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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    I don't think there is any question Einstein's theory of relativity is one of history's great scientific achievements. With little more than a chalkboard, his writings, and some thought experiments, Einstein was undoubtably doing very good science. But was he implementing the scientific method? I don't think so. Ofcourse few scientists are of the intellectual stature of Einstein, so maybe they need the rather rote ritual of the scientific method to accomplish good research. But science progresses in the most surprising and unorthodox of ways sometimes. I think the increasing reliance on computation is another example of science not being confined to some set methodology.

    Another example of science not following the SM is found with Darwin:
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    "Darwin was forced to abandoned the realm of true science to develop his theory of evolution. The gold standard of science, the Scientific Method, had long been used to deliver the laws of nature. The Scientific Method was originally formalized long before Darwin by Francis Bacon during the seventeenth century.

    It was following the successful use of inductive reasoning by Nicholaus Copernicusand Galileo Galilei earlier in the sixteenth century, Bacon advanced this method as the basis to the establish the first scientific organization in the world, the Royal Society, in 1645.

    Use of the inductive method by Isaac Newton lead to the discovery of the laws of motion, gravity and calculus and secured the role of the scientific method as the only reliable means for discovering the laws of nature.

    Although Darwin was knowledgeable about the scientific method, to rationalize his version of evolution, Darwin was forced to abandon the Scientific Method. Darwin made his break with the scientific method very clear by stating –

    “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.” 1857

    and

    “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” 1859

    Darwin was concerned about the effect of abandoning the scientific method. To console Darwin, just two weeks before the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, Erasmus Darwin, his brother wrote:

    “In fact, the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts [evidence] won’t fit, why so much the worse for the facts, in my feeling.”"===http://www.darwinthenandnow.com/darwin-dilemmas/scientific-method/
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Of course I do! This is a science forum afterall, and scientists are human just like me. Yes, I should have checked...I made a blue.
    The headlines are though.
    Hmmm, sounds like a touch of journalistic sensationalism.

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    I do not adore Carl Sagan and never have, nor have I ever said I adore Carl Sagan: What I have claimed is that he is in my opinion, the greatest educator of our time.
    Yes, and I have never claimed otherwise, although like you I have resorted to journalistic sensationalism with cherry picked quotes.
    Yep, and on that score they laid the foundation to the advancement of human kind along the most beneficial road possible.
    Just as some here mock the scientific method and its application to science.
    But we'll let that go as it will take us off topic.

    Did I? I'm sorry.
    I don't believe they did disregard the scientific method for the reasons that I have already stated re sometimes philosophy being taken too far or to the nth degree.
    Everyone makes errors at one time or another. With regard to philosophy and aside from my journalistic sensationalism, [which we all use at one time or another to illustrate a point] I have never doubted the role of philosophy and the role it has played.

    Guilty: I have just given myself an uppercut.
    No its not, and quite perceptive of you. Yes, I should have read the article before contributing and I did pick up that baton and run with it.
    But just like you I'm only human and make errors of judgement as you have with your flaming and trolling comments. Again any basic check will see I only visit MR's threads on rare occasions.
    Galileo is one to be admired certainly: The father of science no less and the application of the scientific method.


     
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    When we send space probes to the moons of Saturn or rovers to the surface of Mars, oftentimes they are just collecting information: measuring local temperatures, atmospheric compositions, radiation levels, rock mineralogy and whatever. It's observation, sure enough, but it needn't be accompanied by hypothesis generation or testing, in order to qualify as scientific work.

    Surveys of the sort I described are what produce information like this:

    https://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/bugnos.htm

    Biologists are interested in the fact that a survey in Pennsylvania found a whopping 425 million individual animals per acre. The numbers are probably higher in tropical rainforests, but in order to know, somebody has to look. It's estimated that there are roughly 10 to the 19th power individual insects living in the world at any one time. The number of social insects per nest can reach numbers similar to human cities. A termite nest in South America was estimated to contain 3 million individuals.

    I'd say that this is indisputably scientific knowledge. It's certainly of interest to entomologists, ecologists and probably to evolutionary biologists who may indeed proceed to form hypotheses about it. But my point is simply that the kind of processes that produce this kind of information don't really look very much like philosophy's stereotypical hypothesis-testing model.
     
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yes it does, otherwise it is simply observation.
    Do you really think we send those probes simply to have a look and to send back pretty pictures? Or do you think it is as part of the observations we need as part of a larger intent? The former is not science, the latter is.
    All good stuff, but all those studies and all those surveys are aimed at furthering our understanding not simply through the results of the survey but through the science that those surveys can help produce. Those surveys in and of themselves are not science. They are part of a scientific agenda, but they themselves are simply observations.
    I would say it is knowledge simply through direct observation. There is no science involved in the surveys themselves. There is looking and counting. It is what is done with the survey where the science can come in. That would be my view.
    Absolutely - but "of interest to" scientists does not equate to it being science. A crime is "of interest to" a policeman, but that does not make the crime itself part of the policeman's procedure. The policeman will utilise the observation of that crime as part of their procedures.
    And I would argue that that's because they aren't in and of themselves science - but they can be / are part of a larger scientific agenda. And it is the being part of that agenda that, to me, makes them "science" while not actually be scientific in and of themselves.
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    So trial and error and induction, of which the SM is a form, is all science? An auto mechanic troubleshooting a car is doing science? A chef learning a new recipe is doing science? A woman dating men thru a dating service is doing science? Everybody is always doing science everyday simply because they use induction and trial and error? That's ridiculous. I'd say their just using logic and common sense.

    You're contradicting yourself. They aren't science, but they are science. Which is it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  9. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    I see MR has been *cough* selective with his sources (again). And guilty of passing on some quote mining.
     
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    While that is true enough, and par for the course as his past records show, he was right in the following respect......
    The culmination of all science, resulting in the application of trial and error, observation and experimentation, to reach logical common sense, reasoned conclusions.
     
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "The practice of quoting out of context (sometimes referred to as "contextomy" and quote mining), is an informal fallacy and a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning."---https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

    So show how this was "quote mined". Specifically, show how merely quoting Darwin here changed his original meaning given more context.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    I see some insinuations that Darwin and others did not follow the scientific method.

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    That of course is codswallop.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/Supplement_1/10033.full
    Darwin and the scientific method

    Abstract
    There is a contradiction between Darwin's methodology and how he described it for public consumption. Darwin claimed that he proceeded “on true Baconian [inductive] principles and without any theory collected facts on a wholesale scale.” He also wrote, “How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!” The scientific method includes 2 episodes. The first consists of formulating hypotheses; the second consists of experimentally testing them. What differentiates science from other knowledge is the second episode: subjecting hypotheses to empirical testing by observing whether or not predictions derived from a hypothesis are the case in relevant observations and experiments. A hypothesis is scientific only if it is consistent with some but not other possible states of affairs not yet observed, so that it is subject to the possibility of falsification by reference to experience. Darwin occupies an exalted place in the history of Western thought, deservedly receiving credit for the theory of evolution. In The Origin of Species, he laid out the evidence demonstrating the evolution of organisms. More important yet is that he discovered natural selection, the process that accounts for the adaptations of organisms and their complexity and diversification. Natural selection and other causal processes of evolution are investigated by formulating and testing hypotheses. Darwin advanced hypotheses in multiple fields, including geology, plant morphology and physiology, psychology, and evolution, and subjected them to severe empirical tests.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/scientific-method6.htm
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    LOL! Collecting facts without any theory isn't the scientific method. It's collecting facts. So by his own words he wasn't doing the SM. Also note there was no way to test the theory of natural selection. Not back in those days. Did he breed animals in a lab over successive generations? No..he had no way to test it. Again NOT the scientific method.

    "Many note-worthy scientists have used non-experimental techniques to advance knowledge. In fact, in a number of science disciplines, true experimentation is not possible because of the inability to control variables. Many fundamental discoveries in astronomy are based on extensive observations rather than experiments. Copernicus and Kepler changed our view of the solar system using observational evidence derived from lengthy and detailed observations frequently contributed by other scientists, but neither performed experiments.

    Charles Darwin punctuated his career with an investigatory regime more similar to qualitative techniques used in the social sciences than the experimental techniques commonly associated with the natural sciences. For his most revolutionary discoveries, Darwin recorded his extensive observations in notebooks annotated by speculations and thoughts about those observations. Although Darwin supported the inductive method proposed by Bacon, he was aware that observation without speculation or prior understanding was both ineffective and impossible. The techniques advanced by Darwin have been widely used by scientists Goodall and Nossey in their primate studies. Scientific knowledge is gained in a variety of ways including observation, analysis, speculation, library investigation and experimentation."====http://amasci.com/miscon/myths10.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The Myth of the Scientific Method

    "The standard description of the scientific method makes it sound like an almost machine-like process for sifting and separating truth from error. The method is typically described as involving the following steps:

    • Observe and describe some phenemenon.
    • Form a hypothesis to explain the phenemonon and its relationship to other known facts, usually through some kind of mathematical formula.
    • Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
    • Test those predictions by experiments or further observations to see if they are correct.
    • If not, reject or revise the hypothesis.


    "Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory," explains University of Rochester physics professor Frank Wolfs. "The scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing a hypothesis or a theory." One way to minimize the influence of bias is to have several independent experimenters test the hypothesis. If it survives the hurdle of multiple experiments, it may rise to the level of an accepted theory, but the scientific method requires that the hypothesis be ruled out or modified if its predictions are incompatible with experimental tests. In science, Wolfs says, "experiment is supreme."

    This is all well and good as far as it goes, but the description of the scientific method that we have given above is actually something of a myth. Not only is it a myth, it is a fairly recent myth, first elaborated in the late 1800s by statistician Karl Pearson. Copernicus did not use the scientific method described above, nor did Sir Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin. The French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes is often credited with ushering in the age of scientific inquiry with his "Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences," but the method of Descartes bears little relation to the steps described above. The molecular structure of benzene was discovered initially, not in a laboratory but in a dream, as was Einstein's theory of relativity. These theories did not originate through some laborious process of formulating and modifying a hypothesis, but through sudden moments of inspiration. The actual thought processes of scientist are richer, more complex, and less machine-like in their inevitability than the standard model suggests. Science is a human endeavor, and real-world scientists approach their work with a combination of imagination, creativity, speculation, prior knowledge, library research, perseverance and plain old blind luck-the same combination of intellectual resources, in short, that scientists and nonscientists alike use in trying to solve problems."===http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/STS218/science/method/myth.html
     
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The Myth of the Scientific Method??

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    The scientific method is no myth no matter how many times people want to claim it is, and no matter how many fabricated examples people like to pretend that back that scenario.
    All basically used the scientific method as their foundations.
    If they had not have, we, all of us, would not be conversing in the manner we currently are.Fact:
     
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The culmination of all science, resulting in the application of trial and error, observation and experimentation, to reach logical common sense, reasoned conclusions. Fact:
     
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    That science has advanced so far is due to the genius and imagination of the minds that have advanced it. We credit the humans behind the discoveries. It isn't due to some robotic process or passed down infallible methodology. There is no such thing as an infallible procedure. That borders on something like divine revelation.
     
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Charles Darwin as is obvious to most reasonable thinking people, made some profound observations, from which he inferred some brilliant conclusions...
    Those observations, the first step in the scientific method [or basic common sense] led to inferences and hypothesis. Darwin spent 20 years gathering data, making predictions about the analysis of this data, and drawing conclusions.
    The scientific method which is obviously the common sense application.
    Common sense exactly applied by men of genius like Darwin, Einstein, Bohr, Feynman, and Newton.
    Common sense honed to perfection to enable us to view the Universe closer to the true reality of what we did miss in the past...reality such as time dilation, length contraction, legitimacy and reality of all frames of references, the non absolute nature of space and time, the Evolution of Life:
    All which previously were somewhat counter intuitive, until these great minds, implementing the scientific method and common sense deduction, showed us and the world that sometimes what is considered intuitive, is not so for many reasons.
    Science, and the scientific method proceeds and progresses us forward, and the knowledge we gain by applying the scientific method and making further and further observations, are increasing further and further our understanding of not just this fart arse little blue orb we were once stuck on, but also the Moon, the planets,the stars, the galaxies and the Universe/spacetime as a whole.
    Mind boggling, awesome stuff revealed by the simple foundation of the scientific method and the common sense derived from it, whether intuitive or counter-intuitive..
     
  19. river Valued Senior Member

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    Is the best post on this thread ; from bells post # 33.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    He was doing part of the method - he was formulating hypotheses based on observations, and arriving at a means of prediction (i.e. the formula / equations he arrived at)
    The mechanic: not always. I would say it depends on how he goes about troubleshooting. If he makes observations, arrives at a theory that can make predictions (e.g. "I've theorised the problem is A, which means that if I do Y and Z then I should see X", tests his theory and if wrong then refines his theory, with the aim of the conclusion being to identify the problem, then yes, he has done science. If he is just going down a list and making sure everything on the list works then no, that is not science.
    The chef: no, in my view this would not be science but art. There is no predictive element to his work - there is simply a personal idea that he is putting into practice with the aim of pleasing - it is subjective in nature. That said, I'm sure there may be some methods of devising a new recipe that might be considered science - Heston Blumenthal would conform to devising them through science, I'd say.
    The woman dating men: depends on how she goes about selecting... if she puts together a theory that she thinks will lead to a suitable match, tests it, refines it in light of those results etc, then yes, this is science. If she merely goes on dates using trial and error - where is the prediction? Where is the theorising? Thus it does not seem to fit the label of science.
    The dating service, however, almost certainly use some form of science to arrive at the algorithm they use (if they use one) - the aim being to predict suitable matches. The algorithm would originally have been refined through testing etc, but once issued / used by the service, it may not be refined / updated and thus no further science is being conducted, merely using that which science has arrived at (the same way that watching the tv is not doing science).
    They are not in and of themselves science per se, but they are part of a scientific agenda / wider piece of science. What you wish to call them - whether you wish to call them both science - is up to you. Personally I would call them both science, but I would also distinguish which is in its entirety a work of science and which is merely a part of a larger piece. I'm not precious about the term's usage. Nor do I insist that what is referred to as science can only be those works that follow the entire method rather than just be part of a larger piece.

    It gets to issues of semantics, and all I'm trying to do here is explain what I see as the difference between things that may fall under the label of science.
     
  21. river Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus

    Any Race Team tries to do exactly this ; predict ; to the miniscule ; fuel consumption.
     
  22. river Valued Senior Member

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    But this gets away from the ; science VS philosophy ; thing ; ( as opposed to thinking ).

    We seem to to forget a rather simple thing about a PHD ; which is this ; PHD ; the acronym PHD ; is in long form ; Doctorate in PHILOSOPHY in any ology.
     
  23. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure the PhD was ever strictly about a study in philosophy, but referred to the original Greek meaning of "love of wisdom". So I'm not sure the fact that one can be awarded a PhD in a scientific area itself lends credence to science therefore being a matter of philosophy.
     
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