A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

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

Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby hyksos on July 6th, 2017, 3:12 pm 

This thread badly needs a fork. (Braininvat should consider locking after 28 pages)

Continue here -> viewtopic.php?f=37&t=33118
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1011
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on July 6th, 2017, 6:33 pm 

Braininvat » July 7th, 2017, 12:37 am wrote:LoL. And yes, the wattle grows daily. At 61, I can say time has been kind, but the same side of the family that gave me a Methusela gene, also passed along a scrawny English rockstar build, so there's not much chin fat with which to conceal the wattle. In ten years, I'll be able to frighten children. Wish I could now...too many pesky urchins in this 'hood.

I still think Fodor's found a non-problem, but I'm not up to dissecting it atm. Later, duderino.



Tee hee.

It's a foregone conclusion that any book attacking neo-Darwinian orthodoxy, or Edward I, is going to be hung, drawn and quartered even before publication or Longshanks has even laid eyes on it. In other words, what's being said isn't all that relevant; all that matters is that the sayer be silenced.

The response to Fodor's natural selection critique reminds me of Searle's Chinese Room argument, the latter of which was similarly pre-ordained to be slain (by angry AI hordes).

Everyone agrees something is wrong with it; no two people seem agreed on what that "something" is.

All the usual suspects appear at the identification parade:

"He doesn't understand biology" (cf "Trespassers will be shot")

"There's more to evolution than natural selection" (That's nice. Hardly a refutation of a NS theory critique, though)


etc., etc.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on July 6th, 2017, 6:57 pm 

Don Juan » July 7th, 2017, 4:01 am wrote:
Do you mean what are the steps and considerations we should take to believe scientists?



Not exactly. The general issue under scrutiny (we're a little sidetracked atm) is one of epistemology: Do scientific theories enjoy sufficient epistemic warrant for us to rationally commit ourselves to a belief in the truth of those theories?
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Braininvat on July 6th, 2017, 8:33 pm 

He doesn't understand biology" (cf "Trespassers will be shot")


Those 2 sentences aren't really equivalent. If you wander into a discipline, and you don't know what you don't know, it's a genuine problem for any meta analysis you plan to perform.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5596
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Positor on July 6th, 2017, 8:47 pm 

NoShips » July 6th, 2017, 4:16 pm wrote:Counterfactual-supporting laws would fix the problem too. No minds required. The problem is ... who would claim it is a law that "Organisms with firm breasts (or whatever) are fitter than those without"? These things, we're told, are massively contextually sensitive. Some organisms in some environments might prefer floppy breasts.

But why is that a problem? Why must the laws be universal?

Given a particular environment (including geography, climate, types of predators etc), we can predict that (a) trait A will be 'selected for' if it arises, (b) trait B will not be 'selected for', and (c) trait B will be selected (not 'for') if it is co-extensive with trait A, but will not be selected otherwise. Then we can test our predictions against actual examples from nature. If our predictions are correct (to a statistically significant degree), we can conclude that a particular environment 'selects for' such-and-such traits. As far as I can see, this deals with the issue of counterfactuals.

I have read the whole Fodor "Why Pigs Don't Have Wings" link, and I still don't fully understand his argument.
Positor
Member
 
Posts: 998
Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Braininvat liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on July 7th, 2017, 7:25 am 

@ Positor -- Read for yourself what Fodor has to say on the possibility of laws of selection (pages 122 - 127)

http://books.google.com.tw/books?id=Zxw ... ty&f=false
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby hyksos on July 7th, 2017, 10:43 am 

I just want to make some observations, and I would appreciate some feedback, particularly if I got something wrong or if I am misrepresenting someone's stance.

1.
We are on 28 pages now wherein the topic has moved abruptly into Evolution. My attempt to fork it has fallen flat.

2.
NoShips appears to have tried to insert GOD into this thread several times, often by softening it with a "tee-hee" or other emoticons. When challenged he throws a little pity party that he "Was just bringing into question the raw dry theory of Evolution by natural selection" and that we have misinterpreted him, or treated him unfairly. Can we justifiably say this NoShips poster is attempting to adopt a position of divine intervention in the history of life on earth? That is to say, (and please give me some feedback on this people) he's not just a man who is geeking out about biology and is really genuinely interested in evolution, but he seeks to displace the theory with God.

(he does not have to play fair with us at any time, but we must play fair with him at all times?)

3.
NoShips is now giggling at someone who would suggest that natural selection is not the only mechanism of Evolution. Well that is not as ridiculous as it seems. Among prokaryotic bacteria and Archaea, horizontal gene transfer happens all the time. There is also something called genetic drift, which is not a mystery at all. Genetic drift is a statistical truism that happens because of sampling error. If you have a population of moths who are comprised of 8713 white and 1287 black, and then the population of both suddenly lowers to 100, you lose some 'granularity' in the ratio. Also, because ecosystems are a chaotic mess, accidents of death will not 'evenly split' this ratio in its existing portions. 8713/1287 will not magically be reduced to 87/13 after the die-off. It will be some number that is 'nearby' that ratio but off a little due to sampling error.


If I have said something inaccurate about anyone's behavior in this thread, please correct me at will!
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1011
Joined: 28 Nov 2014
BioWizard liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby BioWizard on July 7th, 2017, 12:40 pm 

hyksos, Braininvat hasn't responded to your request for locking the thread because he has recused himself from moderating it.

I will give everyone a chance to enter any closing remarks and then I will lock this down tomorrow or after.
User avatar
BioWizard
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 12557
Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Location: United States
Blog: View Blog (3)
Braininvat liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby hyksos on July 7th, 2017, 1:26 pm 

BioWizard,

I will submit my official closing remark to this thread as a whole.

Scientific Realism is a philosophical position which states that the Scientific Method is in the regular business of finding actual extended features of the universe. Example : if science writing regularly refers to "electrons" and refers to them for 7 decades, we infer that "electrons" are actual extended objects in the universe we occupy. Same goes for DNA, and bacteria, and photons, and galaxies and whatever else have you.

Instrumentalism is a contrary philosophical position. It says that "electrons" are only convenient fictions adopted by certain theories that are meant to explain a body of data regarding atoms and electricity. Similar arguments can be made for these mythical things called "magnetic fields". (nobody has seen a magnetic field, we infer its existence by measuring force). Instrumentalism extends beyond physics --- even says that evolution by natural selection is a dry theory that is meant to explain a certain body of evidence regarding variation seen in organisms.

(marginal note: I am an instrumentalist)

Let it be known : The men sitting in the room listening to Jerry Fodor's presentation are all assuming a philosophical backdrop of instrumentalism.

My main caveat to all of you: If you do not adopt instrumentalism at least in spirit , then everything Jerry Fodor is saying is complete bunk and is totally irrelevant. That is to say, you are fully within your intellectual rights to declare that if science has uncovered a successful theory of natural selection, that therefore we conclude that evolution is True in a grand sense , with a capital T Truth. Despite the vitriol sprayed at you from NoShips, you absolutely could adopt Scientific Realism and dispense with these Fodorian quandaries. I would disagree with you -- but my disagreement would be philosophical.

Why are you in full intellectual credence to do such? Because the difference between Scientific Realism and Instrumentalism is metaphysical and epistemological. The struggle between them will not be resolved on this forum, if anywhere else.

TLDR; In summary, Scientific Realism is still valid, even if we have `toyed` with countervailing philosophies for 28 forum pages.
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1011
Joined: 28 Nov 2014


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Positor on July 7th, 2017, 8:11 pm 

BioWizard » July 7th, 2017, 5:40 pm wrote:I will give everyone a chance to enter any closing remarks and then I will lock this down tomorrow or after.

I would be happy for this particular thread to be locked, but I would appreciate the chance of further discussion on the Natural Selection issue (especially any further comments from Braininvat) in a new thread. Despite careful reading, I am having difficulty in understanding Fodor's argument about the need for general laws of selection in the absence of a conscious selector. Fodor and NoShips have advanced the same detailed argument, but I still don't get it! There must be some subtle point that I am missing.
Positor
Member
 
Posts: 998
Joined: 05 Feb 2010


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on July 9th, 2017, 10:00 am 

BioWizard » July 8th, 2017, 1:40 am wrote:
I will give everyone a chance to enter any closing remarks and then I will lock this down tomorrow or after.
. [Mr NoShips, you are a cover up artist and you are a liar. I added that bit - NoShips]

Mr NoShips doesn't want it.

Mr NoShips doesn't need to be labelled "not worthy of being a Baird man"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUE4v1rUpSM

Now, Mr BioTrash, if you'd like to continue discussing Fodor's conceptual critique on natural selection theory, I'm yer sealion.

If that's too scary for ya, run the gypsies outta town.

I'll be as rational and respectful to you as you are to me. Or else hire performing bears.
User avatar
NoShips
Banned User
 
Posts: 1855
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby BioWizard on July 9th, 2017, 3:50 pm 

Ok, thanks everyone. This thread is now locked.
User avatar
BioWizard
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 12557
Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Location: United States
Blog: View Blog (3)


Previous

Return to Philosophy of Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests