Should we believe what scientists say? (Page 8)
zeffur: re: "Should we believe what scientists say?"
No. I would argue that unless they offer irrefutable proof, we should just consider what they offer as educated & hopefully well researched, defined, & described opinions. The truth is what matters the most.
There may of course be ancillary benefits that could surface from the various spear-chucking at their theories & conjectures or other better related ideas formed by others, so their writings should all be considered even if their theories may be partially or totally wrong.
zeffur: re: "Is there such a thing as "irrefutable proof" in science?"
Yes of course--but, not on some levels--for example: let's take magnetism.
On some levels we can describe magnetism exceptionally well & very accurately using certain physical experiments--like showing magnetic attraction, repulsion, poles, field lines, etc. But, on some other levels we can only speculate. Sure we can call a magnet a dipole and measure & predict the effect of a magnetic field of a certain strength--but, when we start to try to explain what causes magnetism at a quantum level--then we get into debatable guessing territory because we really don't know. That's when we start to speculate & offer abstract ideas about cause & effect, etc---and that's when people start calling such descriptions: speculations based on unproven assumptions, etc--so, at that level our scientific methods are virtually useless--but, still worth considering for the same reasons that I mentioned above--we just shouldn't go around pretending our assumptions & claims on that level are 'true' or 'fact'--when they likely aren't.
That's what's happened to evolution--they've reached what I consider to be a rubbish pseudo-scientific level. All was fine & well when they were actually using biology to describe what we were actually able to discover using biology--but, once the wild unfounded speculations of evolution rubbish were allowed into the discourse, all hell broke loose & it became mostly rubbish science, imo. All the biological variations that were described using sound biology is what is real--the myths about goo to modern creature evolution from a single unknown organism to all the organisms on earth is completely unfounded rubbish.
When we stick to what we actually know & can actually prove--all is good.
Speculations should be separated from what is known to be true & clearly labeled as such to differentiate it from what has been proven to be true.
theHating: Except colin thinks magnetic flux lines are really just warped aether, having dielectric properties. Although, dielectrics usually aren't thought of as electrically conductive. Fringe scientists hold up maxwell and misinterpret all the science and seem to think of a magnetic flux line as interdimensional energy particles.
Edit: this is not true and I should delete myself.
(Edited by theHating)
Enkidu2017: Im still trying to figure out what keeps me attracted to sly mischievous smiles............ and the odd protruding forces it arouses .
theHating: "But where does the energy come from that keeps it attracted to the beam & resisting the force of gravity??". probably god
theHating: Achilles, i cant make it through your posts....
Without getting distracted by the desire to have your babies.
AchillesSinatra: It seems some people don't yet grasp what scientific antirealism is, continuing to equate it with anti-science or science denialism.
So let me try to clarify....
Science has always been torn between two conflicting desires: on the one hand, to stay as close as possible to that which is observable (i.e. the evidence), and on the other, to go "behind the scenes" and provide causal-explanatory theories.
The scientific realist yields to the latter desire; "antirealism" is a kind of catch-all term for any position opposed to realism.
Scientific antirealism is largely motivated by a desire to avoid dabbling in metaphysics, lest we find ourselves, as we have done so many times in the past, positing the existence of, and committing to a belief in, entities and mechanisms such as the aether, say, which do not exist (cf. God and other supposedly imaginary friends).
Heidegger was ridiculed by the logical positivists -- antirealists par excellence -- for comments such as "The nothing itself nothings". This was all so much metaphysical meaningless nonsense in the positivists' view. Science is better than that!
But how is a claim such as "phlogiston has a negative mass" better than "the nothing itself nothings"?
Hence the motivation for an antirealist stance...
zeffur: re: theHating: Achilles, i cant make it through your posts....
Without getting distracted by the desire to have your babies. "
I wish you'd make up your mind about your gender. Sometimes you state you are male & then other times you imply that you are female.
What is your REAL biological gender, ffs??
zeffur: re: "But how is a claim such as "phlogiston has a negative mass" better than "the nothing itself nothings"?"
The phrase "phlogiston has a negative mass" is incorrect.
phlogiston = "a nonexistent *chemical* that, prior to the discovery of oxygen, was thought to be released during combustion."
Combustion requires 3 things: fuel (which sometimes contains oxygen or an oxidizer), oxygen, & spark/flame/heat (which is energy). Energy doesn't have ANY mass--so 'negative mass' is incorrect in that phrase. If rewritten to "phlogiston has zero mass" then it would be a correct statement.
The Greeks actually got it right--with one exception--what IS released during all combustion is HEAT--which is NOT a chemical, obviously. And of course, heat is simply a form of energy & that energy was previously in the form of a fuel (chemical compounds), before it was converted via combustion into heat energy. They were right that something (i.e. energy) was released during all combustion.
re: "the nothing itself nothings"
That ^^ us meaningless rubbish, apparently.
As before, science ought to be about what is real, true, & provable.
Abstract/speculations should be documented separately from what has been proven--to clearly separate it from what is known to be true.
pseudo-science is a major problem from science at this time, imo.
We see it in biology (i.e. evolution rubbish) & in theoretical physics-cosmology--which should really be call hypothesis physics because much of it is nothing more than hypotheses + assumptions (e.g. multi-verse theory, string theory, etc).
AchillesSinatra: @ Zeffur
Re your comments:
"The phrase "phlogiston has a negative mass" is incorrect." (Z1)
"If rewritten to "phlogiston has zero mass" then it would be a correct statement." (Z2)
Anyone who has taken a course in the philosophy of language will no doubt recall painfully that the first ten years or so are spent analyzing the sentence:
"The present king of France is bald" (F1)
There is, of course, no present king of France. The sentence therefore suffers from what is known as "reference failure". Its subject term fails to refer.
Everyone agrees that sentences of this type cannot possibly be true. Nothing true can be predicated of a non-existent object, with the possible exception of "[insert non-existent entity here] does not exist".
What there is some disagreement over, though, is whether a sentence such as F1 should be assigned a value of "false", or "neither true nor false".
(Hereafter, we'll assume that the scientists are right and, just like "Pegasus", "Santa Claus" and "the present king of France", the term "phlogiston" fails to refer.)
So, if your use of the word "incorrect" in Z1 is synonymous with "false", Bertrand Russell, for example, would agree with you -- under the Russellian analysis the sentence yields a value of "false". Peter Strawson, for example, on the other hand, would demur, insisting the sentence is "neither true nor false".
As for Z2, to repeat what I said above, received wisdom holds that nothing true can be predicated of a non-existent entity. Whatever units of mass we might choose, it is not true that phlogiston has the property of having 8 units of mass. It is not true that phlogiston has the property of having negative 8 units of mass. Likewise, it is not true that phlogiston has the property of having zero units of mass.
Phlogiston doesn't exist, remember? It doesn't have ANY properties!
I know of no philosopher of language who would agree with your statement Z2.
Moving on now to Heidegger's much maligned "the nothing itself nothings" and your dismissal thereof as "meaningless rubbish"...
You have my sympathies LOL. Heidegger himself, though, evidently didn't think so. Presumably he would have replied that it's not meaningless rubbish; you/me just don't get it! Much as we would not understand a great deal of what is said in an advanced physics lecture, say.
This, then, raises the enormously vexed question of what is "meaning"? How are we to distinguish the meaningful from the meaningless?
The solution offered by the aforementioned Logical Positivists was their celebrated "criterion of verifiability". The meaning of a statement is simply its means of verification. Any statement that cannot be verified, then, on the LP's account, is literally non-sense; it is meaningless.
Well, stick that in yer pipe and smoke it, Heidegger!
Notice that the LP's proposed solution to exclude (what they took to be) meaningless crap like "the nothing itself nothings" or "Jesus is the only begotten son of God" from civilized discourse is not at all unlike your own:
"As before, science ought to be about what is real, true, & provable [i.e., verifiable -- Achilles]. Abstract/speculations should be documented separately from what has been proven--to clearly separate it from what is known to be true." -- Zeffur
Alas, the LP's well-intentioned criterion of verifiability quickly ran into some fairly catastrophic problems of its own.
The quintessential scientific claims to knowledge take the form of general (as opposed to particular) statements. E.g.
"All copper conducts electricity" or simply "Copper conducts electricity" (C1)
Now, short of testing every sample of copper in the universe -- past, present, and future -- for conductivity, how would we possibly go about verifying C1? Ans: We can't!
The disastrous upshot of all this is that if we adopt the LP's criterion of verification to discriminate between meaningful and meaningless statements, or your own abovementioned criterion to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific statements, we end up with the unpalatable result that the vast majority of what are intuitively regarded as perfectly respectable scientific statements turn out to be either meaningless nonsense (the LPs) or unscientific (you).
zeffur: Wisdom dictates that we are to look for truth & value in all things AND reject whatever is of no value.
While the Greek belief in the chemical element phlogiston is obviously invalid according to our current understanding of combustion & the conversion of matter into energy, we can glean some truth from what they believed.
They understood there was something (chemicals) in the fuel that was involved in combustion/fire. I'm not sure where the 'negative mass' belief comes from, but, it seems to me that it is referring to the rise of heated air molecules (i.e. the heat of combustion causes air molecules to be heated/excited, expanded, & rise due to creating a less dense air mass within the surrounding colder air molecules, which are higher in density--thus resulting in the lower density hotter air mass rising & cooling to equilibrium within the higher density colder air mass that falls & replaces the hotter air mass as it rises).
re: "Now, short of testing every sample of copper in the universe -- past, present, and future -- for conductivity, how would we possibly go about verifying C1? Ans: We can't!"
That isn't necessary if we describe the exceptions as they are realized along with the truth that is most often the case. Truths with exceptions as well as all of the bogus ideas & the reasons why they are wrong is the full set of our knowledge--unfortunately, we don't always make it easy to access all the dud ideas & reasons why they are rejected. The whole set of knowledge can be useful.
re: "The disastrous upshot of all this is that if we adopt the LP's criterion of verification to discriminate between meaningful and meaningless statements, or your own abovementioned criterion to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific statements, we end up with the unpalatable result that the vast majority of what are intuitively regarded as perfectly respectable scientific statements turn out to be either meaningless nonsense (the LPs) or unscientific (you)."
I don't consider that disasterous at all. I would prefer all of the knowledge about everything is categorized by:
1. What we know & why we know it (proofs & attempted falsifications & why they failed)
2. What we speculate (theories) may be true & why we think it--along with all the evidence & reasons for & against such each belief.
3. All of the erroneous facts/beliefs/theories/claims/assumptions/etc that have been offered & why they were erroneous. (if for no other reason than for comedic value) :-)
AchillesSinatra: Oh dear.
Don't we grasp by now that scientific theories are neither verifiable nor falsifiable?
Anyway, I'll examine this more tomorrow, Zeff.
Gotta get up early to see lemurs
zeffur: re: "Don't we grasp by now that scientific theories are neither verifiable nor falsifiable?"
I lump them into the speculation category as they are not verified to be true & often times the evidence & reasoning that is offered is quite questionable (e.g. as in the theory of evolution or big bang theory or multi-verse theory, etc) as a solid basis for their 'theories'. Many people like to rationalize to the point that what they belief to be true is in fact true--but, that isn't the case unless it is verified & proven to be true. That IS how the truth is established--everything else is just a best guess--no matter what justifications they offer with them that are short of proof.
Take Einstein's theories for example, some of them have been proven by tests & others have been falsified. That's just how it goes with theories...
Another example is the theory of evolution. Its proponents make many bold assertions that cannot be verified as true or false--which is where they like to dwell to try to justify an endless need for more research funded by taxpayers.
In my view, it is a bogus theory because it asserts all life on earth came from a original single organism & morphed into all of the creatures that ever existed & exist on earth--without having any credible proof of such an original organism or any of the zillions of mutations that would have had to have occurred for such a theory to be true. It's simply a ridiculous theory without any credible basis to support it's propositions. If there is such a credible basis, I certainly haven't seen anything that I consider compelling or convincing--what I see are wishful thinking assumptions without any credible basis whatsoever.