The Importance of Pseudosciences

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

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,847
    Why should "natural" be "truth?" Those are two different concepts.
    1) Many seeds (like orange seeds) are not viable. You can't plant them and get a robust orange tree.
    2) The seeds are thrown out anyway.

    From that perspective, fruits are no better or worse than vegetables or grains.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    459
    Let us do our natural duty and leave rest on nature to take care. Obiously, if we are not living in natural environment, we may need some unnatural work to effect that.

    Fruits should be different than vegetables & grains.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Michael 345 Looking for Bali in Nov Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,691
    The gentleman has odd ideas about the Universe from which come the odd definitions

    Like the meme

    If you want intelligent answers from the Universe you must ask intelligent questions

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,847
    Why?
     
  8. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    459
    Because they have a natural purpose of seed dispersal and such ripened that they fall from the plants themselves. Non fruit vegetables are not yet and grains are seeds meant to grow into new plants, fruit pulp not.
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,847
    Vegetables and grains are the natural foods of rabbits, squirrels, mice, birds, deer etc. Do we think we are better than nature?
     
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,803
    You are just inventing your own religion.

    You're making arbitrary calls about the "purpose" things should and should not have.
     
  11. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    459
    Because "Simply, logical discussions for better or final understanding". I tend to understand dynamic natters because since routine matters are very well available on internet, no use to discuss those.
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,803
    There's nothing logical about them; they're arbitrary personal, subjective opinions.

    If they were logical, you would be able to get someone other than yourself to say 'Ah. I see how you got from A to B, I might have made the same connection.'
     
  13. KUMAR5 Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    459
    Those should be dynamic matters not otherwise. Most people may tend to discuss routines. How dynamism then can be discussed?
     
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,077
    true. the importance of pseudoscience is that there is a beginning to a new avenue of discovery or explanation, in which there will always be a rough start with mistakes along the way, until it's all understood.
     
  15. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,547
    And there will be dead ends and blind alleys, those predominating the "field" and slowing down progress and creating self-perpetuating fallacies and cultish thinking that will keep all those problems from going away.
     
  16. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,226
    You have responded here to post 5 of this thread, posted on 5th Nov. We are now at post 131. If you had read what was in between you might have seen that attempts were made at defining pseudoscience that dealt with Yazata's discomfort.

    I made the following attempt at how to distinguish pseudoscience from science:

    " The defining characteristic of pseudoscience, surely, is an idea or system of ideas that claims to be science while lacking one or more of science's core elements. To put these at their simplest, the would be the creation of models of the physical world that are testable by means of objective observation of it.

    Pseudoscience may involve ideas that do not relate to the physical world, or ideas that cannot even in principle ever be tested, or subjective evidence and uncorroborated anecdote. But the key is that it has these inadmissible features while purporting to be science. "

    From this it is clear that discarded scientific hypotheses do not fall into the category of pseudoscience, so long as they met the criteria for science at the time. By contrast, bogus ideas exist today, such as homeopathy and intelligent design creationism, which fail to satisfy the criteria for being science, while claiming that they are science.

    What you describe about rough start etc is fair enough if we go back to the beginning of modern science at the Renaissance. The methodology to follow and the criteria to use were not clear back then. But now, they are, and there is no excuse for relying on notions that have no basis in evidence and/or cannot be tested.
     
    Michael 345 likes this.
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,814
    The 'pseudoscience' might conceivably involve the recognition of a new class of phenomenon that needs to be better understood. The first step would seem to be to collect observations about it (the bigger and more diverse the data-set the better) and to form very early hypotheses about what's happening. As we see with the histories of all the sciences, from Hippocratic medicine and Aristotelian physics through astrology and alchemy, those earliest hypotheses might turn out to be woefully mistaken in the light of later ideas. But that's part of the process.

    Astrologers did valuable service by closely observing and by trying to predict the motions of the heavens, which laid the foundation for the work of people like Kepler (himself an astrologer) and subsequently Newton and his followers. My point is that people would have been less likely to even think of the motions of the little dots of light in the night sky as an important scientific problem if astrology had never existed. For thousands of years astrologers were the ones with the most complete and accurate data on what happened in the heavens. Their hypotheses (the Earth being subject to the heavens) and their motivations (predicting the most auspicious times for doing things) were subsequently abandoned, but astronomy might never have existed without them.

    I do think that today's intellectual heretics and non-conformists should probably begin by trying to clarify and define the phenomenon that interests them without prejudging its nature. Then they should collect all the data that they can about it. They can try to form testable hypotheses, but at the earliest stage in a proto-science, that might be premature. The earliest hypotheses are almost certain to be wrong. So I'm inclined to think that data collection might be the most valuable service at this stage.

    It's conceivable (more than conceivable, it's very likely) that some of these purported phenomena might turn out to not exist objectively at all. But the thing is, we don't yet know that. Our woefully misnamed "skeptics" (they are nothing of the sort) simply dismiss the existence of everything they don't believe in because they don't believe in those things.

    But consider UFOs. Even if it eventually turns out that none of these are alien spaceships, that doesn't invalidate the existence of the UFO phenomenon. Alien spaceships is just one interpretation of a phenomenon that is indisputably real. Countless people report mysterious visions in the sky, and probably have been doing it since paleolithic times. What changes are the interpretations, from animistic nature spirits, to visions of God, Christ and the Virgin, to chugging steam-punk airships in the late 1800's, to alien spaceships (since the 1950's). People say they see what they are culturally-primed to say they see. But what (if anything) was it, really? Arguing against alien spaceships just discredits one interpretation, not the phenomenon of heavenly visions itself.

    Even if there's nothing objectively there, the phenomenon still stands, except now as a social-psychological phenomenon and a phenomenon of popular mythology. That's still exceedingly interesting since it might cast new light on the origins of religions out of popular street-level folklore.

    But having said all that, I don't think that the 'pseudo-science' will actually arrive at the status of a fully developed science until it not only produces explanatory hypotheses that can be confirmed by others, but also stimulates new unanticipated avenues of investigation whose results display consistency and (even stronger) consilience with things that are already known by different means. ('Consilience' is when distantly-related avenues of research lead to the same result, such as fossil evidence and genomics suggesting the same phylogenetic ancestry for a kind of organism.)

    But even if the new avenue of interest and investigation isn't a full-fledged science, doesn't mean that it isn't useful, instructive or valuable.

    I personally wouldn't include the so-called 'social sciences' in the same epistemological or methodological class as the natural sciences. These ostensible "sciences" deal with the imagined interactions of many things blithely said to exist but whose objective ontological status remains questionable: society, social relations, community , power, authority, testimony, institutions, norms, rules, culture, custom, convention, ethics, good/evil, art, beauty, development, human flourishing, reason, ideas, meanings, logic, mathematics, scientific method, and countless more. None of these seem to have the same kind of reality as physical objects nor do they enter into the same kind of causal relations.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
    birch likes this.
  18. birch Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,077
    well, that's a given and that's the imperfect way existence works here. it's pretty obvious that some prior beliefs or theories would be amended or discarded down the line with new discoveries, some may never be able to be tested,, some will eventually be proven to be bunk, and some have a mix of fact and fiction that further needs revision and clarification.
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,803
    While true, note that astrology preceded the modern scientific method. So, in the absence of science, astrology was the best they had. They did great at observation (of planets), but not so great at modeling an explanation for what they saw - certainly not one that was testable.

    eg.: Pre-science, it was generally just assumed that heavier bodies fell faster. It wasn't until Galileo did his tower of Pisa experiment in the 16th century, that the idea of bodies falling at the same rate was empirically recognized. It is still recognized centuries later as symbolic of a moment when actually doing the experiments proved to be better than assuming.

    So, now that we have a structure by which the universe can be rationally examined, there is no purpose to continuing (or re-creating) fields that are not based on rational deductive logical scrutinization.
     
    exchemist likes this.
  20. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,547
    And some will poison the system and hold back advances for years to centuries. That's the poison pill in "belief over science."
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,814
    I'm not convinced that a single "scientific method" exists or that it is what distinguishes all instances of true science from non-science. And is the scientific method self-justifying (and hence circular)? Or is the scientific method unscientific?

    I'm not convinced that science and astrology can be so cleanly distinguished. See this extraordinary book (link below), particularly chapter 4 (which begins on page 85 in this version) which discusses what the author calls the "Prediction of Celestial Phenomena (PCP) Paradigm... It is to be distinguished from the EAE Paradigm [the earlier form of Mesopotamian divinatory astrology] as it incorporates for the first time, I argue, methods whereby certain celestial phenomena can be predicted to a high level of accuracy." This kind of astology/astronomy produced accurate predictions of astronomical events using algebraic techniques, in the form of lunar and planetary ephemerides, almanacs and what are termed mathematical-astronomical texts (MAATs). These people could predict eclipses (some of their entries say "to be looked for" and there are predictions of eclipses in parts of the world not visible from Mesopotamia.

    "Most important is the evidence that they intended to predict them,[planetary phenomena] and that they felt confident enough to write to the king and tell him of their calculations. Their reputations were at stake when they did this. The Scholars were interested and capable of regulating the luni-solar year, and they had available to them both the accurate records of eclipses and planetary phenomena, and the characteristic periods after which they recurred. Their Letters and Reports show that some of them made predictions of planetary behaviour, using, at the very least, a characteristic period for Venus and some model of lunar velocity, and probably the Saros for eclipses."

    https://www.scribd.com/document/354817791/David-Brown-Mesopotamian-planetary-astronomy-astrology-pdf

    https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsaros/SEsaros.html

    They made predictions, they informed the king of those predictions, and it would have been noticed in the palace if their predictions weren't accurate. But separating the astronomical aspects of what they were doing from the astrological is probably anachronistic. It would be reading our own distinction back into how they conceived of their work and what motivated them to do it.

    It's true that these ancient astrologers/astronomers didn't have a physical model of how the planets were moving up there in the sky. They were satisfied with 'saving the phenomena', with predicting when planets would appear in particular places on the dome of the night sky (in various constellations or whatever).

    The Greeks under Alexander the Great eventually conquered Mesopotamia and Greeks had a more geometrical and less algebraic sensibility. So the Hellenistic Greeks went to work trying to create physical models of how everything moved like clockwork so that everything would be in the right place at the right time. So they produced elaborate orreries and astronomical computers such as the Antikythera mechanism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orrery

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

    The Greeks also produced highly precise forms of mathematical geocentric astronomy, with its (in)famous heavenly spheres and epicycles. In the 16th century this kind of astronomy was still just as accurate as Copernicus' new heliocentric astronomy and for years astronomers felt that geocentric and heliocentric astronomy were basically equivalent, just alternative models for predicting astronomical observations. Even today, planetarium projectors are based on the old geocentric system. It's that accurate.

    Today we are in essentially the same situation with quantum mechanics. We have several very accurate ways of predicting quantum measurement outcomes (Schroedinger's wave mechanics and Heisenberg's matrix mechanics) but we still lack a physical model (a quantum mechanical interpetation that permits us to understand what's actually happening down there on the microscale to make all the observations come out as they do.

    Physicists today basically just trust their mathematics, they make observations, turn the mathematical crank, and predict further observations. It works very well. But today's physicists are once again in the position of the ancient Meopotamian astronomer/astrologers, without the divination but with lots more quantum weirdness.

    My point is so did they. Their system allowed them to make testable predictions, just as theoretical physicists do today. When the Greeks tried to go beyond that, they created hypotheses that were almost universally rejected by later science. (The heavenly spheres and the epicycles. The spherical Earth has survived unscathed though.)

    I'm most definitely not suggesting that we revive astrology. I'm just suggesting that it wasn't without value in its historical context and it wasn't totally irrational either.
     
  22. Michael 345 Looking for Bali in Nov Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,691
    Yes it was irrational. And it has no need of being revived since it still exists in the "stars" section of magazines

    In regard to the predictions I really do not know which predictions were made and the accuracy quotent

    My guess would be the ones involving affairs of state and such were reasonably correct from reading the mode of the population

    Those regarding earthquakes etc would be hit and miss with the misses being explained away by someone incorrect reading of the celestial bodies

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     

Share This Page