Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by S.A.M., Nov 30, 2008.
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Oh big deal! I'm a mathematician, not a scientist Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! A small linguistic misunderstanding, that is all.
Regardless, it's clear that SAM is either clueless or trolling about what science is all about. All of her points have been refuted.
Yeah, I knew there are a few loose screws, but still I wonder if she really can't see the obvious. It makes good debate practice anyways, as I can learn why the reasoning is wrong....
Yeah, I'm only a lowly scientist. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
So if you believe you should try something even if you haven't succeeded before, is that reasoned faith or unreasoning?
So you're saying that because it was always thus, it will always be thus. Thats called circular reasoning.
Not at all. Where is this statement made? Science is based on the assumption that there is a universal truth which describes a universal reality.
You should read some of the grant proposals I have read.
The only thing you'll learn from Sam is intellectual dishonesty.
I know you're one of the few genuine career scientists on this website, but you sure have some forehead-slappingly strange notions about the fundamentals of the discipline. Things that we get straightened out in our first-year classes.
You don't even have to study science to learn the fallacy of making assumptions, they teach the ASS-U-ME mnemonic in IT and business too.
The "fallacy" of making assumptions is very theoretical. In reality, we make many assumptions, because it is impossible to know all the hidden variables that are outside our control.
1. Nature is orderly, i.e., regularity, pattern, and structure. Laws of nature describe order.
2. We can know nature. Individuals are part of nature. Individuals and social exhibit order; may be studied same as nature.
3. All phenomena have natural causes. Scientific explanation of human behavior opposes religious, spiritualistic, and magical explanations.
4. Nothing is self evident. Truth claims must be demonstrated objectively.
5. Knowledge is derived from acquisition of experience. Empirically. Thru senses directly or indirectly.
6. Knowledge is superior to ignorance.
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We do not have to have control over all the variables in a system in order to study it scientifically. If that were true, astronomy would not be a proper science, whereas it is in fact the first science and may well predate civilization itself.
This is not an assumption. This was a hypothesis that has, through 500 years of application of the scientific method, been proven true beyond a reasonable doubt. In all that time, the natural universe has never behaved in a way that falsified this theory.
Again, this is a canonical scientific theory, proven true beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not an assumption.
Well duh. Everything in the natural universe is part of nature; that's why we call it both "natural" and "the universe." There's not the slightest shred of extraordinary evidence to support the extraordinary assertion that individual humans are exceptions.
Many individuals get comfort from believing they're unique and not subject to the laws of nature, but that extraordinary assertion has no extraordinary evidence. The "soft sciences" like economics and psychology have a long way to go, but so did microbiology a couple of centuries ago.
What part of the phrase "natural universe" do you not understand? There are no other causes except natural ones. To assert otherwise is extraordinary and no extraordinary evidence has ever been submitted to support the assertion.
Is it okay to say "duh" twice in one post?
Yeah well our country was founded by people who "hold these truths to be self-evident" and it turned out that they were very wrong.
The body of knowledge of the human race is acquired that way, but it does not preclude individuals passing that body of knowledge on to their successors. Of course this requires some formal knowledge management principles so the successors can be sure "beyond a reasonable doubt" that what they're being taught is knowledge that was properly acquired rather than something somebody made up.
Besides, what other way is there to acquire knowledge? Instinct becomes more out of step with reality as civilization advances. We "know" by instinct that a large animal with both eyes in front of its head is a predator that we must flee from or fight... and people have to teach their children to overcome that pre-programmed error leftover from the Stone Age and learn that their Irish Wolfhound is a trusted member of the family. We "know" by instinct that stepping off of a precipice is fatal... and hundreds of thousands of people of people prove that instinct has exceptions and take up skydiving.
Several hundred thousand years of gathering knowledge has gotten us where we are today, on the verge of combining all of our tribes into a single more-or-less peaceful society, largely overcoming malnutrition, infant mortality and infectious diseases, sheltering ourselves from the elements, living in comfort with lots of time to devote to discretionary interersts, with music and other arts and pastimes readily available, and even making progress toward resolving the second-order effects of all that knowledge such as pollution, overpopulation and abuses of power. I think Baron Max is the only member of this site who would insist that he'd rather still be living in ignorance in the Stone Age, and even our Curmudgeon Laureate can't defend that assertion when it's challenged. Can you?
Like I said, science is based on the assumption that a universal truth describes a universal reality. We have no evidence for this, but this is what underlies all scientific thought. As the only observers we consider credible, we have no way to refute or confirm this [even though we admit that bats and dogs may have a different "reality" than we do]. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
It's not clear what "universal truth" means here. There's an important difference between naturalism as it figures into the natural sciences, and naturalism as it figures into philosophy. In the former case, you are making only a methodological assumption (i.e., that such an approach will yield repeatable, and so useful, results). What you seem to be referring to above with your "universal truth" is metaphysical naturalism (i.e., the idea that nature is all that exists). This is quite a bit stronger, and by no means a position held by all, or even most, scientists.
We have considerable, if not conclusive, evidence that the methodological naturalism employed in the natural sciences is sound. I.e., every successful scientific theory ever devised, which are manifold. I do not see how it is meaningful to speak of "evidence" for or against metaphysical naturalism. There are arguments for and against it, but to talk about actual evidence is to put the cart before the horse. After all, what is "evidence" in the absence of "science?"
Let me give again the example of the bat. If a bat performs the same sonar circle of a rose garden "n" number of times with the same result everytime, does it mean roses are red?
Internal consistency in a method does not show the bat that it cannot distinguish colors.
What on Earth are you talking about? Why would I be interested in convincing a bat that it is colorblind?
I'm talking about the limitations of assumptions of science. We're the bats who don't know what is colour.
Okay. What are the rose garden, sonar circle and "results" in this analogy?
The limitations of methodology or the ignorance of unknown variables. The assumptions of science can limit the pursuit of knowledge and if adhered to without recognisance, are the difference between an experiment that did not work and the discovery of Penicillin. We all have inbuilt assumptions because of the nature of science, but nature operates regardless of our assumptions.
What on earth do you mean by "a universal reality?" That's a phrase I'd expect to encounter in one of Carlos Castaneda's little rhapsodies about his drug-fueled "experiences" with the Neolithic Yaqui Indians--which, BTW, some anthropologists now tell us read more like experiences he had in his living room than with actual Indians. You keep loading your posts up with language that smacks of the supernatural, as if that is the extraordinary evidence we require to take seriously claims that the natural universe is not a closed system.
Bats and dogs may certainly experience reality differently than we do, but that's not evidence that there is in fact a supernatural overlay on the natural universe that provides a suite of alternate realities. Just alternate experiences.
Each of us human beings experiences reality in a more or less different way, but since we have the technology of language (got to keep this thread on topicPlease Register or Log in to view the hidden image!), we're able to compare those experiences, find all the important commonalities that are consistent with the canonical scientific theory of the natural universe as a single closed system, and recognize the ephemerality of the things we don't have in common like our reaction to cricket or country music.
The difference between two species is indeed more dramatic than the difference between two members of the same species, but our inability to speak English or whale-whistles or dog-pheromones with them has not completely frustrated our analysis of that difference. It's not particularly difficult to test animals for color recognition and determine that, yes indeed, the ones with more rods than cones don't have the elaborate color palette we do. We're even beginning to understand how dogs experience time: anything that happened more than about 23 seconds ago has no relation to the present. (So don't bother yelling at him about that poop on the floor, it might as well be from 2003.)
The more we increase our ability to bridge the communication gap with other species, the more we find in common. The first time Koko the ASL-"speaking" gorilla saw a zebra, she signed, "Oh look! A white tiger!"
But fortunately we're the bats with the gigantic forebrains who are not bound by our natural limitations. We invent these really cool things called "instruments," and use them to detect and distinguish objects, forces and conditions that our physical senses would miss.
A couple of hundred years ago we did not know what bacteria looked like (or that they even existed), we did not know that the continents were slowly moving around and that this has something to do with earthquakes, we did not know that light is a wave like sound and that nothing can move faster than it does. We did not know about petroleum, evolution, other galaxies, the terra cotta army in China, the conditions at the bottom of the deepest seas or on Venus.
But we know about those things now. Give us time. We'll keep finding more questions and then looking for the answers. We are qualitatively different from bats.
Ah yes, of course, but you need to be able to predict they exist first. Which is where empiricism gets a little fuzzy.
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