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Reg Prescott

Science, truth, and knowledge

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21 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:

Where is the evidence for your underlined words?" :  A request made most often by those who fail most often to provide evidence for their own statements, underlined or not.

Have you read all 9  now 10 pages of this thread or would you like me to list all the evidence I have posted in this thread?

You owe me an apology

Edited by studiot
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1 hour ago, studiot said:

A typical troll, doing exactly what he accuses someone else of doing.

 

Where is your evidence for your underlined words?

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

"There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias."

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3 minutes ago, Zosimus said:

Hawking radiation — isn't that the proof that black holes don't exist? Somehow the rest of science never took notice.

Ignorance personified..at least as far as science is concerned.It says nothing about BH's not existing. Is this your critical analysis of a noted scientist because he rightly criticises philosophy? . Firstly,  Hawking Radiation simply explains why even BH's have a use by date and will evaporate...This has to do with virtual particle pairs which is another subject, secondly of course, theories and models in science are never referred to in light of proof...that is common knowledge, and obviously why science and the associated knowledge, is always advancing and getting closer and closer to any deeper truth, if that deeper truth actually exists. Try again.

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Why are you so desperate to change the subject? What's wrong with the one we're on?

You're the one that raised hawking, and could not even get the spelling of his name correct, and further ignorance with relation to what Hawking Radiation is. Then went on casting some doubt on evolution as being as close to certain as we [at least working scientists could wish] but like another philosopher on this thread, cannot support your doubt...or is that outright denial. Why not come out of the closet?

16 minutes ago, Zosimus said:

Another desperate attempt to change the subject. Yet I could have sworn that the topic of this thread is science and whether it leads to truth and knowledge. Obviously, the answer is no. The simple fact that 80 percent of non-randomized studies (the most common type of studies) are later convincingly refuted shows that at least 80 percent of scientific findings are false. That number could easily be 100 percent. You have no way of knowing.

No the subject is science truth and knowledge. And obviously science is knowledge and can, though not necessarily lead closer to some probable truth, if it exists. The definition of scientific truth though stands as previously detailed. And of course your unsupported nonsense is just that. If science did not modify its stance, made further observations, gained more and more knowledge, and improved our lot, you and I could still be swinging in the trees. Science evolves..Philosophy is stagnant. 

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No, I'm not talking about evolution at all. I'm talking about math and logic vs. science in an attempt to find truth. You are desperately trying to turn the conversation into something that it isn't. If you want to talk about the philosophy of evolution, go right ahead — in another thread. This one is not the right thread for that.

I'm desperately doing nothing my friend, except perhaps improve your knowledge on science, along with disputing your wise cracks attempting to denigrate science and the knowledge that goes with it...which includes the near certainty of evolution.

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No, this is a philosophy forum. If you want to talk about religion or biology, there are forums for that on this very website. You are welcome to go to either of those forums and discuss non philosophical matters. I won't stop you.

Philosophy as much as you resent the fact, is also under the auspices on this forum of the scientific methodology and will need to undergo critical review and examination, particularly in the face of at least two poor philosophers that are ignorant of science, the knowledge that it entails and the fact that truth is not necessarily the goal of any scientific model.

 

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No, both Copernicus and Galileo were mathematicians. Copernicus was a good one. Galileo... not so much.

That's your uneducated opinion, but both names will live forever in the annals of science, while your name will, well let's not delve into that. :P

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No, the geocentric model was proposed by Aristotle and calculated by Ptolemy. Both of these people predated the Christian religion. A simple search of the Ptolemy Wikipedia entry for religion, religious, or anything similar turned up nothing at all.

The model was prevailed upon and certainly religiously bound. I never said anything about Ptolemy or Aristotle or who formulated it. But there again we see you trying to get out from under, and change the subject which you ironically accuse me of. The truth be known all you are doing is crusading for recognition of the philosophy discipline, your chosen discipline, and doing it rather poorly, as my quotes previously from other renowned philosophers have shown.

Again science, is knowledge and the advancement of that knowledge. It will always change and improve on that knowledge and be in continued progression.

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1 minute ago, Zosimus said:

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

"There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias."

Thank you for you evidence.

Do you limit your definition of scientific activity to research, particularly medical research?

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30 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:

Aristarchus KNEW the earth revolved around the sun.  That is not philosophy in the broadest sense that is specific scientific knowledge.  Neither did I use analogy or simile, dank cells and hangings were often the ends for true scientists, and please don't confuse the established state religions with Christianity here.  Modern examples involving someone else claiming the work are found by the curious, most often in our era a man claims the woman's discovery.  What are you going to be left with, Beecee, if Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and Black Holes are 'discovered' to be false?  They ARE only theories, after all.   Nevertheless, I am counting on scientific advances to confirm certain ancient knowledge, like the water beyond the furthest galaxies, for instance, but as that is written of in a book considered off limits to most science forums I won't mention it here. "

They are only theories afterall!!!!! Oh the pain of it all!!Theories in science is as good as it gets. Some are more certain then others...some are certain or at least 99.9999% certain as per evolution. If DM and DE are shown to be invalid then science will move on. It will not affect me one iota...that's science. Where have you been hiding? But the science at this time, and the knowledge that goes with it, show both DM and DE to be very likely. BH's have been observed, albeit indirectly...but we are now of topic

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7 minutes ago, beecee said:

Ignorance personified..at least as far as science is concerned.It says nothing about BH's not existing. Is this your critical analysis of a noted scientist because he rightly criticises philosophy? . Firstly,  Hawking Radiation simply explains why even BH's have a use by date and will evaporate...This has to do with virtual particle pairs which is another subject, secondly of course, theories and models in science are never referred to in light of proof...that is common knowledge, and obviously why science and the associated knowledge, is always advancing and getting closer and closer to any deeper truth, if that deeper truth actually exists. Try again.

Black holes do not exist. If black holes existed, they would produce Hawking radiation. If Hawking radiation were produced, we would detect it. We have never detected Hawking radiation. Therefore, black holes do not exist. QED — Modus Tollens.

7 minutes ago, beecee said:

You're the one that raised hawking, and could not even get the spelling of his name correct, and further ignorance with relation to what Hawking Radiation is. Then went on casting some doubt on evolution as being as close to certain as we [at least working scientists could wish] but like another philosopher on this thread, cannot support your doubt...or is that outright denial. Why not come out of the closet?

I have never made a single comment about evolution. Every time you bring the topic up, I roll my eyes, chuckle, and read on.

7 minutes ago, beecee said:

No the subject is science truth and knowledge. And obviously science is knowledge and can, though not necessarily lead closer to some probable truth, if it exists. The definition of scientific truth though stands as previously detailed. And of course your unsupported nonsense is just that. If science did not modify its stance, made further observations, gained more and more knowledge, and improved our lot, you and I could still be swinging in the trees. Science evolves..Philosophy is stagnant. 

Philosophy is stagnant? What is Laurence Bonjour -- chopped liver?

7 minutes ago, beecee said:

I'm desperately doing nothing my friend, except perhaps improve your knowledge on science, along with disputing your wise cracks attempting to denigrate science and the knowledge that goes with it...which includes the near certainty of evolution.

Philosophy as much as you resent the fact, is also under the auspices on this forum of the scientific methodology and will need to undergo critical review and examination, particularly in the face of at least two poor philosophers that are ignorant of science, the knowledge that it entails and the fact that truth is not necessarily the goal of any scientific model.

It's good that truth is not the goal of any scientific model — because there's no reason to believe that science generates truth.

7 minutes ago, beecee said:

That's your uneducated opinion, but both names will live forever in the annals of science, while your name will, well let's not delve into that. :P

God knows, if I invented or discovered anything, people would posthumously insist that I had been a scientist!!

7 minutes ago, beecee said:

The model was prevailed upon and certainly religiously bound. I never said anything about Ptolemy or Aristotle or who formulated it. But there again we see you trying to get out from under, and change the subject which you ironically accuse me of. The truth be known all you are doing is crusading for recognition of the philosophy discipline, your chosen discipline, and doing it rather poorly, as my quotes previously from other renowned philosophers have shown.


Philosophy is not my chosen discipline. I teach critical reasoning, reading comprehension, sentence correction, data sufficiency, and mathematics.

12 minutes ago, studiot said:

Thank you for you evidence.

Do you limit your definition of scientific activity to research, particularly medical research?

To the extent that science is useful, its use will be found not in finding Higgs bosons but in curing cancer. Unfortunately for us, (see https://www.reuters.com/article/us-science-cancer-idUSBRE82R12P20120328) there's good reason to believe that more than 88 percent of published research findings, even in the best journals, are just nonsense.

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13 minutes ago, Zosimus said:

Black holes do not exist. If black holes existed, they would produce Hawking radiation. If Hawking radiation were produced, we would detect it. We have never detected Hawking radiation. Therefore, black holes do not exist. QED — Modus Tollens.

I would really quit while you are behind Zosimus. If Hawking Radiation exists, it would be to faint to detect. Evaporation of a SMBH by this method would take over the life time of the universe...hundreds of billions and trillions of years. You want some authority confirmation on that? If you believe BH's do not exist then start a thread to discuss it in speculations.

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I have never made a single comment about evolution. Every time you bring the topic up, I roll my eyes, chuckle, and read on.

Havn't you? I'm too lazy to check but anyway that's good...it means you accept it as near certain.

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Philosophy is stagnant? What is Laurence Bonjour -- chopped liver?

He certainly is not Philosophy! :D He may preach that of the old philosophers which may make him a philosopher.

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It's good that truth is not the goal of any scientific model — because there's no reason to believe that science generates truth.

What truth are you referring to? Science generates models/theories that describe as accurately as possible, what we observe.

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God knows, if I invented or discovered anything, people would posthumously insist that I had been a scientist!!

You need not worry about that.

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Philosophy is not my chosen discipline. I teach critical reasoning, reading comprehension, sentence correction, data sufficiency, and mathematics.

That explains a lot. 

Edited by beecee

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1 hour ago, coffeesippin said:

If Aristarchus had not been exiled mankind might have been on the moon 1,000 years ago.    Scientific truth may advance, but the weight of Consensus most often banishes it to a dank cell until those holding the consensus can understand what the person in the dank cell has discovered.

This is the Galileo Gambit.

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1 hour ago, coffeesippin said:

If Aristarchus had not been exiled mankind might have been on the moon 1,000 years ago.    

Tell them to stay there.

I think I prefer lemurs.

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4 minutes ago, coffeesippin said:

:ph34r:

You're treating someone as like a Galileo because they went against the consensus.

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2 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

You're treating someone as like a Galileo because they went against the consensus.

I'm not sure what you mean SJ, my smiley face guy was hiding because those who came for Galileo might be at my door .. not suggesting you or anyone .. just a little joke .. feeling Galileo's consternation.

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A few words on the dispute over "appeal to authority"...

It seems to me there's nothing fallacious in appealing to an authority or authorities on matters where they are indeed authoritative. It's something we all do when we consult a doctor for medical advice, a civil engineer for proposals to strengthen a bridge, a theologian on matters of scripture, or a biologist on biology.

These people are experts, far more knowledgeable than the layperson, and their thoughts or suggestions have to be given due consideration. What would be fallacious, of course, is to make the inference from "she's an expert" to "she must be right". But surely few of us do this.

Equally obviously, to cite a team of elderly shoemakers, say, as an authority on questions pertaining to subatomic physics would be... well, a load of old cobblers. Then again, surely none of us are this gormless.

Far more pernicious, I find, is when people who are authorities in a particular area drift into a closely related area where their "expertise" is no longer nonpareil, indeed may even be little more worthy of belief than the layperson. The danger here is that -- unlike cobblers pontificating on Hilbert spaces -- they will be mistakenly held to be authorities on the subject matter in question by those who know no better.

With respect to our own particular concerns here, two culprits who leap immediately to mind are Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. Presumably the two of them are indeed competent to speak on their respective bailiwicks. The problem, though, is that they have this nasty habit of speaking authoritatively on what I will call "metascientific" matters. That is, not the nitty-gritty of any particular scientific domain or theory, but rather, science as a whole: questions about science, as opposed to scientific questions.

The kinds of metascientific questions I have in mind include those pertaining to the nature of science, evidence, confirmation, falsification, theories, demarcation, progress, scientific reasoning, explanation, truth, knowledge, scientific realism & antirealism, and so forth.

Now, there are people who devote careers to examining the kinds of questions I've alluded to above: they include philosophers, historians and sociologists of science. These are the authorities in this case. I'm never quite sure whether Dawkins et al are just blissfully ignorant of the fact that such experts exist, or else know this but are too contemptuous to deem their research worthy.

It's always hard for me to convince others of this, but Dawkins, Krauss, deGrasse Tyson, and others like them are not authorities on metascientific issues. Quite the contrary, these men -- if I may be blunt -- are little more than utterly clueless on such matters. I assume that Zosimus groans and squirms as much as I do listening to these men as one screaming absurdity is proclaimed after another, one long-discredited doctrine after the next upheld in succession, one false assertion piled upon another glaring inaccuracy or hyperbole.

As I said, it's rare that anyone is convinced by my saying this, though I'm perfectly willing to put my $$$ where my gaping maw is. Perhaps in another thread someone might post a Youtube video or something for purposes of analysis.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you'd be as well listening to those cobblers on matters metascientific. Probably cheaper, too.

 

P.S. I must express how gratifying it is to see several new additions to the thread (Zosimus, et pet, coffeesippin), all of whom enjoy a healthy negative reputation count -- generally an indicator around here that some heinous critical thinking has been perpetrated.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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58 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

A few words on the dispute over "appeal to authority"...

With respect to our own particular concerns here, two culprits who leap immediately to mind are Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. Presumably the two of them are indeed competent to speak on their respective bailiwicks. The problem, though, is that they have this nasty habit of speaking authoritatively on what I will call "metascientific" matters. That is, not the nitty-gritty of any particular scientific domain or theory, but rather, science as a whole: questions about science, as opposed to scientific questions.

Off topic Reggy, but really, you should stop pretending. Both those gentlemen are scientists speaking on philosophy which long ago laid the foundation work for science, but now and as exampled in this thread, appears to have had its day. Obviously both are far more qualified to speak on metascientific or philosphical matters, then either you or Zosimos do on science, so we see plenty of irony there. We have many examples of that in this thread. 

Not sure why you chose to wear your red negative marks on your sleeve for. The vast majority with large numbers are off the planet in more ways then one. [Or is this more of the famous Reggy pretentious bravado?]

Edited by beecee

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5 hours ago, beecee said:

I would really quit while you are behind Zosimus. If Hawking Radiation exists, it would be to faint to detect. Evaporation of a SMBH by this method would take over the life time of the universe...hundreds of billions and trillions of years. You want some authority confirmation on that? If you believe BH's do not exist then start a thread to discuss it in speculations.

No, I think it is YOU who misunderstands. Quantum Mechanics preaches the conservation of information. Yet, if black holes existed, anything containing information that fell into a black hole would be lost. So Hawking Radiation is a postulate not only of a way that a black hole may eventually evaporate but also of a way for quantum information to escape and thus be conserved. Yet the simple point is that the more information that fell into a black hole, the more information that would have to pop back out of it so as to conserve quantum information. Accordingly, black holes are impossible.

5 hours ago, beecee said:

Havn't you? I'm too lazy to check but anyway that's good...it means you accept it as near certain.

http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/127-years-of-modern-automobile-evolution/

5 hours ago, beecee said:

He certainly is not Philosophy! :D He may preach that of the old philosophers which may make him a philosopher.

Of course he is not philosophy. A person cannot be a concept. However, his paper entitled "What is it like to be human (instead of a bat)" is a definite improvement over previous refutations of your world view. Not that you'd notice that you're spouting time and again refuted ideas. Too bad.

2 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

A few words on the dispute over "appeal to authority"...

It seems to me there's nothing fallacious in appealing to an authority or authorities on matters where they are indeed authoritative. It's something we all do when we consult a doctor for medical advice, a civil engineer for proposals to strengthen a bridge, a theologian on matters of scripture, or a biologist on biology.

Out of curiosity, what would you do if you asked an authority on logical fallacies whether appeal to authority was logically fallacious and he said yes? Because it seems to me that if you really believed that it was valid to appeal to an authority, then you would immediately conclude that he was right and thus that it is logically fallacious to appeal to an authority but immediately thereafter you would figure, "If appeal to authority truly is logically fallacious, then why am I taking this authority's opinion on the matter as authoritative?"

Whereas if you asked an authority whether appeal to authority was logically fallacious and he said no, you would then explain to people "I believe that appeal to authority is valid because I appealed to an authority and he told me so." Circular logic.

2 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

These people are experts, far more knowledgeable than the layperson, and their thoughts or suggestions have to be given due consideration. What would be fallacious, of course, is to make the inference from "she's an expert" to "she must be right". But surely few of us do this.

Equally obviously, to cite a team of elderly shoemakers, say, as an authority on questions pertaining to subatomic physics would be... well, a load of old cobblers. Then again, surely none of us are this gormless.

Far more pernicious, I find, is when people who are authorities in a particular area drift into a closely related area where their "expertise" is no longer nonpareil, indeed may even be little more worthy of belief than the layperson. The danger here is that -- unlike cobblers pontificating on Hilbert spaces -- they will be mistakenly held to be authorities on the subject matter in question by those who know no better.

Such as actors having opinions on economics and politics and sharing them all with us? Or such as the Pope spouting off another gust of nonsense on a matter that he knows nothing about?

2 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

With respect to our own particular concerns here, two culprits who leap immediately to mind are Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. Presumably the two of them are indeed competent to speak on their respective bailiwicks. The problem, though, is that they have this nasty habit of speaking authoritatively on what I will call "metascientific" matters. That is, not the nitty-gritty of any particular scientific domain or theory, but rather, science as a whole: questions about science, as opposed to scientific questions.

The kinds of metascientific questions I have in mind include those pertaining to the nature of science, evidence, confirmation, falsification, theories, demarcation, progress, scientific reasoning, explanation, truth, knowledge, scientific realism & antirealism, and so forth.

Now, there are people who devote careers to examining the kinds of questions I've alluded to above: they include philosophers, historians and sociologists of science. These are the authorities in this case. I'm never quite sure whether Dawkins et al are just blissfully ignorant of the fact that such experts exist, or else know this but are too contemptuous to deem their research worthy.

It's always hard for me to convince others of this, but Dawkins, Krauss, deGrasse Tyson, and others like them are not authorities on metascientific issues. Quite the contrary, these men -- if I may be blunt -- are little more than utterly clueless on such matters. I assume that Zosimus groans and squirms as much as I do listening to these men as one screaming absurdity is proclaimed after another, one long-discredited doctrine after the next upheld in succession, one false assertion piled upon another glaring inaccuracy or hyperbole.

Well, I've heard of Dawkins, of course, but I haven't heard of Krauss or Tyson. Personally, I found Christopher Hitchens to be insufferable. Hitchens' Razor is self-refuting, yet there are vast swarms of people who parrot such nonsense as though it were doctrine. Pathetic.

2 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

As I said, it's rare that anyone is convinced by my saying this, though I'm perfectly willing to put my $$$ where my gaping maw is. Perhaps in another thread someone might post a Youtube video or something for purposes of analysis.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you'd be as well listening to those cobblers on matters metascientific. Probably cheaper, too.

 

P.S. I must express how gratifying it is to see several new additions to the thread (Zosimus, et pet, coffeesippin), all of whom enjoy a healthy negative reputation count -- generally an indicator around here that some heinous critical thinking has been perpetrated.

Well, now I upvote everything I read by you regardless of whether I agree with it. It's just my contribution to the defense against the dark arts.

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27 minutes ago, Zosimus said:

No, I think it is YOU who misunderstands. Quantum Mechanics preaches the conservation of information. Yet, if black holes existed, anything containing information that fell into a black hole would be lost. So Hawking Radiation is a postulate not only of a way that a black hole may eventually evaporate but also of a way for quantum information to escape and thus be conserved. Yet the simple point is that the more information that fell into a black hole, the more information that would have to pop back out of it so as to conserve quantum information. Accordingly, black holes are impossible.

You are doing your thing again matey!  You know, being obtuse and ignorant. You said something to the effect that BH's were invalidated because Hawking Radiation had not yet been verified....Nothing re Hawking Radiation, nothing re information loss or conservation invalidates a BH...n-o-t-h-i-n-g  But again this ignorance of yours is off-topic. Start another thread on the invalidity of BH's and see where it gets you.

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A link that does nothing for your ignorance of science and again off topic.

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Of course he is not philosophy. A person cannot be a concept. However, his paper entitled "What is it like to be human (instead of a bat)" is a definite improvement over previous refutations of your world view. Not that you'd notice that you're spouting time and again refuted ideas. Too bad.

Nice to see you attuned on something anyway.  :P

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Out of curiosity, what would you do if you asked an authority on logical fallacies whether appeal to authority was logically fallacious and he said yes? Because it seems to me that if you really believed that it was valid to appeal to an authority, then you would immediately conclude that he was right and thus that it is logically fallacious to appeal to an authority but immediately thereafter you would figure, "If appeal to authority truly is logically fallacious, then why am I taking this authority's opinion on the matter as authoritative?"

Off topic again, but you know my position and that which is sgenerally held...nothing has changed..Oh you could check with Reg...[it involves jackasses] 

More nonsense ignored and off topic.

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Well, I've heard of Dawkins, of course, but I haven't heard of Krauss or Tyson. Personally, I found Christopher Hitchens to be insufferable. Hitchens' Razor is self-refuting, yet there are vast swarms of people who parrot such nonsense as though it were doctrine. Pathetic.

Yes, I'm not surprised you havn't heard of some of them, note though all are way above your pay grade.

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Well, now I upvote everything I read by you regardless of whether I agree with it. It's just my contribution to the defense against the dark arts.

Please yourself what you do, but realise that if you start abusing any system, consequences will be forthcoming.

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1 hour ago, Zosimus said:

Out of curiosity, what would you do if you asked an authority on logical fallacies whether appeal to authority was logically fallacious and he said yes? Because it seems to me that if you really believed that it was valid to appeal to an authority, then you would immediately conclude that he was right and thus that it is logically fallacious to appeal to an authority but immediately thereafter you would figure, "If appeal to authority truly is logically fallacious, then why am I taking this authority's opinion on the matter as authoritative?"

Whereas if you asked an authority whether appeal to authority was logically fallacious and he said no, you would then explain to people "I believe that appeal to authority is valid because I appealed to an authority and he told me so." Circular logic.

Ah, another nice little paradox you've identified. What would I do? I suppose I'd ask for a second opinion. Or maybe just have a drink.


Reading through your stimulating posts lately on logical matters, Zosimus, especially regarding the pitfalls of over-reliance on inductive reasoning, a couple of thoughts came to mind. On page 4, in response to scurrilous allegations of linguistic tyranny on my part, I wrote the following:


"The final tribunal on such definitional matters is not any supreme court judge, legislative body, lexicographers, or even yours truly, as DrP's charge suggests, but the language users themselves, including you, me, and all other adept speakers of English. If our own linguistic intuitions conflict with what Noah Webster says, so much the worse for Noah Webster.


When it comes to logic, then, who calls the shots? Do we tell logic what to do? Or should we allow ourselves to suffer the depredations of marauding hordes of rapacious logical operators?


I think it's a bit of both. Nelson Goodman has a wonderful insight you may be familiar with:

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"A rule is amended if it yields an inference we are unwilling to accept; an inference is rejected if it violates a rule we are unwilling to amend."


If, for example, logic were to yield the inference "You'll have to stop drinking, smoking, and womanizing" I suppose I'd do the only sensible thing -- find a new logic.

 

1 hour ago, Zosimus said:

Well, I've heard of Dawkins, of course, but I haven't heard of Krauss or Tyson. Personally, I found Christopher Hitchens to be insufferable. Hitchens' Razor is self-refuting, yet there are vast swarms of people who parrot such nonsense as though it were doctrine. Pathetic.

Yes, I never thought highly of Hitchens myself, though he certainly was a gifted debater. By that I mean he would interrupt incessantly, wave his arms around a lot, make lots of noise, thump the lectern, play to the audience, say things like "Shame on you, sir, for saying such a thing", "You're a disgrace!", "We'd still be swinging from trees if people like you had their way", and so forth. Sound familiar?


Cogent ratiocination was barely discernible, but hey, he always got more votes than the anemic deadbeat at the other side of the stage who actually made sense.

 

1 hour ago, Zosimus said:

Well, now I upvote everything I read by you regardless of whether I agree with it. It's just my contribution to the defense against the dark arts.

Oh, so you're the one. Well, just don't get carried away. It took me three years of hard work to reach this level of turpitude.


Want any nice, shiny, magpie, green upvotes yourself? Just say the word.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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4 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

Yes, I never thought highly of Hitchens myself, though he certainly was a gifted debater. By that I mean he would interrupt incessantly, wave his arms around a lot, make lots of noise, thump the lectern, play to the audience, say things like "Shame on you, sir, for saying such a thing", "You're a disgrace!", "We'd still be swinging from trees if people like you had their way", and so forth. Sound familiar?

Snow White and the Three Bears continues...wait no that's Cinderella?  Na wrong its Goldilocks isn't it:rolleyes:

The usual nit picking, and obscure similes, metaphors and analogies, along with the mountains of opinion, masquerading as knowledge, while ignoring the science, the actual  source of all the knowledge, and instead sitting down pretentiously stroking one's chin, trying to be wise. :rolleyes:

 "Philosophy is OK, its the Philosophers that are the pain in the arse". [ or words to that effect] attributed to Laurence Krauss from memory.

Edited by beecee

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15 hours ago, Zosimus said:

Again, you claim that knowledge comes through science but you spout a bunch of nonsense as "knowledge" but when challenged to provide a scientific backing for it, you have nothing.

Backing for the claim that science produces knowledge?  Every time a model is updated it shows things have been learnt (Knowledge has been gained). What 'backing' do you want to see? Your argument is too poor to even address.

I point you to the history of the atom. Look at how many times the model for the structure of the atom has improved over the last 150 years. Each model was 'correct' to an extent....  but each model has been updated as new better information (knowledge) has come to light (out of scientific method).

 

4 hours ago, Reg Prescott said:

Yes, I never thought highly of Hitchens myself, though he certainly was a gifted debater. By that I mean he would interrupt incessantly, wave his arms around a lot, make lots of noise, thump the lectern, play to the audience, say things like "Shame on you, sir, for saying such a thing", "You're a disgrace!", "We'd still be swinging from trees if people like you had their way", and so forth. Sound familiar?


Cogent ratiocination was barely discernible, but hey, he always got more votes than the anemic deadbeat at the other side of the stage who actually made sense.

Every debate of his I have seen he has totally owned his opponent. Some would say he was rude - others would say to the point. Why beat about the bush treading on eggshells of deluded people when you can be direct and to the point.    If you show the context of where he says things like 'shame on you ' etc you'd probably find that the opponent was arguing dishonestly or something that has no weight. Whatever - you can't take a quote where he is defending a point and say he was wrong for saying it.  WHY was he saying 'shame on you sir' to his opponent  -  what had his opponent claimed falsely or suggested? What words had he put in his mouth  - without context you are just smearing his name without any substance...  - Shame on YOU sir!   ;-)  

 

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1 hour ago, DrP said:

Backing for the claim that science produces knowledge?  Every time a model is updated it shows things have been learnt (Knowledge has been gained). What 'backing' do you want to see? Your argument is too poor to even address.

 

Some problems with your remarks above:

(1). You assume cumulative growth in science; another long-refuted yet frequently affirmed myth. Those familiar with the work of Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Paul Feyerabend as well as countless other philosophers and historians of science will need no reminding of revolutions in science -- episodes of massive conceptual change during which sizable chunks of "knowledge" (i.e. that which was erroneously believed to be knowledge) are jettisoned wholesale.

Consider, for example, 19th century theories/models of aether which were repeatedly "updated" (your word) which should "show things have been learnt" and "knowledge has been gained" (your words again).

We're now told the aether -- in its various manifestations -- does not exist. And there is no knowledge to be had of non-existent entities. 

Try asking Santa for this: https://www.amazon.com/Nineteenth-Century-Aether-Theories-Commonwealth-International/dp/1483125866/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542277341&sr=8-1&keywords=19th+century+aether

 

(2). On page 3 of this thread you said the following:

Quote

So what - millions of people have beliefs like that. Religion for one - people are convinced that they KNOW their religion is correct, that they KNOW their god....  but people of other religions think what they are saying is correct also - they can't both be correct. The beauty of science is we don't claim to KNOW - we claim to have tested and report what happens.

Seven pages ago, science, on your own account, does not claim to know; i.e., does not claim knowledge.

Now you're telling us "knowledge has been gained".

Well, which is it? Does science claim knowledge or not?

 

 

1 hour ago, DrP said:

I point you to the history of the atom. Look at how many times the model for the structure of the atom has improved over the last 150 years. Each model was 'correct' to an extent....  but each model has been updated as new better information (knowledge) has come to light (out of scientific method).  

(3). In another place I offered the following (to our fellow member Eise) for contemplation. I now offer it to you:

 

I'm not sure where you stand on the scientific realism vs antirealism debate, or whether you take a stance at all. I would like to point out, though, that the kind of descriptivist theory of term/concept reference that you sketched for us has potentially catastrophic consequences for the scientific realist. Here's what you said again (previous page):

  Quote [Eise]

[...] the concept of 'unicorn' is not empty, but it highly depends if it has a real referent, not just an intentional, on how you define it. If you define it as 'a horse like creature with a silvery skin, and one long white, spirally formed horn that lies its head in the lap of a virgin' it is very clear that you can describe such an animal, but we know there are no real specimen of this animal. If you define it just as 'an animal with one horn on its head', then there are several animals that fit the description, e.g. the Indian rhinoceros. See, here my unicorn:

 

So, on your account, if anything out there in nature satisfies the description "a horse like creature with a silvery skin, and one long white, spirally formed horn that lies its head in the lap of a virgin" then we can say that the term (or concept) "unicorn" refers. We have "latched onto" something real in nature. 

Conversely, if the description is not satisfied, then we say that the term "unicorn" fails to refer. It's an empty term/concept. It's a term/concept about nothing. We have failed to latch onto anything real.

(And, of course, the same applies, mutatis mutandis, for the alternative description you offered: "an animal with one horn on its head").

 

Now, here's (roughly) what the scientific realist would like to say, and I'll take atoms as our example:


"Though it's true that there have been many theories of atoms, from Dalton through Rutherford and Bohr, and many others, and it's true that Dalton and the others had some false beliefs about atoms -- they misdescribed atoms to a greater or lesser degree -- it is nonetheless true that these were all progressively better theories about the same type of entity. Dalton (or whoever we want to start with) latched onto something real in nature, and continuity of reference has been sustained through all subsequent theories of atoms".

 

Now, given your own descriptivist theory of reference, the realist cannot say this. The description that Dalton and others offered of atoms -- the properties they attributed to atoms -- to a greater or lesser degree, are no longer countenanced by present day science. 

And as with your unicorn example, if the description is not satisfied, then we are forced to say that the term "(Dalton's) atom" fails to refer. It's an empty term/concept. Dalton and his successors failed to latch onto anything real.

Rather than continuity of reference and a succession of better and better theories about the same thing, we have a succession of theories about nothing, with the possible exception of the current one.

And it's the end of the world.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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Just now, Reg Prescott said:

Seven pages ago, science, on your own account, does not claim to know; i.e., does not claim knowledge.

Again - A misunderstanding of the context and meaning of the words as usual.   You 'know' or I suspect you know that my use of the word KNOW back there was an absolute knowing  - we've had this conversation pages back with Studiot. Is this dishonesty or misunderstanding?  Are you just arguing for the sake of keeping the discussion open or do you really not get that words have slightly different meanings depending upon their use in a sentence and upon CONTEXT. We've been through this.

 

1 minute ago, Reg Prescott said:

We're now told the aether -- in its various manifestations -- does not exist. And there is no knowledge to be had of non-existent entities

We/they built the aether theories out based on the knowledge they had at the time.  These theories were superseded by new information and tested experiments... There is 'knowledge' about the subject which came from scientific study - of course there is. We have knowledge about experiments which lead us to now conclude the aether doesn't exist.

 

7 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Does science claim knowledge or not?

depends how you define knowledge.  I would say so. It tries to knowing that it can be wrong sometimes and is willing and able to change it's thinking in line with new strong evidences. Others might say different. What it DOES do is avoid the idiocy of the philosophy of taking things round and round in discussions of the meaning of words and continued misunderstanding and actually builds useful things that work based on the theories that come out of the learning acquired from the study.

 

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2 minutes ago, DrP said:

Again - A misunderstanding of the context and meaning of the words as usual.   You 'know' or I suspect you know that my use of the word KNOW back there was an absolute knowing  - we've had this conversation pages back with Studiot. Is this dishonesty or misunderstanding?  Are you just arguing for the sake of keeping the discussion open or do you really not get that words have slightly different meanings depending upon their use in a sentence and upon CONTEXT. We've been through this.

 

So now you're drawing a distinction between "absolute knowing" and plain old fashioned "knowing"? (I daren't even ask how to discriminate or request a citation to support this distinction).

Leaving concerns about desperate ad hoc manoeuvring aside for the moment, I'm getting a terrible sense of deja vu here.

Seems every time on these forums that I refute some silly claim like "There are no Xs" by producing a nice clean respectable X, I'm immediately told "How can you be so obtuse? Everyone knows there are two kinds of Xs".

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18 minutes ago, DrP said:

We/they built the aether theories out based on the knowledge they had at the time.  These theories were superseded by new information and tested experiments... There is 'knowledge' about the subject which came from scientific study - of course there is. We have knowledge about experiments which lead us to now conclude the aether doesn't exist.

 

I'm just wondering why the word that I've highlighted in bold is in quotation marks. Did scientists have knowledge about the aether or not?

I've got that dreadful feeling again that I'm about to be told "Don't be so obtuse! Everyone knows there are two kinds of knowledge!"

 

18 minutes ago, DrP said:

depends how you define knowledge.  I would say so. It tries to knowing that it can be wrong sometimes and is willing and able to change it's thinking in line with new strong evidences. Others might say different. What it DOES do is avoid the idiocy of the philosophy of taking things round and round in discussions of the meaning of words and continued misunderstanding and actually builds useful things that work based on the theories that come out of the learning acquired from the study.

You're the fellah who's telling us that science both does, and does not, claim knowledge.

You may call it philosophical crap, similes, analogies...

I call it a problem.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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Sorry - Missed the last 3/4 of the post...  

29 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Rather than continuity of reference and a succession of better and better theories about the same thing, we have a succession of theories about nothing, with the possible exception of the current one.

And it's the end of the world.

Sorry - missed point 3.  I am not sure I agree - I wouldn't say we have a succession of theories about nothing. What is philosophy doing to correct our errors? Science can look objectively at the results of testing and draw logical conclusions - rather than spending a few years discussing if we really know anything at all and coming up with nothing practical. Where are the useful designs and inventions and machines that come out of modern philosphy - where are the cures for diseases  - they all come from science and they work better than they ever have and are improving with time as we update our knowledge/understanding/learning or however you want to word it. I'm not knocking philosophy...  but as you are hitting at science and seem to be just playing with words rather being CLEAR AND TO THE POINT. When you are clear and to the point everyone disagrees with you - you can't tie the conversation down by rigidly defining a word that actually can be used to mean different things in different ways   - words mean different things depending upon the CONTEXT they are used in....  like the word 'know'   -  which we discussed with Studiot ages back and most people seemed to get.

 

4 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

Seems every time on these forums that I refute some silly claim like "There are no Xs" by producing a nice clean respectable X, I'm immediately told "How can you be so obtuse? Everyone knows there are two kinds of Xs".

 

4 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

I'm getting a terrible sense of deja vu here.

That's because we went through that pages ago....  more than once.  The word 'know' can have different subtlties in meaning depending on the CONTEXT and it's use in a sentence, paragraph and conversation.  It's like a carousel.

Just now, Reg Prescott said:

I'm just wondering why the word that I've highlighted in bold is in quotation marks. Did scientists have knowledge about the aether or not?

They had knowledge from the experiments they undertook   -  they thought they did. Maybe they were wrong. The generally accepted knowledge about it right now is that it doesn't exist and we were mistaken. That might change if better understanding of the experiments comes to light or something superceeds M&M as a test for it.

 

I'm not being trapped into answering a definite yes or no so you can jump on me with a 'AH- well...   drone drone drone...'   you know how it is. I don't know enough about the old aether theories to say for definite - but I assume they were wrong as modern experiments shown it isn't there. What relevance is it?

5 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

You're the fellah who's telling us that science both does, and does not, claim knowledge.

I am certain many have said here that it does not claim 'absolute knowledge' or rather cannot claim that as no-one knows what that actually IS. It has a general knowledge of the things it studies though of course... are you proposing scientists are mindless automotoms that know nothing?   I'm repeating myself. 

 

7 minutes ago, Reg Prescott said:

You may call it philosophical crap, similes, analogies...

I call it a problem.

With your understanding of language maybe.

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22 minutes ago, DrP said:

Sorry - Missed the last 3/4 of the post...  

Sorry - missed point 3.  I am not sure I agree - I wouldn't say we have a succession of theories about nothing. What is philosophy doing to correct our errors? Science can look objectively at the results of testing and draw logical conclusions - rather than spending a few years discussing if we really know anything at all and coming up with nothing practical. Where are the useful designs and inventions and machines that come out of modern philosphy - where are the cures for diseases  - they all come from science and they work better than they ever have and are improving with time as we update our knowledge/understanding/learning or however you want to word it. I'm not knocking philosophy...  but as you are hitting at science and seem to be just playing with words rather being CLEAR AND TO THE POINT. When you are clear and to the point everyone disagrees with you - you can't tie the conversation down by rigidly defining a word that actually can be used to mean different things in different ways   - words mean different things depending upon the CONTEXT they are used in....  like the word 'know'   -  which we discussed with Studiot ages back and most people seemed to get.

I daresay you wouldn't. But is this based on anything more substantive than wishful thinking?

Curing cancer and all that is just swell -- wish you'd hurry up (*cough cough*). Doesn't seem at all relevant to the issue at hand, though.

 

22 minutes ago, DrP said:

... are you proposing scientists are mindless automotoms that know nothing? 

No. Are you proposing a strawman to add your already prodigious collection of fallacies and contradictions?

 

22 minutes ago, DrP said:

They had knowledge from the experiments they undertook   -  they thought they did. Maybe they were wrong. The generally accepted knowledge about it right now is that it doesn't exist and we were mistaken. That might change if better understanding of the experiments comes to light or something superceeds M&M as a test for it.

Well, if they were wrong, and the aether does not exist, then your claim: "Every time a model is updated it shows things have been learnt (Knowledge has been gained)is false.

Unless you plan to argue that we're more knowledgeable now: we know that the aether doesn't exist.

I could give you a few more non-existent entities to add to your knowledge-of-nothing stockpile if you like. Sure beats hard work.

Edited by Reg Prescott

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