Loopholes in the Philosophy of Science

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wellwisher, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. wellwisher Banned Banned

    I am not anti-science. I was trained as an engineer and love science. However, over the years, I have had this gut feeling about something wrong with the philosophy of science, that make science vulnerable to corruption. I finally figured it out and would like to share my insight.

    The philosophy of science is designed with new science in mind. There are strict rules in terms of procedures and validation called the scientific method. I have no problem with this, since these rules help screen science in a consistent way.

    Where the loophole is, is connected to science criticism. There are no rules, like the scientific method, when it comes to science criticism. There no rule that says a criticism can't be irrational, political, philosophical, based on bias or just based on personality conflicts. The creator of new science has to remain logical and play by the rules, the science critic can free style. The lack of rules for the critic creates a loophole in the scientific method that can sway the results. What it allows subjective factors to stick its hand up this loophole (butt of science) and use science like a sock puppet.

    One modern example is political correctness. All science is good at the rational level. The subjective irrationality of PC, can stick it hand up the butt of science, via the loophole and use science as a sock puppet. The creators of science can't do science here or there. Over broader science where many studies come together for larger inference this can data stack the inference. Sock puppet science will need to sing the song the puppet master wants.

    Picture if the loophole was sealed, so there is no sock puppet science. This would require defining the scientific method for the valid science critic. But if irrationality is allowed and protected by the philosophy of science, it would appear science was making sock puppet provisions.
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  3. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

    I can't figure out what you have posted. :bugeye:
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So you want puppets to have no anus?
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  7. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    that is pretty good . I understand that . I think part of it is the unwillingness to cross over . To examine cross over science . To except cross overs too . It is slowly changing cause all the fields are starting to realize science does cross over and help support the true validity of each other science fields .
    Definitions are an obstacle cause they have all created there own language so that language is not as smooth as one hopes it to be . Yet the exchange is happening and the definitions are being more defined and in definitions them selves the cross over happens . Making connections bro
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    This is not a loophole.
    Scientific findings are open to criticism, and if that criticism happens to be irrational, illogical, based on logical fallacies, then all the more easy it will be for the finding, the science, to withstand that criticism.

    Further, you seem to confuse (the philosophy of) science with the practical matters of carrying out that science within society. The two are separate. And problems/weaknesses in the latter are not necessarily indications of problems/weaknesses in the former.
  9. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    thats not the problem . That is fine and dandy and is as should be . The problem is the brake down in communication by peer groups of cronyism . Were they hang on to myth as true statements even when a competing discipline proves it wrong . So we segregation by disciplines and each discipline fights for its own survival by the nature of being human . You got it protectionism .
    Think about this . You work for 40 years based on something you hold as valid . If it is not how much denial will one suffer to prop up there life's work?
    How many will let it go and consed to the loss of there discipline. The end of an industry do to being wrong . How many can face it ? What is there willingness to face it ?

    I know your like Me in the respect that free will is an illusion. Think about how hard that is to get the butterflies to come to that same conclusion ? We know its true by scientific analysis that you so much provided evidence for . Yet the nonbelievers can't see no matter how mush proof there is . An unwillingness to see the proof or even understand what the hell you presented . Why ? cause they are under the illusion they have free will
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    It needs to learn how to defend itself against any brand, especially those that misinterpret or lack understanding, and along the way even develop some tact in regard to the latter if it ever wants to make headway with them. That said, however, of course one should at least make the attempt to remedy any other shortcomings, but they will always worm through defenses in new ways -- like viruses, weeds, and pests.

    Science is not an endeavor or process that subsists independently of human interactions slash society. Issues of commensurability between the two will persist. Research must seek funding and may dance for socio-political interests to acquire it; papers are published in mediums that have increasingly deteriorated in terms of standards; industries inflict targeted results and goals upon their scientists; the public often perversely demands dogma and static conclusions from a methodology that is supposed to be mutable and open to uncertainty by its very mode of operation; etc.

    As Freeman Dyson once wrote in a rant about the need for younger heretics than an old fogey like himself:

    "In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way. We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems. The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, 'Sorry, but we don’t know'. The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think...."
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  11. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    And yet you manage to be massively ignorant with regard to science.

    Certainly. Because "gut feelings" are just so scientific, aren't they?

    The philosophy of science is not science itself.

    What "new science"?

    Yes, this appears to a continuation of your erroneous "criticism" in this thread. (Essentially post #106 onwards).
    And, as I pointed out NUMEROUS times, when no evidence is put forward for a claim there is no requirement for evidence in the refutation.
    Equally (as also said) the easiest way to show that a criticism is false is to provide actual support for the claim put forward.
    Simply making a claim without evidence (as you do so often) leaves you no grounds whatsoever for crying "foul" if someone (as I often do do with your posts) merely replies "rubbish".
    If you wish to recieve criticism that provides actual information (and uses science) then it is up to you to provide something more than a (false) unsupported claim.

    In short: an unsuported claim isn't worth any more of a rebuttal than "rubbish". If you can be lazy then please accord your critic the same privilege - don't adopt a double standard and then complain about it when it's used against you.
  12. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    Who are you ? You blow my mind Castle ! You are sitting on a powder keg . You blow my mind. If your my daughter I would name you Jane. Yeah I would
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The scientific method is fine, but the critical side of science does not have the same burden of proof. This may not pose a problem for funded science, but if science is in the bud, still needing funding to complete the scientific method, the loophole of the critic can kill it before it can take root.

    For example, stem cell research might have many useful implications. The critics can be irrational against this based on bias. This bias can then become activism until it become difficult to get the funding needed to satisfy the scientific method. All claims are now unsupported science. Science is the sock puppet because there is nothing in the book of science that says this is not valid.

    Maybe the reason this is so is because the science is not self sufficient when it comes to resources. Science is very dependent on others. The others, since they control the purse, may wish to reserves the rights of the puppet master. If science closed the loop hole and the money man was told to be quiet until he had proof this was not working out, no money. Politics may be needed to grease the hand before it is inserted, since the hole has to remain.

    Global warming is sock puppet science. The opposing science can be discounted with "these guys and gals are out of touch". That is totally valid by the rules of the loophole.
  14. Pineal Banned Banned

    I think this is true and it can be seen within the scientific community throughout its history. Often the criticism aimed at new ideas, within science, is not simply evaluative of the evidence, but attacks the research on paradigmatic, traditional grounds - though not using those terms. IOW there is a lot of 'that is not possible because....' and the reasons turn out not to be correct. In the long run, of course, enough evidence may come in and the ideas have to be accepted. But such criticism and seemingly logical skepticism by members of the scientific community can affect funding and in turn do more than delay a useful idea.
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I didn't really understand your post, Wellwisher. I suspect that I might agree with a lot of it if I understood it better, but I'm not sure.

    I can accept that for the purposes of argument.

    But I need to say I'm not entirely convinced that there is a single scientific method. There have been lots of scientists in history and they've used lots of different methods. But yeah, there does seem to be a general expectation that new scientific claims need empirical justification, or need to be mathematical or logical implications of theories with empirical justification, or something. The details of how that actually works in practice might differ quite a bit from case to case.

    Philosophers periodically try to proclaim that this or that is the (or perhaps a) scientific method, but it isn't always clear whether the proposed method is meant to be a description of what scientists supposedly do, or a prescription of what they must do in order to qualify as scientists.

    My only objection might be if philosophers start telling scientists that science must be conducted in one way and in no other. I'm inclined to say that scientists can use any method that they feel like using, provided only that the chosen method can be logically and epistemologically justified. Sometimes scientists invent new methods in order to address new kinds of problems.

    What's "science criticism"? That's where you start to lose me.

    Obviously there's a lot of criticism of science coming from the direction of 'cultural studies' and the humanities more generally. So called 'continental' philosophy can be quite militantly anti-science at times, or at least anti-scientistic. (They don't often acknowledge that distinction.) There are attempts to "deconstruct" science, and there are no end of denunciations of instrumental rationality in the name of literary or aesthetic sensibility, utopian religio-political emancipation or whatever.

    This kind of anti-science militancy among philosophers (particularly cafe-philosophers) seems to be a lot more common in countries like France and Germany than it is in the English-speaking world. I think that this neo-romantic reaction against the ideas of the enlightnment is to some extent the result of the disillusionment brought about by the two European World Wars, and to some extent it's the result of the decline of religion in Europe which leaves laypeople looking to philosophy for the hope, emancipation and salvation that religion once offered them.

    But the critics of science aren't scientists and aren't pretending to be conforming to any scientific method, are they? They would totally reject that idea since they believe that they are walking a higher path than mere science can imagine, whether it's historicist, hermeneutical, structuralist, phenomenological, Freudian, existential, feminist, Marxist, deconsctuctive, Foucauldian, Nietzchean... Oftentimes its more literary and poetic than logical and literal -- exhortation, emotion, imagery and aphorisms as opposed to reasoned arguments and empirical evidence.

    Yeah, I think that a lot of the so-called "social sciences" are really just political rhetoric in pseudo-scientific drag. Many people suspect that the climate-change hysteria might be infected too.

    Sometimes what purports to be "science" is actually kind of the reverse. People want social changes, so that supplies their conclusions. So they try to create "scientific" arguments in favor of the changes that they desire, counting on science's tremendous cultural prestige to win over the lay public to their cause. (Anyone who isn't convinced is "ignorant".) So these kind of people will go out searching for "evidence" that supports the beliefs that they already hold, often for political reasons that have nothing to do with science, selecting what fits and rejecting anything that doesn't.

    The public is growing increasingly aware that this is happening more and more often as science becomes increasingly politicised, so the public is gradually growing increasingly skeptical and even cynical about whether science and scientists are telling them the truth.

    If people are being told to be skeptical of the priests in clerical collars, they are apt to be skeptical of the priests in white coats as well. (Ignore the man behind the curtain! Believe and obey the Great Scientific Oz!!) Doubt is a double-edged sword.

    So maybe something similar to Europe's cynicism about and reaction against science is spreading over here too, except in a more typically-American populist and grssroots fashion, arising upwards out of the regular people as opposed to filtering downwards from the Parisian-style cafe-intellectuals.

    Bottom line is that I don't think that any of this stuff necessarily means that there are loopholes in the philosophy of science. For one thing, a lot of the criticism of science is coming from outside science entirely, for non-scientific reasons. And when bad science comes under justifiable criticism from within science, it's very likely going to be the philosophy of science that highlights where non-sequiturs interrupt the chain of reasoning supposedly linking evidence and conclusions, where biased sampling has occurred, and so on.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  16. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

    It seems to me that the words are being used incorrectly from what I can make out. I don't see any clarification towards the word "Loophole". I also find the use of "Sock Puppet" out of place. Why use that term anyway? It is something clever said once.. and something parrot fashioned said twice by another.

    Having read following posts, it is becoming apparent that the thread is about scientists believing something for sooo long that it has become the truth to them. (Which isn't a loophole, it's more of a Paradox, that science breeds science.) This is a problem so long as science is full of mistakes, but not a problem if science is accurate. Which brings us to a second paradox. Scientists decide if science is accurate. So now we have scientists believing that something is true, and scientists deciding if that thing is true, or not. A self perpetuating Paradox. Could there be even more Paradox? Is maths a proof? Scientists say that maths is a proof.. uh oh! Scientists caught in a double Paradox say that maths is a proof... not reliable. So what about the technology that works? No good, it's based on actual measurements which isn't the act of theory, so has no value as proof.

    Yes I see through the scientific Paradox, it is difficult to break. I have the theory that science is waiting for, unfortunately, my theory is Black Sabbath, and scientists are Elvis fans.
  17. NietzscheHimself Banned Banned

    What is always accounted for, most noticeably when completely forgotten?
  18. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

    Shouldn't that start with "Riddle me this..."

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  19. Arioch Valued Senior Member

    @Yazata --

    No, scientists sometimes create new experimental procedures to fit new problems, but the method behind them all is still the same. Observe, experiment, record, repeat. That's what all of your so-called "scientific methods" break down to in the end.
  20. Pineal Banned Banned

    Paul Feyarabend makes an excellent case in Against Method that scientific research in fact follows many different methods - not just procedures. Some of Einstein's research does not follow your above pattern and were only confirmed empirically much later when technology advanced. Nevertheless they were accepted. The book approaches his critique of the notion of uniform method in science in a kind of case by case manner, showing different exceptions in different cases. Feyarabend is also in favor of this diversity.

  21. Arioch Valued Senior Member

    @Pineal --

    Sure they did. Sure some aspects of relativity, such as gravitational lensing, weren't confirmed observationally until much later, but the mechanics of his theories were observed to be correct when he used his equations to calculate the orbit of Mars with unheard of accuracy before he sent his theory off to other physicists seeking confirmation(this was before he actually published it). This is part and parcel of the scientific method.

    Are there going to be exceptions to rules? Usually, but they're so few and far between that we needn't count the outliers at all.
  22. NietzscheHimself Banned Banned

    Yeah it probably should.. The answer is error.
  23. Pineal Banned Banned

    I can't say whether what you right here is an adequate response to Feyarabend or if it deals with what he focussed on. Been too long since I read the book, though I decided yesterday to read it again.

    His point and findings were that the exceptions were much more often than is generally thought - within science itself - and also that some of the important advances have not followed the main structure. But if the local library does have Against Method, I can come back a present a fuller case. (I can't read more than a page online, I get antsy)

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