Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 57 (9175 total)
1 online now:
Newest Member: sirs
Post Volume: Total: 917,649 Year: 4,906/9,624 Month: 254/427 Week: 0/64 Day: 0/8 Hour: 0/1


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Degrees of Faith?
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 16 of 86 (377012)
01-14-2007 7:20 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by iano
01-14-2007 5:55 PM


Re: Faith Is Evidence
So basically you agree that in the case of faith evidence it is totally impossible to distinguish between misplaced faith leading to false evidence and faith based evidence that points towards the truth?
Is there no test that can be done to seperate misplaced faith from faith in the truth?
- we assume the difference between our internal thoughts and what arrives at us by sense data is actually different. We assume what we perceive as sense data is actually relfecting an external-to-us reality. There is no way to verify this but we do so in order not to be solopsists. That we do so automatically doesn't make any difference. Sense data arrives through (we assume) various channels; sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch.
The key difference is that I can objectively corroborate my sense data with other people.
We can independantly analyse the data, test it and come to common and consistent conclusions about reality.
We can independently make predictions based on these conclusions and then test EACH OTHERS predictions to verify that our common conclusions are sound and that our perception of reality is actually consistent with each other.
Through mass consistency of perception and detailed independant predictive testing we come to the reasonable conclusion that there is a common physical reality, or physical truth, for all.
It is of course theoretically possible that we are all suffering a matrix style mass delusion but it is one on a grand or even cosmic scale.
- I do the same thing with another sense data as we all do with the above sense data. I assume it reflects an external reality simply because it has the same attribute as other sense data to whit: I perceive it as reflecting an external reality
In the case of faith there is ultimately nothing other than internal perception. There is no way to verify that the faith evidence you have is the same as the faith evidence anyone else has.
Sure you can discuss it and even conclude that it is the same as someone elses faith evidence.
BUT there is no objective way, predictive or otherwise, to test whether any two people actually have consistent 'faith evidence' on which they are basing their conclusions.
Thus accurate conclusions made on 'faith evidence' require only that the INDIVIDUAL be delusional for them to be based on false evidence.
Whilst conclusions made on physical evidence require that EVERYONE be delusional for them to be based on false evidence.
Therefore - if faith evidence can be classed as evidence at all which I question - it is inferior and infinitely more prone to delusional error than empirical evidence.
If this does not actually dismiss your 'faith as evidence' position surely it weakens it to the point of irrelevence?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by iano, posted 01-14-2007 5:55 PM iano has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by nator, posted 01-14-2007 10:23 PM Straggler has not replied

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 3543 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 17 of 86 (377015)
01-14-2007 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Straggler
01-14-2007 12:16 PM


Re: Proof for the Method
quote:
Science assumes that there is true knowledge of the natural world to be had. It then seeks to ask the right questions to understand, explain, model, predict and to some extent control that natural world.
People assume that there is true knowledge of the natural world to be had. People seek to understand, explain, etc.
So is there evidence that the scientific method that people use does yield true knowledge about the natural world?

"Peshat is what I say and derash is what you say." --Nehama Leibowitz

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Straggler, posted 01-14-2007 12:16 PM Straggler has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by nator, posted 01-14-2007 10:15 PM purpledawn has not replied

  
nator
Member (Idle past 2256 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 18 of 86 (377061)
01-14-2007 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by purpledawn
01-14-2007 7:46 PM


Re: Proof for the Method
quote:
So is there evidence that the scientific method that people use does yield true knowledge about the natural world?
Yes.
This evidence is known as "successful predictions".

This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by purpledawn, posted 01-14-2007 7:46 PM purpledawn has not replied

  
nator
Member (Idle past 2256 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 19 of 86 (377062)
01-14-2007 10:23 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Straggler
01-14-2007 7:20 PM


Re: Faith Is Evidence
we assume the difference between our internal thoughts and what arrives at us by sense data is actually different. We assume what we perceive as sense data is actually relfecting an external-to-us reality. There is no way to verify this but we do so in order not to be solopsists. That we do so automatically doesn't make any difference. Sense data arrives through (we assume) various channels; sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch.
quote:
The key difference is that I can objectively corroborate my sense data with other people.
We can independantly analyse the data, test it and come to common and consistent conclusions about reality.
We can independently make predictions based on these conclusions and then test EACH OTHERS predictions to verify that our common conclusions are sound and that our perception of reality is actually consistent with each other.
Through mass consistency of perception and detailed independant predictive testing we come to the reasonable conclusion that there is a common physical reality, or physical truth, for all.
Iano ignored this very argument a few months ago when I used it to address the very same error he continues to make in this new thread, Straggler.
Don't hold your breath for a substantive reply.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Straggler, posted 01-14-2007 7:20 PM Straggler has not replied

  
Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 20 of 86 (377071)
01-15-2007 12:10 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by purpledawn
01-14-2007 8:45 AM


Re: Proof for the Method
PD writes:
Actually those who created the scientific method require replicable evidence, but is there evidence that the scientific method does yield true knowledge about the natural world?
That sounds like a distinction without a difference, PD, but I'd say, yes, the predictive and instrumental power of the scientific method is evidence that it has yielded true knowledge about the natural world.
Years ago using the scientific method, scientists come up with a fact about the natural world.
Years later using the scientific method, scientists show that that fact was wrong and give us a new fact.
Does the scientific method really give us true knowledge of the natural world or just confirm or prove false the questions that we pose?
The scientific method gives us increasingly accurate knowledge of the natural world: can you really doubt that discovering that the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa is not true knowledge? Or learning that ripping out a captive's heart will not improve the weather?
Your objection/question sounds philosophically plausible in the abstract but absurd in the particular. As you suggest, however, the ever-closer approximation of true knowledge about the natural world is indeed a reiterative process.
Until not too many years ago, doctors thought stomach ulcers were caused by stress, and severe cases could only be treated by surgery: still, 40 years ago that surgery saved my father's life. Today, we know those ulcers were caused by bacterial infection, and they can be cured with antibiotics. But both then and now, lives were/are saved because we abandoned belief in the Theory of Humours and gained more accurate knowledge about the cause of that stomach pain and bleeding: because we must crawl before we can walk does not mean we were not moving when we crawled.
From a peon standpoint, without proof, we trust that the scientists are asking the right questions with our well being in mind.
I do not make that assumption, though I do trust that most scientists ask questions intended to improve the material human condition--which science has done more to accomplish in a few centuries than faith managed over millennia.
Is it reasonable to continue to trust a group that has provided knowledge that helps to destroy our environment and our health? Do we continue to trust because we feel the pros outweigh the cons, although we have no proof that the pros do outweigh the cons; or do we trust because we have become conditioned to trust what scientists proclaim, just as those raised in a religous setting have been conditioned to trust what religion proclaims?
I think you need to look to those who actually damage the environment and human health rather than to those who discovered the technology that was abused to do so. Fire has done great harm in the hands of arsonists, but who wants to give up central heating? Mismanaged pharmaceutical plants have polluted many communities--will you deny your children antibiotics when they next need them?
Human longevity and health has benefitted tremendously from science, and the damage to the environment in the process reflects on the greedy, not the inquisitive: great despoilation of the environment has occurred because of the greed of individual industrialists, not because science cannot offer methods to industrialize without environmental damage.
It is also my experience that those who weigh the pros and cons, and find science lacking, are largely unaware of the past and present misery caused by ignorance.
I don't think we have become "conditioned" to accept what scientists proclaim: I don't think scientists proclaim. At least in the industrialized world, our educational systems offer us the knowledge required to establish lower or higher degrees of confidence in scientific data. I think that those who feel they must either accept or reject scientific "proclamations" are the same folks who accept religious and political proclamations: the folks who refused to learn enough to consider scientific results critically also refuse to think for themselves in religious or political matters.
Edited by Omnivorous, : typo

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at any time, madam, is all that distinguishes us from the other animals.
-Pierre De Beaumarchais (1732-1799)
Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by purpledawn, posted 01-14-2007 8:45 AM purpledawn has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by purpledawn, posted 01-16-2007 11:48 AM Omnivorous has replied

  
2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 5937 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 21 of 86 (377115)
01-15-2007 3:02 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Omnivorous
01-12-2007 11:02 PM


I think your definition of faith as "belief without regard to reason" is a fair one; I especially like "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" as offered by my Webster's.
The essential difference is that the scientific method requires replicable evidence. Descartes sought certainty in his own existence in incrementalism--following a chain of logic composed of very small steps, each link one in which he could have great confidence. He stopped short of scientific rigor, however, when he settled for the "faith" of internal experience.
Science raises the bar by requiring that the evidence that generates confidence must be evidence that can be obtained and examined independently by others. Also, science requires the perpetually open mind, the willingness to examine and accept valid falsifying evidence.
Ah, Yes. However a great many people believe that all answers are to be found through science. That is nothing more than belief in something for which there is no proof. There is no "raising the bar"
in this case. In fact it is just as misguided as the litoral
creationsts.
I am confident of the ability of science to yield true knowledge about the world
Yes, I feel the same. Show me your confidence or evidence of it. What is empirical about it? Where is the science in it?
because of the persuasiveness of the methodology and the powerful manipulations of the world that science has made possible. Faith can offer no evidence at all but leaps (like Descartes but with less reason) to certainty
It is when people go beyond what we truly know
that violates the ideal of the scientific method. Having "confidence" and the phrase "the persuasiveness of the methodology and the powerful manipulations" is your belief about science. These are your personal views. Nothing more. Stick to facts without indulging in your beliefs.
What is true about what we know is that we know very little. The rest is faith and belief.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Omnivorous, posted 01-12-2007 11:02 PM Omnivorous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Woodsy, posted 01-15-2007 7:32 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied
 Message 23 by nator, posted 01-15-2007 9:39 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied
 Message 24 by Omnivorous, posted 01-15-2007 10:10 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied
 Message 25 by Straggler, posted 01-15-2007 10:28 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied

  
Woodsy
Member (Idle past 3460 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 22 of 86 (377153)
01-15-2007 7:32 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters
01-15-2007 3:02 AM


What is true about what we know is that we know very little.
That is as may be. After all, it does take many years of hard effort to master even a small part of that "very little". Maybe people who claim that we know "very little" have not bothered to learn.
The rest is faith and belief.
That is, lies and deception. What lies outside of knowledge but imaginary things?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters, posted 01-15-2007 3:02 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied

  
nator
Member (Idle past 2256 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 23 of 86 (377163)
01-15-2007 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters
01-15-2007 3:02 AM


quote:
However a great many people believe that all answers are to be found through science.
Like who?
I'm married to a scientist, and he certainly doesn't believe that all answers to every question are to be found through science.
Many of our friends are scientists, and none of them have said this, either.
I do not think that a single science supporter on this board has expressed such a claim, either.
In many years of reading science books and magazines, I have never read that claim.
Science can answer many questions about natural phenomena, but the method cannot be employed to find anwers to moral or ethical or aethetic questions, for example.
quote:
What is true about what we know is that we know very little.
Compared to what?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters, posted 01-15-2007 3:02 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied

  
Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 24 of 86 (377164)
01-15-2007 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters
01-15-2007 3:02 AM


taters writes:
However a great many people believe that all answers are to be found through science. That is nothing more than belief in something for which there is no proof. There is no "raising the bar"
in this case. In fact it is just as misguided as the litoral
creationsts.
If "all answers" means all answers that can be found about the natural world, then those great many people are correct: there is no method other than science that will yield those answers. Could you name an alternate method for answering questions about the moons of Jupiter?
If "all answers" includes matters beyond the natural world--like the color of God's hair or how many wives are proper for a Muslim or a Mormon--then those people hold misconceptions not provided by science. In any case, I don't know anyone who thinks science can answer every question. Could you name a few?
Further, since science has provided all our verifiable knowledge about the natural world, even those who mistakenly believe science can answer every question have not fallen into the category of literal creatinionists who have provided no verifiable knowledge at all.
I am confident of ability of science to yield true knowledge about the world
Yes, I feel the same. Show me your confidence or evidence of it. What is empirical about it? Where is the science in it?
I have two choices here: one, to assume that you are asking for evidential support to justify my confidence that science can yield knowledge about the natural world, or two, that you are again using the techniques of equivocation to label my confidence a "feeling" and to demand evidence of its existence. The first has already been accomplished, and the second is intellectually childish.
It is when people go beyond what we truly know
that violates the ideal of the scientific method. Having "confidence" and the phrase "the persuasiveness of the methodology and the powerful manipulations" is your belief about science. These are your personal views. Nothing more. Stick to facts without indulging in your beliefs.
Yes, my posts are intended to reflect what I think: in that sense, the phrases you quote depict my "beliefs." However, those beliefs are not, as you construct them in your syntax, isolated parallels without causal relation, little islands of baseless, faith-like belief: I have that confidence because of science's ability to predict and to produce.
What is true about what we know is that we know very little. The rest is faith and belief.
I'd prefer to say our knowledge is incomplete. The rest is observation, hypothesis, testing and replication, repeated as necessary.
Edited by Omnivorous, : typo

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at any time, madam, is all that distinguishes us from the other animals.
-Pierre De Beaumarchais (1732-1799)
Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters, posted 01-15-2007 3:02 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 25 of 86 (377166)
01-15-2007 10:28 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters
01-15-2007 3:02 AM


Science Answers All
Ah, Yes. However a great many people believe that all answers are to be found through science.
Who exactly believes this?
That is nothing more than belief in something for which there is no proof. There is no "raising the bar" in this case. In fact it is just as misguided as the litoral creationsts.
There is much evidence that those questions which science does claim to be able to answer it answers well. Verification through prediction being the main means.
Prediction is something which is notably lacking from any creationist theories.
Yes, I feel the same. Show me your confidence or evidence of it. What is empirical about it? Where is the science in it?
Empirical in the sense that it is physical evidence which can be analysed and detected using our physical senses.
Confidence because it demonstrably enables us to understand, explain, predict and to some extent manipulate nature.
The science of it is that it follows the the methods of empirical testing.
It is when people go beyond what we truly know
that violates the ideal of the scientific method. Having "confidence" and the phrase "the persuasiveness of the methodology and the powerful manipulations" is your belief about science. These are your personal views. Nothing more.
So what are these facts that 'we truly' know that we should base our knowledge on? Any examples of such facts?
Stick to facts without indulging in your beliefs.
i suggest you take your own advice.
What is true about what we know is that we know very little. The rest is faith and belief.
Very little compared to what?
Whether what we know is very litle or not, the rest is what we should aim to know. Science will almost certainly be a significant, but not the the only, means of progressing us towards that aim.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters, posted 01-15-2007 3:02 AM 2ice_baked_taters has not replied

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 3543 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 26 of 86 (377344)
01-16-2007 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Omnivorous
01-15-2007 12:10 AM


But Is It Always Right?
quote:
The scientific method gives us increasingly accurate knowledge of the natural world: can you really doubt that discovering that the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa is not true knowledge? Or learning that ripping out a captive's heart will not improve the weather?
Agreed, but the method is only as good as the observation. If the observation is flawed or limited, then the answer will be flawed or limited.
So scientists still have faith in the system even though it allows for wrong answers. Of course they don't usually know the answer is wrong until later like the stomach ulcers.
Understanding that the earth revolved around the sun depended on what was being observed. Different cultures observed the world differently.
Now reason tells us that our observations can be flawed and experiments are limited by our observations, desire, and capabilities; but we still have faith in the system.
quote:
I don't think we have become "conditioned" to accept what scientists proclaim: I don't think scientists proclaim. At least in the industrialized world, our educational systems offer us the knowledge required to establish lower or higher degrees of confidence in scientific data.
The average person is far removed from the original scientific data. The average person has to deal with the decisions made by others based on that data. (Medical, food supply, etc.) As you've shown, while the surgery saved your father's life and was the right course of action based on the data at the time; the data at the time wasn't correct.
Although the spiral bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, that is considered the cause of the ulcers was probably discovered in 1875, but capabilities limited observation.
In 1875, German scientists found spiral bacteria in the lining of the human stomach; the bacteria could not be grown in culture and the results were eventually forgotten.
I'm not saying that data achieved by using the scientific method is always right or always wrong. What I'm saying is that we have faith in the system even though we know it can allow wrong data to prevail.
IMO, the average person has become conditioned to accept that scientists find the right answers. That's why people get distressed when scientists in the media contradict each other. (The same way people get distressed when preachers contradict each other.) The average person usually doesn't have the means to determine who is right.

"Peshat is what I say and derash is what you say." --Nehama Leibowitz

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Omnivorous, posted 01-15-2007 12:10 AM Omnivorous has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Kader, posted 01-17-2007 10:38 AM purpledawn has replied
 Message 28 by Omnivorous, posted 01-17-2007 3:45 PM purpledawn has replied
 Message 35 by nator, posted 01-17-2007 10:12 PM purpledawn has not replied

  
Kader
Member (Idle past 3813 days)
Posts: 156
Joined: 12-20-2006


Message 27 of 86 (377524)
01-17-2007 10:38 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by purpledawn
01-16-2007 11:48 AM


Re: But Is It Always Right?
purpledawn
I think that the main point is that science is by far the most accurate system we have.
So when Science and faith collide, usually, it is science that prevail.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by purpledawn, posted 01-16-2007 11:48 AM purpledawn has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by purpledawn, posted 01-17-2007 8:15 PM Kader has not replied

  
Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 4001
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 28 of 86 (377590)
01-17-2007 3:45 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by purpledawn
01-16-2007 11:48 AM


Re: But Is It Always Right?
PD writes:
But Is It Always Right?
No, of course not: but science is more likely to yield useful, increasingly accurate approximations than any other method. Faith, in particular, explicitly rejects systematic, independent review and correction.
A person who consistently rejects scientific findings based on their religious or philosophical perspective will sometimes be correct in their denial, but they cannot provide consistently accurate alternatives: I can predict someone's death every day, and eventually be right, but that does not change the fact that each day's prediction is based on ignorance. The collation of an individual's risk factors--genetic, environmental and lifestyle--and actuarial profiles produces far more accurate and useful estimates of longevity.
Now reason tells us that our observations can be flawed and experiments are limited by our observations, desire, and capabilities; but we still have faith in the system.
I'd say that we have confidence that scientific methodology is the approach most likely to yield useful approximations. And I don't see how one could consider the current outlook on science in the U.S. and conclude that the average person has unquestioning "faith" in science; indeed, there seems to be a greal deal of skepticism.
As you've shown, while the surgery saved your father's life and was the right course of action based on the data at the time; the data at the time wasn't correct.
The data at the time was closer to being correct than any other prior or contemporary view--it was precisely correct in positing a disease process based in the natural world and knowable cause-and-effect. Previously, patients with severe bleeding stomach ulers almost invariably died; patients who received the then-newly developed surgery in most cases survived.
Forty years ago the data, hypothesis, and best therapy were good; now they are better. Perhaps in the future an improved understanding of intestinal ecology will permit us to prevent the H. pylorii blooms that create ulcers: good, better, best--this is the narrative arc of medical progress and epitomizes the scientific method.
As I noted, prior theories of human disease were nearly mythological in nature--humours, punishment by an angry God, demonic possession, etc. The essential difference is that the best data at the time of my father's surgery was produced by a system capable of and amenable to correction: his treatment was not the best possible, but it was the best available, based on a rational view of human anatomy and disease produced by centuries of inquiry.
Although that data required correction, it was accurate enough to produce useful, life-saving results. For millennia, no other school of thought had produced a treatment capable of saving his life. The essence of faith, in contrast, is static, unchanged from the tribal time of animal sacrifice and public stonings.
All human endeavors are subject to error. It is the unique genius of the scientific method that both data and conclusions must be subject to testing by others, the very antithesis of faith.
I'm not saying that data achieved by using the scientific method is always right or always wrong. What I'm saying is that we have faith in the system even though we know it can allow wrong data to prevail.
As noted previously, I see no justification for calling our confidence in the ability of sicence to produce an increasingly accurate view of the natural world "faith." A hometown fan may have faith that their team (which is 0 and 30 again this year) will win their final game; the rational observer who notes that their opponent is 30 and 0 will reach the contrary conclusion, and it is absurd to call both perspectives "faith."
IMO, the average person has become conditioned to accept that scientists find the right answers. That's why people get distressed when scientists in the media contradict each other. (The same way people get distressed when preachers contradict each other.) The average person usually doesn't have the means to determine who is right.
I'd say many people abdicate their right and ability to determine which scientific hypothesis has the greatest likelihood of being correct: in most instances (given normal human intelligence and the average Western access to educational resources), what most people lack is not the means but the will.
I'd also suggest that this is not an unreasonable position: the track record of the scientific method justifies a greater confidence in its results than the results of religious dogma, folklore, or other mystification. Again, the medical example is useful: accumulated data can predict quite well the probable outcomes of various treatments for a given type of cancer; the need to venture into disputed territory arises when there is great need to do so--when standard-of-care approaches have been exhausted.
In my experience, the first time most people assume responsibility for their own evaluation of conflicting scientific hypotheses occurs when they must choose among experimental therapies: mortality focuses the mind wonderfully on one's own powers of reason. The enormous number of specific disease-oriented online forums, support groups, articles, etc. testifies to the average person's readiness to audit scientific data and hypotheses when it truly matters.
The average person is capable of reasonable conclusions about scientific hypotheses: when need awakens the will, reason rises to the challenge. Most people are persuaded by a powerful track record to rely on a general scientific consensus, an outlook that is neither conditioned nor faithful but rather experienced and confident.
Edited by Omnivorous, : typos

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at any time, madam, is all that distinguishes us from the other animals.
-Pierre De Beaumarchais (1732-1799)
Save lives! Click here!
Join the World Community Grid with Team EvC!
---------------------------------------

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by purpledawn, posted 01-16-2007 11:48 AM purpledawn has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by purpledawn, posted 01-17-2007 9:33 PM Omnivorous has replied

  
JustinC
Member (Idle past 4930 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 29 of 86 (377601)
01-17-2007 4:32 PM


Prediction a means to the Truth?
This is kindof stream of consciousness so sorry if I repeat and jump around from topic to topic a bit.
I think one of the things scientists believe that may be considered a form of "faith," or atleast the most likely candidate, is their belief that if a model is predictably accurate, then that supports the models authenticity.
The question hinges on whether there can be two equally predictive models for certain phenomena. I think this is a hard question to answer and I don't think the answer to obvious either way.
Historically, there have been many forks in the road where one theory was taken up by the next generation and the other forgotten except by some in HPS. For instance, the phlogiston theory of combustion was forgotten in favor of oxygen, though there were problems with both. In phlogiston, it predicted the mass of an object should decrease, but when measurements were done it actually increased. At the time, there were those who wanted to incorperate the idea that phlogiston has negative mass. This idea seems absurd, but today the concept does actually exist in modern physics (of course, in a completely different theoretical framework and for different reasons).
Now, who knows whether the phlogiston theory, if tweaked and nurtured, could have grown into a highly successful theory. I doubt it.
The problem with the negative mass is that is was completely ad hoc, i.e., not an outcome of the present theory and only added to explain unkown phenomena. I think with enought complications and qualifications and complexities added to a model, if will be able to explain the phenomena at hand.
Ah...but this isn't merely what science does. I doens't just look at a particular phenomena and explain in, it tries to make predictions about what we have yet to observe. And this is I think where the power of science and it's power to illuminate the truth shine. Sure, if you add enough cogs and wheels you can explain what we see, but if also explains what haven't yet scene, I see no other explanation for this other than it is approximately reality.
Now this isn't to say ad hoc modifications have no place in science, (e.g. Planks quantizing light to relinquish the ultraviolet catastrophe), but their validity can only come about when it explains phenomena yet to be scene (e.g. photoelectric effect).
Another cliche example is the the prediction that neptune existed based on anomolies in the orbert of uranus. The model predicted there must be a large mass there, and lo and behold, it was found. What may have been considered at first and ad hoc addition to the theory turns out to have been exactly correct.
In conclusion, I think the scientific models ability to elucidate the truth in the form of making predictions of what we have yet to see. Making a predictive model of what we already know is the easy part. (Hell, the mayans could have just said that the Gods used a calculation similar to theirs when figuring out how to move the sky, and that would have been predictive of known phenomena, but any addition would have to be ad hoc).
I don't think it is faith in sciences ability to elucidate the truth is faith.
But is it built on faith, as well as every form of reasoning? More precisely, do we have faith in deductive logic? What reason can be given for the veractiy of:
If A then B
A
B
I know Wittgenstein would say something that it is in the relationship amongst the symbols, but I'm not very versed on him so maybe someone can take up this point.
But a thing that bothers me is that eventually will we have to get to a point where we admit that we believe something purely on faith?
Now even though this faith might also have to be involved in a Christian's faith, even prerequisite to it, does that make the counterargument in the opening post less powerful?
Can faith maybe not be put in degrees, but in a heirarchy from fundamental to ...(can't think of the word I'm looking for, someone can insert what I mean). A fundamental faith would be one that is prerequisite to most or all worldviews.
In this sense, if your world view is based on the more fundamental faiths, is your world view more reasonable than a persons who has to interject more faith based statements up in the heirachy?

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by Phat, posted 01-17-2007 4:44 PM JustinC has replied

  
JustinC
Member (Idle past 4930 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 30 of 86 (377604)
01-17-2007 4:39 PM


Additional Question
quote:
In conclusion, I think the scientific models ability to elucidate the truth in the form of making predictions of what we have yet to see.
There are several mistakes in the spelling in the last post which I'm too lazy to fix, so I apologize.
But with regard to my quoted text, if you ascribe a theory similar to that, where does that leave "just so" stories, or any historical narrative? I think it they can encompassed, but I'd like to hear others thoughts.
Edited by JustinC, : No reason given.

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024