Doing Away With Scientism

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:24 am

jayjacobus wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:58 pm
I don't think that Kidd is saying that scientific methods are wrong. He is saying that some (many?) scientists "go too far, promise too much, neglect or forget other things that matter, and so overstate, exaggerate, and distort."

The scientist, who thinks he is extra special because he is a scientist, will denigrate non-scientists because they are non-scientists, not because they are wrong.
I think what Kidd was saying is that it is scienticists (followers of scientism or scienticism) who do that, not the scientists. Of course a scientist could possibly be a scienticist at the same time.

If he says that scientists "go too far, promise too much, neglect or forget other things that matter, and so overstate, exaggerate, and distort." then Kidd is plain wrong. Scientists report observed facts and they draw conclusions from that. If they neglect or forget other things that matter, then those other things are not matters of science, so they are rightful in neglecting or forgetting them.

Scientists (and I think we can include secularists and atheists) denigrate non-scientists only if they say stupid things and assume that they are true, and everyone must believe it. Which is, by-and-large, religious dogma or its derivatives. I am sure it hurts the religious when that happens, but hey, they had their heydays in the middle ages, things change, now it's the secularists' turn to rule.

Wait long enough, and it will become again a world where reason is suppressed, and religion will dominate.

Nothing lasts forever.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:39 am

Impenitent wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:49 pm
moving to a universal from a particular is an error

http://www.princeton.edu/~grosen/puc/ph ... ction.html

http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.php?t=147616

-Imp
Thanks. Technically this is not an explanation of induction, but Hume's opinion on induction. It's much better than nothing. Thank you for the links.

"(DATA) In our extensive experience thus far, snow has always been cold.
(NN) If a regularity holds in my experience thus far, it does not hold in nature generally, not even in the next instance.
(THEORY*) Therefore, snow is not always cold, and won't be the next time I come across it."

This is the bread and butter of philosophy.

Just because a causation has been observed to happen every time in the past in one way, it does not mean that it will keep on happening in the future.

This is philosophically solid. And science relies on the hope that things that we have observed in the past, causational events, will not change their causative behaviour.

Both are right. Hume is right in his opinion, and you still won't eat arsenic, will you, because science works. It may be philosophically on shaky grounds, because its findings rely on hope to work on the future, but by-and-large, all hope gets justified, when next time you engage on the hope that a scientifically established theory will work as predicted.

It is this problem of induction that is the basis for the demand of science to claim only temporary knowledge, until it is proved otherwise. The temporary knowledge of course may last forever, so it's not really "temporary", but more comparable to a sudden-death overtime game, which may end any time, but it's not guaranteed that it will ever end.

It is this problem of induction that scientists guarantee their findings to be true until it is falsified. If it can't be falsified, then it is not dependent on induction, and therefore it is not a finding of science. By its own nature, all scientific facts depend on the acceptance of the hope that induction is going to work for each finding.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Londoner » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:18 pm

"(DATA) In our extensive experience thus far, snow has always been cold.
But this is circular because if some snow we experienced had not been cold we would have said it was not snow.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by A_Seagull » Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:20 pm

Londoner wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:18 pm
"(DATA) In our extensive experience thus far, snow has always been cold.
But this is circular because if some snow we experienced had not been cold we would have said it was not snow.
The belief that snow exists at all is also based on induction.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Science Fan » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:47 pm

Verifying the existence of snow does not depend in any way on a causation analysis. In fact, knowing snow exists does not depend on science at all.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:06 pm

Science Fan wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:47 pm
Verifying the existence of snow does not depend in any way on a causation analysis. In fact, knowing snow exists does not depend on science at all.
Well, maybe part of science does nothing but record observed events, and record coincidental events (not necessarily which science would term as causational events). Coincidental events would probably have either random chance, or else a common cause of happening, or one causing the other.

I agree that the existence of snow is not science, although it is noted by science. But cold and snow happening together is science. At least according to my opinion as per the previous paragraph.

I know I used "random chance" which may or may not indicate to you a hole in my strong belief in determinism. But "random chance" is only a term from humans' point of view, who can't take into account all events that cause something to happen. It is random to us, while in nature, as they happen, they are not random.

I know also that there exists an uncertainty principle as per Quantum Mechanics, and I dare not go there because I have no training, formal or informal, in mathematics and physics to fathom the meaning and significance of QM laws.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:13 pm

A_Seagull wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:20 pm
The belief that snow exists at all is also based on induction.
In fact, it does. We have senses and memory, and without these two faculties we would have no belief that snow exists. This is neurological pscience, not physics, but it is science nevertheless.

Londoner wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:18 pm
"(DATA) In our extensive experience thus far, snow has always been cold.
But this is circular because if some snow we experienced had not been cold we would have said it was not snow.
That is not scientific, unless the ENTIRE definition of snow would be restricted to "something cold". But snow is frozen water, it is created form water by cooling it. If for some reason snow is presented to us as warm, AND it is frozen water, then the induction still works; it works as the theory just got falsified. So we have to revise our concept of snow.

Let me know when that happens (getting warm snow).

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Science Fan » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:31 pm

Observing cold and snow happening together is also not science. It's simply a common-sense observation that can be made without reference to any scientific methodology. Animals can figure out that it's cold when there is snow, so does that mean animals are doing science? That cavemen were? That little children are?

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:25 am

Science Fan wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:31 pm
Observing cold and snow happening together is also not science. It's simply a common-sense observation that can be made without reference to any scientific methodology. Animals can figure out that it's cold when there is snow, so does that mean animals are doing science? That cavemen were? That little children are?
You're right, observing that snow is cold is not science if you do it once. But doing it many times, over and over, and predicting that the next time snow will come, it will be cold, is science.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:28 am

Science Fan wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:31 pm
...animals are doing science? That cavemen were? That little children are?
Children and cavemen are certainly are / had been completely capable of doing science. I, as a child, and almost all my compatriots as children, did science, after religion was taken out of the curriculum by the communist regimes. And cavemen certainly developed technology, which is a practical part of science.

Yepp. Bible study was taken out, and Darwinian evolution and Marxist-Leninist political economy was slapped right in in its place.

Take some, give some, get some.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Londoner » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:12 am

-1- wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:13 pm
"(DATA) In our extensive experience thus far, snow has always been cold.
But this is circular because if some snow we experienced had not been cold we would have said it was not snow.
That is not scientific, unless the ENTIRE definition of snow would be restricted to "something cold". But snow is frozen water, it is created form water by cooling it. If for some reason snow is presented to us as warm, AND it is frozen water, then the induction still works; it works as the theory just got falsified. So we have to revise our concept of snow.

Let me know when that happens (getting warm snow).
If we define 'snow' then what is true about snow depends on our definition and there is no reason to say one definition is better than any other. For example, I might instead define 'snow' as 'frozen liquid', in which case water-snow would be warmer than alcohol-snow. Even with the normal definition, it isn't true that all snow has the same temperature, so some snow is comparatively warm. Nor is snow pure water.

So in order to make snow a thing that conforms to a scientific rule we have to turn it into an abstraction; no actual piece of snow will quite correspond to scientific 'snow'. So it isn't the case that we adjust our scientific theory to fit with our empirical experience of snow; it is that we have adjust our concept of snow to fit with our theory.

But really science has nothing to say about 'snow'. Snow is a particular thing and you can't make rules from particular things. Science would instead describe 'states of matter' which covers all instances of freezing etc., of which water would just be one example. That description is part of an even wider description in which everything in the universe is only an instance of general laws.

On the other hand, as a human in the world I do not experience general laws. It may be the sun and a snowball are both instances of the same general scientific laws, but that does not match my empirical experience. The scientific description of such things is both true and useful, but from my point of view it is incomplete.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:47 pm

Londoner wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:12 am
If we define 'snow' then what is true about snow depends on our definition and there is no reason to say one definition is better than any other. For example, I might instead define 'snow' as 'frozen liquid', in which case water-snow would be warmer than alcohol-snow. Even with the normal definition, it isn't true that all snow has the same temperature, so some snow is comparatively warm. Nor is snow pure water.

So in order to make snow a thing that conforms to a scientific rule we have to turn it into an abstraction; no actual piece of snow will quite correspond to scientific 'snow'. So it isn't the case that we adjust our scientific theory to fit with our empirical experience of snow; it is that we have adjust our concept of snow to fit with our theory.

But really science has nothing to say about 'snow'. Snow is a particular thing and you can't make rules from particular things. Science would instead describe 'states of matter' which covers all instances of freezing etc., of which water would just be one example. That description is part of an even wider description in which everything in the universe is only an instance of general laws.

On the other hand, as a human in the world I do not experience general laws. It may be the sun and a snowball are both instances of the same general scientific laws, but that does not match my empirical experience. The scientific description of such things is both true and useful, but from my point of view it is incomplete.
Londoner, it must be a beautiful thing, to live in your world, where things don't have meanings, living things don't have experiences, and concepts altogether don't exist. Where warm and cold are not experienced, where definitions are discarded as being circular, where nothing is concrete or definable.

Happy living, Londoner, carry on, I envy you.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Londoner » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:25 pm

-1- wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:47 pm

Londoner, it must be a beautiful thing, to live in your world, where things don't have meanings, living things don't have experiences, and concepts altogether don't exist. Where warm and cold are not experienced, where definitions are discarded as being circular, where nothing is concrete or definable.

Happy living, Londoner, carry on, I envy you.
I have no idea how you can have read what I wrote and come up with that conclusion.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:01 pm

Londoner wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:25 pm
-1- wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:47 pm

Londoner, it must be a beautiful thing, to live in your world, where things don't have meanings, living things don't have experiences, and concepts altogether don't exist. Where warm and cold are not experienced, where definitions are discarded as being circular, where nothing is concrete or definable.

Happy living, Londoner, carry on, I envy you.
I have no idea how you can have read what I wrote and come up with that conclusion.
Likewise.

We're even.

Can we quit now?

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Londoner » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:35 pm

-1- wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:01 pm
Londoner wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:25 pm
-1- wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:47 pm

Londoner, it must be a beautiful thing, to live in your world, where things don't have meanings, living things don't have experiences, and concepts altogether don't exist. Where warm and cold are not experienced, where definitions are discarded as being circular, where nothing is concrete or definable.

Happy living, Londoner, carry on, I envy you.
I have no idea how you can have read what I wrote and come up with that conclusion.
Likewise.

We're even.

Can we quit now?
But I am not writing for just for you. I hope that other readers will understand what I am saying better than you seem to.

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