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George's Musings.

      By George Edwards

Click 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
Terms and goals for a good society

What is the ideal society for humans?

Thoughts as to establishing, maintaining and justly protecting an ideal society

Morality

Heroism

Belief, faith, trust, truth

Consequences of beliefs

Premises for a just society most conducive

   to the greatest personal happiness premise discussion

Pursuit of Happiness

Taxes, Charity and free enterprise

Religion

Sketch of Einstein’s General Relativity as a Mathematical Model

Science, mathematics and politics

Mathematics and science

Space numbers

 

Proposed Bases for Sensible Behavior and Ideals that will most likely result in pleasantness or happiness for everyone

  • Truth

  • Reason

  • Justice

  • Pleasantness

To 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 groups.

 

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 anything else.

 

Reason is essential in that conclusions are false if they are based on inconsistencies or contradict past experience.

 

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 been “property.”

 

Protection 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.

 

 

These 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 bases.

 

This is 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.

 

Terms and goals for a good society

 

Society=people at large,

Individual=single human being

Good=that which makes things pleasant (pleasing) for individuals and others

Noble=helping others especially those who can not help themselves

 

Rights

Life=assured for all good individuals

Happiness=pleasant or pleasing condition for for all good individual

sPursuit of happiness or pleasant conditions=right available for all good individuals

Liberty=freedom for good individuals to make their own choices

Justice=equal treatment of good individuals by government or between individuals

 

[Below was written earlier]

 

Principles for Individuals—treat others as you would want to be treated if you were in their position

   Help and protect those unable to fend for themselves

   Equal opportunity for all, especially children—a goal

   Fruits of labor of no one to be taken or allow to be taken by force or intimidation

Principles for government=limited to the consent of those governed

    Needed for protection against enemies and evil-doers

 

Goals for government equal opportunity for all, especially children

 Philosopher representatives or philosopher statesmen not philosopher kings    

 Constitutional limits of all government powers

    Right of recall for officials of all branches

    Term limits for officials of all branches

    Balance of powers between the branches of government

    All government officials covered by the same laws as those governed

    No taxpayer paid benefits for public officials or their families other than approved

        salaries

    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]

 

  1. Life and freedom from physical injury

  2. Equal opportunity for everyone to develop to their own potential insofar as they do not prevent that same opportunity for others.

 

What do these ideals require?

 

  1. Protection from those who would murder, maim or cause physical injury

  2. Protection from those who would limit the opportunity of others

  3. Protection against any teachings or exhortations to kill, cause injury or hatred of any group or individual

  4. Protection of the fruits of peoples’ labors from theft and arson

  5. Protection against dishonesty

  6. Provision for a free market system with adequate safeguards against cheating and fraud and for health and safety

  7. Provision for parental school choice including the teaching of children the ideals of the ideal society and the right of everyone to equal opportunity

  8. Opportunity for a suitable education for everyone consonant with their potential

  9. Provisions for help for the elderly and those who can not help themselves

 

What practical steps are necessary to achieve the ideal society for humans?

 

  1. That groups of people band together to achieve an ideal society

  2. 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

  3. 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 society

    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 leaders.

 

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 inadequate.

 

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.

Morality

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.

Cheating

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 winning.

 

Some news commentators recently expressed amusement at the Minnesota vote-counting cheating that appears most likely.

 

Vote-counting cheating 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 anything so

antithetical to American principles.

Lying

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 such lies.

 

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.

Moral Position

Some say that morals are merely customs. But there are basic moral principles that even unschooled children understand. They

represent what 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

 rule results in a society that all find most pleasant, including the non-religious among us.

 

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 us.

Boy Scouts

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,

ISBN 0-8395-3105-2:

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, and nation.
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,
and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.
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 along.
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
not 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
these 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.

Click here to return to the topic menu.

Heroism

You might consider clicking the following link on the heroism of the risk of going beyond simply being a bystander who does no

harm: The Banality of HEROISM Circumstances can force almost anyone to be a bystander to evil, but they can

also bring out our own inner hero. Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo show how we’re all capable of everyday heroism.

Click here to return to the topic menu.

Belief, faith, trust, truth

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 professional

medical community, were invalid. In instance after instance, statistics showed that  placebos were on the order of 30 percent as

effective.

 

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 what others

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

being?

 

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.

There appears 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 impossible.

 

Most of us believe what we believe is the preponderance of evidence of our own senses or declared so by other people whom

we believe.

 

Science uses “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 after.

 

Other 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 believe others who

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.

 

[Rambling 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.

 

Absolute truth of something is difficult to define. Truth in that sense is definitely not something that has been shown to be absolutely

false 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

informed 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

extreme, 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 be planted.

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Premises for a just society most conducive to the greatest personal happiness

 

Premises

  1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

  2. Society should work towards the greatest good for every individual person

  3. Society should not allow the taking of innocent human life or property honestly earned

  4. All the people should have the opportunity to work for their own and their family’s best interest

  5. Truth and the utmost visibility are paramount

  6. People should care for those who can not meet their own or their family’s basic needs

 

Some Clarifying discussion [Premise 1 discussion added on 5/14/12]

Premise 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..

 

No one should be treated otherwise. Equality under the law properly means that rulers, the wealthy and powerful—including

elected 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 treated.

 

We do not want to be murdered, maimed, stolen from or impeded in our legitimate pursuit of happiness—by government or by

others.

 

We require 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 others.

 

Liberty 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.

 

Premise 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 effective.

 

Premise 3 should absolutely apply to anyone who has not knowledgably harmed others of his or her own volition

 

Premise 4 is innately fair to all as opposed to systems which favor individuals strictly on the basis of their birth, for instance,

allowing 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.

 

Premise 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.

 

Premise 6 purposely says “people” rather than “society.”  Using the term society might be interpreted as saying government should

supply those 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 somehow take

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

require public services from those physically or mentally capable of providing some although not otherwise able to meet their

own needs.

 

Comment:

Chuck 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. . . .

If you 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.]

 

Click here to return to the topic menu.

 

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 said to

be created. Otherwise, “property” defined as resulting from an individual’s labors would arguably have been included as a self

evident right. 

 

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 conducive to

material success. We may simply be untrainable. And in courts of law, those who have greater resources can hire the better lawyers

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

and charities, 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

held to 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 the case.

 

Taxes

 

Absolutely unavoidable 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 more

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

particular taxpayer or business—income and as evidenced by purchases of non-essential items.

 

Governments can 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.

Click here to return to the topic menu.

 

Charity and free enterprise

 

The free 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.

 

The same human nature leads people to take advantage of anything that is available for themselves and their family without requiring

them to work.

 

The negative in both cases is that, left to themselves, individuals may improve their own well-being unfairly to the detriment of others.

It is the legitimate function of government to prevent or at least to curb these negatives.

 

The story 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.”

 

There are those who simply and truly can not provide for themselves and it is desirable and honorable for others to help them.

Admirable individuals will try to discern whether someone is in unavoidable need and balance the true needs of their own families

with the unavoidable needs of others.

 

Government 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 get

greater government handouts comes to mind.

 

As with 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.

 

Government 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

for handouts?

 

Those who can not or choose not to provide for themselves, by definition do not contribute to the economy. There is “trickle-up” as

well 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

 

The 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 relative

velocity of the observers in an inertial frame as is the case of any vector which is invariant regardless of the choice of coordinates.

 

Einstein conceived of a similar mathematical model to “work” when observers were not in an inertial frame. . . . .

 

He noted that gravity, whatever the cause, imparted an acceleration to bodies that, except for its direction towards centers of mass,

was not otherwise distinguishable from any other acceleration. And accelerated bodies were not in the “inertial frame” dealt with by

special relativity.

 

He 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 massive body.

 

The question was what would be the proper mathematical description for the amount of distortion. Einstein became aware of a then

recent mathematical invention called tensor analysis. Any tensor itself, like the vector [a “rank one” tensor really] in the Minkowski

description of 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.

 

He needed help in his persistent effort in this regard in finding the appropriate tensor notation of a straight line in a mass-distorted

space.

 

This 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 answer

 

For his theory of general relativity, Einstein, chose the simplest one that most closely approximated observations. And that turned out,

experimentally, to be a more precise description than the Newtonian simple inverse square law for gravitational force.

 

The bottom 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

was the 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

 inverse 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 law.

 

This was similar to the approach of Newton in that Newton was able to develop mathematical equations that reflected what had been

experimentally 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

Einsteinian approach has yielded experimentally determined results to a very very fine greater precision, more so in extreme cases.

 

This general approach is followed in all physical sciences—from experiments or intuition, a basic idea is worked upon to derive

mathematical 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 discourse.

 

Science, mathematics and politics

 

Science can be reasonably defined as a body of apparent knowledge gained by the observation and verification of the relationship

between phenomena. The relationships may appear obvious or be assumed. The relationships are accepted as apparent knowledge to

he extent that they bear up under continued observation and honest verification by all observers.

 

Bare assumptions or relationships are labeled hypotheses in scientific circles. When significant evidence of their truth builds with no

observed exceptions, they may be called theories. As no amount of verification assures absolute truth, bodies of relationships are

seldom if ever called scientific laws any more. Further observations may lead to further refinement of theoretical relationships. A case in

point is the so-called law of gravity which although extremely accurate does not fit observations as closely as the general theory of

relativity.

 

Isolated observations may become no more than accepted facts to the extent that they are verified by honest observers. Theories or

“laws” embody assumed knowledge of large classes of phenomena that appear to have absolute or extremely high predictive value.

 

Well known instances in the physical sciences are Newton’s laws of motion, Maxwell’s equations and Einstein’s theory of relativity.

In each 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 and insight.

 

Mathematical forms are desirable to make it possible to predict results from known conditions by calculation. Anyone can theorize, but

unless the 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

validate all his logic independently. Detailed mathematical reasoning has often disproved what had appeared intuitively obvious.

 

The three especially far-reaching theories of physical science above importantly provided solid mathematical bases in their support that

led to mathematically predicted results that were themselves physically verified.  Consistent mathematics does not always have a use in

the physical sciences, but valid physical results would not reasonably be contradictory so mathematically consistent theories lend

credibility.  

 

The question might become: “How can such successful methods be emulated in areas other than the physical sciences?” Number one

they require HONEST REPORTING. We can not learn from dishonest reporting that leads to dishonest history. We must recognize

that even so-called scientists are not angels. We must consider any potential conflict of interest anyone or group may have such as

financial or political gain, and recognize that honest errors can and do occur. In social systems especially, we may not have the

advantage of being able to conduct experiments practically or ethically. The best that we can do appears to carefully note the results of

past actions HONESTLY REPORTED and base our future actions on probabilities based upon them.

 

For instance, socialistic systems have rarely if ever been successful and, especially in the extreme of communism, led to mass murder of

those under them. If not inevitable, the probability of future failures in such systems appears extremely high.

 

We should strongly consider greater legislated punishment for dishonesty to effectively combat the extremely adverse effects of

dishonest reporting. At the least, politicians’ and reporters’ lies are extreme instances of voter fraud.

 

Mathematics and science

Mathematics 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.

 

Hamilton’s 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.

 

It is 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 day.]

 

Einstein’s 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.

 

In 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.

 Space Numbers

[Clicking the above will take you to a drop box file that describes numbering system symbols (space numerals) that can be combined to

denote points (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.]

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