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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    I don't think that's necessarily so, though (re: scientists not caring). They're human and they get entrenched like the rest of us.
    There is certainly "junk science," where scientists only collect evidence that supports their preconceived notions (or the notions of the highest bidder).

    But in genuine "hard science," scientists have their preconcieved notions overturned all the time. That's the whole purpose of scientific protocols -- to remove personal bias from the equation and measure things by a higher and more objective standard.

    Even without the protocols, good scientists should be able to leave preconceptions at the door, like good judges in the courtroom. It's really not that hard for a genuine professional to recognize that he has a personal bias and determine whether he can leave it outside the laboratory or courtroom for work purposes or whether he should recuse himself if he can't.

    On a related note: I'm not an atheist because I like being an atheist or because I somehow became "entrenched." It's just that I wasn't raised in a faith as a child, so as an adult I'm going to need something pretty damned solid before I can buy into that particular philosophical nightmare.

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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo View Post
    That's how I view science -- a series of best bets derived from our limited understanding. Not absolute truth.
    Agreed. I used "truth" in my own post as a shortcut. I wasn't talking about "absolute truth."

  4. #44
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    This thread makes me happy!!!
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    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  5. #45
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    There is certainly "junk science," where scientists only collect evidence that supports their preconceived notions (or the notions of the highest bidder).

    But in genuine "hard science," scientists have their preconcieved notions overturned all the time. That's the whole purpose of scientific protocols -- to remove personal bias from the equation and measure things by a higher and more objective standard.

    Even without the protocols, good scientists should be able to leave preconceptions at the door, like good judges in the courtroom. It's really not that hard for a genuine professional to recognize that he has a personal bias and determine whether he can leave it outside the laboratory or courtroom for work purposes or whether he should recuse himself if he can't.
    Right, I don't disagree with any of this. What I'm referring to, though, is stuff like how when that young geology whippersnapper decided to dabble in Egyptology. He thought he saw water damage on the Sphinx and came up with the hypothesis that it might be much older than it was once thought. The old guard of Egyptologists responded like it was laughable, unthinkable, because they had always been taught that the Sphinx was 4th dynasty, and that's just the way it is. I'm not even saying he was right or they were wrong, but they reacted pretty prejudicially to a new, fresh idea.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Right, I don't disagree with any of this. What I'm referring to, though, is stuff like how when that young geology whippersnapper decided to dabble in Egyptology. He thought he saw water damage on the Sphinx and came up with the hypothesis that it might be much older than it was once thought. The old guard of Egyptologists responded like it was laughable, unthinkable, because they had always been taught that the Sphinx was 4th dynasty, and that's just the way it is. I'm not even saying he was right or they were wrong, but they reacted pretty prejudicially to a new, fresh idea.
    Fair enough. A new theory is generally met with initial scepticism, as it should be. The burden is on the new kid to come up with enough proof to support his theory.

    But that's in the context of competing theories where evidence is fragmentary or ambiguous, as in archeology. In that context, it can take a long time and a lot of debate and study for a new theory to gather critical mass.

    In this thread, however, this subject first came up when one of the posters asserted that when it comes to religion scientists would refuse to acknowledge even overwhelming proof like a UFO landing in their yard. I disagree with that portrayal of scientists. If the proof is solid and substantial, no genuine professional is simply going to refuse to acknowledge it.

  7. #47
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Fair enough. A new theory is generally met with initial scepticism, as it should be. The burden is on the new kid to come up with enough proof to support his theory.

    But that's in the context of competing theories where evidence is fragmentary or ambiguous, as in archeology. In that context, it can take a long time and a lot of debate and study for a new theory to gather critical mass.

    In this thread, however, this subject first came up when one of the posters asserted that when it comes to religion scientists would refuse to acknowledge even overwhelming proof like a UFO landing in their yard. I disagree. If the proof is solid and substantial, no genuine professional is simply going to refuse to acknowledge it.
    True, archaeology is ambiguous and evidence is rarely overwhelming. That's also true of the cutting edge of physics. But for some reason, physicists seem more open-minded than archeologists. Maybe it's because it's a forward-looking science where archaeology is a rear-view-mirror affair.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    True, archaeology is ambiguous and evidence is rarely overwhelming. That's also true of the cutting edge of physics. But for some reason, physicists seem more open-minded than archeologists. Maybe it's because it's a forward-looking science where archaeology is a rear-view-mirror affair.
    Well, again, archeologists don't want to flock to every new fad idea that comes along. Scepticism is the correct starting point for something like archeology, where evidence is ambiguous much of the time. Basically, all the leading experts will have to study the new theory for themselves and test it by their own methods, and that takes time.

    I think it's just that scientists want to be genuinely cautious and professional in their approach, which is a good thing.

  9. #49
    Senior Member nemo's Avatar
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    What do you guys think of this quote?

    "People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy... [As a] jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."

    - Mikhail Bakunin

    I had a huge discussion with one of my friends about it, who is something of a Deist, but I won't introduce our positions just right now in order to not influence this discussion.

    So, thoughts?
    You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London

  10. #50
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I don't think I'm communicating very clearly. I don't mean that scientists should just leap to accept any old theory- just that when the initial response to a new theory is to ridicule it, that doesn't strike me as "genuinely cautious and professional." It strikes me as entrenched. That's not really bad, it's just human. And that's why there are standards outside of any one person or community's standards, as the link posted by Sassafrassquatch (I'm having that username shortening dilemma again) said. I fully expect that if they were confronted with irrefutable evidence that they would come around.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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