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Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics

July 8, 2020

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 23.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,770

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Rick Rosner and I conduct a conversational series entitled Ask A Genius on a variety of subjects through In-Sight Publishing on the personal and professional website for Rick. According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. Christian Sorensen earned a score at 185+, i.e., at least 186, on the WAIS. He is an expert in philosophy. Both scores on a standard deviation of 15. A sigma of 6.00+ (or ~6.13 or 6.20) for Rick – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 1,009,976,678+ (with some at rarities of 1 in 2,314,980,850 or 1 in 3,527,693,270) – and a sigma of ~5.67+ for Christian – a general intelligence rarity of more than 1 in 136,975,305, at least in 202,496,482. Neither splitting hairs nor a competition here; we agreed to a discussion, hopefully, for the edification of the audience here. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population. This amounts to a joint interview or conversation with Christian Sorensen, Rick Rosner, and myself.

Keywords: Christian Sorensen, metaphysics, Rick Rosner, physics.

Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Why should we bring together physics and metaphysics?

Rick Rosner: First, we should define metaphysics. It has been a while. I think it’s the discipline of coming up with the reasons behind stuff in a less empirical way than physics. Metaphysics tries to get closer to the principles of existence and then tries to answer questions like, “Why is the universe here? Why are we here?” It gets into the questions of purpose. It is the philosophical stuff, which occupies the terrible outskirts of the city that physics occupies. Is that it?

Jacobsen: I guess so. I see physics as more spikey than gooey.

Rosner: Yes, everything in physics in physics can be characterized by equations. As we have talked about before, metaphysics and physics split hundreds of years ago with all the wild speculation that went into both. Same with alchemy. It was very tied into philosophical ideas of how the world and principles, animistic principles and principles of good & evil, expressed themselves via potions and formulas. In the 1500s, 1600s, people start doing really solid science. That takes off when you find out the actual physical and chemical principles behind everything. The wild philosophical speculations didn’t return good value in the ways solid science did. You can’t build a steam engine out of philosophical speculation. But then, what we’ve talked about, our idea is that you can’t do effective metaphysics when you don’t have a decent idea of the overall structure of the world. Only in the last 100 years have we gotten anything like that. Now, I think it is reasonable to think that given some of the physical, theoretical structures in place. You can start to hang metaphysics on stuff.

For instance, Information Theory, I think, first got its name in 1948 in a paper by Claude Shannon. Now, we know quite a bit about information, and how information exists in the world. To define information here, information is, basically, the actualizing of alternatives in a system. That is, if a system has a number of possible states, then the states that are actually chosen from the range of alternatives; those choices of states are the information in the system. In that, information is about the most stripped-down thing that you can have there. Quantum mechanics expresses how systems work when there is incomplete information. We’ve done a lot of jibber-jabbering about the universe being made of information, and why it would be in terms of the principles of existence, which involve having temporal duration. For something to exist, it has to exist for a non-zero amount of time. Things that exist have to exist with negating contradictions pushed off to the side. Negating uncertainty pushed off to the side. When you start talking like this, you’re bringing metaphysics into it. You’re trying to make metaphysical principles, the principles of existence, e.g., the principle of non-contradiction.

The principle that everything that is not prohibited from existing belongs to the set of things that can and do exist somewhere. All this stuff has a stink of metaphysics about it. At the same time, it has the possibility of being turned into legitimate physics. Because again, quantum mechanics is the physics of non-contradiction. Things that exist solidly in the world, exist so solidly because a bunch of particles have conspired for a sufficiently long history to reinforce each others’ existences by exchanging information to the point where the fuzziness and indeterminacy have been squeezed down to very small scales. So, when you have an apple or a baseball, they definitely exist; they don’t wink in and out of existence in the manner of a virtual particle(s) in the sea of particles that can wink in and out of existence because it(they) are so small. That’s all metaphysics impinging on physics.

Christian Sorensen: I find it an interesting question, however is like trying to combine caviar with blackberries to make a sweet cake believing that it’s plausible and tasty because both are alike. Indeed I consider that from an etymological and logical point of view, that approach in the sense of trying to bring them together, is incorrect since except for the fact of being paronyms with phonetical and orthographical similarities, and that implicitly knowledge evolution but also thinking involution sights could have been lost, they ultimately have between each other, nothing to do because meanings are completely different. When speaking of both, it is not enough to make a double distinction, due to the reason that actually two types of physics are involved, and therefore it is necessary to make a triple separation, which will be deductible in turn after a couple of following questions are answered regarding to the problems of what and how, and one with respect to the issue of object.

Following a logically inverse path, that means to begin from the consequence instead of its prepositions, it is possible to affirm that the first of them is philosophical physics, meanwhile the other is properly speaking physics, as scientific discipline or particular science. The former has an object of study, that is identifiable as such, with any entity in itself present in nature, while those related to classical, and modern or quantum physics, are going to be respectively linked with the properties of matter and energy, and the characteristics, behaviors and interactions of particles at atomic and subatomic levels. From my point of view, and regardless of whether it is according to classical or quantum physics, or if what is intended to be studied is tangible or not, the object fulfills a merely instrumental function, and cannot be identified with the being, as occurs with the first of them, since it’s partial, to the extent that it only refers to some aspects of the thing as such, and on the other hand it is relative since is constantly in a changing process and then never catches the truth. This last means that their objects, would be theoretical constructs, and therefore are definable through noetic consensus, where it would be the praxis who determines their signification, and in consequence with a dynamically evolutionary connotation, that in strictly sense enables them for not having any sort of correspondence towards anything existing in reality. The two of them would also respond in different directions and degrees of depth, while the scientists ones would do so regarding problems of how’s nature within reality, that is to say to behalf of reality behavior, the philosophical would do it in relation to the issue of what’s essence, in other words to the ontological nature of entities. 

From my perspective, they could be classified as phenomenal physics, and as noumenic physics respectively, and in that way it would be possible to sustain that with phenomena approximations, reality is placed between parentheses, as if they were bracketed images that built a movie, and subsequently a systematization is done by means of their own method, that searches, by pursuing utilitarian ends, the establishment of necessary interdependence relations between variables, at the time that noumenic psysics, through intuitive intellectual exercise, continues seeking ideal utopias, as some kind of ever lasting end. In order to understand what I argued at the beginning, it must be visualized that the table needs a third leg, because if not and only has two, it will finally fall.

In this sense metaphysics, to the aforementioned will add a second twist of delimitations and distinctions, and in that manner the existing disjunction with physics, is going to be even worst in what has to do with the supposed possibility of bringing them together. In fact, in addition to focusing on entity as such, addresses to all those beings that exist outside the physis or physics plane of nature. Then certainly in relation to ones which are of an intangible character, focuses its attention as occurs with quantum, but simultaneously and differentially does so according to a completely different order or dimension with other beings, due to the fact that the first would center its attention unlike the second, on extra-natural entities, which besides and broadly said are going to cover what I will denominate as theophysicists beings. Likewise, not only does not intends to respond to the state of natural things, nor to their nature, as can arrives with noumenic physics, but also aims to reach first or ultimate principles in relation to everything, beyond which nothing would exist, since otherwise the principle of non-contradiction should have to be left aside, and the latest until now has not been possible to achieve. By placing physics as currently is known, and metaphysics in parallel, I personally believe, that thought step by step as time goes by, has been involving or suffering from evolutionary regression, and therefore although apparently it goes unnoticed, continues jivarising and brutalizing itself, even though knowledge and technological achievements since the seventeenth century are indisputables. Effectively since more or less that time, physics and other basic sciences, became independent from philosophy or philosophical physics, and from my gaze it is evident how physics has become increasingly more banal and repetitive, especially in its unsuccessful attempts to give epistemological responses, such as Albert Einstein has done and Stephen Hawking lastly did with its boring and useless explanations that did arrive nowhere. Consequently the lack of interest in deepening fundamental topics regarding issues and conflicts that existentially torture human being currently, it’s another riddle which produces a strong headache, since also apparently it has been forgotten that in the history of humanity, is not physics that ultimately mobilizes the world, and determines the destiny that should be followed, but on the contrary are ideas or ideals in their state of purity and simplicity, that predetermine such a thing.

Jacobsen: What are some areas for confusion in trying to bring these together?

Sorensen: In my opinion, before examining these areas, it would be necessary to do so with what for me is similar to a point of fission regarding the possibility to bring these together, since I estimate that if the basic problem could be synthesized in one sentence, then it should be said that despite the fact that physics was born from philosophy, this last doesn’t means necessarily that there is any possible continuity between them, and therefore what could actually exists in relation to each other is an essential mis-match. 

The emergence of physics is not accidental or whimsical, on the contrary it obeys to a precise reason, that is to say is directly related to the appearance of the Cartesian method, and then it could be sustain that its birth, it’s due to a methodological determinism, and in turn that it was remarked by a sort of point, that not only delimits something that’s before and after in its history, but that also seals the beginning of a path without return, since the reasoning is more o less the following: if for physics there is no valid knowledge, but only the empirical one, and there is no physics but only the one linked to scientific method, then the knowledge of philosophical physics, that I denominate as noumenic physics would not be valid in this context, and consequently, is should be the last one who transforms its postulates into empirically and pragmatically validated theoretical assumptions, in order to achieve the status of the former. Nevertheless, although physics implicitly claims a status of superiority, it loses sight regarding the fact that is the method who determines its science, and therefore it could be affirmed that for physics the methods is ultimately everything. At the same it can be said, that if there’s an almost impassable border regarding to philosophical or noumenic physics, then with even more reason, this gap is going to be absolutely insurmountable with respect to metaphysics, since their associated entities, in addition to being intangibles, are besides extra-natural and could eventually reach to be supernatural or theophysicists.

Checking the historical and epistemological antecedents of physics as science, it is possible to demonstrate that besides not having any correspondence with general philosophy, nor with philosophical or noumenic physics, as a corp of knowledge, because encompasses natural sciences in their origins, that is to say apart from physics also biology, and chemistry, that also incurs in consequence once more in other imprecision, and conceptual error when maintains that its origins comes directly from ancient physics. 

Interpreting the meaning of this question and the previous one, it gives the impression that at a certain level what is intended, is to upgrade and empower metaphysics so that by following the good example of her metaphorical daughter who is no longer unruly, because has shown that has done better in life, must soak its beards, and realize that it’s better business to achieve legitimization as a science, therefore if metaphysics does successfully so, then they could both live a happy shared time henceforth.

However, if I deepen even more my interpretation, and also I try to read between lines, what may follows here is somehow a reductionism in such a way, that metaphysics should leaves its old rags for renewing itself, and in that way adapt to physics, due to the fact, that abra kadabra, it is believed that both are situated in a continuum of evolutionary linearity, which although it exists from the historical point of view, nevertheless does not exists, gnoseologically and epistemologically speaking. Since the differences between them in terms of their objects of study, methodologies, empirical foundations or not of their theoretical conceptualizations and even purposes, are subject to a particular meaning, that is above all the aforementioned structure which intends to mediates the cognitive relationship between subject and object. The latest therefore determines the former, as it does with the existing differences between physics and metaphysics, in order to turn these into radical and irreducible questions. In synthesis I guess that actually for understanding what are the areas for confusion in trying to bring these together, first of all it would be necessary to search for the latent meaning behind the practice of physics and metaphysics, and that obviously goes beyond anything that can frame the relationship between cognizant subject and cognosed object.

Jacobsen: What are the ways in which woo, supernatural, paranormal, and spooky explanations are simply out of order here if a merger is to make sense?

Sorensen: In my opinion from a rationalist point of view, these type of statements should not be based on any a-prioristic approach, in order to determine if they are or not out of place in this context. I straightly consider that way of doing things, as something absolutist, which for me is even less logical and far-fetched. 

The fact that they could eventually resist any kind of logical analysis, of which at least I don’t have any certainty yet, only would means that these probably are valid, but not necessarily true, and therefore the reasoning outcome, does not ensure that they actually exist if an ontological perspective is followed. In other words, if it is not possible to demonstrate their existence, from any rational point of view, then it would only rest the chance to show them, which lastly for both physics and metaphysics. would also be impossible to do.

Now if I flashback once more the rationalist plane, I would be born to respond that with an asymmetric way, because I cannot visualize how physics could pronounce itself regarding these entities unless it rejects them as real from the root, or develops a supernatural instrument to measure these or to verify their existence and behavior.

At the same time I will continue responding by following the above, and therefore by replicating that so is analogous to how theoretical conceptualizations, regarding natural entities can be left aside, as a formal logical reasoning process outcome, or epistemologically speaking, when the empirical conceptualizations proposed by physics as science, are evaluated on their validity. In this manner, in relation to gnoseology and especially to epistemology, it must not be forgotten that the theoretical conceptualizations, and also the empirical or experimental ones proposed by physics, are entities that from an ontological sight, actually are ideal, and in consequence if they are so, they necessarily should be extra naturals. Then why not, maybe the supernaturals… 

Jacobsen: Instead of an emphasis on the possible and impossible, what about the plausible and the implausible?

Sorensen: For understanding the plausible and implausible, I feel it can be useful to think about the image of a fish regarding the water, since when the fish is inside of it, is optimal, while when is outside is the worst. With physics and metaphysics, from my point of view something similar occurs, due to the fact that both are optimal, nevertheless not in an absolute sense, but rather according or depending to what… The above means in part, that the two of them lack something, because in a certain way they have lost it, and therefore they may fail. Physics at the time that it separated from philosophy, lost its ability to wonder about the ultimate essence, and in relation to nature of material and immaterial reality, while metaphysics lack’s of something or has an original fault, by being essentially useless, and being hermetically fixed, regarding its rigid purpose of searching final responses about everything existing. I think that each one is fundamentally necessary, but not necessarily enough by itself. In that sense the first contributes through its solid pragmatic and evolutive knowledge, meanwhile the second does so with its deep and invariable knowledge. In other words and following the reasoning of the aforementioned, it should not be pretended, in relation to each one, to reach any achievement of what I will denominate as neither inverse nor integral function, since these implausibly would neutralize both, and ultimately would distort the meaning and outcomes of them. In this manner if I could express mathematically and simply, why simultaneously plausibility and implausibility will affect physics and metaphysics, I would say that 1 + 1 does not equal 2, but that rather 1 + 1 equals 1.

Jacobsen: In that, the supernatural, extramaterial, and so on, exist as an opposing ledger in some sense to the natural, the material, etc., however, they provide some semblance of a consideration rather than verification. With this sense of verificative and falsifiability simplification of the matter, do these former categories seem implausible in one sense?

Sorensen: In fact if these are no-falsifiable, it is because they are not empirically verifiable, nevertheless this does not necessarily mean that they are implausible, since the plausibility and implausibility are a consequence of falsification, and if there is no possibility to carry out any empirical contrast, then only I can affirm that I can’t pronounce myself on its falsity, and therefore I can say with certainty, that they are potentially or possibly plausible.

Jacobsen: Do they seem unverified in another sense? 

Sorensen: On the one hand, the fact that they have not been verified, does not necessarily imply that they are not verifiable. On the other side, in my opinion the extra-material entities, are theoretically not uniform, since in a strict metaphysical sense, they should be only circumscribed, to the immaterial, in relation, to what is immaterial within the material. Therefore in one way or another, they have a ground wire with what is naturally real, and I think then, that from a formal logical point of view, they can probably be verifiable. The problem occurs when metaphysics from a Thomistic-scholastic perspective, tries to expand towards extra-material entities with a supernatural nature or connotation, and besides pretends to metaphysically validate them through a natural theology. Within the order or dimension of the latest, what happens is that these philosophical premises, until now have not been verified in no sense, and I personally doubt that they could be validated sometime, by following a formal logical reasoning, which would imply, that if they are logically unacceptable, then with greater reason, they wouldn’t be plausibles or existences ontologically real.

Jacobsen: Do they seem unfalsifiable in a further sense?

Sorensen: Yes, unless that in the future they could be phenomenally observable, measurable and experienceable, at least indirectly through some model.

Jacobsen: If these three criteria seem like the case, perhaps, we should far more emphasize the plausible, the verifiable, and the falsifiable, while utilizing the possible and implausible as points of reflection as in an intellectual exercise without taking them too seriously because of the more substantive and serious nature of the latter aforementioned categories?

Sorensen: It seems to me, that this is an intellectually obtuse deduction. I think that the three criteria indicated, are intellectually serious in an empirical context, therefore, outside of there they would no longer be, which in fact does not mean neither that they are the only ones in that context. On the other hand, I do not see why these could be more serious and substantive, than an intellectual exercise, where I suppose that what is meant by the latter, is a syllogistic verification, where if the former refers to plausibility, the latter does something analogous when they refer to validity. In consequence neither by one nor the other, not even through falsification, are capable of pronouncing about the veracity of something. I also believe that by reducing everything that could potentially exist, to the positum, is almost the same, as to imagine that the problem of infidelity that a man lives with his wife, is going to be solved, when he sells the couch where he surprised her with its lover. In this way, these criteria, used as a syrup that cures all ills, more than serious and substantive, they seem to me to be deniers of any evidence. In addition, apparently it’s forgotten, that their applicability is with respect to knowledge, and in particular to that which is scientific. Consequently, if it is intended to take them to an ontological plane, so that they can pronounce themselves regarding the possibility of being of something, that’s equivalent to demanding them, something for which they do not have the capacity to respond, and besides theoretically speaking it shows a confusional psychic state.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Christian is a Philosopher that comes from Belgium. What identifies him the most and above all is simplicity, for everything is better with “vanilla flavour.” Perhaps, for this reason, his intellectual passion is criticism and irony, in the sense of trying to reveal what “hides behind the mask,” and give birth to the true. For him, ignorance and knowledge never “cross paths.” What he likes the most in his leisure time, is to go for a walk with his wife.

Rick G. Rosner, according to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.”

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics [Online].July 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, July 8). Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and MetaphysicsRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, July. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (July 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and MetaphysicsIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and MetaphysicsIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):July. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Ask Two Geniuses: Conversation with Christian Sorensen and Rick Rosner on Physics and Metaphysics [Internet]. (2020, June 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorensen-rosner.

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