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 Athena on April 3rd, 2017, 2:34 pm 

NoShips » March 28th, 2017, 4:34 pm wrote:@ Athena

The word "proof", in my opinion, belongs properly to the realm of logic and mathematics; it is misapplied to empirical science. I do get a little weary of high profile scientists like Dawkins, deGrasse Tyson, and Krauss advancing claims that are manifestly and outrageously false. Sigh!

Who mentioned "hot air" again? :-)


I totally agree with you! Those who believe they can know absolute truth are absolutely dangerous. Unfortunate those who understand this are outnumbered by those who carry holy books (or their science theories) and believe they hold absolute truth in their hands. This is to believe people can know a god that is beyond our comprehension and His will, or know everything that is important to know (a science theory), and that leaves us in power struggles over whose truth is the real, honest to God, truth. Excuse me, but I do not think we are talking enough about the problem religions have caused us, or obnoxious human behavior causes us. We are stuck a swamp of false believes and power struggles that will get us no closer to truth. Wisdom starts with "I don't know".
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1891
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Dave_Oblad on April 4th, 2017, 4:10 am 

Hi Athena,

I agree. Science has been advanced far faster by those that Question.. than by those that Know.

IMHO.. lol.

Best Regards,
Dave :^)
User avatar
Dave_Oblad
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3228
Joined: 08 Sep 2010
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Blog: View Blog (2)
RoccoR liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Athena on April 5th, 2017, 11:24 am 

For sure, Dave, scientist tend to be as bad the church in opposing new ideas that question what they believe. I have particularly run into this problem in discussions of God. Even got banned from one science forum for using the word. The mod was really frustrated because he could not get past the Christian definition of God and comprehend the notion of God as logos. I think believing in something beyond our comprehension is important to keeping our minds open. About two hundred years ago, there was a notion that science knew all there was to know, then an understanding of atoms grew and reopened the quest for knowledge. And in school, teachers are supposed to know their subject, so I guess that is why they teach as though we know what we need to know. Continuing a quest for knowledge after school years reveals that the search is still ongoing. I have lectures on where science and technology is taking us, and I am afraid our present education is not preparing our young for the future!
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1891
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Lomax on April 5th, 2017, 12:08 pm 

Athena » April 5th, 2017, 4:24 pm wrote:For sure, Dave, scientist tend to be as bad the church in opposing new ideas that question what they believe. I have particularly run into this problem in discussions of God. Even got banned from one science forum for using the word. The mod was really frustrated because he could not get past the Christian definition of God and comprehend the notion of God as logos.

This is always my problem with these incomprehensibly abstract defenses of deism: if you are talking about logos why not just say "logos" instead of "God"? I think James Wood's criticism of Terry Eagleton is right in diagnosing a shiftiness about the apologists who cannot find a working definition and stick to it. Which of course is precisely - and rightly or wrongly - NoShips's criticism of evolutionary biologists, too.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3711
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby mitchellmckain on April 6th, 2017, 12:44 am 

Dave_Oblad » April 4th, 2017, 3:10 am wrote:Hi Athena,

I agree. Science has been advanced far faster by those that Question.. than by those that Know.

IMHO.. lol.

Best Regards,
Dave :^)


Science is not advanced by either of these. Science is advanced by those who BOTH know and question. Those who just know can only parrot and not discover anything. Those who simply question don't know enough to ask anything new or relevant. Frankly, discovery requires knowing so much more than anybody else that you can see the questions which nobody else has.

This is why science is advanced by the very smartest scientists rather than by BS babblers in pubs. But most never meet real scientists and the "knowledgeable" people they are familiar with are the teachers in free public education 1-12. And yes these people tend to be dogmatic because they are not scientists at all. Their job is not so much to teach you how to be a scientist but to convey the most basic mental tools which scientists of previous centuries and millennia have discovered because these building blocks are simply necessary prerequisites for further education like learning to communicate.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Active Member
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: 27 Oct 2016
TheVatRoccoR liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Athena on April 6th, 2017, 12:47 pm 

Lomax » April 5th, 2017, 10:08 am wrote:
Athena » April 5th, 2017, 4:24 pm wrote:For sure, Dave, scientist tend to be as bad the church in opposing new ideas that question what they believe. I have particularly run into this problem in discussions of God. Even got banned from one science forum for using the word. The mod was really frustrated because he could not get past the Christian definition of God and comprehend the notion of God as logos.

This is always my problem with these incomprehensibly abstract defenses of deism: if you are talking about logos why not just say "logos" instead of "God"? I think James Wood's criticism of Terry Eagleton is right in diagnosing a shiftiness about the apologists who cannot find a working definition and stick to it. Which of course is precisely - and rightly or wrongly - NoShips's criticism of evolutionary biologists, too.


Isn't it obvious as long as people argue there is no god, that confirms what religious people believe is true? I think the best way to deal with this is to insist there is a god, but the god is not like Zeus (something religious people agree with) and doesn't have human qualities (by deifying Jesus they have a personal god like Zeus, and get their thinking all mixed up, so they hold superstitious notions and attempt to control things with prayers, burning candles or rituals, instead of relying on facts and figures and taking effective action to resolve evil. This is not something we want to encourage by confirming what they believe about nonbelievers and therefore, what they believe of God.

Why not use the word logos? Because people do not know the meaning of the word, nor do they have the necessary understanding of democracy, but believe democracy is the result of Christianity. Christianity has many myths we need to work on, and this is a whole lot easier if we are talking about god.

Atheist also confirm religious notions by not agreeing on what moral means and not even agreeing that morals are necessary. Moral, to have good manners and know the law. (universal law) Like the religious people, atheists are their own worst enemy. They say some of the darnest things with no more understanding of how things work than religious people have. Both sides of the war are being reactionary. It is my intention to encourage reasoning. Don't you think the atheist reaction to the word "god" is reactionary? That doesn't honor anyone and does not achieve the goal of promoting right thinking.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1891
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon
RoccoR liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Athena on April 6th, 2017, 1:02 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 5th, 2017, 10:44 pm wrote:
Dave_Oblad » April 4th, 2017, 3:10 am wrote:Hi Athena,

I agree. Science has been advanced far faster by those that Question.. than by those that Know.

IMHO.. lol.

Best Regards,
Dave :^)


Science is not advanced by either of these. Science is advanced by those who BOTH know and question. Those who just know can only parrot and not discover anything. Those who simply question don't know enough to ask anything new or relevant. Frankly, discovery requires knowing so much more than anybody else that you can see the questions which nobody else has.

This is why science is advanced by the very smartest scientists rather than by BS babblers in pubs. But most never meet real scientists and the "knowledgeable" people they are familiar with are the teachers in free public education 1-12. And yes these people tend to be dogmatic because they are not scientists at all. Their job is not so much to teach you how to be a scientist but to convey the most basic mental tools which scientists of previous centuries and millennia have discovered because these building blocks are simply necessary prerequisites for further education like learning to communicate.


That is so funny! People of science are just as dogmatic as people of religion because this evidently is human nature. It is the rebellious folks who don't give a damn what others say and pursue their search for knowledge despite all the opposition. Both the science folk and the religious folk are reactionary and indoctrinated, and it takes a lot of effort to get past these guard dogs of truth and change the dogma.

Math advances science and occasionally is it the complete outcast who makes the mathematical breakthrough. To me, you are looking as pious as the men of the church. You must be educated for technology because if you had a liberal education with science, you would know better. Education for technology is not equal to education for science because it does not teach the thinking skills for true science, but programs people to function like computers with "right or wrong" thinking.
Athena
Banned User
 
Posts: 1891
Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Location: Eugene, Oregon
NoShips liked this post


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby mitchellmckain on April 6th, 2017, 1:45 pm 

Athena » April 6th, 2017, 12:02 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » April 5th, 2017, 10:44 pm wrote:Science is not advanced by either of these. Science is advanced by those who BOTH know and question. Those who just know can only parrot and not discover anything. Those who simply question don't know enough to ask anything new or relevant. Frankly, discovery requires knowing so much more than anybody else that you can see the questions which nobody else has.

This is why science is advanced by the very smartest scientists rather than by BS babblers in pubs. But most never meet real scientists and the "knowledgeable" people they are familiar with are the teachers in free public education 1-12. And yes these people tend to be dogmatic because they are not scientists at all. Their job is not so much to teach you how to be a scientist but to convey the most basic mental tools which scientists of previous centuries and millennia have discovered because these building blocks are simply necessary prerequisites for further education like learning to communicate.

That is so funny! People of science are just as dogmatic as people of religion because this evidently is human nature. It is the rebellious folks who don't give a damn what others say and pursue their search for knowledge despite all the opposition. Both the science folk and the religious folk are reactionary and indoctrinated, and it takes a lot of effort to get past these guard dogs of truth and change the dogma.

Math advances science and occasionally is it the complete outcast who makes the mathematical breakthrough. To me, you are looking as pious as the men of the church. You must be educated for technology because if you had a liberal education with science, you would know better. Education for technology is not equal to education for science because it does not teach the thinking skills for true science, but programs people to function like computers with "right or wrong" thinking.


I am sorry but this is just pure wishful thinking. It just isn't true.

People of science and people of religion are no more dogmatic, reactionary, or rebellious than anybody else. People with little imagination and creativity are found in everything equally, just as are those who will not listen and learn. But these people don't pursue extensive education in any subject because they don't have the motivation to persevere when it gets difficult. So the truth is that the most dogmatic, reactionary and rebellious people are also the least educated. Education doesn't answer all question. On the contrary, it gives you far more questions than it answers. Thus to keep on learning when everyone else goes away satisfied means embracing more questions and to even see more of how little we understand. That is what happens when you broaden your horizons with education, the expanse of the unknown gets bigger along with how much of the universe you can see.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Active Member
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Eclogite on April 7th, 2017, 5:18 pm 

Athena » Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:02 pm wrote:That is so funny! People of science are just as dogmatic as people of religion because this evidently is human nature.
Nonsense, adequately dealt with by Mitchell. It is amusing that you fail to see the irony in your assertion. I do hope that doesn't hurt your feelings.
Eclogite
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1362
Joined: 07 Feb 2007
Location: Around and about


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 8th, 2017, 9:19 pm 

Eclogite » April 8th, 2017, 6:18 am wrote:Nonsense, adequately dealt with by Mitchell. It is amusing that you fail to see the irony in your assertion. I do hope that doesn't hurt your feelings.


Nonsense indeed! Science is entirely free of dogma, they asserted dogmatically (except for those poorly-educated, pertinacious drudges, of course)... and if you disagree we'll cut your head off.

I quote the following from Larry Laudan's "Science at the Bar—Causes for Concern” (you can read the whole article using the link provided):



"Judge Overton's third worry about Creationism centers on the issue of revisability. Over and over again, he finds Creationism and its advocates "unscientific" because they have "refuse[d] to change it regardless of the evidence developed during the course of their investigation." In point of fact, the charge is mistaken. If the claims of modern-day creationists are compared with those of their nineteenth-century counterparts, significant shifts in orientation and assertion are evident. One of the most visible opponents of Creationism, Stephen Gould, concedes that creationists have modified their views about the amount of variability allowed at the level of species change. Creationists do, in short, change their minds from time to time. Doubtless they would credit these shifts to their efforts to adjust their views to newly emerging evidence, in what they imagine to be a scientifically respectable way.

Perhaps what Judge Overton had in mind was the fact that some of Creationism's core assumptions (e.g., that there was a Noachian flood, that man did not evolve from lower animals, or that God created the world) seem closed off from any serious modification. But historical and sociological researches on science strongly suggest that the scientists of any epoch likewise regard some of their beliefs as so fundamental as not to be open to repudiation or negotiation. Would Newton, for instance, have been tentative about the claim that there were forces in the world? Are quantum mechanicians willing to contemplate giving up the uncertainty relation? Are physicists willing to specify circumstances under which they would give up energy conservation? Numerous historians and philosophers of science (e.g., Kuhn, Mitroff, Feyerabend, and Lakatos) have documented the existence of a certain degree of dogmatism about core commitments in scientific research and have argued that such dogmatism plays a constructive role in promoting the aims of science. I am not denying that there may be subtle but important differences between the dogmatism of scientists and that exhibited by many creationists; but one does not even begin to get at those differences by pretending that science is characterized by an uncompromising open-mindedness.

Even worse, the ad hominem charge of dogmatism against Creationism egregiously confuses doctrines with the proponents of those doctrines. Since no law mandates that creationists should be invited into the classroom, it is quite irrelevant whether they themselves are close-minded. The Arkansas statute proposed that Creationism be taught, not that creationists should teach it. What counts is the epistemic status of Creationism, not the cognitive idiosyncrasies of the creationists. Because many of the theses of Creationism are testable, the mind set of creationists has no bearing in law or in fact on the merits of Creationism
. "


http://faculty.washington.edu/lynnhank/Laudan.pdf
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Lomax on April 8th, 2017, 10:10 pm 

Athena » April 6th, 2017, 5:47 pm wrote:Isn't it obvious as long as people argue there is no god, that confirms what religious people believe is true? I think the best way to deal with this is to insist there is a god, but the god is not like Zeus (something religious people agree with) and doesn't have human qualities (by deifying Jesus they have a personal god like Zeus, and get their thinking all mixed up, so they hold superstitious notions and attempt to control things with prayers, burning candles or rituals, instead of relying on facts and figures and taking effective action to resolve evil. This is not something we want to encourage by confirming what they believe about nonbelievers and therefore, what they believe of God.

Why not use the word logos? Because people do not know the meaning of the word, nor do they have the necessary understanding of democracy, but believe democracy is the result of Christianity. Christianity has many myths we need to work on, and this is a whole lot easier if we are talking about god.

Atheist also confirm religious notions by not agreeing on what moral means and not even agreeing that morals are necessary. Moral, to have good manners and know the law. (universal law) Like the religious people, atheists are their own worst enemy. They say some of the darnest things with no more understanding of how things work than religious people have. Both sides of the war are being reactionary. It is my intention to encourage reasoning. Don't you think the atheist reaction to the word "god" is reactionary? That doesn't honor anyone and does not achieve the goal of promoting right thinking.

Nonbelievers are the fastest growing "religious" demographic, so it can't be backfiring too badly. Either way, using equivocation to trick religious people into believing in something less theistic sounds to me like a tremendously insincere thing to do. Honesty and straightforwardness are examples of "right thinking" in my book. I may not respect religion de re, but I respect my religious friends and comrades enough to lay my cards on the table.

And it's too much to ask that atheists all agree on every moral nuance, but of course we nearly all agree on the basics. If "thou shalt not kill" wasn't already believed and practiced before Judaism, the human race itself would be ancient prehistory.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3711
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Lomax on April 8th, 2017, 10:24 pm 

NoShips - I wanted to stay out of this one because my confirmation-holism is such that I think we do have to put certain things beyond revisability, for pragmatic reasons. But I want to pick you up on a couple of points. Popper isn't saying that dogma itself is science, he's saying effectively that the dialectic is the best way to sharpen human knowledge. If I dogmatically believe "NoShips is the devil incarnate" and you dogmatically believe "NoShips is an angel sent from heaven", and we argue the point out, each making whatever arguments we can, then others will be able to judge whose argument stands up, if either. There the value of dogma is not in being the truth, but in pushing its adherent to stumble across the truth. We are, after all, prideful creatures.

I think this should be distinguished from the role dogma plays in creationism, which is simply to have the book closed and everybody feel happy about their impending afterlife. Which brings me on to my second point, regarding your latest post: of course scientists believe unscientific things. Newton believed in alchemy, Descartes believed in souls. But science contains within itself the instruments for correcting these errors. It is incidental that scientists are humans and humans are never wholly scientific. The revisions made to creationism are purely a reaction to its clashes with external epistemologies. Left entirely in charge of the world, with no opposition, Creationists would still believe the same thing they believed a century ago, and Creationism itself would be stronger for it.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3711
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 9th, 2017, 12:18 am 

Hi Lomax,

I'm afraid you might be misreading me as saying "There is dogma in science... and that's bad. Tsk tsk".

That's not the gripe. My gripe, rather, would be expressed as "There is dogma in science, yet scientists continue to deny or downplay this fact in the face of some rather weighty evidence from the history, philosophy and sociology of science of which they are either ignorant or unable to accept."

My grumpiness derives not from the merits or demerits of dogma in science (I couldn't care less one way or the other); it's a result of people perpetuating scientific falsehoods and fairy tales, and sweeping unpalatable evidence under the Procrustean rug.
Last edited by NoShips on April 9th, 2017, 12:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 9th, 2017, 12:33 am 

Lomax » April 9th, 2017, 11:24 am wrote:I think this should be distinguished from the role dogma plays in creationism, which is simply to have the book closed and everybody feel happy about their impending afterlife. Which brings me on to my second point, regarding your latest post: of course scientists believe unscientific things. Newton believed in alchemy, Descartes believed in souls. But science contains within itself the instruments for correcting these errors. It is incidental that scientists are humans and humans are never wholly scientific. The revisions made to creationism are purely a reaction to its clashes with external epistemologies. Left entirely in charge of the world, with no opposition, Creationists would still believe the same thing they believed a century ago, and Creationism itself would be stronger for it.


Seems to me you're guilty of writing your own Whig history here, Lomax. How do we know that alchemy and souls are not proper objects of scientific inquiry again? Because they don't feature as objects in present scientific inquiry?

Otherwise, to avoid the charges, can you adduce a timeless, invariant formula for determining what does, and what does not, fall within the purview "scientific"?
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby TheVat on April 9th, 2017, 9:52 am 

Here's a concrete example of where I see dogma entering into the science picture: bovine growth hormones in milk. There is a Food Leftwing and a Food Rightwing on the matter, each with its dogmas about whether you should go to Whole Foods and pay twice as much for milk, or just get the cheapest brand you can find at the supermarket. But neither has much to do with actual nutritional science. Buttonhole a nutritionist (as I have) and they will tell you this:

1. All milk has hormone residues, naturally. I.e. in a pristine and primordial state of nature, mammals lactate stuff that has their hormones in it.

2. Hormone residues are protein. As with milk proteins (casein and whey), the acid in your stomach promptly breaks those residues down into amino acids that are INDISTINGUISHABLE from all the other amino acids yielded in milk digestion. BGH isn't going to make you grow taller or bigger - even if it somehow survived the digestive process, only bovines have the cell receptors that would respond to it. It's not going to work on you.

If everyone understood the actual undogmatic science, I suppose some would stop shopping for "natural" milk. Others might continue, because they think it's better for cows not to have their bodies induced to produce more milk or put on more weight or increase their chances of mastitis. That's all ideology and/or religion, and has nothing to do with the science. Science often appears "dogmatic" because people are using science to advance their ideological agendas, usually not understanding how science works or how to evaluate its findings.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7344
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby mitchellmckain on April 9th, 2017, 1:07 pm 

Well... I would never argue that any human beings (scientific community included) are infallible. And that includes any number of bad habits like dogmatism. What I would defend however is the ideal which science strives for and the principles on which it is based.

So yes we will see dogmatism in science occasionally -- not only in the softer sciences and by teachers just trying to give students a mastery of the basic tools, but even by the best scientists who haven't yet succeeded in challenging all the assumptions which they need to yet. Certainly, scientific history has shown us that science can make us do this in rather profound ways. But that is one of the things which gives us so much confidence in the ideal which science strives for.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Active Member
 
Posts: 1302
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 9th, 2017, 9:07 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 10th, 2017, 2:07 am wrote:
So yes we will see dogmatism in science occasionally -- not only in the softer sciences and by teachers just trying to give students a mastery of the basic tools, but even by the best scientists who haven't yet succeeded in challenging all the assumptions which they need to yet. Certainly, scientific history has shown us that science can make us do this in rather profound ways. But that is one of the things which gives us so much confidence in the ideal which science strives for.



Whatever its degree of prevalence in science, Mitch, you continue to treat dogma as if it were something to be avoided like the plague; something that only the weak and infirm succumb to.

But this is quite at odds with the analyses of Kuhn, Lakatos et al: on their account it is precisely because scientists -- by and large ("normal science" in Kuhn's jargon) -- circle the wagons around a particular worldview (a paradigm) and go to extreme lengths to protect it from refutation (dogma) that science is able to be so successful and progressive in the first place.

If Kuhn, Lakatos and their cohorts are to be believed, without dogma in science we'd have chaos; we'd have a thousand dissonant voices constantly at each others' throats; we'd have ... philosophy!

Aaaarrrrggghhhhhh!!!!!!
Last edited by NoShips on April 9th, 2017, 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 9th, 2017, 9:18 pm 

Personally, in terms of dogma, I see no difference between a Richard Dawkins, say, and a Moslem fundamentalist.

Dawkins, of course, will deny the charge : "Dogmatist, my ass! Show me the evidence/proof that evolutionary theory is wrong and I'll dump it immediately."

And he means it too. The thing is, though, the Moslem is liable to say exactly the same thing: "Dogmatist, my ass! Show me the evidence/proof that Allah doesn't exist and I'll dump him immediately."

Now try showing them your evidence. And don't hold your breath.

"You call THAT evidence? Pfft!"
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Lomax on April 10th, 2017, 9:18 am 

NoShips » April 9th, 2017, 5:18 am wrote:Hi Lomax,

I'm afraid you might be misreading me as saying "There is dogma in science... and that's bad. Tsk tsk".

By no means. I'm saying that we should distinguish dogma in science from dogma in scientists. Newton believed some nonsense, but it is by means of science itself that we found it to be nonsense. Creationism has no such claim for itself, and that is one of its inferiorities.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3711
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby TheVat on April 10th, 2017, 9:52 am 

The thing is, though, the Moslem is liable to say exactly the same thing: "Dogmatist, my ass! Show me the evidence/proof that Allah doesn't exist and I'll dump him immediately."



I was thinking, when I read this, "has anyone, of any religious sect, ever really said this and meant it?" Many scientists, however, when a theory goes up in flames, get a stick and roast marshmallows.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7344
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby RoccoR on April 10th, 2017, 5:46 pm 

Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?
NoShips, et al,

Looking back, I like this answer more every time I read it.

NoShips » April 9th, 2017, 9:18 pm wrote:Personally, in terms of dogma, I see no difference between a Richard Dawkins, say, and a Moslem fundamentalist.


Dogma is a relative term. "Richard Dawson" and any "Islamic Cleric" I've seen, only have dogma in common from the relative position that they each think their religious views are incontrovertibly true.

NoShips » April 9th, 2017, 9:18 pm wrote:Dawkins, of course, will deny the charge : "Dogmatist, my ass! Show me the evidence/proof that evolutionary theory is wrong and I'll dump it immediately."

(COMMENT)

"Islamic dogma" relative to "evolutionary theory" are not necessarily comparable; as both in Islam and Science, the constituent opinions are many and varied.

NoShips » April 9th, 2017, 9:18 pm wrote:And he means it too. The thing is, though, the Moslem is liable to say exactly the same thing: "Dogmatist, my ass! Show me the evidence/proof that Allah doesn't exist and I'll dump him immediately."

Now try showing them your evidence. And don't hold your breath.

"You call THAT evidence? Pfft!"

(COMMENT)

It is extremely difficult to provide any substantial elements of proof --- one way or the other. Hebrews (variations of the Jewish faiths), Christians (all splinter groups) and Muslims (all Sunni and Shia) all believe in the very same single deity surrounded by a whole host of lesser supernatural beings.

My mother and father grew-up in the first half of the twentieth century; relative poor. My dad sold News Papers on a street corner in Pittsburgh when Charles Lindbergh. Back then, there was a sucker born every minute. (David Hannum) My Grandmother ran a very stylishly Speakeasy for some Squirrel Hill entrepreneurs. It was in a downstairs shop just down the street from the Allegheny County Courthouse. It was complete with stage, backroom gambling, and some very fashionable flappers. The shop was closed on Wednesdays for inventory; but the backroom was used by gypsy fortune tellers, Jewish Tarot Card readings and the occasional Medium to conduct a seance to communicate with dead and spirits; for people that had more money then sense. Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Spiritualists made good money off of people that believe in the same type of apparitions, specters, supernaturals, and magic as those that my Grandmother exploited for years. Most of them were affluent, coming from wealth and the "A" List.

If my Grand was still alive, she would like nothing better then to meet these people that believe they have seen evidence of a Supreme Beings, Angelic appearances, Saintly presentations, the Enchanted, the Demonic, Nephilim, the Souls of the departed and dead ancestors. My Grand would have considered them to be special (especially if they had any money). And my Grand would certainly help them with a seance as a means of a therapeutic psychological coping mechanism. Now a days, we just look at them funny and give them a wide berth.

Most Respectfully,
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 78
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 11th, 2017, 12:54 am 

Lomax » April 10th, 2017, 10:18 pm wrote:
NoShips » April 9th, 2017, 5:18 am wrote:Hi Lomax,

I'm afraid you might be misreading me as saying "There is dogma in science... and that's bad. Tsk tsk".

By no means. I'm saying that we should distinguish dogma in science from dogma in scientists. Newton believed some nonsense, but it is by means of science itself that we found it to be nonsense. Creationism has no such claim for itself, and that is one of its inferiorities.


Once again, Lomax, this seems to me just another desperate attempt to evade the issue. Where else would we expect to find dogma in science if not embodied in the scientists themselves?

Supposing instead of dogma in science, the topic at hand was homosexuality in the navy (for whatever sordid reasons). The naval commander, who had initially denied any presence of homosexuality in his fleet, was subsequently forced to adjust his position after being confronted with some pretty damning evidence of less than masculine activity on the high seas.

"But but," he maintained, "there may indeed be a few isolated incidents of homosexuality, but it's important that we should distinguish homosexuality in the navy from homosexuality in sailors."
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 11th, 2017, 6:26 am 

Braininvat » April 10th, 2017, 10:52 pm wrote:
The thing is, though, the Moslem is liable to say exactly the same thing: "Dogmatist, my ass! Show me the evidence/proof that Allah doesn't exist and I'll dump him immediately."



(i) I was thinking, when I read this, "has anyone, of any religious sect, ever really said this and meant it?" (ii) Many scientists, however, when a theory goes up in flames, get a stick and roast marshmallows.


(i) Well, BiV, that's kind of my point about Dawkins. I imagine (no, I don't have this on record) that he would pay the requisite lip service to open-mindedness and the fallibility of science: "All you have to do is show me the proof and I'll renounce my theory". And, as I said, I suspect he actually believes this himself; he means it. At the same time, though, I suspect his faith in evolutionary theory is such that he would consider all this little more than a formality, a waste of time: "It's never gonna happen", he reassures himself insouciantly.

The Moslem fundamentalist's mindset would not be at all dissimilar, in my own unsubstantiated and worthless opinion.

(ii) Perhaps so, but it does nothing to impugn my claim. I picked on my own personal bête noire, Dawkins. I never claimed all scientists are as dogmatic as he is.


By the way, I once posted a marvelous video clip of Dawkins in flagrante delicto for Lomax to see where he (Dawkins) perfectly encapsulates what I've been getting at here: i.e., in a situation where observation is at odds with theory do we (i) renounce the theory as falsified in line with received wisdom?, or (ii) dogmatically protect the theory, as the historical studies of Kuhn and Lakatos suggest?

Gimme a marshmallow and I'll post it again. No prizes for guessing the answer.
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Lomax on April 11th, 2017, 8:53 am 

NoShips » April 11th, 2017, 5:54 am wrote:
Lomax » April 10th, 2017, 10:18 pm wrote:
NoShips » April 9th, 2017, 5:18 am wrote:Hi Lomax,

I'm afraid you might be misreading me as saying "There is dogma in science... and that's bad. Tsk tsk".

By no means. I'm saying that we should distinguish dogma in science from dogma in scientists. Newton believed some nonsense, but it is by means of science itself that we found it to be nonsense. Creationism has no such claim for itself, and that is one of its inferiorities.


Once again, Lomax, this seems to me just another desperate attempt to evade the issue. Where else would we expect to find dogma in science if not embodied in the scientists themselves?

Supposing instead of dogma in science, the topic at hand was homosexuality in the navy (for whatever sordid reasons). The naval commander, who had initially denied any presence of homosexuality in his fleet, was subsequently forced to adjust his position after being confronted with some pretty damning evidence of less than masculine activity on the high seas.

"But but," he maintained, "there may indeed be a few isolated incidents of homosexuality, but it's important that we should distinguish homosexuality in the navy from homosexuality in sailors."


Homosexuality in the navy is a perfect analogy. Naval practices don't involve homosexuality. The Tomahawks will fly just the same (suggestive imagery not intended), regardless of the sexual preferences of the sailors. That's where we ought to be looking for dogma - in the practices and methods of science itself. The fact is that science overturned the theory of Phlogiston (in which Priestley believed) and the theories of alchemy (in which Newton believed). Again, this is not a claim which Creationism can make for itself, as far as I know.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3711
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 11th, 2017, 9:05 am 

Lomax » April 11th, 2017, 9:53 pm wrote:
Homosexuality in the navy is a perfect analogy. Naval practices don't involve homosexuality. The Tomahawks will fly just the same (suggestive imagery not intended), regardless of the sexual preferences of the sailors. That's where we ought to be looking for dogma - in the practices and methods of science itself. The fact is that science overturned the theory of Phlogiston (in which Priestley believed) and the theories of alchemy (in which Newton believed). Again, this is not a claim which Creationism can make for itself, as far as I know.


Yes, it did, even if Priestley went to the grave defending his beloved phlogiston. Is it your position, then, Lomax, that science (as opposed to scientists) is dogma-free? (I won't ask about the navy being homosexuality-free)

What of poor old John Ziman (see 4th to bottom post on page 1)?

As for Creationism, see my Larry Laudan quote above on this page. Yes, even these guys make doctrinal adjustments. Some of them even lose their faith once in a while, praise the lord.
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 11th, 2017, 9:19 am 

[quote="[url=http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=319421#p319421]Is it your position, then, Lomax, that science (as opposed to scientists) is dogma-free? [/quote]

P.S. And where can I pick up a rule book for this kind of thing so that I might check for myself?
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Forest_Dump on April 11th, 2017, 9:23 am 

On comparing science to the navy, while Lomax makes an interesting point (and one I didn't see coming), I would argue that there are also huge differences that make the analogy very weak in some ways. The navy is an institution with a very strict and rigid hierarchy with a supreme authority at the top, demanding discipline and obedience. Dissention in the ranks is not only discouraged but, traditionally, some breaches can even be punishable by death at least in theory. Science, on the other hand, does not have such a clear-cut hierarchy, there is no appointed supreme commander who must be obeyed under such threat of severe penalties and dissention, debate and critique are very much encouraged at least in theory.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8723
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby Forest_Dump on April 11th, 2017, 9:25 am 

NoShips wrote:P.S. And where can I pick up a rule book for this kind of thing so that I might check for myself?


That would be my point. This rule book exists for the navy but not for science.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8723
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 11th, 2017, 9:28 am 

Forest_Dump » April 11th, 2017, 10:23 pm wrote:On comparing science to the navy, while Lomax makes an interesting point (and one I didn't see coming), I would argue that there are also huge differences that make the analogy very weak in some ways. The navy is an institution with a very strict and rigid hierarchy with a supreme authority at the top, demanding discipline and obedience. Dissention in the ranks is not only discouraged but, traditionally, some breaches can even be punishable by death at least in theory. Science, on the other hand, does not have such a clear-cut hierarchy, there is no appointed supreme commander who must be obeyed under such threat of severe penalties and dissention, debate and critique are very much encouraged at least in theory.


Well, yes, according to received wisdom. Once again, Kuhn and his hooligans have quite a different story to tell; viz., normal science is characterized by the cessation of critical thinking. The hard core of the disciplinary matrix is not to be questioned.
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


Re: A Simple Question: Should We Believe Scientists?

Postby NoShips on April 11th, 2017, 9:30 am 

Forest_Dump » April 11th, 2017, 10:25 pm wrote:
NoShips wrote:P.S. And where can I pick up a rule book for this kind of thing so that I might check for myself?


That would be my point. This rule book exists for the navy but not for science.


That being the case, how does Lomax, or anyone else, determine that the "practices and methods" of science are anti-dogmatic?
User avatar
NoShips
Active Member
 
Posts: 1796
Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Location: Taiwan


PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy of Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests