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There is no scientific method or epistemology

 
 
pam69ur
 
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2008 12:31 am
The australian philosopher colin leslie dean points out there is no scientific epistemology
it is just anarchy
inference one day
perception the next
deduction one day
induction the nest
logic one day
guess work the next

ad hoc here ad ho there- science is full of them
Ad hoc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
An interesting example of an ad hoc hypothesis is Albert Einstein's addition of the cosmological constant to relativity in order to allow a steady-state universe. Although he later referred to it as his "greatest blunder," it has been found to correspond quite well to the theories of dark energy.
books.google.com.au/books?isbn=9810208545...

Quote:
Maxwell's Displacement Current These assumptions are directly based on the ad-hoc ... the current circuit is continuous and closes up by the displacement ...
http://www.dualspace.net/uploads/Permittivity1.doc.
Quote:
Dirac in 1927 proposed a sea of negative energy electrons, superficially resembling pair-space but which was an ad hoc extrapolation from the total energy equation
Displacement current - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
Displacement current possesses the units of electric current and it has an associated changing magnetic field. It appears in James Clerk Maxwell's 1861 paper entitled On Physical Lines of Force where he added it as an additional term
a dogs dinner


EXAMPLES THAT FALSIFIABILITY IS NOT THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

early tests of einstiens theory showed it was wrong IE FALSIFIED-but it was not abandoned

"Anomalies in the History of Relativity" page 1

Quote:
Abstract - In November 1919 it was announced to the world that observations of a solar eclipse that occurred in May 1919 supported Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. That announcement was one of the most influential events of 20th-century science, since Einstein's instant rise to enormous fame arose directly from it. In spite of the confidence with which the announcement was made, however, it was later realized that the accuracy of the observations was insufficient to constitute a reliable confirmation of the phenomenon that was predicted [BUT THE THEORY WAS NOT ABANDONED]. Furthermore, another of the formulas published in the general theory, for the variation in the perihelion of the planet Mercury, had already been derived by another scientist several years earlier using another method. In spite of the fact that the experimental evidence for relativity seems to have been very flimsy in 1919, Einstein's enormous fame has remained intact and his theory has ever since been held to be one of the highest achievements of human thought.

and note

Quote:
The resulting deification of Einstein has had some unfortunate effects: critics of his theory are often dismissed as cranks, and the search for better theories has been inhibited. It is suggested that the announcement of the eclipse observations in 1919 was not a triumph of science as it is often portrayed, but rather an obstacle to objective consideration of alternatives.
in the Principia Issac Newton presented examples of his mechanical system of the world but it could not predict the speed of sound -thus it was falsified -but it was not abandoned
newton even had to lie about his figures

Circular logic
Quote:
In the Principia Issac Newton presented examples of his mechanical system of the world. These examples acted as much to show the power of his system as they did to illustrate its uses. Through many editions of the text Newton worked with his editor to revise applications and maintain conformance with experimental findings. One body of experimental findings involved the speed of sound in air.
Newton understood very well the mechanical principles involved in sound propagation, but the specific details eluded him because of an incomplete understanding of heat transfer in a fast process. As a result Newton used the value of isothermal compressibility of air rather than isentropic compressibility, which left his estimates of sound speed wrong by 20% or so. However, to maintain the illusion that all was right with his mechanical system he engaged in a pattern of fudging the theory with ingenious, but unfounded and indefensible "corrections" to his calculations. Newton always knew what value for the speed of sound he needed to reproduce, which allowed him to fudge exact correction factors. This was circular reasoning, perhaps even outright dishonesty. Through the circular reasoning Newton managed to justify mechanical corrections that were non-existent. A well made circular argument can prove nearly anything.




take frezenl diffraction theoretically falsified but not abandoned

Schiller Institute The Poisson Spot

http://philosophy.wisc.edu/forster/papers/Accommodation.pdf.
Quote:
In 1818, on the occasion of Fresnel's defense of his thesis submitted for the Academy prize, acelebrated "show-down" occurred between Fresnel and the Laplacians. Poisson got up to raise a seemingly devastating objection to Fresnel's construction: If that construction were valid, a {bright spot} would have to appear in the middle of the shadow cast by a spherical or disk-shaped object, when illuminated by a suitable light source. But such a result is completely absurdand unimaginable. Therefore Fresnel's theory must be wrong [BUT IT WAS NOT ABANDONED]!
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2008 07:19 am
@pam69ur,
Science has many methods.

All involve a combination of empiric evidence and the reasoning process. The orthodox scientific method is an oversimplification, because not all science involves testing of hypotheses.

But the point is that the strength of any scientific finding or conclusion is based on the strength of evidence, and the strength of evidence is supported by the strength of methodology.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2008 10:16 am
@pam69ur,
@ pam69ur:
I think you are pointing to the fact that we cannot know any epistemology because we are un equipped for deducing it; not necessarily that it does not exist at al. Am I right about that?

I think that our trouble is that we need an anthropological indication to "what" we exactly are before we can form an epistemology and that this epistemology would actually fflow from that in a "natural" way.The trouble with this is that we need all sorts of knowledge for this before we can come to accurate conclusions. This knowledge is hard to obtain before we know "what" we are because we cannot evaluate our perceptions until then.

I do think however that we can, by correct reasoning, deduce our errors in our thoughts on epistemology. If we have made errors there we will encouter inexplicable paradoxes. These point us towards the core of our misconceptions and in such a manner our epistemological idea of ourselves can grow to something which is more alike with what actually takes place. This offcourse helps us in our anthropology and in return our anthropology could maybe point to our epistemology again and so on.

Smile

Hope this helps..


@ Aedes:
I agree with you that evidence helps scientific conclusions, but evidence can also withhold understanding on different ontological levels from us. When reasoning we deform our perceptions for instance. Try looking at it this way:

There is something which I would like to call a persons full potential. That means being everything that is present in potence. So I am in potence a genius in liguistics, logic, a great athlete, etc, etc. Nobody on this world really is all that. Why is that?

I think there are two reasons for that:
1) By our own thoughts we devise reasons for not having to be all that: our thoughts are made to prevent us from being that (laziness can have this effect for instance).
2) By using a definition we automatically exclude the opposite. A great example is the ethical discussion. What I think is "good" prevents me from doing what I think is "bad". If that is exactly what is needed to allow me to be this great athlete then I am excluding myself from that because my thoughts are "good" in promoting reading for instance. Some things exclude eachother.

Both are really the same in the way that our thoughts can be exactly what is limiting us to gather "evidence" or a "good" idea/answer.

Hope this helps.
Smile
pam69ur
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2008 02:51 pm
@pam69ur,
Quote:
All involve a combination of empiric evidence and the reasoning process


the example of Einstien shows empiric evidence does not have much to do with scientific method as the evidence falsified the theory but the theory was not abandoned

that would have meant a rethink of the theory ie the reasoning process but this did not take place at all
so
reasoning process are like wise not part of a scientific method -if it was then einstien in the face of falsifying evidence shgould have changed his reasonings - but he did not
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 05:48 am
@pam69ur,
pam69ur wrote:
the example of Einstien shows empiric evidence does not have much to do with scientific method as the evidence falsified the theory but the theory was not abandoned

that would have meant a rethink of the theory ie the reasoning process but this did not take place at all
so
reasoning process are like wise not part of a scientific method -if it was then einstien in the face of falsifying evidence shgould have changed his reasonings - but he did not

That just tells us something about Einstein and not about the scientific method.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 09:18 am
@Arjen,
pam69ur wrote:
reasoning process are like wise not part of a scientific method
Of course they are. Think about the orthodox scientific method in a nutshell:

1. Hypothesis
2. Method to test hypothesis
3. Acceptance or rejection of hypothesis and generation of new hypotheses

To formulate a hypothesis requires reasoning. To understand a scientific problem in light of the greater scientific context requires reasoning. To design a method that is repeatable, statistically sound, and that minimizes various forms of bias requires reasoning. A study that generates sound results will propagate new hypotheses, which also requires reasoning.

Arjen wrote:
I agree with you that evidence helps scientific conclusions, but evidence can also withhold understanding on different ontological levels from us.
Well, if you extrapolate this idea, then pure reasoning without any evidence is not science and cannot provide any insight about scientific questions. It's not that evidence helps scientific conclusions -- it's that scientific conclusions consist in evidence.

Quote:
When reasoning we deform our perceptions
Which is why science attempts to standardize methodology a priori to answer scientific questions. That's why you create a study protocol before actually making observations, that's why you blind researchers and subjects, that's why you use control groups.

And that's also why you define your study within your hypothesis and methodology to avoid the problem you raise of ignoring certain ontologic levels. An ecologic study of the Amazon isn't going to resolve molecular problems in the cells of Amazonian parrots, but it's ok -- you define your study's resolution before ever performing it. No one ever said that a particular scientific study could illuminate a natural phenomenon at all possible levels of resolution. Studying the fundamentals of subatomic physics doesn't really help you understand plate tectonics, and plate tectonics doesn't help you with subatomic physics. The questions and answers are targeted to the problem / hypothesis.

Quote:
There is something which I would like to call a persons full potential. That means being everything that is present in potence. So I am in potence a genius in liguistics, logic, a great athlete, etc, etc. Nobody on this world really is all that. Why is that?
Because a person's full potential is not metaphysical -- not everyone has the same potential, and one's potential is only realized through experience and context. There is ZERO reason to think that Einstein would have been a significant figure in 17th century physics, and there is ZERO reason to think that Newton would have been a significant figure in 20th century physics. They were the right people at the right time.

Quote:
Both are really the same in the way that our thoughts can be exactly what is limiting us to gather "evidence" or a "good" idea/answer.
Having done a lot of scientific research myself, I'd conclude that we are much more limited by technical / technological things than we are by our own brainpower.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 11:25 am
@pam69ur,
Aedes, I think you are missing my point. The thing of it is that there is a limit to what a body can do. This limit is a "full potential". Every time somebody "learns" something a step is taken to get closer to this "full potential". It is, however, impossible to go beyond this "full potential", how else can it be "full potential"? So what was the state before this "full potential" was realised? -Denial.

This cannot work exist the other way around. See what I mean?
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 11:55 am
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
So what was the state before this "full potential" was realised? -Denial.
I'm not sure I see the connection of this line of reasoning to the thread topic. Would you mind further elaborating how this is connected to scientific methodology and epistemology?
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 01:01 pm
@pam69ur,
@Aedes
I was worried I hadn't clarified enough. I must say I am guilty of that often. Things seem clear to me and therefore I leave off. My apologies.

I was discussing this with my father just know and him being an english teacher he has his own view on things on a permanent basis. In this case I think it would be nice to explain to you the point he was making (which, as if by a minor miracle, points to the same thing I am saying ):

My father wrote:

Denial is a word that came into the english language through the French. "Deni" in french means "to deny". Denial is a contraction of the french "deni" end the english "all". Deni-all means literally to deny all (that exists; that one is).


In our small discussion of terms and setting of the stage this would mean to deny all that one is. For by my reason I can cloud my own knowledge of myself. I can lead myself to believe that the only thing that exists is that which I percieve (and not anything else). Thereby closing myself off for the acceptance of all sorts of other viewpoints and other actualities. I am lying to myself so I do not have to realise that there is a whole lot more. Humanity (I boldly state, comparing myself to all others Wink )has a tendency to do just this. When we are born we percieve and experience so much that our fragile newborn minds cannot deal with all yet. Therefore, as a means of selfdefence, our mind shuts itself down as if saying that all that exists is that which it can cope with. With this each human limits itself through this deny-all to a state of metaphysically chosen subjectivity.

I think that the deeper reasons for this will be a bit far off topic. Suffice to say that one experiences as much as one allows oneself to experience. This comes to pass because one is able to experience "all" but not able to control it one much choose to accept or deny this "all".

For our small discussion of terms it prooves that a person cannot "learn" things as such; a person can only un-deny-all. Thereby one revalues the function of denying or accepting this "thing" that was not "understood" and decides to accept it; thereby gaining understanding on a metaphysical level.

What we see happening here is that "evidence" is present all around us, but we choose the deny-all of this "evidence". Every fact can mean many things and it is our metaphysical (cognitive) functions that make us believe all these things. "Facts" (or evidence if you must) tell us nothing of what is true apart from what has taken place in actuality. What in reality exists is something else. Seeing as it is our reason which denies - all that exists and the absence of this reason which allows us to "accept" (or is it that "accepting" allows us not to "reason"?) and thereby "understand" I must object to this cognitive way of gathering "evidence" to make "us" un-deny-all. "Reason" apparently has an altogether different relation to "all" that exist.

This may all seem very strange. Explaining this relation of "reason" to the "things-in-itself" is a topic in itself I would imagine. Suffice to say it is an epistemological thruth which becomes apparent for several reasons. Fortunately for us it also points to an ontology which differs between phenomena and noumena. "Reason" is something else alltogether.

Anyway, in this dicussion I think we must conclude that what we can scientificly deduce points to science only and not to the "things-in-itself". Which is what brought this "intermezzo" about. I hope I haven't deviated too much from the discussion?
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 01:46 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
In our small discussion of terms and setting of the stage this would mean to deny all that one is.
Well, as you know a word means more than its etymology, and in English use the word "denial" does NOT mean "to deny all", certainly in the context we're using. The words "Ireland" and "Iran" both originally mean "land of the Aryans", but they certainly mean different things now despite shared etymology.

Quote:
For by my reason I can cloud my own knowledge of myself. I can lead myself to believe that the only thing that exists is that which I percieve (and not anything else). Thereby closing myself off for the acceptance of all sorts of other viewpoints and other actualities. I am lying to myself so I do not have to realise that there is a whole lot more.
This seems to be a very deliberately constructed thought experiment here, not a natural human thought process let alone the way we come to know anything.

Quote:
Humanity (I boldly state, comparing myself to all others Wink )has a tendency to do just this.
Humanity closes its off to other viewpoints, but not at all for the reason / psychology you describe. It's simply because we're insular and provincial. We've evolved in small groups / societies for all but the most recent of history, and to be truly open minded is probably not something that comes naturally to most humans.

Quote:
When we are born we percieve and experience so much that our fragile newborn minds cannot deal with all yet.
As a pediatric subspecialist and as the father of a 3 week old baby, I would argue that 1) the newborn mind is limited by lack of myelination, and therefore very immature neurobiologic capabilities, and 2) the newborn experiences less than any other age group -- sense of self in space is nonexistent, eyesight is extremely limited, there is no such thing as object permanence, etc.

Quote:
Therefore, as a means of selfdefence, our mind shuts itself down as if saying that all that exists is that which it can cope with.
The opposite is true. The mind is extraordinarily active, perhaps more for newborns than for any other age. Cranial growth and brain growth is the fastest during infancy; newborns have more frequent and shorter REM cycles, with as much as 20 hours of sleep daily, because it takes that much to organize their experiences within the context of a growing, developing, myelinating brain. Caloric requirements for newborns are more than 5 times that of adults (over 100 kcal/kg/day, as compared with ~ 20 kcal/kg/day for adults) and much of this goes into brain growth. The brain is the disproportionate recipient of cardiac output and growth both antenatally and postnatally, with the head being proportionally a much larger part of the body during infancy.

Quote:
For our small discussion of terms it prooves that a person cannot "learn" things as such; a person can only un-deny-all. Thereby one revalues the function of denying or accepting this "thing" that was not "understood" and decides to accept it; thereby gaining understanding on a metaphysical level.
Ok, I see how you're making the connection somewhat. But the paradox you'll have to account for is that humans are MUCH better at uncritically accepting something than they are at requiring rigorous data i.e. proof. Why do you think so many people believe in religious traditions, for instance? It's not because people default to denial -- it's because people default to acceptance.

Quote:
What we see happening here is that "evidence" is present all around us, but we choose the deny-all of this "evidence".
You are stringing together a logical argument, but I don't think it's based on actual human psychology or behavior. And if humans don't actually think like this, then what should we do with your explanation?
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 03:41 pm
@pam69ur,
Aedes, do you even understand the difference between actuality and potentiality? If not this discussion is pointless for you are missing every point I have made. I think the difference is most clear in the last "point" you make:

Quote:

You are stringing together a logical argument, but I don't think it's based on actual human psychology or behavior. And if humans don't actually think like this, then what should we do with your explanation?

The thing of it is that thinking only kicks into action a posteriori and that what is a priori is something else. The difference between the two is, as said actuality and potentiality. What we do in actuality is deny-all (of potentiality; all). That is my reasoning. A few of my arguments you have been able to read in my previous post. I hope that you will now see what I am talking about and understand that it is not me, but you who is stringing together a logical argument and that it is your argument which doesn't take into account what is taking place; apart from what is taking place in actuality that is.

I have the awkward feeling that you are an empirist...am I right?
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Apr, 2008 05:16 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
Aedes, do you even understand the difference between actuality and potentiality?
Yes -- the only thing I don't understand is how this is possibly related to a thread that rejects the notion of a scientific method.


Quote:
The thing of it is that thinking only kicks into action a posteriori and that what is a priori is something else.
Yes, the brain is a priori and the thought is a posteriori. Thought is to the brain what walking is to legs.

Quote:
The difference between the two is, as said actuality and potentiality. What we do in actuality is deny-all (of potentiality; all)...
I don't see how your argument sheds light on anything we're discussing -- nor do I agree even in the slightest your prescriptive statements about what we do. It seems so harshly opposed to the way humans apprehend the world.

Quote:
I have the awkward feeling that you are an empirist...am I right?
I choose not to identify with easy labels. I find in reading philosophy that everyone makes valid points, and everyone overstates their case by virtue of systematizing it. We have senses and we're not omniscient, so we're ALL empiricists. A devout Buddhist who holds onto the doctrine of nothingness may deny it, but that doesn't mean he doesn't lift his feet higher when walking up stairs.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 02:03 am
@Aedes,
I am sorry Aedes, I mistook you for somebody who knew at least the basics of the terms I used. Which term would you like clarified first?
chandler phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 02:15 am
@pam69ur,
this discussion seems to be getting unnecessarily heated (or at least awkward!). Arjen I have to agree that, while the terms you use are understandable (at least for me), the relevance of what you're saying to the original topic is hard to find. Could you maybe explain better how what you've said ties into what was said previously?

Regardless, it is bed time. Wink
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 02:19 am
@pam69ur,
It's early morning to me, but here goes:

Scientific evidence has bearing on actuality. It does not have bearing on potentiality, duh. The opening post already points to that in my opinion because at least the poster sees that something doesn't add up. The reason for that is the above stated. Aedes, however, does not see that and at first I though he simply didn't agree with me. That was a mistake on my part, I now realise.
0 Replies
 
chandler phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 02:29 am
@pam69ur,
Alright I'm seriously going to bed now, haha. But I would love for you to elaborate on that first statement. How does it have bearing on actuality and how is this different from the bearing on potentiality. I'll see you tomorrow.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 02:56 am
@pam69ur,
Because potentiality does not have a physical representation. Actuality does so that we can investigate it in a scientific (a posteriori) manner. Realising this there are reasons for why things are taking place in the manner they are taking place that we cannot deduce by science. That is what is creating the stated "anarchy". It is a result of our epistemological make-up.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 05:53 am
@Arjen,
I do. But being a physician and medical researcher, with an extensive practical knowledge of both science and the scientific method, I find it absurd to make metaphysical arguments to critique scientific methodology. The concepts you're expounding are nowhere to be found in actual science. To philosophize about science is not the same as to understand it. Potentiality and actuality as you're using them are very much divorced from scientific methodology, which focuses entirely on technical questions -- so I cannot accept this argument as remotely explicative here.

Arjen wrote:
I am sorry Aedes, I mistook you for somebody who knew at least the basics of the terms I used. Which term would you like clarified first?
Post reported. Please take care to keep your tone tactful. See the forum rules.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 06:00 am
@pam69ur,
Arjen - What's your point? You have made many claims, though, you have not related these claims to the topic.
0 Replies
 
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2008 12:07 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I do. But being a physician and medical researcher, with an extensive practical knowledge of both science and the scientific method, I find it absurd to make metaphysical arguments to critique scientific methodology. The concepts you're expounding are nowhere to be found in actual science. To philosophize about science is not the same as to understand it. Potentiality and actuality as you're using them are very much divorced from scientific methodology, which focuses entirely on technical questions -- so I cannot accept this argument as remotely explicative here.

Be carefull not to base an argument simply on being "an authority". That is what people call petitio pricipii.

The thing of it is that your argument is exactly what the opening post means: in science there is no regard for ontological differences. Therefore things don't add up. That is why there is such a chaos in evidence. It, in all reality, is quite unscientific of "science" not to take ontological differences into account.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

Arjen - What's your point? You have made many claims, though, you have not related these claims to the topic.

If have posted the relations in almost every post I have made. Right above this quote again btw.

For all those who can't wrap their heads around it a little proof on the matter:

Because of the fact that when reasoning we stumble upon certain "beginnings" that cannot be made by following the same rules as we have formulated for the processes we are reasoning on we know that it cannot have came to pass because of its own existence.

Examples:
- A primary mover (as Aristotle ment it).
- A priori thoughts (as Kant ment it).
- Black holes (and worm holes) (as Einstein/Hawkin mean it).
- Moral skepticism (as Makey ment it).
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