A Tale of Two World Views: How Language and Science Collide! Only Open-Form Words Can Rescue Science from Closed-Form Scientism


The working title for this forthcoming book (~2017) is tentative.

Feedback is ubiquitous and provides for the emergence of an infinite amount of change and complexity. However, the power to explain change in simple terms requires an open-form language that harnesses feedback, e.g., as used in the “hard science” of Physics. However, the “softer sciences” (and philosophy) continue to apply closed-form thinking – language and meaning that fundamentally disallows feedback – to the problem of change. It is an unfortunate mathematical fact that, at best, closed-form concepts lead to an endless set of local re-descriptions that over time and in hindsight, amount to scientism. Moreover, each closed-form approximation also requires an infinite set of terms to improve local precision. This book highlights the differences between these two epistomologies – languages for theorizing about change – and attempts to harden the soft sciences by converting closed-form thinking to open-form. It amounts to a revolution from the current linguistic turn (which happens to be closed), to an open one.

Infinity Dragons by Dan Morris (2010)The “naturallanguage of continuous change is of a system of interacting open-form expressions that harness feedback. They are epitomized by “dynamics” – the partial differential equations of modern physics – and were critical to overcoming the closed-form limitations of natural language. That, and the search for universal laws, i.e., invariants not relative to local contexts, permitted Physics to become a “hard science“, a unified science.

The Tower of Babel by Pieter BruegelHowever, the “softer sciences” (and philosophy) are replete with the closed-form conceptions of natural language. The closed-form problem stems from the dictionary style hierarchically structured definitions of words that does not allow for feedback. These do not have the power to explain change in a unified manner, and can only allow for an endless and infinite variety of local re-descriptions – the hallmark of scientism. Indeed, that is why the search for unification and external validity is given such short thrift in the soft sciences – they are mathematically impossible.

David’s book exposes the linguistic flaw within the soft sciences and philosophy. All the assumptions withing the closed-form linguistic turn are exposed, and this allows the move to the open-form linguistic turn to begin. The hardening of soft sciences demands it. The search for unification can now begin with a firm foundation.

Research Projects:

MinIdent – A Data Base for Minerals and a FORTRAN 77 Program for Their Identification – A Reference Manual

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1987) MinIdent – A Data Base for Minerals and a FORTRAN 77 Program for Their Identification – A Reference Manual, xiv-127. Department of Geology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. [doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.1815.9841] (pdf)

Smith & Leibovitz (1987) MinIdent Reference Manual- A Data Base for Minerals and a FORTRAN 77 Program for Their IdentificationAbstract: Minldent is an interactive mineral identification and mineral data base management program written in FORTRAN 77. The data base contains compositional, optical and other parameters describing more than 3700 minerals. The data base management aspect of the program will not be used by the general user. It contains facilities to modify the data base through additions, deletions, etc. The normal usage consists of the following steps:

  1. entering data for a mineral to be identified (the unknown) or entering search criteria.
  2. identifying the mineral, or matching minerals meeting the search criteria.
  3. displaying data for specified, identified or matched minerals.

MinIdent-PCThis manual assumes the reader is already familiar to some extent with Minldent. It contains all the terms that may be explained via the ? / HELP / EXPLAIN commands.


MinIdent User’s Manual. A FORTRAN 77 program for mineral identification

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1986) MinIdent User’s Manual. A FORTRAN 77 program for mineral identification, pp. vii-88. Computing Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. [doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2733.4882] (pdf)

Smith & Leibovitz (1986) MinIdent User's Manual- A FORTRAN 77 Program for Mineral IdentificationAbstract: MinIdent is a mineral identification software used in mineralogy. The original Command-line interface (CLI) program was written in FORTRAN and ran on a mainframe computer. It was later ported to a PC. This manual forms the user’s guide (UG) for the original version. The current version of the MinIdent-Win software has a graphical user interface (GUI) and is available at www.micronex.ca.