Why many scientists are so ignorant

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Mar 10, 2016.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    No..science isn't bound by the scientific method in the least. There are many methods of science, including computer simulations, statistics, and mathematics that are used in the pursuit of our knowledge of physical reality. Unfortunately, physicality does not comprise the extent of Reality.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Photographs, videos, and eyewitness reports are routinely adequate to establish the occurrance of events in the news. The sudden moving of goalposts when it comes to paranormal or ufo phenomena is nothing short of deliberate denialism.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    No, it just doesn't hold up against the real evidence. And dodgy faded ill focused photographs do not count.
    * Why do these supposed Alien origin UFO's just flitter in and flitter out again.
    * Why is there never ever any physical evidence, real physical evidence ever left
    * Why do they come so far and yet never officially announce themselves, other than to a few gullible individuals, stuck out in the middle of nowhere
    *And finally while so many other possibilities exist to explain some of these sightings, UFO's remain just that...UFO's;

    bye MR

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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Why are there real photographs and videos and real eyewitness reports by the thousands? Is something unfocused or flittery less real than something clearly captured on film? That's what you need to think about, to the extent that you are even capable of it. I sincerely doubt that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Wow!!! Insults!! from our king of supernatural entity MR!

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    I really did not believe you were capable of it [throwing insults that is

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    ]

    So explain why the provocative headline from someone who also does not provoke?
    Is it a get square wit the recent Philosophy critical thread?

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    [from someone again who does not do that thing]
    So explain why you keep rehashing the same nonsense again and again and again and again, on a science forum no less: Yes I know, not to be provocative...

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    But we have forums [ I think] on the supernatural, and UFO's and ghosts and goblins out there some where.
    That would seem to suggest you do come here to provoke, but of course that isn't true of our friend MR, who does not do that sort of thing.

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    So now that we have cleared all that up and shown you to not being a vindictive provoking and get even individual that some may suggest, let's get back to the nitty gritty as to why most of your beliefs are just that...your beliefs.
    No, it just doesn't hold up against the real evidence. And dodgy faded ill focused photographs do not count.
    * Why do these supposed Alien origin UFO's just flitter in and flitter out again.
    * Why is there never ever any physical evidence, real physical evidence ever left
    * Why do they come so far and yet never officially announce themselves, other than to a few gullible individuals, stuck out in the middle of nowhere
    *And finally while so many other possibilities exist to explain some of these sightings, UFO's remain just that...UFO's;
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    You and Deacon are the only two here dragging this whole philosophy thread toward fringe topics. Why does that obsess you so much? Are you out of arguments against philosophy being a legitimate field of study apart from science? Why don't you stay on topic instead of trollishly attacking me as a person? Is this all just a ploy to distract from the fact that your scientistic religion has no logical defense?

    LOL! Verbal salad.....
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  10. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    I have to side with MR on this one.
     
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  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Bullshit and nonsense word salad.
    Well first that is a porky pie...Unless you can show me where I attacked you?
    In fact you as usual through the first insult......
     
  12. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Insult No. 1: "No, your problem as he has said: Taking second hand rumours, dodgy photographs, and general hear say and myth, to push your silly supernatural beliefs, over and above science."

    Insult No. 2: "Wow!!! Insults!! from our king of supernatural entity MR!

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    "

    Insult No. 3: "As I tell our science crank friends, what you preach and whatever mission you are trying to achieve, is confined on a sliver of cyber space, making no difference at all to true scientific knowledge and data."

    Insult No. 4: :So now that we have cleared all that up and shown you to not being a vindictive provoking and get even individual that some may suggest, let's get back to the nitty gritty as to why most of your beliefs are just that...your beliefs."

    Insult No. 5: "I don't see any referral to you there?
    Grasping at straws? The truth re your fellow believers hitting home?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Again, since you failed to answer my question.....
    So explain why the provocative headline from someone who also does not provoke?
    Is it a get square wit the recent Philosophy critical thread?

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    [from someone again who does not do that thing]
     
  14. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I don't see any referral to you there?
    Grasping at straws? The truth re your fellow believers hitting home?
     
  15. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    No, MR is quite correct that there is no one scientific method. There are tens of thousands of pages of scientific literature written in English every day, in dozens if not hundreds of disciplines. There are many ways to do science.

    Additionally, even if the mind is completely physical, this does not mean that all of our existence as beings is limited to merely a scientific study of physics.

    And you are attacking him and ignoring the topic of this thread.
     
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  16. Bells Staff Member

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    Did you bother to click on the link he provided?

    At a guess, the answer to that question is no.

    Had you bothered to click on the link, you would have found that he was quoting the title of the article itself "Why so many scientists are so ignorant"..

    The article is an opinion piece, about the role of philosophy in scientific endeavour, nay, in life in general. As Mr Gobry points out in the article, the discussion or belief in science is based on a philosophical belief. Which begs the question as to why Bill Nye opted to make fun of philosophy in general, while ignoring the fact that his words and thought processes on the subject matter were philosophical. There mere postulation of theories is philosophical.

    As Goldhill notes on
    Nye's fumbling of the question he received from a student..

    Nye’s skepticism is an empty response to the question of whether we can trust our senses. “If you drop a hammer on your foot, is it real?” he asks. “Or is it just your imagination?” Then he goes on to suggest that the young philosophy student explore the question by dropping a hammer on his own foot. But such a painful experiment would not actually address the underlying question, and this approach—simply mocking the argument rather than addressing it—is so infamous that, as CUNY philosophy professor Kaikhosrov Irani points out on his blog, it has its own name: argumentum ad lapidem—”appeal to a stone.”

    Nye’s confidence that what we sense and feel is “authentic” is particularly strange coming from a scientist, given that several advanced scientific discoveries do in fact contradict information we receive from our senses. Einstein discovered that there’s no such thing as absolute simultaneity, for example, while quantum physics shows that an object can be in two places at the same time. Several philosophers have long argued that our senses are not a reliable means of evaluating reality, and such scientific discoveries support the idea that we should treat sensory information with a little skepticism.

    Goldhill has a point.

    You should read Olivia Goldhill's article. You might learn something. For example:

    And then there’s the development of formal logic, which was devised by philosophers a little over 100 years ago and is the foundation of coding and computer science—in other words, the grounding for all modern technology.​

    The fact that the very notion and basis of the scientific method stems from philosophy seems to have escaped everyone's notice. Frankly, Nye's comments were astonishingly unscientific.

    And we have sub-forums that are dedicated specifically with these subjects on this site. Perhaps you and others can explain why you all felt you just had to troll and flame this thread, rehashing things that have nothing to do with this thread?

    For someone who repeatedly complains about discussions on UFO's and the like, you certainly have a need to pursue these discussions on sub-forums not dedicated to those subjects.

    And oh yeah:

    Can you please provide the context in which this quote was taken?

    The reason I ask is because you do not quite seem to grasp what Feynman actually meant by it because of how you have decided to use that quote here in this thread. What Richard Feynman meant by that is that there is a crossover in thought between philosophy and science. The relationship is "symbiotic". As much as the relationship between physics and mathematics is symbiotic.

    Or put simply and this was the best article I could find to explain it and it deals with, amazingly enough, with the scientific method. It is written by Donald E. Simanek, a Professor of Physics:

    Students and laypersons seldom grasp the difference between mathematics and physics. Since math is the preferred modeling analogy for physics, any physics textbook is richly embellished with equations and mathematical reasoning. Yet to understand physics we must realize that math is not a science, and science is not merely mathematics.

    In the early history of science, mathematics was considered a "science of measurement", and was supported because of its practical applications in land measurement, commerce, navigation, etc. But those who did math discovered that mathematics was a branch of logic, and certain important results (such as the Pythagorean theorem of right triangles) could be arrived at by purely logical means without recourse to experiment. Slowly there emerged a body of knowledge called "pure" mathematics—theorems that were derived by strictly logical means from a small set of axioms. Euclid's geometry was of this form.

    Today science and mathematics are separate and independent disciplines. The physicist must learn a lot of mathematics, but the mathematician (unless working in an applied field) need not know science. In fact, most pure mathematicians seldom interact with scientists, and have no need to. Likewise, physicists generally are capable of doing mathematics without interaction with mathematicians, and have on a number of occasions, developed new mathematics to solve particularly knotty problems. One theoretical physicist I knew spent a lot of time reading the mathematics literature, saying "Those mathematicians are doing some stuff that might be really useful to us. I only wish they spoke our language." His point was that the language with which each discipline speaks of its own field has diverged to the point where special effort must be made to "cross over" into the technical literature of the other field. A similar situation exists today in philosophy, where the language of philosophy of science has become so specialized and technical that most scientists find great difficulty reading it. But as one philosopher put it, "Philosophers of science observe scientists from outside, trying to figure out what they are doing, how they are doing it, and what it all means. In this process we have no need to talk to them. It's like watching a game where you don't know the rules when you come in, but try to figure out the rules by watching what the players do. For philosophers, science is a spectator sport."

    In that sense, an explorer can be a tourist as much as a tourist can be an explorer. They may be two distinct differences between what constitutes a tourist and an explorer. The two can and do overlap. Think about when you went on holidays somewhere new, as a tourist. Did you stay in your hotel room and not leave it to explore the local sites? Or did you leave your hotel room and visit the local landmarks and sites.. ie, did you explore where you went on holidays as a tourist? Did you make the effort to become the explorer? Understand now? The scientists explore, but the philsophers are the tourists who watch them explore and determine what it is they are doing and how they are doing it. Just as a scientist will become the tourist in determining how and why they are exploring and they will have to utilise philosophy to come to their answer.
     
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  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Reductionism misses pattern, removes context, and therefore excludes meaning. - - ok
    There are large complexities in the world, patterns beyond the limit of unitary or single glance human comprehension, that we perceive only partially - - ok
    Scientists very often display the flaws common to human understanding, especially when extrapolating beyond their research focus. They think they know stuff they don't. - - ok
    So a government conspiracy to hide the knowledge of space aliens in flying saucers abducting people and anally probing them for unknown purposes is plausible - - - uh, wait a sec.

    People have known propensities to see patterns of conspiracy and intention where they do not exist, faces where no face can be, and the like - - - ok
    There are things we know about the world that people often refuse to comprehend or even investigate for visible reasons of socially and psychologically comfortable illusion - - ok.
    A scientific approach is very valuable in extending the range of human knowledge beyond what flawed human intuition can handle - - - ok
    So GMOs are safe and the scientifically competent people in control of that technology can be trusted to avoid causing significant harm - - - - uh, wait a sec.
     
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I see that as wrong and misleading.
    The scientific method at its foundations has fixed methodologies to adhere to, no matter what discipline of science one is into......
    http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html
    To elaborate on that, the scientific method at its foundations, is the tried and true methodology consisting of observations, experimental results , measurements and procedures governing all disciplines.


    No, I must say I did not: I went on past nonsensical threads biased against science, one in particular from memory re science has never helped or benefited mankind.

    Perhaps like other scientists and as I mentioned earlier, he sees the fault in philosophy going way further than it should and being applied by "pure"philosophers to the nth degree.: Others like Laurence Krauss, Neil De-Grasse Tyson, and Hawking probably also felt the same way.

    I wasn't the first to bring up and "discuss"UFO's Bigfoot, and supernatural stuff: MR was previously involved with another on that off topic discussion if you check it out. He certainly was not voicing his disapproval of the subject, in fact the opposite.
     
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Surely all of these "methods" are merely means to achieve the same underlying method: that of observation, hypothesis, prediction, testing, evaluating, improving, confirming etc.
    That we might use a computer simulation to do the testing, or use statistics as part of the observing, testing, evaluating process, would seem to be neither here nor there. These things are merely tools that are used within the overarching scientific method.
    If you are so sure of your position, that science isn't bound by the scientific method, can you provide an actual example to support your position, so that we/I can better understand where you're coming from?
     
  20. Bells Staff Member

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    And you advocate the scientific method? Does the scientific method support discounting everything at face value without any form of investigation?

    The article itself is not biased against science. Far from it. It and what it links in the article itself, shows the role that philosophy has in science and vice versa.

    You claimed once that you adored reading Carl Sagan's books? Have you never noticed how his books are so deeply entrenched in philosophy? That escaped you? Carl Sagan was a great philosopher.

    The scientific method is entrenched in philosophy. Its beginnings were inherently philosophical. Every aspect of the scientific method, and there are various forms, are entrenched in philosophy. To discount philosophy while touting the benefits of the scientific method is erroneous at best. At worst, it shows a lack of knowledge and understanding of the scientific method itself. Some of the greatest scientific minds in human history, were also philosophers. Or are you going to suggest that Aristotle was a tourist? Ibn al-Haytham who birthed much of what is considered the scientific method today? Is he a tourist as well? Or how about Rene Descartes? Roger Bacon? The list goes on and on. Are they all tourists? Because the manner in which you used that quote and dismissed philosophy would render all of those great minds as being mere tourists.

    It was philosophers who invented the very notion of the scientific method.

    It astonishes me that Bill Nye chose to disregard the very history of science and the role philosophy had to play in all fields of science, when he chose to mock and disregard it.

    Firstly, you attributed my quote to another person in this thread.

    Secondly, the sneering disregard for scientific theory and history does not serve Krauss, Tyson or Hawking well. Galileo Galilei was a "pure philosopher" as well as a scientist.

    Thirdly, you completely misunderstood the quote you posted. Because if we were to take it at face value, the greatest scientific minds in history were mere tourists. Are you willing to stand by such a statement? Or are you willing to admit that you were wrong and learn about the role philosophy had to play in the birth of science and mathematics itself?

    No you weren't the first. But you took the baton and ran with it.

    This is the Philosophy sub-forum. It seems that philosophy is not your forte. Perhaps you should learn about the history of science and the history of the scientific method before you participate in this discussion instead of trying to flame it as you and others have done.

    I leave you with the words of Galileo Galilei:

    Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes -- I mean the universe -- but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.

    Learn from it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  21. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    Now you are trying to do philosophy of science. And you are not doing it very well: that is a nice introduction to the scientific method, but it doesn't get us very far.
    While I did not actually write the passage to which you are replying, let me respond anyway: they also spoke in ignorance. I have no idea what "pure philosophy" is, nor, I suspect, do many practicing philosophers. Just like "the scientific method", it might be a helpful cartoon that doesn't help us do a detailed analysis of what practitioners actually do.

    Scientists speak in ignorance for a simple reason: they are human. Humans make mistake. Scientists are in a unique position with a lot of privilege and sometimes that can go to their heads.

    Of course, Krauss is definitely worse than others, showing remarkable ignorance on many fronts, including the subject matter of his own books!
     
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I believe that it was precisely that kind of thinking that prompted Feynman's annoyance with philosophy. Feynman didn't like philosophical adherents of "scientific method" (I think that he was thinking in terms of the positivism that was so prevalent in the 60's) telling working physicists like him how they should go about solving physical problems.

    I agree that scientists do employ all the things you listed: observation, hypothesis, prediction, testing, evaluating, improving, confirming and so on. But each of those words is problematic and unleashes a whole nest of squirming difficulties. What's more, scientists don't do all of those things in any fixed order and there isn't any single methodological algorithm to which all examples of science necessarily conform.

    To the extent to which science does conform to the stereotypical observe-hypothesize-predict-test philosophical model, it's just proceeding by the same trial-and-error process that people have used since the stone-age. There isn't anything unique to science about that. Turning it into a shibboleth doesn't help us understand why and how the scientific revolution occurred or explain the extraordinary success of natural science since the 17th century. Nor does it help us distinguish science from human activities that aren't scientific.

    Surveys of insect biodiversity in the Amazon. Pick a fixed area, 1/100'th of a square kilometer or something, then try to record all all the insect species in that area and the numbers of each species. It's been done. The Kepler mission seeking exoplanets orbiting other stars might be another example.

    One might object that this is just the observation step, that somebody else might come along later and form hypotheses about all this data that can then be tested. Sure, anything might happen in the future. My point is that these kind of scientific activities are indisputably scientific in and of themselves, and they don't involve hypothesis formation and testing at all.

    We find scientists devoting their time all manner of things, to trying to invent mathematical models, to sequencing genomes in the laboratory, or speculating about the origin of life.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure I'd ever tell people how they should or shouldn't, especially if they are educated in the matter and I am not. But I also have no qualms in identifying things as unscientific (at least as I understand science) - and I don't think people should get hung up about whether something is "science" or not.
    So maybe this is all simply a matter of semantics - what one considers "science" to be - but whether a discovery / a new piece of knowledge is uncovered through science or not can not diminish it for what it is.
    Sure, the terms are fairly woolly, but then so is the scientific method as I see it. I actually think most people conduct science all the time without realising it, and that it is only the label "scientist" and the acceptance of something as "scientific" that is the issue, not what it is that people actually do.
    Even Feynman would have almost certainly followed some version of the scientific method in his work - almost everyone does when trying to narrow down possible solutions.
    Theoretical work may be different, though. But then while alone it is probably not itself "scientific" it certainly forms part of the scientific process - theories are established for testing. It gets woollier around untestable theories such as some aspects of string theory (I believe) - and I have no issue with those being deemed unscientific but of a subject matter that might be considered "science".
    Noone ever said there was. It has merely been formalised into an approach by which most of science adheres. But yes, much of what has ever been done to garner knowledge has, in some manner or other, followed that process, whether the people recognised that that was what they were doing or not, whether they identified themselves as scientists or not.
    [quoe]Turning it into a shibboleth doesn't help us understand why and how the scientific revolution occurred or explain the extraordinary success of natural science since the 17th century. Nor does it help us distinguish science from human activities that aren't scientific.[/quote]My rule of thumb is that if it follows the fairly general process of the scientific method then it is science. Need it be "big science"? Need it be conducted by people labelled as "scientists"? Need people wear protective clothing? No. I see it simply as a process that works, and the more people recognise that it is pretty much just common sense (as you say, it isn't anything unique) then "science" will become less of a word to describe people and things and merely a word to explain the process by which the conclusion was reached - which is what I see it as. And this would cover any topic that followed the basic process.
    I would question that these are "science" but rather they are studies / searches on a subject matter as part of a larger scientific process.
    If the intention is there that it will aid future scientific processes then yes, I'd agree that they are scientific. But would you agree that if someone merely counted insects because they are bored, with no intention of sharing the info, of doing nothing with info, is not science?
    Agreed - and I think all of it, from theoretical modelling to counting to searching, if it is intended as part of a larger process that follows the scientific method, would be considered science.

    And across all this you have what popular usage of the term "science" and "scientist" is taken to mean.
     
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