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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 1325
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.0


Message 196 of 221 (770831)
10-14-2015 3:18 PM
Reply to: Message 194 by Lamden
10-14-2015 2:47 PM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
The quote from Hawkings was just to say I don't know what he means, but it just sounds interesting and relevant to what I was saying,

OK, I went back and reread what you wrote in Message 160 and I don't think it could be considered a Hawkings quote, but rather a hazy mention of something he may have said, somewhere.

I don't know what he meant either.

quote:
( I actually read somewhere that Hawkings predicted that "science would surpass philosophy- I am thinking about starting a thread for an explanation of what he meant)

Most of us would expect an exact quote of what Hawking said, where he said it, and in what context.

What could it even mean? In what way is science even in competition with philosophy? And what makes Hawking an authority?

ABE: I see you added some Nagel quotes while I was writing the above.

Thanks, food for thought......I see he doesn't have a good grasp of science or the scientific method.

Edited by Tanypteryx, : No reason given.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Lamden
Junior Member (Idle past 366 days)
Posts: 25
From: Lakewood
Joined: 09-23-2015


Message 197 of 221 (770833)
10-14-2015 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 196 by Tanypteryx
10-14-2015 3:18 PM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
Whatever.
This message is a reply to:
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PaulK
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Posts: 12452
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 198 of 221 (770836)
10-14-2015 3:36 PM


Nagel
Nagel seems to be pushing his own opinions and does not seem to be that well informed on the subject.

Elliot Sober, as a specialist in the philosophy of science, and biology in particular, is better qualified than Nagel in these matters. here is his review of Nagel's book, Mind and Cosmos.


    
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15485
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


(1)
Message 199 of 221 (770840)
10-14-2015 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 194 by Lamden
10-14-2015 2:47 PM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
“I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion. That world view is ripe for displacement....”

But, you see, this is not an argument. It's just Nagel patting himself on the back for how he's going to rid the world of those pesky Darwinians ... any moment now.

“Those who have seriously criticized these arguments have certainly shown that there are ways to resist the design conclusion; but the general force of the negative part of the intelligent design position—skepticism about the likelihood of the orthodox reductive view, given the available evidence—does not appear to me to have been destroyed in these exchanges. At least, the question should be regarded as open. To anyone interested in the basis of this judgment, I can only recommend a careful reading of some of the leading advocates on both sides of the issue—with special attention to what has been established by the critics of intelligent design. Whatever one may think about the possibility of a designer, the prevailing doctrine—that the appearance of life from dead matter and its evolution through accidental mutation and natural selection to its present forms has involved nothing but the operation of physical law—cannot be regarded as unassailable. It is an assumption governing the scientific project rather than a well-confirmed scientific hypothesis.”

But this is not an argument. It's just him saying that in his opinion there are good arguments.

“My skepticism is not based on religious belief, or on a belief in any definite alternative. It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of common sense. That is especially true with regard to the origin of life.”

If there's a hint of what his argument might be, it's in the phrase "the incredulity of common sense". Or to put it another way, he doesn't know much about science, but he has a prejudice about it and that's got to count for something, right?


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18242
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 200 of 221 (770841)
10-14-2015 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 194 by Lamden
10-14-2015 2:47 PM


philosophy and science and belief
Nagel writes:

“I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion. That world view is ripe for displacement....”

Curiously I read this as saying ID can liberate people from religion, which it demonstrably doesn't, and ... this doesn't challenge a scientific worldview ... because science is essentially (necessarily) agnostic -- it cannot test supernatural so it can neither validate it nor invalidate it. Personally I look at scientific knowledge -- the stuff we can test against objective empirical evidence -- as understanding how god/s did it and not answering why god/s did it.

Nagel writes:

“Those who have seriously criticized these arguments have certainly shown that there are ways to resist the design conclusion; but the general force of the negative part of the intelligent design position—skepticism about the likelihood of the orthodox reductive view, given the available evidence—does not appear to me to have been destroyed in these exchanges. ... "

The old god of the gaps grasping gasp argument ... the idea that it cannot be completely explained in every detail, therefore: god/s.

Nagel writes:

“ ... At least, the question should be regarded as open. To anyone interested in the basis of this judgment, I can only recommend a careful reading of some of the leading advocates on both sides of the issue ...

There are many sides -- in fact you can consider there to be an infinite number of different scenarios. Condensing the discussion to only two is naive and incomplete.

If you are going to insist on two sides then you have science and not-science.

Nagel writes:

“ ... Whatever one may think about the possibility of a designer, the prevailing doctrine—that the appearance of life from dead matter and its evolution through accidental mutation and natural selection to its present forms has involved nothing but the operation of physical law—cannot be regarded as unassailable. It is an assumption governing the scientific project rather than a well-confirmed scientific hypothesis.”

“My skepticism is not based on religious belief, or on a belief in any definite alternative. It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of common sense. That is especially true with regard to the origin of life.”

As was pointed out this is abiogenesis and not evolution, a common mistake for people that are undereducated in evolution science. The clue best is in the definition of evolution:

(1) The process of evolution involves changes in the composition of hereditary traits, and changes to the frequency of their distributions within breeding populations from generation to generation, in response to ecological challenges and opportunities for growth, development, survival and reproductive success in changing or different habitats.

In other words you have to have a breeding population -- life -- to have evolution.

Nor does it matter to the study of evolution whether life began with a molecule or a creation, the study is the same.

As I have said in my thread Is ID properly pursued? I think that ID is philosophy rather than a scientific pursuit. In another thread, Perceptions of Reality, I delved into how I see the differences between science, philosophy and belief:

If I were to draw a picture of this it would be something like this:

One could say that {all} science includes knowledge we that we are pretty sure we know, that {all} philosophy includes knowledge that we think we can know, and that {all} faith includes knowledge we cannot know that we know (hence we take it on faith).

There is nothing within science that is not also {included\accepted} in {some} philosophy or other, and there is nothing within philosophy that is not also {included\accepted} in {some} faith or other.

When it comes to testing concepts, only scientific concepts can be tested -- by definition. This gives us a way to validate scientific concepts, but not philosophical concepts or religious beliefs.

What we can do however is look at concepts that are [i]invalidated/i -- philosophical concepts and religious beliefs can be invalidated if they are contradicted by objective empirical evidence (ie - the belief that the earth is young is an invalid concept, because evidence shows it is very very old).

So concepts that are not invalidated are possible, but validation is not possible.

Enjoy


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This message is a reply to:
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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11185
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


(1)
Message 201 of 221 (770846)
10-14-2015 4:32 PM
Reply to: Message 197 by Lamden
10-14-2015 3:26 PM


Did you get a chance to read about Hox genes in the links I provided in Message 163?
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MrHambre
Member
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 202 of 221 (770878)
10-15-2015 5:36 AM
Reply to: Message 196 by Tanypteryx
10-14-2015 3:18 PM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
Thanks, food for thought......I see he doesn't have a good grasp of science or the scientific method.

We should be familiar enough with creationist quote-mining not to judge anyone's thought by the diced-up bits we find spat out into com-boxes online. You wouldn't know it by the quotes Lamden provided, but the author claims to disagree with the ID hypothesis, is "strongly averse" to design explanations, and touts the "remarkable achievements" of reductive materialist scientific inquiry. But if we're just relieved that we can conclude on such scant evidence that another failosopher has shown his ignorance of the scientific method, how open-minded can we consider ourselves about the definition and limitations of science?

I wonder what conceivable critique of science we'd be receptive to at all. If the problem is that the criticism has to come from a scientist and not a philosopher, I recently posted a review of a book by Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin here that generated not one response. It seems like we don't want to be reminded that things like reductionism and scientism are biases; that Darwinian explanations are better for organs and traits than for complex human phenomena; that certain subjects like consciousness remain mysteries; and that not everyone who points these things out is a fundie or a fool.

I guess it's easier and more fun to swat the low-hanging fruit on the fundie tree. If creationism didn't exist, we would have had to have invented it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 196 by Tanypteryx, posted 10-14-2015 3:18 PM Tanypteryx has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
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Pressie
Member
Posts: 1479
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 203 of 221 (770881)
10-15-2015 7:33 AM
Reply to: Message 202 by MrHambre
10-15-2015 5:36 AM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
I hear you viewpoint, MrHambre, but sorry, to me the viewpoints provided were spouted by people who spend too much time writing about science and not enough time actually doing it.

Edited by Pressie, : Changed sentence


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Percy
Member
Posts: 15499
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 204 of 221 (770882)
10-15-2015 7:51 AM
Reply to: Message 202 by MrHambre
10-15-2015 5:36 AM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
Just looked up Richard Lewontin at Wikipedia, and he's opposed to genetic determinism, which is "the mechanism by which genes, along with environmental conditions, determine morphological and behavioral phenotypes."

Am I reading that right? Does this actually say that Lewontin rejects the genetic foundation of how creatures' bodies look and work?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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MrHambre
Member
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 205 of 221 (770902)
10-15-2015 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by Percy
10-15-2015 7:51 AM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
Percy writes:

Am I reading that right? Does this actually say that Lewontin rejects the genetic foundation of how creatures' bodies look and work?


Since Lewontin is a geneticist at Harvard, the odds are that's not quite what he's saying. According to the book I reviewed, Lewontin takes issue with the gene-centered concept of evolution (and the notion that what we are is encoded in our DNA) that the Wiki article claims no one actually affirms. One can only imagine whether Wiki has ever heard of The Selfish Gene.
This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15485
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


(1)
Message 206 of 221 (770904)
10-15-2015 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 204 by Percy
10-15-2015 7:51 AM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
Just looked up Richard Lewontin at Wikipedia, and he's opposed to genetic determinism, which is "the mechanism by which genes, along with environmental conditions, determine morphological and behavioral phenotypes."

Am I reading that right? Does this actually say that Lewontin rejects the genetic foundation of how creatures' bodies look and work?

No, not really.

Consider. On the one hand, no-one claims that a behavior such as speaking Japanese is genetic. It's cultural. If I'd been raised by a Japanese family, I'd speak perfect Japanese.

On the other hand, no-one claims that a behavior such as spinning spiderwebs and then hanging out in them waiting for flies to eat is cultural. That's genetic.

The conflict is over to what extent human behavior is cultural or genetic. Now when Lewontin says he's against "genetic determinism", he's straw-manning to a certain extent, because his opponents do in fact acknowledge that a lot of human behavior is due to culture (like speaking Japanese) and indeed also Lewontin knows that we don't spin spiderwebs because of our genes. But it's not completely out of line, because his opponents do in fact ascribe more human behavior to genetics --- to what they might describe as human nature --- than Lewontin would. They are not really "genetic determinists", but they would ascribe more aspects of human behavior to genetics than he would.


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Tangle
Member
Posts: 4417
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 207 of 221 (770907)
10-15-2015 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 205 by MrHambre
10-15-2015 12:18 PM


Re: Eunuchs in the Whorehouse
MrH writes:

Since Lewontin is a geneticist at Harvard, the odds are that's not quite what he's saying. According to the book I reviewed, Lewontin takes issue with the gene-centered concept of evolution (and the notion that what we are is encoded in our DNA) that the Wiki article claims no one actually affirms. One can only imagine whether Wiki has ever heard of The Selfish Gene.

You'd be hard pushed to find a single geneticist anywhere that thinks that genes are determinate in that way. Even the layman now understands that it's the combination of genes and environment that matters at the level of the individual. And that includes Dawkins for God's sake.

The Selfish Gene has to be the most deliberately misunderstood book written - outside religion....and it's 40 years old now; the science of genetics had hardly begun when it was written - DNA's double helix had only been discovers 8 years earlier.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


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MrHambre
Member
Posts: 1493
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 208 of 221 (770932)
10-16-2015 6:16 AM


The Limits of Skepticism
Okay. I still say that no one would have proposed that billions of dollars of taxpayers' money be spent on the Human Genome Project if there weren't a popular misconception of how crucial a detailed knowledge of DNA is to the good of society. The progressive in me wonders how much improvement in personal and social well-being those billions could have generated if we were as adamant about understanding the environmental and socioeconomic aspects of phenomena like disease and deviance.

And my question still stands: is there any conceivable critique of modern science that we would find acceptable? We make sport, for good reason, of creationists whose understanding of the philosophy and practice of scientific inquiry is sorely lacking. But is ours that much better, or have we just internalized a lot more of the myths that idealize the scientific process?

It seems like we're just really adept at handwaving away any critique of modern science on the grounds that the person delivering it must be ignorant, otherwise he wouldn't be critiquing science. If a philosopher points out problems in the foundational assumptions of empirical inquiry (or even asserts that there are such assumptions), we don't bother engaging with his ideas; we simply express outrage that his amateur presumption didn't lead him to the same conclusion as our amateur presumption. If a career scientist discusses the economic, political, gender, and cultural issues involved in modern empirical inquiry, we accuse him of creating a straw man with which to sully the objective, unbiased, self-correcting process by which we come to the knowledge of the truth about our universe.

It sounds like, for all our freethinking rhetoric, that there are some things we don't want to be skeptical about.


Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 15499
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.3


Message 209 of 221 (770935)
10-16-2015 7:59 AM
Reply to: Message 208 by MrHambre
10-16-2015 6:16 AM


Re: The Limits of Skepticism
Hi MrHambre,

If you're criticizing those who are skeptical of philosophical criticisms of scientific inquiry and modes of thought, then I don't think we are, at least not all of us. I'm skeptical of what Nagel says about evolution because it doesn't align with the facts and qualifies as only philosophical musings. The finer the distinction being drawn the more words it takes to explain, as is clearly evident in Sober's review of Nagel's Mind and Cosmos, at 4500 words nearly a novelette. I started reading it earlier this week and got through about a third of it before it began to feel like philosophical masturbation of little real world consequence. Sorry.

And about Lewontin, apparently Wikipedia didn't quite capture the nuance of his opinion. It seems he objects to the kind of thinking where there's some kind of simple mapping between genes and traits, but I don't think there can be many biologists who still hold such simple ideas. Is he perhaps dressing up what is now the status quo to look like something new? Or was it still something novel when he first began saying it? Or do I still misunderstand his point, in which case I hope it doesn't take 4500 words to make clear.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Typo.

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
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Pressie
Member
Posts: 1479
From: Pretoria, SA
Joined: 06-18-2010
Member Rating: 1.8


(1)
Message 210 of 221 (770937)
10-16-2015 8:24 AM
Reply to: Message 208 by MrHambre
10-16-2015 6:16 AM


Re: The Limits of Skepticism
MrHambre writes:

And my question still stands: is there any conceivable critique of modern science that we would find acceptable?

In my field, economic geology and the coal deposits in the Witbank and Ellisras Coalfields, yes, you're most welcome to try.

If you find a better way of accurately predicting what will be found underground then you're most welcome to go for it.

Edited by Pressie, : Changed sentences


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