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  1. #21
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    "Science is not objective. Science is fundamentally about the uses of measurement. What does not fit the yardstick of the scientist is discarded. Scientific determinism has repeatedly excluded some data from its measurement and fudged other data."

    He's confusing two points. There is observation, and there is prediction. Observation is objective by defintion. No scientist has interest to deny observations. There must be a choice among the facts observed in order to insert the data in the model for prediction, because otherwise the model would become too complex to be easily computed. Scientists have to find the optimum tradeoff between ease in computation, and stric accuracy of prediction. Somebody is going to be discontented by the choice made, by defintion of choice.

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    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    For an example far afield, think of a football player. Sometimes there is a football player who doesn't have very good statistics, but is said by all to be a valuable part of the team; maybe he has strong leadership skills, maybe he sets an example by practicing hard. Science can measure how many touchdowns he's scored, but science would underestimate this player's value because it can't measure leadership or heart.
    Wrong. You can take a measurement by surveying the opinion of the teammates, and/or the coach. Just find the right stick (not to insert in your ass). Of course you cannot quantitatively measure the level of feeling (luckily!!), but you can asses its external manifestation.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    Please cite one concrete example of this. (I like how you've anthropomorphized science, by the way.)
    The example I was thinking of was God. The concept of a God is alogical. Science as we know it can not really prove or disprove it. Yet I have read from more than one source that the percentage of atheists among those who work in the sciences is significantly higher than in other professions. That to me is an example of what Heart called Scientism, the establishment of science as an infallible dogma.

    By the way, I have read your other posts in this thread and I see that we agree for the most part about this topic. Kudos to you for zeroing in with laser-sight precision on the weakest part of my post!

  4. #24
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    The example I was thinking of was God. The concept of a God is alogical. Science as we know it can not really prove or disprove it. Yet I have read from more than one source that the percentage of atheists among those who work in the sciences is significantly higher than in other professions. That to me is an example of what Heart called Scientism, the establishment of science as an infallible dogma.
    I've... read this over numerous times, and I don't understand your logic. Male interior decorators are more likely than the general populace to be gay, but that doesn't mean the act of decorating the inside of a home is inherently homosexual.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    I've... read this over numerous times, and I don't understand your logic. Male interior decorators are more likely than the general populace to be gay, but that doesn't mean the act of decorating the inside of a home is inherently homosexual.
    In the process of trying to make this logically sound, I realized I couldn't. My point boiled down to, "Scientists know better than anyone that God can't be proven or disproven. So if they choose to stand as atheists in large numbers, it can only be out of the kind of vain Scientism that says 'If I can't prove it, it has no value.'"

    This remains my opinion, but as I cannot contend that it is logically sound, I concede the point.

  6. #26
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    I find the quote refreshing, and it puts into words a feeling I've had for a long time that I could not express as concisely as this person did.

    Science is excellent at determining the physical laws of the universe...the ones we know about anyway. Science, however, is not very good at saying "I don't know". When science doesn't know, it dismisses.
    I don't know if this is the sort of thing you are talking about, but I have found that it is not uncommon to find scientists that are "pig-headed" and will be dismissive of things that can't readily be explained. This is especially true of theorists as opposed to research scientists.

    One quick example is ball lightning. A physicist friend of mine used to complain about how most of the scientific community rejected that ball lightning existed because it couldn't explain how. Then someone came along and finally gave a thorough and logical explanation of ball ligntning, and it was like all of the sudden the scientific community accepted that it now exists. It's somewhat comical from my perspective.

    The reason I say that theorists tend to be the more dismissive ones is because theorists tend to be INTP's. The INTP mind is not especially made to accept new details which might contradict existing theories. First of all INTP's tend to get very attached to theories which they've put a lot of time into, and secondly an INTP's understanding tends to come from building elaborate logical frameworks from given assumptions and understanding. This means that if you introduce new contradictory information they will have to start all over and rebuild a new elaborate logical framework. The INTP has a lot to lose mentally and emotionally from accepting new data, so you can see why they would be resistant to it.

    INTJ scientists on the other hand tend to lean more toward labrotory research over theory. Ni is the dominant function of INTJ's, which is extremely good (actually the best) at incorporating new and seemingly contradictory information into an existing framework and making sense of it all. The downside is that INTJ's tend not to be nearly as good at explaining their understanding as an INTP is. So an INTJ might make great new insights into some field, but when they try to explain this to the theoretical INTP community, the ideas are likely to get rejected, especially if it seems to contradict an existing theory. (Then the INTJ says "screw you guys" and invents some new tech and makes millions. )

    What I've noticed is that while both INTP's and INTJ's like to be both logical and correct, the INTP usually favors logic over accuracy, while the INTJ favors accuracy over logic. The INTP wants scientific arguments to be constructed logically above all, while the INTJ first and foremost wants the details to be correct with logic being a secondary goal.

    Now if some other NT entering the field is choosing who to learn from the INTP or INTJ, then who will they choose? Well since the INTP can give the most reasonable explanation, then people tend to side with the INTP. So if the INTP actually did create a fairly accurate theory, then good for all the other NT's, and the technology in that field will advance greatly. But if the INTP made an error in a significant assumption, then growth in that field will be stunted until someone discovers an INTJ that made some new novel technology. Then some young new INTP without preconceived notions will get on the ball and create a better theory around the new tech.

    So my point to all this is essentially, yes scientists are human and can be stubborn and dismissive. They in fact do not always listen to the details. But if given enough time (sometimes generations) the details will get corrected. Science is not infallible (far from it in fact), but there are social mechanisms in place to correct any type of science that is technology driven.
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  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I don't know if this is the sort of thing you are talking about, but I have found that it is not uncommon to find scientists that are "pig-headed" and will be dismissive of things that can't readily be explained. This is especially true of theorists as opposed to research scientists.

    One quick example is ball lightning. A physicist friend of mine used to complain about how most of the scientific community rejected that ball lightning existed because it couldn't explain how. Then someone came along and finally gave a thorough and logical explanation of ball ligntning, and it was like all of the sudden the scientific community accepted that it now exists. It's somewhat comical from my perspective.
    This is EXACTLY what I meant when I said "what science can't explain it dismisses" and when I was talking about atheist scientists. Thank you for stating it better than I did.

  8. #28
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    This is EXACTLY what I meant when I said "what science can't explain it dismisses" and when I was talking about atheist scientists. Thank you for stating it better than I did.
    I curious why anyone things this is a bad thing. For every good theory, there are infinite bad theories. Why should scientists care about theories that aren't supported sufficiently. That barrier of entry is fundamental - it requires a level of proof sufficient to challenge any new theory.

    The dismissal has to do with the theories, not with the underlying observation. The difference is that science doesn't create an explanation when it doesn't know.

    If it did that, it would be science... so I don't really see the problem.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    The dismissal has to do with the theories, not with the underlying observation. The difference is that science doesn't create an explanation when it doesn't know.

    If it did that, it would be science... so I don't really see the problem.
    I don't expect science to create an explanation when it doesn't know. That's bad science. Where I think we part ways is that I think without a ready explanation, scientists can dismiss something entirely. To use Liquid Laser's example, everyone who lives in certain areas knows that ball lightning exists. But those scientists said that it must not exist because they couldn't explain it.

    Making up an explanation when you don't know is far different from being unable to say "Well, something is going on there but I don't know what it is right now."

  10. #30
    Senior Member Bushranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    I don't expect science to create an explanation when it doesn't know. That's bad science. Where I think we part ways is that I think without a ready explanation, scientists can dismiss something entirely. To use Liquid Laser's example, everyone who lives in certain areas knows that ball lightning exists. But those scientists said that it must not exist because they couldn't explain it.

    Making up an explanation when you don't know is far different from being unable to say "Well, something is going on there but I don't know what it is right now."
    Saying that they don't know is what scientists do best. They have the practice of not knowing honed to incredible precision.

    The scientific method requires the existence of a theory that can be tested before a phenomenon can be integrated into 'Science'. The method, and the framework of knowledge around it have developed an inherent resistance to the accumulation of anecdotal knowledge. Even in psychology, anecdotes have to treated with great care.

    everyone who lives in certain areas knows that ball lightning exists.
    At one point everyone knew that stomach ulcers were caused by stress. 'Everyone' isn't as reliable as they think they are.

    Ball lightening also seems to have a natural aversion to scientific measuring equipment, making it very hard to create a theory.

    When a plausible theory was put forward, the sudden rush of interest from the scientific community was a case of "Ah, now we can do Science". Prior to that, all they had to go on were anecdotes and historical observations, neither of which can be tested in a scientific context.

    To the non-scientist, the creation of a theory about ball lightening was little more than a paragraph in the newspaper on page 16. To some physicists, chemists and material scientists it was the highlight of their week, possibly leading to a new range of phenomena to explore and understand.

    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' ('I found it!') but rather 'hmm....that's funny...'
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