The Importance of Pseudosciences

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Asexperia, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    Interesting point. I suppose a "law" is usually an empirically verified pattern or relationship in nature, often quantitative and frequently given the name of the person who enunciated it. So it can be seen either as a summary of observations (which are a matter or fact) or as the first step towards building a theory out of a set of observations.

    But even "laws" can be shown to be false or only approximations. After all Newton's 2nd law does not survive contact with relativity - or at least has to be modified (re-expressed in terms of relativistic momentum) in order to do so. And Newton's law of gravitation is shown to be inaccurate, and is completely replaced, in GR.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    670
    You really have a gift for mangling science. Please dispose of dead brain cells properly.
     
    Michael 345 likes this.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    Can you explain what is mangled?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,314
    While I agree with the principle you're making, I too think that's an overstatement.

    Many theories are now fact.
    The theory of evolution is an empirically observable fact. (what is still theory is Evolution by natural selection).
    The germ theory of medicine is fact. (We now have sensors powerful enough to see then and watch them operate)
    The atomic theory of matter is fact. (ditto)
     
  8. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    670
    Not to you.
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,314
    His post 81 is about as concise and one can get. Was there something there that didn't make sense?
     
  10. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    192
    Well explained. Does it also apply to medical science?
     
  11. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    192
    All understandings and introductions of science.
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    I see.
    ..... [click]....
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    The evolution one has come up before. I would contend that if something is an observable fact it is an observation, not a model and not a theory. (As you rightly point out, the concept of evolution by natural selection is a theory, and that I think is what is generally meant, when people today speak of the Theory of Evolution.)

    The germ "theory" of disease is perhaps a case of something that was originally, several hundred years ago, a theory, but is now an observed fact, due to the development of microscopy etc. Atomic theory is close to that status too perhaps (though I was taught 6th form physics by an excellent teacher who professed himself agnostic about the existence of molecules.)

    Perhaps hard cases make bad law, but I think I stick to my guns, your counterexamples notwithstanding. I quote Stephen Jay Gould on the subject: " "...facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world′s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts."
     
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    Of course.

    But be careful not to draw the false conclusion that rubbish like homeopathy or reflexology is therefore on an equal footing, in some way, with proper medicine. The theories used in proper medicine are very strongly evidence-based, so while they can't be proved, in the strict logical philosophical sense I have been taking about, there is very good evidence for them. For obvious safety reasons, there are highly rigorous requirements for evidence before medical theories are put into practice.
     
  15. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    192
    Yes but when both are unproven, whether side affects from both should not be one major deciding modality? One gives more affects and more side affects, other lesser affects and lesser side affects. In this sense, will they both not balanced to provide net benefits?
    We can also do rough estimation in percentage. Can you give rought idea?
    Say, 1.non proven scientific: Real effects+placebo. - side effects - misc factors i.e. cost, ease, misprescription, negligences etc. 2. Non proven non scientific:.real effects+placebo +- side effects, +- misc. factors.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    There is no point whatsoever in a drug without side effects, if it doesn't work. One might as well dispense pure water!

    Oh sorry, that's what people actually do in homeopathy.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    192
    It is not like unproven agent, as you told commonly about science. Moreover nothing can be said for sure till scientific understandings become absolute and final.
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    Scientific understandings are seldom absolute and final. We go on the best evidence we have.
     
  19. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    192
    Hence, still doubtful.
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,314
    Yeah. I was going to follow up with something akin to this.

    Theories, generally, are models. They model what we observe. But in that sense, they are abstracts - they cannot be 'proven' because a model can always be refined. It is impossible, even in principle, to "prove" such things as evolution occurring by natural selection, or Einsteins Relativity, because they're not things in the real world.
     
    exchemist likes this.
  21. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    670
    Gravity is a fact.

    How it works is currently a theory.

    Saying gravity works because because angels push things together is unsupported pseudoscience.
     
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    Just so.
     
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,637
    No, that is tendentious. "Doubtful" implies there are reasons to think something may be wrong.

    Whereas what we have, with most scientific theories, is no reason to think them wrong (and in some cases we have reasons to think they have limited applicability). It is merely that we cannot prove them absolutely right.

    That does not make them "doubtful".
     

Share This Page