Is Science Really Self-Correcting?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by sculptor, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    Seems to make sense in general. I am not sure how long the time from when agriculture took off to the building of monuments has to be, maybe it is only several generations.
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well observed!
     
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps, that would be option C).......................................?
    Caveat: Klaus, et.al. found no evidence of agriculture associated with the monument builders at nor near gobekli tepe.

    One more wrinkle: According to Klaus Schmidt, the oldest of the "temples" (which were built, then buried, over several generations) was the best constructed. (as if the builders were trying to reconstruct something from a fading cultural memory?) Which leads me to lean toward option B).
    But, that leaning is with no direct archaeological evidence--------------it's just an inference, somewhat hinged on the estimated dates of sea level rise associated with deglaciation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
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  7. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    So...may I humbly inquire, you intentionally mis-spelled her name because?
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    ....[click].....
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    There's more than one variable.

    There's the sociological variable. Some views are more popular than others in the scientific and its surrounding political community. It can reach the point where holding particular views is a condition of academic hiring and for achieving tenure. Holding particular views becomes a condition for publishing in the leading journals and for gaining standing in one's specialty. When influential voices start calling for criminal prosecution of people who disagree with the 'correct' views, then the chances of those views being successfully challenged if they are in fact mistaken grow exceedingly remote.

    There's obviously going to be an access to information variable. If a current mistaken view can only be corrected in light of a particular kind of new information, and if human beings have no access to that new information, then it's hard to see how the mistaken view can be corrected. The needed information might not be accessible because of our current location in space and time, because of some inherent limitation in human cognitive abilities, or because it's only available behind event-horizons, or some other place that isn't observable.

    Another more philosophical variable is associated with the distinction between instrumentalism and scientific realism. Scientific realism is the view that physical theory is descriptive, that the entities named in scientific theory actually exist in physical reality and that the structure of the scientific theory actually captures how physical reality interacts and behaves. Instrumentalism is the view that scientific theory is merely predictive and only serves to allow scientists to predict what the results of observations will be. With instrumentalism, any theory that allows observations to be successfully predicted with suitable accuracy is a good theory. There is no expectation that whatever is imagined as part of the theory in the course of generating its predictions correspond to anything in the physical reality that is being observed. (The physicist Ernst Mach questioned the literal existence of atoms on this basis.)

    The paradigmatic example of that is geocentric cosmology and Copernicus' heleocentric cosmology. Copernicus' system was no more accurate than the late medieval variants of geocentric cosmology, at least when restricted to observations of heavenly bodies in the sky as seen from the surface of the earth. What's more, geocentric cosmology could be made as accurate as desired, simply by adding additional epicycles and equants. So the theories were basically equivalent in observational terms, despite their imagining very different heavenly movements. Another example might be contemporary quantum mechanics. As I understand it, there are at least two mathematical formalisms that produce accurate instrumental results, Schroedinger's wave mechanics and Heisenberg's matrix mechanics.

    The relevance of all this to the question in the subject line is that if there are multiple theories capable of accounting for all observations to any desired level of accuracy, then there might not be any easy way to distinguish which theory is actually a true description of physical reality and which one isn't, assuming that either one is.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Are history and archaeology really sciences in the sense that physics is? Was Childe really the originator of the idea of the neolithic revolution?

    As for me, I think that Childe is basically right about monument building generally appearing subsequent to the appearance of agriculture. (Note the word 'generally'.)

    It makes sense. Monument building is a group endeavor by its nature. So it will depend on the existence of suitable population densities. Agriculture allowed greater population densities associated with the appearance of village life.

    A great deal depends on how accurate the dating of Gobekli tepe is. (I'm a little skeptical about the early date, due to the quality of the stonework.) Assuming that the early date holds, then the question is who constructed it and how they sustained themselves while they were doing it. I think that most theories of the agricultural revolution suggest that exploitation of wild grains preceeded the intentional cultivation of those grains. So perhaps the Gobekli tepe site was particularly rich in plant life that could be exploited by hunters and gatherers who gathered periodically at the site for religious festivals or something like that, and when construction was undertaken incrementally. And given that village life is known to have existed in mesolithic times along coasts where shellfish and other sea life were exploited (fishing?), perhaps village life was sustained in this area in some way other than growing crops. The nature of the community that constructed this thing is an historical problem remaining to be solved.

    I guess that the point I'm trying to get at is that ideas like Childe's aren't laws of nature in the same sense that the law of gravitation supposedly is. It isn't necessary to assume that they are totally without exceptions. They are more long the lines of rules of thumb. It's entirely reasonable to think that monument building typically appears subsequent to the appearance of agriculture and settled life, and that a few stray exceptions to that generalization might exist.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  11. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Thank you, kindly, exchemist, for your quick, courteous and intelligent response...
     
  12. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Grok'd!
     
  13. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    ...do tell?

    ...after further though, please do not tell.
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I think we can draw some conclusions about monuments. Obviously before monuments, people must have possessed the fundamental knowledge and skills to build structures to begin with. Along with agriculture the growth of early tribal communities necessitated a "meeting place" to discuss important communal matters. It begins with a *long house* and then the placement of totems and *sacred artifacts* to tell the tribe's history. etc. Gradually these building become more elaborately decorated and the totems (historical representations) become more elaborate and become monuments to the tribe's history and the gods they worshipped.

    Seems to me, just another example of natural evolution of a gradual change from a nomadic life (packing light) to a communal existence, with permanent structures for various communal purposes. I think this pattern can be seen world wide as part of the civilization of humans.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Russ, could the exclamation "snarp" be a variation on the common use of the word "snap" to indicate an instant similar understanding on a subject? I kinda like the addition of the (r). It gives the word an additional property of agreement to a proposition.

    I propose that we assign Russ authorship to the use of a new word "snarp".
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
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  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I am sure you must have read *Stranger in a Strange Land*. "Grokking* is a total understanding of the *meaning* of something. Russ' use of an abbreviated version of the word, indicates agreement with the previous statement it refers to.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  17. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    it is simply not that " Is Science Really Self-Correcting? " but rather that humans need correcting of science(remember, human's attempt is to discover and comprehend science).
     
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  18. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    "agreement"...?
     
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I gave the official definition. But in context of your *compliment* to Russ, his response "Grok'd" was a poetic licence in acknowledgement of your compliment which indicated a shared general agreement on the subject under discussion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps, Write4U, you could possibly Read this Thread - beginning with the OP...

    ...my "*compliment* to Russ"?
    I humbly request of you, Write4U, to Please "Quote" or possibly Post a "Link" to my "*compliment* to Russ" that you refer to?
     
  21. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    What can I say? In between all the * ...* and *snarps* and *Grok'd* I'll just add a

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    and

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    and finally in relation to the incredible pedant of some, a

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    With relation to the two quotes from two rather intelligent beings I add a big fat "totally fucking right!" and a

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  22. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    So...sculptor in answer to your query : "Will you look twice and engage in a little skeptical research the next time someone cites Nature?"
    What do you get?
    Reported
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    And again, despite all the whooha and criticism directed at science, there would not be too many who would chose to live in a world without all aspects of science....Even our cranks and nuts and even if they were the dumbest person on Earth, they would certainly balk at such idiocy.

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    It thrives, it always will thrive, and if it didn't we would all still be swinging in the trees.
    Yet even Tarzan uses science! Science and the scientific method though not perfect is still head and shoulders above anything else, since it implements the application of common sense and logical reasoning, rather than dreams, myths and fairy tales.

    Ahh some people are just plain funny [funny peculiar, not funny haha]
     

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