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Author Topic:   Theory Evolution (not "Theory of Evolution")
Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3775
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 1 of 49 (266447)
12-07-2005 2:33 PM


This message first appeared here, where the message subtitle was "Typical yes/no black/white fundamentalist-creationist reasoning".

How is it a great thing about science that they prove themselves wrong in every generation?

It is not that scientific theories are discarded wholesale. They are modified to be improved versions. Much/most of the previous content remains being considered valid.

It is not that scientists show ("prove") themselves to be completely wrong. It's that scientists show themselves to be less than completely right. There is alway room for improvement in a theory.

Many mainstream Christians also have found that there is room for improvement in their theology. It is the fundamentialists that are stuck in the "it's all right or it's all wrong" line of reasoning.

Moose

Submitted to "Is It Science?" forum.

{Promoted version edited to change "fundementalist" to "fundamentalist". Never can get that right, and when I checked it in "Word", the response time let me down. - Moose}

This message has been edited by minnemooseus, 12-07-2005 02:36 PM

This message has been edited by minnemooseus, 12-07-2005 02:45 PM


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

Replies to this message:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 49 (266453)
12-07-2005 2:38 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2241 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 3 of 49 (266647)
12-07-2005 11:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
12-07-2005 2:33 PM


oooh ooh i get to be first.

dear fundies,
please read the structure of scientific revolutions
love,
da couch.

seriously though. scientists learn more when they prove something wrong. you can't prove something right, because of causality. it's impossible to prove causality without omniscience. cause yeah :p. but. when we prove something wrong, we know what we can cross off the list. when we prove that something might cause something, we're not really that much closer to a solution.

i think it's an inherent difference in thought. they want to be right, we want to eliminate things.

*edit*

<-------- hahaaha awesome 1111. recorded for all time in the annals (or anals) of evc.

This message has been edited by brennakimi, 12-07-2005 11:43 PM


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 Message 5 by JustinC, posted 12-08-2005 7:17 AM macaroniandcheese has responded

  
Gary
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 49 (266714)
12-08-2005 6:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Minnemooseus
12-07-2005 2:33 PM


I think that people want scientists to take a firm stand and then hold to that position no matter what. If they change their mind, it is seen as a sign of weakness and defeat, rather than adaptability and intelligence.

In the last presidential election in the US, John Kerry was called a "flip-flopper" because he was against the Iraq War, though he had originally voted to go to Iraq. This is probably one of the reasons why he lost the election. People demand the same stubbornness and resistance to change from their scientists, without understanding the most basic concepts behind the scientific process. They are extremely skeptical of new ideas, but most are uncritical of the old one. In my opinion, it is important to be critical of both new and old ideas.


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JustinC
Member (Idle past 3157 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 5 of 49 (266724)
12-08-2005 7:17 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by macaroniandcheese
12-07-2005 11:42 PM


quote:
dear fundies,
please read the structure of scientific revolutions
love,
da couch.


I think fundie's would love Kuhn's essay, since it is basically an attack on traditional views of science by an anti-realist constructivist.

This message is a reply to:
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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2241 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 6 of 49 (266766)
12-08-2005 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by JustinC
12-08-2005 7:17 AM


eh. i saw it as a very accurate portrayal of big scientific turnovers like the switch from a ptolemaic to the copernican solarsystem.

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 Message 7 by JustinC, posted 12-08-2005 11:17 AM macaroniandcheese has responded

  
JustinC
Member (Idle past 3157 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 7 of 49 (266809)
12-08-2005 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by macaroniandcheese
12-08-2005 9:44 AM


I mean, it does lay out a useful framework for which to interpret scientific development, ie, paradigms, normal science, anomolies, etc. Kuhn is a great historian so his book is very informative with regard this.

The problem comes when he starts talking about science as a non-progressive enterprise and asserts that different paradigms are incommensurable.

His main point is that paradigm shifts aren't progressive, they just lay out different rules and give us different models for which to interpret the world; science is progressive within a paradigm but outside of it. He even goes on to say that paradigms change how our perceptions, so different scientists actually view different worlds. According to him, Copernican astronomy is no more 'real' than Ptolemaic; they are just different models which both have there limits of applicability. He would say the same with the transition from Newtonian dynamics to GR.

I think his main problem is that he denies Popperian science, i.e, that falsifiability is the central attribute of scientific theories. He states that no paradigm ever explains all the observable data, so we would have to have degrees of falseness. of course, he's pretty vague about how communities choose between competing paradigms. He denies falsifibility because it will be in degress. He denies verificationism for the same reason. He states we would should directly compare the paradigms, but I don't even know what that means outside of some falsification or verification criteria.

I'm rambling now, but I think there is some very controversial claims in the essay that creationists or anti-science folks would greatly enjoy.


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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2241 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 8 of 49 (266812)
12-08-2005 11:28 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by JustinC
12-08-2005 11:17 AM


well. ptolemaic solar system based things still work. in reality, we do view the world differently. both systems are based on observations. just different ones. the sextant still works, and sailors still use it.

i just read a book called the elusive quest continues. it's a polisci book, but it has a great deal of critique of kuhn in it. however, it seems that the problem is not with kuhn, but the translations people make of him. a heliocentric universe is fundamentally incompatible with a terracentric one just as a yec creation is completely incompatible with geology and biological evolution and astrophysics. it is a perfectly reasonable assertion that within paradigms science is progressive but not without. who says we're anywhere close to right?

i think the important thing is to remember that paradigms are huge, not single journal articles (unlike polisci and behavioralism has made it).


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 9 of 49 (266815)
12-08-2005 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by JustinC
12-08-2005 11:17 AM


JustinC writes:

The problem comes when he starts talking about science as a non-progressive enterprise and asserts that different paradigms are incommensurable.


I'm not sure why you see this a problem. Kuhn perhaps overstated things here, but then largely corrected the overstatement in his 1969 postscript (at the back of the 1970 edition).

I think his main problem is that he denies Popperian science, i.e, that falsifiability is the central attribute of scientific theories.

As a critic of falsficationism, I don't see this as a problem in Kuhn's work.

I'm rambling now, but I think there is some very controversial claims in the essay that creationists or anti-science folks would greatly enjoy.

Kuhn was not anti-science. He was criticizing the traditional epistemology assumed by philosophers of science. He was not criticizing the science itself.

There is a good reason why creationists rarely use Kuhn in their arguments. For creationists are themselves pretty strongly committed to the kind of epistemology that Kuhn criticizes. To adopt Kuhn's critique, they would have to admit to problems in the epistemological assumptions that underly their own theology.


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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2241 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 10 of 49 (266865)
12-08-2005 2:17 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by nwr
12-08-2005 11:57 AM


basically.

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JustinC
Member (Idle past 3157 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 11 of 49 (266878)
12-08-2005 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by macaroniandcheese
12-08-2005 11:28 AM


quote:

well. ptolemaic solar system based things still work. in reality, we do view the world differently. both systems are based on observations. just different ones. the sextant still works, and sailors still use it.


It kind of depends on what you mean by "view the world differently." Kuhn claims we "view a different world" and scientists "work in a different world." This is a little different than viewing the world differently. He saw paradigms as changing our perceptions (he destinguished between stimuli, perceptions, and interpretations).

quote:
the translations people make of him. a heliocentric universe is fundamentally incompatible with a terracentric one just as a yec creation is completely incompatible with geology and biological evolution and astrophysics. it is a perfectly reasonable assertion that within paradigms science is progressive but not without. who says we're anywhere close to right?


It's not that we know we are close to right; it's that we know (according to some)we are getting closer to the right answer, though it may practically never be possible to be absolutely right. We approach it assymptotically.

This is what Kuhn denies; he denies inductive logic. I'm not saying he's wrong, I'm just stating his position. According to Kuhn, we will never get closer to the "right" answer. GR is no closer to reality than Newtonian dynamics.


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JustinC
Member (Idle past 3157 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 12 of 49 (266883)
12-08-2005 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by nwr
12-08-2005 11:57 AM


quote:

I'm not sure why you see this a problem. Kuhn perhaps overstated things here, but then largely corrected the overstatement in his 1969 postscript (at the back of the 1970 edition).


Because some, like myself, view the change from Newtonian dynamics to Special Relativity to GR as progressive. Each incorperated the former into the new paradigm, so I don't see how they are incommensurable.

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.

quote:

As a critic of falsficationism, I don't see this as a problem in Kuhn's work.


Keep in mind these are my opinions. I'm not trying to state that it is an objective problem; i understand others disagree.

So, as a critic of falsificationism, are you a verificationist? How do we distinguish scientific theories from crack pot theories? Why is an explanation that can handle all observations (explain everything and anything)not science? How do we choose between competing paradigms?

I'm not trying to berate you or anything, these are serious questions and the answers aren't very clear to me.

quote:
Kuhn was not anti-science. He was criticizing the traditional epistemology assumed by philosophers of science. He was not criticizing the science itself.


I understand he was not anti-science and what he was trying to do with his work. But, he was a science antirealist. So, if his view is assumed by fundies, they can claim whatever they want about the world and science can say nothing to contradict them. After all, science just sets up explanatory frameworks whose truthfulness is impossible to know (according to Kuhn). Science is no more true than whatever it is they are doing (pseudoscience?).

quote:

There is a good reason why creationists rarely use Kuhn in their arguments. For creationists are themselves pretty strongly committed to the kind of epistemology that Kuhn criticizes. To adopt Kuhn's critique, they would have to admit to problems in the epistemological assumptions that underly their own theology.


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 message has been edited by JustinC, 12-08-2005 03:24 PM


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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2241 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 13 of 49 (266886)
12-08-2005 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by JustinC
12-08-2005 3:22 PM


well see. the thing is that newtonian to special relativity is progressive. it's string theory that may or may not be. if things work additively, then they are progressive. if not, then they are a paradigm shift.

some sciences have not experienced a paradigm shift. i think that's the biggest problem most people see but don't realize. people try to claim that certain discoveries seem like paradigm shifts but aren't.

like i said. the elusive quest continues has a whole chapter on people claiming that they're shifting the paradigm when, in fact, they are not.

a paradigm shift, for example, would be the transfer of our current scientific knowledge to a gaia based one like capra describes.

This message has been edited by brennakimi, 12-08-2005 03:29 PM


i'm worldwide bitch, act like ya'll don't know.

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JustinC
Member (Idle past 3157 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 14 of 49 (266898)
12-08-2005 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by macaroniandcheese
12-08-2005 3:26 PM


quote:
well see. the thing is that newtonian to special relativity is progressive. it's string theory that may or may not be. if things work additively, then they are progressive. if not, then they are a paradigm shift.


Kuhn would disagree. Progress only occurs when a paradigm gets more and more articulated. SR was a new way to interpret the observations, with whole new conceptions of time and space. Thus it was paradigm shift. String theory would have to reduce to GR, so I think you would view it as progressive.

I agree with you that it was progressive, but Kuhn wouldn't (atleast 1969 Kuhn).

quote:

some sciences have not experienced a paradigm shift. i think that's the biggest problem most people see but don't realize. people try to claim that certain discoveries seem like paradigm shifts but aren't.

like i said. the elusive quest continues has a whole chapter on people claiming that they're shifting the paradigm when, in fact, they are not.


I think the problem is that the term is ridiculously vague. What is it again? I think Kuhn described it as the beliefs, values, instruments, etc. of a scientific community. Since paradigms apply to communities, some small discoveries may cause a paradigm shift within that community. Paradigms aren't necessarily huge explanatory frameworks like QM or GR. The people may have been shifting paradigms within their small community according to Kuhn.

quote:

a paradigm shift, for example, would be the transfer of our current scientific knowledge to a gaia based one like capra describes.


That would be an example, though it doesn't have to be that radical.

This message is a reply to:
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macaroniandcheese 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2241 days)
Posts: 4258
Joined: 05-24-2004


Message 15 of 49 (266900)
12-08-2005 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by JustinC
12-08-2005 3:55 PM


i think it does have to be radical. maybe that's cause i read 1970 kuhn. but see. i think 1970 kuhn exists because he maybe wasn't clear enough earlier and people misunderstood him.

i think a bit more reading in the arena gives better light that he's speaking of vast shifts, not little ones.

This message has been edited by brennakimi, 12-08-2005 04:02 PM


i'm worldwide bitch, act like ya'll don't know.

This message is a reply to:
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