Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 154 (8112 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 08-22-2014 5:48 AM
93 online now:
Heathen (1 member, 92 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: a9.hard
Post Volume:
Total: 734,703 Year: 20,544/28,606 Month: 1,041/2,774 Week: 162/244 Day: 7/21 Hour: 0/2


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Prev1234
5
Author Topic:   Arguments 'evolutionists' should NOT use
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 61 of 74 (400511)
05-14-2007 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Taz
05-14-2007 11:42 AM


quote:
This is called a nitpick. He was relying on the fact that it is well known that at the time newtonian mechanics couldn't explain certain observations, such as the orbit of mercury. Nitpicking on his choice of words would hardly move the conversation forward, would it?

I certainly wasn't trying to nitpick. My point was that his choice of words reflected reality in a way that falsification purists would reject. It generally takes both data and improved theory to bring down a successful theory, not just data. A theory that's being advanced for the first time, without a track record of successful predictions and fruitful hypotheses, is more readily falsified. A classic example of falsification in action was the search for proton decay, which was predicted by minimal grand unified theories of particle physics. The theory made clear predictions, experiments were built (at great cost) to test the predictions, the results differed from the predictions (no proton decay was observed), and the theory was dropped. It was very Popperian: conjecture and refutation.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Taz, posted 05-14-2007 11:42 AM Taz has not yet responded

    
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 62 of 74 (400514)
05-14-2007 12:17 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by NosyNed
05-14-2007 11:15 AM


Re: Falsification's Importance
quote:

I think an important point is being missed.
As others have noted, in practice it may be difficult to "prove" a theory is falsified. There is often wiggle room which may be very legitamate or just someone clinging to a pet theory for too long.

However, the point about falsification is that a theory MUST be falsifiable in principle.

That is, the theory must be robust enough to allow for predictions based upon it that can be tested. It must have some way of tying it to some potential observations that would allow it to be giving some confirmation or disconfirmation.



I think we're all in agreement on that point. (If I weren't, I wouldn't have written "Yes, scientific theories do indeed have to be testable" in one of my replies above.)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by NosyNed, posted 05-14-2007 11:15 AM NosyNed has not yet responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 15822
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 63 of 74 (400639)
05-15-2007 8:10 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by sfs
05-14-2007 10:51 AM


Do you really think we can say for certain that the Earth is not flat, but that we can't say for certain that the Earth is roughly spherical? Because that is what is being argued.

We can refine that to being roughly an oblate spheroid ... in the end we'd end up with a variable shape depending on the position of the moon and sun ... and hot spots and ... (I don't think there is a single shape involved eh?).

Each step of the way we move closer to what in reality exists. Yes we can definitely rule out flat, it has been invalidated.

Invalidation means that we no longer need to consider a flat earth within the realm of possible reality, as we hone in on what that reality is.

That would be the scientific process if it had happened that way, but it didn't. Scientists did not look at the data and say, "Aha, it disagrees with our theory about neutrinos, and therefore the theory is wrong."

It seems to me that you are arguing that they didn't make any changes at all to accommodate the data while pointing out that they made changes to accommodate the data. What part of evaluating all the elements that go into the prediction that did not come to pass to see where the error in making the prediction came from is NOT covered by what happened? This includes all theories involved.

Of course the more theories that are involved in a prediction can muddy the picture of which theory is falsified by a failed prediction -- this is the fault of using multiple theories before they have been validated than the fault of the theory.

The problem with your comment is that essentially all of modern science is built of theories on top of theories on top of theories.

My quibble is that some being used (especially in physics it seems to me) are without sufficient validation to qualify as more than a hypothesis and this leaves the structure more like a house of cards so you don't really know which card caused the house to fall. There is a difference in degree when using theories that have passed many prediction invalidation tests to build new theories and in using new ones that are barely out of the box.

What I am arguing is that falsification is not the essence of science, and that disproof is just as problematic as proof.

And you have failed to make your point. Repeating your assertion does not make it any more valid. The example you provided showed that invalidation occurred when the data did not match the prediction, that a change in a theory was made as a result. It was not the one that was used to make the prediction but it still occurred. Bad information was still ruled out and we are more honed in to what the possibility of reality is than before.

We also still end up with the point that IF they had not found any error in the foundation and structure of the house of cards that the top theory that was the source of the prediction would have been falsified by the data. Now they need to make new predictions to test the validity of the theories and see where that leads us in the quest for knowledge of reality.

Enjoy.


Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
compare Fiocruz Genome and fight Muscular Dystrophy with Team EvC! (click)


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by sfs, posted 05-14-2007 10:51 AM sfs has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by sfs, posted 05-15-2007 8:35 PM RAZD has responded

  
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 64 of 74 (400643)
05-15-2007 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by RAZD
05-15-2007 8:10 PM


quote:
We can refine that to being roughly an oblate spheroid ... in the end we'd end up with a variable shape depending on the position of the moon and sun ... and hot spots and ... (I don't think there is a single shape involved eh?).

Each step of the way we move closer to what in reality exists. Yes we can definitely rule out flat, it has been invalidated.



So are you saying we can validate things in science, or not? Previously you claimed that validation was problematic in ways that invalidation was not. Is that true or not?
quote:

It seems to me that you are arguing that they didn't make any changes at all to accommodate the data while pointing out that they made changes to accommodate the data. What part of evaluating all the elements that go into the prediction that did not come to pass to see where the error in making the prediction came from is NOT covered by what happened? This includes all theories involved.

You don't appear to be addressing anything I wrote. I have never claimed that scientists don't make changes in response to data. What I claim is that disproof suffers from the same uncertainty as proof. That's all. All conclusions of science are tentative, including the conclusion that a theory has been falsified. In this case, it is still possible that the secondary data about neutrinos was also misinterpreted, as a result of yet another theory being wrong. Falsification is not a magic bullet in science.

quote:
My quibble is that some being used (especially in physics it seems to me) are without sufficient validation to qualify as more than a hypothesis and this leaves the structure more like a house of cards so you don't really know which card caused the house to fall. There is a difference in degree when using theories that have passed many prediction invalidation tests to build new theories and in using new ones that are barely out of the box.

Your quibble appears out of place here, since (as I already pointed out), the theory is question was the best tested in the history of physics.

quote:

The example you provided showed that invalidation occurred when the data did not match the prediction, that a change in a theory was made as a result. It was not the one that was used to make the prediction but it still occurred. Bad information was still ruled out and we are more honed in to what the possibility of reality is than before.

?? You again seem to be arguing against a point I'm not making. The original claim was about testing a theory against data. In this case, a test of a particular theory was made and the theory failed, in exactly the way that is supposed to falsify a theory, and that theory was not falsified. Data that contradicts a theory may not falsify it. In this case it was another theory that was falsified; in other cases it's poor understanding of the precise behavior of the experimental apparatus that is to blame.

My point is not that science doesn't change in response to data, but that simplistic formulations about how science changes in response to data are misleading.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by RAZD, posted 05-15-2007 8:10 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by RAZD, posted 05-15-2007 10:02 PM sfs has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 15822
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 65 of 74 (400658)
05-15-2007 10:02 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by sfs
05-15-2007 8:35 PM


So are you saying we can validate things in science, or not? Previously you claimed that validation was problematic in ways that invalidation was not. Is that true or not?

I use validated for theories that have been tested by predictions that they have passed:

val·i·date –verb 1. to make valid; substantiate; confirm: Time validated our suspicions.
2. to give legal force to; legalize.
3. to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to, as elected officials, election procedures, documents, etc.: to validate a passport.

This is distinct from proof. You can falsify - disprove - theories you cannot prove them.

The theory that the world is less than 10,000 years old is proven false by the evidence of tree rings alone.

The original claim was about testing a theory against data. In this case, a test of a particular theory was made and the theory failed, in exactly the way that is supposed to falsify a theory, and that theory was not falsified. Data that contradicts a theory may not falsify it. In this case it was another theory that was falsified;

You have repeated this several times yet fail to see that results contradicting a prediction falsified A theory and that theory was changed. IF that had not occurred then the theory in question would be falsified. Failure to see that this is in fact the scientific process is just denial of the facts.

Perhaps you have another example eh? Otherwise you are flogging a dead horse. The fact that you personally don't like the result has no bearing on the validity of the process.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : added


Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
compare Fiocruz Genome and fight Muscular Dystrophy with Team EvC! (click)


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by sfs, posted 05-15-2007 8:35 PM sfs has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by sfs, posted 05-16-2007 9:23 AM RAZD has responded
 Message 67 by sfs, posted 05-16-2007 9:51 AM RAZD has responded

  
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 66 of 74 (400693)
05-16-2007 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by RAZD
05-15-2007 10:02 PM


quote:
This is distinct from proof. You can falsify - disprove - theories you cannot prove them.
The theory that the world is less than 10,000 years old is proven false by the evidence of tree rings alone.


I'll ask you again, since you ignored my question the first time. You maintain that the theory that the world is less than 10,000 years old has been proven false, and simultaneously maintain that the theory that the world is more than 10,000 years old has not been proven true. Is this an accurate statement of your position or not? It certainly seems to be an inevitable conclusion from your statements.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by RAZD, posted 05-15-2007 10:02 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by RAZD, posted 05-16-2007 8:03 PM sfs has responded

    
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 67 of 74 (400695)
05-16-2007 9:51 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by RAZD
05-15-2007 10:02 PM


quote:
You have repeated this several times yet fail to see that results contradicting a prediction falsified A theory and that theory was changed. IF that had not occurred then the theory in question would be falsified. Failure to see that this is in fact the scientific process is just denial of the facts.


How can have I failed to see that the results falsified a theory when I stated exactly that? (And in the text you just quoted!) The question is whether you can ever know whether you've falsified the right theory. If contradictory evidence could be the result of a mistake in any of many theories, how will you ever know for certain that you've settled on the right one? How can you ever be absolutely certain (which seems to be your standard for something to be "proven") when you falsify a theory that some other theory isn't to blame for the discrepency? After all, you haven't proven any of them to be true.

If you want to reserve "prove" for absolute certainty, than nothing in science is ever proven or disproven. If you disagree, please present any case where disproof is absolute.

If, on the other hand, "proven" means shown with sufficient certainty that we can safely neglect the possibility of being wrong, than statements in science can be both proven and disproven. That the Earth is roughly spherical has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, and with much greater certainty than is attached to many instances of falsification in science.

quote:
IF that had not occurred then the theory in question would be falsified.

Sorry, but this is also wrong. Sometimes data contradict the predictions of a theory, and no theory is falsified. Take another neutrino case. Neutrinos were taken to be massless in the Standard Model. Two different kinds of experiments, with quite different techniques, produced data that were inconsistent with this model, and were instead consistent with neutrinos having a mass of 17 keV. At the end of the day, the theory of massless neutrinos was not falsified, and no other theory was falsified either. It turns out that both experimental systems had subtle features that were not adequately understood by the experimenters, and both coincidentally led to the same incorrect conclusion.

quote:
Perhaps you have another example eh? Otherwise you are flogging a dead horse. The fact that you personally don't like the result has no bearing on the validity of the process.

Don't like what result? What result do you think I don't like? Also, is would be useful if you were to provide any evidence at all in support for your claims. What is your evidence that science disproves but never proves?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by RAZD, posted 05-15-2007 10:02 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by RAZD, posted 05-16-2007 8:08 PM sfs has responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 15822
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 68 of 74 (400813)
05-16-2007 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by sfs
05-16-2007 9:23 AM


The evidence that the earth is older than 10,000 years is what disproves the theory that the world is 10,000 years old.

and simultaneously maintain that the theory that the world is more than 10,000 years old has not been proven true.

That is not a theory, that is the evidence that disproves\invalidates the above theory. Evidence is not theory, it is fact. Facts disprove theory.

Because of the evidence available, the theory on the age of the earth has been revised and currently is that it is 4.55 billion years old. This theory on the age of the earth is still not proven.

I'll ask you again, since you ignored my question the first time.

I thought you'd figure it out. Apparently you have been confused between evidence and theory.

Enjoy.


Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
compare Fiocruz Genome and fight Muscular Dystrophy with Team EvC! (click)


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by sfs, posted 05-16-2007 9:23 AM sfs has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by sfs, posted 05-17-2007 7:22 AM RAZD has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 15822
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 69 of 74 (400815)
05-16-2007 8:08 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by sfs
05-16-2007 9:51 AM


equivocation
This was your original claim:

Message 50
Sometimes the theory is changed, and sometimes it's scrapped, and sometimes neither happens. Take an example: Ray Davis's solar neutrino experiment was devised to test solar models, which made specific predictions about neutrino production by solar fusion. The experiment took many years, but in the end the results were clearly in conflict with the predictions. The result? The theory survived unscathed, even though the data were (and are) perfectly valid.

Now you state:

How can have I failed to see that the results falsified a theory when I stated exactly that?

We are still talking about the same issue, no other one has been introduced. This is called equivocation.

My job is done, thank you for playing.

Enjoy.


Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
compare Fiocruz Genome and fight Muscular Dystrophy with Team EvC! (click)


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by sfs, posted 05-16-2007 9:51 AM sfs has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by sfs, posted 05-17-2007 7:17 AM RAZD has responded

  
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 70 of 74 (400882)
05-17-2007 7:17 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by RAZD
05-16-2007 8:08 PM


Re: equivocation
My original claim:
quote:
Sometimes the theory is changed, and sometimes it's scrapped, and sometimes neither happens. Take an example: Ray Davis's solar neutrino experiment was devised to test solar models, which made specific predictions about neutrino production by solar fusion. The experiment took many years, but in the end the results were clearly in conflict with the predictions. The result? The theory survived unscathed, even though the data were (and are) perfectly valid.

My recent statement:
quote:
How can have I failed to see that the results falsified a theory when I stated exactly that?

Your comment:
quote:
We are still talking about the same issue, no other one has been introduced. This is called equivocation.

Do you that little word that occurs before "theory" in the first quotation? It's "the", and it's called the definite article. It means the sentence is talking about a particular instance of something, as in "sometimes the particular theory being tested is changed". The second quotation uses a different, even shorter word, "a", which is known as the indefinite article. That one means that the sentence is talking about some member of a class, as in "one theory among many, but not the theory that was being tested, was falsified."

The two quotations are perfectly consistent.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by RAZD, posted 05-16-2007 8:08 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by RAZD, posted 05-17-2007 8:45 AM sfs has not yet responded

    
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 71 of 74 (400883)
05-17-2007 7:22 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by RAZD
05-16-2007 8:03 PM


quote:
The evidence that the earth is older than 10,000 years is what disproves the theory that the world is 10,000 years old.
quote:

and simultaneously maintain that the theory that the world is more than 10,000 years old has not been proven true.


That is not a theory, that is the evidence that disproves\invalidates the above theory. Evidence is not theory, it is fact. Facts disprove theory.

Because of the evidence available, the theory on the age of the earth has been revised and currently is that it is 4.55 billion years old. This theory on the age of the earth is still not proven.



I see. According to you, "The Earth is less than 10,000 years old" is a theory, while "The Earth is more than 10,000 years old" is not a theory. Uh huh.

You're right, your work here is done.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by RAZD, posted 05-16-2007 8:03 PM RAZD has not yet responded

    
RAZD
Member
Posts: 15822
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 72 of 74 (400890)
05-17-2007 8:45 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by sfs
05-17-2007 7:17 AM


Re: equivocation
For reference, in case you bring this up next ...

is /ɪz/ ––verb
1. 3rd pers. sing. pres. indic. of be.

Message 71
According to you, "The Earth is less than 10,000 years old" is a theory, while "The Earth is more than 10,000 years old" is not a theory. Uh huh.

Correct. The theory "The Earth is less than 10,000 years old" is falsifiable (and falsified) while the statement "The Earth is more than 10,000 years old" is not falsifiable as it is a fact.

You're right, your work here is done.

I'm glad you concede that.

Enjoy.


Join the effort to unravel AIDS/HIV, unfold Proteomes, fight Cancer,
compare Fiocruz Genome and fight Muscular Dystrophy with Team EvC! (click)


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by sfs, posted 05-17-2007 7:17 AM sfs has not yet responded

  
Doddy
Member (Idle past 2313 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 73 of 74 (401026)
05-17-2007 10:04 PM


Can I ask you to get back on topic?
I take it from the debate here that the issue of proof and falsifiability is not one to focus on in this sort of debate. If we can't agree with one another, the creationists will be able to choose the parts of this debate as 'proof' that we disagree or quote-mine the parts saying that evolution can't be proven etc

Regardless, this is ust not the topic of this thread of mine. The "Is it Science?" section would be a good place to start a topic on this issue, as I see there is still a lot of enthusiasm for discussing it.

So, I ask you all, to find another evolutionist argument that shouldn't be used, and give reasons. Let's see if we can put this thread back on track.


Help inform the masses - contribute to the EvoWiki today!

Contributors needed for the following articles: Pleiotropy, Metabolism, Promoter, Invertebrate, Meiosis, DNA, Transcription, Chromosome, Tetrapod, Fossil, Phenotype, Messenger RNA, Mammals, Appendix , Variation, Selection, Gene, Gametogenesis, Homo erectus and others.

Registration not needed, but if desired, register here!


Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by sfs, posted 05-18-2007 1:05 PM Doddy has not yet responded

    
sfs
Member
Posts: 410
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 74 of 74 (401126)
05-18-2007 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by Doddy
05-17-2007 10:04 PM


Re: Can I ask you to get back on topic?
Three arguments (or maybe one-line comebacks to creationist arguments would be a better description) that I see online and that annoy me:

1) "The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics only applies to closed systems". This one has already been mentioned, but I'm not sure it's been pointed out that it's just plain wrong. The 2nd law applies to both open and closed systems just fine. (One particular formulation of the law, in terms of the change in entropy of the system, only applies to closed systems.)

2) "Human didn't descend from monkeys; monkeys and humans have a common ancestor." Humans aren't descended from any living monkey, but the common ancestor would have looked like a monkey and would be called a monkey by anyone who saw it -- so yeah, humans are descended from monkeys.

3) "Evolution is just the change in allele frequencies over time, and we've observed that, so of course evolution is true." This is a true statement, and is fine if made with the intention of explaining what scientists mean by evolution, but I've also seen it used in debate with someone who doubts common descent as if it scored points somehow.

None of these is really a serious argument, however. I can't think of any bad ones at the moment.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by Doddy, posted 05-17-2007 10:04 PM Doddy has not yet responded

    
Prev1234
5
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2014 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2014