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Author Topic:   Induction and Science
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 271 of 744 (591417)
11-13-2010 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 269 by Modulous
11-13-2010 4:14 PM


Re: hypothesis testing with limited evidence
Modulous writes:
What was really about concepts and not about facts? Why is 'it' relevant to a discussion about Newton and science and induction (which is very much about facts)? You initially stated that

Facts (as representations) do not exist independent of humans. If science worked by just picking up facts that existed independent of us, it would not work.

Just a moment. I'm asking Straggler to close his eyes for a moment.

Okay, there.

Whether facts can be said to exist independent of humans, depends on whether you are a Platonist or a nominalist.

It is okay to reopen those eyes now.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 269 by Modulous, posted 11-13-2010 4:14 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 273 by Modulous, posted 11-13-2010 5:55 PM nwr has responded

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


Message 272 of 744 (591419)
11-13-2010 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 270 by Blue Jay
11-13-2010 4:36 PM


Re: Predictions
Bluejay writes:
But, I don't think Straggler was saying this: I think he was using anthropomorphic language to say, "The scientific method requires one to make predictions."

We use the word "prediction" very loosely, and apply it to what are not really predictions.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 270 by Blue Jay, posted 11-13-2010 4:36 PM Blue Jay has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 246 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 273 of 744 (591424)
11-13-2010 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 271 by nwr
11-13-2010 4:43 PM


Re: hypothesis testing with limited evidence
Facts (as representations) do not exist independent of humans. If science worked by just picking up facts that existed independent of us, it would not work.

I still have no idea what 'it' was that was not about facts but about concepts or why it is relevant. Or why you decided to start talking about 'facts' and 'concepts' in the first place. I just pointed out that Newton used pendulums as evidential support for his laws - could you explain what your point here is?

Assuming it isn't really relevant (just to type something else as a response), do you accept that Newton's Laws have empirical support? That this support relies on a sequence of observations that are in accord with the laws? Do you agree that to suggest that "All the swans I've ever seen are white" supports (with some degree of uncertainty) "All swans are white"? Do you agree that 'all the pendulum experiments Newton had ever seen" supports (with some degree of uncertainty) "Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction"'?

Whether facts can be said to exist independent of humans, depends on whether you are a Platonist or a nominalist.

Great. But we're talking about using pendulums. What relevance does the nature of facts or concepts have to do with anything?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 271 by nwr, posted 11-13-2010 4:43 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 274 by nwr, posted 11-13-2010 7:14 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

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


Message 274 of 744 (591430)
11-13-2010 7:14 PM
Reply to: Message 273 by Modulous
11-13-2010 5:55 PM


Re: hypothesis testing with limited evidence
Sigh!

I give up.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 273 by Modulous, posted 11-13-2010 5:55 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 275 of 744 (591549)
11-14-2010 6:04 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by nwr
11-13-2010 2:22 PM


Re: hypothesis testing with limited evidence
Newtons third law tells us that a force is not merely something defined as being that which causes a change of velocity. It is a statement of the much more fundamental idea of force as an interaction between bodies. This underpins the logic of the other two laws.

Forces always arrive from interactions. That is what Newton's third law tells us.

We have never observed an acceleration that is not the result of an interaction.
We have never observed an acceleration without a corresponding equal and opposite force acting on an interacting body.
If we did observe an isolated body undergoing an acceleration Newtons laws would have been violated in a fundamental way.

We never have and inductively we conclude that we never will.

Nwr writes:

If you were to start with people who were unfamiliar with Newton's science, and ask them about Newton's first law, they would tell you that it is obviously wrong. Nothing is more obvious than that moving things just slow down all by themselves.

So in depth evidence based investgation sometimes refutes common sense notions of how the world works.

What is your point?

Nwr writes:

Newton's science, partly built on Galileo's science, involved a profound change in how we conceptualize the world. We had to start calling things forces (things such as friction), which were previously seen as just the ordinary slowing down of moving things.

Yes we had to start thinking about the world and how it works in a way that transends everyday common sense notions.

What is your point?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 265 by nwr, posted 11-13-2010 2:22 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 276 of 744 (591560)
11-14-2010 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 268 by nwr
11-13-2010 3:07 PM


Re: Induction And Science
Nwr writes:

If gravity suddenly stops tomorrow, that just means that predictions for anything beyond that time will be wrong.

ALL of our scientific theories are based on the constancy of natural phenomeon.

When we say we are not saying that this relationship applies only in the past. We are saying that this relationship applies now and into the future.

Hence our ability to scientifically make conclusions about the timing of eclipses and such like. Albeit tentatively.

Nwr writes:

The possibility does not stop us from making predictions.

It's possible that gravity and friction etc. will suddenly stop behaving as observed so far. But all scientific theories are based on the inductive conclusion that they won't. The fact that we can and do apply our theories to future events is based on the inductive conclusion natural phenomen will continue to behave as observed thus far.

You have invented a form of "science" that cannot say anything about any future event because any conclusion based on natural phenomenon behaving in the future as they have been observed to behave thus far is a "guess" or an "opinion" by the terms of your silly silly argument.

Nwr writes:

As I see it, evolution is a pragmatic system - selecting what works. If you are going to insist that pragmatism involves making inductive predictions about the future, then you are implicitly saying that evolution depends on inductive predictions of the future. That agrees with the ID position that it would require intelligence so is not explained by natural selection.

It should be noted hat the key difference between genuinely scientific theories and pseudoscience like ID is the ability to successfully predict new observations.

Any fool can construct an internally consistent explanatory theory (look at omphalism) but one that predicts and discovers can be considered genuinely scientific. Ask any IDist what they have doscovered recently if you doubt that.

So don't you dare dismiss the relevance of prediction and then accuse others of advocting creationist style reasoning.

The reason for your intense confusion is that you are looking at this in simplistic black and white terms of science either being wholly inductive or not inductive at all.

Science is neither wholly inductive nor wholly deductive. It comprises elements of both. An inductively reasoned speculative conclusion is drawn. The logical consequences of this are deductively derived (i.e. predictions are made). These predictions are tested. The original inductively derived conclusion is thus either verified or refuted as being in accordance with reality. There is more to it than that regarding tentativity and such matters.

But you hopefully get the gist.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 268 by nwr, posted 11-13-2010 3:07 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 277 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 7:26 PM Straggler has responded

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


Message 277 of 744 (591571)
11-14-2010 7:26 PM
Reply to: Message 276 by Straggler
11-14-2010 6:33 PM


Re: Induction And Science
Straggler writes:
ALL of our scientific theories are based on the constancy of natural phenomeon.

Actually, they are not. It gets hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, which is not constant.

Straggler writes:
When we say we are not saying that this relationship applies only in the past. We are saying that this relationship applies now and into the future.

I just had a cup of coffee. It quenches my thirst and I like the taste. I guess it will still quench my thirst in a weeks time, and I will still like the taste. But why should that guess matter to whether I drink coffee now?

We use scientific laws because they work and are useful. Why should we worry about whether they will still be useful next week, when we are concerned with using them today?

It seems to me that you are projecting an implicit prediction, but most people are not actually making that prediction.

Straggler writes:
You have invented a form of "science" that cannot say anything about any future event because any conclusion based on natural phenomenon behaving in the future as they have been observed to behave thus far is a "guess" or an "opinion" by the terms of your silly silly argument.

Where have I said that we cannot say anything about future events. I only say that we cannot know. That doesn't prevent us from following what seem to be best practices.

Straggler writes:
It should be noted hat the key difference between genuinely scientific theories and pseudoscience like ID is the ability to successfully predict new observations.

You are changing the subject.

The point is that evolution is a natural pragmatic system that works quite well without making predictions of the future. And sure, occasionally there are failures, as when a species goes extinct. But, for the most part, it works.

If tomorrow turns out to be hotter than today, I'll skip wearing a sweater. If tomorrow turns out to be colder, I put on a coat. We take the world as it comes, and adapt to change. Sure, some things seem to change very little, so we don't have to do much about those. But it doesn't require that we are making predictions about everything.

Straggler writes:
Any fool can construct an internally consistent explanatory theory (look at omphalism) but one that predicts and discovers can be considered genuinely scientific. Ask any IDist what they have doscovered recently if you doubt that.

If you think I am suggesting that science need only produce internally consistent theories, then you are hopelessly confused.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 276 by Straggler, posted 11-14-2010 6:33 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 278 by Panda, posted 11-14-2010 7:47 PM nwr has responded
 Message 286 by Stephen Push, posted 11-14-2010 11:18 PM nwr has responded
 Message 295 by Straggler, posted 11-15-2010 9:07 AM nwr has responded

  
Panda
Member (Idle past 1855 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 278 of 744 (591574)
11-14-2010 7:47 PM
Reply to: Message 277 by nwr
11-14-2010 7:26 PM


Re: Induction And Science
nwr writes:

Straggler writes:

ALL of our scientific theories are based on the constancy of natural phenomeon.


Actually, they are not. It gets hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, which is not constant.

So...the unchanging pattern of summers being hotter and winters being colder (in the northern hemisphere) has no constancy?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 277 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 7:26 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 279 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 8:11 PM Panda has responded

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


Message 279 of 744 (591576)
11-14-2010 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 278 by Panda
11-14-2010 7:47 PM


Re: Induction And Science
Panda writes:
So...the unchanging pattern of summers being hotter and winters being colder (in the northern hemisphere) has no constancy?

Varying between hot and cold is still change, and change is not the same as constant.

If you had been paying attention to the news on global warming, you would know that even the pattern is changing.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 278 by Panda, posted 11-14-2010 7:47 PM Panda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 280 by Panda, posted 11-14-2010 9:05 PM nwr has responded
 Message 284 by Stephen Push, posted 11-14-2010 10:50 PM nwr has responded

  
Panda
Member (Idle past 1855 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 280 of 744 (591579)
11-14-2010 9:05 PM
Reply to: Message 279 by nwr
11-14-2010 8:11 PM


Re: Induction And Science
nwr writes:

Varying between hot and cold is still change, and change is not the same as constant.


Please answer the question I asked and not the question you made up in your head.

Panda writes:

So...the unchanging pattern of summers being hotter and winters being colder (in the northern hemisphere) has no constancy?

Edited by Panda, : typo


This message is a reply to:
 Message 279 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 8:11 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 281 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 9:12 PM Panda has responded

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


Message 281 of 744 (591581)
11-14-2010 9:12 PM
Reply to: Message 280 by Panda
11-14-2010 9:05 PM


Re: Induction And Science
Panda writes:
Please answer the question I asked and not the question you made up in your head.

The question asks whether a variable has some constancy.

The question does not make a lot of sense.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 280 by Panda, posted 11-14-2010 9:05 PM Panda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 282 by kjsimons, posted 11-14-2010 9:23 PM nwr has responded
 Message 294 by Panda, posted 11-15-2010 5:25 AM nwr has responded

  
kjsimons
Member
Posts: 667
From: Orlando,FL
Joined: 06-17-2003


Message 282 of 744 (591583)
11-14-2010 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 281 by nwr
11-14-2010 9:12 PM


Re: Induction And Science
Here on planet Earth, summers tend to be warmer than winters, very consistently. The actual day to day and year to year high and lows may vary, as expected, but still, baring a major volcanic eruption or two, summers are warmer than winters.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 281 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 9:12 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 283 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 10:12 PM kjsimons has not yet responded

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


Message 283 of 744 (591587)
11-14-2010 10:12 PM
Reply to: Message 282 by kjsimons
11-14-2010 9:23 PM


Re: Induction And Science
kjsimons writes:
Here on planet Earth, summers tend to be warmer than winters, very consistently.

Sure. But what does "consistently" actually mean.

If I tell somebody that the weather is consistent, they will probably agree with me.
If I point out that some summers are a lot hotter than other summers, and that the weather is inconsistent, they will probably agree with me.

Used that way, I suggest that "consistent" is just a "feel good" word that doesn't mean much.

If our world were totally homogeneous, then that would make it perfectly consistent (in some sense). From a mathematical point of view, it would be highly patterned. It would look the same no matter how you looked at it. That's a case of multiple symmetries, about as ideally patterned as you can get.

In such a world our science would be useless. It would be as if we were in a very dense fog all the time, unable to see anything. What we need is contrast. Science needs a lumpy world, not a highly patterned world.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 282 by kjsimons, posted 11-14-2010 9:23 PM kjsimons has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 288 by Stephen Push, posted 11-14-2010 11:59 PM nwr has responded

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 3002 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 284 of 744 (591590)
11-14-2010 10:50 PM
Reply to: Message 279 by nwr
11-14-2010 8:11 PM


Re: Induction And Science
nwr writes:

If you had been paying attention to the news on global warming, you would know that even the pattern is changing.

Climate scientists routinely assume that physical laws will continue to operate in the future as they have in the past to predict what climate trends are likely to be in the future.

I'd also like to restate my question from an earlier post: What do you make of the fact the Newton said he used inductive reasoning to develop his laws of motion?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 279 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 8:11 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 285 by Coyote, posted 11-14-2010 10:56 PM Stephen Push has not yet responded
 Message 287 by nwr, posted 11-14-2010 11:54 PM Stephen Push has responded

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 248 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 285 of 744 (591591)
11-14-2010 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 284 by Stephen Push
11-14-2010 10:50 PM


Physical laws
Climate scientists routinely assume that physical laws will continue to operate in the future as they have in the past to predict what climate trends are likely to be in the future.

If you have to bet the rent money, that's the way to bet.

If you are betting that physical laws are going to change radically, ask for huge odds.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 284 by Stephen Push, posted 11-14-2010 10:50 PM Stephen Push has not yet responded

  
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