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Author Topic:   What is science? (ROB and STRAGGLER only)
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 61 of 106 (460172)
03-13-2008 4:59 AM
Reply to: Message 60 by Rob
03-12-2008 9:12 PM


Re: Refutation (At Last)
Hi Rob
I have reread your edited thesis. The clarity of argument is much improved. Your modified thesis however still totally ignores the nature of evidence and the nature of knowledge. According to you -

Evidence just is

Until you recognise the limitations of knowledge with regard to evidence your concentration on the logical aspects of scientific conclusions alone will always result in a definition that wil be intrinsically, inherently and fundamentally flawed.

All evidence is inherently imperfect.
Untested conclusions based on imperfect evidence are fundamentally unreliable and inferior to conclusions that have been tested.
Science will only accept conclusions that have been, or can be, rendered reliable.

It really really really is as simple as it sounds.

You have not accurately portrayed my position.

Then feel free to correct me. I will modify my refutation accordingly. The key deficiencies in your argument will remain the same. Of that I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever.
Try to prove me wrong. Try to demonstrate that my argument in favour of methodological naturalism as a recognition of the practical limits of evidence and knowledge are flawed. That is why we are both participants here at EvC and taking part in this debate is it not?

I know that this argument (in the wider sense - not just in terms of this trivial thread) is very close to your heart. I am genuinely sorry if I have burst your bubble somewhat. It is an unfortunate truth of nature that the facts are not always as we would wish them to be.
In the introduction to your thesis you totally give the game away. By deciding on a predetermined conclusion (i.e. that ID should be considered validly scientific) and then deriving a theory and evidence to support this conclusion you are practising the very anithesis of scientific enquiry. A practise all too common to proponents of ID I am afraid to say. Your desire to reach a predetermined conclusion combined with your unwillingness to actually consider how your definition might work in practise (I suppose at least this was consistent with your 'logic alone' philosophy) has been your downfall and remains the indefensible position of the "Intelligent Design Is Science" lobby in general.

Sometimes it is more noble to admit when you are wrong than to continue to fight the fight no matter how passionately you believe in the cause.

If you are unwilling to continue this thread (I personally would prefer that you did continue in terms of clarifying your position despite the fact that I cannot see where your actual argument can possibly go from here) it is my intention to rewrite my refutation as a more general attack on ID as science and start a new thread. Alternatively we could open up this one to the masses (it is your thesis and your thread so that is your call)

Stay Happy

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Rob, posted 03-12-2008 9:12 PM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 8:41 AM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3289 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 62 of 106 (460182)
03-13-2008 8:41 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by Straggler
03-13-2008 4:59 AM


Re: Refutation (At Last)
I agree with almost everything you've said Straggler. And that is what you don't understand.

Elsewhere you mentioned our lack of omnipotence. It is a point I also made in the arguments to support the thesis.

Straggler:

All evidence is inherently imperfect.

By that you mean 'incomplete'...

Straggler

Untested conclusions based on imperfect evidence are fundamentally unreliable and inferior to conclusions that have been tested.

Where in the world did you get the impression that I do not advocate testing conclusions?

Straggler:

Science will only accept conclusions that have been, or can be, rendered reliable.

Look at what you said in the statement; sentance 1, 2, and 3...

1) If all evidence is inherently imperfect (due to lack of our omnipotence I agree), then what is the meaning of your second statement?

2)How do we test conclusions based on incomplete evidence?

The answer is logical coherence as I said in the argumentation. Science is the law of contradiction.

The issue isn't really the perfection of the evidence, but the order we assume at the outset is present in the entire fabric.

In this fabric, some of the pieces we have, and some are 'unknowns' (variables). So it's not the evidence that is imperfect, but the fabric. The fact is, some of the pieces are missing. The pieces themselves are perfect, i.e. they fit the fabric. Our question is which fabric best and most logically adopts the pieces into a coherent whole.

You said that science will only accept conclusions that have been, or can be, rendered reliable.

I agree...

Consider this illustration:

If we have an algebraic equation to solve, the evidence is imperfect (incomplete).

We have some variables in the equation.

But if logic is valid, then we consider the matter tested. We do not reject the conclusion because there is an unknown. We fill in the unknown based upon the logical pattern. 1+y=5.

If logic is valid the answer is 4. If logic is not valid, then we cannot know the answer.

The equation has been tested and rendered reliable.

So as I said in the arguments, you are taking the only out you have Straggler. You are saying that we don't have all the evidence to support your preconceived notion of reality.

You smuggle in a materialistic philosophy before beginning the journey. And so the evidence from your perspective is incomplete.

You do the very thing you accuse the theist of doing.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Straggler, posted 03-13-2008 4:59 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by Straggler, posted 03-13-2008 11:42 AM Rob has responded
 Message 64 by Straggler, posted 03-13-2008 12:00 PM Rob has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 63 of 106 (460202)
03-13-2008 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by Rob
03-13-2008 8:41 AM


Re: Refutation (At Last)
Where in the world did you get the impression that I do not advocate testing conclusions?

There is a difference between testing a theory and ensuring that it is internally consistent. You derive your conclusion by applying logic to empirical evidence. You then test your conclusion by determining whether or not it is logically consistent with the empirical evidence. This is circular, pointless and to all practical intents and purposes will result in multiple logically valid and internally consistent but utterly contradictory statements (except in the very special case of mathematical certainty where only one answer is logically possible as there is by definition no reliance on empirical evidence). We are using the term "test" in very different contexts here.

1) If all evidence is inherently imperfect (due to lack of our omnipotence I agree), then what is the meaning of your second statement?
2)How do we test conclusions based on incomplete evidence?
The answer is logical coherence as I said in the argumentation. Science is the law of contradiction.

Science cannot be the law of contradiction in isolation because the law of contradiction as applied to incomplete evidence will lead to logical inconsistecies which themselves break the law of contradiction. Consider that which I have previously discussed.

Is it possible for two theories based on the same evidence and with the correct application of logic to come to alternative and opposing conclusions?
(empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(reliable scientific conclusions)
If the above methodology is applied to produce conclusion A and conclusion B from the same set of empirical evidence (where A and B are mutually exclusive ) what happens?
According to Rob’s definition of science both conclusions are valid and to be considered reliable if the logic applied is valid in each case.
However either A or B must be wrong by the law of contradiction which Rob holds so dearly
We cannot therefore say that both A and B are reliable conclusions.
Thus if two mutually exclusive but logically valid conclusions are both considered reliable by Rob’s definition of science the definition itself is invalid by virtue of breaking the law of contradiction.
If the law of contradiction is to remain intact Rob’s definition of science can only ever allow ONE reliable conclusion from any given set of empirical evidence incomplete or otherwise.

If applied to incomplete evidence (which in all practical respects all evidence must be) then the law of contradiction is broken whenever more than one logically valid theory is possible.
How do you deal with this problem? What practical relevant empirical evidence based example do you give of your definition in action?

Consider this illustration:
If we have an algebraic equation to solve, the evidence is imperfect (incomplete).
We have some variables in the equation.
But if logic is valid, then we consider the matter tested. We do not reject the conclusion because there is an unknown. We fill in the unknown based upon the logical pattern. 1+y=5.
If logic is valid the answer is 4. If logic is not valid, then we cannot know the answer.
The equation has been tested and rendered reliable.

So how do you go about demonstrating the core basis for your argument in terms of coherence? With an example of mathematical certainty. With an example where there can only ever be one possible answer and where the law of contradiction thus remains intact. Of course. How else could you demonstrate a definition that applies only where certainty applies? This is the metaphorical equivelent of having ALL of the evidence ALL of the time. You are claiming omniscience.

Proofs and certanty are abstract mathematical principles. In the real world, the world of science, we must deal with uncertanties. Logic, no matter how valid, if applied to uncertanties can only ever result in uncertainties some of which are going to be contradictory. We must embrace this fact and decide how best to proceed. A hypothesis based approach where the "conclusions" drawn are tested for reliablity against that which they purport to describe is the only way forwards. Reliability not proof is the best that we can ever hope to achieve.

Your flawed methodology allows neither reliable conclusions to be drawn nor proofs to be derived in anything other than the idealised circumstances of omniscience or mathematical certainty.
See next post for the 'taste test challenge' ;)

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 8:41 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 7:40 PM Straggler has responded

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 64 of 106 (460207)
03-13-2008 12:00 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Rob
03-13-2008 8:41 AM


Prove IT (Pun Intended)
At the very beginning of this discussion I repeatedly asked you for a detailed practical example of your described method in action. You have yet to do this in anything but summarised form.

Your definition of science is fundamentally unable to be applied in practise to produce any reliable conclusions at all. Scientific investigation is impossible and scientific conclusions are unobtainable using your methods. Irrespective of whether they relate to the material world or any other that you might claim exists.
For your benefit I am now going to describe the scientific method in action. In detail.
I will then challenge you to show your definition of science in action. In detail.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLE
My computer won't power up. I press the 'On' button and absolutely nothing happens. I press it again. Zip, nada, nothing. My computer is but a lifeless lump of metal and plastic. I can hear the fridge humming so I know that there isn't a power cut going on. It occurs to me that I should check that the PC is actually plugged in at the wall socket. I heave the desk out of the way and take a look. It is plugged in. Damn. It is now looking likely that I will need some potentially expensive repairs to my computer but I won't give up just yet. I decide to make sure that the power cable itself is not the problem. I have a spare so I swap over the cables and try again. Still no signs of life. I start to prepare myself for the lengthy and expensive process of taking the PC to get repaired but decide to try one last thing. I unplug the computer from the wall socket and plug it into a different wall socket. Hey presto the PC revs up into life!! The beautiful sound of spinning hard disks is music to my ears. It appears that despite it being against all the odds the problem lies with the wall socket rather than the computer. I decide to double check this by plugging in a stereo to the potentially faulty wall socket and do indeed find that the radio is as lifeless as I would expect. I call an electrician.

SCIENTIFIC METHOD - FORMAL ANALYSIS
Evidence: PC appears to have no power
Hypothesis 1: Power cut
Test: Audio check that another electrical appliance is still working
Result: Fridge is powered on
Verdict: Hypothesis 1 refuted. New hypothesis required.
Hypothesis 2: PC not plugged into power source
Test: Visual check
Result: Computer is plugged into power source
Verdict: Hypothesis 2 refuted. New hypothesis required.
Hypothesis 3: The power cable is faulty
Test: Replace power cable
Result: PC remains lifeless
Verdict: Hypothesis 3 refuted. New hypothesis required.
Hypothesis 4: Power socket is faulty
Test: Try different power socket
Result: PC powers up
Verdict: Hypothesis 4 verified
Prediction derived as a logical consequence of hypothesis 4: No electrical appliance plugged into the original wall socket should receive any power
Test: Plug stereo into the faulty wall socket
Result: Stereo fails to receive any power
Verdict Hypothesis 4 has been verified to the point where it can be reliably described as a tentative conclusion
Tentative conclusion: The wall socket is faulty and an electrician is needed.

Obviously I did not consciously think through my computer problem in this formal "hypothesised" manner. The point is that we ALL use the scientific method ALL of the time without even thinking about it. Because in the absence of ALL of the evidence it is the only method of narrowing down the possibilities and reaching reliable (albeit tentative) conclusions.

THE CHALLENGE
Your mission should you choose to accept it.......
I dare you to try and show how you would use your definition of scientific investigation to solve the simple real life example above.
I predict one of three outcomes:
1) You won't be able to do this at all and will claim it unnecessary
2) You will attempt to start from the 'known' conclusion and work your way backwards to a suitable explanation in an exquisite example of the very antithesis of scientific investigation.
3) Your attempted demonstration will be riddled with obvious assumptions, inconsistencies and leaps of logic.

THE RULES
There should be no usage of vague terms like "Test = Law of Contradiction".
Where the law of contradiction applies explicitly state which entities are consistent or inconsistent at each point in the process.
We need to understand exactly how you would reach the conclusion specified and on what basis you would reject other possible logical causes of the perceived problem.

Good luck

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : Added formal challenge!!

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 8:41 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 7:44 PM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3289 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 65 of 106 (460266)
03-13-2008 7:40 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Straggler
03-13-2008 11:42 AM


more strawmen...
Straggler:
There is a difference between testing a theory and ensuring that it is internally consistent. You derive your conclusion by applying logic to empirical evidence. You then test your conclusion by determining whether or not it is logically consistent with the empirical evidence. This is circular,

Once again Straggler, you misinterpret my position and then go to battle against a strawman.

I do not test my conclusion as you said. I test the assumption.

Like I said in the argument, if the natural world is logically consistent (coherent), then our assumptions (theories) must be logically coherent, if they are going to match the coherent pattern of the evidence.

The same test we use to test empirical evidence must also be applied to our assuptions. And that test is the law of contradiction.

What part of that do you not understand? Can I help you?

The rest of your post is irrelevant, because it does not follow from a mistaken premise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Straggler, posted 03-13-2008 11:42 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by Straggler, posted 03-14-2008 2:03 PM Rob has not yet responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3289 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 66 of 106 (460267)
03-13-2008 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Straggler
03-13-2008 12:00 PM


Straggler proves it!
My thesis, is that the methodology of science is to test for contradiction, or coherence. That means you need at least two entities to compare so as to find a match. So let's look at the process you used to ultimately find the match.

Straggler:

I decide to double check this by plugging in a stereo to the potentially faulty wall socket and do indeed find that the radio is as lifeless as I would expect. I call an electrician.

Double check? Why can't you just use the evidence to tell you? Ah.... because a test requires at least two entities to confirm or deny each other. The other checks in your process of deduction failed to provide the answer.

Congratulations Straggler!

As I told you before, you can use any scientific example you like. It's a test for contradiction or coherence.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Straggler, posted 03-13-2008 12:00 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Admin, posted 03-13-2008 8:25 PM Rob has responded
 Message 72 by Straggler, posted 03-14-2008 12:05 PM Rob has not yet responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12516
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 67 of 106 (460275)
03-13-2008 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Rob
03-13-2008 7:44 PM


Re: Straggler proves it!
I'm poking my nose in again, this time because I see a strong disconnect between Straggler's posts and your responses. I think Straggler's idea of an example of how you would apply your methodology is a good one. You could use Straggler's wall outlet example or create your own.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 7:44 PM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 8:33 PM Admin has responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3289 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 68 of 106 (460277)
03-13-2008 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Admin
03-13-2008 8:25 PM


Re: Straggler proves it!
I already played this game in message 48 Percy.

quote:
Theory = Life intelligently designed (designer unknown)

Evidence = Empirical evidence in the form of the appearance of design in nature; specifically the quaternary digital code of DNA.

Elements compared to draw conclusion = Digital information designed by intellignet human agents.

Method of testing validity of conclusion = Law of contradiction.

Evidence that would refute conclusion = Discovery of any natural process that can produce digital information on a material medium.

Further prediction that would validate conclusion = The discovery of other uses for DNA such as gene expression timing, that are currently thought to be junk strands of DNA under the current convention. http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html


For the record, I did change the intial term from 'conclusion' to 'theory' as compared to message 48. I also added the words 'designed by intelligent human agents' to the supporting evidence.

I thought Straggler was doing fine Percy. He proved my thesis to be correct.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Admin, posted 03-13-2008 8:25 PM Admin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Admin, posted 03-13-2008 9:04 PM Rob has responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12516
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 69 of 106 (460284)
03-13-2008 9:04 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Rob
03-13-2008 8:33 PM


Re: Straggler proves it!
Okay, let's let Straggler have a look at your example.

Rob writes:

I thought Straggler was doing fine Percy. He proved my thesis to be correct.

It isn't what you think of how you're doing that counts, but how others think you're doing. Most of your contributions here have been unintelligible, and why you think you're doing so well is I'm sure a mystery to everyone. This is already the second time in this thread where you've become reluctant to engage the discussion, and if you stop now I don't think anyone will have any idea what you've been on about. Anyway, please quit quitting, quit declaring how wonderful you're doing, and start focusing on the discussion.

Please, no replies to this message.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 8:33 PM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 9:20 PM Admin has responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3289 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 70 of 106 (460289)
03-13-2008 9:20 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Admin
03-13-2008 9:04 PM


Re: Straggler proves it!
I said I thought Straggler was doing fine. I've never said that I am doing fine.

If you want to get in on this discussion then do so. Otherwise don't just say that something is unintelligible... show why it is unintelligible.

All you have to do is show a contradiction. It's a simple procedure. Your accusation is a logical fallacy. An appeal to ignorance. And that is not an argument, but a judgment.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Admin, posted 03-13-2008 9:04 PM Admin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Admin, posted 03-14-2008 8:29 AM Rob has not yet responded
 Message 73 by Admin, posted 03-14-2008 12:14 PM Rob has not yet responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12516
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 71 of 106 (460335)
03-14-2008 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by Rob
03-13-2008 9:20 PM


Re: Straggler proves it!
Well, Rob, I guess this is goodbye again for another 24 hours. Next time when I say, "Please, no replies," assume I mean it.

I am moderating this discussion, not participating.

About this:

I said I thought Straggler was doing fine. I've never said that I am doing fine.

What you said in Message 70 was:

Rob in Message 68 writes:

I thought Straggler was doing fine Percy. He proved my thesis to be correct.

That's sarcasm, Rob, not praise. I'm adding another 24 hours to your suspension.

When you return please constructively engage the discussion.

AbE: Please, no replies to this message.

Edited by Admin, : Add request for no replies.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 9:20 PM Rob has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10196
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 72 of 106 (460356)
03-14-2008 12:05 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Rob
03-13-2008 7:44 PM


Re: Straggler proves it!
The other checks in your process of deduction failed to provide the answer.

Indeed that is the nature of hypotheses. The law of contradiction is applied so as to compare ones informed guesses with the realities of the empirical world.
The question is - What possible process of detailed deduction and rejection could possibly be applied using your method of 'logical coherence' to reach the required conclusion?
This is a question which you have notably been unable to answer.

Your complete inability to apply your method to a detailed practical example is now plain and obvious for all to see.
The key allegation made against your definition of science is that it is inherently incapable of deriving reliable conclusions based on physical evidence alone. You have been unable to refute the theoretical basis on which this allegation has been made detailed in Message 59. You have also failed to refute this allegation by means of any practical example of your methodology in action despite specifically being challenged to do so Message 64
The only questions remaining in terms of this debate are why in practise your method is so deficient and why you are so incapable of seeing these deficiencies as the fatal flaw that is so obvious to the rest of us.

Despite your attempt to dress up your theory in the clothes of philosophy, logic and science I think that at root you are suffering from the same common misconception of what science is and how it works as all of the other less thinking, less analytical, less poetic and more easily dismissed disciples of the "Intelligent Design is Science" movement.

You see science as the search for empirical evidence that will support a preconceived or predefined conclusion.
Your whole theory, whole analysis and whole methodology is based entirely on the assumption that you have a preordained conclusion that you wish to render "scientifically" reliable already in place.

  • This is why your methodology is unable to derive a practical conclusion to a simple everyday computer problem.
    Because your methodology does not work if the conclusion is not already in place

  • This is why, when analysed logically, your theory cannot coherently allow rival theories to logically exist.
    Because your definition is designed to meet a single known or assumed conclusion thus there can be no rival conclusions

  • This is why the only examples of your methodology are those that pertain to mathematical certainty or omniscience
    Because the conclusion in your examples is not a variable but an assumed definite

  • This is why you conclude that logical coherence and not empirical testing of conclusions is the means by which a theory should be deemed valid or otherwise.
    Because if the (incomplete) evidence and assumed conclusion are already in place then the only part of the equation missing is the logical analysis

    When you say "Science IS the law of contradiction" this is what you mean isn't it? You are simply stating the age old IDist argument that unless a theory can be disproven by the empirical evidence available that it should be considered a valid scientific interpretation of evidence.
    You have confused the issue with some colourful language, some confusing terminology and the addition of some additional circular logic (by suggesting that the empirical evidence suggests design and that an intelligent designer is consistent with the empirical evidence and thus validated as a conclusion)
    But fundamentally that is all your position amounts to.

    In your desire to redefine science such that Intelligent Design be considered scientific you have managed to successfully demonstrate exactly why it is not scientific. Your logical analysis of an indefensible position has led you to advocate a version of science that is a method of confirming desired results but which in itself is incapable of deriving reliable conclusions from the starting point of limited physical evidence alone.
    In seeking to legitimise the ID position you have exquisitely demonstrated it for what it is. Namely a dubious and desire driven subjective hypothesis which remains untested, untestable and demonstrably logically unreliable by the exacting standards of any truly scientific measure.

    Congratulations Straggler!

    Thankyou ;)

    Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

    Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 66 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 7:44 PM Rob has not yet responded

  • Admin
    Director
    Posts: 12516
    From: EvC Forum
    Joined: 06-14-2002
    Member Rating: 3.2


    Message 73 of 106 (460357)
    03-14-2008 12:14 PM
    Reply to: Message 70 by Rob
    03-13-2008 9:20 PM


    Re: Straggler proves it!
    Hi Rob,

    This is the second time you've made yourself inactive in this discussion. It isn't right to engage someone's effort and attention and then turn your back. Twice. I'll wait a couple days for you to restore yourself to active status and resume the discussion, after which I'll make the suspension permanent.


    --Percy
    EvC Forum Director

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 70 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 9:20 PM Rob has not yet responded

      
    Straggler
    Member
    Posts: 10196
    From: London England
    Joined: 09-30-2006


    Message 74 of 106 (460366)
    03-14-2008 2:03 PM
    Reply to: Message 65 by Rob
    03-13-2008 7:40 PM


    Re: more strawmen...
    Once again Straggler, you misinterpret my position and then go to battle against a strawman.

    There is no straw man. Only an inability on your part to recognise the logical implications of your own flawed position.

    I do not test my conclusion as you said. I test the assumption.

    A sudden change of terminology on your part? Does your methodology no longer make conclusions? Only assumptions? Are they "reliable assumptions"?

    Like I said in the argument, if the natural world is logically consistent (coherent), then our assumptions (theories) must be logically coherent, if they are going to match the coherent pattern of the evidence.

    Then in a logically consistent world you should be able to describe how your theory of 'logical coherence' can be applied to solve a simple computer problem. I have demonstrated why logically you will be unable to do this. You have thus far failed to refute this argument either in theory or practise. Exactly as I predicted.

    The same test we use to test empirical evidence must also be applied to our assumptions. And that test is the law of contradiction.

    An assumption that is to be tested? Isn't that called a hypothesis?

    What part of that do you not understand?

    The part that I do not understand is the part where I demonstrate that logically your methodology will fail to be applicable in the absence of a predefined conclusion, omniscience or mathematical certainty and then when you fail to apply your method (in the absence of a predefined conclusion, omniscience or mathematical certainty) you claim it as either irrelevant or some sort of moral victory. This I do not understand.

    Can I help you?

    Yes you can. You can either describe in detail how your methodology can be applied in order to derive a simple but unobvious conclusion (as per the challenge in Message 64) or you can acknowledge that your methodology is inherently incapable of deriving reliable conclusions.

    As I told you before, you can use any scientific example you like.

    Yes I can. The problem it appears is that you cannot.

    The rest of your post is irrelevant, because it does not follow from a mistaken premise.

    This is purely and evidently a debating tactic at best.

    QUESTIONS
    1) Can your methodology be applied where the conclusion (or assumption as you now redefine it to be) is completely unknown and quite possibly unlikely (e.g. the computer problem in Message 64)? If so please give a detailed example of the procees of deduction and elimination.
    2) Can two rival theories both logically valid and based on the same empirical evidence co-exist according to your definition of science? If so can you explain how this renders reliable conclusions whilst adhering to the law of contradiction?
    3) Are you a scientist without even knowing it? If your car would not start what would you do? Apply the law of logical coherence and magically find the answer? Or make a best guess, empirically test it and then repeat the process until you found the cause of the problem? Do you believe enough in your own theory to actually use it yourself in practise? Honestly?

    Whether you are willing or able to accept my arguments or not it should be obvious to you that unless you can derive conclusions using your methodology that are at least as reliable as those rendered by the conventional scientific method then your definition of science is fatally flawed and doomed to failure.

    You cannot derive initially unknown conclusions using your method. Please.... Just stop and think about it.

    Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

    Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 65 by Rob, posted 03-13-2008 7:40 PM Rob has not yet responded

    Straggler
    Member
    Posts: 10196
    From: London England
    Joined: 09-30-2006


    Message 75 of 106 (460507)
    03-15-2008 7:39 PM
    Reply to: Message 60 by Rob
    03-12-2008 9:12 PM


    Re: Refutation II - Logical Coherence RIP
    Unless Rob ends his self imposed exile in time to avoid a permanent suspension this could well be the last post in this thread. As such I think that it is time that I tackled the whole “coherence” issue head on. Putting myself into the 'mind of Rob' has been a strange and bewildering experience. The nature of this post reflects that.

    Rob whatever our differences I hope you do choose to come back to EvC. I think it is more interesting with you here.

    CURRENT POSITION
    In Message 59 I demonstrated that in the absence of omniscience any method of investigation that relies simply on the application of logic to existing incomplete empirical evidence will produce inherently unreliable conclusions. A hypothesis based approach, where comparison with the empirical truths of nature was the ultimate test of a theory, was advocated as the alternative that would provide the best method of obtaining the most reliable conclusions possible.
    In messages 64-74 the predicted practical inadequacies of Rob’s position were laid bare thus confirming the theoretical difficulties with his position first hinted at in Message 59
    In Message 72 I discussed how a methodology riddled with all the evident practical and theoretical problems faced by Rob’s theory might be arrived at if one were to make the mistake of assuming that science was merely a means of substantiating preconceived conclusions and positions rather than a quest for reliable theories and (as yet unknown) conclusions.

    Despite his theory of logical coherence being demonstrably subject to all of the faults exactly as described by my analysis Rob has repeatedly insisted that I am attacking a “straw man”.
    To be fair whilst I maintain that all my arguments to date fully refute Rob’s thesis the issue of coherence and why Rob thinks this makes his theory so different and ground breakingly original have not been explicitly addressed.
    In my defence I suggest that despite his almost messianic zeal (or maybe because of it) Rob has thus far been unable to express his “big idea” in anything but generalised and deeply ambiguous terms that verge on the unintelligible and (dare I say it) incoherent at times.

    AIM
    The aim of this post is to lay to rest once and for all Rob’s bizarre notion of validating theories by means of a process of ‘logical coherence’. By examining the very position Rob’s redefinition of science was setup to promote (Intelligent Design) I will expose this sham of a theory to be based on the circular reasoning and inadequate logic that it has become so clear lays at the foundations of Rob’s argument.

    ROB’S EXAMPLE
    In message 68 Message 68 Rob stated a slightly modified version of how his theory could be applied to the theory of Intelligent Design. Despite being woefully lacking in detail with regard to the deductive processes actually involved this example should be sufficient evidence with which to debunk his arguments. Consider the following –

    Theory = Life intelligently designed (designer unknown)
    Evidence = Empirical evidence in the form of the appearance of design in nature; specifically the quaternary digital code of DNA.

    Elements compared to draw conclusion = Digital information designed by intelligent human agents.

    Method of testing validity of conclusion = Law of contradiction.

    Evidence that would refute conclusion = Discovery of any natural process that can produce digital information on a material medium.

    Further prediction that would validate conclusion = The discovery of other uses for DNA such as gene expression timing, that are currently thought to be junk strands of DNA under the current convention. http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html

    So in what way does this example differ from the position summarised and refuted in Message 59? Rob wholeheartedly accepted the refutation. He just claimed it was not his argument that had been refuted. So if we can show the position above to be no different to the refuted argument Rob’s thesis will have been utterly dismantled even by his own admission.
    Consider the original equation reached by mutual consent (yes myself and Rob have managed to agree on something)

    (incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(unreliable conclusions)

    After this point conventional science and Rob science diverge considerably. Whilst conventional science embraces the fact of incomplete evidence and necessarily unreliable conclusions by taking a hypothesis based approach where results are validated by comparison with the empirical realities of nature itself Rob claims that this unnecessary and in fact logically flawed. Instead Rob proposes a test for logical coherence as a superior and more consistent alternative. Rob's position can be summed up thus -

    (incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)+(test for coherence)=(reliable conclusion)

    Before we consider the specific case of ID any further lets examine this new and confusing term (test for coherence) in more detail.

    WHAT IS A TEST FOR LOGICAL COHERENCE IN THIS CONTEXT?
    Well that is a very good question and one that lies at the heart of Rob’s problems. In our equation –

    (incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)+(test for coherence)=(reliable conclusion)

    What exactly is the generalised form of the (test for coherence)? What is tested? What two elements are compared in order to apply the law of contradiction in order to validate a conclusion?
    One of the elements is the conclusion directly derived from the evidence. The other is………….What exactly? It is this element that is so ambiguous in Rob’s theory. What exactly are you comparing the conclusion to in order to validate it? In the specific example of ID you compare the conclusion to “Digital information designed by intelligent human agents” but that is very very very specific to the case under consideration. If you look through his posts you will see that Rob never actually gives a generalised form for that which comparisons are to be made except ambiguous and meaningless use of terms such as “logic” or “coherence”. From this we can conclude

    1) The element with which the conclusion is to be compared is highly specific to the case under consideration
    2) In order for it to be compared with this highly case specific element the conclusion that is being aimed for must be itself be predetermined (see Message 72 for an analysis of this)

    Rob has been unable to make clear any generalised form of what it is he is comparing his conclusions to. This is why many of his posts are so damned confusing. I don’t think a generalised term is actually possible. It is basically whatever element can be compared to Rob’s preordained conclusion in order to give a favourable result.

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN – CASE STUDY
    Lets consider the following -

    Evidence = Empirical evidence in the form of the appearance of design in nature; specifically the quaternary digital code of DNA
    Elements compared to draw conclusion = Digital information designed by intelligent human agents
    Theory = Life intelligently designed (designer unknown)

    What do we mean when we say that there is the appearance of design? How do we recognise the appearance of design?
    The only way we can identify the appearance of design is by comparing the element under consideration to that which we know to be designed. Thus when we say something has the appearance of design what we mean is “if I compare this to something which I know to be designed it has many of the same attributes”. What is our experience of known intelligent design? Human designed objects obviously. Bearing this in mind we can rewrite the above to get –

    Modified
    Evidence = Empirical evidence in the form of the design in nature reflecting experience of known human design
    Elements compared to draw conclusion = That which is designed by intelligent human agents
    Theory = Life intelligently designed (designer unknown)

    It should now be obvious that the reasoning here is circular – i.e. Nature seems to have attributes that I recognise as design due to my experience of human designed objects. I logically conclude that nature also has an intelligent designer. I confirm this conclusion by virtue of comparing human design and the design in nature.
    By analysing what we mean by appearance of design and explicitly stating how it is we come to recognise the appearance of design the circular logic Rob has applied to the specific example of Intelligent Design becomes obvious. Thus our equation becomes -

    (incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)+(circular logic)=(“reliable” conclusion)

    By virtue of the fact that circular logic is inherently pointless we can remove this term to get

    (incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(“reliable” conclusion)

    But we have already met this form of the equation in Message 59 and we already know that in the event of incomplete evidence the equation must be written

    (incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(unreliable conclusion)

    CONCLUSION
    From this point on Rob has already accepted the refutation as valid. The only part he was unaware of was that his use of appearance of design would lead to circular logic that negated his already dubious test for logical coherency as having any relevance at all.
    Conventional science would replace the term unreliable conclusion with hypothesis. Thus Intelligent Design would become nothing more than the untested, untestable and therefore unscientfic hypothesis that we already know it to be.
    As a result of this debate Rob has recently rejigged his terminology such that he is now replacing the term “conclusion” with “assumption”. I can think of no more accurate nor damning description of ID than that which we get if we follow Rob’s fine example -

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN = UNRELIABLE ASSUMPTION ;)

    Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 60 by Rob, posted 03-12-2008 9:12 PM Rob has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 76 by Admin, posted 03-15-2008 8:55 PM Straggler has responded
     Message 78 by Rob, posted 03-16-2008 11:03 AM Straggler has responded
     Message 79 by Rob, posted 03-16-2008 12:48 PM Straggler has not yet responded
     Message 80 by Rob, posted 03-16-2008 1:07 PM Straggler has responded

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