[ExI] Physics versus psychology

Richard Loosemore rpwl at lightlink.com
Fri Oct 22 21:06:45 UTC 2010

BillK wrote:
> On Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 8:24 PM, Richard Loosemore  wrote:
>> The boundaries between cognitive psychology and neuroscience are far from
>> clear, and cognitive psychologists are flocking to the borderland as fast as
>> they can.
> OK. Discussing exactly what neuroscientists or AI researchers are
> doing at present as opposed to a few years ago is not really relevant
> to my original point.
> The point is comparing the 'hard' sciences with the 'soft' sciences.
> (Check Wikipedia for definitions)  ;)
> psi is a 'soft' science. (Many people don't even accept it as a science at all).
> psi is investigated by psychologists as well as others. psi research
> does not involve billion dollar investments in technical machines. So
> to researchers contemplating their future career, they will generally
> not want to enter a field where there is little financial investment.
> That was the point of my comment on Damien's remark.
> (Of course I appreciate that psychology or psi research involves a bit
> more than 'people chatting'. But it is a bit different from building
> the Large Hadron Collider).

Ah, clarification accepted.

I as really looking at your comment as "psychology (GENERALLY) = people 

But if you meant "parapsychology (SPECIFICALLY) = people chatting" ..... 
well, still that is very far from accurate, as Damien pointed out, but 
my comments don't apply to that statement.

Damien's general point is pretty accurate though.  If you took all the 
work from the LHC and other particle detectors, and you looked ahead, 
say, 50 years, you might find nothing much of practical use comes out of 
it except happier (?) physicists.  I know what my professors were doing 
at UCL back in 1980, and I've got a pretty good idea how many fantastic 
applications have come out of their muon and Higgs Boson hunts in the 
years since then ... I mean, uh, sorry folks, but that would be zip!

But if someone discovered that there was some *bizarre* way to get 
information back from the future, a discovery like that would be so 
radical that it *could* actually open a slew of new applications ... 
potentially more than from the LHC.

But I am tired of the discussion now (as I am sure are you, and many 
others!), because speculating about the relative payback of different 
lines of scientific enquiry is pretty much a crap shoot.  I happen to 
think that psi is underfunded and particle physics is massively 
overfunded, but I would not for a moment argue that the budget numbers 
should just be swapped between the two!  :-)

Heck, I just want people to fund artificial general intelligence, never 
mind the particle physicists and the psi researchers.

Richard Loosemore

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