But is it science?

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

But is it science?

Postby davidm on October 25th, 2019, 3:04 pm 

There is an interesting article at Aeon by Jim Baggott, But Is It Science? It covers a lot of ground that has always interested me: theory underdetermination, the demarcation problem, adjusting auxiliary hypotheses, etc.

It focuses on the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics, which came up here recently in another thread, but could just has easily have been applied to string theory, for example. The basic question is, can we have science without empirical evidence? We have no empirical evidence for either MW or strings, yet both are treated by some as standard science — even, as the article points out in the case of MW, almost self-evidently true by some prominent scientists, including Deutsch and Carroll.

From the article:

Despite appearances, science offers no certainty.


I agree. Science is never about certainty.

Yet history tells us quite unequivocally that science works.


Right. That is interesting in and of itself. It clearly works, but is never certain.

…when predictions are falsified by the empirical evidence, it’s never clear why. It might be that the theory is false, but it could simply be that one of the auxiliary assumptions is invalid. The evidence can’t tell us which.


Right, and very interesting. The discussion that follows about Newton and the orbits of Uranus and Mercury nicely illustrates the point. The article further discusses the limitations of Popperian falsificationism.

Now, there is a lot more to this essay, and I recommend reading it. But I want to cut to the chase. About intelligent design, the author writes:

Intelligent design is not science: as a theory, it is simply overwhelmed by its metaphysical content.


Here, I disagree. I continue to agree with the philosopher Bradley Monton, who in a 2006 paper disagreed with the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling. In that ruling, the judge effectively and wrongly, in my view, established, by judicial fiat no less, a demarcation criterion for science. Monton wrote:

I maintain that science is better off without being shackled by methodological naturalism. Our successful scientific theories are naturalistic simply because this is the way the evidence points; this leaves open the possibility that, on the basis of new evidence, there could be supernatural scientific theories. I conclude that ID should not be dismissed on the grounds that it is unscientific; ID should be dismissed on the grounds that the empirical evidence for its claims just isn’t there.


At his Sandwalk blog, the biochemist Larry Moran has also long disputed that ID is “unscientific,” and has given a fair hearing to Behe, though of course he too sees no evidence for ID, and even refers to its advocates as “IDiots.”

Moving on, the author compares ID with Many Worlds. He quotes Helge Kragh:

But, so it has been argued, intelligent design is hardly less testable than many multiverse theories. To dismiss intelligent design on the ground that it is untestable, and yet to accept the multiverse as an interesting scientific hypothesis, may come suspiciously close to applying double standards. As seen from the perspective of some creationists, and also by some non-creationists, their cause has received unintended methodological support from multiverse physics.


He goes on to paraphrase the objection from proponents of ID, who say: how is unevidenced Many Worlds more “scientific” than unevidenced ID?

The creationists are saying, with some justification: look, you accuse us of pseudoscience, but how is what you’re doing in the name of science any different? They seek to undermine the authority of science as the last word on the rational search for truth.


One may pass over the irony — ID advocates have long contended, without justification, that there is empirical evidence for their claims; to now argue at the same time that ID should be entertained without evidence, because MW is entertained without evidence, is disingenuous and self-contradictory to say the least. It is trying to have one’s cake and eat it.

Though I agree with Monton that ID cannot be ruled out as science tout court, I disagree with the above, from Kragh and the author of the article. To me, there is a major difference between positing Many Worlds as a valid, even plausible, interpretation, or meta-theory, of quantum theory, and positing ID as a replacement for evolutionary theory, even though both MW and ID both have zero empirical evidence.

The difference, it seems to me, is this: MW poses solutions to extant problems in QM. ID, by contrast, offers solutions, where no problems exist.

MW deals with the following problems: in Copenhagen-style QM interpretations, we are asked to believe in wavefunction collapse, even though nothing in the Schroedinger equation incorporates any such thing. We are asked to believe in what Einstein derided as “spooky action at a distance.” We are asked to believe in indeterminism instead of determinism, and we are asked even to believe in anti-realism. All of these things contradict what we observe in daily life. (Although, of course, this point by itself is not devastating — all sorts of things, such as that the earth is flat or the sun moves around the earth, may appear to be true, without actually being true.)

But at one fell swoop, MW eliminates all of those problems — determinism, locality, and realism in physics are fully restored. This makes MW a compelling hypothesis even without empirical evidence — and, as Deutsch has argued, it may even be possible, with a certain advanced technology, to obtain evidence for MW. Indeed, Deutsch argues, pretty persuasively IMO, that the famed two-slit experiment is already a persuasive test in favor of MW.

ID does none of this, and this is the key point (for me) that Baggott fails to address in an otherwise engrossing essay. There are no extant problems with evolutionary biology that ID addresses. ID has no theory or explanation or hypothesis of who the designer is, or how or why the designer does, what he/she/it does. ID has got nothing, whereas evolutionary biology has everything, backed up by a veritable Mount Everest of evidence.

Thus ID, unlike MW, has neither an empirical nor a metaphysical leg to stand on, though that may change at a later date, of course, which was one of Monton’s points. An example would be plate tectonics.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: 05 Feb 2011
TheVat liked this post


Re: But is it science?

Postby TheVat on October 25th, 2019, 4:48 pm 


The difference, it seems to me, is this: MW poses solutions to extant problems in QM. ID, by contrast, offers solutions, where no problems exist.


Well put. We may simply dismiss ID, using Hitchen's Razor, as it offers neither evidence nor really any future hope of evidence. It is essentially incoherent. MW, at least, stands as a useful hypothesis which offers some prospect of proof. MW is always entertained, pending evidence, but ID is entertained as a supernatural conjecture that can never really be followed to any logical setup where we might find some sort of test. Any scientific conjecture that can only be tested by one's death (presumably in hopes of meeting a divine engineer) is pretty weak science, and it's hard to write legible lab notes from beyond the grave.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7334
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: But is it science?

Postby bangstrom on October 25th, 2019, 5:04 pm 

A collection of gardeners once planted rows of different varieties of cabbage to see which was the most insect resistant. Someone complained that their sloppy methods were not science. They responded that their methods were not the same science that brought us the bomb but they were doing science.
bangstrom
Member
 
Posts: 700
Joined: 18 Sep 2014


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 26th, 2019, 9:47 am 

TheVat » October 26th, 2019, 5:48 am wrote:
Well put. We may simply dismiss ID, using Hitchen's Razor, as it offers neither evidence nor really any future hope of evidence.


Offers no evidence? This seems to me a bit unfair, Mr Vat. Tsk tsk. Is there any evidence that a methodological naturalist would accept?

I've posted this before, but it's a nice story... :) Are we all sitting comfortably?





Bishkek Blues
----------------

Today's thrilling episode, ladies and gentlemen, will consist of a sample quote to consider, a definition, three questions for you, dear reader, a travel advisory, and an allegory. Something for all the family.


a Quote
----------
"Your evidence is no good. Let us know when you find some actual evidence for God and we might take you seriously." - anon


Questions 1 & 2 : Have you ever seen a comment like this on this website? Have you ever made a comment like this yourself?



a Definition
---------------
Methodological Naturalism (MN) : The principle that science should not invoke the supernatural. Only naturalistic explanations are legitimate; appeal must not be made to divine agency, no matter what is observed. This is a principle to guide the conduct of scientific investigation; it has nothing whatsoever to say about the EXISTENCE of putative supernatural entities such as God.


Q3 : Are you a methodological naturalist?



a Travel Advisory
----------------------
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of doing a little travelling in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. A warning, though, regarding cash for anyone out there planning a trip to the Central Asian republics: US dollars and euros are the most widely accepted currencies, but bring only the the most recent edition banknotes in pristine condition, or as close to as possible. Don't even bend them! The moneychangers, and even the banks there, are notoriously picky. Any banknote not meeting their lofty standards is likely to be tossed unceremoniously straight back at you.



A Story : "Bishkek Blues"
-------------------------------
It's Laura's first day in Bishkek, and she needs Kyrgyzstani som. Fortunately there are several moneychangers close to her hotel, so she sets off armed with a wad of American greenbacks. "Honest Bob's" is the first moneychanger's she walks into, where she explains that she'd like to convert USD to KGS. Before even reaching into her purse, however, she's told:

"Sorry, miss. We don't accept American dollars here. Euros, Sterling, and Rubles are fine. If dollars is all you've got, try Finicky Frank's next door."

Slightly disappointed, Laura nonetheless thanks the polite young man and heads next door as advised, noticing as she leaves, a sign on the wall announcing, "USD Not Accepted". Next door Frank himself greets her, confirms that he does indeed accept American currency, and asks to see the banknotes. Laura hands over five one-hundred dollar bills for examination.

"Your money's no good. Come back when you've got some decent dollars."

Decent dollars? What could Frank possibly mean, wonders Laura. Frank explains:

"Your banknotes are both old and crumpled. We have high standards here. We can't accept rubbish like this. If you come back with latest edition American banknotes in good condition perhaps we can do business. Just like that old geezer over there is doing right now."

Laura, although none too impressed with Frank's attitude, observes that there is indeed an "old geezer" at the counter being issued local currency in exchange for his well-looked-after and youthful greenbacks. Frank at least is a man of his word, even if his manners leave something to be desired.

The third moneychanger's Laura walks into is MN Enterprises. Once again, Laura explains she'd like to exchange US dollars for local som. The clerk asks to see the bills. After a cursory examination, he shakes his head and frowns:

"Your money's no good. Come back when you've got some decent dollars."

Our hapless heroine will come to learn that this is a familiar tune indeed throughout the Central Asian republics! A dejected Laura stuffs her unwanted cash back in her purse, and as she walks towards the door, a sign on the wall catches her eye, "USD Not Accepted".

Laura raises an eyebrow...

"Why did he ask to see my banknotes, as if there was a chance they might be accepted, when it was a foregone conclusion that they would not be?"

"Why is he asking me to come back when I've got some decent dollars, as if the fault lies with me for bringing dollar bills that fail to meet certain standards, when dollars of any kind must be rejected as a consequence of his own store's policy?"
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 12:14 am 

davidm » October 26th, 2019, 4:04 am wrote:
ID does none of this, and this is the key point (for me) that Baggott fails to address in an otherwise engrossing essay. There are no extant problems with evolutionary biology that ID addresses. ID has no theory or explanation or hypothesis of who the designer is, or how or why the designer does, what he/she/it does. ID has got nothing, whereas evolutionary biology has everything, backed up by a veritable Mount Everest of evidence.



David

I think your post makes a lot of sense, and it certainly made for an interesting read.

Re the above quoted section, though. In my opinion, what you're doing, as TheVat does, is simply begging the question, i.e., dismissing ID under the pretense of its putative evidentiary unworthiness when, in fact, nothing presented by these dudes would be admissible.

Richard Lewontin...

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
- Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons" (New York Review of Books)



It seems physicists are willing to embrace any theory, no matter how preposterous, just so long as God is kept firmly outside the party.

As for evolutionary theory having no problems that IT addresses.... of course it does. Evolutionary biologists simply refuse to entertain them.

Have you read Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos"? Nagel argues that orthodox evolutionary theory is hopelessly inadequate with respect to the problem of consciousness. Are we to believe...

1. Once upon a time the universe was devoid of ontological subjectivity (i.e. consciousness)

2. Then one day a mutation occurred and viola!

3. Hey presto!

?


Er, sounds to me about as plausible as Scotland winning the next World Cup. :)

The man himself...

"In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific world picture by the defenders of intelligent design. Even though writers like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer are motivated at least in part by their religious beliefs, the empirical arguments they offer against the likelihood that the origin of life and its evolutionary history can be fully explained by physics and chemistry are of great interest in themselves. Another skeptic, David Berlinski, has brought out these problems vividly without reference to the design inference. Even if one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair."
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby charon on October 27th, 2019, 7:53 am 

My version is simple: I'll believe it when I see it.
charon
Active Member
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: 02 Mar 2011


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 8:57 am 

charon » October 27th, 2019, 8:53 pm wrote:My version is simple: I'll believe it when I see it.


Same prob here. We need to lose weight.
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby TheVat on October 27th, 2019, 11:44 am 

Re the above quoted section, though. In my opinion, what you're doing, as TheVat does, is simply begging the question, i.e., dismissing ID under the pretense of its putative evidentiary unworthiness when, in fact, nothing presented by these dudes would be admissible.


I don't recall saying anything would be inadmissible as evidence. Nor can one dismiss ID, if by dismissal we are saying we have falsified it. It seems unlikely, but someone could (in that it is logically possible) show up tomorrow with a trademark they found inscribed on a DNA strand, or for that matter across a supergalaxy. Little tiny letters, or enormous letters composed of gaseous filaments, "Jehovah Labs, Inc." Or something a bit more subtle, say the first twenty prime numbers somehow encoded along a sugar-phosphate chain. Or a geologist could arrive with evidence that rocks emit little piezoelectric chirps that say "Hey, I'm conscious! I'm Rocky! Jehovah made me! Wanna make out?"

And, re Lewontin, we DO in fact accept scientific claims that run counter to common sense. I humbly submit for your consideration the entire field of quantum theory. Or dark energy. Or a great deal of particle physics.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7334
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: But is it science?

Postby davidm on October 27th, 2019, 1:46 pm 

David

I think your post makes a lot of sense, and it certainly made for an interesting read.

Re the above quoted section, though. In my opinion, what you're doing, as TheVat does, is simply begging the question, i.e., dismissing ID under the pretense of its putative evidentiary unworthiness when, in fact, nothing presented by these dudes would be admissible.


The above, is exactly why I always regret posting at message boards, and why I am trying to kick the habit entirely, like a nicotine addict trying to quit his fix. I have been posting on boards since the now (mercifully) defunct iidb, and this sort of thing crops up again and again.

Did you read the link to the paper that I endorsed by Brad Monton, which explains how supernatural explanations could certainly be accepted as evidence? The paper that explains how we should not accept a priori methodological naturalism? Did you notice that I agreed with what he wrote? I made this just as clear as a bell!

So, of course, it is just WRONG for you to claim that I, and TheVat for that matter, are begging any question. This is classic strawmanning. I have said in the OP, and TheVat said just now, the opposite, of what you have imputed to us!

Upshot: I do not say that supernatural evidence is ruled out tout court. I say the evidence is just not there.

Now as to Behe, Meyer and Berlinski, note that I invoked the biochemist Moran, an atheist and a materialist, who defended Behe against his critics, while certainly not agreeing that ID is true, or that it has any evidence to support it. (It does not.) This is exactly Monton’s position — not that we should rule out ID a priori, but that we should dismiss it until such time as evidence for it can be found. This is also my position — the exact opposite of your claim, about what my position is.

As to Meyer and Berlinski, we have discussed this before, and this is not the point of this thread. Meyer and Belinksi are either ignorant or frauds, or both. The point of this thread is to note that the author whose essay I linked, who certainly does not think that there is any evidence of ID, has wrongly, in my view, conflated ID with MW. For reasons that I explained in the OP, the two cannot be equated, because MW, while without evidence, presents actual plausible solutions to ontic/epistemic problems with Copenhagen-style QM interpretations. ID offers “solutions,” where there are no problems, contra Behe, Meyer and Berlinski. But, as I also said, that could change. I cited plate tectonics as an example of a metaphysical idea that later became solid science, because it began, unlike ID, to be supported by evidence. How is it possible that you could have so comprehensively misconstrued what I wrote? I am inclined to believe that it was deliberate — your post being tendentious.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 2:55 pm 

TheVat » October 28th, 2019, 12:44 am wrote:
And, re Lewontin, we DO in fact accept scientific claims that run counter to common sense. I humbly submit for your consideration the entire field of quantum theory. Or dark energy. Or a great deal of particle physics.



Oh you, I love most of all...

Is it, or is it not, the case that dark matter and dark energy were invented precisely because galaxies just refused to behave the way theory told them to?

Well, there are at least two conclusions to be drawn:

1. There's a lot of stuff out there that we can't see.

2. The theory is a load of bollocks.


Suit yourself *shrug*

How I miss ObviousLeo, haha! I feel so alone these days.
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 3:08 pm 

TheVat » October 28th, 2019, 12:44 am wrote:
I don't recall saying anything would be inadmissible as evidence. Nor can one dismiss ID, if by dismissal we are saying we have falsified it.


Falsify it?

It's a blatant double standard, friend.

How would your own pet theory be falsified? A pre-Cambrian lemur?

Of course it wouldn't be.

Might raise a few eyebrows, but evolutionary biologists around the world renouncing their pet theory and handling rattlesnakes? I don't think so.
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby davidm on October 27th, 2019, 4:17 pm 

How would your own pet theory be falsified? A pre-Cambrian lemur?


Of course such a find would falsify evolutionary theory, at least in its current form, but — and this was one of the points that was made in the essay to which I linked, discussing Newton and the orbits or Uranus and Mercury: sometimes (in the case of the orbit of Uranus) theories like Newton’s can be salvaged by adjusting auxiliary assumptions; sometimes, theories cannot be so salvaged (in the case of the orbit of Mercury). This is one of the reasons that we went from Newton to Einstein.

If we found a pre-Cambrian lemur, there is no imaginable way, however, that the theory of evolution could be salvaged. But there are no pre-Cambrian lemurs, are there? What does that tell you?
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 6:17 pm 


Of course such a find would falsify evolutionary theory, at least in its current form, but — and this was one of the points that was made in the essay to which I linked, discussing Newton and the orbits or Uranus and Mercury: sometimes (in the case of the orbit of Uranus) theories like Newton’s can be salvaged by adjusting auxiliary assumptions; sometimes, theories cannot be so salvaged (in the case of the orbit of Mercury). This is one of the reasons that we went from Newton to Einstein.



Of course, you're talking shite again.

Here's what Wiki has to say...


First of all, it must be remembered that the fossil record is merely supporting evidence for evolution. This is contrary to the ideas put forward by creationists that state the gaps in the fossil record prove evolution to be false. If the fossil record simply did not exist it would make no difference to the validity of the theory of evolution — indeed, natural selection was initially formulated without the aid of fossil record, and subsequent DNA evidence can stand completely without it. The simple truth is that a single strange fossil would probably not make much difference. In practice, the evidence in the fossil record which supports evolution is so overwhelming that a single fossil would be regarded as curious certainly, but compared to the mountain of evidence in favor of evolution it would probably be regarded as an anomaly while more data was awaited. Imagining the fossil rabbit in the Precambrian as disproving all of natural selection would confuse the specifics of an individual evolutionary pathway with the falsification of the whole theory itself, as mentioned above.
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 6:36 pm 

Trivia time, folks: What do scientists do when awkward evidence appears?

1. Say "We're fooked", give back the salary, renounce tenure, and take up sumo wrestling

or

2. Try to get unfooked


Duh
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby TheVat on October 27th, 2019, 6:45 pm 

I don't think there's any real dispute that evolutionary theory is falsifiable. That Popperian test is not even hard to imagine. But there are degrees of falsification, with any complex theory with many and diverse lines of evidence, and we would need a concrete instance to really address what specific aspect of ET was falsified. One hominid in the Burgess Shale might suggest a hoax. A thousand, carefully peeled out in situ, with independent auditors present with recording devices, would require something more like a major revision of multiple aspects of ET. Including the weird possibilities of exobiological origins. Much would depend on a Quinean web of facts, ancillary aspects like DNA markers, isomorphic species also in the Burgess shale, how shale layers are dated, precursor lines of primates and other mammals pre-Burgess, and on and on. It's really a morass of an example, which exposes the complexity of theories that really reflect the myriad forms of this world.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7334
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 6:50 pm 

TheVat » October 28th, 2019, 7:45 am wrote:
I don't think there's any real dispute that evolutionary theory is falsifiable..


Of course there is, lovely Vat.

Don't you know Popper himself got into some deep shit for claiming that ET was unfalsifiable?

(To be fair, he retracted after being shown the instruments of torture)

Three questions, my clever friend:

1. What is The theory?

2. What would falsify it?

3. You mean like... definitively?
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 6:54 pm 

"Creationists often talk of 'testing evolutionary theory', and biologists sometimes talk this way as well. The context of their remarks sometimes reveals which specific proposition the authors have in mind, but often this is not the case. It is important to recognize that the phrase 'evolutionary theory' is too vague when the subject of testing is broached. There are a number of propositions that evolutionary biologists take seriously. The first step should be to specify which of these is to be the focus." - Elliott Sober


Which proposition do you have in mind, Mr Vat?
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby TheVat on October 27th, 2019, 7:12 pm 

Let's just take something dumb, like "fossils are real physical objects that represent past living forms."

The simplest falsification would be the virtual simulation revealed. A computer glitch accidentally reveals that all objects in our world are software graphics, copyrighted mainly in the 2060s by Gnor'kneq Industries. A software object named Bleen, a sales rep from Gnor'kneq, appears in everyone's presence and explains the glitch, then demonstrates by shutting off the laws of gravitation, quantum theory, and general relativity. Our universe is revealed as an alien preschool toy.

Anything else? Will be back late tonight.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7334
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 27th, 2019, 7:16 pm 

TheVat » October 28th, 2019, 8:12 am wrote:Let's just take something dumb, like "fossils are real physical objects that represent past living forms."

The simplest falsification would be the virtual simulation revealed. A computer glitch accidentally reveals that all objects in our world are software graphics, copyrighted mainly in the 2060s by Gnor'kneq Industries. A software object named Bleen, a sales rep from Gnor'kneq, appears in everyone's presence and explains the glitch, then demonstrates by shutting off the laws of gravitation, quantum theory, and general relativity. Our universe is revealed as an alien preschool toy.

Anything else? Will be back late tonight.



Now you're just being silly.

What about a fossilized Mickey Mouse?

poke
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby davidm on October 28th, 2019, 2:41 pm 

It’s perfectly OK to be imbecilic enough to believe in ID, though my impression is that most putative believers actually dishonestly promote it to make money off rubes. I say again, however, that re-litigating evolutionary theory and ID was not, and is not, the intended point of this thread.

The point was to examine an article in which the author conflates many worlds and intelligent design. The author does not believe that ID has any evidential support or explanatory power. This is true, of course, but my own point was not to defend MW or even impugn ID. It was to show the difference between the two. Neither, strictly, are theories. ID is just blowing smoke, underwritten by religious beliefs coupled with pure stupidity. MW, however, is a compelling meta-theory of quantum theory, an interpretation of it. This is needed because, perhaps embarrassingly, while QM works wonderfully well and predicts better than any theory ever has, no one knows what it means ontologically — this is, so far as I am aware, a problem never before encountered with any theory. We always knew ontologically what Ptolemy meant and what Copernicus meant. Both made identical predictions. It was just a matter of empiricism to differentiate between them, and of course Copernicus won.

As to finding a fossil of a lemur or a rabbit or whatever in the pre-
Cambrian, Vat has nailed the issue. This goes to the whole point that Popperian falsificationism is not a be-all and end-all. If we have a good theory we hold to it even in the face of disconfirmatory evidence. That was the whole point of the essay to which I linked, about Newton and the orbit of Uranus and Newton and the orbit of Mercury. Holding on to good Newtonian theory accurately predicted a planet beyond Uranus. Holding on to Newton inaccurately predicted a planet inside the orbit of Mercury. So Newton had to be modified by Einstein.

Maybe something similar will happen with evolutionary theory. So far, however, contra Reg and the con artists he kowtows to, evolutionary theory has no problems that require revising it, and ID is the same scam that it always was. Nevertheless, Reg will continue to slur me, which is not so important, but also slur scientists, which is more important, by claiming that no evidence whatsoever would move us off support for evolutionary theory. I have specifically denied this, and even supported Brad Monton who showed how the entire project of methodological and metaphysical naturalism could be disconfirmed. I agree with Monton, so Reg’s childish accusations against me are ipso facto baseless.
davidm
Member
 
Posts: 589
Joined: 05 Feb 2011


Re: But is it science?

Postby Reg_Prescott on October 28th, 2019, 9:50 pm 

It was a nice thread till fanaticism got in the way.

David, get this in your thick skull: I do not endorse ID.

Not that it makes any difference to zealots like yourself.
User avatar
Reg_Prescott
Member
 
Posts: 325
Joined: 10 May 2018


Re: But is it science?

Postby hyksos on November 29th, 2019, 6:02 pm 

As an aside : I do believe this thread would be far more interesting and engaging if BioWizard were here. He has not posted since April.

Though I agree with Monton that ID cannot be ruled out as science tout court,

I am in possession of evidence that contradicts Intelligent Design tout court.

Any problems with my presentation would not be scientific, but social : we would have to carefully define all of our words and carefully define the domain of application. We must have people mature enough to adopt a positive, identifiable position that carries weight as a position.

(Without going into detail , I will provide an appetizer of my presentation.)

The manner in which bacteria in our oceans live, and the way in which they interact with viruses. I am identifying here the ecosystem of marine bacteria and viruses that invade them. The way those processes proceed --- I present them as evidence that contradicts Intelligent Design. But because we are going to be careful to define all of our words and be nice and legal, my formally submitted proposal appears in orange.

Suppose there is a hypothesis that marine bacteria are the products of special creation. Denote this hypothesis Hc. The several manners in which marine bacteria interact with marine bacteriophages contradicts Hc.

I'm not just asserting evidence that "strongly supports" some popular and fashionable existing theory of biology. I speak in full-blown Popper-ian falsification.

Questions ?
User avatar
hyksos
Active Member
 
Posts: 1699
Joined: 28 Nov 2014



Return to Philosophy of Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests