What is proof? What does it mean to 'prove' something?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by spinner981, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. river Valued Senior Member

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    What time-line is evolution based on?
     
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  3. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    The topic isn't evolution. The only reason I mentioned evolution was to illustrate that "proven" can mean "tested" (and passed the tests). The fact is that evolution has passed every test. If you have a problem with that, you can take it elsewhere.
     
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    No sub-forum in here is independent from the standards and operating assumptions of the overall theme of the board (science). Just ask paranormal folk (etc) who have posted in the Fringe section and tried in the past to discuss their subjects in the context of their own sub-cultural opinions / beliefs and evaluative template.

    As an investigation of all formal systems and an historical knowledge provenance for so many other disciplines and enterprises that splintered-off from or were influenced by it, philosophy arguably maintains a broader conceptual territory and deeper tank of interpretative options and alternate possibilities. But anything "straying too far" from the narrower domain of methodological naturalism (and what has fallen out of the process) can still be reprimanded in the philosophy section as much as anywhere else on the board.
     
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  7. spinner981 Registered Member

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    So then you are referring to all the aspects of the 'theory of evolution', ranging from empirically observed phenomena such as natural selection to happenstances that have not been observed empirically due to being incredibly unlikely given short periods of time, such as the genetic mutation of new functions/structures within an organism?

    I have a question though: What is the probability for such a mutation to occur (that is a mutation that introduces a new structure/function to an organism that didn't before posses it)?

    You will have to forgive me for not accepting your claim that the mere namesake (that includes a great many things, often dependent on whom is speaking about it) of something can somehow be tested and confirmed.
     
  8. spinner981 Registered Member

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    So, different thinking is finger wagged for not fitting the 'theme' of the board?
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I have argued in the past, and will do so now, that not all forums here lend themselves to scientific standards. The Fringe section is one. Others include Ethics, Religion, Politics, History, Art, and Philosophy. There is no way to force these areas of knowledge into some scientistic "one size fits all" mold. They are fields of knowledge in their own right, and do not owe anything to science in order to support themselves.
    The theme of Science is pretty much a fabrication of scientism. As if there is this overall methodology called Science that guides all scientists in their pursuit of truth. In reality "Science" with a capital S doesn't exist. Just like there is no monolithic "Religion" guiding all believers in religions. There are only distinct and separate sciences, each with their own methodologies and standards of verification. Invoking "Science" as THE way of knowing reality, of establishing fact, is almost a religious cult here. Much as Christianity invokes divine revelation as the method of knowing the truth. Truth is here defined as peer consensus, NOT as rational supportability. Don't rock the boat. Toe the line. Conform to the status quo. Etc and etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    And yet science and the application of the scientific method, has shown great success and advancements over the last 300 odd years.
    Perhaps the fact that science has shown aspects of your own many love childs, such as ghosts, goblins, Alien craft and the supernatural in general, as not aligning with the scientific method, nor actually aligning with any aspect of reasonable application of common sense, as the reasons why you are so fanatically anti science.
    Science works: Fact: Science exposes frauds: Fact: Science deals in models of reality based on observations, that continually improve over time.
    You of course not wanting to tow the line, as far as the reasonable and logical scientific method is concerned, is why you spend the majority of your time in the fringe sections.

    The rest of your post of course is just comical philosophical bullshit.
     
  11. spinner981 Registered Member

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    Yes, science works... when dealing within our natural universe and its inner working. What science hasn't been able to do though, is explain the origin of the universe, or the origin of life for that matter. To think that science is somehow this all powerful tool capable of defining all things in existence both inside and outside our universe, is foolish.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    If the sciences should ever return to their role as the explorers of the given unknown, opening their research to what is mysterious and opaque, they would discover a reality that would profoundly transform the human race. Till then, they shut out what is for what they want to be. And that is self-delusion. No less than religion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Since science has only recently come into its own, and out of the shadow of the church [300 odd years ago] I reckon we have made incredible achievements, particularly in cosmology with SR and GR and the BB.
    We may not as yet, know the exact why or how, but I believe we are firmly moving in that direction.
     
  14. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Your post of course is just comical philosophical bullshit.
     
  15. spinner981 Registered Member

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    Maybe, but maybe not, and the argument of "We'll figure it out someday." is an appeal to promissory science, similar to God of the gaps. On that note, as scientists try harder and harder to discover the mechanism behind abiogenesis, they realize more and more just how far away they are from the actual truth. It's like trying to reach the end of a bridge, but every time you get half of the way there you realize that the bridge is actually twice as long as you thought. The origin of the universe is similar, to the point where 'science' has had to resort to the enigma of the quantum level just to fill the gaps in their theories on how the universe could possibly exist apart from a supernatural explanation, even though we don't even currently know what causes quantum events to happen in the first place.
     
  16. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Oh look: you're making things up. Again.
    How can they "realise" that they're "further from the truth" if - as you claim - they don't know what the truth is?
    On the other hand...
     
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    As I pointed out to the previous dreamer, that is just a load of comical philosophical bullshit.
    If it weren't for science my dear man, you would still be in the dark ages.
     
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    spinner981:

    Not really.

    God of the gaps says "We don't know why X. Therefore God did it."
    Science says "We don't know why X. So we'll try to work it out. In the meantime, we admit we don't know the answer."

    See the difference?

    I'm not sure what your expertise is in biochemistry. I assume you must be an expert. Is it your expert assessment from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, then, that biochemists consider themselves to be getting further from the actual truth rather than closer to it? Do you have any references to the literature where I can read these conclusions for myself?

    In your expert opinion, do you think scientists will ever discover a natural mechanism for how life might have come from non-life? Or do you think that science will be forced to conclude, in the end, that "God did it"? Or do you think the origin of life will forever be an unsolved mystery?

    As I said above, scientists don't have to pretend to know why the universe exists. Scientists are quite happy to say "We don't have all the answers yet, but we're working on the problem." It seem to me that it is the religious people who claim to already have all the answers.

    But let's look at that a bit more closely. So God created the universe, you say. Ok then? Aren't you the least bit interested in how God did that? Wouldn't you like to know just how God tinkered with nature and its laws to create the universe that we see today? If so, then you're interested in science. Whether you happen to be religious or an atheist, you want to know the same answers.

    Saying "God did it" doesn't actually explain anything. The mystery of just how the universe came to be remains just as much a mystery as it ever was. How to you propose to get at the how by appealing to your belief in religion or God?

    Or do you think you have the how sorted? Do you believe in the bible story of Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden and all that? Is that literally how the universe came to be, do you think? If so, then much of what scientists think they know must be just plain wrong. Probably this whole naturalist approach is misguided. We should just all believe in the Magic of God instead.

    One final point: quantum theory is not an enigma. It is a scientific theory supported by evidence from the natural world. What causes quantum events to happen? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. They certainly appear random, within the bounds set by the theory. Do you think that "God made them happen" is a sufficient explanation, or do you still have questions you'd like answered once you decide that God did it?
     
  19. spinner981 Registered Member

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    "We don't know why X. But it's not supernatural because science will eventually figure it out, even if we don't know it yet. Thinking otherwise is unscientific." It's basically saying that science will figure it out, so any alternative proposition should be ignored.

    Yes, saying "God did it." doesn't explain much, but neither does "The big bang did it." which is usually the only response you can get from the average atheist, and answering the question of "What caused the big bang." isn't something anyone I've talked to has had an answer for. Furthermore, most christians/creationists do believe we know how God did it, because of what it says in the Bible. On that note, rejecting a possibility simply because it's easy, or because it doesn't suffice for the gee-whiz niche, doesn't make it inherently wrong.

    I do believe in science. I accept the vast majority of science. I only have a problem with a couple theories. But yes, naturalism, effectively, doesn't make much sense that it assumes a natural origin of the natural universe, basically claiming that the effect (the creation of all natural things) of a cause (the purely natural big bang) was the cause itself.
     
  20. spinner981 Registered Member

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    Not sure what you're trying to say. That science somehow can define all things in existence, even that which is outside of our natural universe that works off of fundamentally different principles?

    Nobody is suggesting that science is wrong, or bad, or to be questioned. Just that we need to realize that science isn't all powerful, and that we shouldn't be looking through a kaleidoscope of naturalism for the answers to all questions ever.
     
  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Even the strange beliefs of the lost Funga Vunka tribe could be a topic in the applicable sub-forum as long as they're examined or described in a detached manner similar to an anthropologist studying / cataloging them. Rather than like a passionate member of the tribe itself proclaiming them to be the case. Needless to say, some degree of coherence and point to introducing such subjects might also have to be expressed at times in their opening posts, to avoid them being shipped to cesspool. But that's not to suggest that most negative reactions will be from administration. Usually when things go awry the immediate responses will be corrective lectures, ribbing / ridicule, and informal lynchings from outraged, amused, or bored members.
     
  22. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    I'm in favor to call only the mathematical or logics style of proof a proof. These proofs are undeniably true, except when there was a mistake made in the proof. E.g. you can proof this way that the sum of the angles in a triangle in a flat geometry will always be 180 degrees, no matter what sort of triangle you take.

    I don't like the use of the word proof for anything else but this sort of proof.
     
  23. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I couldn't care less what you accept. The point is that a theory can be tested thoroughly even if every single possibility implied by that theory is not directly confirmed. You can confirm that somebody travelled from New York to Los Angeles without knowing the exact route he took from St. Louis to Kansas City.
     

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