Why many scientists are so ignorant

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

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  1. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    My point was to emphasize that "common sense" is not some particular theory which is, or was, popular among the people. Like in "common sense to people at one time was that things need to be pushed or they stop moving. Newton's first law changed that - at least for anyone with basic education". This is not what I would name common sense. Already for the simple reason that it is not common at all, but a particular theory. As the old one, as the new one.

    But this identification of "common sense" with particular theories which have been popular is quite common, and used to discredit common sense, using examples of some quite stupid theories which have been popular some time as evidence against common sense.

    I have seen in your post an example of this, that's why I have answered.
     
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  3. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    Remember, you are responding to someone who denies that the Holocaust happened. This might be relevant to understanding their views on what counts as good evidence and good reasoning.
     
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  5. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    And this is a post of a liar distributing defamations. I have never denied that the Holocaust happened.
     
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  7. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    Except when I straight-up asked you. Back on ignore.
     
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I'll stay well out of that if you don't mind.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Russ, I was sufficiently intrigued by the apparent difference in approach between the UK and the US that I had a quick look on the internet, where I found the attached rather interesting paper. Yazata might also be interested: just how does science work? the scientific method and ks4 ...

    It's a pdf that downloads, but it's from the University of Sussex, so a very respectable source and unlikely I hope to contain viruses. It seems from this that the UK government fairly recently (2006) changed the science syllabus, to introduce mandatory teaching of the scientific method, and that this has raised quite a few questions in the minds of these researchers.

    You will see from the paper, reading between the lines, that the writers are a bit sceptical that there is really anything to teach that can be agreed upon!
     
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    As usual from our chief Maverick scientist and political naivist hindered by his agenda, much ado about nothing.
    ps: Obviously also you need rethink what you contribute to me as saying.
    What I link to and what I say personally are two different things: While I may agree with what I link to, It's rather irrational to contribute that to me personally.
    You will obviously attempt to fix that up won't you?
    [Or do your usual, of side stepping, making excuses, and disguising with lengthy rants

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "contribute to me"

    Try "attribute"...

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  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Among the differences between science and common sense:

    Most children often do elementary science (they try stuff out, to see what will happen, and formulate explanations) , but most adults do not. The reverse is true of common sense, which acts as a stabilizer to prevent one from being altered in one's worldview by happenstance - this is valuable to adults, a handicap to children (and scientists). It takes the place of the authoritative and protective adult.

    Common sense does not acquire meaning from philosophy. Science is meaningless without a metaphysical context - stamp collecting, as the guy put it. Common sense is situational, and slots unaltered into any coherent metaphysics or none. The context providing the meaning for common sense is political ideology.
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently the phrase 'common sense' is being used in different ways by different people. (Clarifying those different uses is an example of one of the things that philosophers do.)

    When I use the phrase 'common sense', I'm typically referring to the evidence of our lives, to the kind of things that human beings all sense in common so to speak and that we all agree on. We walk through doors, not through walls. When we are hungry we eat food. We don't jump off cliffs. We know that we can't leap over the moon. Fire is hot. We don't stab ourselves or our friends with sharp sticks. I expect that paleolithic 'cave men' would agree with me on those. Scientists typically agree on these kind of things too, especially when they are in their laboratories, where their experimental procedures presuppose a great deal of it.

    There's another more technical philosophical usage of 'common sense' attributable to Aristotle as well, though this one seems to be largely obsolete. (It generated lots of discussion among the medieval philosophers.) Aristotle noted how we use several senses in concert. We learn something's size both visually and by touch. Aristotle argued that there must be some psychological process that integrates the senses, such that eye-information and hand-information are experienced as providing us with the same information about the same object. He didn't think that it was reason doing it (he identified reason with use of his logic) and thought that it was a perceptual process prior to reason. Aristotle noted that even relatively primitive animals appear able to integrate their senses in this way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
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  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    In those comments Feyerabend does demonstrate the pickle of declaring an enterprise to be anachronistic while avoiding the "And this too shall become a formal construct / prescriptive philosophy" snaking around and biting that perspective in the buttocks.

    There's other quiet, in the background amusements to be derived from the ongoing situation. When an opposing faction which contends that science practices are methodological in a consensus and non-ambiguous way also ironically doubles as a faction disparaging the value of a stratum of thought which deals in system formulation, investigation, refinement / clarification, critique and argument production. While accomplishing the remarkable feat of avoidance of such thought processes themselves in the course of justifying a stance.

    An arena of intellectual activity both historically antecedent to and prior in rank to the science system -- or not the science system. Latter again depending upon whether the science community -- bestowed by the outer public with a fable of being globally and super-humanly consistent in its internal views about itself -- deems itself to either be adhering to settled fixed guidance and template(s) of operation or that its workers are at least partially free-wheeling things. [Since the questionnaire respondents rejected Feyerabend's examination and his "ought" that science (especially theoretical physics) is / should be completely anachronistic.] I'd hazard it's a combo of both flavors, and thus the disagreements among its members / groupies in that particular subject area of its "identity".
     
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I saw that too and found it funny. Whenever I've come across Feyerabend (which is not that often but from time to time), I have to say he has struck me as a bit of a poseur. Post structuralists have rather the same problem: they assert that the author is not the prime source of meaning in the text, but they can only make this assertion by authoring texts!
     
  16. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about what you have said.

    It was my impression that you have heavily defended GR spacetime interpretation against my ether interpretation of the GR equations. And not with quoting some papers you have not understood anyway, but with quite aggressive personal attacks against me. If you take all these attacks back, and accept that one cannot tell, by observation, the difference between the spacetime interpretation and my ether interpretation, fine. If you don't, then this defense of GR metaphysics was correctly attributed to you. (Given that my ether interpretation is not discussed, but ignored by mainstream science, such a rejection of my ether interpretation is your personally, and you cannot rely on mainstream papers here.)

    No, never. I have not studied sufficient reliable sources to make any definite statements about this. Nor that it has happened, nor that it has not happened. Feel free to ignore me, but don't distribute defamations.
     
  17. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Seriously? You're saying that you don't know if the holocaust did or didn't happen?
     
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  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    You are corrected on what you attributed to me with regards to the article I linked.....I understand your confusion though...par for the course.

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    Another cop out!
    Yes it happened, 100% certainty! And no libertarian and associated naive views will ever change that.
     
  19. Bells Staff Member

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    Common sense changed through education. And continues to change through education. It should not be through manipulation.

    But common sense itself is a vague term. It cannot be defined because we are all distinct and different individuals with different sets of beliefs and different levels of intelligence and education and interpretation of the data placed before us. What one might consider common sense, another might consider absolute rubbish. And that is all based on one's education and beliefs. For example, the US had a brain surgeon, a leading brain surgeon and scientist run for the GOP nomination, who believes the pyramids were grain silos. Now, common sense dictates that the pyramids were tombs. Because that is what we were taught based on the evidence. But he was taught and believes that they were grain silos. That is his common sense. And this is an educated fellow, a man who achieved amazing things after studying "science". This is why arguments about "common sense" and trying to align it with science becomes a very vague term.

    Certainly, Einstein changed our ideas about space, but Einstein himself rejected his most famous theory, because he did not believe it was possible. It was scientists who came after him who worked for decades to prove him right.

    My concern is the belief that some hold that scientists are always right, that they should always be believed because they are using the scientific method. That to question the science itself becomes an affront to scientists. In short, they react the same way as the most devoutly religious when the existence of their God is questioned. Like they did with Einstein when he rejected quantum field theory. They treated him like he was a hack and a has-been. In that sense, scientists can and do manipulate others in the scientific field in various ways, from fear of speaking out to being ridiculed and ostracised by the scientific community.

    So is it possible to follow the path of Einstein? To do so, you cannot be a crank; you must be a well-trained physicist, literate in current theories and aware of their limitations. And you must insist on absolute clarity in your own work, rather than follow any fad or popular direction. Given the pressures of competition for academic positions, to follow Einstein’s path is to risk the price that he paid: unemployment in spite of abundant talent and skill at the craft of theoretical physics.

    In my whole career as a theoretical physicist, I have known only a handful of colleagues who truly can be said to follow Einstein’s path. They are driven, as Einstein was, by a moral need for clear understanding. In everything they do, these few strive continually to invent a new theory of principle that could satisfy the strictest demands of coherence and consistency, without regard to fashion or the professional consequences. Most have paid for their independence, in a harder career path than equally talented scientists who follow the research agendas of the big professors.

    Let us be frank and admit that most of us have neither the courage nor the patience to emulate Einstein. We should instead honor Einstein by asking whether we can do anything to ensure that in the future those few who do follow Einstein’s path, who approach science as uncompromisingly as he did, have less risk of unemployment, the sort he suffered at the beginning of his career, and less risk of the marginalization he endured at the end. If we can do this, if we can make the path easier for those few who do follow him, we may make possible a revolution in science that even Einstein failed to achieve.

    Einstein may have changed our perception of space and time. But he paid the price for it in the end. And it was the physics community that made him pay it because he would not adhere to their thinking and he questioned them for the flaws he found in their work and theories.
     
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  20. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    It is quite plausible that it happened, but I'm not completely sure, because the problematic behavior of the German state - imprisonment for Holocaust denial - makes the whole official German history about this period questionable. German history about this time is no longer science, given that some theories, however dubious they seem to be, cannot be openly discussed.
    Fine, I have no problem with your belief. And I have no plans to change this. The question is not interesting enough for me to study it, and the mainstream theory, which I would usually, in such cases, accept, is in this particular case discredited by the decision of the German state to imprison deniers. So I have no simple way to find a reliable source.
    Why you name this a "cop out" is beyond me. I have never made a definitive statement about what happened. My point was, all the time, that the imprisonment of Holocaust deniers makes all the historical research about this time questionable. Freedom of science means any theory, however dubious, can be proposed and discussed. With the law, there is no freedom of science in the history of this particular period. I have always criticized this law as counterproductive, because it discredits not the Holocaust deniers, but the mainstream scientists.
    A, you are simply talking about my arguments against the article I have given in #96 and #97? But in #96 I have started with quoting your link. Ok, I was too lazy to replace manually all the automatical "paddoboy" by something else, sorry.
     
  21. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Wow. Are you for real?
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    So you have come here, to a site full of Americans with no such limitations on the damaging nonsense they can spout, and direct information on the topic (ancestors who liberated the camps, eyewitness accounts, childhood neighbors who had survived Dachau, etc), and lives far from the German government, to become better informed? Why no.

    Instead, you make assessments of reality based on your presumptions in dealing with what you take for propaganda based on a single characteristic - one error leading to another, the entire lineage taking you into delusion. You leave physical reality behind, and spin little fantasies of what could be in front of dozens of people who know better.

    You have been directed to this exact source of gross error and foolishness on your part several times now. Mistaking information for propaganda and handling it as you do leads to delusion.
    But everybody else's is. So if you don't trust the German ones, why pay any attention to them - when you have so many others not afflicted with State cooties?

    Meanwhile, there is a thread of Zen teaching that values careful and rigorous study of philosophy, not because it is necessarily valuable but because it is inevitable - if you don't acquire competence in it, you will be victimized by your incompetence in it.

    This has also been said of economics, and as alertly: officials and political powers who do not study economics will be victimized by their incompetent economic presumptions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I would share your concern if I thought this was a widely held view. There are people (Dawkins is one of my bete noires in this regard) who try to elevate science to the status of a religion. That I would agree is very silly and inappropriate. But I think in modern society there is plenty of questioning of science - certainly far more than in the heady days of the 1960s when atomic power was the future and science seems to have all the answers.

    However there is a difference between questioning science intelligently and doing so stupidly, based on a prejudice against it, or a wish to annoy people who take the trouble to try to explain things. We see plenty of that on this forum too.
     
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