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Author Topic:   Induction and Science
Panda
Member (Idle past 1821 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 736 of 744 (594213)
12-02-2010 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 734 by nwr
12-02-2010 3:48 PM


Re: Why are you right?
nwr writes:

  • All the millions of observations have reported that the sun and stars move around a stationary earth;
  • therefore the earth is not at all stationary; it is the sun and stars that are closer to being stationary.

Sorry everyone, but I just have to say:
L O L !!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 734 by nwr, posted 12-02-2010 3:48 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

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


Message 737 of 744 (594243)
12-02-2010 7:07 PM
Reply to: Message 735 by Modulous
12-02-2010 4:00 PM


Re: Why are you right?
Modulous writes:
I was just suggesting that rather than repeat that you have while others repeat that you haven't, you either let what you have said stand or you try to bring all the disparate posts in this thread together into one specific post that describes in depth your thoughts on this issue.

Science, most importantly, is systematic. Scientists experiment with systematic methods they can follow to get useful data, and to partially control nature. Methods that work better are preferred over methods that don't work so well. This is pragmatic testing. It isn't induction, because the data on which one would use induction is not being collected until the method is adopted (which is why data appears to be theory laden). A scientific theory is, primarily, a description of the method rather than a description of the world. This ought to be obvious, since the purpose of the theory is to communicate the science. The theory is not falsifiable, for as long as the method is in use the theory which describes that method will be held to be true. However, if a better methodology is discovered, then scientists will move to that newer methodology.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 735 by Modulous, posted 12-02-2010 4:00 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 738 by Modulous, posted 12-02-2010 7:27 PM nwr has responded
 Message 740 by crashfrog, posted 12-03-2010 12:23 AM nwr has acknowledged this reply
 Message 743 by Straggler, posted 12-03-2010 8:15 AM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 213 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 738 of 744 (594247)
12-02-2010 7:27 PM
Reply to: Message 737 by nwr
12-02-2010 7:07 PM


describing the method, not the world.
. It isn't induction, because the data on which one would use induction is not being collected until the method is adopted (which is why data appears to be theory laden)

And how does the method adopted prevent induction occurring? What's to stop the method involving induction somewhere? What's to stop induction being part of the theory that 'loads' the data? After all, if inductive reasoning can work well, and can certainly reach conclusions other modes reasoning can't. If there is a pragmatic justification for employing induction - then surely it would be used?

A scientific theory is, primarily, a description of the method rather than a description of the world.

Could you explain how Universal Common Descent is a description of the method rather than a proposed description on the world. As obvious as you suggest this is, most people don't see it. Further, could you show that this is how scientists see what a scientific theory is, rather than just a select group of philosophers?

since the purpose of the theory is to communicate the science

I don't see this as a reason for it to be obvious. Nor do I see any reason to suppose that the sole purpose of a theory is to communicate the science. What does it mean 'to communicate the science'? Do you mean 'communicate the method'?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 737 by nwr, posted 12-02-2010 7:07 PM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 739 by nwr, posted 12-03-2010 12:17 AM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

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


Message 739 of 744 (594318)
12-03-2010 12:17 AM
Reply to: Message 738 by Modulous
12-02-2010 7:27 PM


Re: describing the method, not the world.
Modulous writes:
Could you explain how Universal Common Descent is a description of the method rather than a proposed description on the world.

Actual descent is mostly unobservable. This is a principle that provides enough to allow building relationship trees.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
 Message 738 by Modulous, posted 12-02-2010 7:27 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 741 by crashfrog, posted 12-03-2010 12:24 AM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 740 of 744 (594319)
12-03-2010 12:23 AM
Reply to: Message 737 by nwr
12-02-2010 7:07 PM


Re: Why are you right?
A scientific theory is, primarily, a description of the method rather than a description of the world. This ought to be obvious, since the purpose of the theory is to communicate the science.

I'm sorry but this bears no relationship to the scientific agenda.

Have you ever actually spoken to a scientist? Just curious.

If scientific theories were descriptions of methods instead of descriptions of the world, they wouldn't be able to make accurate predictions about the world - just about methods. And the purpose of science is to explain the world, not to explain itself. That kind of circular focus would produce no knowledge at all, how could it?

Once again you're up against the dilemma straggler keeps raising and you keep ignoring - your model of science makes it impossible for science to actually do what science observably does; thus you're wrong. Obviously.


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 Message 737 by nwr, posted 12-02-2010 7:07 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 741 of 744 (594320)
12-03-2010 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 739 by nwr
12-03-2010 12:17 AM


Re: describing the method, not the world.
Actual descent is mostly unobservable. This is a principle that provides enough to allow building relationship trees.

That doesn't answer the question.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 739 by nwr, posted 12-03-2010 12:17 AM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Stephen Push
Member (Idle past 2968 days)
Posts: 140
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 10-08-2010


Message 742 of 744 (594346)
12-03-2010 2:40 AM
Reply to: Message 696 by RAZD
11-29-2010 9:21 PM


Re: induction vs deduction elements
RAZD writes:

No matter how well established a theory is, it can never be more than possibly true, because inductive logic does not give you a conclusion of true\fact. This holds even when a theory is called a law. I believe that this is, in essence, your argument (or a major portion thereof) in this thread, yes?

Yes, that's essentially my position, although I would prefer to say that a theory is never more than probably true. Much of the discussion in this thread has been driven by the assertion advanced by nwr that induction is never used in science. I appreciate that you are bringing to this discussion a more nuanced examination of how both induction and deduction may be used in science.

In this regard, the inductive element in science is not to determine what is fact\true, but to show what should be tested to see if it can help define what is fact\true.

I think the words fact and true should be used with great care in science. Scientific knowledge is perpetually tentative. Scientists sometimes use deductive reasoning. And of course deductive conclusions are necessarily true when the premises are true. But I believe that the premises are often, if not always, subject to error and revision.

The important thing, as I see it, is that this process sifts evidence and concepts and eliminates falsified concepts while organizing facts into an explanatory framework -- our "best guess" or "best known explanation" of the evidence -- and that the pool of known evidence\facts is increased whether a theory is falsified or not. In this way the process is an incremental approximation of truth that continually gets closer to reality, even if it can't arrive at a definitive conclusion.

I agree with you, because Im a scientific realist. An instrumentalist, however, would claim that there is no way to know whether we are getting closer to reality.

As we see above, the facts\truths that we can know are determined deductively from the original evidence and the added information from the testing. This knowledge is discovered by the testing and deductive evaluation parts of the process, not by the inductive process. Let's try an analogy:

I have a rifle set up on a fixed mount 1000 yards from a target. With the gun-sight I make my first approximation of aiming the rifle at the target. I take 10 shots with that setting, then measure the results. The scatter in the shots from their mean value determines how effectively the rifle reproduces the same results from a test, the difference between the mean value and the target center determines the accuracy of the initial approximation. I make a vertical adjustment in the rifle setup in the direction that the mean value was vertically off from the target center and repeat the shots and measurements, then make another vertical adjustment towards the center in proportion to the remaining delta to the center and the difference in the two shot patterns. I do the same thing in the horizontal adjustments. All else being equal, and not having any other variables that are not controlled by the rifle setting (variable cross-wind etc), I should be able in fairly short order to reach a reasonable accuracy within the ability of the rifle to reproduce the same results in repeated tests, regardless of where my initial shots ended up.

It is the deductive process in the evaluation of the evidence that brings the pattern closer to the target center. If I just relied on induction then I could go back and forth with varying degrees of success, but never approaching the center in the way that deductive analysis does. . . .

. . . Yet it is the deductive evaluation of the evidence that either invalidates the theory or shows that we have additional evidence that is consistent with the evidence used to formulate the theory. The deductive analysis of the results of testing brings us closer to reality, and this refines the inductive hypothesis for the next round of testing.

If I understand your position, you are saying we can make a prediction from a tentative theory and then measure how an actual experimental result differs is from the prediction. We can then modify the theory, make a new prediction, and see if we have gotten any closer to reality.

A problem I see with that approach is that, by adding post hoc theory modifications, even a theory that is a poor representation of reality may become more accurate for the purpose of making predictions. By adding epicycles, for example, the Ptolemaic model became better at making predictions, but it never got any closer to reality.

Using cladistics to compare all the common and different elements you should then find that the most parsimonious explanation was that the dog-like fox was a descendant of wild foxes. {phase three}

This would be a statistically deduced most likely answer:

Link

quote:
Cladistics is also distinguished by its emphasis on parsimony and hypothesis testing (particularly falsificationism), rather than subjective decisions that some other taxonomic systems rely upon.[3]

This is the kind of rigorous empirical testing and deductive evaluation used in biology to validate common descent in the larger picture.

I can see how deduction plays a role. For example:


  • Mammals have hair, produce milk, etc.
  • New animal has hair, produces milk, etc.
  • Therefore, new animal is a mammal.

But in the dog-like fox hypothetical, I think your conclusion is an inference to the best explanation rather than a deduction. In fact, you refer to it as the most likely answer. While descent from the current wild fox population is the most likely explanation, based on the evidence, you would not be able to rule out completely other possibilities. For example, the foxes may have descended from a dog-like fox ancestor that is now nearly extinct. I agree the latter explanation would be highly unlikely, but given the available evidence, it is not a logical impossibility.

Doesnt your use of the term parsimonious suggest the use of non-deductive reasoning?

I agree that cladistics is less subjective than some other taxonomic systems, but I dont think it is any more deductive.

If we were to start by assuming special creation of the dog-like fox, then we would test for elements that are not consistent with dogs, foxes, canines or mammals. Not finding any we would conclude that there is no evidence of any process other than common descent from existing species. This leaves special creation as god-directed evolution causing what we see as natural processes, and that still results in the most parsimonious explanation being that the dog-like fox was a (directed) descendant of wild foxes. As such your complaint is irrelevant.

Nicely done! I can see you have used deductive reasoning to show that, if the evidence supports common descent, whether that process is "natural" or God-directed is irrelevant. Nevertheless, the premise that the evidence supports common descent was derived non-deductively. You have again invoked parsimony in defense of the premise.

Edited by Stephen Push, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 696 by RAZD, posted 11-29-2010 9:21 PM RAZD has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 743 of 744 (594359)
12-03-2010 8:15 AM
Reply to: Message 737 by nwr
12-02-2010 7:07 PM


Re: Why are you right?
Nwr earlier in this hread writes:

Scientific theories have nothing to say about how nature behaves

Nwr writes:

A scientific theory is, primarily, a description of the method rather than a description of the world.

You continue to ignore the indisputable and highly demonstrable ability of science to successfully predict the behaviour of nature.

Specifically how do you explain this ability without invoking the problem identified by Hume? Namely the problem of necessarily having to first inductively conclude that nature will continue to behave in the future as it has been observed to behave thus far. The uniformity of nature.

If I put a piece of potassium in a glass of water what does science tell us will happen?

Nwr writes:

Strggler writes:

Can science reliably and accurately make conclusions about things which have not yet occurred based on the principles derived from what has gone before?

No.

But science can and does do this very effectively.

You cannot just ignore the facts because they don't fit in with your pet theory.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 737 by nwr, posted 12-02-2010 7:07 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
fajarini11 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2807 days)
Posts: 2
Joined: 04-21-2011


Message 744 of 744 (615891)
05-17-2011 11:14 PM


Nice topic and I like to know morea bout this
Thanks for every science and ideology that shown

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Reset (now trashed) spam links in signature.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Shut off signature.


    
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