Doing Away With Scientism

Discussion of articles that appear in the magazine.

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Science Fan
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Science Fan » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:41 pm

1: You don't know what science is then. Science is not identifying snow and that it is cold, which is a simple empirical observation. If simple empirical observations were science, then we would have to consider journalists, at least the tiny fraction that don't lie their asses off, as scientists. We would also have to view cab drivers as scientists as they look for an address, and historians as scientists as they uncover what happened in the past. None of these people, however, are scientists, as science goes beyond such simplistic activities as you consider as being science.

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-1-
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:59 pm

Science Fan wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:41 pm
1: You don't know what science is then. Science is not identifying snow and that it is cold, which is a simple empirical observation. If simple empirical observations were science, then we would have to consider journalists, at least the tiny fraction that don't lie their asses off, as scientists. We would also have to view cab drivers as scientists as they look for an address, and historians as scientists as they uncover what happened in the past. None of these people, however, are scientists, as science goes beyond such simplistic activities as you consider as being science.
Why would you classify such simplistic activities as not science? It's simple science, but science. If you think that unless it involves white lab coats, huge facilities and white rats, and billions of dollars of grant money that make science, then it's you who is wrong.

There is simple science, advanced science and cutting edge science. Thanks for bringing this matter into focus.

And I went beyond identifying snow as cold and occurring always as cold as being science. There was one more component there, which you must quote if you want to be fair. Please don't misquote me or quote me incompletely when you state an argument of mine to refute.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Science Fan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:28 am

Those activities are not science, and if you think they are, then you don't even have the bare basics down regarding what science is. For one thing, no experiments are involved in such observations, so how is it science? Common sense observations about the world do not involve science.

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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by -1- » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:59 am

Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:28 am
Those activities are not science, and if you think they are, then you don't even have the bare basics down regarding what science is. For one thing, no experiments are involved in such observations, so how is it science? Common sense observations about the world do not involve science.
Au contraire. Common sense observations were the bread-and-butter for science before experiments were conducted. The science that lead to the invention of lightning rods was made without experiments. I mean, how would you create a lightning in your lab that had real-life heat and energy. That we still can't do today.

Aside from that, there are experiments conducted in checking if snow IS really cold to the touch, and predictions were made that approx. 12 months from the appearance of snow on the ground, there will be cold snow again on the ground.

Early man (cavemen) could not create fire without experiments. Children experiment with many things: they throw, for one of many instances, objects from their crib or pen to see the flight pattern of the objects to learn about the nature of gravity.

I reject your notion that there had been no experiments conducted by children and "cavemen".

Of course, the question begs itself, if you are so adamant that I don't know what science means (which notion I also reject), then there must be some discrepancy between your expectations of what exactly entails an activity to be called "science", and what exactly in my description of activities are missing that qualify my described events as science. If you would kindly propose what you call science, then the discussion would be more fluid.

To make sure you understand what I mean by science, I repeat: repeated observations made of a phenomenon, and predictions made based on those observations. The repeated observations may be made under identical or similar or dissimilar circumstances. Also, not necessarily always and in every expression of science, a part of science is explaining coincidentality, when appropriate, by outlining some well-reasoned causal links for the coincidentality of observed events. By "coincidentality" I mean coinciding events, or events that follow each other in the same order time after time after time.

If you don't supply a definition of science as you see it, then please don't argue against my definition.

And naturally you may want to cut-and-paste dictionary definitions, that is fair play as well, as long as you are certain that you fully, and I mean fully, embrace them.

Pjotr777
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Pjotr777 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:15 am

If we pose a theory which cant be proven nor falsified. What is this called? Metaphysics or philosophy?

Science Fan
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Science Fan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:57 am

1: You don't have a clue what science is. While you may consider journalists, cab drivers, and children as doing science, I don't, and neither do the vast majority of philosophers in the field of philosophy of science and scientists. It's because their activities are not scientific. Have you even taken a physics class in your life?

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A_Seagull
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by A_Seagull » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:19 am

Londoner wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:12 am

If we define 'snow' then
Perhaps it is not such a good idea to define things then...

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Greta
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Greta » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:32 am

Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:57 am
1: You don't have a clue what science is. While you may consider journalists, cab drivers, and children as doing science ...
It's not the profession of science, no, and the child is not a scientists, but I posit that -1-'s ideas about science are reasonable.

A child is building when playing with Lego, but she is not a builder or a professional in the building industry. By the same token, a child does science - using the scientific method (observation of patterns, testing their observations, and using them to make predictions) - to explore things, but the child is not a scientist, nor a practitioner in the field.

uwot
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by uwot » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:38 am

Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:57 am
1: You don't have a clue what science is.
So can you tell us?
Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:57 am
While you may consider journalists, cab drivers, and children as doing science, I don't, and neither do the vast majority of philosophers in the field of philosophy of science and scientists.
If you are going to define science, you really ought to have some mention of empirically derived data in that definition. This is a philosophy forum so you can make up any nonsense you like, but my experience of philosophers of science and scientists is that your claim isn't true. The philosophers I know are fairly evenly distributed between those who think that scientists are adhering to some set of instructions for science, and those who just accept that science is whatever scientists do. If anything the scientists I know are even less interested in defining science and just get on with doing whatever it is they do.
Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:57 am
It's because their activities are not scientific. Have you even taken a physics class in your life?
So is it science because the activities are scientific, or is it science because it is being taught in a physics class?

Londoner
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Londoner » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:10 pm

A_Seagull wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:19 am
Londoner wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:12 am

If we define 'snow' then
Perhaps it is not such a good idea to define things then...
Science deals with what can be measured. We want to come up with some objective measurement, so we have got to have some agreement about what we are measuring. As I was trying to suggest earlier, in normal life we can get away with fuzzy ideas of things like 'snow' but for science we have to be precise. If we can't be precise about what we mean by 'snow' then we can't do science.

This is even more obvious with the word 'cold'. That something feels cold to me depends on what temperature I am. That is like trying to measure something with an elastic ruler! Science does not measure temperature according to what something feels like to the individual; it is not based on what we can empirically experience, since what we can experience is just an accidental function of the senses that humans happen to possess.

To put it another way, we cannot understand scientific concepts by analogy to our everyday experiences. To understand 'temperature' in a scientific sense we have to think about kinetic energy within a system. That requires us to forget any everyday ideas of temperature being to do with what things 'feel like'.

Science Fan
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Science Fan » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:41 pm

The reason why observing that snow is cold is not doing science is because such observations do not include any causal explanation for the snow, or why it is cold, and there is also no follow-up empirical investigation by way of either a controlled experiment or statistical analysis. Saying that common, everyday, observations is doing science, like jumping into a lake and discovering the water is cold, would rule out the very existence of science as a discipline. Science may include common observations, but that is not the same thing as saying science is being done when people engage in common sense observations. Without any empirical follow-up to try to confirm or rule out a causal explanation, one is not doing science.

uwot
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by uwot » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:17 pm

Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:41 pm
The reason why observing that snow is cold is not doing science is because such observations do not include any causal explanation for the snow, or why it is cold...
Causal explanations are not essential to science. Hypotheses non fingo, shut up and calculate, philosophy is dead and all that.
Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:41 pm
...and there is also no follow-up empirical investigation by way of either a controlled experiment or statistical analysis.
Now you're talking.

Scientismist
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Scientismist » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:51 pm

Science Fan wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:28 am
Those activities are not science, and if you think they are, then you don't even have the bare basics down regarding what science is. For one thing, no experiments are involved in such observations, so how is it science? Common sense observations about the world do not involve science.
The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
— Albert Einstein

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:26 am

Pjotr777 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:15 am
If we pose a theory which cant be proven nor falsified. What is this called? Metaphysics or philosophy?
Hard to say. The possibility of human heavier-than-air flight was repeatedly falsified...until it wasn't. :shock: Falsification is a level of certitude hard to obtain in even the most rigorous scientific experiments. What we have instead is probability-based "falsification," meaning "X is VERY LIKELY (not certain) to be false."

To say that it's permanently false, well, that's often quite hard. Sometimes, it seems, yesterday's metaphysical postulate becomes tomorrow's scientific theory. And there are certainly, as Hamlet noted, "more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in [our] philosophy."

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A_Seagull
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Re: Doing Away With Scientism

Post by A_Seagull » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:47 am

Pjotr777 wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:15 am
If we pose a theory which cant be proven nor falsified. What is this called? Metaphysics or philosophy?
No theories that refer to the real world can be proven or proven false.

It is only naïve non-scientists who think that they can.

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