Discussion: The Scientific Method is useless

Discussion in 'Formal debates' started by James R, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. wellwisher Banned Banned

    One problem with the experimental empiricism aspect of science are the conclusions are not definitive points, but fuzzy points within a margin of error. If we use fuzzy conclusions as premises for logic, there is more than one angle that a line can have and still touch two fuzzy points.

    If the two points were shape points, there is only one possible line. But two fuzzy points allows many lines dependent on the degree of fuzzy. What this does is allow a special effect in logic. if we use enough fuzzy points and pick certain angles between these fuzzy points, we can lead the line to conclusions we want to be true. It is true, but in the margin of error that is compounding. The trick is to pitch the premises as solid points, so the fuzzy dice premises are not seen. it has to be global warming; the fuzzy dice are made to look like sharp points for logic.

    Let me give an example of this special effect. If we look at the orientations of democrat and replublican, both sides contain truth, but neither side contains the entire truth. That means the premises of each are fuzzy dice, since the denial of truth in the other POV, creates an uncertainty within the conclusions.

    These fuzzy dice allows both sides to reason, with what they assume and preach are sharp premise points. But in reality they are fuzzy dice. Each side can see this in the other, but can't see that they are doing it.

    To get sharp points one would need to reconcile both POV at the same time, which specialists are not able to do. The perfect democrat would be the last one who could reconcile with the republican POV. Someone on the fence has a better shot, since he is not as beholden. But on the fense and on the outside will not have as much say. The trick is perpetuated.
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  3. AlphaNumeric Fully ionized Moderator

    That isn't a 'problem' with experimental empiricism any more than it is a problem with reality. We can't know anything exactly or for certain, everything in our experience has a margin of error because we aren't perfect.

    Not really. This is something dealt with in a direct way in such things as linear regression. You have measurements of some process but you know it's got noise/errors in the measurements, how can you recover the best underlying fit for the data? The more measurements you make the better your fit. You only need to look at things like least squares methods to see that. An impressive example of how the incorporate measurements into your model and update your predictions is the Kalman filter. The principle allows you to include noise in both your model and your measurements and still update your predictions in a manner which gets more and more precise as more measurements come in, even if your measurements consistently contain noise.

    Hardly. Firstly any good experimental project will spend considerable time trying to quantify model errors, ie simplified equations will be less accurate but faster to solve, measurement errors, systemic errors and other errors. They will then be analysed to compute what the total uncertainty in the results is when you combine all the uncertainties. This is a very large area of research in science as it's important to all of science. Secondly, the error bars get smaller as more data comes in, more models are processed, more independent experiments are done, more overlap and corroboration occurs between different data sources. Thirdly, the media never properly presents scientific research. Newspapers don't tell their readers the margins of error, the confident limits, the standard deviations, the readers don't care or wouldn't understand. If you get your scientific findings direct from journals and not exaggerated news articles you'd see the error bars receive considerable attention.

    Except that they argue about political ideologies, which are subjective and heavily opinion based. Politics is not science and the fact you went to that as your example says a lot about how skewed your view of science is. Many Republicans, particularly those who have run or are running for the Republican ticket don't believe in evolution. That isn't a matter of opinion or science saying one thing and perhaps creationists have a point, evolution is a fact, change over time in populations is a fact. The theory of evolution by natural selection is the model which explains the fact and which has huge amounts of evidence. All this nonsense about 'its only a theory' is just ignorant bible thumpers pissing on their kids intellectual futures. Yes, there are error bars and occasional corrections but no matter how much you try to draw a different line through the fuzzy points you can't make the evidence point to a 6000 year old Earth.

    If you think the non-exact nature of experiments is analogous to disagreements between political parties you really don't grasp science at all.
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  5. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Any sane person knows that you never draw a curve from only two data points. Simply because you cannot know what what line is the correct fit.

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  7. wellwisher Banned Banned

    I was actually taking about reasoning, using the analogy that the premises of the reaso,ing were like points on a graph of cause (x) and effect (y). I was not talking about drawing a graph through data points collected by science.

    I also made a typo, the word shape was suppose to be sharp data points in contrast to fuzzy data points. These data points were implicit of the premises, used on a graph of cause and effect.

    Let me give an example, because this is often misunderstood. A definitive conclusion that can be used as a sharp premise point, for reason, is the earth's gravity pulls downward on the surface of the earth. We can run this experiment over and over with 100% certainty. If can use that conclusion as the premise for reasoning. Since this premise is a sharp point on the plane of cause and effect, it is hard to angle off; If I jump off the roof, since gravity pulls downward, I will fall downward. This is hard to argue in a nebulous way.

    A fuzzy premise point is easiest to see when you see the word risk. For example, there is a risk that eating apples will cause cancer. This may be true as worded. But it is also true, there is a risk it will not cause cancer and spoil a large governent program. Both conclusions are fuzzy and allos me at least two ways to angle with this premise.

    If I reason; I like apples and eat a lot of them. There is a risk of cancer if I eat apples with that risk compounding with every apple. Therefore I have a risk of apple cancer. If I never get apple cancer, this reasoing was not true even if we could pretend truth for years. This is not the same as jumping off the roof with 100 certainty of falling downward.

    The second example can be used for manipulation depending on the angle I use to touch the fuzzy premise. The first example only has a single straight line one can argue. Angles don't work well with sharp premises. But fuzzy premsies makes it easier to use angles.

    This is not about the value of the science. It is about using the results of science as premises for logic. This step is often out of the hands of science, but it can make rich fodder for political special effects. Science is trying to tighen up the fuzz with methods that were discussed, but the angulars are also getting better.
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    All of which just demonstrates that you don't understand probability and statistics.

    QED, the results aren't being used for logic.
  9. wellwisher Banned Banned

    I never said I was an expert in statistics, since I don't need a black box but prefer look inside instead. That is more for those less gifted at reason. You don't appear to know much about reason since what I said went over your head.

    Is there a set of rules in the scientic methods for science critics? Or can critics do anything they wish as long as they protect traditions? Do the rules change if you criticize the traditions.
  10. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Beside the point. What you HAVE done, as I stated, is show that you don't understand probability and statistics. At all.

    No. What you said was nonsense. But carry on with your fallacious suppositions.

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  11. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The scientific method is not useless, but it does have a key limitation. The scientific method is designed to help screen new ideas, by setting up a set of criteria that need to be met by the creator of the idea. This is good. But the scientific method does not have any criteria for the critics of the new ideas. There is no burden of proof required when you criticize a new idea. The creator has to go through a process, while the critic can appeal to emotion, if they chose, since there is no requirement that they present proof that their criticism is valid.

    I think the method needs an addendum to make sure criticism is constructive in the sense it adds to understanding one way of another. I would have to assume this was not included in the scientific method, since humans have other motivations beyond truth, with the rules of the critic making these other things easier.

    For example, Dywyddry says, I do not understand statistics. The scientific method for the critique does require any proof to back this up but allows this subjective statement to state as is. He can answer questions with question to avoid proof.

    If Dywyddry was introducing this as a new idea or concept in science, and not presenting it as a criticism, the method would require he satisfy a burden of proof. There is a dual standard, implicit of an unwritten irrationality.
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Totally wrong. Why should there be a burden of proof on the critic? It's up to whoever is proposing a new idea to show that it is correct. "Appeal to emotion"?? Examples please.

    Yet more misunderstanding.

    Also wrong. YOU have to show that you do in fact understand statistics in order to defeat the criticism. BTW, it wasn't a subjective statement since you did, in fact, demonstrate that you don't understand statistics with this:
    Still wrong. IF YOU are claiming something that runs counter to science and known, workable practise it is up to you to show that you are correct. I.e. I am pointing out errors in your work, not proposing anything new.

    Your whole diatribe betrays a sad lack of understanding of the process (and reality).
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    There is a difference between saying something is wrong and then throwing an insult and explaining the reasoning behind this opinion. The latter helps everyone be sure you actually understand and are not just pretending understanding. Criticism is the easiest way to pretend understanding.

    If you wish to do an experiment, present something I will not know and I will pretend to understand using the subjective art criticism. I may not be able to offer any logic for my criticism, but that is not required.

    Say you had a three year old, who needs to eat more vegatables. You may suggest to him/her that broccoli is good, by providing reasons why this is so. But since this is off the child beating path, they may say, no it is yucky. He is not providing anything other than an irrational reaction. He can also say it is all a lie and you need to do your homework. But if he could provide some evidence to back up his cliches, you would understand he has given it thought. It is not easy to tell the difference, unless there is evidence to support the criticism.

    I create a lot of ideas and have more experience with critics that almost anyone. I can tell the difference.
  14. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    The purpose of criticism is not to show that the critic understands, it's to point out that the claimant doesn't understand, or has missed something.

    And saying "it's yucky" isn't criticism. Again you make the mistake: since YOU made the claims it is up to YOU to support them. Trying to critique the critics is simply a diversion, and further betrays your own lack understanding.

    Obviously you can't.
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

    You are saying that valid and invalid criticism weigh the same, since it is not about the critics demonstrating he is not full of it. So, f someone was right but I wanted to pretend I was smart, since there is no burden on me to prove I am not full of crap, I can criticize truth and slide under the radar?

    What you are saying is the critic is immune to criticism so as long as you critique first? All this does is make loops in logic that do not add anything useful to the discussion. Why are you asking me question if you can't critic the critic? I criticized you first so I can't be questioned not do I have to demonstrate anything I say is valid or real.

    Here is how I look at it. The critic is more of a parasite. The critic does not have to explain anything since parisite is what it is. Whether you are a good parasite or bad paraiste is not relavant. The creator is the host, with the parasite needing a host so he can come alive. Feel free to tag along since I can support many parasites at the same time.

    If you even learn to be a host, I will contribute to that.
  16. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Not at all, since an invalid criticism can be shown as such by actually demonstrating that the criticised point is correct. It is up to the proposer to show their claim is right.

    Think about it. How does one know whether a given point of criticism is valid or invalid?

    Really? Where?

    If you learn anything it would help.
    Your "contributions" here generally consist of word salad, nonsense and unsupported speculation in equal amounts.
  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    If the critic does not have to support his comments, there is no way to tell whether the critism is based on science, politics or ignorance.

    One way to see the potential problems is, let us apply the open rules of the critic to science. In this case, you can say anything including emotional appeal and are not required to give, in the very least, rational argument. Science would not benefit by this since actors and politians and other professional con artists control science. Since anything goes, without restrictions, it is all about marketing.

    Once there is a requirement of evidence or at least logic, you filter out the politians and con artists, since they can't put up.

    The fact that science does not have any rules for the critic, tends to make me a little suspicisous. If there are no such rules, anyone can foot drag and delay to protect self interests.

    It is up to the creator to create a meeting of the minds, that is so fool proof,then even a fool can follow. Is this lack of law in place to protect people at the top who are not qualified to be there?

    May be you can explain how no rules for the critic helps science, beyond protecting specials interests?

    When I first started to write on forums, the moderators were very good at defining their scientific basis for criticism. This was educational for me and for others. The problem was I could generate ideas and/or change my angles so fast, based on what I would learn, it became too much work to keep up with me while being scientific. It was easier to just say yucky and be lazy.

    This change in approach led to irrational criticism by certain groups, like the atheists who liked to bully theists. I fought for a while and then found the best way to avoid the abuse was keep moving around to stay ahead of the jackels of science, that have no rules for criticism. But now I have decided to address this.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  18. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    If the criticism is shown to be invalid it doesn't matter what it's based.

    And how long will that criticism stand?

    And you're back to putting the onus onto others.

    In other words you agree with me. It is up to the creator (proposer) to make his proposal "fool proof" (i.e. valid and airtight) through the process of answering and refuting criticisms. Or maybe we should just say "Yeah, you're a smart guy, you said it, that makes it fool proof enough for me"?

    No, your problem is that you post without providing support for your claims (at the time OR later) and expect to be taken seriously (or maybe not, I don't know).
    A mere claim (especially without any given rationale) is worthless: and that is the basis on which you are criticised:
  19. wellwisher Banned Banned

    I thought it was interesting that there are no rules for science criticism in the scientific method. I was trying to figure out why the founding fathers of science gave so much slack to the critics to where even nonscientists and layman can qualify as a critic in science?

    One explanation is science is very dependent on others for funding. Most science research is funded by government and private sector. The boss is the person who holds the purse strings. Maybe the boss wanted the option to call the shots, even if he was only a beaurocrat. That sort of makes sense.

    To me, rules for the science critic, in par with the creators, would make the discussion more informative, since there would be scientific contribitions by both parties. Everyone could learn much more. But I realize the holders of the purse may be a bean counter and would feel slighted if excluded by formal rules.
  20. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Yes, congratulations. You've managed to completely ignore everything I said and introduce a total non-sequitur.

    Really, well done.
    It's not often (except on this forum) I see that level of total ignorance.
  21. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Your trying to play a semantic game of circular logic, while I am seeking the answer to why the slack standard for critics of science. I did not play your game and now your having a hissy fit.

    The dual standard of science stacked in favor of the critic. Do critics needs to cheat to win or could they play with a level playing field?

    The scientists might need resources to do his part of the bargain. The critic does not need resources nor does he even have to read what is presented to begin criticizing. You often recycle the same things.

    When I first started to write, I used to try to provide proof. But since there are no rules for critics, it seemed like too much work for a pack of protected trolls. I can do research, but since I present alot of idea for free, you get what you pay for. I decided to play by rules that were less strict than the method of science, but more fun for me. But it will still provide food for thought for those who are not insecure. This is still head and shoulders above the slack rules of the critics.
  22. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    On the contrary: you are ignoring what I wrote.


    One more time: how is valid criticism distinguished from invalid criticism?

    Give examples.

    Bullshit. You make unfounded claims based on wishful thinking and/ or ignorance.
  23. wellwisher Banned Banned

    You can not distinguish between these, if there are no rules.

    I can say "that is wrong". It will be more effective if I stick my nose in the air and act important. If I do not tell the reasons I say it was wrong, can you tell whether I am pretending to understand, or whether I know something but don't wish to share? You can't tell motivation or whether this is credible or not. You are left in limbo.

    Without rules for criticism, pretense and cynicism is the simplest way to practice, since the same tactic can be applied anywhere. If I had to explain my criticism, it will require specialty work on my part for each question. An explanation for my criticism can also turn the tables on me, since by offering an assertion, I can become vulnerable to critics who pretend. I may have to answer the question with a question as a defensive tactic.

    A good analogy is a food critic saying the food is not to his liking. That can be done with completely with pretense to get free meals. If the chef came out of the kichen and said, OK, come in my kitchen and cook the meal to prefection you prefer, so I can see, the critic would be seen as a sack of hot air. But since he can avoid this, he can linger on.

    I used to fight the atheist religion, because I felt sorry for the theists who would be attacked by the atheist dog packs. The defending of the underdog made me a target for harassment, allowing me to see the spectrum of critics. It was a good learning experience. Before I would take criticism to heart and try again assuming i was wrong. Now I don't give any credibilty to critics who will not back up their negative claims.

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