Black Hornbill, Greater Kruger Park, 2008
Hanging out with friends Jake Leachman and Kevin Vixie. While I was in the bathroom, these two — my fellow mechanical engineering prof, and Big Data mathematician, came up with a great discriminator — guiding principles can’t be proven or disproven. You can’t disprove calculus. It works for a range of estimation, and gives answers with a range of validity and reliability dependent on the problem.
Algorithms can be, of course, proven or disproven, and as such are a limited metacognitive set. Their reach is by necessity bounded. Guiding principles are metacognitively open systems. I’m sure this goes back to Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem. The other thing to ponder philosophically is how this meshes with the receptivity of given social organizations to either recognize knowledge boundaries or embrace wisdom.
So if you’re looking for a proof for Spiral Dynamics, or my own augmented version of Empathetic Evolution, well, good luck! They’re supposed to be open systems, and they just make things simpler. I’m also going to lean on Jake to write up the original Boltzmann/Ernst Mach conflict regarding the existence of atoms in the comments. It falls out along this lines.