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(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)
An objection that might be raised to the above is that the simplicity or explanatory power of a GUT would be superficial and, as we have alleged of religious maxims, difficult to apply in practise. What is the difference?
- Admittedly, it is simplistic to suppose that any unified "super-force" would (to quote a popular book on superstrings) be a "theory of everything". Even if a thoroughgoing reduction can be carried out, so that everything is ultimately explicable in terms of the GUT, this does not imply that quantitative predictions of macroscopic phenomena based on lowest order phenomena will (or could) ever be practical.
- The above is true even if we insist that "emergent properties" are indeed explicable (or even predictable) in terms of those of the next lower order. It would still be true that each order of phenomena is best explained in terms of its own or the immediately prior order rather than by going right back to basics.
- However, the explanatory power of reductionism is real and quantitative, even if the calculations are difficult to perform. It is powerful in principle, even if there are practical difficulties. However, the application of a religious maxim is not quantitative, leads to no predictions and cannot be falsified. It is not in the same category.
|Note last updated
||Reference for this Topic
||440 (Simplicity - GUTs)
||Simplicity - Deceptive|
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