Science denialism

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

Re: Science denialism

Postby Forest_Dump on May 27th, 2020, 7:50 am 

Truth be told, IMHO, Reg is correct on a few things. Objectivity is very difficult to achieve. "Facts" are often selected or preferred based on where they are believed to lead. Some branches, disciplines, lines of thought and investigation, etc., are selectively funded based on ideological tropes of the day. Peer reviewers are selected by editors in a manner that is not open for scrutiny and, thus, often for unknown reasons (they are anonymous) that are likely to include at least some measure of politics. Even the most prestigious academic positions are filled based on political and ideological criteria. We can't even agree on a definition of what science is. Science is actually a crummy way to generate any kind of knowledge - except in comparison with all the alternatives.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on May 27th, 2020, 10:16 am 

I'd call that an extremely clever post, Forest.

I think it's a lot healthier that we do recognize, as you do, and as do very insightful men such as Gould and Lewontin, that science cannot escape the cultural and social context in which it is embedded. Er, just like all the rest of us.

And be VERY careful about labeling people "imbeciles" and severing their fallopian tubes. After all "three generations of imbeciles are enough". Sigh!

What's my point, Charon asks?

Well, more of an instrumental stance towards scientific theories.

Do they produce the goods, like vaccines and rockets, as Mr Vat with his nonpareil brilliance suggests? Of course they do. Well, sometimes. I suppose we all have physics and chemistry and biology in mind now. Seems to me you might as well toss a coin than believe the prognostications of economists, say.

Should we believe scientific theories are literally true? I think not, Charon.

History strongly suggests that would be a bad idea.


P.S. Edit -- in my humble opinion. I could of course be hopelessly wrong. Happens a lot. But when it comes to severing fallopian tubes, I'd suggest erring on the side of caution. Who knows, given a new theory, we might turn out to be the imbeciles.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on May 27th, 2020, 10:29 am 

Just to add a little more, if you don't mind.

These days, of course, it is no longer PC to label the Eskimos, the Hottentots, the women, and the blacks mentally inferior. You just can't get away with that kind of thing anymore.

So, we're better now?

I don't think so. The blacks and the Hottentots might be off the hook, but nowadays scientists (well, a lot of them) have convinced themselves that the problem is now not the Hottentots and the Eskimos, but the religious folks.

Just try reading Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris. Their books might as well be entitled "What dafuq is wrong with Religious Idiots?". But of course, you have to be scientific about it.

And of course. you need proof, too. Same as the finest minds of the 19th century proved blacks were on an intellectual par with gorillas.

I'm not religious, by da way.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby TheVat on May 27th, 2020, 11:03 am 

Forest_Dump » May 27th, 2020, 4:50 am wrote:Truth be told, IMHO, Reg is correct on a few things. Objectivity is very difficult to achieve. "Facts" are often selected or preferred based on where they are believed to lead. Some branches, disciplines, lines of thought and investigation, etc., are selectively funded based on ideological tropes of the day. Peer reviewers are selected by editors in a manner that is not open for scrutiny and, thus, often for unknown reasons (they are anonymous) that are likely to include at least some measure of politics. Even the most prestigious academic positions are filled based on political and ideological criteria. We can't even agree on a definition of what science is. Science is actually a crummy way to generate any kind of knowledge - except in comparison with all the alternatives.


I like the Churchillian paraphrase at the end there. As I posted elsewhere, I'm besieged with work today, but will respond to posts in a day or so.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Forest_Dump on May 27th, 2020, 7:53 pm 

I have to admit that that bit of plagarism (?) was where I started.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Forest_Dump on May 27th, 2020, 11:13 pm 

As it happens I am slowly going through a book that some might find interesting here. "This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories that are Blocking Progress" (2015) edited by John Brockman, includes short papers written by 175 people ranging from physicists to economists and including names like Pinker, Dennett, Dawkins, Jared Diamond and even Alan Alda and from topics like standard deviation to string theory, IQ, the theory of everything, Peer review, etc. Lots in there and some is contradictory. Even reg should find some things to agree with.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby TheVat on May 28th, 2020, 11:07 am 

Reg_Prescott » May 27th, 2020, 7:29 am wrote:
And of course. you need proof, too. Same as the finest minds of the 19th century proved blacks were on an intellectual par with gorillas.

I'm not religious, by da way.


I'm not sure Charles Davenport was of the finest minds, but he did seem able to convince politicians that he was, no doubt because his ideas fit with their anti-immigrant and/or segregationist policies.

His proofs didn't come up to even 19th century standards of proof, but they do demonstrate what you and Forest are pointing to about how science gets muddied with political currents.

It does speak well for science being able to occasionally take out its trash that we all remember Darwin but few remember his cousin Francis Galton, a eugenicist and proto-"Social Darwinist." (that latter term I dislike, since "Social Spencerian" would be more accurate)
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on May 28th, 2020, 11:46 am 

TheVat » May 29th, 2020, 12:07 am wrote:
I'm not sure Charles Davenport was of the finest minds, but he did seem able to convince politicians that he was, no doubt because his ideas fit with their anti-immigrant and/or segregationist policies.

His proofs didn't come up to even 19th century standards of proof, but they do demonstrate what you and Forest are pointing to about how science gets muddied with political currents.




Again, with all due respect, good sir, sounds a bit like a convenient rewriting of history.

Gould is nothing if not honest about these things. It is simply not the case -- if Gould is to be believed at least -- that only a few fringe elements and quacks decided the intellectual pecking order.

The finest minds of the day did determine that white males were top of the pecking order Then all these trailer trash races and genders in the middle -- Hottentots, Eskimos, Papuans Scots, women, and blacks at the bottom of the compost heap, of course.

Now, this might not be so bad if it were only an exercise in theoretical speculation. The practical consequences, alas, were somewhat dire.

Paul Broca, for example, is hardly what can be described as a nutjob. Sitll highly respected today.

But yes, perhaps a lesson can be learned. No one in these days, with precious few exceptions, had any doubt whatsoever that that these blacks were subhuman. Why, they don't even feel pain, no matter how hard you whip them. Everyone knew this.

Perhaps the wisest words I ever heard are from a wonderfully clever American philosopher-psychologist-polymath named Daniel N. Robinson (and I paraphrase).

"Whenever you think you have a handle on the truth. Whenever you think you've figured out what makes Jones tick. Look in the mirror and say 'I may be wrong'. I may be terribly and irretrievably wrong'. And in that you'll almost certainly be right."
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Re: Science denialism

Postby TheVat on May 28th, 2020, 4:33 pm 

Wasn't arguing that scientific racism wasn't popular. Even Darwin, an ardent abolitionist, took twenty years before he felt moved to condemn. I was just pointing out that the leading exponents, like Davenport or Havelock Ellis, were more driven by ideologies than by any genuine scientific impulse (like open-minded curiosity). Whereas men noted for their passion for research and empirical approaches like Alfred Russell Wallace were quite opposed to SR. But please don't misunderstand me, I am not in any way excusing that century's scientific establishment. I used to live in what was the 19th century's hotbed of Abolitionism, so I guess I like to acknowledge the many fine minds who rose in opposition to SR and were not part of the "everyone knew this" mob.

I sometimes wonder if you are so used to taking flack here that you have trouble recognizing a position that's not polarized with your own. Maybe not. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration of Mr Robinson.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 9th, 2020, 6:06 am 

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/09/poli ... index.html

And the subsequent videos. Trump is simply ignoring and overriding what the doctors and science chiefs are saying.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Serpent on July 9th, 2020, 8:45 am 

I wonder how often in history science has been overruled by decree from the throne. Probably more than we know about, since the rejected science and its proponents promptly disappear and more compliant practitioners come into favour; their works are published and extolled. Until the wheel turns again.

But, surely, political opinion ought not to determine what an open, logical mind considers plausible.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 9th, 2020, 9:03 am 

You're probably right. If the current experts won't play find some who will till you get your own way. Mind you, he can't really get rid of Fauci so easily, he's too nationally recognised.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Serpent on July 9th, 2020, 9:51 am 

In politically charged climates like this, someone who needs to make a rational decision has to scrabble around for sources of reliable information. Now, we have many sources, from excellent quality, through all the shades of bias and misconception, to egregiously anti-fact. We have a convenient, fast means of comparing such information as we do find, so that we can evaluate them - at least for probability, if not accuracy.
Imagine what it would have been like, trying to exercise critical judgment in the middle ages!
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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 9th, 2020, 10:26 am 

They burnt you for less. But that had a lot to do with the Church who, as we all know, are wonderful people :-)
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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 16th, 2020, 9:49 pm 

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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 17th, 2020, 6:31 am 

To be clear:

'Trump press secretary says 'science should not stand in the way' of schools reopening'

'"And I was just in the Oval talking to him about that, and when he says open, he means open in full - kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this."'


I'd love to know if she really believes it as she's saying it!
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Serpent on July 17th, 2020, 8:59 am 

I suspect the single prerequisite for a Trump press secretary (or any press secretary, come to that) is a mind entirely free of convictions, beliefs and knowledge.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 17th, 2020, 9:55 am 

One does wonder.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby charon on July 17th, 2020, 12:11 pm 

Also:

Trump re-routes health data away from CDC.

viewtopic.php?f=145&t=35950&p=351656#p351656
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Sisyphus on July 17th, 2020, 12:51 pm 

Looks like the cat's out of the bag: Neither science nor scientists are perfect.

I can't wait to hear Reg_Prescott's recommendation for a replacement to the scientific method.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Serpent on July 17th, 2020, 3:22 pm 

Sisyphus » July 17th, 2020, 11:51 am wrote:I can't wait to hear Reg_Prescott's recommendation for a replacement to the scientific method.

It's in the works --
along with the new, comprehensive, perfect US health care plan with which the Republicans have intended, all along, to replace the horrible, terrible, nasty one the Democrats are always trying to enact, and they always fail, which is all Biden's fault --
one day, like a miracle, it will appear.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 17th, 2020, 7:27 pm 

Sisyphus » July 18th, 2020, 1:51 am wrote:
I can't wait to hear Reg_Prescott's recommendation for a replacement to the scientific method.



Well, dude, people like yourself who engage in the perpetuation of false yet endearing myths tend to get into a lot less trouble in places like this than people like myself who are concerned more about about getting science right.

Your comment above carries as much persuasive force to me as, say, "I'd like to see these anti-Christmas party poopers come up with something better than Santa Claus."

(Or Jesus Christ, for that matter)

There are excellent reasons for supposing that neither Santa Claus nor The Scientific Method exist; none, as far as I can discern, to suppose that they do.

(Oh, and I'll quote you Nobel Prize-winning scientists who say the same thing I do, if you like.)

Of course, children and scientistic zealots prefer not to hear this kind of thing.



The same knee-jerk reaction is invariably evoked when outsiders like myself have the temerity to point out absurdities lying at the very core of evolutionary theory (a gaping tautology, say, that overzealous yet misguided defenders prefer to sweep under the rug) -- "I'd like to see you come up with something better!!".

From an epistemological point of view, falsity and mythology are worthy of no respect and ought to be exposed at every turn, in my own (apparently minority) opinion, regardless of whether or not a superior alternative is offered.

Otherwise, we're no better off than those who handle rattlesnakes.



But anyway, do I have a better alternative? Yes! Stop believing in rubbish.
Last edited by Reg_Prescott on July 17th, 2020, 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby davidm on July 17th, 2020, 7:36 pm 

The same knee-jerk reaction is invariably evoked when outsiders like myself have the temerity to point out absurdities lying at the very core of evolutionary theory (a gaping tautology, say, that overzealous yet misguided defenders prefer to sweep under the rug) -- "I'd like to see you come up with something better!!".


it simply amazes me that this dishonest crap from this idiot is allowed to stand and this guy is allowed to continue posting such garbage without censure. We spent a LOT of time on this. The alleged tautology IS NOT A TAUTOLOGY, as I explained in excruciating detail to this troll. This guy has broken every rule here. He regularly insults and attacks people, he misrepresents the arguments of others, he refuses to respond to arguments to show him wrong, and he generally just gallivants about poisoning the whole place.

I was just about to respond to Hyksos's great OP on panpsychism when I saw this idiot's name. I knew I should have ignored it. Now I'll respond to Hyksos instead of putting up with this idiot's rubbish any longer.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 17th, 2020, 7:46 pm 

davidm » July 18th, 2020, 8:36 am wrote:
it simply amazes me that this dishonest crap from this idiot is allowed to stand and this guy is allowed to continue posting such garbage without censure. We spent a LOT of time on this. The alleged tautology IS NOT A TAUTOLOGY, as I explained in excruciating detail to this troll.



Well, here's just another dishonest troll, er I mean distinguished scientist, who apparently is unaware of your excruciating detail . . .


"I tend to agree with those who have viewed natural selection as a tautology rather than a true theory (see review by Peters, 1976). It is essentially a description of what has happened, with only weak powers of prediction, in that the kinds of individuals that are favored can often be recognized only in retrospect. The doctrine of natural selection states that the fittest succeed, but we define the fittest as those that succeed. This circularity in no way impugns the heuristic value of natural selection as a generation-by-generation description of evolutionary change"

- Steven M. Stanley, "Macroevolution: Pattern and Process", p192-193



If Prof Stanley receives the same censure I do, I'll take it like a man.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby TheVat on July 17th, 2020, 7:52 pm 

I am going to ask for not dragging other thread debates in here. As for...

Of course, children and scientistic zealots prefer not to hear this kind of thing....


As do working scientists who use methods particular to their fields that have proven their efficacy in finding things out. I think, as DM says, the strawman of One Scientific Method was dealt with thoroughly in other threads here.

And jumping on Sisyphus with a rather ad hommish "people like yourself" was weak. He hasn't posted here in 2.5 years, and I see no indication you have any insights into his thinking or persona. So knock that crap off, Reg.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Lomax on July 17th, 2020, 8:02 pm 

Well I should start by saying that the honourable Mr Prescott is certainly no idiot. He crushes me at word games. He has a witticism for every occasion, even if you wouldn't know it by this thread. For every philosopher of science you've read, he's read ten (and I spotted Kuhn and Feyerabend in the OP). He's wrong about antitheism and he's wrong about evolution, but then you can't have everything (that's why Allah gave me this nose). I can't agree on his suggestion that the preponderance of evidence is always even, or that science has nothing to offer that common sense can't. Basic intuitions may keep us from throwing ourselves off the condo (or, depending on the circumstances, they may encourage us) but the mere crude accumulation of quotidian empiricism could not have given us the computer on which Mr Prescott types. That is of course why The Vat speaks of medical procedures.

I heartily recommend Oliver Thorn's video about transphobia, in which he discusses the different types of scepticism. Look out for his (Hume's?) coleslaw analogy - it may improve a salad, but you wouldn't have it instead of the salad. The salad of scientific method - methods - has shown us the pacemaker, the rocket ship, the lemur genome and the adequate crop yield. But Mr Prescott urges us to partake only of the coleslaw.
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 18th, 2020, 6:13 am 

Lomax, first of all, the kind words are appreciated, especially coming from yourself, in particular.

A few remarks on your post above:

Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: I spotted Kuhn and Feyerabend in the OP


You may have seen comments in the OP similar to the kinds of things these two scallywags have been known to say. As Shapin makes clear, however, all quotes are from distinguished scientists themselves; his point being that accusations of science denialism often have more to do with the source (outsiders) than the content itself.

For example, distinguished biologists who point to the tautologous--hence non-explanatory--nature of natural selection may well be taken to task for a (putative) erroneous understanding of the principle. It's unlikely, though, they will be subject to allegations of being anti-science, let alone idiocy, dishonesty, and trolldom. (see above)


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: He's wrong about antitheism and he's wrong about evolution


Always a possibility, friend. And I'm genuinely glad there are people like you to help keep me on the right path when I stumble, if indeed I have on these matters.

With regards to natural selection (I know BiV hates this so I'll be brief), I personally can't see how charges of tautology can be avoided. To evade the circularity, fitness (= well adaptedness) would have to be defined without reference to survival and reproductive success. No one has every done this! Be my guest if you think you can.

Now, if there is no way to characterize fitness without appeal to survival and reproductive success, the obvious conclusion to draw is that they are one and the same thing. Didn't Einstein make a similar discovery with inertial mass and gravitational mass?

The problems begin when biologists--as they routinely do- explain survival and reproductive success by appeal to fitness; i.e., explain a thing by appeal to itself. It's an exercise in circular folly (e.g. the Irish elk died out because it was poorly adapted).

(I'd be sincerely interested to discuss this with you at length, Lomax, assuming you wouldn't be bored to Limey tears)


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: I can't agree on his suggestion that the preponderance of evidence is always even . . .


That's not a position I hold, Lomax. What I would say, though, is that simpleminded claims of the kind "It all comes down to evidence and logic" cannot be sustained. It's fairly easy to demonstrate, I believe, that non-epistemic (social, political, psychological, etc.) factors play a far greater role than is generally recognized.

Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: . . . or that science has nothing to offer that common sense can't


Again, this is not a position I hold. Clearly, quantum physics, just to name one example, takes us far away indeed from the realm of common sense.

What I would assert is that any talk of a unique Method which unites all, and only, the sciences is a chimera, as worthy of our belief as that of Santa Claus and Scotland winning the World Cup. Science, looked at sub specie aeternitatis, as far as I can discern at least, is not privy to any mode of reasoning or inference that is not deployed by all the rest of us.

Why, Einstein said something very similar . . .

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”― Albert Einstein


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: Basic intuitions may keep us from throwing ourselves off the condo (or, depending on the circumstances, they may encourage us) but the mere crude accumulation of quotidian empiricism could not have given us the computer on which Mr Prescott types. That is of course why The Vat speaks of medical procedures.



Once more, I'm a bit puzzled why you'd say this, Lomax. If I were to take a stance on this, my position vis-à-vis scientific epistemology would probably be closest to that of Bas van Fraassen's "Constructive Empiricism". It's generally regarded as an anti-realist position; by no means an anti-science one.

No one I know denies the instrumental efficacy of (some) scientific theories -- getting to the Moon, medical advances, and all that. What is disputed is the epistemological warrant for belief in the literal truth of scientific theories which posit the existence of unobservables.

As history is our witness, a realistic stance towards even the most highly confirmed theories would have resulted in a commitment to entities and processes that, as far as we can now tell, do not exist. And we don't wanna be like these God-botherers now, do we?

Mine is a cautious stance, shared by many of the finest scientists themselves, that science ought to stay as far clear from metaphysics as possible.



P.S. re word games. Er, are you free now? :)
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Lomax on July 18th, 2020, 6:47 am 

I'll get the point of agreement out the way (I'd hate to end on it): I do not think there is a single "scientific method" that's well-defined, agreed upon by scientists, and applicable to every kind of scientific investigation. If the defensiveness were dropped I like to think everybody would admit this: we distinguish between the "hard" and "soft" sciences already.

On the details, then: my previous post referred to these arguments you made on page one:

Reg_Prescott » May 26th, 2020, 12:41 am wrote:Well, except for the suicidal maniacs among us, we tend not to jump out tenth-storey windows. Why not? Because of cutting-edge scientific findings? Or because we all know we'd make a horrible splat on the pavement. Even the suicidal maniacs know this; precisely why they do it.

Reg_Prescott » May 25th, 2020, 2:22 pm wrote:Seems to me, more typical of science, is that for every scientist who claims X, another can be found who claims ~X.

I think I spot a response to Alan Sokal up there. But the suicide point is not typical of science, surely. Elsewhere, years ago, Neuro treated us to a mock paper on the lack of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of parachutes. Testimony to their reliability appears to be anecdotal. I just think it's worth distinguishing between this stuff, and the stuff that can only be figured out by analysing more data than one skull's hard drive can ultimately hold. Could NASA operate on the same basis as the suicidal maniac? I doubt it myself.

Your second claim is just false. Ideologues and pseudoscientists do of course cherrypick data (you took Sam Harris to task earlier: I was dismayed recently to see him dismiss the notion of a racial shooting bias by picking the two studies that confirmed his position, and ignoring dozens against). We have to look at the overall body of scientific literature, and if we really want to be scientific, we have to scrutinise the methodologies, sample sizes and so on, of each paper and compare them for weight. That is why things like forest plots exist.

Your question about natural selection being a tautology is perhaps a tangent, but one that I'm willing to go with you on. But as a ground rule I insist we distinguish natural selection from evolution by natural selection. The former surely is a tautology, at least as it's currently conceived - things that are better at surviving survive, and survival skill is quantified after the fact on the basis of its success. That's a small and perfect conceptual circle. But it leaves many empirical questions (some of which Dawkins has weighed in on very well - you should read his early work): is it the species, the colony, the individual or the gene which goes on trial for selection? (The man who jumps off the building is particularly salient here.) Is it more than one of these things, and each to what extent? And how does this process add up to qualitative differences, particularly to such an extent that new species arise? I cannot see how these questions are answered without getting out of the armchair. Dawkins points out in the Selfish Gene that the micro-evolutions would have to continue in the same direction in order to add up to something larger; that there needs to be the right amount of external pressure (ie. not so little danger that there's nothing to select for; not so much danger that all varieties die out) and so on. Does Berlinski have anything to say on these points?
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Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 18th, 2020, 7:45 am 

Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote:Elsewhere, years ago, Neuro treated us to a mock paper on the lack of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of parachutes. Testimony to their reliability appears to be anecdotal. I just think it's worth distinguishing between this stuff, and the stuff that can only be figured out by analysing more data than one skull's hard drive can ultimately hold. Could NASA operate on the same basis as the suicidal maniac? I doubt it myself.


Well, again, I'm just wondering whether science is being assigned credit where none is due (like Dawkins inviting gravity deniers to defenestrate themselves).

Why do people, by and large, jump out of planes with a parachute and not without? My guess is that parachutes have been tested again and again--like cobblers test shoes, perhaps--without any benefit of a scientific theory. I haven't looked into the history of parachute testing, but my guess would be they tried it with rats first, then monkeys, then Australian men, then full humans.

Can science tell us the rate of acceleration at which you will plummet to your death if you can't afford a parachute? Yes! Do we need science to tell us that you will plummet to your death? I don't think so.

Looked at from another perspective, without science would there be no skydiving? What say you?

How about the original bungee jumping (in Vanuatu, I believe)? Is this something we have to thank science for?



Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote:Your second claim [that more typical of science, is that for every scientist who claims X, another can be found who claims ~X] is just false.


How do you suggest we verify this, Lomax? Unanimity across the entire scientific board strikes me as a very rare thing indeed.

Then you might reply, "Ah, but these weirdos who demur are not real scientists". And again we lapse in circularity; the "real" scientists being the ones who subscribe to the the majority view.


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote:some of which Dawkins has weighed in on very well - you should read his early work


Oh, I have. Cost me a full head of flowing brown hair, too.

Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote:is it the species, the colony, the individual or the gene which goes on trial for selection?


I read a lot of philosophy of biology, friend. I'm aware of the brouhaha.

As far as I can see it changes absolutely nothing. Whether it is individual organisms, groups thereof, entire species, even higher taxa, genes, or to raise the absurdity to new heights, memes (you can always rely on Dawkins), those which are preferentially selected are still those who are the fittest. In other words, nothing is still being explained, except the vacuity happens at different levels.

Given that you concede (I think) that natural selection on individual organisms is a non-explanatory tautology, how is the tautology evaded by moving up or down a level?


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: And how does this process add up to qualitative differences, particularly to such an extent that new species arise? I cannot see how these questions are answered without getting out of the armchair.


I couldn't agree more. Sitting in one's armchair and simply inventing a new level of selection--as Dawkins, Gould, etc., did--isn't gonna help. Science was never easier.


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote: Dawkins points out in the Selfish Gene that the micro-evolutions would have to continue in the same direction in order to add up to something larger; that there needs to be the right amount of external pressure (ie. not so little danger that there's nothing to select for; not so much danger that all varieties die out) and so on.


And now we're back to "One scientist says X and other says ~X".

Some, perhaps the majority, say macroevolution is nothing but microevolution writ large. Others (Gould, Edredge, etc.) say otherwise.


Lomax » July 18th, 2020, 9:02 am wrote:Does Berlinski have anything to say on these points?


Lots! But just to mention his name around here immediately labels one a science-denier, a dishonest troll, and probably a child molester to boot.

Even you, just yesterday . . .

(BiV knows his Dylan :) )
Reg_Prescott
 


Re: Science denialism

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 18th, 2020, 7:49 am 

P.S. Any why do you keep evading the issues that really matter? Like are you free for some Wordy?

*poke*
Reg_Prescott
 


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