Magical Realist takes offense at what he thinks he reads

Discussion in 'Alternative Theories' started by Magical Realist, Nov 23, 2016.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    You'll have to take that up with him. It's his claim..His definition of science pretty much changes according to whatever point he is arguing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Feeling the pressure MR?

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    The dawn of modern science and the scientific methodology began in the middle ages.....What Write4U said about science beginning when someone asked why is correct, but wasn't recognised as such , and of course was hindered [as I have told you] by superstition, and myth for a long time.
    In fact and quite ironic, when in the past, when I have said if it wasn't for science, you would still be swinging in the trees, and you have taken exception to that...yes, ironic and hypocrticial to boot.

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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I can understand Paddo's POV, that science was symbolically formalized much later than *counting fingers*. Although I do believe real science was practiced long before Galilei conducted his experiment with falling bodies.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia

    and of course, the great thinkers who came before her.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    While I certainly recognise there were many notable scientists before the middle ages, still to a large degree, it was hindered by myth, and the supernatural, the Ptolemy era and the church obviously, which stagnated it completely until the appearance of simpler heliocentric models during the scientific revolution in the middle ages.

    As I said before though, in previous debates particularly in one thread by MR entitles "Science has done nothing for mankind" [or words to that effect] he argued strongly about the application of common sense as science and my reference to without it we would still be swinging in the trees.
    Now we have this

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  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Really? When was that?
     
  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I don't believe you would do any good in Hollywood MR.
    I'm sure most who participated would remember including Kittamaru, and the many many pages of nonsensical claims you were making.
    There was also another, something along the lines of why is science so boring also.

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  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Show me the thread. You're making a claim. Back it up.
     
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry MR, it was a while ago.....but you certainly started a thread along the lines of "Science has done nothing for mankind" or words to that effect, and another re science is boring.
    The first turned out quite lengthy as you obviously set out to provoke.
    Like I said, others may remember it.
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I never titled a thread like that all. I should report you for lying..
     
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    What did you title it like then MR?
    But again, I recall at least three or four anti science propaganda like rant threads by you over the last couple of years.
     
  14. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't understand what you think is wrong with those two threads, RPenner. They both rise fundamental questions in the philosophy of science, questions that it would do the rest of the board no end of good to consider.

    1. What is the role of values in science? What values is science trying to maximize? What goal is it aiming at? Truth is a value, after all. So how do cognitive values like truth differ from things like moral, political and personal values? Addressing that delivers us to considerations of objectivity in science. And objectivity is a value too.

    Notice that Paddoboy's response to MR's question was a little expression of faith that science makes the world a better place, a reference to pragmatic value. MR's reply was to point out that a great deal of astronomy has no discernible pragmatic value. (A large proportion of scientific research doesn't.) And the idiot-flaming of MR once again resumed. He'd insulted astronomy! People started speculating about his motives in starting the thread and the insults started to flow. A quick rereading of page one of the values and science thread will verify how the thread devolved.

    2. The issue of predictability and truth is a fundamental problem in much of modern science. Andreas Osiander stated some of these issues very well in his preface to Copernicus' De Revolutionibus:

    "The duty of the astronomer is to adopt whatever suppositions enable the motions to be computed correctly from the principles of geometry. These hypotheses need not be true or even probable. On the contrary, if they provide a calculus consistent with the observations, that alone is enough.... If any causes are derived by the imagination, they are not put forward to convince anyone that they are true, but merely to provide a reliable basis for computation."

    We see that course still being taken today in the 'shut up and calculate' approach to quantum mechanics that shrugs off consideration of the philosophical interpretations, treating microphysics as a black-box where the goal is merely to correlate observations mathematically, without a whole lot of concern for what's physically happening inside the box.

    I think that these two threads that MR started had the potential to be two of the best threads in the entire history of Sciforums. It isn't entirely his fault that they subsequently devolved.

    I think that it's part of the duty of Sciforums moderators to teach. Treat threads like class-discussions. Try to keep participants focused on the important underlying issues. Snuff out the ad-hominem stuff (and for God's sake don't add to it) and quell incipient flame-wars. If some of this stuff is going over people's heads (few Sciforums participants appear to have any education in the philosophy of science, despite their wanting to talk about it incessantly), then teach them.
     
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  16. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    I believe they are threads created by Magical Realist specifically to claim science is a valueless, empty ideology, which is a history he denies. Other, perhaps better, examples exist of behavior which makes one suspect he feels his fringe beliefs are unfairly marginalized by society-at-large and this forum in particular.
    Magical Realist did not develop those topics along the philosophical lines you advocate because his vested interest is in promoting fringe ideas, not questioning those ideas. Perhaps this motivation explains why he and paddoboy have different recollections of posting history. He's throwing stones at science because he thinks that will made his embrace of the fringe more palatable to a science discussion forum.

    Magical Realist takes a dim view of this forum's aesthetic choices. A large number of staff take issue with his credulousness on certain fringe topics and mischaracterizations, some of which look calculated to inflame. This thread, for example, was split from a discussion of what lesson the two slit experiment really teaches and begins with complete mischaracterization of the post he responds to.

    You cannot fill a glass that is upside down and insists that it is full.
     
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  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Yazata:

    The second of the two threads you refer to remains open for replies. Only the first has been closed.

    There's nothing wrong with the thread topics in either case. As far as I can see, the first thread was closed because it devolved into a flame war, essentially. It would be possible, I suppose, to go through 800 posts and try to extract the useful content from the interpersonal rubbish. The problem with that is that often the flaming happens in the same post as the useful content. Much easier for the moderator to close the thread. Who knows? At some future time, perhaps members will be mature enough to discuss the topic while avoiding the flame war.

    In other words, closing that thread was not due to a problem with the topic, but due to a problem with the kind of discussion that members chosen to have in response.

    I have a slightly different view. While I enjoy teaching and communicating information, that's not something I do in my role as a moderator; I do that as a regular member of sciforums.

    As a moderator, my job is to enforce reasonable standards of appropriate social behaviour among the participants, in cases where participants are unable or unwilling to self-regulate. Unfortunately this is necessary, because a few troublesome eggs otherwise threaten to spoil the whole omelette for the rest of us.

    The general membership of sciforums is responsible for the quality, or lack of quality, of the content we see here. How could it be otherwise? To make moderators responsible for educating the general membership, in terms of content, risks turning sciforums into a kind of expert blog rather than a discussion forum.
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    It seems to me that many of MR's threads are "calculated to inflame" (a.k.a. trolling). MR is clearly far from stupid, yet he posts in bad faith, citing evidence he knows to be fraudulent, for example (cf. UFO threads). His motivation on this site seems to be an animus against either science itself or scientists. Somebody once had an inferiority complex theory about him (technician vs. scientist - a classic) but really one can only speculate. Whatever motivates him, it is NOT a principled stand against "scientism" or anything else. It is intellectually devious, whiny and obnoxious.
     
  19. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    I knew there was something I liked about him.

    Many folk enjoy and seek attention and care little as to how they get their fix.

    Think about Trump. If he confined his rally speeches to page 145 of the tax act and how retirees can save money buying in bulk he would receive no attention.

    MR seems intelligent enough to understand his evidence would have people arguing against it, they did, and he received attention.

    I do think however he may have a mission to make people think (and I am assuming he feels folk simply accept stuff without question).

    He gets attention, say like Trump, but why he does and what is his message I am not sure.

    Maybe he simply enjoys argument.

    I have said in times past that I post to remind folk that there are people like me out there..maybe MR has a similar goal.

    Alex
     
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I think that MR believes he is on a crusade against The System or The Establishment or The Grand Scientific Conspiracy to Suppress the Woo, or whatever. Apparently, in fighting the good fight, one is allowed to discard honesty and good faith.

    I think his motivation is self-protection of his own world-view, which can't stand up against simple questioning under a low-powered spotlight. It's far easier for him to claim there's a scientific conspiracy to suppress woo than to actually examine the woo honestly to find our whether what he believes is reasonable.

    People who feel under attack often double down and refuse to budge from their original position, rather than admitting they might be wrong about something.

    What disturbs me most about MR is that he clearly has the capacity to think and yet to all appearances he chooses not to. If he is really as he presents himself here, then I worry that he is lying to himself. But it could just be that he is lying to us.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    You're just speculating about MR's motives. But even if you are right, what's so heinous about feeling that way?

    The threads you linked to are mostly very good threads in my opinion. Let me address them, one by one:

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/science-and-the-naturalistic-fallacy.135800/

    This one is about the broader cultural tendency, illustrated from environmental activism, through social Darwinism to the myth of the noble savage, to imagine the state of nature as something good. The more mankind alters the pristine state of nature, untouched by human hands, the worse it is. How much truth is there to this?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/theory-predicability-and-truth.142326/

    I already discussed this one. It's about the instrumentalism/realism distinction. Should scientific theories be imagined as calculating instruments for correlating observations? Or do the terms ot the theories actually have reference, naming entities and states of affairs that actually exist in reality? Ernest Mach famously believed that atoms are imaginary creations that enable chemistry to be more easily conceptualized, but didn't think they existed in real life.

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/is-there-a-place-for-woo-in-science.142330/

    The title might put a few people off, but the thread is actually about the sense of wonder in science, Carl Sagan chanting "billions and billions" on his old TV show, as beautiful images of galaxies are displayed and the music swells. That sense of wonder at the grand scale of the universe is probably what attracts many students to astronomy. More abstractly, many students are probably attracted to physics by the sense that the deepest secrets of the universe are unveiled there.

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/why-do-most-people-find-science-boring.142842/

    I think that many people on the street do find the real study of science dry and boring. So do most high-school and college students, I think. Why is that? What can be done to improve science teaching?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/is-science-a-value-system.144053/

    I already discussed this one too. What values does science embody and try to maximize? How do cognitive values like truth and objectivity differ from values like morality? What is the place (if any) of personal, political and social values in science?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/the-ideal-of-the-noble-scientist.148018/

    Popular culture does tend to imagine the scientist as kind of demigod. Science is popularly imagined to embody a higher standard of reason that the rest of society should emulate. Scientists are imagined as having a higher purpose, the penetration of the deepest secrets of the universe. There's still a hint of the medieval cloister about it. It's not just a job, it's a calling. What truth is there to this?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/the-truth-shall-set-you-free.155164/

    Does knowing more and more about physical reality, accumulating more and more facts, really make people into better people? Does it make people more ethical, happier or more spiritually fulfilled? In other words, what is the place of scientific value in the broader spectrum of human values? MR also asked the interesting abstract question whether truth is an end in its own right, or does truth's value only consist in enabling us to maximize other values?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/truth-vs-a-comforting-belief.155501/

    Would you rather believe the truth or to believe a comforting untruth? Suppose you have an incurable terminal disease that will leave you feeling fine for months, then kill you suddenly. Would you rather know about it or live out your last days believing you are fine?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/why-many-scientists-are-so-ignorant.155617/

    This is about Bill Nye (the science guy) saying some foolish things about philosophy. The false suggestion that Nye was speaking for all scientists (Bill Nye isn't a scientist himself, he was trained as an engineer before he went into show business) wasn't MR's, the thread title is the title of the article he linked to. But there is a real issue worth exploring here: what is the relationship between philosophy and science?

    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/the-myth-of-the-noble-scientist.156020/

    This one covers the same ground as the similar thread up above. And it's true that MR did express more personal hostility towards scientists in this one. (But so what?)

    I think that what threw some of the threads off course were the attacks MR received from people unable and unwilling to discuss the topics in the original posts. MR was attacked, he defended himself, and the threads quickly went off the rails.

    That's one reason why, if Sciforums wants to promote a higher standard of discussion, that the moderators should try to conduct discussions much as professors conduct class discussions in their classrooms. Try to keep threads focused on their issues by gently nudging them back when they drift. Ideally, moderators should have some academic background in the subjects they moderate, so if some issues fly over the heads of some participants, they can be brought up to speed with some short explanations.
     
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    RPenner called out those two threads with a cryptic little post of his own, saying "Don't waste moderation resources" along with links to the two threads. The implication was that there was something wrong with the topics and that MR shouldn't have started the threads. I think that RPenner verified my interpretation when he posted his longer list of thread links, along with his own speculations about MR's motives.

    Is there anything wrong with any of the thread topics in RPenner's longer list? (I posted my gloss on each of them up above.) Apart from the last, the only thing that can intelligently be said against them is that in a couple of cases, the thread titles were provocative. (In one of those cases, the title wasn't MR's invention, it was the title of the article he had linked to.) Generally speaking, the original posts in the threads that were called out raised valuable and legitimate topics in a non-inflammatory way.

    Why was that MR's fault? Why not blame those who fight with MR just because he is MR? Why not blame the moderation that failed to prevent it and failed to keep these discussions on topic? If any of you have teaching experience, you know that teachers wouldn't allow this personal hostility stuff, the endless insults and emotional provocations, in their classrooms during class discussions. If all the rhetoric about this being a "science board" and about it hewing to a higher intellectual standard means anything, it has to start there.

    People who attack inoffensive and valuable threads MR starts because they think that he believes in "woo" aren't adding any intellectual content to the board, they are just adding hostility and discord. MR's critics need to be encouraged to raise their game, to explain in appropriate threads dedicated to the purpose, what they think "woo" is and what they think is wrong with it. They shouldn't be allowed to disrupt good threads devoted to valuable topics.

    Why not encourage the moderators to make gentle warnings when people post insults and ad-homs? Then issue points or whatever it is you people do if individuals don't quiet down and raise their rhetorical game above the primary-school play-yard? Try to promote a minimal academic standard around here.

    I think that ideally, moderators should have at least an elementary understanding of the subjects they moderate. You can be damn sure that many of the board's discussion participants won't. So if somebody seems to be grieviously misunderstanding a basic principle, explain it to them (and to everyone else, who could probably use the information too). That never seems to happen in the philosophy of science discussions. Instead we have moderators strutting around boastfully while contributing to the general stupidity. (I'm not talking about RPenner here, I think you know what I'm referring to.)

    Why wasn't that done in the smart and inoffensive threads linked to up above? Why the hypocritical sliding standards where some people can seemingly say anything, while others are gone if they offend anyone? Why all the concern for defending the honor of science from any perceived insult or skepticism? (Science isn't going to collapse in a heap if somebody raises some questions about it.) Why all the concern about fighting "woo"? Why all the talk about higher intellectual standards being upheld on Sciforums if those standards aren't the board's concern? Why have moderators preaching about 'evidence' and 'logic' and so on? (Often with little understanding of those things themselves.) Moderators are already trying to shape Sciforums' content. They just aren't doing it very well.

    I think that moderators should contribute more than seeing to general decorum. (And as I argued above, they aren't doing that effectively.) Moderators need to know a little about what they are talking about and need to be able to communicate it well, without preaching, lecturing or talking down. It can start with simple things like moderators making smart technically informed posts in which they define the terms they are using. That's a painless and inoffensive way of introducing issues that many readers may not have even thought of.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  23. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    Wrong.

    First of all, you ignore Magical Realist's threat to file a report of wrongful behavior against paddoboy for the "crime" of alleging that MR posted a new thread substantially similar to the above. Such a charge isn't just baseless, it's refuted by MR's history. That was the sole reason for posting those links, to save moderation time for issues created by MR.

    Second, what's wrong is that all MR's posts in this thread were originally off-topic and in the main science forums where special policy applies. http://www.sciforums.com/threads/ex...from-posting-in-the-science-subforums.144700/
    Thus there is need to remove the off-topic posts to salvage the thread and stem further predictable behavior giving rise to moderator action.

    So what is being criticized is not ideology but behavior — it is actually the role of moderators to judge behavior with respect to the communicated forum aesthetics. From behavior humans naturally infer and ascribe motives, but I have no axe to grind with MR past his post-by-post behavior. A history of being burdensome and where the last post was a promise to be burdensome while operating under a refutable claim of having no similar threads in his history.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
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