Scientific Thinking LO21889

AM de Lange (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 11:41:24 +0200

Replying to LO21876 --

Dear Organlearners,

John Gunkler <> writes:

>Thanks for talking about two other kinds of detectors. I like
>very much your "gem detector" for the observation stage. For
>the speculation stage I would like to suggest we need an
>"editor detector." By this I mean that, in order for divergent
>thinking to happen, we must turn off all of our mental "editors"
>(including especially the one I called the "crap detector."

Greetings John,

I like your suggestion.

I sense our dialogue is meandering from "logical thinking" to
"scientific thinking" -- thus the change in the name of the topic.

Let me symbolise what we are trying to do in scientific thinking. I
want to get rid of words from a natural language (which we use to
articulate our tacit knowledge) so as to get closer to the tacit
knowledge. Unfortunately, since I have to communicate my own tacit
knowledge, I will have to make use of symbols.

Stage Detectors
D1 D2 D3
S1 on off off
S2 off on off
S3 off off on

When we select a name for a detector, i.e, give names to D1, D2 and
D3, we ought to select a name for each such that it does not only tell
us that the detector is on in its corresponding stage (for example D2
for S2), but also that the other two detectors are off (for example D1
and D3 for S2). I think that your
"crap detector" = D3
for stage S3 and my
"gem detector" = D1
for stage S1 may do it, but I would like to hear how other readers
respond to it.

The problem, as I see it, is that once we select the first name for
these detectors (which you have done for D3) the number of choices for
the second and third name reduces drastically. Then, when we select
secondly the name for another detector (which I have done for D1), the
number of choices for the third name reduces even more drastically. It
reminds me of the measurement problem in quantum mechanics which I
have discussed recently -- the reduction by explication of the wave
packet as they call it.

I have had such experiences a number of times. The most vivid one was
the naming of the seven essentialities after I have discovered them
phenomenologically. As I am writing here, a whole bunch of ideas
emerged in my mind in a flash. (I have jumped from stage S1 to stage
S2 of scientific thinking. I have moved back again to tell you of my
observation of this mental flash. Should I have proceeded to stage S3,
it would have been "mustard after the meal".)
(1) To give something a name is one of the innumerous ways of making a
measurement. It corresponds to Alonso Church's thesis in logic that
making logical statements is to give names. In other words, logic is
nothing else than a certain kind of measurement.
(2) When we name the elements of a set and we become ware of "the
rapid rather than a one-by-one reduction of choices", is it not an
indication if a "well-formed set", i.e. a set with the correct number
of elements -- not too few elements or not too many elements? What has
the "reduction by explication of the wave packet" to do with "eidetic
reduction" of phenomenology to obtain essentials
(3) Often we observe on lists how people begin to argue on the use of
a certain name. What has this to do with ideas (1) and (2) above. What
has it to do with me and my creativity because when people begin to
argue circularly on a names, I usually leave such an argument to
something else.

Thinking about these three detectors makes me think about detectors of
another kind.

Stage S1 (which I have been calling observation) is to let the "world
inside me" make connection with the "world outside me". I have five
organs to make different kinds of contact in such a manner that my
brain (material) may immediately respond to it so that my mind
(abstract) can deal with it. This is why these five organs are called
"sense organs". I have many other organs too which may respond to
external signals, but they either do not address my mind or address it
very slowly.

The reason why I selected the name "gem detector" is that in any
well-formed, healthy person, although all five these senses function
continuously, the person is more than often not aware of this
continuous operating. The person is rather aware of their continual
operating. This unawareness of their continuous operation, i.e the
awareness of their continual operation
results when the signals from the AMBIENT (immediate) "world outside
me" change very SLOWLY or NOT AT ALL. Two things make a change slow.
The amount changed may be small (little) or the time during which it
happen may be large. Technically, any change such that we can assign
slow or fast to a change in this change, may be called a flux or rate.
When the secondary change is small/large relative to any other
secondary schange, we think of slow/fast. Speed (the distance
travelled divided by the time it took) is a flux (rate). Electrical
current (the flow of electrical charge divided by the time it took) is
also a flux (rate).

I prefer to use flux rather than rate for two reasons. Firstly, the
word flux rather than rate is used in entropy production. It happens
in terms of entropic force-flux pairs. Secondly, we avoid a tautology
when we think of a "rate of a flux" rather than a "rate of a rate".
This is exactly what is important in the unwareness that our sense are
operating continuously. We are unaware of the continuous flux of the
signals for each of the five sense. We become aware of the signals
when the continuous flux changes fast enough. In my reply "flock of
birds LO21869", this corresponds to the fourth requirement:

>Try as we like, its is impossible to explain this "turbulent
>self-organisation" by the three rules for "laminar
>We need a fourth rule:
> [SUM [(deviation entropic flux) x (deviation entropic force)]] > 0
>It is known in irreversible thermodynamics as the criterium for
>thermodynamic instability.
>It may be translated as follows into a language without maths which
>we may call the rule for "turbulent self-organisation":
>4) A m(l) overcomes the dragging influence (viscosity) from its
>surrounding m(l)s by super imposing its own ramming influence
>(positive feedback) on them.

In other words, we become aware in a continual fashion of the
operation of our five senses when they move from the evolutionary
(V-formation for boids, laminar flow for liquids, creative
convergence) mode to the revolutionary mode (cumulus-formation,
turbulent flow for liquids, creative divergence). These sense organs
move our brain from the unaware mode close to equilibrium (where
functional digestion in terms of order happens) to the aware mode far
from equilibrium (where relational splitting in terms of chaos
happen). This is why stage S2 (speculation) of scientific thinking) is
the natural successor to stage S1 (observation)

>So, what we need is a detector to warn us that an "editor" (or
>a "judge") is trying to interfere with our speculations. What do
>you think of that idea?

John, it will work for me. Because of my frequent revolutionary
(divergent) thinking, I have had many a conflicting experience with
these "editors" -- the "thought police" of "paper based" information
sources. I suspect that it has been the same with you. Wow, were these
"thought police" not active during the era of apartheid in South
Africa in every walk of life!

But how many other people had a similar flood of experiences with

Have you ever though of our host Rick as a member of the "thought

Michael Faraday, a great scientist, was reckoned to be the greatest
experimentalist ever. In other words, his "gem detector" was of a
superior quality. (He also reminds me of Louis Pasteur.) But I have
read very few commentaries on how exceptional also his D2 detector

Your suggestion makes me think of another possibility. Here in South
Africa many people of my age used the slang(?)word "caving" to refer
to "being on the lookout for anybody who may spoil your actions". I
think it comes from the word "caveat", but I am not sure. Gangsters
were very fond of saying that someone has to "keep cavy". In other
words, the detector D2 has to act like a sentry (sentinal). But since
each of the detectors D1, D2, D3 is a sentry, it is a bit risky to
select a name for D2 which has something to do with the job of a
sentry. Is this not what the job of most editors is -- to act as a
sentry for the vested interests of the existing order?

Should we not call D2 the "spoiler detector"? To use your summary,
slightly changed, indicated by capitol letters:
1. Gem detector (for opening our eyes to what's in the world through
2. SPOILER detector (for preventing our judgmental abilities from
interfering with divergent thinking, or "speculation")
3. Crap detector (for employing our judgment during convergent
or "falsification," so as to improve the chances that what we pursue

Have you ever though of our host Rick as a "spoiler"?

It is strange how many people think of the God of Christians as a
spoiler. Why?

I intend to investigate in some future contribution the role of
technology to sustain and imbetter each of these three mental
detectors essential to the scientific method. I wish somebody creative
would jump me to the gun so that I can sit back and enjoy what is
inevitable! What about you Leo? Or Winfried, Jon, John, Terry, Doc and

Best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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