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Warren Platts
2007-Aug-30, 02:58 PM
This question keeps popping up in numerous threads, particularly in the common anathema that a particular position is "unscientific", though such a position might be held by otherwise respectable scientists. So I figure we might as well duke it out in a separate thread in order to settle the matter once and for all.

Here's Judge Overton's take in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mclean-v-arkansas.html):


[T]he essential characteristics of science are:
(1) It is guided by natural law;
(2) It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law;
(3) It is testable against the empirical world;
(4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
(5) It is falsifiable. . . .

Of these, I would only consider (3) to be essential. . . . :whistle:

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 03:44 PM
What is Science (http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/what_is_science.html), you ask?

hhEb09'1
2007-Aug-30, 03:56 PM
What is Science (http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/what_is_science.html), you ask?One of my faves. Here's his synopsis:
Then a way of avoiding the disease was discovered. This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio again from experience what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race['s] experience from the past. I see it that way. That is my best definition.Skepticism, in other words.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-30, 04:09 PM
This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio again from experience what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. Sounds good to me as long as "experience" is taken to be empirical experience, rather than, say, mystical experience. That's an open, pluralistic definition that allows maximum freedom of inquiry.

But somehow I'll bet that KenG won't find it entirely satisfying since Intelligent Design theory and the Anthropic Principle could be construed as real science under Feynman's definition. . . . :silenced:

Cougar
2007-Aug-30, 04:34 PM
This question keeps popping up in numerous threads, particularly in the common anathema that a particular position is "unscientific", though such a position might be held by otherwise respectable scientists. So I figure we might as well duke it out in a separate thread in order to settle the matter once and for all.
I can't imagine much "duking" is needed. Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science) has a pretty good definition of science and quite a bit of discussion. Scientists are generally not too interested in philosophy.

Ken G
2007-Aug-30, 04:37 PM
But somehow I'll bet that KenG won't find it entirely satisfying since Intelligent Design theory and the Anthropic Principle could be construed as real science under Feynman's definition. . . .
Excellent thread, Warren.

You are certainly correct that the judge's definition of science is far more complete than Feynman's, but this does not leave me unsatisfied-- I love Feynman precisely because his goal is never to supply a complete or exhaustive view of anything, it is to supply a blindingly simple flash of insight that makes sense of the complete and exhaustive definition. That's just what Feynman always does, and this is perfectly par for the course. It would be missing the point entirely to substitute Feynman's definition for a complete definition of what we call science, just as his book on QED would never pass as a graduate textbook in that subject. I suspect, with Cougar, that Wiki's discussion of what science is is most likely a pretty good and fairly complete reference on that topic, but I will never miss a word by Feynman to help me make sense of the whys.

By the way, Feynman goes on to talk about science as a means for making sure you don't fool yourself, recognizing that you are the easiest person to fool. That's just brilliant, and puts both ID and anthropic thinking into its proper perspective, I would say. This is the point I have been making-- the test of science is not whether or not it affords you with a warm fuzzy feeling of understanding something, it is whether or not you can make a testable prediction that actually plays out. The understanding is a kind of byproduct that is still an important piece, and is the motivation for Occam's Razor, but it cannot be the sole content. If it is, then you have philosophy not science.

Jerry
2007-Aug-30, 04:49 PM
Scientists are generally not too interested in philosophy.
That is silly, Cougar. Science, the definition and such, are subsets of philosophy. The scientific method is a philosophical argument. Objectivity, observation, validity, nullification, induction, deduction, experimentation are all philosophically derived 'tools' used in science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science

Cougar
2007-Aug-30, 04:52 PM
...Intelligent Design theory and the Anthropic Principle could be construed as real science under Feynman's definition. . . . :silenced:
I didn't really see much of a "definition of science" from that Feynman presentation, so how can you back up your claim?

Intelligent Design is not a theory and is not science. Again, Wiki has a decent discussion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design), part of which states:


Intelligent design is the claim that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, modified to avoid specifying the nature or identity of the designer. Its primary proponents, all of whom are associated with the Discovery Institute, believe the designer to be God. Intelligent design's advocates claim it is a scientific theory, and seek to fundamentally redefine science to accept supernatural explanations.

The unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that "intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life" are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have termed it pseudoscience. Others have concurred, and some have called it junk science.

hhEb09'1
2007-Aug-30, 05:08 PM
I didn't really see much of a "definition of science" from that Feynman presentation, Do you mean, not one that you agree with?

Ken G
2007-Aug-30, 05:20 PM
In my view, Feynman's goal in "defining" science as he does is quite similar to his discussion of "energy". He mentions that at some point, you do have to define energy, and use the term in a jargony kind of way among other practitioners who have gone through the same process, but he doesn't feel it should be the first thing you do when you try to explain something. So Feynman is looking for the first thing you should do when you try to understand what science is, and that is not quite the same thing as a "definition", even though he uses that word. In his presentation, he is not interested in the formal definition of science, because it is not his goal to be able to say if ID or anthropic thinking are science, his goal is to try and see what science is at its most fundamental level. That in turn can be used to go on and find a more formal definition, which is useful for treating explicit examples. And by the way, Feynman's characterization of science as a kind of form of constrained skepticism is entirely consistent with my assertions that anthropic thinking is not science, expressly because gaining a warm fuzzy feeling of understanding something without testing is just about the biggest target there is when it comes to the need for skepticism.

Cougar
2007-Aug-30, 05:34 PM
Scientists are generally not too interested in philosophy.That is silly, Cougar.
Call it what you like, but it is generally true. What's there to ponder and investigate about formal logic? If A implies B and B implies C, then A implies C. This is a tool used by scientists, not a field of investigation.... (well, except in rare cases. See Keith Devlin (http://literati.net/Devlin/DevlinReviews.htm), and Goodbye, Descartes in particular).

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-30, 05:40 PM
Like most scientists, and probably most people, Feyman is more interested in showing the wonder of how science works, than on formalising what it is. Personally, I think that both questions are valuable, but the former is often the most illuminating, even as a tentative reply to the latter.

Although the philosophy of science is one of my guilty pleasures, I must observe that it tends to be more reactive than creative.

Cougar
2007-Aug-30, 05:57 PM
I didn't really see much of a "definition of science" from that Feynman presentation...Do you mean, not one that you agree with?
No. Of course I agree with most of what Feynman has ever said, and I've read most of what he wrote, which unfortunately isn't that much. I ALWAYS remember and totally agree with his story about the names of birds....



Monday, we were playing in the fields and this boy said to me, "See that bird standing on the stump there? What's the name of it?"

I said, "I haven't got the slightest idea."

He said, "It’s a brown-throated thrush. Your father doesn't teach you much about science."

I smiled to myself, because my father had already taught me that [the name] doesn't tell me anything about the bird. He taught me "See that bird? It's a brown-throated thrush, but in Germany it's called a halsenflugel, and in Chinese they call it a chung ling and even if you know all those names for it, you still know nothing about the bird--you only know something about people; what they call that bird. Now that thrush sings, and teaches its young to fly, and flies so many miles away during the summer across the country, and nobody knows how it finds its way," and so forth. There is a difference between the name of the thing and what goes on.

The result of this is that I cannot remember anybody's name, and when people discuss physics with me they often are exasperated when they say "the Fitz-Cronin effect," and I ask "What is the effect?" and I can't remember the name.
Feynman's presentation is a great talk with many good lessons, but essentially, well, it's too long and variously focused to be a "definition of science."

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-30, 06:06 PM
Scientists are generally not too interested in philosophy.Scientists ignore philosophy at their own peril; whatever science is, we can be sure that it is a subset of philosophy. After all, if you get a Ph.D. in a science, what does the "Ph" stand for?


I didn't really see much of a "definition of science" from that Feynman presentation, so how can you back up your claim?
From hhEb09'1's post:

This is to doubt that what is being passed from the past is in fact true, and to try to find out ab initio again from experience what the situation is, rather than trusting the experience of the past in the form in which it is passed down. And that is what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race['s] experience from the past.


Intelligent Design is not a theory and is not science. Again, Wiki has a decent discussion, part of which states:Well, it's not very comfortable having to defend ID theory, but after all, they're just doing what Feynman suggests by taking a fresh look at Darwinism and making sure that it can really explain everything previous generations told us it could. Just because ID theory will most likely turn out to be false, at least with respect to biological evolution, that in itself doesn't make ID theory unscientific. If anything, ID has spurred evolutionary research into things like cilia and thus has indirectly contributed to true scientific progress.

As for the wiki article:


Intelligent design is the claim that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." Certainly human artifacts are "features" of the universe, and they were clearly intelligently designed. And their (the Ideists') fundamental question: What would be the difference between an intelligently designed organism versus a naturally evolved organism is a worthwhile question. I mean, if you found some Roundup-Ready soy beans, how could you tell they were genetically engineered and not naturally evolved if you did not know for sure ahead of time that Roundup-Ready soy beans were in fact genetically engineered?


It is a modern form of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, modified to avoid specifying the nature or identity of the designer. Its primary proponents, all of whom are associated with the Discovery Institute, believe the designer to be God. Intelligent design's advocates claim it is a scientific theory, and seek to fundamentally redefine science to accept supernatural explanations.Before Darwin, ID theory (e.g., Paley's Natural Theology) was all there was. One could have maintained Hume's skepticism regarding ID, but there was no positive alternative at the time. So if ID theory was scientific back in 1850, then why isn't it now?


The unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that "intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life" are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have termed it pseudoscience. Others have concurred, and some have called it junk science.Instead of hurling insults, my advice to the opponents of ID is to simply say it's false.

mugaliens
2007-Aug-30, 06:41 PM
A judge is defining science?

I've read too many stories about how they do not even properly interpret even very clearly written legislation.

Something like an American Science Institute, composed of bona-fide scientists, should have stepped in with a sworn affadavit signed by all the scientists which said, "Science is x..."

Oh, that's right - sworn affadavits are no longer allowed in most courtrooms, so everyone has to appear in person to be "deposed" by both sides in a very lengthy and costly process...

And, uh, well, yeah, the other thing. Judges are lawyers first, the ones who write the laws in the first place.

Uhm, ... yeah.

I think I've pretty much figured out why a judge is spending perhaps several hundred thousand dollars of everyone's time and money deciding on the definition of science instead of simply taking 5 minutes and referring to the dictionary (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/science)or just looking it up on a reliable encyclopedia, if a more precise definition is needed.

mugaliens
2007-Aug-30, 06:49 PM
Before Darwin, ID theory (e.g., Paley's Natural Theology) was all there was. One could have maintained Hume's skepticism regarding ID, but there was no positive alternative at the time. So if ID theory was scientific back in 1850, then why isn't it now?

Excellent question, Warren. It's because of the paradigm shifts in science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_paradigm_shifts_in_science).

Also, excellent advice to just say "no." Sadly, when the local majority wants to change the science textbooks and my son Johnny will get his head crammed with nonsense, sometimes you have to do a bit more, like take things to (ugh) court.

Ken G
2007-Aug-30, 07:06 PM
Scientists ignore philosophy at their own peril; whatever science is, we can be sure that it is a subset of philosophy. After all, if you get a Ph.D. in a science, what does the "Ph" stand for?
Good point. I agree that philosophy and its methodologies are a crucial part of defining what science is, but at that point you leave philosophy behind and start doing science. If you then begin re-integrating philosophy into the science itself, you are doing what I call natural philosophy, and I would say that the exclusion of natural philosophy from science was its largest step forward over the last 400 years, and is largely responsible for science's great gains in that period.



Certainly human artifacts are "features" of the universe, and they were clearly intelligently designed. And their (the Ideists') fundamental question: What would be the difference between an intelligently designed organism versus a naturally evolved organism is a worthwhile question. I mean, if you found some Roundup-Ready soy beans, how could you tell they were genetically engineered and not naturally evolved if you did not know for sure ahead of time that Roundup-Ready soy beans were in fact genetically engineered?
This point is well taken, and shows that the Wiki article is incomplete. But what completes the picture is what I said before-- to be science, you need more than a hypothesis, you need some evidence that supports the hypothesis and some way to subject the hypothesis to further sincere scientific testing. Those are the areas where ID falls apart, not in the hypothesis itself (indeed it is the form of the hypothesis that separates ID from old creationism, but it still doesn't make it science to be able to formulate a scientific-sounding hypothesis).


Before Darwin, ID theory (e.g., Paley's Natural Theology) was all there was. One could have maintained Hume's skepticism regarding ID, but there was no positive alternative at the time. So if ID theory was scientific back in 1850, then why isn't it now?Because the separation from natural philosophy was still not complete by that time. It was a long process, and still isn't finished-- indeed, it is lately showing some signs of backsliding. That's my objection with both sides of the most vocal elements of the ID debate.

mugaliens
2007-Aug-30, 07:32 PM
But what completes the picture is what I said before-- to be science, you need more than a hypothesis, you need some evidence that supports the hypothesis and some way to subject the hypothesis to further sincere scientific testing.

Science is a collection of many fields of study. What you're talking about is merely one tool, the scientific method, which is use throughout those fields of study.

Intuition is another tool, which is how most of mankind came up with an hypothesis to test in the first place.

Science existed long before the scientific method was added to the toolbox, and I would stipulate that one of, if not the most fundamental tools in that box is observation, not because it's necessarily the first step (we test for things all the time that we can't observe) but because the first scientist observed something the others around him did not, such as, possibly, when he kept his meat next to the fire it tasted better warm than cold.

Celestial Mechanic
2007-Aug-30, 07:38 PM
Good point. I agree that philosophy and its methodologies are a crucial part of defining what science is, but at that point you leave philosophy behind and start doing science. If you then begin re-integrating philosophy into the science itself, you are doing what I call natural philosophy, and I would say that the exclusion of natural philosophy from science was its largest step forward over the last 400 years, and is largely responsible for science's great gains in that period. [Snip!]
:clap:

Cougar
2007-Aug-30, 09:00 PM
Scientists ignore philosophy at their own peril....
I don't think too many scientists are shaking in their boots.


....whatever science is, we can be sure that it is a subset of philosophy.
Ken said it pretty well, as emphasized by Celestial Mechanic. "Philosophy" is more like ground work. After it's laid down, it's mostly forgotten and the real work on the structure begins.


After all, if you get a Ph.D. in a science, what does the "Ph" stand for?
Oh, that's just a frozen historical accident.


Well, it's not very comfortable having to defend ID theory...
And it shouldn't be! :)


...they're just doing what Feynman suggests by taking a fresh look at Darwinism and making sure that it can really explain everything previous generations told us it could.
They are not! It's a directed effort to get the Christian God into the curriculum of U.S. public schools. It's a political movement. Wake up!


Just because ID theory will most likely turn out to be false....
It can't even be false because it's not a theory.


....that in itself doesn't make ID theory unscientific.
Four Things That Do Make Intelligent Design Unscientific. (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001.html)



Instead of hurling insults, my advice to the opponents of ID is to simply say it's false.
Wrong. That would imply it is a falsifiable theory, which it is not. Dude, what happened to your strong philosophical foundation? :naughty:

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-30, 09:54 PM
Well, it's not very comfortable having to defend ID theory, but after all, they're just doing what Feynman suggests by taking a fresh look at Darwinism and making sure that it can really explain everything previous generations told us it could.


If all they did was to taking a "fresh look at Darwinism" I'd be thrilled. What they are actually doing is making invalid arguments against mainstream evolution and declaring that this criticism somehow supports ID.

Further, the motives of major players in the U.S. have been shown over and over again to based on getting religion into public school science classes.



Certainly human artifacts are "features" of the universe, and they were clearly intelligently designed. And their (the Ideists') fundamental question: What would be the difference between an intelligently designed organism versus a naturally evolved organism is a worthwhile question.


That depends on how the question is asked. If you're asking for evidence of evolution, that's one thing, and is abundent. There is, of course, the fossil record, genetic evidence (which shows a lot of "junk" DNA, not something I'd expect to be designed in), many examples of where there would be a very obvious, much more straightforward "design" than what has evolved, etc.

If you're asking how would I prove, absolutely, that there wasn't design, I'd call it an "invisible elf" question. I'd just ask back how you would prove, absolutely, that we didn't just wink into existence fully formed a second ago, complete with memories?



I mean, if you found some Roundup-Ready soy beans, how could you tell they were genetically engineered and not naturally evolved if you did not know for sure ahead of time that Roundup-Ready soy beans were in fact genetically engineered?


If your asking how would I detect the very small modification to a naturally occurring species (because we certainly did not design soy beans), I'd look for similar genes in closely related species. I'd also look to see if there was an apparent use for the gene in the natural environment.



Instead of hurling insults, my advice to the opponents of ID is to simply say it's false.

What do you think was an insult in that statement? I don't see it.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-30, 10:56 PM
Excellent question, Warren. It's because of the paradigm shifts in science (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_paradigm_shifts_in_science).

Also, excellent advice to just say "no." Sadly, when the local majority wants to change the science textbooks and my son Johnny will get his head crammed with nonsense, sometimes you have to do a bit more, like take things to (ugh) court.
But see, that's the thing: fundamentalist Christians (among others) will say that you are cramming their children's heads with nonsense. As Quine pointed out half a century ago, the truth of any sentence can be maintained "come what may" as long as one is willing to alter the truth-values of enough other sentences within one's linguistic framework that constitutes one's theory of life, the universe, and everything. Therefore, even young Earth creationism cannot be logically falsified--just as the idea that I might be a brain in a vat and all of you are mere inputs that some evil demon is sending into my poor brain cannot be logically falsified. Though I am not much of a believer myself, I do not take much pleasure in disenchanting other true believers. I'm like Voltaire: even though I'm not much of a believer, I would maintain a chapel on my estate, play chess with the local priest, and I would wish that all the rest of my neighbors would be true believers because they would be less likely to steal from me or otherwise cause mischief. Plato himself argued for the pedogogic value of teaching "noble lies" to the youth of his time. You've got to ask yourself whether today's youth suffer from too much or too little moral instruction. Me, personally, I never had any instruction regarding evolution until college just because of the controvery. Given the choice, I think it's better to study both evolution and ID theory rather than neither; teach the controversy--that's what I say. If by teaching ID theory a few kids are able to maintain their religious beliefs that they might otherwise lose, well, what's wrong with that? Surely, they'll never grow up to be famous evolutionary biologists or philosophers of biology--but so what? They'll grow up to be great engineers, doctors, and businessmen instead--practical occupations that actually matter in real life! But in any case, given the uncertainty as to what constitutes science itself, dogmatic assertions that ID theory is not science will merely cause people to be skeptical of science.

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-30, 11:24 PM
But see, that's the thing: fundamentalist Christians (among others) will say that you are cramming their children's heads with nonsense.


Based on belief, not evidence.



As Quine pointed out half a century ago, the truth of any sentence can be maintained "come what may" as long as one is willing to alter the truth-values of enough other sentences within one's linguistic framework that constitutes one's theory of life, the universe, and everything. Therefore, even young Earth creationism cannot be logically falsified


That's another "invisible elf" argument. You really seem to like them. It isn't up to me to prove YEC wrong. The argument that a creator could have made the universe "just so" to appear as if it is billions of years old isn't falsifiable (as you said) and therefore not science. If they claim there is evidence for a falsifiable argument, then it is up to them to present it.



Given the choice, I think it's better to study both evolution and ID theory rather than neither; teach the controversy--that's what I say.


Even better is to teach evolution. ID isn't science, and it isn't a theory. It flatly does not belong in the science classroom.



If by teaching ID theory a few kids are able to maintain their religious beliefs that they might otherwise lose, well, what's wrong with that?


If by teaching the flat Earth "theory" a few kids are able to maintain their religious beliefs, what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that (a) it isn't science, and (b) if teaching science in the science classroom is going to interfere with someone's beliefs, that's just too bad. It isn't the science teacher's place to support everyone's (sometimes contradictory) beliefs.




But in any case, given the uncertainty as to what constitutes science itself, dogmatic assertions that ID theory is not science will merely cause people to be skeptical of science.

Only if they don't know what constitutes science. ID isn't falsifiable, and it isn't supported by evidence.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-30, 11:36 PM
That would imply [ID theory] is a falsifiable theory, which it is not. Dude, what happened to your strong philosophical foundation? Dude, ever heard of the Quine-Duhem thesis? Popper said that the confirmation of a hypothesis did not prove the hypothesis true--that would commit the fallacy of affirming the antecedant:

(p -> q) & q :. p

Because, after all, q could be true, yet have nothing to do with p.

But falsification! Now that's another story! Or so Popper thought:

(p -> q) & -q :. -p

Now that's a logically valid argument--otherwise known as modus tollens. . . . Unfortunately, it neglects certain auxiliary assumptions that are always present (and usually unmentioned if they are even known) in any given empirical, scientific experiment. Thus the logical equation then becomes:

((p & A1 & A2 & A3 & . . . An) -> q) & -q :. -p v (-A1 v -A2 v -A3 v . . . -An)

Therefore, either the main hypothesis is false--or any one of an unknown number of unknown auxiliary hypotheses is or are false. There's no telling which is the case just from the experiment.

So, ID theory can't be falsified, but then neither can Darwinism. . . . :sad:

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-30, 11:58 PM
So, ID theory can't be falsified, but then neither can Darwinism. . . . :sad:

Evolution is based on mutation and natural selection. It could be falsified by showing that these do not occur.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-30, 11:59 PM
If all they did was to taking a "fresh look at Darwinism" I'd be thrilled. What they are actually doing is making invalid arguments against mainstream evolution and declaring that this criticism somehow supports ID. Their arguments might be politically invalid, but they are certainly not logically invalid!


Further, the motives of major players in the U.S. have been shown over and over again to based on getting religion into public school science classes.OK. So? Even Ken agrees that born-again Baptist fundamentalists can still be great scientists. (I think Richard Smalley himself was a sincere Christian--and don't ever forget that he won that Nobel!)


If you're asking how would I prove, absolutely, that there wasn't design, I'd call it an "invisible elf" question. I'd just ask back how you would prove, absolutely, that we didn't just wink into existence fully formed a second ago, complete with memories? I agree. . . . :)


If your asking how would I detect the very small modification to a naturally occurring species (because we certainly did not design soy beans), I'd look for similar genes in closely related species. I'd also look to see if there was an apparent use for the gene in the natural environment.Excellent! And that's exactly what the ID folks are doing!


What do you think was an insult in that [Wikipedia] statement? I don't see it."Psuedoscience" and "junk science".

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-31, 12:01 AM
Evolution is based on mutation and natural selection. It could be falsified by showing that these do not occur.Were you ever there when a mutation occurred? Did you see it happen?

R.A.F.
2007-Aug-31, 12:19 AM
Given the choice, I think it's better to study both evolution and ID theory rather than neither; teach the controversy--that's what I say. If by teaching ID theory a few kids are able to maintain their religious beliefs that they might otherwise lose, well, what's wrong with that?

There's NO SUCH THING as "ID theory". Saying that there "is" is a misrepresentation designed only to confuse the issue.

Why would you post something so obviously incorrect??

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 12:28 AM
Their arguments might be politically invalid, but they are certainly not logically invalid!


They are scientifically and logically invalid. Their criticism of evolution has been found wanting and logically the idea that criticism of evolution supports ID is an example of the false dilemma falacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma). ID is not the only alternative to mainstream evolution.



OK. So?


I would have thought that was obvious. Their motive is to have religion taught in the science classroom. Do you want religion taught in the science classroom? If so, which religions should be allowed, and which should not? Where should we teach actual science?



Even Ken agrees that born-again Baptist fundamentalists can still be great scientists. (I think Richard Smalley himself was a sincere Christian--and don't ever forget that he won that Nobel!)


OK. So?



I agree. . . . :)


Agree with what? You do realize that I was not implying any "intelligent design"? My question was "How would you prove that we didn't just wink into existence?" No creator, no reason, it just happened. It is not a falsifiable argument. It does not have any evidence to support it. How is it different from ID?




Excellent! And that's exactly what the ID folks are doing!


Not from what I've seen.



"Psuedoscience" and "junk science".

How is that an insult? ID isn't science. It is Creationism with the serial numbers filed off.

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 12:37 AM
Were you ever there when a mutation occurred? Did you see it happen?

Yes, I've known people with cancer.

Assuming this was a serious question, there is all sorts of evidence of germline mutation. Experiments with radiation and fruit flies or mice are popular. See here for example:

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0147(195409%2F10)88%3A842%3C361%3ARIMRID%3E2.0.CO% 3B2-D

Nereid
2007-Aug-31, 12:44 AM
Dude, ever heard of the Quine-Duhem thesis? Popper said that the confirmation of a hypothesis did not prove the hypothesis true--that would commit the fallacy of affirming the antecedant:

(p -> q) & q :. p

Because, after all, q could be true, yet have nothing to do with p.

But falsification! Now that's another story! Or so Popper thought:

(p -> q) & -q :. -p

Now that's a logically valid argument--otherwise known as modus tollens. . . . Unfortunately, it neglects certain auxiliary assumptions that are always present (and usually unmentioned if they are even known) in any given empirical, scientific experiment. Thus the logical equation then becomes:

((p & A1 & A2 & A3 & . . . An) -> q) & -q :. -p v (-A1 v -A2 v -A3 v . . . -An)

Therefore, either the main hypothesis is false--or any one of an unknown number of unknown auxiliary hypotheses is or are false. There's no telling which is the case just from the experiment.

So, ID theory can't be falsified, but then neither can Darwinism. . . . :sad:Hmm ... may I infer from this that you have a certain, shall we say, attraction to falsificationism (whether naive or otherwise) as a science shibboleth?

Or was this intended to be some kind of 'internally inconsistent' sketch?

Nereid
2007-Aug-31, 12:48 AM
Scientists are generally not too interested in philosophy.Scientists ignore philosophy at their own peril; whatever science is, we can be sure that it is a subset of philosophy.

[snip]What is the peril that awaits a scientist who ignores philosophy?

Or did you mean it more as a comment on some abstract notion of the collective endeavours of millions of persons?

01101001
2007-Aug-31, 01:43 AM
Excuse me. When did Q&A turn into a place to advocate Intelligent Design?

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-31, 02:27 AM
Hmm ... may I infer from this that you have a certain, shall we say, attraction to falsificationism (whether naive or otherwise) as a science shibboleth?Right. This is a thread on the question as to what are the essential characteristics of science, and I don't think, because of the reasons I outlined above, that falsification is a necessary element.


Or was this intended to be some kind of 'internally inconsistent' sketch?Not exactly sure what you mean here. . . .


What is the peril that awaits a scientist who ignores philosophy?Merely philosophical peril. Probably no bridges will collapse or souls condemned to eternal perdition.


Or did you mean it more as a comment on some abstract notion of the collective endeavours of millions of persons?Cougar is no doubt correct that many, perhaps a majority, of scientists have little use for philosophy. I myself was once guilty of that conceit. I made it a point as a science major at the University of Chicago to not take a single philosophy course. But now I am kicking myself in the butt for not taking advantage of the wonderful minds there that I could have taken advantage of. So when I say that scientists who ignore philosophy do so at their own peril, I mean to say that they are selling themselves short, and that they are missing out on something of keen intellectual interest. Think of the great scientists of history; most of them were also first-rate philosophers. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living!"

R.A.F.
2007-Aug-31, 02:27 AM
Good question...

Lets see...ID isn't a theory, and it isn't science and it has no place being discussed on a part of the board reserved for questions about space and astronomy.

Does that about cover it??

edit to add...In answer to 01101001's question

R.A.F.
2007-Aug-31, 02:35 AM
I mean to say that they are selling themselves short, and that they are missing out on something of keen intellectual interest.

That is your opinion...an opinion I do not share.

If you find that you MUST discuss philosophy, then why not discuss it on a philosophy BB??

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-31, 02:39 AM
Excuse me. When did Q&A turn into a place to advocate Intelligent Design?
Like I said in my first post on the subject, I'm not comfortable defending ID--mainly because I don't believe in it. I'm just being the Devil's (or rather, God's) advocate. Even a guilty culprit deserves a good defense just in order to make sure that the prosecution does its job properly in proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. And I don't think the charge that ID is not science carries any water; it's mere jingoism.

Content yourselves with the thought that ID is simply false.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-31, 02:51 AM
If you find that you MUST discuss philosophy, then why not discuss it on a philosophy BB??
The question is What IS science? Since astronomy is a science, the question is relevant. But as I've argued, that question is not itself a scientific question. It's metascience, a.k.a. philosophy of science. However, I'd be happy to focus on more substantive talk on just what the scientific method is; however, I have been running myself ragged answering various people's philosophical questions--like yours! :lol:

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 03:09 AM
Excuse me. When did Q&A turn into a place to advocate Intelligent Design?

Good point. It went from a question about what constitutes science to ID advocacy. I think it's been made pretty clear why that isn't science, so it should be time to move on.

Ken G
2007-Aug-31, 03:13 AM
As Quine pointed out half a century ago, the truth of any sentence can be maintained "come what may" as long as one is willing to alter the truth-values of enough other sentences within one's linguistic framework that constitutes one's theory of life, the universe, and everything.The way I prefer to put a similar idea is, there is no such thing as a truth that is independent of the means chosen to establish that truth. That seems pretty obvious to me, as soon as one recognizes that means to establish truth are taken as assumptions that generate disciplines. Thus science has no monopoly on truth, but it does have a monopoly on scientific truth, and is the only means of connecting with all the benefits that accrue from the application of scientific truths. This is also why it is so important to tell what is science and what is not-- because what is scientific truth can claim brethrenship with all the other scientific truths that were established using a similar approach, whereas if we temporarily suspend scientific methodology in one particular area and still call the result a scientific result, we lose all those connections. Connectivity and self-consistency are the crucial pillars that underpin science, and that is why we must apply scientific standards and methodology in a consistent way across all subdisciplines, or our inferences are nothing but arbitrary opinions, like trying to put a second floor made of bricks on top of a first floor made of mud.

Therefore, even young Earth creationism cannot be logically falsifiedTrue, it is quite impossible to logically falsify anything but a logical proposition. The question is-- can it be scientifically falsified, under the assumptions that define science! Answer: no, it's pure belief, until there is actually some evidence that could be subjected to scrutiny, some meaningful experiment whose results are both uncertain and relevant. Can you name either of those in regard to ID, sincere experiments whose results are not jury-rigged, or interpretations of data that are not so obviously skewed to a predetermined result almost to the point of laughability? I can't, but I can cite many that are. Coincidence? I hardly think so.


Though I am not much of a believer myself, I do not take much pleasure in disenchanting other true believers.Establishing scientific truth has nothing to do with disenchantment, it has to do with arming people with more tools to do more things. If science is the wrong tool for a job, there's no disenchantment involved. And if science is the right tool, it is only so if done properly. I see science like a hammer. If you have a nail that needs pounding, you use the head of the hammer, you don't use its handle on the grounds that you don't want to "disenchant" all the people who think hammers should be held by their heads. But if you have a screw instead, you don't mash it with the hammer either. Scientists need only learn to tell the difference between the nails and the screws, and if it's a science classroom, that's a box of nails.


Given the choice, I think it's better to study both evolution and ID theory rather than neither; teach the controversy--that's what I say.But there is no controversy. In the telling example by Van Rijn, there are religions that thought the Earth was flat-- shall we avoid "disenchantment" by "teaching the controversy" that the Earth is round vs. flat? In principle that's a fine idea, as a way of distinguishing good science from bad science, but that's not quite what the ID folks have in mind. Why select ID instead of all the other discredited examples of natural philosophy masquerading as science? We teach Aristotle's theories of physics not to "teach the controversy", but rather to teach the "difference between good science and bad science", to wit, the science of observation versus the pseudoscience of prognostication.


If by teaching ID theory a few kids are able to maintain their religious beliefs that they might otherwise lose, well, what's wrong with that? Kids should learn a more sophisticated understanding of their own faith, such that they can tell the difference between a conclusion that follows from science, versus a conclusion that follows from their faith. If we don't even teach them that, neither their science nor their religion is anything but empty dogma.

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 03:16 AM
And I don't think the charge that ID is not science carries any water; it's mere jingoism.


Why would it be considered science? I'm asking for your specific definition of science.

01101001
2007-Aug-31, 03:27 AM
Why would it be considered science? I'm asking for your specific definition of science.

This thread is plain weird. Now there is a need, I see the need, to ask the OP the question the OP asked.

Can we back this bus up and chart a new course?

Has the original question been answered? Why not?

If not, and if there's still some need, what's the new question?

What's the goal? How will we know when we've reached it?

Jerry
2007-Aug-31, 03:42 AM
Good point. I agree that philosophy and its methodologies are a crucial part of defining what science is, but at that point you leave philosophy behind and start doing science. If you then begin re-integrating philosophy into the science itself, you are doing what I call natural philosophy, and I would say that the exclusion of natural philosophy from science was its largest step forward over the last 400 years, and is largely responsible for science's great gains in that period.

That is just so wrong!

Science without philosophy is bookkeeping.

When proposing an hypothesis, how do you decide which questions to ponder? If all you are doing is testing the yield of different lots of beans in different soils, that is applied science: Bean counting. But even applied science requires philosophical choice: How much redundancy should there be in manned space engineering?

Deciding to investigate Mars to see if there is any life, or potential for life, is a philosophical decision.

As I have stated many times, the decision to accept Dark Matter and/or Dark Energy as auxillary hypotheses to current theories, rather than rejecting the theories, is an entirely philosophical choice. How many times have I been told, "if there were an acceptable alternative hypothesis...'

Science does not require an acceptable hypothesis in order to reject a broken one.Amending an existing theory is an entirely philosophical choice that you need to be aware you are making.

Ken G
2007-Aug-31, 04:51 AM
That is just so wrong!
Ironically, I find myself at both ends of this same question, depending on the context. To those who claim "philosophy has nothing to do with science, and we waste our time even thinking about it", I say: we do need to recognize the need to use philosophy to understand what science is, and what it even means to use a prescription for establishing truth. But to those, like you apparently, who say "science never parts company from philosophy, we always need to keep referring to philosophy to tie our proverbial scientific shoes", I say: no, once we have used philosophy to establish what science will be and what scientific truth will mean, it is essential that we leave the philosophy behind, because of the way science is expressly manufactured to escape that trap. Perhaps you are using different semantics, so let me be quite clear from the outset what I mean by the difference between "science" and "natural philosophy". It has to do with what standard will be used to establish truth. In science, the standard is always confrontation with observation, and in natural philosophy, the standard is always what "seems reasonable" by application of human intellect alone.

The ancient Greeks argued that heavenly objects had to be perfect by virtue of their status, not by virtue of any observations of said objects. I would say that is a perfect example of the fallacy of natural philosophy, yet they believed it as fervently as we believe the stars are balls of hot gas. What is the difference? The means used to establish the belief. We have our beliefs about stars based on observations of spectral lines, they had theirs based on how things "seemed like they ought to be". Science versus natural philosophy, in a nutshell. The only place for philosophy in science is in the choice of how to define science and the decision that it is appropriate for certain questions. After that, trust the observations and the machinery science uses to analyze them, making no effort to tell them what they ought to be.


Science without philosophy is bookkeeping.
No, what distinguishes science from "bookkeeping" are unifying principles. Such principles are not philosophy, because there is no extent to which they follow from pure logic or pure mathematics alone-- they are the projections of observations onto logic and mathematics. That's why they are not philosophy. Of course they do involve the ways the human mind recognizes patterns and imposes organization and simplification, but philosophy cannot claim ownership of that basic aspect of intelligence.


When proposing an hypothesis, how do you decide which questions to ponder?Primarily by trial and error. Maybe by intuition, or lucky guesses. But not philosophy-- philosophy involves a stake in the answer, the one that "seems right". For every hypothesis that seemed right and turned out to actually be right, there are countless others that seemed just as right but went down in flames. Indeed, it is my opinion that all hypotheses eventually meet the limit of their validity, owing to the limitations of human intelligence and the vast superiority of human observational skills, it's just that many retain value at some lower level of precision or approximation.


Deciding to investigate Mars to see if there is any life, or potential for life, is a philosophical decision. No, that is a political decision. That decision alone is neither philosophy nor science, but a human society-related issue that is most appropriately termed politics. Science only informs the costs of doing it right, and it only steps in once the decision to do it has already been made. Philosophy informs the politics, yes, but so does religion, art, and a host of other human endeavors, but politics, being the sum total of all those interfaced with the governmental structure, determines the actual decision.


As I have stated many times, the decision to accept Dark Matter and/or Dark Energy as auxillary hypotheses to current theories, rather than rejecting the theories, is an entirely philosophical choice.That is a scientific choice, as I've defined the distinction. We don't say we think there "ought to be" dark matter, we postulate its existence as the most parsimonious effort at explaining the observations, period. It is just part of the mechanics of science to select the best current theory. Again, all that was laid out at the start of the determination of what science is-- once determined, there is no further need to consult philosophy. Indeed, science would be crippled if it had to consult philosophy every time it needed to reach a consensus-- just look at how little philosophy is agreed on yet how widely science is. It's true that scientists don't always agree on the current best model, but to ignore the wide consensus that does indeed exist, or blame it on closedmindedness, is a weak stance. Indeed, I argue that most of the dispute over what is the current best model is not an issue of differing philosophy, it is simple ignorance about the way science is most effectively defined (by philosophy, yes, but only at the outset, not at every tipping point that comes along).



Science does not require an acceptable hypothesis in order to reject a broken one.Amending an existing theory is an entirely philosophical choice that you need to be aware you are making.
Again, it is not a philosophical choice, it is part and parcel of the machinery of science that already exists. Your claim that you can discard a hypothesis on the grounds that it requires adding complexity, even in the absence of a simpler theory that works, presumes the goal of science is to find a "correct" theory within some complexity tolerance, but that has never been true. If it were, Ptolemy's model would not have been used for 1400 years. (Although an improved model would have been much easier and come along much faster had science parted company with Ptolemy's natural philosophy much sooner.) The goal of science has always been to find the "best" current theory, even if it's pretty poor, but by all means don't be hamstrung by adherence to natural philosophy. Someone said Jim Gates explains this by saying the goal of science is to find the "least wrong" theory-- I don't know if he really said that, but I agree with him if he did!

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 04:57 AM
This thread is plain weird. Now there is a need, I see the need, to ask the OP the question the OP asked.

Can we back this bus up and chart a new course?

Has the original question been answered? Why not?

If not, and if there's still some need, what's the new question?

What's the goal? How will we know when we've reached it?

Yes, if one is going to insist that ID is science, one must already have decided on a definition of the term, so what is the point of asking the question?

Ken G
2007-Aug-31, 05:08 AM
That's being too hard on the OPer. He is saying "according to my idea of how science is best defined, ID is indeed science". He also lays out his idea of how science is best defined, and opens the discourse on the topic. That is a valid way to generate a thread, although perhaps it's better for General Science than Q&A. Moving threads doesn't always seem so crucial, however.

The real problem I see in your objection is that you seem to be saying, as in another thread, that definitions are not open to discourse. Of course they are-- it is a very fundamental aspect of effective human cognition to seek the most productive and useful definitions for every term used. And that is a process that may require open discourse.

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 05:12 AM
Here's a good article discussing why ID isn't science:

http://www.naturalism.org/science.htm#whyintelligent

I'll cover some of it here because I think it is relevant to a reasonable definition of science:

ID is an unexplained claim without a mechanism providing explanatory or predictive power. It is a negative thesis - having no described mechanism, the only supposed "support" involves (poor) criticism of mainstream evolution. However, ID is not the only conceivable (scientific or not) alternative to mainstream evolution. Also, it is fundamentally (not just naively) unfalsifiable, like my invisible elf argument.

In a science classroom there literally would be no ID theory or hypothesis to teach. It starts and ends at a claim.

Why is it wrong to say that is not science, and that ID claims are junk science?

Ken G
2007-Aug-31, 05:26 AM
I agree, but note that Warren Platts correctly pointed out that the hypothesis as described by Wiki:

Intelligent design is the claim that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
certainly sounds like a scientific hypothesis, and on that basis he argues ID is science. We are trying to get him to see that science is much more than the generation of hypotheses, it is a means of culling hypotheses , possibly via observations, but also by recognizing those that cannot be fruitfully addressed using science at all, either because there is zero relevant data, or because the interpretation of any data is jury-rigged from the start. Like you say, ID is not a theory, it is a hypothesis with nowhere else to go. That's why it isn't science.

If science was nothing more than a means of generating a sense of understanding, then it would be a purely subjective endeavor and ID would be science-- but it is more than plausible sounding explanations, like "Calvin"'s Dad gives, it is asking testable questions where you don't know the answer until you interrogate the observations sincerely and openly. This is an important point to make, and Warren may even come to see it, especially if he realizes that educating people how to do science well does not imply they must be disenfranchised from their previous beliefs, it just gives them more tools to choose from in their utility belt.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-31, 05:32 AM
Van Rijn and 10010011,
I'm sorry to keep beating this dead horse, but people keep asking questions, and isn't it part of the BAUT rules that one is supposed to answer the questions posed to you?

At any rate, there's no point in discussing something we all agree on, like whether whether organic chemistry is a true science--that's no fun. In order to get at what science IS, we need to study the borderline cases. We've been discussing ID, but we could have easily discussed any of a number of other borderline cases. (Take your pick: Anthropic principles; UFO's; SETI; string theory; inflation; parapsychology; dark matter; economics . . .)

it's pure belief, until there is actually some evidence that could be subjected to scrutiny, some meaningful experiment whose results are both uncertain and relevant. Can you name either of those in regard to ID, sincere experiments whose results are not jury-rigged, or interpretations of data that are not so obviously skewed to a predetermined result almost to the point of laughability?IDists can't do experiments like organic chemists do because it is mainly a historical science like paleontology. How can you do an experiment that would falsify the claim that there were Precambrian trilobites? In such situations you're restricted to appeals to the best explanation. (cf. Behnke and Platts (http://bulletin.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/102/12/1731)) Sometimes that's the best you can do, but it's still science.

To summarize so far: rather than simply asserting ID is false, it is accused of being unscientific for the following reasons:

(1) it is not a theory;
(2) there is no evidence;
(3) it is not falsifiable;
(4) experiments can't be done;
(5) it's politically motivated.

But:
(1) a theory is just a body of sentences that purports to describe something; IDists have these;
(2) there are complex structures with no extant intermediate forms--that is their empirical evidence;
(3) ID is neither more nor less falsifiable than other theories;
(4) experiments can't be done in a lot of other recognizable sciences;
(5) lots of science is politically motivated (it helps with the grant money--global warming anyone?)

Therefore, based on the criteria presented by the ID critics in this thread so far, there hasn't been a compelling case that ID is not science. Rather, it seems that straw criteria are set up, and then it is claimed (usually without much argument) that ID does not to satisfy that requirement, and then ID is hit over the head with the rhetorical club that it is "unscientific" in order to stifle further dialogue and to advance their own partisan political goals (e.g., federal control over high school curricula as opposed to locally elected school boards).

The fundamental problem is in trying to identify a set of necessary and sufficient conditions with which to identify true science. The problem is that no matter what criterion is chosen, there will always be a counterexample from within a noncontroversial, legitimate science that will not satisfy the given criteria.
___________________________________

So, now on to my positive account:

The various sciences are like games. As Wittgenstein pointed out long ago, there is no set of necessary and sufficient conditions that can determine whether a given activity is a real game or not. But games have a "family resemblance" that allows us to recognize a game when we see it. Same with science.

If there's one thing essential to games, it's probably that there are some kind of rules that have to mostly be adhered to.

If there's one thing essential to science, it's the link, however indirect or tenuous, between theory and observation.

That is, theories based solely on a priori reasoning or revelations from on high don't count as scientific theories.

Beyond that, science is just what scientists qua scientists are paid to do.

Why put more restrictions on science than that? Keep an open mind and let the marketplace of ideas determine that which prevails in the end. Central command and control of economies doesn't work, and it doesn't work for science either. Indeed, our civilization depends on science to deliver the technology and accurate descriptions of nature necessary for its continued survival. Arbitrary restrictions as to what constitutes science carry the risk of slowing down scientific progress.

On my view, then, science and naturalized philosophy grade into one another; there is no sharp demarcation, only a very wide twilight zone separates them. Furthermore, it's not the case that the standard for truth in naturalized philosophy is always what "seems reasonable" by application of human intellect alone--naturalized philosophy takes science seriously as a fundamental premise, and never attempts to contradict science. In this manner science informs philosophy at least as much as philosophy informs science--probably more. And that's a good thing.

01101001
2007-Aug-31, 05:46 AM
On my view, then[...]

This is not the Q&A I'm familiar with. You're advocating positions more than asking, or you're only asking so that you can advocate. I don't understand your use of Q&A.

I saw you ask what science is, then start arguing, taking stands, against the answers.

If you want to advocate what science is, I think you should advocate somewhere that isn't Q&A. If you want to ask what science is, if you want to hear what other members have to say, ask here.

What is your question that hasn't yet been answered?

Maybe this advice from Nereid to another poster would suit you:


Perhaps you might be interested in a discussion forum, or section of a forum, explicitly devoted to the history and philosophy of science, such as here (http://www.galilean-library.org/academy/viewforum.php?f=8) or here (http://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=95)?

And there is this advice from Nereid to yet another poster:


[T]his Q&A section of BAUT is for those who wish to ask questions about astronomy and space science, and have BAUT members try to answer them from the perspective of contemporary, mainstream astronomy and space science.
[...]
If you wish to discuss the history and philosophy of physics (or astronomy), then BAUT is probably not a good forum for you.

Warren Platts
2007-Aug-31, 06:01 AM
Excuse me? You just asked me to answer my own question:


Now there is a need, I see the need, to ask the [Original Poster] the question the [Original Post] asked.

And now you criticize me for complying with your request! :confused:

OK. . . . . . .

Very well then. Since the asker of a Q&A question is not supposed to reveal his or her ideas as to what constitutes a possible answer, then pray tell us 01101001 what YOU think science is. . . .

And mods, please feel free to lock or move this thread to ATM or anywhere else if you like. It's no skin off my nose.

01101001
2007-Aug-31, 06:05 AM
Since the asker of a Q&A question is not supposed to reveal his or her ideas as to what constitutes a possible answer, then pray tell us 01101001 what YOU think science is. . . .

No!

Van Rijn
2007-Aug-31, 06:26 AM
Van Rijn and 10010011,
I'm sorry to keep beating this dead horse, but people keep asking questions, and isn't it part of the BAUT rules that one is supposed to answer the questions posed to you?


You aren't just asking questions. You're making statements: ID is science, it's jingoistic to say it isn't, etc. Given that, you must have a definition of science. I asked you for the definition you used for your argument. What is it?



(1) a theory is just a body of sentences that purports to describe something; IDists have these;


So, you're asking us what is science, but you're defining "scientific theory" as a "body of sentences that purports to describe something"?

Quite simply, I do not agree with your definition. A scientific theory as I understand it is much more than this. Are you going to insist on this definition?



(2) there are complex structures with no extant intermediate forms--that is their empirical evidence;


That is a negative (and very poor) argument. There are many examples of transitional fossils, and it is impossible to have every example of every organism that has ever lived. What is the positive evidence for ID?



(3) ID is neither more nor less falsifiable than other theories;


Please define "falsifiable" as you are using it, because as I understand the term, this is incorrect. ID is fundamentally unfalsifiable. Scientific theories make numerous predictions that are falsifiable.



(4) experiments can't be done in a lot of other recognizable sciences;


What recognizable sciences do not have evidence and do not make predictions that can be tested?



(5) lots of science is politically motivated (it helps with the grant money--global warming anyone?)


This is a religious argument promoted for religious reasons.



Therefore, based on the criteria presented by the ID critics in this thread so far, there hasn't been a compelling case that ID is not science.


Based on what definition of "science"?

Nereid
2007-Aug-31, 05:24 PM
I'm not sure how this thread fits within the mainstream astronomy and space science scope of BAUT's Q&A section; I mean, the question isn't even something like "What IS the science of astronomy?"

So I'm moving this to OTBB, but that may be merely a short way station to locked-hood.

01101001
2007-Aug-31, 06:13 PM
Excuse me? You just asked me to answer my own question:

And now you criticize me for complying with your request! :confused:

Don't be confused. I can understand why you answered when asked (though the rigorous requirement to answer questions isn't part of the Q&A subforum, nor of most). I don't criticize that. The problem, I thought when the topic was in Q&A, was the initial advocacy that made it necessary to ask those questions.


Very well then. Since the asker of a Q&A question is not supposed to reveal his or her ideas as to what constitutes a possible answer, then pray tell us 01101001 what YOU think science is. . . .

I might say that's an unfortunate take on the Q&A asker's role. Some background revelation can be OK, even helpful. Arguing points, though, is not so OK. It makes the question seem insincere.

My no stands, because the question seems only to be agenda-advancing. Sorry.


And mods, please feel free to lock or move this thread to ATM or anywhere else if you like. It's no skin off my nose.

That's cool. It seems to have found a better home, now Off-Topic Babbling. Campaign away, or whatever was the purpose.

What IS Science?

Ken G
2007-Aug-31, 08:36 PM
It doesn't matter to me which forum it's in, I still think asking what science is is a valid and valuable pursuit. I think the problem here is that Warren Platts has some opinions about what is science that are not actually in the best interest of science, and that is what we were discussing. There was nothing wrong with asking the question and opening a discourse, frankly are we not getting a bit bored with the endless stream of "what is outside the universe" or "what's wrong with my understanding of relativity" kinds of questions? Anyway, it looks like this discussion has played out, but maybe the issues touched on will return in regard to some more specific example, like what is the status of cosmology, etc.

Cougar
2007-Aug-31, 08:54 PM
How can you do an experiment that would falsify the claim that there were Precambrian trilobites? In such situations you're restricted to appeals to the best explanation.
As you know, controlled experiments are not always possible. But you've put your question quite oddly. One can never "prove" that something did not or does not exist. Just look at the God debate. But in the case you put forward, one can certainly falsify the claim that there were NO Precambrian trilobites. All you've got to do is find one.


To summarize so far: rather than simply asserting ID is false, it is accused of being unscientific for the following reasons:

(1) it is not a theory;
(2) there is no evidence;
(3) it is not falsifiable;
(4) experiments can't be done;
(5) it's politically motivated.

But:
(1) a theory is just a body of sentences that purports to describe something; IDists have these;
(2) there are complex structures with no extant intermediate forms--that is their empirical evidence;
(3) ID is neither more nor less falsifiable than other theories;
(4) experiments can't be done in a lot of other recognizable sciences;
(5) lots of science is politically motivated

Therefore, based on the criteria presented by the ID critics in this thread so far, there hasn't been a compelling case that ID is not science.

Apparently you neglected to look at the link I provided to four reasons why ID is not science:



1. The terms used in design theory are not defined. "Design", in design theory, has nothing to do with "design" as it is normally understood. Design is defined in terms of an agent purposely arranging something, but such a concept appears nowhere in the process of distinguishing design in the sense of "intelligent design." Dembski defined design in terms of what it is not (known regularity and chance), making intelligent design an argument from incredulity; he never said what design is.

A solution to a problem must address the parameters of the problem, or it is just irrelevant hand waving. Any theory about design must somehow address the agent and purpose, or it is not really about design. No intelligent design theorist has ever included agent or purpose in any attempt at a scientific theory of design, and some explicitly say they cannot be included (Dembski 2002, 313). Thus, even if intelligent design theory were able to prove design, it would mean practically nothing; it would certainly say nothing whatsoever about design in the usual sense.

Irreducible complexity also fails as science because it, too, is an argument from incredulity that has nothing to do with design.

2. Intelligent design is subjective. Even in Dembski's mathematically intricate formulation, the specification of his specified complexity can be determined after the fact, making "specification" a subjective concept. Dembski now talks of "apparent specified complexity" versus "actual specified complexity," of which only the latter indicates design. However, it is impossible to distinguish between the two in principle (Elsberry n.d.).

3. Intelligent design implies results that are contrary to common sense. Spider webs apparently meet the standards of specified complexity, which implies that spiders are intelligent. One could instead claim that the complexity was designed into the spider and its abilities. But if that claim is made, one might just as well claim that the spider's designer was not intelligent but was intelligently designed, or maybe it was the spider's designer's designer that was intelligent. Thus, either spiders are intelligent, or intelligent design theory reduces to a weak Deism where all design might have entered into the universe only once at the beginning, or terms like "specified complexity" have no useful definition.

4. The intelligent design movement is not intended to be about science. Phillip Johnson, who spearheaded and led the movement, said in so many words that it is about religion and philosophy, not science (Belz 1996).

Nereid
2007-Aug-31, 09:04 PM
What IS Science?

A question asked by someone whose command of English isn't the greatest ... perhaps someone taught German as their primary written language and who finished primary school.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-31, 09:14 PM
There were a couple of interesting threads that touched on the question of what science is in the General Science forum, but this one turned to to be about Intelligent Design instead.

01101001
2007-Aug-31, 09:26 PM
It doesn't matter to me which forum it's in, I still think asking what science is is a valid and valuable pursuit. [...] There was nothing wrong with asking the question and opening a discourse, frankly are we not getting a bit bored with the endless stream of "what is outside the universe" or "what's wrong with my understanding of relativity" kinds of questions?

It does matter to me which forum it's in, if you couldn't tell. I'm glad it was shooed to OTB. I didn't want it to be a model for others of what Q&A is for, of how Q&A is done, of how Q&A can be exploited.

I really like that it's no longer a position masquerading as a question. It seems more honest this way. Seems more like BAUT.

I'm fine with letting the discussion continue here, if there's more to be said. I don't hate the topic.

Science, it's... uh... what?

Cougar
2007-Aug-31, 10:29 PM
Dude, ever heard of the Quine-Duhem thesis?
Is that something like a brown-throated thrush?


Popper said that the confirmation of a hypothesis did not prove the hypothesis true--that would commit the fallacy of affirming the antecedant:

(p -> q) & q :. p

Any sophomore in high school ought to know this.


But falsification! Now that's another story! Or so Popper thought:

(p -> q) & -q :. -p

Now that's a logically valid argument--otherwise known as modus tollens. . . .

Or the simple contrapositive... not to be confused with a brown-throated thrush.


Unfortunately, it neglects certain auxiliary assumptions that are always present....
This is a red herring and assumes facts not in evidence. Scientists don't typically sweep such things under the rug. They become part of the conclusion: "IF there is no gray dust, then the Ia supernova findings imply an accelerating expansion."


Thus the logical equation then becomes:

((p & A1 & A2 & A3 & . . . An) -> q) & -q :. -p v (-A1 v -A2 v -A3 v . . . -An)

Therefore, either the main hypothesis is false--or any one of an unknown number of unknown auxiliary hypotheses is or are false. There's no telling which is the case just from the experiment.
This argument seems to be based on the existence of ghost assumptions. You seem to be saying there is always something we don't know (which is quite correct), but you extend this to say we can therefore never falsify anything? I think you've got a couple faulty assumptions in there! Namely, "certain auxiliary assumptions are always present" and "the auxiliary hypotheses are unknown." In your case these auxiliary hypotheses are indeed apparently unknown. This is not the case when most scientists are ready to publish.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-01, 06:12 PM
What IS Science?

A question asked by someone whose command of English isn't the greatest ... perhaps someone taught German as their primary written language and who finished primary school.I take it your referring to my predilection for big words richly qualified with modifiers, and my punctilious punctuation and grammar. So thanks for the complement! :)

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-01, 06:12 PM
Before I continue, I want to say for the record that I asked the question in the title of this thread in good faith with no "agenda" in mind other than having an interesting conversation. Furthermore, my thoughts had not crystalized until I finally did propose an answer to the question in post #49 (http://www.bautforum.com/1061779-post49.html).

Before that, the only other positive concrete answer to the question that was proposed was that of Richard Feynman who wrote: "what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race['s] experience from the past."

I said I liked that definition--it preserves a spirit of open inquiry with due emphasis on empirical observation. It's not really skepticism--I'm sure that Feynman would have agreed with the Newtonian attitude that later generations of phycisists stand on the shoulders of previous generations. However, I pointed out that one seeming, disturbing implication is that Feynman's definition might include some activities under the umbrella of science that many would like to see excluded--like ID theory.

Naturally, but unfortunately, that comment stirred up a hornet's nest. So let me reiterate that I don't believe in ID theory, nor is it my agenda to defend it on this forum. I was merely using it as a foil to see what counts as science. The choice was unfortunate, since the topic is too politically charged, and there are plenty of other astronomy-related borderline sciences that would have served as well. Therefore, I shall not comment on ID anymore--so don't ask me any more questions on ID.

As for moving the thread, it's fine by me, and doesn't hurt my feelings. I understand now that the Q&A section is more of an astronomy FAQ library, rather than a place for free-wheeling, open-ended, metascientific discussions.

I presently arrived at the answer I did eventually propose because all of the criteria that others proposed to exclude unwanted borderline reseach activities either did not have the intended effect of ruling out such activities as science, or the criteria had the effect that it would rule out other, noncontroversial, recognized sciences.

Therefore, I proposed a purely operational, nonidealistic, nonphilosophical definition of science: science is what professional scientists are paid to do. In fact, I even retract empiricial observation as a necessary element, since string theorists don't do experiments, yet I am hesitant to say that what they do isn't science.

So you can either let me have the last word on the subject, or you can tell me what's wrong with my definition, or we can discuss your own positive proposals.

:)

Cougar
2007-Sep-01, 10:20 PM
Richard Feynman... wrote: "what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race['s] experience from the past."

I said I liked that definition--it preserves a spirit of open inquiry with due emphasis on empirical observation.
The Feynman quote is good advice. Stephen J. Gould often stressed the same sentiment. But it is nowhere near a complete definition of science. Science is noticing patterns and rules in nature. Findings or observations in science are repeatable and testable, making science self-correcting. As they often say, science is a process... for seeking answers. Scientists understand that final answers are exceedingly rare, if not completely absent, in science. Dogma is anathema. Scientists seek the best answers possible at this time based on what is observed and reasoned, and then they look to improve them.



Therefore, I shall not comment on ID anymore--so don't ask me any more questions on ID.
Wise man. ;)


Therefore, I proposed a purely operational, nonidealistic, nonphilosophical definition of science: science is what professional scientists are paid to do.
Well, that's kind of cheating. You'd have to study what professional scientists actually do, and then describe that.


In fact, I even retract empiricial observation as a necessary element, since string theorists don't do experiments, yet I am hesitant to say that what they do isn't science.
Only fairly recently has this become a problem: theory has gone out ahead of our experimental capabilities. (It's darn hard to detect Higgs bosons, but they're still penciled into the Standard Model for certain reasons.) The justification for strings and branes apparently lies in the patterning of the mathematics needed to describe them -- patterns appropriate to describe our universe -- and how the existence of the graviton emerged naturally from such a system.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-02, 06:40 PM
The Feynman quote is good advice. Stephen J. Gould often stressed the same sentiment. But it is nowhere near a complete definition of science. Science is noticing patterns and rules in nature. That's good, but a baby does that when it figures out that all those different faces that keep popping up and disappearing are really one and the same face. :clap: Is that science? No, because babies don't get paid; but it is continous with science.


Findings or observations in science are repeatable and testable, making science self-correcting. The problem is that not all scientific observations are in fact repeatable (like a comet on hyperbolic trajectory), and not all findings are testable (the energy requirements might be too high).


As they often say, science is a process... for seeking answers. Scientists understand that final answers are exceedingly rare, if not completely absent, in science. But so are other activities--like religion!:razz:


Dogma is anathema. Only if you're against the mainstream! :hand:


Scientists seek the best answers possible at this time based on what is observed and reasoned, and then they look to improve them.But so do the programmers at Google. Are they scientists?


Well, that's kind of cheating. You'd have to study what professional scientists actually do, and then describe that.Like Bruno Latour has been doing for decades now. His description of the Jonas Salk lab:



"At this point, the observer felt that the laboratory was by no means quite as confusing as he had first thought. It seemed that there might be an essential similarity between the inscription capabilities of apparatus, the manic passion for marking, coding, and filing, and the literary skills of writing, persuasion, and discussion. Thus, the observer could even make sense of such obscure activities as a technician grinding the brains of rats, by realizing that the eventual end product of such activity might be a highly valued diagram. Even the most complicated jumble of figures might eventually end up as part of some argument between 'doctors.' For the observer, then, the laboratory began to take on the appearance of a system of literary inscription." --Laboratory Life

Hmm, no mention of the "scientific method". :confused:



Only fairly recently has this become a problem: theory has gone out ahead of our experimental capabilities. (It's darn hard to detect Higgs bosons, but they're still penciled into the Standard Model for certain reasons.) The justification for strings and branes apparently lies in the patterning of the mathematics needed to describe them -- patterns appropriate to describe our universe -- and how the existence of the graviton emerged naturally from such a system.Natural philosophy has long outrun our experimental capabilities. So, what's the difference between what string theorists are doing and what Whitehead, the philosopher, used to do one hundred years ago?

PS. I'm surprised that no one's jumped on the one glaring inadequacy of my definition: the existence of amateur scientists who actually make worthwhile contributions! :liar:

PeterJB
2007-Sep-02, 09:42 PM
... of Richard Feynman who wrote: "what science is: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race['s] experience from the past."

As man is an emergent phenomena that is, somewhere between Cause and Effect, and as the experiential interaction with knowledge essentially defines the measures towards the goal or Effect, albeit in thresholds bordering the dimensioned states of differentiation, then science is the necessary enquiry - individual - that fills the volumes of awareness, which in turn expands the consciousness thus bringing greater clarity.
Religion is 'merely' the innate driver of this mechanism.

Institutional organization is a social organization 'thing' and has very little to do - with the route between Cause and Effect.:lol:

PeterJB

mike alexander
2007-Sep-02, 10:05 PM
Warren Platts wrote:
PS. I'm surprised that no one's jumped on the one glaring inadequacy of my definition: the existence of amateur scientists who actually make worthwhile contributions!

Nobody wanted to hurt your feelings.

Zachary
2007-Sep-02, 10:21 PM
what is science? This information broadcast may clear some things up: http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/science/

01101001
2007-Sep-02, 10:39 PM
Welcome to the BAUT Forum.


As man is an emergent phenomena that is, somewhere between Cause and Effect, and as the experiential interaction with knowledge essentially defines the measures towards the goal or Effect, albeit in thresholds bordering the dimensioned states of differentiation, then science is the necessary enquiry - individual - that fills the volumes of awareness, which in turn expands the consciousness thus bringing greater clarity.

As well...

We live in a society where individual ego is at the forefront!

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-02, 11:36 PM
what is science? This information broadcast may clear some things up: http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/science/
OMG! That scares even me--because maybe it's on to something. . . . Science is not what scientists do.

What science is: science is a commodity that people buy. . . .

Hence reducing scientists to mere tinkers and tailors and paperback writers. . . .
:boohoo:

mike alexander
2007-Sep-03, 12:11 AM
Hey! when's the last time you wrote a 'mere' paperback?


Stripped of the goo, the grants and the grunge science is just another way of saying "I wonder..." or, "Well, that's... odd..."

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 02:39 AM
Hey! when's the last time you wrote a 'mere' paperback?Well, I am sitting on a 350 page manuscript--I just need to turn it in. :whistle:

Stripped of the goo, the grants and the grunge science is just another way of saying "I wonder..." or, "Well, that's... odd..."
The same could be said for religion or commodities trading.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 03:18 AM
Findings or observations in science are repeatable and testable, making science self-correcting.
I just thought about this too: it's normally a waste to expend time and resources on other people's results; the whole point of science--that is to say, the source of credit--comes from doing what no one has done before.

(The main reason for repeating someone else's observations is to make sure your own apparatus is working; the repetition is really a calibration. Once you learn the technique, then you branch out on your own; like the way a generation Y-er might study Ozzy Osbourne.)

Moreover, many human endeavors are also self-correcting (e.g., stock markets, real estate), yet we hestitate to call them science. Indeed, science is in worse shape than the stock market or real estate because of science's claims to epistemological privilege; there's little for a stock or real estate market to be wrong about but the market value of a price. Whereas science can be seriously--nay radically--wrong about something for centuries at a time!

mike alexander
2007-Sep-03, 04:44 AM
Warren Platts wrote:
(The main reason for repeating someone else's observations is to make sure your own apparatus is working; the repetition is really a calibration. Once you learn the technique, then you branch out on your own; like the way a generation Y-er might study Ozzy Osbourne.)

Wow. Just... wow.

I admit to being temporarily speechless at this statement.

If I spoke I would undoubtedly be banned.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-03, 06:21 AM
This question keeps popping up in numerous threads, particularly in the common anathema that a particular position is "unscientific", though such a position might be held by otherwise respectable scientists. So I figure we might as well duke it out in a separate thread in order to settle the matter once and for all.

Here's Judge Overton's take in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mclean-v-arkansas.html):

[T]he essential characteristics of science are:
(1) It is guided by natural law;
(2) It has to be explanatory by reference to nature law;
(3) It is testable against the empirical world;
(4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
(5) Its is falsifiable. . . .Of these, I would only consider (3) to be essential. . . . :whistle:Therefore No. 5 is not essential.

Somewhere earlier you said you had no agenda. Constructing your special science definition where falsification is not essential constitutes an agenda.

That agenda consists of opening the floodgates to allow non-falsifiable evidence into the equation. This would destroy science as we have known it for the past ~400 years. Real science has been done over that timespan, no matter what were, and often in spite of, the philosophical beliefs of the various practicing scientists during that period.

ID has as part of its speculative and political goals the admission of supernatural (i.e., non-falsifiable) evidence into the scientific method, in general an "intelligence" that somehow takes care of products and processes when they are "too complex" (whatever that is). Its specific goal as documented in the "Wedge Strategy (http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html)" is making their particular brand of religion the fundamental basis for all activities in this country. Emasculating science is just one step toward that goal.

Two comments on your quote:

1. If this is a direct quote from the judge, then I can understand his use of the term "laws". If it isn't and is your paraphrase, then the use of "laws" illustrates your misunderstanding of how science works. The term "law" is found typically in the popular scientific literature. In real science the best level of confidence achievable is a theory.

2. Re "Its is falsifiable", its "what" is falsifiable? If this is direct from the judge then perhaps it's a typo. If yours, then what happened to that "punctilious punctuation and grammar (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/64078-what-science-3.html#post1062623)"? http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

Maksutov
2007-Sep-03, 06:43 AM
Originally Posted by Warren Platts http://www.bautforum.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/64078-what-science.html#post1061356)
Scientists ignore philosophy at their own peril; whatever science is, we can be sure that it is a subset of philosophy. After all, if you get a Ph.D. in a science, what does the "Ph" stand for?
Therefore if one receives a Ph. D. in Mathematics, that means mathematics is a subset of philosophy? Right.

Scientists ignore philosophy for a good reason. It mucks up the results and helps produce hypotheses that are unsupportable.

BTW, I know a number of scientists who would aver that philosophy is a subset of science, specifically physics .

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-03, 10:08 AM
my two cents worth,

Science is the logical extrapolation of a known set of numbers used to hypothesise the limits of knowledge. What science is not:- Science is not prepared for what lies beyond those limits.

I am self taught, admittedly still in my first year of self imposed study so it is natural to assume the student understands the teacher, what is exceptional is the level of heated discussion.

Science is the exclusive use of the left brain, a mathematical construct. I used to think science was short sighted but I was wrong. It has very precise vision for one eye but lacks perspective. Exact measure is engineering, recording data is accounting, archiving knowledge is a librarian function and its application a commercial function.

As for 'Intelligent Design' and even 'Evolution' they are concepts, constructs if you like that serve as the basis of belief and in at least one case a source of predictive extrapolation.
I don't know what science will be when it gains true depth perception and sees in full colour but it wont be science and those days are upon us.

PeterJB
2007-Sep-03, 12:12 PM
my two cents worth,

Science is the exclusive use of the left brain, a mathematical construct.

Philosophy bore physics (physis) and just about everything else - of value.

Institutional religion bore the modern rest which includes today's "science".

Mathematics came (to us today) from Pythagoras which came out of Egypt which actual grew from geometry (relationships) whereby geometry is THE Universal language which indeed sprung from Philosophy.

Do not mistake science with technology as they are two different things. The former should be - but isn't, qualitative (as it is practiced) and the latter is quantitative. The right hand symbolizes technology whereby the left hand symbolizes the heart - or, where the seat of true science is to be founded.

"Science" has become an institutional religion where it should be and will hopefully return to us, as that I have already defined (in my first post) and Technology is where we have excelled during the past (and present) epoch.

"Science"? What do we know of our place in the Universe - without any uncertainty? We know nothing but the relationship of the diameter of a circle to its circumference - Phi. And, this also came to us from ancient Egypt.

Essentially, science has been absent from our civilization for some ~ 3000 + years BUT technology has been in the forefront which we have mistaken as, and have called "science".

You could say that we have excelled in technology and **.

hhEb09'1
2007-Sep-03, 12:46 PM
Therefore if one receives a Ph. D. in Mathematics, that means mathematics is a subset of philosophy? Right..A PhD in animal nutrition (http://www.sau.edu.pk/faculties/dvm/dvm.html), that'll get you there eventually.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 12:54 PM
Therefore No. 5 is not essential.

Somewhere earlier you said you had no agenda. Constructing your special science definition where falsification is not essential constitutes an agenda. I said my goal was to have a conversation. We (Ken, Grant, and I, among others) had been discussing what science is in various other Q&A threads that were getting radically off track, so this thread was also an attempt to stop hijacking other threads. Now, if we really want to keep going in this metathread philosophy direction, I move that this thread be moved again to About BAUT forum. If not, let's avoid the ad hominem insinuations regarding possible ulterior motives, shall we? Let's stick to the question at hand.


That agenda consists of opening the floodgates to allow non-falsifiable evidence into the equation. This would destroy science as we have known it for the past ~400 years. "Falsification" has become a concept so confused that it has been rendered useless. In your own sentence, you write of "falsifiable evidence" in the grand tradition of Marc Fuhrman. I would have thought that the one thing that would not be falsifiable is evidence. I mean, if evidence itself is falsifiable, whither the claims of scientific epistemic privilege over all other human activities, including philosophy, religion and plain common sense? I earlier pointed out the example of the Quine/Duhem thesis that exploded the naive falsificationism of Popper. But that doesn't mean things can't be falsified. For example, ID theory is false, right? Therefore, ID must of logical necessity be falsifiable. Yet people left and right say ID is not falsifiable. So the word has lost any meaning it might have once had, and is now useless descriptor of science.


Real science has been done over that timespan, no matter what were, and often in spite of, the philosophical beliefs of the various practicing scientists during that period.I've already written that born-again, fundamentalist Baptist, young Earth creationists can still do good science outside of evolutionary biology itself.



Two comments on your quote:

1. If this is a direct quote from the judge, then I can understand his use of the term "laws". If it isn't and is your paraphrase, then the use of "laws" illustrates your misunderstanding of how science works. The term "law" is found typically in the popular scientific literature. In real science the best level of confidence achievable is a theory.Of course it's a direct quote--that's why I wrapped it in quote tags, and provided a link to the court's actual decision from which the quote was copied from.


2. Re "Its is falsifiable", its "what" is falsifiable? If this is direct from the judge then perhaps it's a typo. If yours, then what happened to that "punctilious punctuation and grammar (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/64078-what-science-3.html#post1062623)"? http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gifThanks for pointing out the typo (actually there were two!). My bad--I didn't proofread it carefully enough. Someday, the forum will have built-in spelling and grammar checkers I'm sure. Anyway, I have fixed the typos. Thanks again. :)

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 01:01 PM
Therefore if one receives a Ph. D. in Mathematics, that means mathematics is a subset of philosophy? Right.

Scientists ignore philosophy for a good reason. It mucks up the results and helps produce hypotheses that are unsupportable.

BTW, I know a number of scientists who would aver that philosophy is a subset of science, specifically physics .
Actually, a number of philosophers would agree, but probably that philosophy is a subset of science in general, since physics doesn't have a whole lot to say outside of its narrow bailiwick. Indeed, in evolutionary biology, conservation biology, and neuroscience, philosophers and scientists collaborate routinely.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 01:08 PM
Exact measure is engineering, recording data is accounting, archiving knowledge is a librarian function and its application a commercial function. . . .

I don't know what science will be when it gains true depth perception and sees in full colour but it wont be science and those days are upon us.Now we're getting somewhere! :naughty:


"Science" has become an institutional religion where it should be and will hopefully return to us, as that I have already defined (in my first post) and Technology is where we have excelled during the past (and present) epoch.

"Science"? What do we know of our place in the Universe - without any uncertainty? We know nothing but the relationship of the diameter of a circle to its circumference - Phi. And, this also came to us from ancient Egypt.

Essentially, science has been absent from our civilization for some ~ 3000 + years BUT technology has been in the forefront which we have mistaken as, and have called "science".

You could say that we have excelled in technology and **.Two more votes for the social constructivists versions of science! :hand:

mike alexander
2007-Sep-03, 01:59 PM
Warren Platts wrote, gorgeously:
"Falsification" has become a concept so confused that it has been rendered useless. In your own sentence, you write of "falsifiable evidence" in the grand tradition of Marc Fuhrman. I would have thought that the one thing that would not be falsifiable is evidence. I mean, if evidence itself is falsifiable, whither the claims of scientific epistemic privilege over all other human activities, including philosophy, religion and plain common sense? I earlier pointed out the example of the Quine/Duhem thesis that exploded the naive falsificationism of Popper. But that doesn't mean things can't be falsified. For example, ID theory is false, right? Therefore, ID must of logical necessity be falsifiable. Yet people left and right say ID is not falsifiable. So the word has lost any meaning it might have once had, and is now useless descriptor of science.

I had to ponder this paragraph for some time. On its own terms it is so beautiful I was afraid to even touch it. I thought of invoking the Quinn/Martin counterthesis but decided against it.

Falsification has become a problem for some because they have gotten all curled up in the word itself, not looking up to see if a train is coming. When I was much younger the problem of falsification was pretty much confined to discussion of women's foundations; now it oozes out all over the place, leaving epistemological stains on the floor.

The ID is false, therefore ID is falsifiable, but ID is not falsifiable.... was really nicely done. Excellent word play. But ID is really USELESS, not false. It's like a mathematics where you allow division by zero. I'm pretty sure you can create a mathematics that allows division by zero, but I'll bet it isn't much good for anything. So for ID. At some point you divide by zero, define that as The Infinite, and go have a beer.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 02:24 PM
I had to ponder this paragraph for some time. On its own terms it is so beautiful I was afraid to even touch it. I thought of invoking the Quinn/Martin counterthesis but decided against it.

Falsification has become a problem for some because they have gotten all curled up in the word itself, not looking up to see if a train is coming. When I was much younger the problem of falsification was pretty much confined to discussion of women's foundations; now it oozes out all over the place, leaving epistemological stains on the floor.

The ID is false, therefore ID is falsifiable, but ID is not falsifiable.... was really nicely done. Excellent word play. But ID is really USELESS, not false. It's like a mathematics where you allow division by zero. I'm pretty sure you can create a mathematics that allows division by zero, but I'll bet it isn't much good for anything. So for ID. At some point you divide by zero, define that as The Infinite, and go have a beer.
Don't get me started on 1/0! I got in an argument with my high school math teacher over that one, and he got really mad at me because I argued that 1/0 = 1. Take a pie and divide it 2 times, you have two pieces, right? And if you take a pie and divide it 4 times, you have four pieces, and so on.

But if you take a pie and divide it zero times, you have one, whole pie left! Granted, there's a discontinuity there, but it doesn't reside in 1/0; the discontinuity resides in zero itself because an infinity resides between 10 to the minus sideways eight and nothing. But that's a whole nother thread; as for beer, got to hold off until the bar downstairs opens at 2. ;) Happy Labor Day. . . .

mike alexander
2007-Sep-03, 03:39 PM
An excellent place for a pause because if I read the argument correctly, you showed that 1=0.

01101001
2007-Sep-03, 03:49 PM
But if you take a pie and divide it zero times, you have one, whole pie left!

I suppose if you take a pie and divide it half a time, you and your word play would wind up with one whole scarred pie?

That doesn't seem a productive branch of mathematics nor of home economics. Your teacher shouldn't have argued. Your agenda then was clearly comedy.

So, what IS Science?

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-03, 03:59 PM
An excellent place for a pause because if I read the argument correctly, you showed that 1=0.

ROFL!

All the math I've ever learned is WRONG!!!! :eek: Oh, hhEb09'1, help us out of this wilderness! :lol:

hhEb09'1
2007-Sep-03, 04:03 PM
Don't get me started on 1/0! I got in an argument with my high school math teacher over that one, and he got really mad at me because I argued that 1/0 = 1. Take a pie and divide it 2 times, you have two pieces, right? And if you take a pie and divide it 4 times, you have four pieces, and so on. I guess it depends upon what you mean by divide. If I divide a pie once, I usually end up with two pieces. Twice, four pieces. How do you do it?
help us out of this wilderness! :lol:I guess I'm lost too

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 05:13 PM
I guess it depends upon what you mean by divide. If I divide a pie once, I usually end up with two pieces. Twice, four pieces. How do you do it?I guess I'm lost too


Wow, you're right! How could I miss that!:doh::wall: But it still doesn't materially affect my proof. If I don't divide the pie at all, I still end up with one piece. :lol:

mike alexander
2007-Sep-03, 07:22 PM
Warren, here's my point.

Different disciplines evolve different meanings for words. Some disciplines revel, rightly, in multiple, overlapping or skewed word meanings. Someone with a doctorate in puns should be very good at such stuff. Had better be.

But if you are a chemist and see the word 'unionized' it may have a very different meaning than in nontechnical discourse. It will even be pronounced differently. And a mole is not a small burrowing animal or a breakwater. Similarly, in mathematics words have very precise meanings within the context of the discipline. For instance, division doesn't sit out there alone, it is the inverse function of multiplication. In your mathematic, what is the inverse value? If 2/0 = 2, what is 2*0? You cannot pry division out of the fabric of algebra without shredding it.

hhEb09'1
2007-Sep-03, 07:35 PM
"Science"? What do we know of our place in the Universe - without any uncertainty? We know nothing but the relationship of the diameter of a circle to its circumference - Phi. Pi. Which segues to:
But it still doesn't materially affect my proof. If I don't divide the pie at all, I still end up with one piece. :lol:What are the steps of your proof? Clearly, one pie divided once is not 1/1, right? So, one pie divided zero times isn't 1/0.

Or, was that your proof?

astromark
2007-Sep-03, 07:39 PM
The human mind is well equipped to Analise and make judgments on validity. All you need is ALL the information. Censorship of any such facts is and will be always dangerous. Science is the study of information. Testing, theories, proposition, and more testing... science is a lot of things. All of of them.

Jim
2007-Sep-03, 07:57 PM
Well, I hadn't planned on getting involved in this thread, but Warren has said a few things that just aren't right...


Scientists ignore philosophy at their own peril; whatever science is, we can be sure that it is a subset of philosophy. After all, if you get a Ph.D. in a science, what does the "Ph" stand for?

I think you misunderstand the concept of degrees, certainly as they apply in science and engineering. A bachelor's is awarded to someone who has learned the basics of a field of study. A master's is awarded to someone who has gained advanced learning in that field. A PhD is awarded to someone who has gone beyond the nuts and bolts "how to" of a field and has begun to study the "why" of a field.

Since studying the "why" of something is to study the philosophy behind it, the degree reflects that specialized type of knowledge. It does not mean that science or engineering is a subset of philosophy.


(to Maksutov) I said my goal was to have a conversation. ... let's avoid the ad hominem insinuations regarding possible ulterior motives, shall we? Let's stick to the question at hand.

I cannot find any sort of ad hom, direct or insinuated, in Mak's post.


"Falsification" has become a concept so confused that it has been rendered useless. .... For example, ID theory is false, right? Therefore, ID must of logical necessity be falsifiable. Yet people left and right say ID is not falsifiable. So the word has lost any meaning it might have once had, and is now useless descriptor of science.

I think you are confusing "false" with "falsification." They are not the same and are neither mutually inclusive or exclusive. Something can be false and not be falsifiable (ID), or falsifiable but not false (evolution). Falsification is a very valid and useful concept when this is kept in mind.


Don't get me started on 1/0! I got in an argument with my high school math teacher over that one, and he got really mad at me because I argued that 1/0 = 1. Take a pie and divide it 2 times, you have two pieces, right? And if you take a pie and divide it 4 times, you have four pieces, and so on.

But if you take a pie and divide it zero times, you have one, whole pie left! Granted, there's a discontinuity there, but it doesn't reside in 1/0; the discontinuity resides in zero itself because an infinity resides between 10 to the minus sideways eight and nothing. ...

Wow, this so wrong! You are confusing yourself by your own wordplay.

When you divide something once, that is not the same as one divided by one; it's one divided by one-half, or 1/(1/2) = 2. When you don't divide it at all, that's not 1/0; that's 1 undivided, or 1.


Wow, you're right! How could I miss that!:doh::wall: But it still doesn't materially affect my proof. If I don't divide the pie at all, I still end up with one piece. :lol:

No, it doesn't affect your proof at all. It was wrong when you gave it and it's still wrong.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-03, 08:08 PM
Now, if we really want to keep going in this metathread philosophy direction, I move that this thread be moved again to About BAUT forum. If not, let's avoid the ad hominem insinuations regarding possible ulterior motives, shall we? Let's stick to the question at hand.Often a poster will claim they have no agenda, while the content of their posts indicates otherwise. Suggesting this is an ad hominem insinuation? Please recheck the meaning of that phrase while getting things straight regarding falsifiable/falsification as it applies to science.
"Falsification" has become a concept so confused that it has been rendered useless.Perhaps in your view of things, not mine nor science in general.
In your own sentence, you write of "falsifiable evidence" in the grand tradition of Marc Fuhrman. I would have thought that the one thing that would not be falsifiable is evidence.Of course evidence is falsifiable. That's how good, real, objective evidence is separated from bad, imaginary, subjective evidence. Without that quality process, hypotheses are supported by a hodge-podge of uncertain data, and themselves become non-falsifiable.
I mean, if evidence itself is falsifiable, whither the claims of scientific epistemic privilege over all other human activities, including philosophy, religion and plain common sense?See my previous remark.
I earlier pointed out the example of the Quine/Duhem thesis that exploded the naive falsificationism of Popper. But that doesn't mean things can't be falsified. For example, ID theory is false, right? Therefore, ID must of logical necessity be falsifiable. Yet people left and right say ID is not falsifiable. So the word has lost any meaning it might have once had, and is now useless descriptor of science.See mike alexander's and Jim's succinct dissections of this erroneous statement.

Meanwhile I get the impression this thread is less about "What science is." and more about playing with words, especially how many different definitions a word can have. Ah, Esperanto! Now, I enjoy a good discussion of language, but that strikes me being definitely off-topic.

BTW, since Gillianren seems to be off duty, glad to help out with the incidental proof reading. Good to see you took it in the spirit in which it was offered. :)

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-03, 08:28 PM
What is science??

Science is EVIL.

Science, then, is the learned practiced methods and understandings by which mankind is presently able to work so much evil.

Evil as defined as..: 'a want by a natural creature, to rule and control nature, which it as an animal is, or was part of.'

regardless of intention.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-03, 08:49 PM
But you forget about politics. ;)

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-03, 09:02 PM
What is science??

Science is EVIL.

Science, then, is the learned practiced methods and understandings by which mankind is presently able to work so much evil.

Evil as defined as..: 'a want by a natural creature, to rule and control nature, which it as an animal is, or was part of.'

regardless of intention.

Is that intended to be taken seriously?? If so, I, as a scientist, consider that to be a highly-offensive and ignorant remark.

If it was intended as a 'joke', I would suggest that it is a joke in poor taste, considering the number of scientists and engineers on this forum.

01101001
2007-Sep-03, 09:04 PM
What is science??

Science is EVIL.

Now we're getting somewhere. With elucidation like this, we'll have the matter settled in no time at all. Hey, I must express my thanks to whoever started this thread! And, here I thought it wasn't going to go anywhere.

Now, if Science is Evil...

What IS Evil?

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-03, 09:20 PM
Now, does Dennis Dorgan mean evil with a capitol 'E' or evil with a lower-case 'e'? :D

Are we invoking hell with pitchfork-wielding demons and lakes of fire? :lol:

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-03, 09:43 PM
Well, I hadn't planned on getting involved in this thread, but Warren has said a few things that just aren't right...

I think you misunderstand the concept of degrees, certainly as they apply in science and engineering. A bachelor's is awarded to someone who has learned the basics of a field of study. A master's is awarded to someone who has gained advanced learning in that field. A PhD is awarded to someone who has gone beyond the nuts and bolts "how to" of a field and has begun to study the "why" of a field.

Since studying the "why" of something is to study the philosophy behind it, the degree reflects that specialized type of knowledge. It does not mean that science or engineering is a subset of philosophy.
Originally, there was only one department of knowledge. If you became an academic back in Aristotle's day, you were known as a philosopher even if you were engaged in activities we'd call doing science nowadays. So, we call Ph.D.'s, "Doctors of Philosophy", as a sort of nod to the idea that all the departments of knowledge are subsets of knowledge in general. So I say science is a subset of philosophy in the sense that philosophy is the closest thing out there to a department that ought to be called "omnology", perhaps, the study of everything. So, since philosophy is the study of everything, and since science is a subset of everything, then science is a subset of philosophy. No harm in that, is there?


I cannot find any sort of ad hom, direct or insinuated, in Mak's post.His post echoed earlier posts by other posters that have suggested my question as formulated was somehow disingenuous, that I have an "agenda" to advance, and that I was "exploiting" the Q&A section to advance this agenda. As I've said before, the "question" was just a topic for debate--admittedly, it wasn't appropriate for the Q&A section, so it was moved. No big deal. Since the thread has been moved to the Babbling section, however, I've been hoping that the metathread critiques would stop. However, I realize that my post to Maksutov might have come off badly, and I hope I haven't hurt anyone's feelings as a result.


I think you are confusing "false" with "falsification." They are not the same and are neither mutually inclusive or exclusive. Something can be false and not be falsifiable (ID), or falsifiable but not false (evolution). Falsification is a very valid and useful concept when this is kept in mind.In intro philosophy, we have to teach the distinction between analytic truths, like (p or ~p) that are not falsifiable, and synthetic truths that are contingent on how the world empirically is. Such synthetic truths are in principle falsifiable, since contingent facts could have practically by definition turned out differently. Certainly, ID does not fall into the same category as (p or ~p) or even I dare say (p and ~p). That's because it purports to be about the real world. So if we say that ID is false, is it not just because of the mass of empirical evidence that we use to justify the statement that Darwinism is true? If that's not falsification, then what is?

And finally, please believe me people: my comments on '1/0' were intended as humor, even if they didn't turn out to be so humorous; please feel free to write '∞' or 'undefined' whenever you see '1/0'. :dance:

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-03, 09:51 PM
In intro philosophy, we have to teach the distinction between analytic truths, like (p or ~p) that are not falsifiable, and synthetic truths that are contingent on how the world empirically is. Such synthetic truths are in principle falsifiable, since contingent facts could have practically by definition turned out differently. Certainly, ID does not fall into the same category as (p or ~p) or even I dare say (p and ~p). That's because it purports to be about the real world. So if we say that ID is false, is it not just because of the mass of empirical evidence that we use to justify the statement that Darwinism is true? If that's not falsification, then what is?Falsification: from the horse's mouth (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html). Intelligent Design, when taken as a theory, fails criterium 4, for example.

hhEb09'1
2007-Sep-03, 09:55 PM
What IS Evil?He did attempt a definition:

Evil as defined as..: 'a want by a natural creature, to rule and control nature, which it as an animal is, or was part of.'So, evil is limited to crimes against nature, I guess. That leaves out natural competitions like murder and rape, maybe? It would seem that astrology is a crime also, yes?

And, welcome to BAUT, Dennis Dorgan, it should be interesting.

And finally, please believe me people: my comments on '1/0' were intended as humor, even if they didn't turn out to be so humorous; Good, I'm glad we took care of that :)

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-03, 09:58 PM
And, welcome to BAUT, Dennis Dorgan, it should be interesting.

Now, there's an understatement.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 12:50 AM
Is that intended to be taken seriously?? If so, I, as a scientist, consider that to be a highly-offensive and ignorant remark.

If it was intended as a 'joke', I would suggest that it is a joke in poor taste, considering the number of scientists and engineers on this forum.

It is not meant to be a joke.

In religion, from which the concepts of evil are derived, Satan, which is the prince of evil, was evil... why?

Because he wanted to be like god, and have gods power.

Satan, was thus, by his wanting, and his acting on his wants, was evil.


in this same way, did man rise from the jungle.


We make a conscious choice to do everything we can to control everything.

in the past, it was simple engineering, and a long learning process until Newton and Galileo, and friends.

That became full blown science, where it is our clear intention to develop as much technology as possible over time.
Technology is mans power over nature.
Technology, makes us more like gods.


anyone who says they dont want gods power, is not honest.

if you want gods power, then you are evil.


That does not mean, you are a bad person, or kill babies and animals.

ITS SIMPLY THAT AS SCIENTISTS... you should realise that you are attempting to do the polar opposite of living as one with nature.


which... is just like satan.

Science is then, A NESSASARY EVIL.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-04, 01:06 AM
Everybody, back to the caves!

So we may all be good!

:wall:


PS: To quote Alice and paraphrase hhEb09'1
Curiouser and curiouser.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 01:31 AM
Everybody, back to the caves!

So we may all be good!

:wall:


PS: To quote Alice and paraphrase hhEb09'1

I did say it was a nessasary evil.!

Just as Adam and Eve had to change their diet to leave the garden of eden.

Man must embrace specific levels of evil if we are to survive and prosper.
but that being the case does not change the fact that it is evil.


And all to often, that engineering and science is used for evil,, by men.


The problem...

is in that man, being inherantly evil, wants to control things.

The scientist, understands real power, and strives control nature, which in itself, can be for many noble causes.

The less mindful human... still has that evil and want, and if allowed to it has resulted in endless forms of perverted evil throught history.

Men, want control, history shows, they often settle for controlling others instead of trying to control nature.

Controlling people is easier than controlling the winds or fire.

Controlling people has lead to money, politics, wars, and all the real evil stuff.

The base desire to control others, has lead to all the abuse of history, where women have usually been the victums, being easy to control.


Evil, is in the hearts of men.

Evil has lead to science, and science is its greatest tool.

what we .. as men must battle against... is the perversion of science over time.

Science is inherently evil, because it exists in part to exploit all the natural aspects and qualities of nature herself.

if satan, was a man... HE WOULD BE A SCIENTIST.

SO..

none of this makes the actual human scientists evil.

But the working of science, is literally likenned to modern sorcery..
The only difference is.... SCIENCE ACTUALLY WORKS.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-04, 01:37 AM
I don't know if it's been mentioned yet, but there are some pretty strict rules on discussion of religion and politics, because there are so many opinions, and they tend to start arguments. Dennis, I'd recommend reading the board rules:

http://www.bautforum.com/about-baut/32864-rules-posting-board.html

mike alexander
2007-Sep-04, 01:49 AM
Dennis, a suggestion:

http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/8131/earthpalebluedotsw0.jpg (http://imageshack.us)


That's here. That's home. That's us.
-Carl Sagan


In the greater scheme of things, our evil is very small. If we think we are gods, we have extremely limited imaginations.

The Backroad Astronomer
2007-Sep-04, 02:32 AM
Well Dennis is "imteresting".

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 02:56 AM
I dont mean to mix religion into this, except that, by referencing Satan, we see that the drive itself to have power and control, is the essence of evil.

And science, is then, inherently evil.

The goals and ambitions of modern man are indeed much nobler than ever in history... and I made my comment mearly to remind you all, as men and women of science, that it is the perversion of science which is the danger.

This perversion, is only now truely taking place with the horrors of vivisection and the asperations of every biologist to mold genes into anything they wish, which if we are not careful, may fullfill the prophecy of SCI-FI HORROR TV.

OR at the very least, plague and war are further examples of this perversion.

We, the scientists, must stop the perverts.

or be brain washed by them, into accepting perversion.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-04, 03:08 AM
I dont mean to mix religion into this, except that, by referencing Satan, we see that the drive itself to have power and control, is the essence of evil.


That assumes that one agrees with your definition of evil, that science is evil as you defined it and that "Satan" is more than a myth.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 03:19 AM
true.

But if good and evil are constructs of the mind, then so is religion, as is all of what we call morality and cultural learned behavioral norms.

In which case, if we accept the concept of humanistic good as atheists, then one could or should be able understand the polar opposite concept of evil.

And if we logically consider evil, then I feel my attempts at definitions stand up to arguement.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-04, 07:39 AM
true.

But if good and evil are constructs of the mind, then so is religion, as is all of what we call morality and cultural learned behavioral norms.

In which case, if we accept the concept of humanistic good as atheists, then one could or should be able understand the polar opposite concept of evil.

And if we logically consider evil, then I feel my attempts at definitions stand up to argument.


This is a sort of science but a very contentious area of pseudoscience not popularly supported due in many parts to disbelief that thought exists as an energy field. Hence the extensive testing and interest in alleged psychic phenomena.

The quantum tests commissioned that show water can be 'influenced' in crystalline growth during the freezing process or that 'left click' counters can be likewise 'influenced' is a test of thought or ghost in the machine as it were. If correct and values of 'good' and 'evil' can be attributed to such thought then it is the opposite sides of the same coin.

Without conclusive evidence the proof that God and the Devil are one or that the thought energy of a race or of all living things is balanced or disproportionately weighted either way is very hypothetical. If that is the road you are looking at Dennis Dorgan then it is not possible to distinguish one from the other except in the outcome desired.

While it does go a long way towards describing the motivations and actions that drive humanity that field is still very new and just a subset of science not formally accepted, not to say it isn't an interesting area of pseudo science that could do with a bit more development.

Jim
2007-Sep-04, 12:56 PM
But you forget about politics. ;)

Politics is not a science; it's an art form... and a sport, both participant and spectator.


If it (Science is evil) was intended as a 'joke', I would suggest that it is a joke in poor taste, considering the number of scientists and engineers on this forum.

Well, I'm an engineer and it didn't offend me. Of course, there are aspects of engineering which I consider evil, such as iterative design calculations or anything involving calculus. I also consider it evil when you have a problem and it goes away before you can figure out what caused it.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-04, 01:35 PM
The philosophy of science has a number of entrance points, one for each of the fields of science studied and ultimately the end game. The problem with the end game philosophy is that by its very nature it seeks to lead the result and is therefore has the potential of exerting a corrupting influence. So by introducing 'Satan' or 'Santa' (same lettering) are you really taking an unbiased look at some, all, none or possibly the wrong conclusion.

A diversion into the field of why is science or for that matter why is anything is interesting but maybe unproductive if there isn't enough work available to extrapolate to the correct hypothesis from within the fields under research. So as the thread is "What is Science?" perhaps the philosophy to play is from within a known domain where is this science leading?

Even within a known domain results can be skewed in favour of what is believed to be accurate and corrected for, but that is another topic.

What is science? Science is the application of knowledge within known and adjusted measurements used in the study of the material and energy within the structural dimensions it is bounded by. Even time as a measure draws interest, for instance the present is your perception of reality and reaction to it. The past is your recollection of prior events which takes time to process due to being an act of recall thus making your perception of the past something that can only occur in the near to immediate future, fun isn't it.

Seeing as my last post could really be described as provocative as opposed to informative I believe it is best to add this explanation of it as being a side track. Is science is seen as good or evil or it is in the application that it is realised.

Perhaps that is a different question entirely. How does one allow the thread to continue on as it should being with the subject of "What is Science?".

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-04, 01:39 PM
Falsification: from the horse's mouth (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html). Intelligent Design, when taken as a theory, fails criterium 4, for example.

Popper's criteria:

1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory — if we look for confirmations.

2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory — an event which would have refuted the theory.

3. Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence.")

7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionalist stratagem.")
But see, there are "conceivable events" that could refute ID (for example, if scientists were able to recreate the origin of life in a test tube). I think the ID theory itself is more a victim of #7. It's admirers won't let it rest in peace. Sort of like the steady state theory--there are probably still a few astronomers who don't believe the Big Bang. But that in itself doesn't render the SST unscientific. In #7's sense, no theory whatsoever is irrefutable. Ultimately, its a judgement call as to which of two rival theories incorporates the fewest epicycles (like inflation).



Politics is not a science; it's an art form... and a sport, both participant and spectator.Politics itself may not be a science, but what about political science? Does PolySci count as a true science? (There's also various sports sciences. . . .) ;)

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-04, 01:44 PM
I dont mean to mix religion into this, except that, by referencing Satan, we see that the drive itself to have power and control, is the essence of evil.

And science, is then, inherently evil.


Science has nothing to do with acquiring power and control. Science is about understanding how the universe works. That knowledge is sometimes sought for practical purposes (as in finding out how a pathogen causes disease in order to design a cure for that disease), but much research is done simply for the sake of the knowledge itself.


The goals and ambitions of modern man are indeed much nobler than ever in history... and I made my comment mearly to remind you all, as men and women of science, that it is the perversion of science which is the danger.

That statement directly contradicts what you said in the quote above.


This perversion, is only now truely taking place with the horrors of vivisection and the asperations of every biologist to mold genes into anything they wish, which if we are not careful, may fullfill the prophecy of SCI-FI HORROR TV.

WHAT 'horrors of vivisection'?? AALAC specifically prohibits such experiments from taking place, except under certain circumstances and with appropriate measures in place to minimize the animal's pain and suffering. Also, I am a toxicologist (a kind of biologist), and I harbor no such desire to 'mold genes into anything I wish'. Where are you getting this stuff???


OR at the very least, plague and war are further examples of this perversion

Plagues and wars have always existed, and they have existed independently of any scientific endeavor. Yes, some scientists have helped design weapons of mass destruction, but this is done at the behest of the society in which these scientists are embedded. While this doesn't completely absolve the scientists concerned of the responsibility of helping to create these WMD, society at large and the leaders of that society also bear a very large share of the responsibility.


We, the scientists

We?? You are saying you are a scientist, yet you say science is evil. By your own definition then, you belong to an evil profession! I point you to this quote in one of your posts:


Evil has lead to science, and science is its greatest tool.

what we .. as men must battle against... is the perversion of science over time.

Science is inherently evil, because it exists in part to exploit all the natural aspects and qualities of nature herself.

if satan, was a man... HE WOULD BE A SCIENTIST.


Unbelievable! :mad:

I'm not trying to be unkind, but I wonder if you have considered the implications of what you've said, Dennis Dorgan.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-04, 04:01 PM
But see, there are "conceivable events" that could refute ID (for example, if scientists were able to recreate the origin of life in a test tube).How would that refute ID?
I'm not sure that ID explicitly states that life cannot be mimicked in a test tube. In fact, if scientists do replicate the emergence of life in a lab some day, I think ID proponents will more likely say "See, it took intelligence to do that! That's evidence in favour of ID!"


I think the ID theory itself is more a victim of #7. It's admirers won't let it rest in peace. Sort of like the steady state theory--there are probably still a few astronomers who don't believe the Big Bang.If not ID per se, then the creationist movement can certainly be accused of failing #7. Ultimately, though, I think creationism is more akin to psychoanalysis than to Marxism: it's fundamentally untestable.


But that in itself doesn't render the SST unscientific. In #7's sense, no theory whatsoever is irrefutable.Careful: #7 is not a definifion of falsification.


Ultimately, its a judgement call as to which of two rival theories incorporates the fewest epicycles (like inflation).That is very rarely the case in practice, if ever. Even in the example you give, of the Copernican revolution, the heliocentric model was eventually shown to have many more advantages than the geocentric model, besides mathematical simplicity.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-04, 04:08 PM
But see, there are "conceivable events" that could refute ID (for example, if scientists were able to recreate the origin of life in a test tube).

That has been done, more or less; thus ID has indeed been refuted. Next!

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-04, 04:23 PM
ITS SIMPLY THAT AS SCIENTISTS... you should realise that you are attempting to do the polar opposite of living as one with nature.

which... is just like satan.

Science is then, A NESSASARY EVIL.That's an interesting allegory, and I agree that science can be an evil on many occasions. To give just one example, we can thank modern technological progress ("science", in a broad sense) for global warming.

However, I don't see any way out of the hole we've dug ourselves into which doesn't involve more and better science. A necessary evil, as you say.


if satan, was a man... HE WOULD BE A SCIENTIST.A modern Dr. Faust? :)

Well, there have been people like Mengele. However, I think you can find equally harmful people in other walks of life (and I again nominate politics ;)). Most of all, though, I don't think there is much to gain from such blaming games.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-04, 05:37 PM
A modern Dr. Faust?

Well, there have been people like Mengele.

He was just following orders:


Yes, some scientists have helped design weapons of mass destruction, but this is done at the behest of the society in which these scientists are embedded.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-04, 06:00 PM
He was just following orders:I'm not sure his orders were that specific.
Not that I'm interested in finding out... The whole matter disgusts me, and anyway, I do think that blaming specific professions for the ills of mankind is pointless.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-04, 06:17 PM
He was just following orders:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paracelsus
Yes, some scientists have helped design weapons of mass destruction, but this is done at the behest of the society in which these scientists are embedded.


So were all of the members of the SS, AND the ordinary citizens running trains into the concentration camps, AND the soldiers in the armies which invaded Eastern Europe and murdered its population in the name of 'Liebensraum'.

I agree with Disinfo Agent: this entire thread disgusts me too, with its anti-science tone and random, senseless slander and accusations.

Mods, I propose that this thread be locked. I don't think this 'discussion' is doing anything other than stirring up a lot of ill feeling.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-04, 06:30 PM
Incidentally, Dennis Dorgan's posts, particularly this lovely quote:


Evil has lead to science, and science is its greatest tool...Science is inherently evil, because it exists in part to exploit all the natural aspects and qualities of nature herself.

if satan, was a man... HE WOULD BE A SCIENTIST.

bring to mind a fantastic (and perceptive) quote from the late, great Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark:


I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our national or ethnic prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us--then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.

mike alexander
2007-Sep-04, 06:31 PM
This whole thing reminds me of one of those Socratic inquiries where the Socrates person keeps asking Why? until the other half just gives up and says he doesn't know, at which time Soc gives a superior smirk and says, "Me neither. But at least I know that I don't know."

But remember, Paracelsius, that if you cut and run, the philosphers win!

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-04, 06:42 PM
I agree with Disinfo Agent: this entire thread disgusts me too, with its anti-science tone and random, senseless slander and accusations.Well, I meant that the Mengele affair disgusts me.

hhEb09'1
2007-Sep-04, 06:44 PM
if you cut and run, the philosphers win!In the United States, they're known as sorcerers

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-04, 06:45 PM
How medieval!

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 06:49 PM
We?? You are saying you are a scientist, yet you say science is evil. By your own definition then, you belong to an evil profession! I point you to this quote in one of your posts:

Unbelievable! :mad:



EXACTLY..

MY FRIENDS, dont get me wrong.

I did say it was a nessasary evil.

But the inherent goals and drives of man to literally lust for more, is evil, because no can tell me that science and all scienstists dont dream of the wonders future science has to offer...
such as the ability to dematerialize matter and re-materialize it later elsewhere in other shapes.. like in star trek.
to literally have powers likenned to a pagan God.

Science gives us the modern world of today... and offers it all.

Science and its technics, are the secret writings found in the magic books of the great modern wizards who can actually be quite dangerious.

I guess, maybe, there are only civilised kittens here.. no modern wizards.
thats good.

I repeat my statement, that if Satan was a man, he would be a scientist, because only a scientist can exercise real physical power, and if well learned, he could do it macgyver style, or be prepared with his bag of tricks. and or otherwise has the brain power and skills to do as they desire when they desire it, with long detailed plans.

Knowledge is power, therefore scieintists have the most potential power.

the lust for power is evil.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-04, 07:02 PM
Oy.

:rolleyes:

Look, I'm sure you are a good person and mean no harm, but I don't see how anything but harm could result from such a jaundiced view of science and scientists! The whole idea that all scientists are power-mad maniacs is the province of the worst science fiction.

I'll go back to what Carl Sagan has said about science:


Some people consider science arrogant--especially when it purports to contradict beliefs of long standing or when it introduces bizarre concepts that seem contradictory to common sense...Nevertheless, I maintain that science is part and parcel humility. Scientists do not seek to impose their needs and wants on Nature, but instead humbly interrogate Nature and take seriously what they find....In its encounter with Nature, science invariably elicits a sense of reverence and awe. The very act of understanding is a celebration of joining, merging, even if on a very modest scale, with the magnificence of the cosmos. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.

Does this sound like the description of a power-mad, nature-hating, evil maniac to you??

Celestial Mechanic
2007-Sep-04, 07:19 PM
This thread is further evidence for the validity of Godwin's Law: that as soon as Nazis or Hitler are mentioned all further hope of dialogue ceases.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-04, 07:21 PM
Knowledge is power, therefore scieintists have the most potential power.It might be argued that not all knowledge is scientific, though. For example, charisma and the ability to manipulate crowds seem to be, to a considerable extent, intuitive or acquired through personal experience.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-04, 07:40 PM
This thread is further evidence for the validity of Godwin's Law: that as soon as Nazis or Hitler are mentioned all further hope of dialogue ceases.

Seconded it makes discussing a valid concept "What" is science very difficult as the OP suggests to give emotion to something strictly neutral.

Discussion on good or evil is a discussion on the nature of people their strengths and weaknesses.

Originally Posted by mike alexander
if you cut and run, the philosophers win!
I shouldn't have encouraged a side issue if it was even that.

What is science, science is accountable. That statement should hold a lot of weight. Should the scientific community support or do something that is ultimately damaging it damages all sorts of funding for other projects. That is why such care is used in fields like 'GM' foods or genetics or nanotechnology.

Public apathy is a gift but public hysteria and wroth is something to avoid altogether.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 07:49 PM
......... I don't see how anything but harm could result from such a jaundiced view of science and scientists! The whole idea that all scientists are power-mad maniacs is the province of the worst science fiction.



I never said anyone was power mad... i never said scientists were evil.

I said.. knowledge is power.

Science gives us real knowledge.

The lust for power is the basis of all mans evil.

power to control... others... the lights.. the tempurture. and ease our burdens.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-04, 07:52 PM
But see, there are "conceivable events" that could refute ID (for example, if scientists were able to recreate the origin of life in a test tube).


How would that refute ID? I expect IDers would claim it was an example of ID.

mike alexander
2007-Sep-04, 07:53 PM
I was joking about the cut-and-run, of course. If Warren can joke about 1=0, why can't I have some fun?

For the most recent dust-up, the intital mistake was taking 'knowledge is power' and assuming

knowledge = power

That's a catch phrase, not an equality.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 07:54 PM
What is science, science is accountable. That statement should hold a lot of weight.


As are the men involved, who did the science and the work.

Again a nessasary evil, one which requires the highest of standards, as you stated.

However, we dont need genetically engineered crops, we just need propoer water distribution.

Let us not forget how many scientists are literally 'bought' each day.

what are your standards? How much are your ethics worth?

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-04, 08:21 PM
Ethics, now we are getting somewhere.
Well first I am a cleaner so I am easily bought but what I do or don't do will hardly tip the balance of good and evil.

In fact there are huge publicly and privately funded institutions in place to regulate and dictate just such human behaviour if they ever get their own houses in order. Science has its own ethics committees and is very quick to say who is not working within those ethical values.

Less well known to the public science is a series of institutions just like the series of institutions for dictating public morality. What science does suffer is public ignorance of just how varied and accountable each of those institutions are. If something goes wrong it eventually gets to court where that particular person or field of study is properly addressed.

Ultimately science is in the business of educating and improving lives in spite of public apathy and ignorance and returning profits to those who commissioned their work.

Jim
2007-Sep-04, 09:46 PM
It seems we may have two threads here, one asking "What is science?" and the other saying "Science is evil." While there is a definite connection, this may not be the discussion the OP was seeking.

Warren and Dennis, should this thread be split?

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-04, 10:15 PM
It seems we may have two threads here, one asking "What is science?" and the other saying "Science is evil." While there is a definite connection, this may not be the discussion the OP was seeking.

Warren and Dennis, should this thread be split?If you're actually asking my opinion, I would say don't split it.

This is science boot camp week! :whistle::dance::whistle::dance::whistle::dance:

We've got to break science down to as low as it will go before we can build it back up! :hand:

Maksutov
2007-Sep-04, 10:27 PM
[edit]We've got to break science down to as low as it will go before we can build it back up! :hand:When are you going to start doing that? I haven't seen anything of that nature so far.

:think:

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-04, 10:36 PM
Perhaps, I should re-state eveything to say, Science is a manifestation of mans inherent evil, and is the greatest tool by which mankind works its evil all across the globe, and if we are lucky, across the galaxy as well.

Mankinds inherent evil, is not something to be stomped out, and eliminated, and I discuss it, to remind you all of the need to rein it in.

And put simply..

The worst thing a race of beings can do, is lose sight of the difference between good and evil.. because when that happens..

We end up with a moral-less un-ethical greed based culture.

some would say its to late.

I would say its never to late.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-04, 10:40 PM
BTW, this whole "Science is evil" thing just doesn't work in a text format.

It needs sound, specifically the sound of Richard Burton overpronouncing it (a la Exorcist II: The Heretic).

The closest one can come in text would be something like
Science...is...EEEEE-VVVIILLLL! http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/teufel/a045.gif

Nereid
2007-Sep-04, 10:43 PM
When are you going to start doing that? I haven't seen anything of that nature so far.

:think:But he did that already, big time! :)

First, he raised science to the level of the Gods (capitalising the first letter).

Then he sent it to burn in the fires of philosophy hell, to purge its soul of any pretensions it may have had wrt 'reality', or 'objectivity', etc.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-04, 11:10 PM
BTW, this whole "Science is evil" thing just doesn't work in a text format.

It needs sound, specifically the sound of Richard Burton overpronouncing it (a la Exorcist II: The Heretic).


Science...is...EEEEE-VVVIILLLL!

The closest one can come in text would be something like http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/teufel/a045.gif

Right, "evil" just isn't strong enough. It should be "Science . . . is . . . EVILE (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=evile)!"

For those unfamiliar with "evile," here are common definitions from the above link:
1. Evile is a mix of "evil" and "vile." That creature is evile!

2. The most evil kind of evil. Evil, in fact, with an added "e", which stands for "evil." "Did you see that homeless guy kick that puppy? Darn, he's evile."

3. The most vile, despicable form of evil. Makes Dracula queasy sort of evil. That guy just ordered the last Taco Bell 1/2 Pound Beef and Potato Burrito (r)! That's so...so.../evile/!

Or maybe it should be, "Science is a weevil." Of course, that depends on your definition of "weevil," but it makes as much sense as the statement, "Science is evil."

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-04, 11:15 PM
The capital "S"!! :surprised:

Honestly, I thought I was adhering to style when I capitalized the the "S" in "What IS Science?", and certainly didn't intend any allusions to godliness. Elsewhere, I have chosen to go with the nonhonorific lower case (even when I should have used caps) as when I wrote:

This is science boot camp week!

:whistle::dance::whistle::dance::whistle::dance:

And the "IS" was not intended as shout; the thread titles don't support the italic function--at least I don't think they do--and so the caps were merely intended to shift verbal emphasis from the ordinary "What is science?" to "What is science?" mainly for the benefit of KenG and others who like me had hijacked 3 or 4 other threads where we kept butting up against the same question in various contexts. And so I wrote that I hoped we could settle the question "once and for all" in this one thread, instead of within several randomly scattered threads--although we all know of course that'll never happen! ;)

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-05, 07:10 AM
I wasn't aware science needed to go to boot camp. Dennis Dorgan has already broken science down, so to speak, but he has not evinced any desire to build it back up. He appears to want to get rid of it altogether.

Another question that comes to mind is what science would be 'built back up' to and how its 'new and improved' form would function wrt the old form.

Or is this entire thread intended to be humorous, and I just need to lighten up?

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-05, 07:47 AM
Or is this entire thread intended to be humorous, and I just need to lighten up?

Well, I sure haven't seen much to take seriously.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 12:22 PM
What is science, science is accountable. That statement should hold a lot of weight. Should the scientific community support or do something that is ultimately damaging it damages all sorts of funding for other projects. . . .

Ultimately, science is in the business of educating and improving lives in spite of public apathy and ignorance and returning profits to those who commissioned their work. . . .
Science is a business all right who's job it is to reduce reality not to atoms and molecules, but to price-points of experience. Total Information Awareness = Total Control. Not to describe reality, but to define it: that's the ultimate goal. (That, and returning those profits.)

R.A.F.
2007-Sep-05, 01:09 PM
Not to describe reality, but to define it: that's the ultimate goal.

Paranoid much??

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 02:53 PM
Paranoid much??Hey, even the paranoid have real enemies.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that science is a business; that is to say, a sector of the economy. More precisely, science is a form of media that generates nonfiction content. Even amateur participants are covered under this umbrella; amateur astronomers still have to buy the fancy telescopes, the paperback books, computers and software, and bandwidth, above all else.

Bandwidth. . . .

We could go a little further, as I alluded to in my last post: science not only generates its own content, it is also the mass marketing tool used to shape the demand for all other forms of content.

So, the question is, is there anything more to science?

If it is, I think we can agree that whatever science is about, it's not about reality, strictly speaking. That was the whole point of positivism (which is a type of philosophy--not science itself). From the perspective of science itself, atoms and black holes are mere mathematical place holdholders; science cares not a whit whether atoms and black holes are really real stuff-like objects, if they're mere permanent possibilities of sensation, or whatever--its only concern is whether the math jibes with the observations. It is this utter lack of any requirement for metaphysical ontology that allows science to generate inscriptions regarding practically any human endeavor.

In other words, science is a formalized, epistemological technique. It is a craft or a trade, sort of like plumbing or writing detective novels.

More precisely, we could perhaps go further and say that science is methodological naturalism (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/schafersman_nat.html).

Methodological naturalism is quite distinct from philosophical or metahphysical or ontological naturalism. Under methodological naturalism, "objects" are virtual; they are treated "as if" they were real, but there is no inherent requirement that they be really real. The true scientist qua scientist not only does not know whether the objects he or she posits are real, he or she doesn't even care!

So, although science is a mass marketing technique, we can also say it is the most effective epistemological technique--much more effective than revelations, mystical experiences, relying on plain common sense, and other such forms of hunches.

(And let's not worry overmuch about the falsification stuff; falsification is one tool among many others in the scientist's inscription-generating tool box. Falsification certainly is not diagnostic of science.)

But there is no glory nor warm fuzzy feelings to be had in this view of science.

No, those only come from the implications of science for philosophy. It is only through philosophy that we can ever hope to recover reality.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-05, 02:54 PM
Science is a business all right who's job it is to reduce reality not to atoms and molecules, but to price-points of experience. Total Information Awareness = Total Control. Not to describe reality, but to define it: that's the ultimate goal. (That, and returning those profits.)

Yikes! I stand corrected. I get the impression that if a legal definition is put in place by that standard then the very air we breathe could be charged to us or worse still manipulated.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-05, 03:07 PM
If it is, I think we can agree that whatever science is about, it's not about reality, strictly speaking. That was the whole point of positivism (which is a type of philosophy--not science itself). From the perspective of science itself, atoms and black holes are mere mathematical place holdholders; science cares not a whit whether atoms and black holes are really real stuff-like objects, if they're mere permanent possibilities of sensation, or whatever--its only concern is whether the math jibes with the observations. It is this utter lack of any requirement for metaphysical ontology that allows science to generate inscriptions regarding practically any human endeavor.


Um, atoms and black holes are not just 'placeholders'---they do exist. And that first sentence is so completely incorrect that it blows my mind.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-05, 03:19 PM
If you're actually asking my opinion, I would say don't split it.

This is science boot camp week! :whistle::dance::whistle::dance::whistle::dance:

We've got to break science down to as low as it will go before we can build it back up! :hand:Except that this thread was never about science. You have been dishonest about your true intention, which was to promote Intelligent Design (capital I and capital D, of course). That's what should be taken to boot camp, and you can be sure there wouldn't be anything left of it after a week.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 03:32 PM
Yikes! I stand corrected. I get the impression that if a legal definition is put in place by that standard then the very air we breathe could be charged to us or worse still manipulated.Sure, but the advantage is that you'll have 50 "channels" of air to choose from. Would you prefer Sea Breeze ® or Mountain Meadow ®?

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 03:35 PM
Um, atoms and black holes are not just 'placeholders'---they do exist. Actually, I agree with you. However, I have come around to KenG's way of thinking. Atoms and black holes may really exist "out there", but that is not a scientific description, that's a metaphysical conjecture.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-05, 03:36 PM
How about Lower CO2 (TM) or Ozone-Free (TM)?

This thread is starting to look like simple pot-stirring, with no higher purpose intended.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 03:40 PM
Except that this thread was never about science. You have been dishonest about your true intention, which was to promote Intelligent Design (capital I and capital D, of course). . I forgive you because you obviously haven't read everything I've written on the subject in this and in other forums.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 03:48 PM
How about Lower CO2 (TM) or Ozone-Free (TM)?
That's actually funny. :lol: Nice one.


This thread is starting to look like simple pot-stirring, with no higher purpose intended.
Then perhaps you should try leaving substantive comments on the substantive posts--something that resembled an argument, rather than a mere assertion like:


Um, atoms and black holes are not just 'placeholders'---they do exist.

or reports about your altered states of consciousness like:


That first sentence is so completely incorrect that it blows my mind.

Unless, of course, you're seriously suggesting that blown minds are reliable truth-detectors.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-05, 03:57 PM
No, my **-detector is clicking along just fine, thank you, and is in overdrive on this thread.

As for making substantive arguments, I've made them on earlier posts on this thread---and have been ignored. As you have stated that you are taking Ken G's approach, I say let's get him to comment on this thread. Here's a suggestion for you: why not PM him and ask his opinion RE your ideas as put forth on this thread?

If you don't feel like doing so, then I'm more than willing to PM him and ask him to comment on what you've implied his beliefs are, particularly those RE black holes and atoms being metaphysical conjectures, whatever the hell that last phrase is supposed to mean. I also note that you did not answer Disinfo Agent's charge that this entire thread was created to promote ID.

Is that charge true?

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 05:41 PM
I also note that you did not answer Disinfo Agent's charge that this entire thread was created to promote ID.

Is that charge true?

:hand: Post #63: (http://www.bautforum.com/1062624-post63.html)


I pointed out that one seeming, disturbing implication is that Feynman's definition might include some activities under the umbrella of science that many would like to see excluded--like ID theory.

Naturally, but unfortunately, that comment stirred up a hornet's nest. So let me reiterate that I don't believe in ID theory, nor is it my agenda to defend it on this forum. I was merely using it as a foil to see what counts as science. The choice was unfortunate, since the topic is too politically charged, and there are plenty of other astronomy-related borderline sciences that would have served as well. Therefore, I shall not comment on ID anymore--so don't ask me any more questions on ID.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-05, 05:49 PM
Whatever. :hand:

What I'm getting from this thread is that you are equating science with all other branches of philosophy such as, say Bhuddism, Taoism, or what have you and are concluding from that exercise that the science has nothing to do with reality.


I must ask: what fields of science have you seriously studied, as in taken classes in, done work in, read about at an advanced level and understood, etc?

mike alexander
2007-Sep-05, 06:35 PM
Anyway, I think we can all agree that science is a business

As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger under slightly different circumstances: What you mean 'we', white man?

Warren, this isn't a lecture you're giving to a class, where you essentially control the syllabus. It's closer to a thesis defense, where your ideas and interpretation of same are being picked apart by some quite knowldgeable people (I won't include myself in that group, but there are some sharp ones here).


its (science's) only concern is whether the math jibes with the observations

That, in my own opinion, is just about as backasswards as possible. For a lot of science (not all, by any means) mathematics is a specialized language that allows insight. One example that comes to mind is pre-Newtonian celestial mechanics, with its circular orbits, epicycles, deferents and the like. As observations became better, data fed back into the model, making it look messier and messier (Not in itself making it 'wrong'; maybe reality is inherently messy). When Kepler substituted elliptical orbits he found that the description was not only much simpler, it was more accurate. An astounding insight, yet still descriptive. But it laid the groundwork for Newton who, using his own stupendous insight, was able to relate interactions on the earth to those in the sky (hence Universal Gravitation). Using Newton's insights and mathematics one can derive the Keplerian orbits from more primitive principles. This sort of confluence (the proper description of a rock falling to the ground is the same description of a planet orbiting the sun) is what scientific inquiry is about.

If you want to separately discuss the economic applications of the results flowing from scientific inquiry and technological implementations thereof, by all means let's do so. But Newton wasn't thinking about the money he could make from the Principia; after all, it sat in a drawer for about twenty years, as I recall.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 06:38 PM
Whatever. :hand:

What I'm getting from this thread is that you are equating science with all other branches of philosophy such as, say Bhuddism, Taoism, or what have you and are concluding from that exercise that the science has nothing to do with reality.

Not at all, what I'm saying that distinguishes science from other subsectors of the economy like philosophy and pop culture is that science is a generalized epistemological technique useful for analyzing natural phenomena. The scientific method is a collection of formal methods of inquiry; what particular method a given scientist will use in a given situation is context-dependent.

As such, science itself demands no necessary metaphysical commitments. You don't have to believe in evolution to be a good geologist, you don't have to believe in atoms to be a good chemist, and you don't have to believe in black holes to be a good astrophysicist. Stephen Hawking himself has written that he doesn't believe in black holes. Who am I to second guess him?

To the extent that a scientist reifies such things as atoms and molecules, he or she is doing so not in their capacity as a scientist per se; rather, he or she is doing so in his or her capacity as a natural philosopher. All scientists are methodological naturalists; some scientists are ontological naturalists--but ontological naturalism is what KenG calls a "personal philosophy", that serves, among others, the purpose of generating those warm, fuzzy feelings.


I must ask: what fields of science have you seriously studied, as in taken classes in, done work in, read about at an advanced level and understood, etc?
I updated my public profile since you're curious; and since I'm not anonymous, you can always try googling me.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-05, 06:39 PM
:hand: Post #63: (http://www.bautforum.com/1062624-post63.html)I had missed that post where you reframed the discussion. I actually think it's perfectly valid to discuss whether Feynman's definition is good enough to exclude things like ID or not. It depends on how we interpret it, of course. But let me ask you this: do you think Feynman would have accepted ID as a science?


Not at all, what I'm saying that distinguishes science from other subsectors of the economy like philosophy and pop culture is that science is a generalized epistemological technique useful for analyzing natural phenomena. The scientific method is a collection of formal methods of inquiry; what particular method a given scientist will use in a given situation is context-dependent.

As such, science itself demands no necessary metaphysical commitments. You don't have to believe in evolution to be a good geologist, you don't have to believe in atoms to be a good chemist, and you don't have to believe in black holes to be a good astrophysicist. Stephen Hawking himself has written that he doesn't believe in black holes. Who am I to second guess him?

To the extent that a scientist reifies such things as atoms and molecules, he or she is doing so not in their capacity as a scientist per se; rather, he or she is doing so in his or her capacity as a natural philosopher. All scientists are methodological naturalists; some scientists are ontological naturalists--but ontological naturalism is what KenG calls a "personal philosophy", that serves, among others, the purpose of generating those warm, fuzzy feelings.I agree with that.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 07:39 PM
Do you think Feynman would have accepted ID as a science? Now that I've thought about it some more, probably not. Although IDeists are willing to take a fresh look at Darwinism, they refuse to take a fresh look at Genesis.

And on my own, new, refined definition of science, I find I must exclude ID as a new science. Rather ID must be considered an epistemologically forlorn minor subset of evolutionary biology itself. Moreover, the epistemological placeholder that ID offers--intelligent designers--don't do much that can't be done with more conventional placeholders.

But here's the key point: if theories that posited intelligent designers proved to be more compelling than Darwinism, this wouldn't in itself prove that intelligent designers really exist! To make that leap requires philosophy, or possibly even theosophistry.

mike alexander
2007-Sep-05, 07:45 PM
To the extent that a scientist reifies such things as atoms and molecules, he or she is doing so not in their capacity as a scientist per se; rather, he or she is doing so in his or her capacity as a natural philosopher.

Wait a minute. I've seen pictures of atoms and molecules. Whether or not they started out as placeholders or abstract concepts useful for insights into nature, they are not reified concepts anymore. You might argue, for example, that Brownian motion is caused by little invisible imps kicking micron-sized particles and not random collisions with unseeable oxygen of water molecules, but a picture taken with an atomic force microscope shows the darned things. Just as a picture taken with your eye shows your computer screen.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-05, 08:00 PM
But here's the key point: if theories that posited intelligent designers proved to be more compelling than Darwinism, this wouldn't in itself prove that intelligent designers really exist! To make that leap requires philosophy, or possibly even theosophistry.Science cannot provide absolute proof of anything. Only compelling evidence, at best. So, yes, I agree: even if ID or some other version of creationism were supported by science, there would still be room for doubting it.

Faith really is a matter of faith (hence the term 'leap of faith'). It can't be reduced to anything observable.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-05, 08:15 PM
Originally Posted by Warren Platts http://www.bautforum.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.bautforum.com/off-topic-babbling/64078-what-science-6.html#post1064819)
But here's the key point: if theories that posited intelligent designers proved to be more compelling than Darwinism, this wouldn't in itself prove that intelligent designers really exist! To make that leap requires philosophy, or possibly even theosophistry.Science cannot provide absolute proof of anything. Only compelling evidence, at best. So, yes, I agree: even if ID or some other version of creationism were supported by science, there would still be room for doubting it.


Faith really is a matter of faith (hence the term 'leap of faith'). It can't be reduced to anything observable.Science isn't about proofs. Math is. Science is about weeding out the hypotheses and theories that don't as good a job of fitting the evidence until there's one left.

In science there's always room for doubt. That's part of the process, and one aspect that separates it from matters of faith and dogmatic philosophy.

Re the embedded quote, what's "Darwinism"? There's the theory of evolution, and that's it. Or is tacking on an "-ism" yet another attempt to denigrate science?

As expected this discussion is being steered by a few in the direction of "We can't really know anything, and therefore everything is a matter of faith." The seeds of this fruit were in the OP. As a result the frequency of theological posts is increasing as a function of time. The science content is decreasing in a like manner.


Please note: somehow I managed to write the above without any $10 words. Mercy!

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-05, 08:18 PM
As expected this discussion is being steered by a few in the direction of "We can't really know anything, and therefore everything is a matter of faith."I know you don't mean me, so who do you mean? Go on, don't be shy. Tell us what's on your mind.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-05, 08:27 PM
I know you don't mean me, so who do you mean? Go on, don't be shy. Tell us what's on your mind.Already did re this thread.

But then again, anything else would require knowledge, which is unachievable per some philosophies. Keep the faith, baby!

Carousels aren't my idea of entertainment, nor is word salad particularly nutritious.

We're outta here...

mike alexander
2007-Sep-05, 09:11 PM
Maksutov wrote:
In science there's always room for doubt. That's part of the process, and one aspect that separates it from matters of faith and dogmatic philosophy.


Exactly.

By the middle of the 19th century, geologists had accumulated strong evidence that the earth was hundreds of millions, if not billions of years old.

In that same time frame, physics was reaching the culmination of its classical phase, one of the high points being the formulation of thermodynamics.

Based on the measured heat flow from the interior of the earth, Kelvin calculated that the earth must have been in a fully molten state not more than 25 million years previously. Since this was incompatible with the data from geology, and since thermodynamics was considered to be on very firm theoretical grounds, many physicists rejected the geological evidence as being somehow flawed (Kelvin himself did not automatically reject the conclusion, but said absent something entirely outside the theory of heat it was highly unlikely).

Later on, as a check, Kelvin calculated the lifetime of the sun based on the only known sufficient source of heat (the conversion of gravitational potential energy to heat) and came up with a similar figure. As the 20th century opened there were two sets of what appeared to be good data indicating vastly different ages for the earth. Who was wrong?

Well, neither. It turned out that physics wasn’t wrong, it was incomplete. The discovery of beta decay and radioactivity explained the additional heat coming from the interior of the earth. Working out hydrogen fusion explained the source of the sun’s heat. Scientists didn’t stop looking, or throw up their hands and say the whole thing is crazy and a waste of time.

My Lord, there are so many such examples. Fermi’s postulate of the neutrino for the ‘lost’ energy in beta decay come to mind. Often described as a ‘mere bookkeeping’ device to make the equations work out properly, Fermi actually postulated the particle’s properties. Based on those, the particle was actually detected in 1956. Then there’s the ‘missing solar neutrinos’ problem - solved. And so on.

In scientific inquiry, doubt tends to drive new discovery, not shut the process down.

Besides, if you sent a scientist to boot camp she'd probably begin collecting data on the optimal patterns of marching, best blend of exercise and rest for fastest physical development and whether "Sir!" or "SIR!" produced the quickest response from the DI.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-05, 10:00 PM
In science there's always room for doubt. That's part of the process, and one aspect that separates it from matters of faith and dogmatic philosophy.Any theologian worth his or her salt will say the same thing about religion and God. Therefore, mere room for doubt is not a diagnostic mark of science.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Sep-05, 10:08 PM
Many theologians have also said that faith is fundamental to religion (though this may be a western thing). In any case, most religious people are not theologians, and do not think like them, as near as I can tell.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-06, 06:38 AM
I wasn't aware science needed to go to boot camp. Dennis Dorgan has already broken science down, so to speak, but he has not evinced any desire to build it back up. He appears to want to get rid of it altogether.

Another question that comes to mind is what science would be 'built back up' to and how its 'new and improved' form would function wrt the old form.

Or is this entire thread intended to be humorous, and I just need to lighten up?

If we are to build it up, I would begin by saying that while it maybe based and inherently linked to the evil in mans heart, and is part and one with his desire to rule the cosmos, that goal, in itself may not be a negative one.

I.e..

when mankind began eating animals...

it was disgusting, sick, and bloody....

guts, and blood, and fire and stuff...

it was a transistion from being a calm vegan animal, to being a hunter that killed and burned the flesh of animals striped, gutted and cleaned and cooked.


killing animals, was a nessasary evil.

an evil, we needed to advance... so that we would no longer die of amino acid deficiencies... so, we could grow in population numbers.


a nessasary evil.



science, is the ultimate nessasary evil.


We as a species need it. And more than this, we must protect it from being perverted.

Science, is cold and calculating, and based on procedure and method, all of which can be perverted over time.


We, as mankind, need science.

But, science, run wild, and free, can leads to our destruction.



As some hypothetically suggest, the search for the higgs boson, could spell our doom.

but that, is debatable... and hence.. the problem.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-06, 06:41 AM
Um, atoms and black holes are not just 'placeholders'---they do exist. And that first sentence is so completely incorrect that it blows my mind.


atoms, and their internal structure, has not been confirmed without doubt.

and..

black holes, are still in question.

that there are dark, massive dense things outthere, we all agree on.. but the idea that they are singularities or holes of anykind... is still in doubt.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-06, 07:25 AM
it was a transistion from being a calm vegan animal, to being a hunter that killed and burned the flesh of animals striped, gutted and cleaned and cooked.


Humans are omnivores. We were never just herbivores. Anyway, are you saying any omnivore or carnivore species is evil?




As some hypothetically suggest, the search for the higgs boson, could spell our doom.


Some people suggest a lot of things. It doesn't mean there's any factual basis for their statements.

mike alexander
2007-Sep-06, 07:53 AM
Dennis Dorgan wrote:

atoms, and their internal structure, has not been confirmed without doubt.

Dennis... what would it take to convince you of the existence of atoms? A picture? The web is full of pictures of atoms, taken with scanning tunneling microscopes, field ionization microscopes... I saw those pictures as a kid in the 1950's! I...

...quit. Goodnight, Gracie.

Cougar
2007-Sep-06, 03:17 PM
...if you want gods power, then you are evil.... That does not mean, you are a bad person...

You seem very confused, Dennis. The above is particularly self-contradictory. And religiosity of the sort you are expressing in this thread is generally not viewed too kindly.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-06, 06:38 PM
I'm getting frustrated with all of this verbiage and think we all need a practical example to work with in this discussion. I have one at hand. Here goes:

Has anyone viewing this thread ever had the experience of going to work and realizing that the outfit you are wearing is just a bad idea for some reason?

I'm having one of those moments right now, as I just realized that the top I wore to the office today is way too low-cut and revealing for the office. :o It didn't seem that way to me when I put it on this morning. Now, I'm well within the bounds of decency laws (deduced from the fact that I've walked around in public all day and haven't been arrested), but I am feeling just a tad self-conscious at the moment. The fact that today everyone's eyes seem to be fixating on my chest and not my face does not help.

As epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief, and Warren Platt has bandied that term about a lot in relation to the OP question, I suppose that my above-described situation represents an opportunity for application of the theoretical philosophic formulism he is discussing herein to dissecting the metaphysical ontology of the formalized, epistemologic technique he calls science, as to whether it is: 1) grounded in observation of real-world phenomenae (my view), or 2) grounded in theoretical, mathematical placeholders with little regard for whether these placeholders represent the real world or not (his view, as I understand it). I believe that the epistemologic question embedded in my sociological dilemma is: how do I know that my top is too low for the setting I'm sitting in?

mike alexander
2007-Sep-06, 07:11 PM
how do I know that my top is too low for the setting (that) I'm sitting in?

I do apologize, really, but that is not only a pithy statement, it reads like top-drawer Dr. Seuss.

Note: I love Dr. Seuss.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-07, 04:43 AM
You seem very confused, Dennis. The above is particularly self-contradictory. And religiosity of the sort you are expressing in this thread is generally not viewed too kindly.

well.. im sorry.

but its like this... i know it seems like a contradiction.
but,

As in Genisis, We disobeyed, and eat what we should not.. right.
and sure God was mad...
but then God says, behold, man is like us, knowing good from evil, as God knows good from evil.

So, while disobediance was a bad thing.

It was still beneficial, and God was proud of his growing children.


Do you see.

It was a nessasary evil.

Science is the ultimate developed tool, by which we are slowly prying into all the deepest corners of mother nature... A nessasary evil.

but.,

Some of the corners, should be left alone.

01101001
2007-Sep-07, 05:45 AM
As in Genisis, We disobeyed, and eat what we should not.. right.

Please don't advocate religious dogma in the BAUT Forum.

Dennis Dorgan
2007-Sep-07, 06:47 AM
im not advocating it.

but, the text is relavant.

God was actually pleased with our disobediance, in the Genesis text.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-07, 07:06 AM
im not advocating it.

but, the text is relavant.


Why is it, from a non-religious standpoint, relevant?

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-07, 10:07 AM
im not advocating it.

but, the text is relavant.

God was actually pleased with our disobediance, in the Genesis text.

Sigh.

According to the bible, no, He wasn't. He booted us out of Paradise because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, and He considered the sin so grievous that he killed his own son to expiate it, according to the book you are quoting. Many religions have this same sort of mythology about god or the gods punishing mankind for seeking knowledge, including ancient Greek mythology (the myth of Pandora's Box or the legend of Prometheus).

That said, I agree with the others--theology is best left to another forum.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-07, 10:27 AM
I might add that, if it is the prospect of power-up of the LHC that is putting your knickers in a twist, I'd say do an advanced search on the forum for this topic. The prospect of black hole-formation has been discussed extensively. Any black holes formed would be so tiny that they'd evaporate via Hawking radiation in a fraction of a second. None would grow big enough to swallow a gnat, much less the Earth. Besides, didn't you and Warren Platt say you didn't believe such things exist? If black holes don't exist, why are you so worried about the LHC?

If anything, I'd think your worry would focus on the climate crisis or other environmental issues.

Warren Platts
2007-Sep-07, 01:55 PM
As epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief, and Warren Platt[s] has bandied that term about a lot in relation to the OP question, I suppose that my above-described situation represents an opportunity for application of the theoretical philosophic formulism he is discussing herein to dissecting the metaphysical ontology of the formalized, epistemologic technique he calls science, as to whether it is: 1) grounded in observation of real-world phenomenae (my view), or 2) grounded in theoretical, mathematical placeholders with little regard for whether these placeholders represent the real world or not (his view, as I understand it). In your professional capacity as a scientist, all you have to worry about is (2)--it doesn't matter whether the stuff you find is real or just so much phlogiston, as long as the meters work right, and the numbers are reasonable and your p-values are above 95%. In other words, to be a successful scientist you just have to be a good methodological naturalist.

To the extent that you believe in (1), however, it is in your capacity as a philosophically inclined citizen trying to make sense of the existential plight. In which case, you are ontological naturalist. (You'll find the Schafersman (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/schafersman_nat.html) paper interesting reading.)

01101001
2007-Sep-07, 08:33 PM
im not advocating it.

Dennis Dorgan was escroted out of BAUT (http://www.bautforum.com/1066134-post288.html). (I meant to type "escorted" but I like the typo. I'm keeping it.)

Maksutov
2007-Sep-07, 08:48 PM
Dennis Dorgan was escroted out of BAUT (http://www.bautforum.com/1066134-post288.html). (I meant to type "escorted" but I like the typo. I'm keeping it.)Is that a merge of "escrow" and..."Scutum"? http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

One wonders if a sock puppet does what it does because it's lost its partner in the dryer? http://img394.imageshack.us/img394/4879/iconbiggrin1kg.gif

Meanwhile, just passing through. I did find a definition in the Bierce dictionary that applies quite precisely to a large chunk of this thread's content:
Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.Later.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-07, 09:09 PM
I might add that, if it is the prospect of power-up of the LHC that is putting your knickers in a twist, I'd say do an advanced search on the forum for this topic. The prospect of black hole-formation has been discussed extensively. Any black holes formed would be so tiny that they'd evaporate via Hawking radiation in a fraction of a second. None would grow big enough to swallow a gnat, much less the Earth. Besides, didn't you and Warren Platt say you didn't believe such things exist? If black holes don't exist, why are you so worried about the LHC?

If anything, I'd think your worry would focus on the climate crisis or other environmental issues.

This is a valid point as I am one of those with that twist problem. It is because in string theory (mine admittedly) 'string' exists as the building blocks for matter, protons and the like and as dark matter which being so small need not observe the tiny size of the event horizon as a barrier.

Normally these things just float off into space as they occur high in the upper atmosphere and are quite harmless. They repel matter so you could hold one in the palm of your hand and it would reject you.

But deeper down on the planet up is a long way. So far Tunguska in Siberia is not fully explained, nor the prevalence of micro glass sphericals. I believe these singularities do fly out on the rare occasion they do fall to earth but leave as they have compressed presence much like comparing swinging a bowling ball on a string to swinging a tennis ball.

So sure they happen and maybe cause volcano tubes or earthquakes and rarely an air burst event. So now we are to make them in dozens or even hundreds at a time. This is not the scientific view admittedly but it sure as heck is the reason why I am getting my knickers in a twist.

Paracelsus
2007-Sep-07, 09:30 PM
Is that a merge of "escrow" and..."Scutum"? http://img137.imageshack.us/img137/566/iconwink6tn.gif

One wonders if a sock puppet does what it does because it's lost its partner in the dryer? http://img394.imageshack.us/img394/4879/iconbiggrin1kg.gif

Meanwhile, just passing through. I did find a definition in the Bierce dictionary that applies quite precisely to a large chunk of this thread's content:Later.

I noted Dennis Dorgan's banning. His posts were certainly interesting.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-07, 09:31 PM
This is a valid point as I am one of those with that twist problem. It is because in string theory (mine admittedly) 'string' exists as the building blocks for matter, protons and the like and as dark matter which being so small need not observe the tiny size of the event horizon as a barrier.

Normally these things just float off into space as they occur high in the upper atmosphere and are quite harmless.


Eh? If they occur at all, there's no difference between one created by a cosmic ray and one created in the lab.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-08, 03:36 AM
I noted Dennis Dorgan's banning, and I must say that I was overjoyed to see it. :D He was truly obnoxious and very trollish.

I've always enjoyed your threads Paracelsus even when we see things differently, they have made for some of the most interesting reading. I was trying to get Dennis to tone down a notch to actually take part in a quality forum like this.

I have tried a forum run by a certain other institution but we don't see level at all in regard to mental health issues. I struggle when I am told things happen because people are evil, that is so primitive and basic stone-age that witch-doctoring and voodoo are medical marvels by comparison.

Fortunately because of excellent moderators here I just got a warning and the post I wrote as I experienced my awakening was politely and quickly removed. The other area is public forums and most of you are probably aware that they are more suited to ... well they really don't suit much at all. Who needs this is me now show me yours stuff, I've seen me :eek: :sick: (some of theirs weren't so bad though but that is beside the point). At least here I know people read, laugh and question ... that is what is important.

I got onto this forum with an idea and in doing so learned to think and have been educated here on BAUT because of (or in spite of) all the clear thinking that is accessible here. I have my own idea of what some parts of science are and am critical of others but at least it can be discussed, that is what is important.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-08, 08:59 AM
Post reported. That's something we can do, and I will report your sockpuppets as soon as I see them.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-08, 09:02 AM
This probably wont help your cause Dennis if being heard is important. An apology to the moderators is a good start.

I do not doubt that individuals (and I base this in my own nature) can show evil streaks but systemic evil is a very hard thing to prove. Ignorance and curiosity are far more likely culprits.

Not that I have any way of influencing the outcome of the inevitable so the only option is to state my objection and try within that capacity to present a reasoned argument. If you are better suited or have greater chance of succeeding it doesn't help if you get evicted!

There is value in letting people learn by their mistakes as they seldom wish to repeat errors of significant magnitude. That is the nature of the debate I am self embroiled in presently with the obvious answer it makes not a shred of difference anyway.

Also and most correctly nothing I say or do will influence the outcome of this experiment so it is a moot point, all I can do is be a voice of dissent. By being outside the rules you don't even get to be a voice.

Regarding the experiment at CERN

Originally Posted by Van Rijn
Eh? If they occur at all, there's no difference between one created by a cosmic ray and one created in the lab.

Valid point also it is the same animal (micro black hole that is) but there is a difference of location. One is presumably high at the top of the atmosphere and repelling from matter into space. They are very small and so very, very light weight they float away into space propelled by solar wind. The one we will make is in a secure bunker at the bottom of the atmosphere.

Serenitude
2007-Sep-08, 09:26 AM
If the above posts make no sense, it is because DennisD's post has been removed, although no doubt he will make a new one in 5 minutes or so.

Which I shall trivially delete with a button press as I casually peruse the forums, as usual, until he tires of such childish games.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-08, 01:30 PM
If the above posts make no sense, it is because DennisD's post has been removed, although no doubt he will make a new one in 5 minutes or so.

Which I shall trivially delete with a button press as I casually peruse the forums, as usual, until he tires of such childish games.

Thank you Serenitude,
It really is a case that to stay in the game you have to abide by the rules. I may not agree with mainstream exactly but the conversations that I do get here are exceedingly valuable.

In fairness to all readers though my posts are hard to follow as I really don't know how I could better describe a metric that seems so clear to me. How do you describe the speed of light as constant and yet also dependant on both the curvature and density of space. That sort of difference would only be detected at 13 to 14 significant decimal places.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-09, 01:17 AM
What is science ... many things and one of those things I like is that it looks for answers. Take Occam's Razor for instance, is it always right ... well no it isn't here:-

The six blind men each examine part of an elephant and using Occam's Razor define it as a hose, a tree, a snake, a spear, a sheet and a barrel because they examine just one part each. One takes the trunk, one the foot, one the tail, one the tusk, one the ear and the last one the belly. Just as mathematics can be used to disprove a proof, a simple observation can be used to question our perception of have we looked at the bigger picture.

Einstein devoted later years to looking for a unified theory. Since then there have been more discoveries namely that a bismuth super conducting gyro produces a gravito-magnetic effect 10,000,000,000,000 times larger than predicted. The Newscientist labelled it as something even Einstein could not have predicted. That being the case he could not have taken it into account in general relativity and why quantum theorists are looking for quantum loop gravity.

Yes I know I have been calling it bezium, don't know why, just a poor memory for some names but the effect discovered in 2004 is real but only released within this last year because the scientists who monitored it didn't believe it either and needed to do a lot of repeat testing. Sometimes it is an idea to check the bathwater because quantum is nearly eighty years old and general relativity mid nineties. Perhaps an old folks home is where they are now and that bathtub really is just holding bathwater.

The point is unless the question is asked and respected scientists are comfortable enough to ask the question (not just people like me) then we just wont know.

Van Rijn
2007-Sep-09, 01:23 AM
Valid point also it is the same animal (micro black hole that is) but there is a difference of location. One is presumably high at the top of the atmosphere and repelling from matter into space. They are very small and so very, very light weight they float away into space propelled by solar wind. The one we will make is in a secure bunker at the bottom of the atmosphere.

Not all particle interactions would happen at the fringes of the atmosphere, and resulting particles aren't just going to float away - there's a reason why we put neutrino detectors deep underground.

If there were BHs produced in cosmic rays, and if they didn't immediately evaporate from Hawking radiation, then some would certainly reach the ground.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-09, 02:49 AM
Not all particle interactions would happen at the fringes of the atmosphere, and resulting particles aren't just going to float away - there's a reason why we put neutrino detectors deep underground.

If there were BHs produced in cosmic rays, and if they didn't immediately evaporate from Hawking radiation, then some would certainly reach the ground.

Thank you Van Rijn I probably ask some strange questions and have some very different ideas, but that's me.

I like that rare forums like this that are available to look at various ideas. The thing is just how important it is if someone like me has a different concept or a different way of thinking?

For me, my ideas, a member of the public probably not a scrap of difference but this whole thing still has me on edge. That is why I (we the public) place such absolute faith in the brightest and the best thinkers getting it right.

So for me that is what science is, science has got to be right because we trust it to be right.

Maksutov
2007-Sep-09, 06:38 AM
[edit]For me, my ideas, a member of the public probably not a scrap of difference but this whole thing still has me on edge. That is why I (we the public) place such absolute faith in the brightest and the best thinkers getting it right.

So for me that is what science is, science has got to be right because we trust it to be right.If Hercule Poirot had been a scientist (and he was one, in part), he would have remarked, at the scene of an experiment
Trust nothing! Demand evidence!The important thing to remember, Michael, is that science does not have to be right all the time. Instead science is self-correcting, which sets it apart from all the other methods that humanity has so far used to try to explain the world they live in.

When science is in error, which happens with regular frequency (and which is usually seized upon by the absolutists et al as evidence that science is bogus), it has built-in error correction procedures to remedy the situation. That's why science never claims to have The Truth™, but instead is a process to provide reliable knowledge, with which humans may better know the world in which they live.

Sometimes the self-corrections take a while, but as long as the scientific process is being adhered to (as opposed to those other things that might corrupt the process), things will work out.

It's almost evolutionary.

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-09, 10:53 AM
Sometimes the self-corrections take a while, but as long as the scientific process is being adhered to (as opposed to those other things that might corrupt the process), things will work out.

It's almost evolutionary.

Thank you Maksutov,
I am a fan of evolution and I trust that things will work out as you say. It is funny I took out a patent on gravity density back in February this year. I will be quite glad when it expires.

It was at the height of my madness, you know the sort of things feed the worlds children, save the whales, promote space research and the like. I wonder how many times before that has been done?

Cheers :)

TaylorS
2007-Sep-09, 05:32 PM
IMHO Science consists of theories and hypotheses that:

1. do not use supernatural explanations, that is, it assumes a reality that is physicalistic/naturalistic

2. are based on empirical evidence

3. give testable predictions

4. have explanatory power, that is, they make an attempt to explain the reality behind mere perception (though Empiricists of an Instrumentalist bent would disagree with me on that)

5. can be falsified by deductive argument or new empirical data, that is, it does not contain circular reasoning and ad hoc mechanisms to explain away things that contradict the theory (unlike astrology, psychoanalysis, and Marxism).

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-10, 05:15 AM
IMHO Science consists of theories and hypotheses that:

1. do not use supernatural explanations, that is, it assumes a reality that is physicalistic/naturalistic

2. are based on empirical evidence

3. give testable predictions

4. have explanatory power, that is, they make an attempt to explain the reality behind mere perception (though Empiricists of an Instrumentalist bent would disagree with me on that)

5. can be falsified by deductive argument or new empirical data, that is, it does not contain circular reasoning and ad hoc mechanisms to explain away things that contradict the theory (unlike astrology, psychoanalysis, and Marxism).

Just for the fun of it then since we have recently found the largest void in our known universe. If galaxies are moving apart then the gravitational pull between them gets less, so far so good?

Einstein gave us time and space are curved, we have general relativity so still on very firm ground.

Gravity has a measured negative charge, also a given.

So being a force and reducing a negative on a void which is empty is filling it up with something; as a negative of a negative makes a positive.

Funny thing is light gets less energy in there so is it filling with space?

Now I am not so sure about the first two but I am fairly certain that idea is not Marxism.

As I was saying with Occam's Razor it can be in the definition of the thing as each of the wise blind men was examining animal cells be it skin, hair, nails or tusk. Maybe the sweetness of the hay would have been a clue which by definition brings me to this:-

Two learned gentlemen were engaged in a discussion of some importance:-
1st gent " ... and I am telling you its is spelled 'woombe' ".
2nd gent "I am assuring you it is not as it is 'wooombee' "
whereby a tourist interrupts and says " Its actually 'womb' "

The first gent politely informs the tourist that he and his colleague are spelling champions in several languages and that they are well aware of the spelling of the womb for this fine elephant. "But when she sits in the water and passes wind ... and now excuse me" he turns to the second gentleman and says "and I am telling you it is spelled ...

Michael Noonan
2007-Sep-10, 10:49 AM
Welcome to BAUT TaylorS I was not having a go at you, it was just that I remembered one of my favorite stories about elephants and realised if I didn't write it down I would forget it for a while again.

This other story is also about elephants due to the elephant being both the disproof and also the proof of 'Occam's Razor' is a true one. It is one that happened to me, well to a large number of people actually. The elephant as the proof of "Occam's Razor" is that it is the simplest shape that describes an elephant.

The story:-
A family trip to see a circus when I was in my mid teens. A number of acts and some that I sort of recall but the highlight was the parading around of the elephants in the big ring. It probably would have been one of the more forgettable acts magnificent creatures as they were due to the sheer quality of the other acts, one can only remember so much.

Various riding and posing acts then a parade around the ring. I must admit I had been watching those riding the elephants more (I was mid-teens). Then the elephants all turned in to face the centre of the ring to regroup and be led outside.

The view was one of the back end of a really very large animal. I was one row of seats from the front so it was a very big view indeed. Then like a pipe entrance appeared and air, lots of well air that had a very processed hay scent to it emerged from the pipe entrance and it kept coming!

I must have watched in fascination as the various sides to that pipe seemed to try and close over and fail for a full 15 to 20 seconds. Apart from a range of comments from others and not all of them complimentary all I could think of was 'wow'.

So as to the exact spelling of the nature of the event at a best guess it would be dependant upon many factors not the least being the size and compression of the reserve and the need for relief of the elephant. While those other brilliant acts fade in the memories you can take it as gospel that I will never forget that elephant.

Now the expanding universe as it is now the current model, gravity travels with the galaxies. I could be fairly secure in that we are not seeing the gravitation pull of the sun changing the orbit of our planet as much as we are seeing the change in the rate of increase of dark energy. We do have 4.5 billion years of geological and evolutionary evidence to support that idea.

So how could light be 'brightened' as it travels through an area of space with gravity not changing around galaxies not dynamically changing to 'brighten' light? Light travelling through a void suffers a loss of intensity as it is not as 'refreshed'? Experiment:- take a stretched rubber band and fix to a cloth and ease the pressure on the band ... note the cloth buckles.

Just that simple experiment can describe space as there is no 'thing' in a void for gravity to pull out, it is after all a vacuum. So by reducing negative force the result must be the buckling of space ... or another way of saying it is the active end of a 'Penrose' style wormhole. It is an idea anyway, testable over time and like the elephant its shape is the simplest that meets the required conditions to satisfy Occam's Razor.