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Author Topic:   Science: A Method not a Source
Straggler
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Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 91 of 177 (589648)
11-03-2010 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 89 by jar
11-03-2010 4:23 PM


Re: Testing BY Prediction
jar writes:

We've been down this road before so I'll just point out that it is irrelevant whether or not I am concerned.

We have certainly been down the road of you arguing that belief is effectively evidence upon which to justify belief.

I am unaware that you have previously declared the illogicality of a claim to be irrelevant as to it's accuracy or veracity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 89 by jar, posted 11-03-2010 4:23 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by jar, posted 11-03-2010 4:53 PM Straggler has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 31798
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 92 of 177 (589650)
11-03-2010 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 91 by Straggler
11-03-2010 4:43 PM


Re: Testing BY Prediction
Nor have I made that claim here.

The belief that the world depended on propitiation of the gods was not illogical at the time. Bad things happened and there was no explanation better then "goddidit".

I would go so far as to say that as an example, the Aztec belief that without sacrifice the world would end was both reasonable and logical, and that to test the null hypothesis, not perform the rites and risk the world coming to an end would be the illogical, unreasonable and irresponsible behavior.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by Straggler, posted 11-03-2010 4:43 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-03-2010 5:17 PM jar has acknowledged this reply
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 93 of 177 (589651)
11-03-2010 5:17 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by jar
11-03-2010 4:53 PM


Re: Testing BY Prediction
I would go so far as to say that as an example, the Aztec belief that without sacrifice the world would end was both reasonable and logical, and that to test the null hypothesis, not perform the rites and risk the world coming to an end would be the illogical, unreasonable and irresponsible behavior.

See also Livingstone's Conversations on Rain-Making:

Livingstone: God alone can command the clouds. Only try and wait patiently; God will give us rain without your medicines.

Rain doctor: Mahala-ma-kapa-a-a!! Well, I always thought white men were wise till this morning. Who ever thought of making trial of starvation?


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 Message 92 by jar, posted 11-03-2010 4:53 PM jar has acknowledged this reply

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 94 of 177 (589657)
11-03-2010 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by Straggler
11-03-2010 4:38 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
Do you really think that a theory that has resulted in whole series of specific verified predictions is considered no more or less accurate and in accordance with reality than another theory which has nothing going for it beyond being unfalsifiable?

Is that really how you think science works?

No; it isn't. I've told you numerous times that I don't. When will you stop asking?

Of course people test things. But what do they test, how do they conduct these tests and why do they even bother to perform these tests?

What: Hypotheses
How: Look, touch, taste, listen, smell
Why: Who cares?

What does this have to do with your inaccurate portrayal of the scientific method?

There are numerous examples of scientific theories being vindicated by means of verified prediction. In fact such verification is arguably the gold standard by which scientific theories are judged.

The goal of science is not to verify, but to falsify. Who ever learned anything by finding out something they already knew?

Anyhow; what relationship at all does this reply of yours have to the points I made regarding your position?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by Straggler, posted 11-03-2010 4:38 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by Straggler, posted 11-04-2010 9:36 AM Jon has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 95 of 177 (589661)
11-03-2010 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by Percy
11-03-2010 3:57 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
If all you really wanted to ask whether someone is doing science if they propose a theory for which no tests are possibl

That is not at all what I want to discuss. The topic is whether or not the use of the Bible and other historical literature for generating knowledge about the physical world can within the scientific method:

quote:
Jon in Message 1:

I propose that the use of the Bible and other 'historical' literature to generate knowledge about the physical world is not, as many claim, unscientific or (dare I say) 'supernatural', but instead perfectly good science differing only in results (by means of different inputs) from presently accepted knowledge in the overall scientific community. To clarify, I am not addressing specifically the knowledge itself that is so generated, but rather the methodology—that is, the generation of knowledge about the physical world based on the reading of histories.


Stop quibbling about your "hypothetical" and start moving the discussion forward.

It would be wonderful if we could move along to some of the other points in the OP, but some have gotten caught up on a simple little example that was never intended to be an all-exhaustive story. So, it is completely up to the other participants whether or not they want to move to the other points of the OP. I would be glad to address any of them whenever they come up; I will also go back through the thread and check to see if I missed any posts relating to the other points in the OP and try to reply to them soon as I get a chance.

Deal?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by Percy, posted 11-03-2010 3:57 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Percy, posted 11-03-2010 7:34 PM Jon has responded
 Message 97 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-03-2010 8:24 PM Jon has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 19121
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 96 of 177 (589676)
11-03-2010 7:34 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Jon
11-03-2010 6:03 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
Hi Jon,

Yeah, I think that's a good idea to try to shift the focus away from your hypothetical. The next time someone brings it up just say that the example is proving to be more an obstacle than an aid to understanding.

Concerning what you quoted from the OP about the Bible, the objection to the religious methodology is the same one as for your example: there's no testing against reality.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 6:03 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 98 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 8:56 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 97 of 177 (589689)
11-03-2010 8:24 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Jon
11-03-2010 6:03 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
I propose that the use of the Bible and other 'historical' literature to generate knowledge about the physical world is not, as many claim, unscientific or (dare I say) 'supernatural', but instead perfectly good science differing only in results (by means of different inputs) from presently accepted knowledge in the overall scientific community. To clarify, I am not addressing specifically the knowledge itself that is so generated, but rather the methodology—that is, the generation of knowledge about the physical world based on the reading of histories.

Well, I think this has already been answered, by myself among others. It is not scientific to uncritically accept what is written in some book as being history, even if it is presented as such.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 6:03 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 8:58 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 98 of 177 (589694)
11-03-2010 8:56 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Percy
11-03-2010 7:34 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
there's no testing against reality.

I assume you're talking about the empirical physical reality; in which case, how do we test against this type of reality in instances where no tools for testing exist?

the objection to the religious methodology

So, how do you view the scientific method? What makes something the 'religious methodology' as opposed to the scientific methodology? In such an instance, do you believe the source of the information important? And if so, in what ways do you see this importance as creating the divide between these two methodologies? In other words, what of the scientific method do you see as being the discriminator—or, discriminating agent—between different types or information sources?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Percy, posted 11-03-2010 7:34 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by Straggler, posted 11-04-2010 9:44 AM Jon has not yet responded
 Message 106 by Coyote, posted 11-04-2010 10:51 AM Jon has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 99 of 177 (589696)
11-03-2010 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Dr Adequate
11-03-2010 8:24 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
It is not scientific to uncritically accept what is written in some book as being history, even if it is presented as such.

No one's advocating uncritical acceptance, though. Where else do we turn lacking any tools for investigating reality in a way that may answer our questions?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-03-2010 8:24 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-03-2010 9:37 PM Jon has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 100 of 177 (589700)
11-03-2010 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Jon
11-03-2010 8:58 PM


No one's advocating uncritical acceptance, though. Where else do we turn lacking any tools for investigating reality in a way that may answer our questions?

But we are not in fact lacking these tools.

It is hard to say what an ideal reasoner, knowing nothing else of the universe, would make of the Bible. But in contemplating this question we might also wonder what it would make of the Popol Vuh, Aesop's Fables, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Peter Pan, the "Hitler diaries" or Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War. How would it tell what was meant as fiction, what was meant as fact but wasn't, what was meant as fact and was, and what was known by its author to be fiction but intended to deceive others into taking it as fact?

But we are not in that unfortunate situation.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 8:58 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 101 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 11:05 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 101 of 177 (589707)
11-03-2010 11:05 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by Dr Adequate
11-03-2010 9:37 PM


But we are not in fact lacking these tools.

True. However, the matter was: if we lack these tools, how else do we gain knowledge of the world?

It seemed as though you agreed earlier that science is perfectly capable of functioning in the absence of any of these tools (or so it appeared by some of your replies); is it true that this is your position?

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-03-2010 9:37 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by Dr Adequate, posted 11-03-2010 11:36 PM Jon has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 102 of 177 (589712)
11-03-2010 11:36 PM
Reply to: Message 101 by Jon
11-03-2010 11:05 PM


True. However, the matter was: if we lack these tools, how else do we gain knowledge of the world?

It seemed as though you agreed earlier that science is perfectly capable of functioning in the absence of any of these tools (or so it appeared by some of your replies); is it true that this is your position?

We never have to approach any text in a vacuum; and if we did, we wouldn't know what to make of it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 11:05 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 103 of 177 (589748)
11-04-2010 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 92 by jar
11-03-2010 4:53 PM


Re: Testing BY Prediction
Jar - Why do you think the MODERN (as you insist on calling it) scientific method incorporates prediction as a key component?

What do you think the reasoning behind this is? What does it add to the investigative process?

jar writes:

The belief that the world depended on propitiation of the gods was not illogical at the time. Bad things happened and there was no explanation better then "goddidit".

Doesn't that tell us more about man's need to come up with explanations and the sort of explanations we are psychologically prone to making?

From the perspective of imaginative, story telling humans seeking conscious intent in the actions of nature it is a perfectly understandable thing to do.

But what has that to do with logic? Would a purely logical being unblessed with the human gift of imagination come to the same conclusion? You seem determined to conflate what is humanly reasonable with what is logical.

But humans are not (thankfully) purely rational beings This is arguably why we need formalised processes such as the scientific method to come to reliable and accurate conclusions. Because left to our own instinctive devices we have a strong tendency to go in more creative directions.

jar writes:

I would go so far as to say that as an example, the Aztec belief that without sacrifice the world would end was both reasonable and logical, and that to test the null hypothesis, not perform the rites and risk the world coming to an end would be the illogical, unreasonable and irresponsible behavior.

Once the belief is already ingrained acting on it is arguably perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the irrational human beings that we are.

But where did such beliefs originate and can these sources be accurately described as "rational" or would "human" be a better description?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by jar, posted 11-03-2010 4:53 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 110 by jar, posted 11-04-2010 12:16 PM Straggler has responded

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


Message 104 of 177 (589750)
11-04-2010 9:36 AM
Reply to: Message 94 by Jon
11-03-2010 5:50 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
Jon writes:

When will you stop asking?

When you can explain how you determine which of two unfalsified theories best describes reality.

Jon writes:

Straggler writes:

Of course people test things. But what do they test, how do they conduct these tests and why do they even bother to perform these tests?

What: Hypotheses
How: Look, touch, taste, listen, smell
Why: Who cares?

What does this have to do with your inaccurate portrayal of the scientific method?

What we test and why has EVERYTHING to do with the scientific method. Because the things we choose to test are how we determine which of our competing theories most accurately reflects reality.

Are you familiar with the history of the Big Bang Vs Hoyle's Steady State hypothesis? Have you ever heard of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)? How do you think Einstein's theory of general relativity was tested and confirmed?

Why don't you look some of these things up and then get back to me?

Jon writes:

The goal of science is not to verify, but to falsify.

Falsification is only half the story. Are you really going to tell us that you consider some unfalsified explanation for an observed phenomenon to be on par with an explanation for the same phenomenon that results in a mass of specific and verified predictions?

Jon writes:

Who ever learned anything by finding out something they already knew?

Predictions are not things which are already known. They are how we test our theories and discover new phenomenon. Why do you think we are looking for the Higgs Boson (for example)? How do you think anti-matter was discovered? I could go on and on.

How do you think the process of discovery occurs in science?

Jon writes:

Anyhow; what relationship at all does this reply of yours have to the points I made regarding your position?

Aside from your continual claims to have lots of unanswered points and your ongoing demonstration of your complete ignorance of science and how it actually works - I am unaware of you having actually made any points at all?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 5:50 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by Jon, posted 11-04-2010 12:09 PM Straggler has responded

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


Message 105 of 177 (589751)
11-04-2010 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 98 by Jon
11-03-2010 8:56 PM


Re: It's Simple... Really (Re: Testing BY Prediction)
Jon writes:

So, how do you view the scientific method? What makes something the 'religious methodology' as opposed to the scientific methodology?

Science doesn't just interpret evidence. It tests conclusions and theories.

Jon writes:

In other words, what of the scientific method do you see as being the discriminator—or, discriminating agent—between different types or information sources?

The starting point is relatively unimportant. It is what you test that really matters.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Jon, posted 11-03-2010 8:56 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
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