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  #121  
Old 02-02-2011
FrankJ FrankJ is offline
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Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
Yes, most likely. But the same will happen to Lawrence responses. We are in the same boat here.
And consider this:

Science also cannot answer 'some legitimate question such as how and why hip drive contributes to propulsion, and why spearing at one angle works better than at others.'
Too complex.
Which doesn't mean that the discussion here is useless, on the contrary. It is good to get an approximation as close as possible, and I think a lot of important aspects did pop up.
But if we deny experience in a complex situation such as swimming we will completely miss the point. We would discuss a Fata Morgana then.

We try to find the explanation for something that works. Developing an explanation first and then try if it works will not neccessarily fail, but in this case the explanation(s) - or science - itself is too vague to be able to base anything on it.
I will get back soon. Ironically, I'm in the middle of an experiment to explain some complex phenomenon (muscle wasting). Maybe I should give up and go down to the pub.
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  #122  
Old 02-02-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Originally Posted by fjconti72 View Post
I will get back soon. Ironically, I'm in the middle of an experiment to explain some complex phenomenon (muscle wasting). Maybe I should give up and go down to the pub.
Money wasting...

Last edited by haschu33 : 02-02-2011 at 11:51 AM.
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  #123  
Old 02-02-2011
terry terry is offline
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FJConti (Francesco from the UK, right?)
Your research on muscle-wasting is like, well, searching for a cancer cure. Massive resources will be invested in it and success - following the right path -- is critical to continued investment and finding the cure.

For that reason, rigorous science is essential.

In pursuit of swimming improvement, explanations from science compel the interest of some, increase the motivation of others, and can even help to dispel the reliance of a large part of the swimming world on blind orthodoxy or what I sometimes call 'magical thinking.'

In replying to Lawrence I was in no way minimizing the value of scientific inquiry or explanation. Rather I was pointing out that a grasp of Newton's Laws, for instance, could never result in greater stroke efficiency, or a more pleasurable swimming experience. Those can only come from experience and intuition -- of which it seemed Lawrence had been dismissive.

And as Haschu cited from my earlier post, even those who study the hydrodynamics of fish swimming have admitted a lot of what they have observed eludes explanation because the behavior of bodies in water remains a bit of a mystery.

As you also know, my interest in your field - neurobiology - remains keen because the tangibility of changes in brain infrastructure has the potential to be really empowering for people who have thought that genetic traits have destined them to limited accomplishment in swimming as in other fields.

Igniting the spark of possibility is exciting.

I've quoted a post by Haschu from this thread in a second consecutive blog.

Haschu, keep posting; you're providing some of my best material.
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  #124  
Old 02-02-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Do we want to contribute to clarification, or do we only want to prove that we are right?

Is there a difference? If we prove we are right then we must be right. If we are right then we must have said something true. If we have said something true then I would say we have contributed to clarification.

If the point being made is that disagreement isn't allowed on this forum, or that all insights must be intuitive, why not say so?

To repeat, this thread began with a report of insights from an engineer. Now it seems scientific views aren't really welcome on this forum and what's important is feeling one's way to being a great swimmer. I too would rather feel my way to being a great swimmer than understand the physics of it. But that isn't the thread topic. And if you want an engineering/scientific thread, don't be surprised if people get told they're talking rubbish when they are. We could instead decide it's more important to protect people's feelings (if they are that fragile) and never call a spade a spade, but I, and I would hope others, would want the board to aim higher than that.

For what it's worth, my day job is based on analysis. The aim is to get it right. If I make a mistake I want to spot it or have someone point it out, not protect me from the actuality. If it goes unnoticed then the work product is demeaned and so is my professional development. I take the same approach to swimming and don't apologise for doing so. If people are going to get offended for being told they're not making sense, they might want to ask themselves why.
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  #125  
Old 02-02-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Rather I was pointing out that a grasp of Newton's Laws, for instance, could never result in greater stroke efficiency, or a more pleasurable swimming experience. Those can only come from experience and intuition -- of which it seemed Lawrence had been dismissive.
Terry, I can't let this go without replying. It is surely a bizarre position to take.

Minor point: I have said repeatedly that I am open to all leads when it comes to trying to understand how swimming works. How that can be classed as dismissive, I don't understand. I may as well add that, as I think you have yourself pointed out on many occasions, intuition can be a poor guide to swimming (which is why most people left to their own devices raise the head, over-extend, windmill, splash and kick furiously).

Major point: consider the following assertion:

A grasp of biomechanical laws could never result in greater running efficiency, or a more pleasurable running experience. Those can only come from experience and intuition.

Or this one:

A grasp of nutritional science could never result in greater athletic efficiency, or a more pleasurable athletic experience. Those can only come from experience and intuition.

Do these sound convincing?

To return to swimming, it is surely possible that an engineer will one day model a particular swimming stroke on a computer, and notice that the model makes predictions about how to adjust stroke to enhance efficiency, where such adjustments are not seen in real swimmers. He might then show the model to some real swimmers and suggest they try out the adjustments. The adjustments might work. What is outlandish about that?

I recall an underwater shot from the 2000 Olympics which showed a swimmer doing dolphin undulations after pushing off the wall and before breaking the surface (I can't remember whether she was on her back or front but it doesn't matter). In the slow-motion replay the commentary team went wild when, with the benefit of some gadgetry that allowed zooming in on any part of the slow-motion footage, they noticed that the swimmer was, in addition to everything else she was doing, twirling her index fingers in circles.

That innovation may have been the result of intuition and her own experience of pool practice. I would bet a large sum it was instead the product of an engineering analysis done by someone else on dry land.

Last edited by Lawrence : 02-02-2011 at 03:19 PM.
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  #126  
Old 02-02-2011
borate borate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjm View Post
Suppose you could explain swimming via a scientific theory, consider this:

Scientific theories are always considered to be “works in
progress.” No scientist worth his/her salt is ever going to say,
“This is a FACT” to be carved in stone forever.
Let's talk Global Warming. ^_^ (On second thought, let's not.)
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  #127  
Old 02-02-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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I can't see the point mjm is making. We can agree that both science and intuition are capable of being mistaken. So?
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  #128  
Old 02-02-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjm View Post
The debate has been at times fascinating but the atmosphere has become a little heavy. Maybe I speak only for myself but I get turned off when people take themselves or their theories a little too seriously--
Ok, hope this is not ading some more heavyness ;-)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Do we want to contribute to clarification, or do we only want to prove that we are right?

Is there a difference?
YES.
When you aim for clarity you might not insist on something, even if it is right, when it brings confusion and not clarity in a certain situation. Yes, this can happen. If you want to be right you are preoccupied and will not be open to other possibilities.
Basically the world we live in is not 'carved in stone' as mjm said. It is ever changing and based on our perception. What is right today might not be right tomorrow.

Quote:
If we prove we are right then we must be right. If we are right then we must have said something true. If we have said something true then I would say we have contributed to clarification....
In a complex environment you cannot really prove you are right and you cannot really prove you are wrong.

Disagreement is completely ok on this forum (Terry can correct me if he doesn't think so, but I would be surprised...)
Scientific insights are completely ok. No one said that insights must be intuitive. What was said is that they shouldn't get ruled out.
To aim at being right works in a very limited and clearly defined environment only.
Consider this: take a cigarette (a burning cigarette ;-) ) and hold it in your hand. Indoors. Keep it still. You will notice that the smoke rises quite straight for a while. Than it suddenly gets distorted, draws strange figures, gets chaotic and eventually dissolves completely. Years ago I read somewhere that no computer model exists to simulate that smoke. Too complex. Air and water have a lot in common: they can stream around objects, they can flow. That's why both are called 'liquids' and hydrodynamics apply to both quite much alike.
Take swimming: it is by factors more complex than the smoke of a cigarette.
The problem quite simply is complexity.

And, Lawrence, I want to mention that I appreciate your posts here, you are a major driving force for this and other threads. So, no problem...
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  #129  
Old 02-02-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borate View Post
Let's talk Global Warming. ^_^ (On second thought, let's not.)
Thanks god...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
I can't see the point mjm is making. We can agree that both science and intuition are capable of being mistaken. So?
Let's keep investigating...
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  #130  
Old 02-02-2011
FrankJ FrankJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
Yes, most likely. But the same will happen to Lawrence responses. We are in the same boat here.
And consider this:

Science also cannot answer 'some legitimate question such as how and why hip drive contributes to propulsion, and why spearing at one angle works better than at others.'
Too complex.

Which doesn't mean that the discussion here is useless, on the contrary. It is good to get an approximation as close as possible, and I think a lot of important aspects did pop up.
But if we deny experience in a complex situation such as swimming we will completely miss the point. We would discuss a Fata Morgana then.

We try to find the explanation for something that works. Developing an explanation first and then try if it works will not neccessarily fail, but in this case the explanation(s) - or science - itself is too vague to be able to base anything on it.
Science can address problems and provide models for phenomena WAY more complex than how a dolphin or a sardine or a can of tuna moves through the water (incidentally, I related this thing of science being too vague for such complex issues to a colleague of mine who is a physicist. It caused him a seizure)

In any case, let's assume you are correct. This also relating to your previous post where you stated that we don't follow Newton when swimming. Then could you please explain what laws are in action while we are in the water. I'm looking forward to your reply.

(By the way, as I am not a physicist, I asked. The response of my colleague was that motion of a body in water can be modeled very well. Even turbulence, which I though was problematic, can apparently be taken into account)

I expect the response not to be vague, like science is. In the meantime, as we will be at the dawn of a new era of thought, I’ll go and burn my instruments, and leave the problems of neurobiology to intuition.
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