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ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper 
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Post ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Dumb-dumb science worshiper: Science is the only thing we have that offers rational justification for belief

Ant: Was it science that provided rational justification for that belief?

Dumb-dumb science worshiper: yes.. err, I mean no

Ant: Then that belief is unjustified

Dumb-dumb science worshiper: But science proves science!

Ant: A circular proof is not valid reasoning

Dumb-dumb science worshiper: You are anti-science!!!

Ant: Have a nice day



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geo
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:19 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
ant wrote:
Dumb-dumb science worshiper: Science is the only thing we have that offers rational justification for belief

Ant: Was it science that provided rational justification for that belief?

Dumb-dumb science worshiper: yes.. err, I mean no

Ant: Then that belief is unjustified

Dumb-dumb science worshiper: But science proves science!

Ant: A circular proof is not valid reasoning

Dumb-dumb science worshiper: You are anti-science!!!

Ant: Have a nice day


I don't think this was quite the gotcha moment you think it was. Your co-worker simply may not have articulated his thoughts well. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was saying that it makes sense to ground one's beliefs on evidence whenever possible. It's not circular reasoning at all to make this claim. The efficacy of science is all around us; it's self-evident. If you have pancreatic cancer, do you follow the recommended treatment given by evidence-based MDs or turn to alternative medicine (a la Steve Jobs)? If your worldview is evidence-based, you would almost certainly choose the former.

Obviously much of human subjective experience cannot be informed by evidence, such as when you decide what movie to go see, or a million other scenarios in which we must make judgments based on the best information available. But your co-worker seems more right than wrong here. I hardly think that makes him a "science worshiper." He sounds like someone who would agree with E.O. Wilson's statement that: "science . . . is the organized, systematic enterprise that gathers knowledge about the world and condenses the knowledge into testable laws and principles." It is really the only method that we have for learning about the world from an empirical standpoint. Our world desperately needs more people who strive to think critically and rationally whenever humanly possible.


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ant, Robert Tulip
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:38 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
The two pillars of the scientific world view are evidence and logic.

Evidence, the collection of scientific data, gathers observations about the universe.
Logic puts these observations into an orderly rational system of knowledge.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant expressed this dual need for logical concepts and evidentiary perceptions by saying that concepts without perceptions are empty while perceptions without concepts are blind.

In the conversation about science, the statement that “Science is the only thing we have that offers rational justification for belief” is justified by the inductive logic of scientific observation, that science has generally proven coherent and consistent whereas unscientific claims have generally proven incoherent and inconsistent.

Of course any inductive logic is open to refutation by new evidence. And in this case there is a political dimension, namely that rational justification for belief can in some circumstances be driven by loyalty, intuition or other interests.

Following up Kant’s epistemology of the relationship between concepts and perceptions, we can say that logic provides rational justification for belief, through concepts that weave perceptions into a coherent system of knowledge. For example, logic suggests the universe actually exists, that matter obeys consistent causal laws, and that science can discover these laws. None of these claims are in themselves scientific in the strict sense, and yet they can be viewed as axioms, what Kant called necessary conditions of experience, enabling a synthesis between reason and observation.

By the way, it is rather polemical for ant to present his dialogue partner under such a derogatory title, rather like Galileo caricaturing the Pope as Simplicius in his Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems.


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Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:54 am
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
I think a good test for discovering a "science worshiper" would be whether they think the discovery of nuclear weapons was a good thing.



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Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:08 am
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Harry Marks wrote:
I think a good test for discovering a "science worshiper" would be whether they think the discovery of nuclear weapons was a good thing.



Non sequitur



Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:52 am
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Quote:
Your co-worker simply may not have articulated his thoughts well. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was saying that it makes sense to ground one's beliefs on evidence whenever possible. It's not circular reasoning at all to make this claim.


Fair enough.. but ultimately I am not obligated to put words in his mouth or assume he meant something else.

His claim was explicit: science is the only thing we have ....to justify belief.
Naturally, I disagree for a few reasons.

Quote:
If you have pancreatic cancer, do you follow the recommended treatment given by evidence-based MDs or turn to alternative medicine (a la Steve Jobs)? If your worldview is evidence-based, you would almost certainly choose the former.


Of course not.. you should know me better than that.

It's wrong to say, "I believe in science"
Science is not something you believe in. It's the practice of method(s) that attempts to establish facts. That's all it is. That is very different from a belief system.
A worldview encompasses many beliefs and attitudes about the world; our lives, the lives of others we love, social constructs, political constructs, etc. Science does not guide us in our encounters with our experiences, beliefs, and attitudes, with the aforementioned. You know that. Nor does it offer rational justification for our actions and behavior within those realms.



Quote:
Obviously much of human subjective experience cannot be informed by evidence, such as when you decide what movie to go see, or a million other scenarios in which we must make judgments based on the best information available.


Yes - I think we agree here, as evidenced by my comments above. But, again, remember he explicitly said science is the only thing we have for rational justification of belief.

Say, he believes wholeheartedly that democrats are more rational than republicans. Therefore, he will register as a democrat tomorrow because..., because of what? Because science can justify his choice? Because all rational people are democrats that seek justification for their beliefs, and science should be able to test his hypothesis to verify with evidence that it's a rational belief?
Of course not.

We agree that his sweeping claim about science is false. You and I need to be charitable and correct his false statement about science. Fine

The alarming thing about all this is that there are a lot people like him who badly misrepresent science because they are apostles of scientism that need help from people like you and I



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Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:25 am
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Quote:
Evidence, the collection of scientific data, gathers observations about the universe.
Logic puts these observations into an orderly rational system of knowledge.


And observation itself is subject to theory ladenness. So, a "rational system of knowledge" is subject to the way people think within a given paradigm.
The geocentric paradigm seems strange to us now - almost unthinkable.
How will your (our) rational system of knowledge be viewed by the people of the 23rd century? That includes the judgments people of the 23rd century will make about our current moral blind spots.


Quote:
By the way, it is rather polemical for ant to present his dialogue partner under such a derogatory title, rather like Galileo caricaturing the Pope as Simplicius in his Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems.


You have lots of interesting things to say, Robert, and you are a learned man. But your tone appears haughty at times, particularly when you address me indirectly, for whatever reason.

Thank you for the Galileo comparison. It was very flattering indeed.



Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:14 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
ant wrote:
And observation itself is subject to theory ladenness. So, a "rational system of knowledge" is subject to the way people think within a given paradigm.


Yeah, there's turtles all the way down. There's no easy answer here.

I'd point out that a scientific paradigm isn't the same as a philosophical paradigm. The geocentric paradigm is a paradigm nested within the overall paradigm of the philosophy of science. That is, if you backdate science to before the time of Kevin Bacon.

I struggle with the "ultimate" root of knowledge all the time. It's a rabbit hole. I agree that scientific findings are an essential piece of the puzzle, but the puzzle has other pieces. I think the other pieces have to do with philosophy, but I'm fuzzy on what that philosophy is.

I also think that while philosophy is fundamental to science, it's also fundamental to religion. With what paradigm do we analyze religion?

Then there's the idea that science is self-justifying. In other words, because the findings of science correlate so closely to reality, the process justifies itself.


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Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:38 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Interbane wrote;

Quote:
I'd point out that a scientific paradigm isn't the same as a philosophical paradigm. The geocentric paradigm is a paradigm nested within the overall paradigm of the philosophy of science. That is, if you backdate science to before the time of Kevin Bacon


I agree with most of what you wrote with the exception of the above. It needs to be fleshed out.

The geocentric/ptolemiac model was based on astronomical calculations of motion. It was also a model that was accepted as scientifically accurate by Islamic astronomers of the time.
Islamic astronomy was very advanced for the time.

The geocentric model was not the product of some unnamed method "nested within" a philosophy of science paradigm. It was a product of the scientists (aka "natural philosophers") and the science of astronomy, of their era.

Also, let's be clear on what exactly a scientific paradig is:

Quote:
In science and philosophy, a paradigm (/ˈpærədaɪm/) is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field
~Wiki (emphasis mine)


The geocentric model was not without attempts to verify it with method, mathematical standards, calculations of motion, etc. It was very much a product ofmethod
You can read more about it on wiki. It's a nice summary that is much more than a philosophical discussion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentri ... ravitation



I think you run the risk of committing a common historians fallacy: judging/measuring people of a long past era against current "modern" standards: that wasn't really science... it was really philosophy.

Don't remove people and their accomplishments from their proper historical context.



Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:09 am
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
ant wrote:
The geocentric model was not the product of some unnamed method "nested within" a philosophy of science paradigm. It was a product of the scientists (aka "natural philosophers") and the science of astronomy, of their era.


The set of concepts and ideas within the geocentric model is a product of the science of the time. It is not the same thing as the science of the time. That's what I was clarifying. The methods of science are distinct from the philosophy of science, and both are distinct from the products of science. While we may not "believe in" the methods, we can definitely believe in the products, and that belief is justified by the philosophy.

But the thing is, the science of the time is not the same thing as modern science. The methods used and the philosophy behind it is vastly different. Modern science can and does get things wrong, but it gets them wrong less often than any other method we have in our tool belt. We're flawed and faulty, and science is the best we can do, but that doesn't mean it should be worshipped.


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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Interbane wrote:
Modern science can and does get things wrong, but it gets them wrong less often than any other method we have in our tool belt. We're flawed and faulty, and science is the best we can do, but that doesn't mean it should be worshipped.

A funny thing happened to that tool belt. Things kept appearing there that we would probably rather didn't.

A hundred years ago, as Yuval Harari points out, science looked like a way to win wars. Poison gas, artificial rubber, machine guns, rockets, explosives, what a bunch of cool stuff! Just the thing to make sure you are dominating, so you won't be dominated. And then the strangest thing happened - the compulsion to use what we knew for warfare revealed itself as nothing less than suicidal.

Then those prophets bellowing for repentance in the wilderness, the Gandhis and Thoreaus and Tolstoys, began to seem wiser than the generals took them for. Maybe they were on to something with their "take the sword, die by the sword" declarations. If we discovered ignorance about the natural world in the late middle ages (when people studied the heavens to get the calendar right for predicting Ramadan and Passover and Easter) then we discovered ignorance about the human soul at Hiroshima. But the dynamics of answering those questions work very differently from the response to the old ignorance, where the first to get AI guided drones gets to decapitate the rival government.

It's time to ask ourselves: of the things we are ignorant about, which ones matter the most?



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Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:42 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
I don't think it's ignorance, so much as it is tribalism or rationalization. Even the smartest man can ignore the things he knows and make great mistakes. There's no reason for scientific enlightenment and moral wisdom to be mutually exclusive. It's just that when they happen to be mutual exclusive at certain points in time with certain people, bigger weapons amplify the blunder. Maybe if we had the collective wisdom to elect the Gandhis and Thoreaus and Tolstoys instead of the Trumps. But a large percentage of us are irrational and tribalistic, and I think that's a deep enough part of human nature that no removal of ignorance will fix it.


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Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:47 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Harry wrote;

Quote:
science looked like a way to win wars



No, science did not look like a way to win wars.. it was the way technology was used by human beings.

Science did not formulate and test a hypothesis "if we split the atom, it will kill approximately 100 thousand people"

Hate to split (no pun intended) hairs with you about the difference, but it's important.



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Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:04 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
ant wrote:
Harry wrote;
No, science did not look like a way to win wars.. it was the way technology was used by human beings.
Science did not formulate and test a hypothesis "if we split the atom, it will kill approximately 100 thousand people"

Well, actually, it sort of did. Harari riffs off of the Nobel Prize winner who discovered poison gas, and a few other useful chemical inventions for WWI, but he makes a larger case that systematic discovery had been enlisted in the cause of making money, and the related cause of making war, for quite some time and was beginning to be systematically employed for those purposes. By the time you get to the development of the V-2 rocket and the obfuscation by which Heisenberg avoided delivering an A-bomb to Hitler, it was quite a conscious system. The Manhattan Project, the V-2, development of radar, the first computer (for the Manhattan Project) and the Enigma machine were all systematic discovery methods employed directly for the purpose of winning a war.

You can split hairs over whether Edison, Bell and Marconi were "only" creating technology or whether it was actual science, but Fermi and Bethe and Teller and Oppenheimer and the others would have been astonished to hear that they were not doing science.



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Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:36 pm
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Post Re: ant's conversation with dumb-dumb co-worker and science worshiper
Harry Marks wrote:
ant wrote:
Harry wrote;
No, science did not look like a way to win wars.. it was the way technology was used by human beings.
Science did not formulate and test a hypothesis "if we split the atom, it will kill approximately 100 thousand people"

Well, actually, it sort of did. Harari riffs off of the Nobel Prize winner who discovered poison gas, and a few other useful chemical inventions for WWI, but he makes a larger case that systematic discovery had been enlisted in the cause of making money, and the related cause of making war, for quite some time and was beginning to be systematically employed for those purposes. By the time you get to the development of the V-2 rocket and the obfuscation by which Heisenberg avoided delivering an A-bomb to Hitler, it was quite a conscious system. The Manhattan Project, the V-2, development of radar, the first computer (for the Manhattan Project) and the Enigma machine were all systematic discovery methods employed directly for the purpose of winning a war.

You can split hairs over whether Edison, Bell and Marconi were "only" creating technology or whether it was actual science, but Fermi and Bethe and Teller and Oppenheimer and the others would have been astonished to hear that they were not doing science.


No one said anyone was not doing science. The distinction between science and technology is important and one that you are talking past.

Science is used strictly for the purpose of expanding our knowledge..,for the sake of knowledge itself.

Technology creates and develops products for use.



Last edited by ant on Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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