Pop Culture Scientists

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Pop Culture Scientists

Postby wolfhnd on June 29th, 2018, 5:25 pm 

Everyone should have a right to speak on any subject they choose. Using your scientific credentials to promote political points of view or pontificate on subjects outside of your area of expertise will garner displeasure from scholars on those subjects.

Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, and Jordan Peterson are examples of scientists who have used their credentials to promote their ideas well beyond their own expertise.

Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?

Many people will be unable to follow critiques by actually experts for technical reasons, lack of time and intellectual ability. I have fact checked the popular writing of the individuals mentioned above and find they draw conclusions well beyond what can be empirically demonstrated, quote outdated or misleading research, make philosophical mistakes, and occasionally present flawed data. On the other hand there are ideas that the public needs to be exposed to that scholars in various fields will not publicly discuss.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby someguy1 on June 29th, 2018, 11:09 pm 

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 3:25 pm wrote:
Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?



Even worse, Hollywood actors who've made millions and lead lavish glamorous lifestyles based on looking good while saying words other people wrote for them, wake up one day and start announcing their political views. And millions give a shit! It's unbelievably stupid. And, of course, human. Stupid is what we do.

Celebrities have opinions and every right to express them. And if the public eats up celebrity opinion and eagerly turns it into received wisdom? Well that's the history of the human race. It's part of our nature.

That's one reason, by the way, that I think true general AI is farther off than people think. No AI could be as ILLOGICAL as humans. We are really not logical at all. We have logic and we use it to build civilization. But we make most life and death decisions quite irrationally, as individuals and as a species.

It's the very irrationality and illogical-ness of humans that we don't understand.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby BadgerJelly on June 30th, 2018, 12:44 am 

I am not sure if those mentioned above have gone beyond their expertise? As far as I know the names mentioned have spend the better part of their careers studying a specific area.

The more intellectual debate in the public the better.

There is always the danger of oversimplifying the ideas and giving the geneal public the wrong impression. Practically all people veer off their well defined tracks a little because that is how we learn.

“Popular” doesn’t necessarily mean frivulous. Einstein was a “pop-star” in his time, as was Feynmann (to some degree.) Theremhas to be a voice for each area of science and because of this people will disagree due to differences of approach and differences in how they explicate the theories and ideas them deem important.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby BadgerJelly on June 30th, 2018, 2:21 am 

To add, and many may disagree. I am happy about Peterson’s popularity simply because I think more people will be inclined to read Jung. There is the issue of people reading Jung bit part and not taking his concepts as anything other than sketchy approximations. If enough people do read Jung though enough will understand his ideas - that is what is important to me.

My whole scheme of interest on this forum, pretty much from the start, has been to explicate a subjective experience that metaphorically blew the top of my head off. Jung cuts deeper than anyone else I’ve read in terms of giving me some means to communicate my experience.

As far as I know none of thr above are leaders in their respective field of interest? That doesn’t matter. I have discussed this elsewhere (other forum) and agreed with the analysis that these people will be footnotes, at best, in their fields of interest. They will not be, and are not, footnotes in the area of pop science though.

I think it makes sense to listen to them, but not without looking back 10-20 years minimum and assessing their work alongside others in the field who are already considered as major players.

One thing I do find curious is the lack of philosophers. I guess the idea of popular philosophical works is contrary as intense study is needed - that said it appears philosophical ideas bleed throuh well enough via psychology, linguistics and, law and political theory.

Pop science books are merely stepping stones for the curious. If they are written well enough then people open their minds and expand beyond the words of one particular author.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I read/listen/watch anything I try and make myself obstinate and purposefully disagree rather than hear what I want to hear - with mixed results. If I come away thinking either “everything they said was correct,” or “everything they said was wrong” then I know I’ve done a bad job and not paid close enough attention.

This is making me think about a book I saw called “How to Read a Book.” Which, yet again (I say with sigh dusting off my old broken record) bring me to my answer to all the ills of thr world ... education. The ability to read words doesn’t mean you can read well (I am terrible at reading compared to some.)
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Forest_Dump on June 30th, 2018, 10:22 am 

Since I am constantly trying to beware of "appeals to authority", I try to use the reputations of authorities and "pop culture scientists" only to decide what to read (since I find there is far too much out there I want to read but don't have the time). Once that decision is made, however, and usually in the decision of preferring to read works or authors with a better reputation, I then try to read more critically. And the better the reputation of the author or work, the more harshly and unforgivably I read if the goal is to inform myself. In short, I have higher standards and expect more from "my team" and will let the other team be more sloppy and stupid, etc. If you want to bring me to your side, you better bring your best to the table and be prepared to let me try to rip it to shreds as only the best will do.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 12:34 am 

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 5:25 pm wrote:Everyone should have a right to speak on any subject they choose. Using your scientific credentials to promote political points of view or pontificate on subjects outside of your area of expertise will garner displeasure from scholars on those subjects.


Are you trying to tell me that celebrities DON"T know what's best politically or how I ought to live my life, I am aghast!!!!

My observation over the years, is that a very large percentage of people who think they are working towards a goal, are actually avoiding what they fear the most. Psychiatrist have a plague on the wall of their PhD and yet they can act like emotional children when they are at home, going to seminary can teach you about religion but it cannot teach you anything about God, many people can quote equations and theories, it does not mean they understand them or the universe we live in any better than someone else. Many people are driven to appear smart because the most horrifying thing they must avoid is looking stupid.

Can we call this the fallacy of experts, life is all about appearances. One of my truisms is, "This is America, we don't have to be good, we just have to look good"
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 27th, 2018, 4:05 am 

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 4:25 pm wrote:Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?

The only epistemological superiority involved is due to the existence of objective demonstrable evidence. Otherwise opinion is just a opinion and any credibility given to these opinions is subjective. Let me remind you what that means:
1. If it is subjective then we have no reasonable basis for expecting others to agree.
2. If it is subjective then it is only rational to accept a diversity of thought and belief.
In other words... SURE, you can take them more seriously. It is just unreasonable to expect others to do so as well.

BadgerJelly » June 30th, 2018, 1:21 am wrote:One thing I do find curious is the lack of philosophers. I guess the idea of popular philosophical works is contrary as intense study is needed - that said it appears philosophical ideas bleed throuh well enough via psychology, linguistics and, law and political theory.

I don't. Scientists may be listened to more precisely because philosophy isn't their area of expertise. When the pundits speak within their expertise, they tend to be rather hard to understand (and that is just as true of philosophy as it is in other subjects).
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 27th, 2018, 5:32 am 

mitchellmckain » July 27th, 2018, 5:05 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 4:25 pm wrote:Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?

The only epistemological superiority involved is due to the existence of objective demonstrable evidence. Otherwise opinion is just a opinion and any credibility given to these opinions is subjective. Let me remind you what that means:
1. If it is subjective then we have no reasonable basis for expecting others to agree.
2. If it is subjective then it is only rational to accept a diversity of thought and belief.
In other words... SURE, you can take them more seriously. It is just unreasonable to expect others to do so as well.



This all sounds a bit far-fetched to me, Mitchell. If it were the case, as you insist above, that unlike subjective evidence (whatever that means) where "we have no reasonable basis for expecting others to agree", scientific evidence is "objective and demonstrable", then shouldn't we expect scientists to always agree on what does, and what does not, constitute evidence for which particular theories?

Clearly this is not the way things stand. Counterexamples could be adduced pretty much ad infinitum, I think.

Some scientists felt (circa 1600) that various phenomena constituted evidence for the Ptolemaic model; others that the very same phenomena supported, instead, the Copernican model.

Some scientists believe the fossil record constitutes evidence for Darwinian gradualism; others hold that it supports punctuated equilibrium. Then again, some like myself, albeit not a scientist, feel that the fossil record provides evidence for no particular theory; it's just a baffling, buzzing, blooming confusion.

In the early-mid 20th century, the apparent fit of western Africa with eastern South America, as well as the similarity of flora and fauna, was regarded by some as evidence for continental drift. Others demurred.

etc., etc. (if you don't like these examples, there's no shortage of others)

Seems to me you're overplaying your hand.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 27th, 2018, 5:48 am 

To add a little more, evidence, I think is one of the most vexed concepts both in science and elsewhere. You write, Mitchell, as if the concept is entirely unproblematic, at least in scientific contexts.

The other day I was watching a documentary on Youtube about Bigfoot (I'll link if required). The scientific expert commentating on the program told us at one point that there is "no evidence" for the existence of said hairy brute. Thirty minutes or so later, however, the very same expert assured us that the evidence is "weak".

I trust the problem is obvious: on pain of contradiction or equivocation, the evidence cannot be at once both weak and non-existent.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 27th, 2018, 12:16 pm 

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:32 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » July 27th, 2018, 5:05 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 4:25 pm wrote:Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?

The only epistemological superiority involved is due to the existence of objective demonstrable evidence. Otherwise opinion is just a opinion and any credibility given to these opinions is subjective. Let me remind you what that means:
1. If it is subjective then we have no reasonable basis for expecting others to agree.
2. If it is subjective then it is only rational to accept a diversity of thought and belief.
In other words... SURE, you can take them more seriously. It is just unreasonable to expect others to do so as well.


This all sounds a bit far-fetched to me, Mitchell. If it were the case, as you insist above, that unlike subjective evidence (whatever that means) where "we have no reasonable basis for expecting others to agree", scientific evidence is "objective and demonstrable", then shouldn't we expect scientists to always agree on what does, and what does not, constitute evidence for which particular theories?

Objective means that the evidence is the same for everyone. Demonstrable means that anyone can repeat the written procedure to get the same result. Subjective means neither of these are possible and thus the 2 results logically apply. Scientists agree when the evidence is objective and demonstrable and do not agree when it is not.

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:32 am wrote:Clearly this is not the way things stand. Counterexamples could be adduced pretty much ad infinitum, I think.

Incorrect. All you have provided is examples, not counter-examples.

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:32 am wrote:Some scientists felt (circa 1600) that various phenomena constituted evidence for the Ptolemaic model; others that the very same phenomena supported, instead, the Copernican model.

And I have explained numerous times that these are not competing theories at all. These are simply two different non-inertial frames with different effective uses. The real point is that we can look at things either way and nonsense about "the way things really are" is nothing but meaningless hot air. So, OF COURSE, the evidence support both of them. BECAUSE BOTH ARE CORRECT!!!

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:32 am wrote:Some scientists believe the fossil record constitutes evidence for Darwinian gradualism; others hold that it supports punctuated equilibrium. Then again, some like myself, albeit not a scientist, feel that the fossil record provides evidence for no particular theory; it's just a baffling, buzzing, blooming confusion.

Again both are correct. Some changes are gradual and some changes occur rapidly in species on the brink of extinction. Frankly these conflicts sound like nothing more than an excess of personality and ego, with evidence having very little to do with it.

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:32 am wrote:In the early-mid 20th century, the apparent fit of western Africa with eastern South America, as well as the similarity of flora and fauna, was regarded by some as evidence for continental drift. Others demurred.

Just because scientists use arguments and claim something as evidence does not make it objective or demonstrable. Certainly when you are digging back into the past during the birth of modern science and you have a mixture of science, alchemy and religion, then of course, you are going to find bogus examples of such "scientists" claiming evidence which is far from objective or demonstrable.

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:32 am wrote:Seems to me you're overplaying your hand.

You display all the petty desperate rhetoric of creationist ideologues in this banter. Are you going to push flat earth dogma next?

OH and by the way, if anyone is waylaying this thread with something off-topic, it isn't me. I was simply giving an answer to the question about whether we can take such people more seriously. Yes we can, BUT we cannot expect other people to do the same. THAT is what you would be addressing if you wanted to stay on topic and not going ballistic over the fact that other people dare to think differently than you do. I am NEVER going to agree with your anti-science bullshit and you are just going to have to accept that.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 27th, 2018, 12:37 pm 

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:48 am wrote:To add a little more, evidence, I think is one of the most vexed concepts both in science and elsewhere. You write, Mitchell, as if the concept is entirely unproblematic, at least in scientific contexts.

Incorrect. I embrace the problematic nature of evidence and give the logical conclusions rather than using this as an excuse to justify rhetoric of intolerance or anti-science dogma.

Reg_Prescott » July 27th, 2018, 4:48 am wrote:The other day I was watching a documentary on Youtube about Bigfoot (I'll link if required). The scientific expert commentating on the program told us at one point that there is "no evidence" for the existence of said hairy brute. Thirty minutes or so later, however, the very same expert assured us that the evidence is "weak".

I trust the problem is obvious: on pain of contradiction or equivocation, the evidence cannot be at once both weak and non-existent.


There is no objective evidence of Bigfoot. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of ghosts. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of UFOs. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of God or gods. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of faeries. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of psychic powers. PERIOD.

ergo all the evidence for these things is subjective. PERIOD.

Doesn't mean these things do not exist and doesn't mean you cannot have extremely good reasons to believe in these things, such as in your face personal experience. After all, there is no objective evidence the other way either. And without objective evidence you cannot expect other people to agree. Thus, rational, reasonable, moral, tolerant people thus accept a diversity of opinion on such issues.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 1:39 pm 

>>>>>mitchellmckain » July 27th, 2018, 12:37 pm

There is no objective evidence of Bigfoot. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of ghosts. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of UFOs. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of God or gods. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of faeries. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of psychic powers. PERIOD.

ergo all the evidence for these things is subjective. PERIOD.<<<<<<<<

Is this your subjective opinion?

All evidence, PERIOD, passes through the subjectiveness of your own mind, all evidence is interpreted within one context or another.

When any evidence it termed to be unquestionable, then it has become deified and thus falls back to a subjective state. Many people have deified science just as others would deify religious doctrines.

There is a video of bigfoot, it is objective evidence, how we interpret that is our subjective filter, 5 people say they saw (John Doe) kill (John Doe) with a knife, apart they are subjective, together they become objective by a preponderance, and yet they could all be wrong.

Is light a wave or a particle, the wave function proves it is not a particle, it could be, but we come up with another theory as to how we can keep our particle and just make it act like a wave.

All evidence becomes subjective the moment you choose to believe it.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby wolfhnd on July 27th, 2018, 4:38 pm 

The reason that scientists are taken seriously on subjects they were not formally trained in is they are trained to be objective. That seems like a sad commentary on society because we could assume that the educational system teaches everyone the importance of evidence. Isn't evidence important in the political process?
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 5:39 pm 

wolfhnd » July 27th, 2018, 4:38 pm wrote:The reason that scientists are taken seriously on subjects they were not formally trained in is they are trained to be objective. That seems like a sad commentary on society because we could assume that the educational system teaches everyone the importance of evidence. Isn't evidence important in the political process?


The political polarization we are experiencing in America simply demonstrates how "evidence" as in "facts" can be misconstrued simply by offering it in a distorted context. Every Fact is interpreted in some way and whereas I agree at one time would be scientist were trained to be objective, those days are long past.

Back when science was highlighted against superstitions it was easy for scientists to be objective as this objectiveness gave them a sense of superiority. But now science is fighting itself as there can be evidence for one side as well as the other, and over time science has often claimed something as beyond reproach only to have it dis-proven at a later date.

A truly objective mind searches for Truth, this cannot be taught, be a scientist or trained in a scientific discipline does make make one objective. In fact the scientific method starts with a hypothesis, as assumption, the test of an objective mind is how readily they can let go of that assumption.

It would seem to me the "critical thinking" is what schools should be teaching as it is necessary to correctly context evidence, teaching the importance of evidence just lets me assume that if I can through enough facts at you, like supporting "Global warming", it should just be accepted, "critical thinking" is what maintain continuity when those objective facts enter into our subjective acceptance.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 27th, 2018, 6:20 pm 

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:>>>>>mitchellmckain » July 27th, 2018, 12:37 pm

There is no objective evidence of Bigfoot. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of ghosts. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of UFOs. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of God or gods. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of faeries. PERIOD.
There is no objective evidence of psychic powers. PERIOD.

ergo all the evidence for these things is subjective. PERIOD.<<<<<<<<

Is this your subjective opinion?

No. My subjective opinion comes into play when I believe that God exists or that Nephilim (half human and half angel) do not exist and never have.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:All evidence, PERIOD, passes through the subjectiveness of your own mind, all evidence is interpreted within one context or another.

Incorrect. You are talking about interpretation not evidence. To be sure, people will take evidence and add a great deal of interpretation to try making this evidence prove all sorts of bizarre things. But that is only how the evidence is used NOT the nature of the evidence itself.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:When any evidence it termed to be unquestionable, then it has become deified and thus falls back to a subjective state. Many people have deified science just as others would deify religious doctrines.

Evidence is only objective when it can be checked by anyone. But then there are those who refuse to check evidence because they insist on believing things regardless of the evidence (e.g. Flat Earth society and creationists). People only uses this nonsense rhetoric about making gods out of things when they put believing what they dictate God says in juxtaposition to everything else -- saying that anyone who refuses to believe what they say are "deifying" whatever reasons they have for daring to disagree. It is a load of intolerant garbage and what is really going on is that they are deifying themselves by imagining that they can speak for God. A rational theist puts this garbage in its place by believing in God and STILL refusing to go along with such idolatrous dictation of truth to others.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:There is a video of bigfoot, it is objective evidence,

LOL I've got video footage of genies, martians, ghosts, faeries, boogie monsters, unicorns, etc... and you call that objective evidence? Seriously? I call it a movie collection. Science achieves objective evidence by producing a written procedure which anyone can follow to get the same result. Video footage is not objective evidence. Sure anyone can play the video but all it proves is that someone made a movie.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:5 people say they saw (John Doe) kill (John Doe) with a knife, apart they are subjective, together they become objective by a preponderance, and yet they could all be wrong.

A court of law often operates on a lower standard of evidence than scientific inquiry.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:Is light a wave or a particle, the wave function proves it is not a particle, it could be, but we come up with another theory as to how we can keep our particle and just make it act like a wave.

Yes that is what ideologues do. They concoct things so they can believe whatever they want. Scientists operate differently. They accept what the objective evidence tells them BECAUSE they can follow the written procedure and get the same result themselves. To defy this is the obstinacy which defines blind faith -- where you believe what you want by closing your eyes and refusing to see what the evidence tells you.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 12:39 pm wrote:All evidence becomes subjective the moment you choose to believe it.

Incorrect. It is only subjective evidence when it depends on you believing it. Evidence is objective when your belief is irrelevant because following the written procedure still gives the same result no matter what you believe.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 6:49 pm 

Mitchell

And so you have stated your subjective opinion, thank you
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 27th, 2018, 7:20 pm 

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 5:49 pm wrote:Mitchell

And so you have stated your subjective opinion, thank you


This ain't science! That is for sure! It is a discussion. And the methodology here is rhetoric not the scientific method. Thus any objectivity here is pretty thin.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby wolfhnd on July 27th, 2018, 8:02 pm 

There is a problem with objectivity in the scientific sense. If like Sam Harris you insist that freewill does not exist, which may be objectively true, then the whole moral framework of personal responsibility and morality collapses.

Social constructs, such as in mathematics, are absolute but science does not deal with absolutes but refinement of approximates. For somethings such as subatomic particles the approximates are very precise. For other things, such as how the brain functions, the current models may be very imprecise. The current state of science is not very good at modeling complex chaotic systems.

Freewill is real not because of evidence in the scientific sense but because it must be true for the complex chaotic social structure to function. It would be unfair to say freewill is a socially constructed fantasy because it is real in the sense that money is real. If you don't believe money is real the physical consequences could be starvation and other physical consequences which would be hard to argue are not real. Now I know someone will argue that the social structure that makes money a necessity is arbitrary. Forget that evolved social structures are by at least in part by design and focus only on the essential need for accounting to organize and maintain the social structure and money seems less arbitrary. You may be able to replace money but accounting not so much.

As has been argued here many times the reductionist nature of empirical evidence is essential to being informed but it is limited in application where reduction is impossible or undesirable. That would be the case for most political dialogue and a central failing of ideas such as scientific socialism.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 27th, 2018, 8:14 pm 

wolfhnd » July 28th, 2018, 9:02 am wrote:There is a problem with objectivity in the scientific sense. If like Sam Harris you insist that freewill does not exist, which may be objectively true, then the whole moral framework of personal responsibility and morality collapses.



Seems unlikely to me, Wolf. It may indeed be the case that free will (in the sense that certain events are not preceded by causally sufficient conditions, as opposed to the "compatibilist" sense) is an illusion. If it is, though, it appears to be one that we cannot do without.

John Searle recounts the anecdote of being asked once in a lecture : "If free will was scientifically proven not to exist, would you accept the conclusion?"

Searle's response: "Listen to what you're saying. If it were proven that there is no such thing as free, rational choice, would I freely and rationally choose to accept the conclusion?"


P.S. Pretty much everything Mitchell has said above on evidence is manifest codswallop. I freely choose not to squander my youth debunking it.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 27th, 2018, 8:30 pm 

I've experienced great difficulty, both here and elsewhere, trying to get the point across that "evidence" is a relational term: evidence is always evidence for (or against) a particular theory/hypothesis/law/conjecture or whatever.

A lump of coal, or a smoking gun, or whatever else is not evidence in and of itself. We can all agree (I suppose) that it's a lump of coal. In the absence of a theory or theories, however, to which it is somehow related, it's just a lump of coal.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 10:05 pm 

wolfhnd » July 27th, 2018, 8:02 pm wrote:There is a problem with objectivity in the scientific sense. If like Sam Harris you insist that freewill does not exist, which may be objectively true, then the whole moral framework of personal responsibility and morality collapses.


Ok, this is an interesting dilemma, in theology some might say if God made us as sinners, then He cannot condemn us for sinning. So in this sense, God made us sinners, (bear with me even if you are not a believer), but we are made as self aware individuals, and being self aware makes me also responsible for my actions because God doesn't make me sin.

(Sin: falling short of the mark, like an arrow that falls short of the target)

Being a sinner, as I understand it, refers to our created nature. We are literally, like everything else, created from nothing. This means that even though we APPEAR as something for this short duration of time, the foundation of our Being is still nothing. We exist only as we are dependent upon the temporal existence of time and space, wherein there are localities available, one of which is the center of the "I am" of my consciousness. So even to possess self consciousness, I alone have to be responsible because I POSSESS it. See?

Sin, as in the actions that manifest from the nothingness within me, I choose, I cannot choose (change) the nature of my Being, but I choose how I respond to it. So what is FREE, what I AM I must manifest, I must sin, but I have limited freedom, over how I manifest that nature.

Also there is a fallacy with God punishing people for their sin, most of modern theology sees it this way but they are mistaken, why is another issue. But as Created Being, dependent upon time and space, even as a disembodied soul which is also subject to time and space, death is built into the system. At the same time we were created, so was our death determined, this is finitude. The idea that God has to step in to punish is based upon the idea of inherent immortality for the soul, but that belief is unscientific, everything created will also perish, that is what the evidence says.

Of course all of this God talk here IS JUST A METAPHOR I am using in address free will, I have to make disclaimers so the God police don't come after me. Is it truly free, NO, if it was I could eat all the donuts I wanted and not gain weight. Just like everything else in a finite universe, even evidence, it is all relative to context. To Paraphrase "You can choose right, or you can choose left, but even if you choose not to choose, you still have made a choice."

Social constructs, such as in mathematics, are absolute but science does not deal with absolutes but refinement of approximates. For somethings such as subatomic particles the approximates are very precise. For other things, such as how the brain functions, the current models may be very imprecise. The current state of science is not very good at modeling complex chaotic systems.


Seems relative, depending on context

Freewill is real not because of evidence in the scientific sense but because it must be true for the complex chaotic social structure to function. It would be unfair to say freewill is a socially constructed fantasy because it is real in the sense that money is real.


I think what I said above covers most of this

As has been argued here many times the reductionist nature of empirical evidence is essential to being informed but it is limited in application where reduction is impossible or undesirable. That would be the case for most political dialogue and a central failing of ideas such as scientific socialism.


See, now I had to go look up the term "scientific socialism", but "reason" also is relative, I have told people socialism looks great on paper, it might SEEM reasonable, it just doesn't work basically because people are not reasonable. If your having to do all the work because the guy next to you won't get off his butt and do his share, and you will always get paid the same, then pretty soon you are both sitting down. People are envious (comparing), people are greedy for laziness or greedy to earn more if they desire to work harder, socialism does not factor in a true understanding of man.

At one point I thought I would reason with my children, that was before I quickly figured out I was not dealing with rational creatures, reason meant nothing so I had to adapt. What is rational in one system is irrational in another.

So to address Reg/Colin's point, there is no true objective standard, evidence is never objective but rather always relative to context, in his case it is the question that creates the context. In newton's world up was up and down was down, Einstein comes along and what is light, a wave, no its a particle, no its a wave, I know where it is but not how fast its moving, science lost any claim to absolute evidence when they opened the door to the quantum universe.

Just a few thoughts
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 28th, 2018, 1:04 am 

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 9:05 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » July 27th, 2018, 8:02 pm wrote:There is a problem with objectivity in the scientific sense. If like Sam Harris you insist that freewill does not exist, which may be objectively true, then the whole moral framework of personal responsibility and morality collapses.


Ok, this is an interesting dilemma, in theology some might say if God made us as sinners, then He cannot condemn us for sinning. So in this sense, God made us sinners, (bear with me even if you are not a believer), but we are made as self aware individuals, and being self aware makes me also responsible for my actions because God doesn't make me sin. (Sin: falling short of the mark, like an arrow that falls short of the target)

To wolfhnd: I refute the suggestion that it could be objectively true that freewill does not exist, though I doubt that whole moral framework of personal responsibility and morality collapses if one believes it. This is confusing the requirements of your thinking with the requirements of the world.
To Brent: I do say the god of power, control, and design bears all responsibility just as an author bears all responsibility for the actions of the characters in his novel. But for this reason I am an open theist and do not believe in such a god. I likewise reject the definition of sin which derives from this theology which turns people into a means to an end like tools. I only finding value in the word "sin" when defined as self-destructive habits.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 9:05 pm wrote:Being a sinner, as I understand it, refers to our created nature. We are literally, like everything else, created from nothing. This means that even though we APPEAR as something for this short duration of time, the foundation of our Being is still nothing. We exist only as we are dependent upon the temporal existence of time and space, wherein there are localities available, one of which is the center of the "I am" of my consciousness. So even to possess self consciousness, I alone have to be responsible because I POSSESS it. See?

Whereas, I deny that sin has anything to do with any created nature as well as Brent's idea we are created from nothing. Instead I believe it is the nature of living things to create ourselves by the choices we make, and some of those choices are self-destructive.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 9:05 pm wrote:Also there is a fallacy with God punishing people for their sin, most of modern theology sees it this way but they are mistaken, why is another issue. But as Created Being, dependent upon time and space, even as a disembodied soul which is also subject to time and space, death is built into the system. At the same time we were created, so was our death determined, this is finitude. The idea that God has to step in to punish is based upon the idea of inherent immortality for the soul, but that belief is unscientific, everything created will also perish, that is what the evidence says.

It was the thinking of the past that disasters were the punishment of the gods for our pride and disobedience. Now we know that these derive only from a function of the laws of nature. I think it is rational to extend this understanding to the consequences of sin, thus removing any need for a punishing god which is after all only a prop for the scam of power grasping religions.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 9:05 pm wrote: Of course all of this God talk here IS JUST A METAPHOR I am using in address free will, I have to make disclaimers so the God police don't come after me. Is it truly free, NO, if it was I could eat all the donuts I wanted and not gain weight. Just like everything else in a finite universe, even evidence, it is all relative to context. To Paraphrase "You can choose right, or you can choose left, but even if you choose not to choose, you still have made a choice."

LOL sure... I think that as long as we just recognize that this is about the different ways that people think, without any implication that others must think likewise, then there is no need to call the "God police."

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 9:05 pm wrote:
wolfhnd » July 27th, 2018, 8:02 pm wrote:That would be the case for most political dialogue and a central failing of ideas such as scientific socialism.

See, now I had to go look up the term "scientific socialism", but "reason" also is relative, I have told people socialism looks great on paper, it might SEEM reasonable, it just doesn't work basically because people are not reasonable. If your having to do all the work because the guy next to you won't get off his butt and do his share, and you will always get paid the same, then pretty soon you are both sitting down. People are envious (comparing), people are greedy for laziness or greedy to earn more if they desire to work harder, socialism does not factor in a true understanding of man.

Whereas I think "scientific socialism" fails because it tries to change a living thing (derived from self-organization) into a machine (a product of design). Not only are we poor social designers but we don't really want to be a cog in someone's machine. By contrast, the participation in a living organism is voluntary by the very nature of the thing.

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 9:05 pm wrote:So to address Reg/Colin's point, there is no true objective standard, evidence is never objective but rather always relative to context, in his case it is the question that creates the context. In newton's world up was up and down was down, Einstein comes along and what is light, a wave, no its a particle, no its a wave, I know where it is but not how fast its moving, science lost any claim to absolute evidence when they opened the door to the quantum universe.

The basic nature of our existence is subjective. Our only access to objectivity is by an abstract ideal which we have to strive for. But science has demonstrated that this is not only possible but extremely desirable unlike the implication of naysayers which is a return to the squalid ignorance of the dark ages.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Braininvat on July 28th, 2018, 9:30 am 

The topic is pop culture scientists. Off topic posts may be removed, or the thread locked. Theological chat goes to Religion forum. If you want your next post to remain, be sure it relates to the OP. Newbies can, again, read SPCF guidelines.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby wolfhnd on July 28th, 2018, 1:09 pm 

I brought up freewill because of the popularity of Sam Harris's podcasts and his debate with Daniel Dennett.

It may be worth checking out because it highlights the difference between philosophical thought and scientific trained thinkers.

https://medium.com/@mgmobrien/does-free ... d54259a417

I have some issues with philosophy because it doesn't seem bounded. I see no evidence however that science can do anymore than inform moral consideration. Complex issues have to be artificially restrained in a reference frame of time and space with uncertainties that dilute the value of scientific evidence.

I think Dennett has thought out the consequences in ways Harris refuses to acknowledge. Simply stating that Dennett is a compatibilist doesn't do justice to his argument because at heart he is a determinist. Harris has crammed freewill into a box in which it doesn't fit.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Brent696 on July 28th, 2018, 5:13 pm 

wolfhnd » July 28th, 2018, 1:09 pm

I have some issues with philosophy because it doesn't seem bounded. I see no evidence however that science can do anymore than inform moral consideration. Complex issues have to be artificially restrained in a reference frame of time and space with uncertainties that dilute the value of scientific evidence.


Dude, you are killing me, 3 hrs of videos, rereading your op and this post, and all I can see is the elected subjects of controversy and not the question of POP.

When I think of POP I think of Dr. Phil, he has credentials, but his collective or rather public practice of application is the most dumb down version, like store bought donuts compared to those fresh in a shop. Most of these guys you mention are trained, educated, accomplished and well read, and although they have disagreements they are not cheesy in their approach.

Now do they take advantage of their popularity to speak on issue not directly in their purview, like Harris blogging on Trump, Yes. When scientists start claiming their is no God or consciousness that does not depend upon neural activity they are also out of their ballpark. It seems we all speak on things we know much about, things we know something about and things we know nothing about, but when we speak on thing we know nothing or little about 800,00 people don't hear it.

There is the same distortion we have when we turn on the news and hear about all the crap going on in the world, what is .0001 percent starts to seem like 10 percent. I tend to think for my self, and although I might consider someones qualifications, I am really only gauging breadth of their knowledge against my own.

But I also understand that a vast percentage of people do not think deeply for themselves, if they did no one would watch Oprah, and these can easily be swayed by people's supposed qualifications, but without censorship there is nothing anyone can do, ultimately this might be how they avoid responsibility.

On the issue of freewill, we are dealing with the subconscious, AND its relationship to our conscious mind. And either because of the enormity or the complexity, or the subtlety of the factors to be measured, its remains outside of sciences ability to quantify.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby DragonFly on July 28th, 2018, 9:10 pm 

All of the "new atheist' four horsemen and more are pretty astute, and their investigations of the probability of 'God' claims has led them on in a logical way to consider the notion of free will.

It is trivial to say that our fixed will has the ability to operate as it is without coercion; this does not unfix the will from its determinism, as the compatibilists claim and so there is no compatibility. They even have it wrong, as there may be some indeterminism, plus some coercions may be determinate too.

Libertarians get it wrong, as well, for indeterminate 'random' does not allow the will to operate as it is, meaning that the will is not in control. 'Random' harms the will.

Any other inputs to decisions coming from the outside, such as 'souls', or others 'brain waves' or thinking deeper and longer, don't unfix the will either, for they are just more inputs.

Nor does it, matter how much of the brain analysis is done consciously or unconsciously, for the underlying neural patterns that are us are what they are any any given instant.

The will is dynamic, and so it is that one's fixed will of the future may have more information in it, from learning making for better choices. Learning can change one's 'code', if one's code is not too severely burned in.

Truly, no one at heart would even want to be free of their will and lose all consistency and all that which is one's character.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby wolfhnd on July 28th, 2018, 10:42 pm 

Reg_Prescott » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:30 am wrote:I've experienced great difficulty, both here and elsewhere, trying to get the point across that "evidence" is a relational term: evidence is always evidence for (or against) a particular theory/hypothesis/law/conjecture or whatever.

A lump of coal, or a smoking gun, or whatever else is not evidence in and of itself. We can all agree (I suppose) that it's a lump of coal. In the absence of a theory or theories, however, to which it is somehow related, it's just a lump of coal.


I agree with BIV that this is getting at the crux of the matter. There is no doubt that the theory of science has objectivity demonstrated with physical evidence that it can transform human life. The question of sufficiency and scope remains.

I don't have a position I'm arguing and the original post as others have stated is somewhat misleading in relationship to the direction the thread has been lead too. The real question is does the present state of science offer anything other than evidence. In other words is science sufficient to define truth and to what degree does that truth impart credibility to those trained in it's application.

Some years ago we had a long discussion here about the existence of "the scientific method" my position has always been that the scientific method is naturally applied by all "intelligent" animals and the philosophy of science can be a refinement of action. It's a matter of degree not kind which applies to this topic in the sense that credentials are relevant to a degree. To what degree is relevant to any non trivial truth.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 29th, 2018, 1:18 am 

wolfhnd » July 29th, 2018, 11:42 am wrote:
I agree with BIV that this is getting at the crux of the matter. There is no doubt that the theory of science has objectivity demonstrated with physical evidence that it can transform human life. The question of sufficiency and scope remains.




Well, I do hope we can make some progress, Wolf.

I've remarked before in other places that my suspicions are immediately aroused when a person seems quite unable to use the word "evidence" au naturel, so to speak, without augmenting it with tough, muscular sounding -- but, as far as I can discern, utterly vacuous -- adjectives such as "robust", "concrete", "solid"... oh, yeah, and let's not forget our old pal "objective".

The image conjured up -- to my skeptical mind anyway -- is that of some woebegone mountebank hawking snake oil in some fleabitten marketplace in some Godforsaken outpost.

But suppose we try to give Mitchell's insistence on the objectivity of scientific evidence a sympathetic hearing. The only possible sense I can make of the key term -- objective -- in this context is epistemic. To wit:

It is epistemically objective that Taipei is the most populous city in Taiwan. There is a fact of the matter; this is not a matter of opinion. Any naysayer is just plain wrong.

It is epistemically subjective that mangoes taste better than lychees. This is a matter of opinion. There is no fact of the matter to which we may appeal.

Now when we apply the same schema to the concept of scientific evidence, let E be our evidence and T be our theory. To claim that it is epistemically objective that E constitutes evidence for T would be to claim that E stands in the right kind of relationship to T; the relationship that binds evidence to theory.

For example, we might assert that the precession of the perihelion of Mercury constitutes evidence for general relativity theory but not evolutionary theory inasmuch as the said phenomenon stands in the right relation to the former, but not the latter, theory.

So far so good, chaps. All we need to do now (*cough splutter*) is clarify the nature of the relationship by virtue of which it is epistemically objective that any given E constitutes evidence for a particulary theory T. There must be a fact of the matter. In virtue of what fact or facts does E constitute evidence for T.

Attempts to clarify the nature of the evidence-theory relationship is the business of philosophy of science. And, hate to tell you, folks, but the news ain't good.

Braininvat, for one, will doubtless recall that this very issue was examined in quite some depth in the latter half of the linked thread below.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=32607&hilit=all+emeralds+are+grue

Some suggestions have included:

1. An instantial model: any F that is G constitutes evidence for the general hypothesis "all Fs are G". E.g., any observed instance of a black raven constitutes evidence for the hypothesis "all ravens are black".

2. An entailment model: E constitutes evidence for T if and only if E is entailed by T (in conjunction with the inescapable auxiliary hypotheses and background assumptions). This is commonly referred to as the hypothetico-deductive model of evidence/confirmation.

3. An explanatory model: E constitutes evidence for T if T explains E better than any other candidate. This one goes under the moniker "Inference to the Best Explanation".

4. Clark Glymour's "bootstrapping" model of evidence: Um, don't look at me. Ah cannae unnerstand it.

5. Bayesianism: E constitutes evidence for T iff E raises the (subjective!) prior probability of T. This may be the most popular account of the evidence-theory relationship at present.

6. Other stuff


Well, is there any consensus on which of these models, if any, captures the relationship that scientific evidence bears on theory? In other words, have philosophers been able to identify which fact of the matter makes it the case that E constitutes evidence for T?

Nothing remotely like it.

Now, until we do get clear on these things -- and I wouldn't hold your breath -- there's little point in hawking your crappy snake oil or bloviating on the objectivity of scientific evidence.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby mitchellmckain on July 29th, 2018, 4:09 am 

Reg_Prescott » July 29th, 2018, 12:18 am wrote:But suppose we try to give Mitchell's insistence on the objectivity of scientific evidence a sympathetic hearing. The only possible sense I can make of the key term -- objective -- in this context is epistemic. To wit:

Objective simply means the same for everyone. Demonstrability assures this, for when anyone can follow a procedure to get the same result then how can it not be the same for everyone? That is the objectivity which science achieves. By contrast personal experience is subjective for the simple reason that you are the only one with that experience. It doesn't mean that it isn't real or that it isn't outside of yourself. I just means that the evidence and knowledge you have isn't available to other people. Without proof you cannot reasonably expect other people to accept your claims -- that is what the word "proof" means. And, of course, proof includes objective evidence.

To be sure, as I explained before, our immediate contact with reality is subjective. The objective only exists as an abstraction -- namely something we construct from the commonality of our experiences. You can say that there is a kind of objectivity in the shared experiences of those in a religion. But limits are made clear when we talk to people outside that religion. Science transcends this with ability to give written procedures which others can follow to get the same result no matter what you believe -- creating a commonality which crosses religous boundaries.

Reg_Prescott » July 29th, 2018, 12:18 am wrote:It is epistemically objective that Taipei is the most populous city in Taiwan. There is a fact of the matter; this is not a matter of opinion. Any naysayer is just plain wrong.

Sure... the written procedure is to count the people in the cities of Taiwan.

Reg_Prescott » July 29th, 2018, 12:18 am wrote:It is epistemically subjective that mangoes taste better than lychees. This is a matter of opinion. There is no fact of the matter to which we may appeal.

Yep, taste is a personal experience and only the taster gets the sensory data of taste. It can be far more than just an opinion because there might be chemical reasons why some things taste better to that person. But this doesn't change the subjective nature of it because only that person gets the data.

Reg_Prescott » July 29th, 2018, 12:18 am wrote:Now when we apply the same schema to the concept of scientific evidence, let E be our evidence and T be our theory. To claim that it is epistemically objective that E constitutes evidence for T would be to claim that E stands in the right kind of relationship to T; the relationship that binds evidence to theory.

For example, we might assert that the precession of the perihelion of Mercury constitutes evidence for general relativity theory but not evolutionary theory inasmuch as the said phenomenon stands in the right relation to the former, but not the latter, theory.

So far so good, chaps. All we need to do now (*cough splutter*) is clarify the nature of the relationship by virtue of which it is epistemically objective that any given E constitutes evidence for a particulary theory T. There must be a fact of the matter. In virtue of what fact or facts does E constitute evidence for T.

This all works rather cleanly in the hard sciences where the evidence is numerical measurements and the theory is mathematical equations. Then interpretation has little to do the agreement of the numbers with the equations. To be sure, the farther you get from the hard sciences the more difficult this becomes.

Reg_Prescott » July 29th, 2018, 12:18 am wrote:Attempts to clarify the nature of the evidence-theory relationship is the business of philosophy of science. And, hate to tell you, folks, but the news ain't good.

Fortunately the work of scientific inquiry doesn't depend on such rhetoric and most scientists could care less. This is after all nothing but philosophy (methodology of rhetoric), so if you expect the scientists to take notice and give a crap then I suggest you do not hold your breath. Philosophy like religion pretty much blows every which way like the wind and fashion. Without objective evidence what reason do have to take such things seriously? I see very little reason to do so at all.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Reg_Prescott on July 29th, 2018, 4:39 am 

First of all, out of respect to Wolfhnd, I hope you don't consider this a derailment of your thread. If you do, perhaps the mods can do a little relocating of certain posts.

Second of all, @ Mitchell, I'm afraid you continue to miss the point. I feel compelled to reproduce something I posted earlier in the thread...

I've experienced great difficulty, both here and elsewhere, trying to get the point across that "evidence" is a relational term: evidence is always evidence for (or against) a particular theory/hypothesis/law/conjecture or whatever.

A lump of coal, or a smoking gun, or whatever else is not evidence in and of itself. We can all agree (I suppose) that it's a lump of coal. In the absence of a theory or theories, however, to which it is somehow related, it's just a lump of coal.


Now, returning to my precession of the perihelion of Mercury example from my post immediately above, I have no objection to the claim that it is epistemically objective that the perihelion of Mercury precesses (er, is that a word?). We can all agree -- I think -- that this is an objective fact.

But this is not what you've been claiming. You've been claiming, and I've been objecting, that the evidence (as opposed to the phenomenon) is objective.

By analogy, all you've shown is that "it is epistemically objective that this is a lump of coal". What you have not shown, for fairly obvious reasons, is "it is epistemically objective that this lump of coal constitutes evidence (for such-and-such a theory).

mitchellmckain » July 29th, 2018, 5:09 pm wrote:Fortunately the work of scientific inquiry doesn't depend on such rhetoric and most scientists could care less. This is after all nothing but philosophy (methodology of rhetoric), so if you expect the scientists to take notice and give a crap then I suggest you do not hold your breath. Philosophy like religion pretty much blows every which way like the wind and fashion. Without objective evidence what reason do have to take such things seriously? I see very little reason to do so at all.


I submit to our members that anyone who objects to the propagation of exaggerated, unjustified, or just plain false, claims about science -- as Mitchell habitually does -- ought to give a crap.

Which kinda brings us back full circle to Wolfhnd's opening post on those experts who pontificate on topics outwith their own area of expertise.
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