What qualifies as science?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Jozen-Bo, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    What qualifies as science and (perhaps more to the point in this thread) is rejected as faux science is just whatever is espoused by a particular school of thought or a standard for distinguishing the two in philosophy of science. That can include a view that collectively embraces everything that has been featured by such multiple proposals (as long as they don't conflict). It's not like there's a prior in rank to "human thought and invention" answer that the world itself offers which some researcher or cataloguer of nature found under a rock or swimming in a stream. Distinct authorities may have their own preferences that they could wrangle over, or be very liberal, again, with a "bundle all the good-sounding ideas together" view.
     
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Plagiarism alert!

    The scientific (as opposed to philosophical) study of the roots and paths of knowledge is epistemics (1969). Related: Epistemological ; epistemologically.


    Or uh, How do we know what we know.
     
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  5. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    The answer is the question.
     
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  7. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    "What qualifies as philosophy?" Seems to also be getting answered now.

    sounds about right.

    How about:

    Expounding at great length on what is the 'truth' of things without defining what is the meaning of that particular word, or even taking the trouble to identify why one philosopher or another feel that they are qualified to do that, exactly? What is a test for pseudophilosophy or faux philosophy, if there is one?

    Chris Langan's (a career Los Vegas bouncer with a tested IQ over 200) CTMU would be a good example of a bad example, as in a pop philosopher with no tested or awarded prior expertise on the subject matter whatsoever.

    A degree in Philosophy of Science, or simply a degree in Philosophy would not, by itself, qualify one to do science or to expound on what science is, much less to actually do science. Yet I have seen such philosophical folk try to sell the idea that they can do just that with even fewer creditable credentials than Chris Langan, if that is possible.

    While I have the greatest respect for the ideas and subtle genius of Karl Popper, what really qualifies him in particular to say what is science and what is not? Philosophy need not follow the scientific method, or any other methodology or academic discipline other than to record who said such-and-such about what?
     
  8. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    What qualifies me to ask this?

    I have a bachelor's in physics and a master's in computer science, but spent most of my career doing R&D work in satellite telecom engineering for Intelsat at the former COMSAT laboratories in Clarksburg, MD.

    I'm the opposite of an autodidact like Chris Langan, and am also a member of American Mensa. When I say I am the opposite of autodidact, I mean, literally, I have either used or deconstructed all of the physics and philosophy, and whatever else this educational system has taught me. Some of it was useful, other bits not so much. The rubbish has been swept aside. If a textbook contains content that is rubbish, I can pick that up more quickly than most people now getting educated the same way I was.

    If you think Dewey was anything other than a con artist posing as an authority on the philosophy of education, it will be a very long time before you figure it out like I eventually did.

    Don't imagine that you necessarily get what you pay for in education. Take a harder look at what this idea did for Donald Trump. Literally all the man knows is that he wants to undo everything his predecessor did, and support anything Obama did not. Where do you suppose he learned to do this? Well, he didn't really learn anything, that's what. His degrees should be revoked. His supporters should lose their right to vote in a general election until or unless they can pass a simple literacy test.

    "Stupid" is not a fashion statement. Don't bother reading his books or attend Trump University, or watch re-runs of 'The Apprentice'. There are no good answers to anything in any of those.

    Scientific method grade: 10/10
    Philosophy grade overall: 0/10, IMO, not worth the effort to learn.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    They only temporarily "stole" a derivation of the older namesake. Empirics never had much currency beyond the school's former name (at Edinburgh). In 1973, Longuet-Higgins introduced the new label of "cognitive science" for the developing interdisciplinary approach, and the school later went mainstream by changing itself to The Centre for Cognitive Science. Today "empirics" is usage-wise akin to a quasi-archaic or deprecated term. Perhaps as rarely cropping up as, say, George Henry Lewes' "metempirics" back in the 19th century (unrelated).

    The assorted criterion or toolkits (like Popper's falsifiability) appealed to slash prescribed for dealing with the demarcation problem (distinguishing between science and pseudoscience) would no more be found innate / vestigial inside the brain or its evolutionary history anymore than outside it. Such are formulated by intellectual activity (regulated, critical thinking), not picked ready-made from fruit trees or discovered like an already existing moon of Saturn. It would be beyond outrageous and ridiculous if in the distant future the science community had members so naive or forgetful that they believed nature or the non-artificial section of the world historically handed-out out preconditions, guidelines, and formal dictates for the operation of various human enterprises (including science). Similar to how the Abrahamic God was claimed to in regard to issuing social / moral norms.

    - - - -
     
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  10. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Good one.

    Evolution is exactly the same kind of discovery as a moon of Saturn.

    Evolution already existed and perfected photosynthesis in plants, sexual reproduction in animals and the human brain before it was "discovered" to be a natural result of speciation by Darwin. Darwin knew enough of the scientific method to recognize a natural "control" for an experiment or a process he really had no practical control over.

    See what I mean when I say philosophy rates 0/10 as learning that is useful for anything?

    This is not really derailing "What Qualifies as a Science?" Philosophy simply doesn't qualify as a science. Is philosophy a pseudoscience then? No. Most of it is simply irrelevant. Someone should change that. Interested in how? Define what you mean by truth FIRST. Make a taxonomy of it or something similar.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  11. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Purely for sake of any confused passerbys: No, your reading comprehension skills are not deceiving you. The concerned party is indeed conflating evolution with "not [..] discovered like an already existing moon of Saturn". When the latter actually referred to the "The assorted criterion or toolkits (like Popper's falsifiability)...".

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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
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  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    As rulers dismissing economists and economics invariably enslave themselves to long dead and discredited economics, scientists who dismiss philosophers and philosophy invariably mire themselves in some defunct and deceptive inadequacy of philosophical thought centuries old.

    Human nature.
     
  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Okay. Let's cut to the chase. Is the scientific method falsifiable?

    What means would one use to test your assertion that it either is or is not falsifiable?

    Is your chosen means of testing the scientific method falsifiable?

    You're good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  14. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    And before you answer the above question as Popper himself no doubt would have:

    I would strongly advise the philosopher answering the question about the scientific method to define exactly what they mean by the word "truth" before attempting to explain exactly what "falsifiability" means. Otherwise, we are discussing undefined terms, and I take a dim view of philosophy as an area of learning and a discipline because of that very issue.

    Truth is a value, not an absolute, even in math. I have explained this in another thread. I will define it once again here:

    We value the math that allows us to divide ten apples between five friends or customers because it has survival value. But it fails to capture the whole truth about such a transaction. If I tell you that six of the ten apples have large unappetizing worms inside of them, and that one of the apples is poison, how does this change your reckoning? Because your math did not capture the whole truth, the numbers and the operation you did with them only contained a partial truth value, not the whole truth that is needed.

    Everything that is referred to as "truth" in nature is just like that example; good for some purposes, and bad or false for others. Everything you know, or think you know as truth is just like this, with only one exception I can think of.

    And "falsifiability", like "truth" is also a value, not an absolute. A scientific theory may only contain some truth, not all of it, just as a system of mathematical reasoning, as Gödel pointed out, is either inconsistent or incomplete, and the only theorem that is ever both complete and consistent in this universe is identified as Gödel's incompleteness theorem alone. That's because it handles both issues by means of a reduced scope of definition. It has no need of defining complete, incomplete, consistent, or inconsistent in order to be true, nor to test any other theorem in any other system of reasoning in order to be certain of its conclusion. Is it falsifiable? Oh, yes, you can believe it is that, unconditionally.

    A glass that is half empty was filled before it was emptied
    A glass that is half full was empty before it was filled

    Either you will learn more and more about less and less (specialist), or
    you will learn less and less about more and more (generalis), until
    You will either know everthing about almost nothing, or
    You will know almost nothing about everything.

    This summarizes all I ever wanted to know about philosophy for my entire life, and no philosophy course or philosopher ever covered any of it.

    Useless, isn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  15. Counter Registered Senior Member

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    The opposite of con-crete is pro-cre-ation.

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  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No. It's a method, not a premise or a claim or a finding. It has no truth value - or mass, or shape, or legal standing, or metrical foot,
     
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  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    The opposite of Pro-creation? Con- dom of course.

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  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think that the question "What qualifies as science" is the same question as "How are real and 'faux science' distinguished. That's because many things that don't qualify as science probably shouldn't qualify as false science either. They don't have any scientific pretensions at all. Literary fiction, music, dancing and the visual arts come to mind. Politics, ethics and religion. Driving to work. Getting money from the ATM. Buying a burrito. Trying to get laid.

    I think that physicists, chemists or molecular geneticists accept that other people really doing physics (or chemistry or molecular genetics) depending on how closely what the other person is doing resembles what the one making the judgement regards as paradigmatic cases of the practice of their science. Those exemplars of research and reasoning were often taught in their university training, expanded by following the literature after graduation.

    Is the other person addressing problems that are acknowledged to be problems within the scope of the science, are they employing recognized methods, are they employing accepted concepts?

    There may not be a whole lot of explicit justification provided for any of that. Scientists typically accept many of their foundations largely on faith, by copying others who came before them. They don't really analyze any of it very deeply, that's the job of the philosopher of science.
     
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think so.

    The moons of Saturn are places. They are huge physical objects. You can travel there and some space vehicles have. You can conceivably bring back samples.

    Evolution is a different kind of thing. It's a plausible unifying explanation for a whole host of biological observations, ranging from fossils, through biogeography and comparative anatomy, to molecular genetics. You can't actually pick up a piece of evolution in your hand and weigh it on a scale.

    Inquiring into why and how the idea of evolution (especially evolution by natural selection) originated is both an historical and philosophical question. It requires detailed study of the history of biological thought, along with philosophical inquiry into things like 'inference to the best explanation'.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/abduction/

    'Evolution' means 'change over time'. That is presumably happening whether human beings recognize it or not. It isn't dependent on us.

    In the early 1800's, many people already accepted that biological populations change over time and give rise to new species (that kind of idea may actually date back to the ancient Greek philosophers), but nobody had a plausible explanation for how and why. Lamarck had taken a shot at it and Darwin's own grandfather Erasmus Darwin had speculated about it. Buffon wrote about evolution a century before Darwin but was unable to provide a mechanism.

    Darwin argued that speciation was the result of natural selection. That was Darwin's innovation.

    You're assuming that "the scientific method" is more than a myth and that Darwin actually depended on it in concocting his theory of natural selection.

    No.

    "The scientific method" is a philosophical concept, as are all of the epistemological (and sometimes metaphysical) assumptions that would have to go into justifying it.

    Nobody is likely to ever provide any plausible or convincing answer to that initial question without thinking philosophically.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  20. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    The pursuit of knowledge.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    So the only source of knowledge is science?

    I don't think so.
     
  22. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't say that, I know faith leads to fruition.
     
  23. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Action leads to fruition. Faith may or may not lead to action.
     

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