Should we believe what scientists say? (Page 9)
Blackshoes: Achilles, On one hand, you call both sides loonies? Then you post an interesting quote that states we shouldn't scorn either side?
"Yes, it's all so simple.
We make theories.
Then we verify them.
Then we disappear when unable to support our absurdities.
Gimme a religious loonie any day. "
"Achilles942: Philosophy legend, Thomas Nagel, has this to say on the unfair treatment routinely dispensed to anyone with the gall to critique ET:
"In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific world picture by the defenders of intelligent design. Even though writers like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer are motivated at least in part by their religious beliefs, the empirical arguments they offer against the likelihood that the origin of life and its evolutionary history can be fully explained by physics and chemistry are of great interest in themselves. Another skeptic, David Berlinski, has brought out these problems vividly without reference to the design inference. Even if one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair."
2 months ago • Report "
(Edited by Blackshoes)
Enkidu2017: well its a good way to distil complicated questions .................... if you have the stomach for it
AchillesSinatra: @ Blackshoes
My use of the term "religious loonie" does not imply I feel all religious people are loonies. It refers to those who are fanatical about it.
And the same applies to my use of the term "scientistic loonie" or "science loonie".
AchillesSinatra: @ Zeffur
In your two most recent posts, by demanding that scientific claims be verifiable (i.e. provable) it seems to me you'd be pretty much emasculating science.
We can certainly verify that this particular sample of copper conducts electricity, or that particular lump of sodium burns with a yellow flame. We cannot verify generalizations of the kind more quintessentially scientific such as "(all) copper conducts electricity".
Were we to follow your advice, science would be little more than a catalogue of particular facts, stripped of all predictive power.
"Take Einstein's theories for example, some of them have been proven by tests & others have been falsified." - Zeffur
This is a gross distortion, I'm afraid. None of Einstein's theories has been proven, indeed none of them CAN be proven.
What we can say is this: Einstein's theory of general relativity (GR), for example, has been tested. Testing consists of deriving observable predictions from the theory (in conjunction with auxiliary hypotheses) and seeing if they bear out.
Let's suppose, for argument's sake, that this has been done numerous times and that the observations were invariably in accordance with the predictions of the theory.
What we can conclude, then, is that certain predictions have been borne out; not that the theory has been proven.
Well, what if we were to test ALL the predictions that can be derived from GR and they were ALL borne out?
First problem is that the number of predictions derivable is infinite! Thus, testing all consequences of the theory is a practical impossibility.
But let's pretend for a while and imagine that we have tested all the consequences of GR and they were all borne out. Is the theory NOW proven?
What we've shown is that GR yields only true consequences. Now we have the problem of "underdetermination of theories by evidence" to worry about.
The thesis of underdetermination (see page 1) comes in weaker and stronger versions, but says roughly that any given body of evidence (e.g. all the predictions we derived and tested from GR) is compatible with a plurality of theories.
In other words, there may be other, perhaps unthought of, theories which yield exactly the same predictions as GR does, but are logically incompatible with GR.
And if they're logically incompatible, they can't all be true..
(Edited by AchillesSinatra)
Enkidu2017: but if i look at it this way it looks different then when i look at it a different way ........ and so on and so on and so on
AchillesSinatra: @ TheHating et al
Consider this quote from the great man himself...
"Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but HE MAY NEVER BE QUITE SURE HIS PICTURE IS THE ONLY ONE WHICH COULD EXPLAIN HIS OBSERVATIONS. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison."
What Einstein is alluding to here is precisely the problem of "underdetermination of theories by evidence".
AchillesSinatra: Well, yes.
The outside of the watch is observable (cf. the observable predictions derivable from GR).
The inner mechanisms are hidden from view (cf, the unobervable postulates of GR) thus not amenable to verification.
theHating: Perhaps the nature of the inner workings would reveal the watch to be something else entirely....
AchillesSinatra: "Perhaps the nature of the inner workings would reveal the watch to be something else entirely..."
I don't think so. Watches are defined functionally, i.e. by what they do, not by how they are constituted.
As long as it tells the time, it's a watch, no mater what's going on inside.
(Edited by AchillesSinatra)