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Author Topic:   Theory Evolution (not "Theory of Evolution")
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 16 of 49 (266952)
12-08-2005 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by JustinC
12-08-2005 3:22 PM


On Kuhn's ideas
Because some, like myself, view the change from Newtonian dynamics to Special Relativity to GR as progressive.

Your mistake (IMO).

There are several ways of looking at a scientific theory.

  • We can look at the equations. From this perspective, it does look progressive.
  • We can examine the metaphysics. Here it is clearly not progressive. According to Newtonian metaphysics, there is an occult force of attraction between any two masses, and the geometry of space-time is euclidean. According to GR, there is no such force, but space-time is non-euclidean and gravitation is explained as due to local curvature of space-time induced by the mass.
  • We can look at what typical observation statements say about the world. And again, what they say under Newtonian physics is quite different from what they say under relativity, and the change is non-progressive. Under Newtonian physics, the basic concept time is a reference to a univeral property, while under relativity it is a reference to a property which is relative to the frame of the observer.

    Each incorperated the former into the new paradigm, so I don't see how they are incommensurable.

    It seems that way to you, because you are always assuming GR. But you have to examine these theories according to their own standards.

    To say that an object is 1 metre long in Newtonian physics, is to say that if I take it to Paris, and compare to a famous platinum rod, then its length exactly corresponds to the marks on that rod. To say that an object is 1 metre long in GR is to say that it will take a certain number of ticks of a portable atomic clock for light to traverse from one end to another. These clearly mean different things. That's where the incommensurability comes in.

    Granted the differences are slight with respect to our ordinary lives. But they are differences nonetheless.

    Also, it seems that we cannot say theories are ever false with his view. They are simply incommensurable with modern theories. I think we are actually removing the chaff, not just switching our rules for which to interpret the world.

    That's fine with me. It is at least honest.

    I'm not sure that "our rules for which to interpret the world" is actually meaningful. We interact with the world, but I don't see that we interpret. We make measurements of the world, and we interpret those measurements. But the world is not our measurements. The world is what we are trying to measure. And we certainly do change the rules by which we measure the world, and we correspondingly change the rules by which we interpret those measurements.

    Keep in mind these are my opinions.

    Of course. If there were no disagreements, we wouldn't have interesting debates.

    So, as a critic of falsificationism, are you a verificationist?

    Not in the form that verificationism is usually presented.

    As I see it, a scientific theory is neither true nor false. We judge scientific theories on pragmatic grounds, not on veridical grounds. That is, we want theories that work well (as in making good predictions), and we are not interested in theories that don't work.

    Maybe that doesn't sound too different from Popper's philosophy. But the difference is that there is no convincing evidence that accepted theories are declared false on the basis of failed predictions. The evidence is that accepted theories are rejected only when a better replacement theory is available.

    Roughly speaking, we evaluate theories on goodness of fit, not on truth or falsity.

    Maybe there is a different way to put it. If you believe that we evaluate scientific theories in terms of their truth or falsity, then you owe me a comprehensive theory of truth such as would make it possible to determine whether a theory is true or false.

    How do we distinguish scientific theories from crack pot theories?

    Crackpot theories do not make good reliable empirical predictions.

    Why is an explanation that can handle all observations (explain everything and anything)not science?

    Okay, I'll be a heretic here. I don't believe that a scientific theory is an explanation. It might include explanations, but explanation is not the main point as I see it.

    The traditional view takes for granted that concepts (time, distance, temperature, electrical current, electromotive force, etc) exist a priori, and scientists just discover relations between these interesting concepts. My view, which I think well supported in the history of science, is that concepts are human inventions. We invent these concepts so as to make it possible to describe the world. In practice this shows up in physics as the invention of coordinate systems and systems of weights and measures.

    I see a scientific theory as carefully defining important concepts such as are needed to describe the world, and setting standards for measuring the quantities associated with those concepts. Thus what is important about science is the way that it makes it possible to have precise descriptions of the world. The most important part of a scientific theory is in the new concepts it introduces and the methods it defines for measuring quantities represented by those concepts.

    But, he was a science antirealist.

    This is related to the perennial philosophical problem of universals. If a tree falls in the forest, and there is nobody to hear it, does it make a sound. It is the question of whether the concept "sound" exists as a real property in the world, or whether it is a human invention needed to make it possible for us to express statements about the world.

    I see it as obvious that a property such as "sound" is a human invention. History shows people inventing such concepts, or reinventing them with slightly different meanings. Now maybe we can say that they are real, and when we invent them we reinvent something that already exists. That's fine with we. It doesn't matter much whether we consider them real or invented. It is clear that such concepts are being invented, whether or not they are real.

    The important part, to me, is that

  • description is impossible without concepts;
  • we invent concepts so as to make description possible;
  • when inventing concepts, we set standards (or rules) for how to apply those concepts in the real world;
  • these standard (rules) form the core of our scientific theories.

    Creationism is largely a reaction by fundamentalist Christians to the views that science is teaching. If it is realized that scientific theories aren't true or closer to being true than any other explanatory framework, they should have nothing to worry about.

    This doesn't work. Let's go over it again.
  • It is impossible to make any statement about the world without first having a suitable system of concepts;
  • science sets the standards and criteria for using the basic concepts (those used to describe the world);
  • the truth of a statement about the world is judged in terms of those standards and criteria set by science.

    If creationists want to say things where science cannot judge their truth, then they need to have their own separate concepts. To some extent they already do that, as when they use "kinds" rather than "species" in their criticism of evolution.

    As long as the scientific system of concepts, weights and measures works well and makes generally reliable predictions, while the creationist system of concepts works poorly or not at all, the creationists will have difficulty in having society adopt their system.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 12 by JustinC, posted 12-08-2005 3:22 PM JustinC has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 17 by cavediver, posted 12-08-2005 7:07 PM nwr has responded
     Message 20 by JustinC, posted 12-09-2005 3:01 PM nwr has responded

      
  • cavediver
    Member (Idle past 1816 days)
    Posts: 4129
    From: UK
    Joined: 06-16-2005


    Message 17 of 49 (266966)
    12-08-2005 7:07 PM
    Reply to: Message 16 by nwr
    12-08-2005 6:28 PM


    Re: On Kuhn's ideas
    I'd love to jump in on this, but I'm up to my eyes in work and it's chiming midnight...

    ...so, I'll just nitpick ;)

    According to Newtonian metaphysics, there is an occult force of attraction between any two masses, and the geometry of space-time is euclidean

    No, Newtonian space-time is not Euclidean; Newtonian space is Euclidean. The space-time is a bundle structure and it is quite complicated. The Lorentzian space-time of SR/GR is far more simple.

    But hardly pertinant (well, a little actually) to your discussion.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 16 by nwr, posted 12-08-2005 6:28 PM nwr has responded

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    nwr
    Member
    Posts: 5585
    From: Geneva, Illinois
    Joined: 08-08-2005


    Message 18 of 49 (266975)
    12-08-2005 7:28 PM
    Reply to: Message 17 by cavediver
    12-08-2005 7:07 PM


    Re: On Kuhn's ideas
    No, Newtonian space-time is not Euclidean; Newtonian space is Euclidean. The space-time is a bundle structure and it is quite complicated.

    Hmm. I will have to think about that. Thanks for the comment.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 17 by cavediver, posted 12-08-2005 7:07 PM cavediver has not yet responded

      
    JustinC
    Member (Idle past 3017 days)
    Posts: 624
    From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Joined: 07-21-2003


    Message 19 of 49 (267103)
    12-09-2005 6:18 AM


    I have finals this Friday and Saturday so I probably won't respond until Sunday.
        
    JustinC
    Member (Idle past 3017 days)
    Posts: 624
    From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Joined: 07-21-2003


    Message 20 of 49 (267236)
    12-09-2005 3:01 PM
    Reply to: Message 16 by nwr
    12-08-2005 6:28 PM


    Re: On Kuhn's ideas
    Maybe not sunday.

    quote:

    There are several ways of looking at a scientific theory.

    We can look at the equations. From this perspective, it does look progressive.

    We can examine the metaphysics. Here it is clearly not progressive. According to Newtonian metaphysics, there is an occult force of attraction between any two masses, and the geometry of space-time is euclidean. According to GR, there is no such force, but space-time is non-euclidean and gravitation is explained as due to local curvature of space-time induced by the mass.



    I never really understood why people say gravity isn't a force. I understand that gravity is just the motion of objects travelling in a straight line (longest proper time) through space time, but does that really mean it isn't a force?

    It seems to me that Newton defined a force as anything which causes an acceleration in a mass in space. So, gravity is a force and it is explained by curved space-time the same way electromagnetism is a force an is explained by photon interactions.

    That's my opinion. Cavediver HELP!

    quote:

    We can look at what typical observation statements say about the world. And again, what they say under Newtonian physics is quite different from what they say under relativity, and the change is non-progressive. Under Newtonian physics, the basic concept time is a reference to a univeral property, while under relativity it is a reference to a property which is relative to the frame of the observer.


    Einstein expanded on the concepts of time, space, mass, etc. but I don't see that as causing an incommensurability in any non-trivial sense. Yes, the concepts were different, but at the local scales they reduce to the previous concepts. The previous concepts were too myopic in scope, but I don't think that means they are incompatible with the new ones.

    Do you see incorperating previous theories into grander theories the same as going from phlogiston to oxygen theories of combustion? Or going from Aristotolean physics to GR?

    I don't think incommensurability comes in degrees.

    quote:
    It seems that way to you, because you are always assuming GR. But you have to examine these theories according to their own standards.

    To say that an object is 1 metre long in Newtonian physics, is to say that if I take it to Paris, and compare to a famous platinum rod, then its length exactly corresponds to the marks on that rod. To say that an object is 1 metre long in GR is to say that it will take a certain number of ticks of a portable atomic clock for light to traverse from one end to another. These clearly mean different things. That's where the incommensurability comes in.



    I don't really get this. Does GR really make any statements about conventions of measurements? The latter is more precise and more replicable, but that seems like a practical weights and measurement type thing, not a theoretical problem.

    quote:
    I'm not sure that "our rules for which to interpret the world" is actually meaningful. We interact with the world, but I don't see that we interpret. We make measurements of the world, and we interpret those measurements. But the world is not our measurements. The world is what we are trying to measure. And we certainly do change the rules by which we measure the world, and we correspondingly change the rules by which we interpret those measurements.


    By "world" I mean our perceptions. Who knows if there is an actual "fixed and objective" world. We certaintly do interpret our perceptions. By interpret, I mean deliberately choose between various alternatives.

    quote:
    Not in the form that verificationism is usually presented.

    As I see it, a scientific theory is neither true nor false. We judge scientific theories on pragmatic grounds, not on veridical grounds. That is, we want theories that work well (as in making good predictions), and we are not interested in theories that don't work.

    Maybe that doesn't sound too different from Popper's philosophy. But the difference is that there is no convincing evidence that accepted theories are declared false on the basis of failed predictions. The evidence is that accepted theories are rejected only when a better replacement theory is available.

    Roughly speaking, we evaluate theories on goodness of fit, not on truth or falsity.



    In a sense, I think theories are declared false by failed predictions if the data is sure to be correct. It may not happen right away because the theory is good as making other predictions; but these "anomolies," as Kuhn calls them, pave the way for new theories.

    But whether you think that means they are false seems like a problem of inductive logic, though I'm not sure how you feel about it.

    quote:

    Maybe there is a different way to put it. If you believe that we evaluate scientific theories in terms of their truth or falsity, then you owe me a comprehensive theory of truth such as would make it possible to determine whether a theory is true or false.


    I believe inductive logic can be used to evaluate plausibility of the truth of a claim. "Goodness of fit" is good reason to believe something is likely to be true.

    According to you (I may be wrong), it seems we can never convict someone of a crime that wasn't observed. All we have is the data and the model, but this in no way indicates whether the defendent actually committed the crime. Is this a right interpretation of your view?

    This is all the time I have now, I have to get ready for a test. I'll try and get to the rest ASAP.

    edited for typos

    This message has been edited by JustinC, 12-10-2005 06:59 AM


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 16 by nwr, posted 12-08-2005 6:28 PM nwr has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 33 by nwr, posted 12-10-2005 3:33 PM JustinC has responded

        
    Shamgar 
    Inactive Suspended Member


    Message 21 of 49 (267525)
    12-10-2005 12:10 PM


    Off Topic. Please do not reply to this post

    I always like these evolution v. Creationism debates. First of all do scientists claim to have all the answers: "No!" Second, was evolution even considered prior to Darwin coming along? "No!" Third, have the evolutionists come up with an experiment that show that live spontanteously was creeted in water then through successive "evolutions" left the water and entered the trees as monkeys then climbed out as men?" No!" So what do the "objective" scientists say. . . . evolution is the only valid theory of how man was created. .. . hahahahahha

    This message has been edited by Shamgar, 12-10-2005 12:11 PM

    This message has been edited by AdminJar, 12-10-2005 12:47 PM

    [AdminBen] Edited to fix html tag problem.

    This message has been edited by AdminBen, Saturday, 2005/12/10 11:07 AM


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    AdminJar
    Inactive Member


    Message 22 of 49 (267535)
    12-10-2005 12:32 PM
    Reply to: Message 21 by Shamgar
    12-10-2005 12:10 PM


    Welcome Shamgar
    Glad you could join us.

    But this thread is not about the Theory of evolution, but rather how theories evolve.


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    Yaro
    Member (Idle past 4669 days)
    Posts: 1797
    Joined: 07-12-2003


    Message 23 of 49 (267546)
    12-10-2005 1:43 PM
    Reply to: Message 21 by Shamgar
    12-10-2005 12:10 PM


    Hey thar Shamgar.

    You are making the common mistake of conflating the ToE with Abiogenesis. While related, the ToE is as solid as any scientific theory gets. And so far the ToE has been the ONLY explanation that fits all the data.


    This message is a reply to:
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    AdminJar
    Inactive Member


    Message 24 of 49 (267548)
    12-10-2005 1:46 PM
    Reply to: Message 23 by Yaro
    12-10-2005 1:43 PM


    OT Yaro
    let's stick to the subject, how Theories Evolve.
    This message is a reply to:
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    Shamgar 
    Inactive Suspended Member


    Message 25 of 49 (267553)
    12-10-2005 2:25 PM


    Well the theory of evolution has "evolved". . . first they were trying to get everyone to belief the ape theory. .. but since they were unable to get all the skulls they needed (too many people refused to buy the story) they needed to "evolve" the theory in other areas to "prove" evolution. .. the biggest "evolution" was to start saying "evolution" for everything in biology. This or that creature or plant "evolved" over time. .(after all the more you say a word the more people begin to "evolve" and use the word) . . . .. yet the original "evolution" of the theory of evolution had yet to be proven. . . .they still have yet to prove the original premise.. . . .that man came out of the trees from an ape. . . in spite of all their failures to prove their premise. . . .they still want to harp that they have "trends" that show evolution, evedince that "shows" evolution. . . the reality is the scientists can continue to twist and distort the evidence all they want ( as they have repeatedly done) but without ALL THE PIECES they cannot prove that "evolution" is the way man came into being. .. . and science does not admit to having all the pieces. . .and that is a fact. ..
    Replies to this message:
     Message 26 by nwr, posted 12-10-2005 2:33 PM Shamgar has responded

      
    nwr
    Member
    Posts: 5585
    From: Geneva, Illinois
    Joined: 08-08-2005


    Message 26 of 49 (267554)
    12-10-2005 2:33 PM
    Reply to: Message 25 by Shamgar
    12-10-2005 2:25 PM


    STILL OFF-TOPIC
    Well the theory of evolution has "evolved"

    Sure it has.

    However, the "Is it science" forum, and this particular topic, are for discussion of issues related to the methodology of science. What you perceive to be problems in the theory of evolution should be discussed in other threads, not here.

    If you have points about scientific methodology, and can use evolution as an illustrative example, maybe that would be suited to the current thread.

    This message has been edited by nwr, 12-10-2005 01:34 PM


    What shall it profit a nation if it gain the whole world, yet lose its own soul.
    (paraphrasing Mark 8:36)
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 25 by Shamgar, posted 12-10-2005 2:25 PM Shamgar has responded

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    Shamgar 
    Inactive Suspended Member


    Message 27 of 49 (267555)
    12-10-2005 2:36 PM
    Reply to: Message 23 by Yaro
    12-10-2005 1:43 PM


    Really Yaro? So you have scientific evidence which disprove all the claims of the Scriptures. . .I would be happy to see that study. ..

    Sounds like more claims without basis in fact on your side. . . you should "evolve" a new response. . .

    Romans 1: 19 because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them. 20 For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse. 21 Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves. 25 For they changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.


    This message is a reply to:
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    AdminJar
    Inactive Member


    Message 28 of 49 (267556)
    12-10-2005 2:40 PM
    Reply to: Message 27 by Shamgar
    12-10-2005 2:36 PM


    Shamgar, read what is posted for you
    That is off topic. This thread is not about the TOE.

    Unless you can get with the program your posting privileges will be suspended.


    Comments on moderation procedures (or wish to respond to admin messages)? - Go to:
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    This message is a reply to:
     Message 27 by Shamgar, posted 12-10-2005 2:36 PM Shamgar has not yet responded

      
    Shamgar 
    Inactive Suspended Member


    Message 29 of 49 (267557)
    12-10-2005 2:42 PM
    Reply to: Message 26 by nwr
    12-10-2005 2:33 PM


    Re: STILL OFF-TOPIC
    Sure nrw, the "theory" has "evolved" since science is built on mistakes.
    In fact to create a new drug it take 10 to 15 years of mistakes before the new drug is "safe". . .that is unless the data is "cooked" and them maybe after enough people drop dead the drug is taken off the market. . . so to say a theory "evolves" is bogus since obvioulsy the original hypothesis (a fancy word for GUESS) was was off so it had to be "tweaked" repeatedly by new guess to make the process seem "scientific".
    Many "discoveries" of science were blunders. .. plastic was an example of a failed experiment. . . . so "Yes" evolution of theories is mandatory.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 26 by nwr, posted 12-10-2005 2:33 PM nwr has not yet responded

      
    AdminNosy
    Administrator
    Posts: 4754
    From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Joined: 11-11-2003


    Message 30 of 49 (267558)
    12-10-2005 2:42 PM
    Reply to: Message 27 by Shamgar
    12-10-2005 2:36 PM


    A second polite warning
    AdminJar pointed out to you that you were not fitting into the site all that well; understandable in a somewhat over excited new comer.

    This is your second warning to not disrupt the topic of the threads.

    I suggest you spend more time reading and less time posting for a couple of days to get the hang of it.

    Since you seem interested in the real world accuracy of the scriptures you might try reading over threads in "The Bible: Accuracy and Inerrancy" forum.

    When introducing yourself to a new crowd it is general a good idea to hold your tongue until you know more about those you are talking to. You will make yourself look foolish if you come off as a know-it-all when it might become apparent that you don't.


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