What is it about woo that upsets you?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    16,587
    Sure. The ultimate example out there in woo-land is the Wedge Strategy by the Discovery Institute, an attempt to make creationism sound "science-y." First they dressed it up with a new name - intelligent design - to make it appear that it is more a field of study than a religious belief. In their Wedge Document (later found and published) they said they were doing this to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies" and to "replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God." To do this, they would "seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidences that support the faith, as well as to popularize our ideas in the broader culture." Which meant coming up with pseudoscientific arguments that evolution represents an impossible level of complexity, for example.

    Here on sciforums the ultimate example, in my mind, would be FatFreddy, who constantly injects scientific half-truths into arguments to try to make them sound more plausible. For example, he will hear that the Moon has no atmosphere and thus no blue sky - so where are the stars in all the pictures from the Moon? He will find a video showing a test of a rocket engine on Earth damaging concrete - so why didn't the Lunar Lander's descent engine damage the Moon? He will read that there's no air on the moon - so how could the flag ever wave? So they all must be fake.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,326
    No, it can't. Dave was correct in his statements. Very little can be "proven" other than parts of Geometry, for example.

    You are using "proven" in a "layman's" context but science isn't really about proving something.

    This is similar to people saying Evolution is only a theory. A theory, as it's used in science, is as close to a proof as it gets. A hypothesis is what some people are really thinking of when they hear the term theory. A theory, in science, requires a lot of confirmation. A hypothesis does.

    A proof, would mean that there is no chance that it would be wrong.
     
    Yazata and exchemist like this.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,365
    I disagree.
    Einstein proved the doppler effect (a potential of SR).

    "two observers a distance apart standing along a railway track with sound recording equipment. A train moving at high speed between them, while blowing it's whistle, which each observer is recording from their POV.
    The next day the observers talk and remark on the pitch of the train whistle.
    Observer A (train receding); "My recording shows the pitch of the whistle is a "c".
    Observer B (train approaching) ; "My recording shows the pitch of the whistle is a "d".

    Question ; "who is correct?, who is lying?, what is the true pitch of the train whistle? "
    Answer; both are wrong but are telling the truth. the true pitch of the whistle (at rest) is "d flat" ("c sharp")

    A perfect example of the concept of Relativity, a natural mathematical equation, emerging from looking at a specific pattern from two or more relative observations.
    Well that is a pretty esoteric argument. If a motorcycle's engine appears to have a higher pitch when it is coming toward you and then emitting an instantly lower pitch as it moves away from you, it produces in the observer a mathematical equation, the Doppler Effect. It is a measurable mathematical functional of universal potential in how reality can be experienced from different perspectives (all physical perspectives).
    It's really beautiful and far from banal.
    You won't me hear saying Evolution is Theory (even as defined by science). IMO Evolution is a Factual Universal Constant providing an abundance of measurable and codifiable values and functions to account for scientific observation and symbolization .

    Why do you believe I underestimate the logical poetry of the potential and expressed physical mathematical relative values and their interactive functions all around us in our reality?

    Humans hallucinate their reality and when we agree on our hallucination, we call it reality.
    But recording instruments are reliable methods of recording and codifyinf physical phenomena.
    No, that's a false argument.
    In fact we do have several qualifiers in science which account for a probabilistic "unknown", which may provide the only exception to a universal constant or mathematical rule.

    OTOH, we have overwhelming evidence of say, Gravity (by any other name). It is an aspect of reality and we can describe the mathematical chronologies and hierarchical patterns which beome expressed in observable form from the effects of Gravity.
    That is no longer theory (by any definition), Gravity exists. The only question is, do we understand it sufficiently? Leibnitz, Newton? Einstein? Bohm? Tegmark? All of the above?
    We use the term Theory because we recognize that humans are capable of imagination and can invent imaginary realities and we don't trust our own imaginations.

    But, it cannot be doubted that there are certain mathematical constants. equation which hold under all circumstances. Common denominators shared by all things.

    A fact does not go away when you deny it or when you express doubts about its true nature
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Fact
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    No you are using sloppy thinking.

    In science, only observations can be facts. The Doppler effect is an observed fact. It is consistent with SR. However that does not "prove" SR is correct, just that its account of the Doppler phenomenon is a good one. There could - in principle at least - be other phenomena discovered that do not fit SR.

    You need to distinguish always between observed facts and the theories we use to account for them.
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    Indeed woo can take many forms, and the vaguer and more mysterious the ideas can be made to appear, the better the woo. I can see you are, as you say, quite good at it. The bringing in of the extraneous idea of light versus dark, and the cod-philosophical, vaguely mysterious, "Ah so Glasshopper" type question you ask about them, are a nice example of how to introduce woo to a discussion.

    The scientist , by contrast, would answer the question in a way that demystifies it by saying "light" is just the word we give to visible electromagnetic radiation, whereas "dark" is the word we give to its absence. So clearly, the existence of light does not depend on dark.
     
    Yazata and Write4U like this.
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    I think that's too broad. What you are describing, I think, is pseudoscience.

    Woo, I think, is a subset of pseudoscience characterised by vagueness and mystery: it seeks to mystify, rather than demystify as science does. Deepak Chopra is perhaps the archetype to keep in mind.
     
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,365
    Is that an assumption or are there viable arguments proposed?
    I understand the required caution in a subject which still has several unknowns. But there are also known and observed areas and observation confirms they are representative of universal constants at a fundamental level.

    You cannot argue that because we are unable to account for every possible unknown phenomenon, constants cease to exist. Facts happen, even without our observation. Theory or not.

    Is that not one of the Deterministic aspects of the way things work in the Universe?
    Would any other explanation not present an argument for Indeterminism?

    Or is Probability sufficient to account for variable local conditions?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    Now you are starting to talk your usual balls again, borrowing terms from maths and misusing them. Constants, schmonstants.

    Look: a confirmed observation cannot be disputed. It's a fact. A theory to explain it, however, may explain that observation but may fail to explain a different class of observation. That is why an observation that agrees with a theory does not prove the theory.

    Newton's laws of motion are the obvious example. They explain almost everything we observe in mechanics - until you get to things that are very small like atoms, or relative motion that is close to the speed of light, at which point they fail. Badly. So are they "proved" or "disproved"? See? The concept of "proof" is not helpful and cannot be applied.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,365
    It is not "good" , it is THE codification of the observed phenomenon. Unless the maths are flawed, it is a perfect description of the phenomenon. Wave compression relative to the point of observation.
    Doppler equation

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    How can you alter that ?

    E = mc^2 . What can be substituted for this fundamental equation of a fundamental fact of universal energetic potential?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    Crap. This shows your sloppy thinking again (and your continued pathological misuse of the P word).

    You tell me whether Newton's laws are "proved" or not and why. Then we can discuss.
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,365
    Are you proposing that the existence of possible multiverses would alter this fundamental equation?

    I use the term potential as the broadest fundamental common denominator shared by all possible dynamic states.

    Potential, noun = That (value or function) which may become reality
    potential, adjective = latent or expressed ability to do work
    On earth Newton's laws are true. Einstein extended them, but that does not invalidate Newton's fundamental fact, accurately described in Relation to his observation of the effects of gravity on earth.

    Every season a bunch of apples fall down from the tree, not up into the sky. Gravity( by any other name). Is there a single instance in a few millions of years of apple trees, where apples did not fall to the ground?

    Call it a simple argument but truths are rarely complicated. Occam's razor holds as a universal constant.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    Gibberish. I'm out.
     
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,365
    Ok. but I don't think I'm proposing woo.........

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    .
    This is a philosophy sub-forum.......

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,878
    Wait a minute. Can we discuss the term ''proof,'' for a moment? Proof in its simplest form, is evidence to justify one's belief in a claim. Why must it be absolute, to be considered proof? (from a scientific perspective)
     
    Write4U likes this.
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,365
    It is a scientific cautionary mechanism against "unforseen complications. And that's fine.

    But at the same time we can point to a circadian rhythm, a rudimentary mathematical function based on earth's orbit around the sun, for which abundant proof is available.
    That's not theory, that is fact and regulates a major part of organic life on earth.

    It is the fact that all other planets most likely have their own separate and different circadian rhythms that renders earth based circadian rhythm a theory. Same as Newton's theory of earth's gravity, which is completely adequate for earth based gravitational phenomena, but needs modification when applied to Einstein's definition of gravity n Relativity.
    It does not seem to make a big functional difference. We use Newton's mathematics which work just fine and are proof of their functional mathematical precision.

    As Antonsen explains, anything that can be equated (x + x = 2 * x) is mathematical truth (patterns) viewed from different perspectives.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  19. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,795
    "What is it about poo that upsets you?"
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,247
    The Doppler Effect is an observed phenomenon. Einstein didn't prove it.
    SR is a model. It predicts how things can be expected to behave, but models don't get proven; they simply get used because they work.
     
  21. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    No that's not what proof is. Proof is far more than mere evidence. To prove something is to show that it is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from a set of information.

    It is a particularly useless idea in science. History shows that our theories are a series of increasingly accurate models of physical reality, but that however successful a model may be at one point in history, there is always the possibility of later on finding further classes of phenomena that show it to be wrong or incomplete, e.g. Newtonian mechanics. For this reason you will hardly ever find anyone with a science education speak of a theory being "proved". It is hubristic and just asking to be shown to be wrong. What you will find is people speaking of a theory being "corroborated" or being shown to be "successful", or sometimes even "validated".

    But as Karl Popper pointed out, it is impossible to prove a theory of science "true": the best you can do is show it passes tests that could in principle falsify it. But none of us know what further kinds of tests may lie in the future!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  22. wegs With brave wings, she flies . . . Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,878
    Okay, gotcha. So the ''best'' we can do in terms of science, is provide supporting evidence for a theory. Basically then, is it valid to say that everything science does, is preliminary?

    billvon - I must have missed ''FatFreddy'' but there have been similar members in the past who would sprinkle some truth into their woo, enough to be provocative, but ultimately, they were trolling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,692
    Sort of. Not exactly "preliminary", but definitely not final. It is sometimes said that in science, all truth is "provisional". I think "provisional" is a good word for it.

    I think this is a useful guard against hubris, especially bearing in mind some of the rather gung-ho TV pundits like de Grasse Tyson and so on, who seem to me to have an inappropriate degree of swagger about some of their pronouncements.
     
    Yazata and wegs like this.

Share This Page