, cause injury or hatred of any
group or individual
Protection of the fruits
of peoples’ labors from theft and arson
Provision for a free
market system with adequate safeguards against cheating and fraud
and for health and safety
Provision for parental
school choice including the teaching of children the ideals of the
ideal society and the right of everyone to equal opportunity
Opportunity for a
suitable education for everyone consonant with their potential
Provisions for help for
the elderly and those who can not help themselves
practical steps are necessary to achieve the ideal society for humans?
That groups of people
band together to achieve an ideal society
That the people banding
together are limited in their power to do anything beyond what is
needed and delegated power to anyone is strictly limited in duration
and subject to recall
That a fair system of
punishment or incarceration be in place to provide a strong negative
incentive for those who act in ways contrary to the ideal society.
Thoughts as to establishing, maintaining and justly protecting an ideal
By George Henry Edawrds [as all the other articles in George's Musings
Truth is fundamental. Without truth, there is no reliable basis upon
which to rely in establishing or maintaining an ideal society.
The society of the United States of America, at least for a while,
presented one of the best, arguably the best, historical example of a
society providing the opportunity for its members to pursue
happiness--that is, achieve a personally pleasing and fulfilling life.
Hence it was known as a "land of opportunity." An individual was no
longer bound to the conditions he or she initially found themselves in
and was subservient to no other group or individual.
Once established, maintaining such a society requires truth as to
history, current events and actions, especially those of any selected
This, in turn, requires protection against any person or group telling
untruths as well as those directly acting to murder, maim, enslave,
steal, destroy or damage the property of other or otherwise impede the opportunities of others. Existing laws
seeking to provide protections against untruths tend to be grossly
Once any laws are established, there remains somewhat of a quandary as
to how to justly enforce them against offenders while maintaining
societal ideals. Existing methods, one way or another impede the
opportunities of the offenders and may require enforcers to personally
act in ways inconsistent with the societal ideals.
Current punishments may include fining, jailing, exiling or executing
offenders. All of these definitely impede the opportunities for the
offenders. All of these except fining remove or limit the opportunities
for the offenders to continue their offenses at least for some term.
Fines, similar to taxes can be used to pay governmental expenses or,
more ideally, to compensate victims for financial losses they
experienced due to an offender’s wrong-doing. Executioners, especially,
are required to defy societal ideals against murder; the same is true
for those required to legally maim as used in some societies as
punishment. Jailers are required to defy societal ideals against
restricting the opportunities of others.
Solutions include not allowing execution or legal maiming. The other
punishments, imperfect as they may be, remain to be the only ones of
which we are aware.
Of course, the threat of punishment, MAY, in itself, deter potential
offenders from offending in the first place or offending again. In this
sense, it is educating the offenders.
All the above comments apply to war and members of the military in
protecting a society from others.
There remains the quandary of whom or what group of people should be
empowered to establish what laws. Currently, the best that societies
have been able to come up with are the majority of the people in the
society or their selected representatives. At least, this approach helps
assure some level of domestic tranquility.
There is no apparent alternative to defend against those who tell
untruths, but to deny freedom of speech to these individuals or
groups who do so and establish laws establishing punishments to protect
against such offenders.
As to groups, the most currently obvious one to defend against is what
is called “radical” Islam that teaches and engages in acts in direct
contradiction to our defined ideal society. Madressas that do so need to
be outlawed and those who teach in them punished.
Politicians or their supporters who lie should be especially punished as
they are the front line in committing voter fraud that can lead to the
very destruction of any ideal society. Punishment for such lies or any
form of voter fraud should be unyieldingly punished without exception
and commensurate with the degree of the transgressions—as written in
law. Lies in general that can impede the opportunity of others should be
similarly dealt with. A politician caught knowledgably lying should be
stripped of any office he or she might hold or summarily dismissed from
any campaign for election or re-election.
The only legitimate defense against punishment for lying to be allowed
would be plausible proof that the offender was not aware that he or she
was lying. Simply withholding information, whether meant to deceive or
not, would be exempt from punishment, No one would be required to
testify against them self.
Disclaimer: These discussions on morality do not necessarily reflect
my own performance. They reflect my aspirations and those
that I believe
are generally desirable. I don't believe there is anything here that
most people don't already believe, although they
may not feel as
intensely about some things as I do.
Nice guys may sometimes finish last in a competition, but they remain
people whom we should aspire to be. Those who cheat
and those who are
amused by cheating hurt us all and rob the cheaters of any true pride in
Some news commentators recently expressed amusement at the Minnesota
vote-counting cheating that appears most likely.
is despicable. Anyone doing such should be considered an abomination in
our representative republic.
There is nothing amusing about it. Such
cheaters should be hunted down and severely punished. There is hardly
antithetical to American principles.
Lying is verbal cheating. When people tell an untruth knowingly, they
too can severely hurt us all with those who may proceed on
the basis of
Some politicians have expressed amusement with the ability of some to
lie and so mislead. Some people laughingly say: "So I lied."
This is not
amusing. Lying about anything of consequence is totally reprehensible.
Some say that morals are merely customs. But there are basic moral
principles that even unschooled children understand. They
is just to all parties. Disobeying these principles can hurt us all.
These basic moral principles arise from the golden rule -- to do unto
others as you would have others do unto you. Obeying this
in a society that all find most pleasant, including the non-religious
In my judgment, whatever else people may believe is immaterial as
long as they believe in the golden rule. There may be religious
teachings that everyone does not believe or wish to adhere to, but as
long as the teachings or adherence are not forced upon or
harm the rest
of us, there is no reason that they should be of concern to the rest of
Some who feign sophistication among us make light of boy scouts. But
the "Boy Scout Law" represents an excellent set of
principles -- as
excerpted from page 47-54, Boy Scout Handbook, 11th Edition, (#33105),
copyright 1998 by BSA,
- A Scout is Trustworthy.
- A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his
promises. People can depend on him.
- A Scout is Loyal.
- A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school,
- A Scout is Helpful.
- A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to
help others without expecting payment or reward.
- A Scout is Friendly.
- A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He
offers his friendship to people of all races and nations,
respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from
- A Scout is Courteous.
- A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He
knows that using good manners makes it easier for people
- to get
- A Scout is Kind.
- A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats
others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does
harm or kill any living thing.
- A Scout is Obedient.
- A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He
obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks
rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an
orderly manner rather than disobeying them.
- A Scout is Cheerful.
- A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does
tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
- A Scout is Thrifty.
- A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves
for the future. He protects and conserves natural
- resources. He
carefully uses time and property.
- A Scout is Brave.
- A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the
courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at
- him or threaten him.
- A Scout is Clean.
- A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the
company of those who live by high standards. He helps
- keep his home
and community clean.
- A Scout is Reverent.
- A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious
duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
- The world would be a great place if everyone were to abide by
these principles -- perhaps substituting the word "mensch" (one
- having admirable characteristics such as integrity and compassion),
for "scout," "he or she" for "he" and to be reverent to principles
- such as truth, justice and care for fellow man if a non-believer.
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You might consider clicking the following link on the heroism of the
risk of going beyond simply being a bystander who does no
force almost anyone to be a bystander to evil, but they can
out our own inner hero. Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo show how we’re
all capable of everyday heroism.
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The recent book
Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack
Medicine, Bogus Science and
Fake History by Damian Thompson makes
the point, again and again, how so-called cures, not accepted by the
medical community, were invalid. In instance after
instance, statistics showed that placebos were on the order of 30
Based on the
same evidence, belief alone cures. Many who believed that disease and
infirmity is punishment for sin could be cured
if they believed their
sins were forgiven them.
When you come
right down to it, there is very little that we really know from our own
direct experience. We have to believe
someone else – like those who
derived the statistics on the alleged cures above.
How do you know
that gravity directs the course of planets? How do you know that salt is
a compound of the totally different
elements sodium and chlorine? How do
you know they are elements? Most of us only “know” because we believe
tell us, we trust them, we have faith in them.
They say that
there are mountains of geological and biological evidences that species
have appeared and died out in a sequence
that started in the sea through
“lower” animals “up” to a recent species, man. How do we “know” this?
Because we believe those
who say this is so.
Given this is
true, who is to say whether that sequence “evolved” through chance, by
divine or other intervention--by trial and
error? Perhaps the most
convincing argument that things did not "evolve" by chance is the
intricacy of living things and their parts.
An alternative seems to be
that they are designed. If so, by whom, by how many or by what? If by
God, how did God come into
The need of God
in many many instances in the natural world has not proven necessary nor
has it been proven that God does not
exist. Who is to know? It seems to
get down to whom you believe or whom or what you choose to believe.
to be no certain knowledge, except perhaps what we personally
experience. Yet we know our own senses can
deceive us via such as
optical illusions. Magicians can deceive us. “Crazy” people and others
claim to directly experience things
that most of us BELIEVE are
Most of us
believe what we believe is the preponderance of evidence of our own
senses or declared so by other people whom
“inductive” reasoning to hypothesize general “truths” from the
preponderance of, hopefully all of, the available
evidence and then uses
“deductive” reasoning that experience has shown works in the
preponderance of known cases to deduce
other results. It correlates
information such that if one thing consistently occurs before another,
the one that has occurred before is
the “cause” of the one that appears
scientists, knowing they can make their reputations by finding cases in
which the hypotheses do not work, try hard to find
such. We reason that
the consensus of scientific opinion is our best guide to what is true.
Yet, in general, we have to trust others
who tell us what the evidence
shows, ideally because we believe their claim that the same results are
corroborated by everyone
doing the same experiment. There are many
things we believe in that are not subject to experiment. We have to
tell us the consensus really exists. Finally scientific
consensus is sometimes wrong or inaccurate.
Bottom line: we
don’t KNOW the truth. Perhaps we could not handle or understand the
truth. The best we can do is base our
BELIEF on our own experience and
our trust in the reports of others on the fruits of various approaches.
on :>)] Truth could mean no more than not proven false e.g. yin
yang. It is unknown whether or not a tea kettle orbits
Jupiter so it is
not proven false and in that sense could be true. It can not
necessarily be proven false.
truth of something is difficult to define. Truth in that sense is
definitely not something that has been shown to be absolutely
and may mean no more, as to a speaker, than that he does not know that
something is false. Other than not having been
proven wrong, truth may
be assumed in that its probability is extremely high.
Many if not
most things just have some probability of being true or to some
degree a probability of being false. There is little that
we KNOW from
our personal experience. We have no practical alternative but to accept
the experiments or observations of
others in most things..
Unfortunately, we know that our own experiences and hence that of others
can be deluded because of i
nsanity, delusion or illusion.
The best we
seem to be able to do is to accept the experiences of the totality or
majority of those who report experiences and
whom are also largely
dependent on truth telling by the majority of those who have experienced
what they speak of. In turn, the
majority are dependent on the truth
being told to them by others...
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Consequences of beliefs
What people believe is important. Generally, they believe what they
are taught or think through themselves. They must at least be
of ideas that make sense and are not destructive. This may well include
exposure to philosophers' ideas such as John
Stuart Mills "On Liberty"
or John Rawls on "A Theory of Justice."
A culture where children are taught and allowed to be taught
proven unsuccessful beliefs such as socialism and, to go to an
those who do not believe in some unproven philosophy or religion should
be killed--think Islam--is allowing the seeds of
its own destruction to
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Premises for a just society most conducive to the greatest personal
Do unto others as you
would have them do unto you
Society should work
towards the greatest good for every individual person
Society should not allow
the taking of innocent human life or property honestly earned
All the people should
have the opportunity to work for their own and their family’s best
Truth and the utmost
visibility are paramount
People should care for
those who can not meet their own or their family’s basic needs
Clarifying discussion [Premise 1 discussion added on 5/14/12]
1. The heart of justice is the same as for morality--to do unto
others as we would have others do unto us. We would like
to live in a
world where others treat us as we wish to be treated. By reciprocity,
this means that everyone should treat us as we
would wish to be treated
and in an overall society, everyone should so treat and be
treated by others..
should be treated otherwise. Equality under the law properly means that
rulers, the wealthy and powerful—including
representatives—should live under the same rules as everyone else.
Elected representatives should reasonably be
compensated equitably for
their efforts. But they should not receive special treatment as to such
things as retirement or health care
differently from everyone else. We
should ALL live under the same rules.
We do not
reasonably include masochists in our definition of how most prefer to be
We do not
want to be murdered, maimed, stolen from or impeded in our legitimate
pursuit of happiness—by government or by
government to protect us from the greed or untrammelled actions of
others. The government itself must be restricted
from such. The
governments taking of life, liberty or property must be severely
limited to those cases necessary to protect us from
our compatriots and
includes freedom of speech, but not speech which teaches murder, maiming
or theft. The government should bave the right
to thwart any so-called
religion from doing so—even to outlaw such a so-called religion.
2 differs from the phrasing: “The greatest good for the greatest
number.” This latter phrasing could be interpreted to mean
that what is
best for 51% of the people is the greatest good. A better concept, using
economics as an example, is to work towards
a larger pie for everyone
for which a controlled free enterprise system has proven itself the most
3 should absolutely apply to anyone who has not knowledgably harmed
others of his or her own volition
4 is innately fair to all as opposed to systems which favor
individuals strictly on the basis of their birth, for instance,
everyone, regardless of whom their parents are to follow any trade or
seek and find any position that they can qualify for.
That is not to say
that anyone has the right to do anything in order to maximize his or her
best interest—enslaving others, for
instance, takes the opportunity in
premise 4 from others.
5 applies to all statements excepting “white lies” that may ease
human interactions without harming anyone. Any other
mistruths or lack
of visibility can cause people to act in ways destructive to their or
others’ best interests.
6 purposely says “people” rather than “society.” Using the term
society might be interpreted as saying government should
needs and government, although possibly having some role, has only funds
gathered from taxation that violates premise
3 which precludes the
taking of property honestly earned. There is no doubt, for instance,
that it benefits everyone if a good basic
education—not necessarily via
government schools—should be available to all children regardless of
their family’s economic
circumstances or that it meets the requirements
of premise 1, the golden rule, or the good of society as a whole to
care of those who, through no fault of their own, truly can
not take care of their own needs. Government could, for instance,
encourage individual giving by removing some of the legitimately
required taxation share from the individual giving. Or it could
public services from those physically or mentally capable of providing
some although not otherwise able to meet their
Splawn as to premise 2: “Actually
I would come at this a little differently. Society (and government)
should exist to foster,
encourage, and facilitate the achievement of
good on the part of each of its individual members. The ultimate
purpose is the
achievement of and respect for the inherent human dignity
of every person. . . .
stuck with your original wording, I would ask you to consider one
thing. Use of the word ‘everyone’ at the end might
suggest, to some,
collectivism--subjecting the individual to the desires of the group. It
is this that must be avoided. Perhaps by
using ‘every person’ instead.”
[The latter change has been made further modifying "person" as
"individual person" as shown above.]
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Pursuit of Happiness
One reason that the
term “pursuit of happiness” was substituted in the American Declaration
of Independence for the term
“property” that had long been listed in the
ideas for establishing a more perfect society and government was that
“property” at the
time included slaves who were not treated equally
under the law as they would be if they were to remain equal as they were
be created. Otherwise, “property” defined as resulting from an
individual’s labors would arguably have been included as a self
In most prior
societies, one could not pursue happiness in the material sense because
one was born into a position of life and had
limited opportunities to
advance. For instance if one’s father was a cobbler, his only peaceful
option was to become a cobbler. If he
was born into a particular caste,
he could not change to another. In America, at least in principle, one
can do or become whatever
he wants to become.
The bad news is that,
even though, in principle, Americans all have equal rights under the
law, we are limited in our opportunities
because of our genes,
environment or circumstances over which we have no control. We may be
born blind, deaf or without limbs
for instance—or reared by abusive
parents or simply parents who are bad examples for successful behavior.
Or schooling might be
poor or inadequate. The culture we find ourselves
in, through no fault of our own, may indoctrinate us against what is
material success. We may simply be untrainable. And in
courts of law, those who have greater resources can hire the better
or otherwise prevail over those with lesser riches.
What can or should be
done to level the playing field and how should it be provided? Perhaps
the best thing that government can do
is to just leave people and
institutions alone except to constrain those who do not play fairly—jail
thieves, perhaps execute murderers and fine others so as to make
unprofitable greed or use of position to treat others unfairly. Other
societal shortcomings could be addressed by volunteerism
except for education for which government should provide equal
opportunity for all including vouchers for parents to
pay to schools
that they choose for their children. That last as well as
infrastructure, fire, police and military protection is commonly
be properly paid for by taxes.
Not only is it
probably also too expensive to deal with, I believe that people in
general find the idea of forcible removal of children
from their parents
or poor socio-economic groups repulsive.
As to greater justice
in the courts, those guilty of economic crimes should be required to pay
the costs of their actions to the victims
rather than just the
government for the costs of prosecution. Payments to trial lawyers
representing plaintiffs should be limited to a
reasonable amount for
their risk in taking on a case in addition to their actual time spent on
taxes should be imposed on everyone who benefits in proportion to the
ability to pay—fire, police and
military protection for all and those
whom infrastructure will reasonably serve. Fair tax rates should be the
same for all—flat taxes.
Everyone should have “skin in the game” so that
it is not just a case of those not paying taxes to be effectively
stealing from those
who do. “Progressive” rates are penalties for those
who receive higher incomes from activities deemed by consumers as being
desirable and disincentives for job creation and continued
desirable activities. With flat taxes, those with higher incomes will be
paying their fair share already. To be a bit more precise, ability to
pay should be based on the material resources available to a
taxpayer or business—income and as evidenced by purchases of
reasonably allow tax credits for charitable contributions and for
volunteer services. Refundable tax credits might
reasonably be paid for
volunteer services even if there is no reportable income as long as
suitable records are provided by third
parties attesting to the time
spent in performance of the services and hourly rates are based on
corresponding free market services.
The 9-9-9 idea of
proposing flat taxes for individual incomes, business net incomes and a
national sales tax could be configured to
meet all the above
requirements. As to sales taxes specifically, it should be configured so
as to apply only to non-essential items not
including such as groceries
or prescription drugs.
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Charity and free enterprise
enterprise system works so well because humans, by nature, want to
improve their and their family’s well-being—and are
willing to work
to do so if the system they are in rewards such work. It works out that
this helps everyone as proven by the
American experience in providing
opportunities to everyone to improve their and their family’s lots.
human nature leads people to take advantage of anything that is
available for themselves and their family without requiring
negative in both cases is that, left to themselves, individuals may
improve their own well-being unfairly to the detriment of others.
the legitimate function of government to prevent or at least to curb
comes to mind of the suggestion to a youngster to earn money by doing
some task and then to give his earnings to the
unfortunate “Mr. Smith”
who needs money. The youngster suggests that he be excluded as the
middle man and Mr. Smith do the
task to receive the money directly.
“Oh,” a parent says, “a Republican.”
those who simply and truly can not provide for themselves and it is
desirable and honorable for others to help them.
will try to discern whether someone is in unavoidable need and balance
the true needs of their own families
with the unavoidable needs of
bureaucrats may not exert the effort to be so discerning and instead
simply steal the fruits of one’s labors willy-nilly in
taxes to give to
others who have the wherewithal to help themselves. In fact politicians
may seek to ingratiate themselves to
perpetuate themselves in office and
offer programs that alert free-loaders will promptly take advantage of,
no matter how unfair—
and seek to perpetuate by their votes. The apparent
opportunity for unwed mothers to give birth to more children in order to
greater government handouts comes to mind.
everything, balance is required. Should charity be enforced through
taxes by an inefficient, careless government perhaps
most motivated to
pursue its own interests or left to perhaps unduly greedy or simply
compassionless individuals? Incentives for
charitable giving by
providing generous tax relief for such suggest themselves as, perhaps,
the best approach.
handouts for those willing but unable to find work in the private sector
should be accompanied by requiring work such
as to improve
infrastructure. Whatever happened to WPA and PWA like programs? Is it
deemed too demeaning to require work
can not or choose not to provide for themselves, by definition do not
contribute to the economy. There is “trickle-up” as
“trickle-down” economics. Unfortunately, the former has not proven
particularly effective. Look at Europe.
Sketch of Einstein’s General Relativity as a Mathematical Model
mathematician Minkowski showed that special relativity equations could
be expressed in a four dimensional mathematical model
such that two of
the coordinates were time and distance [as measured along the direction
of relative movement]—time being
represented as an imaginary quantity,
specifically ict. Then the sum of the squares of the two coordinates
would represent the
“distance” between the two events. This new concept
of a “distance” measurement would be invariant regardless of the
velocity of the observers in an inertial frame as is the case
of any vector which is invariant regardless of the choice of
conceived of a similar mathematical model to “work” when
observers were not in an inertial frame. . . . .
that gravity, whatever the cause, imparted an acceleration to bodies
that, except for its direction towards centers of mass,
otherwise distinguishable from any other acceleration. And accelerated
bodies were not in the “inertial frame” dealt with by
envisioned gravity as being not a force but a distortion of the four
dimensional time-space continuum caused by massive bodies
so that what
other bodies experienced as a straight line would not necessarily appear
so to observers—that is, to observers, the
straight line experienced by
the bodies would appear to observers as being curved toward another
question was what would be the proper mathematical description for the
amount of distortion. Einstein became aware of a then
mathematical invention called tensor analysis. Any tensor itself, like
the vector [a “rank one” tensor really] in the Minkowski
measurements in inertial frames would be invariant although the
perceived motions by observers would not. Thus he
tried to express the
resultant apparent straight line to a body as a tensor.
help in his persistent effort in this regard in finding the appropriate
tensor notation of a straight line in a mass-distorted
apparently led to multiple possible mathematical solutions—analogous
perhaps to a square root which mathematically has both
a negative and a
positive solution. Practically, we choose the positive solution as the
theory of general relativity, Einstein, chose the simplest one that most
closely approximated observations. And that turned out,
to be a more precise description than the Newtonian simple inverse
square law for gravitational force.
line on all this, to me, is that the effect of masses on the geometry of
space time was speculated upon by Einstein first. It
precise mathematical description that required nine years or so of dogged effort
by Einstein to discover using mathematical
manipulation techniques that
he was originally not conversant with if he was even aware of. He had to
learn the mathematical
manipulation techniques--upon which he made a
further mathematical simplification--after extensive discussions with at
least one pure
mathematician. Even then, he had to choose the one of
multiple possible mathematical solutions that most closely approximated
Newton’s Law of Gravitation. It turned out that solution more precisely
reflected the results of further experiments than Newton’s
square law for a “force” of gravity.
Many of us,
as I, may have assumed that the theory resulted from nothing more than
mathematically manipulating known facts from
which the theory
automatically sprang. In a sense this may be true, but the theory really
resulted from Einstein’s basic concepts first.
Then after many years of
effort and help by pure mathematicians, he managed to develop a
mathematical representation that was
experimentally shown to more
precisely predict gravitational effects than Newton’s inverse square
similar to the approach of Newton in that Newton was able to develop
mathematical equations that reflected what had been
observed and from which accurate predictions for particular cases could
be made. In the case of gravity, he postulated
that they would apply for
interacting masses throughout the universe. His theory has never been
experimentally disproved although the
approach has yielded experimentally determined results to a very very
fine greater precision, more so in extreme cases.
general approach is followed in all physical sciences—from experiments
or intuition, a basic idea is worked upon to derive
equations to predict what will happen in specific instances. And if
those equations [forming a “mathematical model”]
adequately predict the
results of further experiments, they are accepted and used. If
exceptions are found, a different or more
precise model is sought. In
science, only such models are called “theories” as opposed to the basic
ideas of what might or might not
be the case in non-scientific
Science, mathematics and
be reasonably defined as a body of apparent knowledge gained by the
observation and verification of the relationship
phenomena. The relationships may appear obvious or be assumed. The
relationships are accepted as apparent knowledge to
that they bear up under continued observation and honest verification by
assumptions or relationships are labeled hypotheses in scientific
circles. When significant evidence of their truth builds with no
exceptions, they may be called theories. As no amount of verification
assures absolute truth, bodies of relationships are
ever called scientific laws any more. Further observations may lead to
further refinement of theoretical relationships. A case in
the so-called law of gravity which although extremely accurate does not
fit observations as closely as the general theory of
observations may become no more than accepted facts to the extent that
they are verified by honest observers. Theories or
embody assumed knowledge of large classes of phenomena that appear to
have absolute or extremely high predictive value.
instances in the physical sciences are Newton’s laws of motion,
Maxwell’s equations and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
case, they embody apparent knowledge--gained by extensive investigation
and earlier hypotheses and generalizations by others
as well as
the authors into mathematical forms that led to further generalization
Mathematical forms are desirable to make it possible to predict results
from known conditions by calculation. Anyone can theorize, but
predictions of a theory can be tested and found to accord with actual
results, it is useless.
As with a
scientific theory, anyone can make a reputation for himself who
disproves a mathematical method—that is, shows that it is
inconsistent in itself. So using well-established mathematical methods
lends credibility to a theory and frees the user from having to
all his logic independently. Detailed mathematical reasoning has often
disproved what had appeared intuitively obvious.
especially far-reaching theories of physical science above importantly
provided solid mathematical bases in their support that
mathematically predicted results that were themselves physically
verified. Consistent mathematics does not always have a use in
physical sciences, but valid physical results would not reasonably be
contradictory so mathematically consistent theories lend
question might become: “How can such successful methods be emulated in
areas other than the physical sciences?” Number one
require HONEST REPORTING. We can not learn from dishonest reporting that
leads to dishonest history. We must recognize
so-called scientists are not angels. We must consider any potential
conflict of interest anyone or group may have such as
or political gain, and recognize that honest errors can and do occur. In
social systems especially, we may not have the
of being able to conduct experiments practically or ethically. The best
that we can do appears to carefully note the results of
actions HONESTLY REPORTED and base our future actions on probabilities
based upon them.
instance, socialistic systems have rarely if ever been successful and,
especially in the extreme of communism, led to mass murder of
them. If not inevitable, the probability of future failures in such
systems appears extremely high.
strongly consider greater legislated punishment for dishonesty to
effectively combat the extremely adverse effects of
reporting. At the least, politicians’ and reporters’ lies are extreme
instances of voter fraud.
Mathematics and science
is scientifically useful to the extent that its methods or notations are shortcuts to
involved reasoning and that its conclusions agree with observed results.
It is reasonable to use mathematical methods that have been proven
internally consistent to formulate scientific theories. Nevertheless,
internally consistent theories, regardless of how profound or beautiful
may have no or limited scientific use.
quaternions are an outstanding example. Quaternions are said to be the
only mathematical forms involving more than two dimensions that form a
division algebra so all the standard algebraic manipulations hold in it
except for commutativity under multiplication—that is, A x B does not
equal B X A [it equals minus (B X A)]. Hamilton spent, largely, the
remainder of his life after his initial discovery/invention of quaternions trying to use them effectively in scientific applications.
They proved generally unduly cumbersome except for the use of their
cross-product definition in modern vector analysis.
remarkable that the use of straightforward mathematics has proven so
overwhelmingly scientifically useful. Newton’s theory of gravity is a
prime example. Its use of the established mathematics of conic sections
is so accurate that its exclusive use is typically all that is warranted
except in extreme cases of speeds approaching that of light and masses
far greater than that of earth’s sun. [However without its prediction
that time passes ever so slightly more quickly away from a gravitational
mass than near it, the GPS system would drift off a few miles in one
theory of gravitation that invokes the idea of masses actually
distorting space and time rather than Newton’s idea of force is
definitely required in extreme cases. It was established mathematically
by using extremely complicated mathematics and, its use is extremely
difficult, but its result agree much more closely to very detailed
observations and those under extreme conditions than Newton’s theory.
developing his theory, Einstein made use of tensor methods that make
possible the solution of hundreds of equations simultaneously. Nowadays,
computers can be used effectively in solving equations set up by humans
much more rapidly and free of error than humans can generally do.
the above will take you to a drop box file that describes numbering
system symbols (space numerals) that can be combined to
(space numbers) in two, three or four dimensional space, describes how
to add and subtract these numbers as well as
how to multiply and divide
them in manners analogous to complex and hyper-complex systems.]
here to return to the topic menu.