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The Jorge against scientism

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    Are you sure you don't mean that predictions are concrete and local, not hypotheses? Or maybe you mean by "hypothesis" something different from what I take it to mean.


    Not sure when I'll get the first 1/2 of my reworking of Hoppe's argument . . . done.
    You are probably correct. By "hypothesis" I mean a testable and falsifiable explanation for a phenomenon. For example, what is the cause of the massive folded structures in the Appalachians? How do you explain striations in rock in a formerly glaciated region? How do you explain cyclothems?

    None of these are not "rocket science".

    BTW, I added "geological structures" to my previous post.

    K54

    Comment


    • #62
      As I understand what the usual procedure and nomenclature are, people deduce predictions from a new hypothesis and compare them with data or experimental results later on. If the predictions then look good, the hypothesis may be promoted to "theory" or "law" (but the latter term is pretty much obsolete now).
      The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

      [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

      Comment


      • #63
        I see that I have so far not answered this post:
        Originally posted by phank View Post
        I can understand the first necessity. If causes are whimsical, the world is mad. But the second part I don't understand. Contingency always plays an important role, and what it does is establishes the exact conditions under which a hypothesis is tested. Often many causes are acting simultaneously (which is why science is reductionist, and tries to eliminate variables). But changing the constellation of causes involved doesn't change the way those causes operate.

        Of course it is. Scientists don't try to eliminate extraneous variables just for grins.

        This principle, as presented, is purely empirical. We OBSERVE that causes are identifiable and describable, and that they often operate in tandem.

        We assume that causes work the way they are observed to work.

        This has become word salad. Maybe an example would clear this up? Let's take gravity. It always acts according to identified principles. How do we know this? By empirical observation and test. Nothing a priori about it.

        If this is Hoppe writing this, he would probably consider a game of poker to be a validation of his claims. After all, probabilities are necessarily contingent. So do scientists ever deal with probabilities? When do they ever NOT deal with them? Probabilities can be calculated with great precision, but those calculations will NOT tell you which lottery number will win.

        Contingency always plays an important role, and what it does is establishes the exact conditions under which a hypothesis is tested. Often many causes are acting simultaneously (which is why science is reductionist, and tries to eliminate variables). But changing the constellation of causes involved doesn't change the way those causes operate.
        Maybe you got it correct with the last sentence above, though I don't feel like I understand perfectly well Hoppe's point about contingency. I think that Hoppe meant that, given that B has no cause other than A, then if A occurs we have B, and nothing other than B, occurring soon after.

        "Often many causes are acting simultaneously . . . " Not certain there are cases such that if A, B, C, . . ., or Z then AA. An example?


        Of course [the constancy principle] is [based on or derived from experience]. Scientists don't try to eliminate extraneous variables just for grins.
        I think you don't understand the argument.


        This principle, as presented, is purely empirical. We OBSERVE that causes are identifiable and describable, and that they often operate in tandem.

        We assume that causes work the way they are observed to work.
        What that means is that science developed the principle purely from observations and then checked it out with more observations or even experimental results. If you really believe that you should cite the literature. If you're right there ought to be something there where an author or a team of authors demonstrated on the basis of observations and experimental results that the evidence supports the constancy principle. If nothing there, what a gap or hole.


        We assume that causes work the way they are observed to work.
        That seems suspiciously like the constancy principle or based on it.


        If the empiricist refuses to assume the constancy principle, he can never have his hypothesis or prediction confirmed or falsified.
        This has become word salad. Maybe an example would clear this up? Let's take gravity. It always acts according to identified principles. How do we know this? By empirical observation and test. Nothing a priori about it.
        That was my summing up. But, are you indeed rejecting the constancy principle? Can gravity have cause A and at another time B instead of A? How then can we do science as we have done it before?


        If this is Hoppe writing this, he would probably consider a game of poker to be a validation of his claims. After all, probabilities are necessarily contingent. So do scientists ever deal with probabilities? When do they ever NOT deal with them? Probabilities can be calculated with great precision, but those calculations will NOT tell you which lottery number will win.
        Perhaps I don't know what you are getting from my post. Well, of course scientists deal with probabilities, but I fail to see how that invalidates the constancy principle. And of course in principle we should be unable to determine what number will win the lottery. How does that invalidate the constancy principle?
        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

        [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

        Comment


        • #64
          Everytime I look into this thread, I can't help but laugh at the title. Seriously, "The Jorge"? I guess Truthseeker thinks he's a force of nature or a computer program or something.
          "When the Western world accepted Christianity, Caesar conquered; and the received text of Western theology was edited by his lawyers. The brief Galilean vision of humility flickered throughout the ages, uncertainly. But the deeper idolatry, of the fashioning of God in the image of the Egyptian, Persian, and Roman imperial rulers, was retained. The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar."

          Alfred North Whitehead

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
            IPerhaps I don't know what you are getting from my post. Well, of course scientists deal with probabilities, but I fail to see how that invalidates the constancy principle. And of course in principle we should be unable to determine what number will win the lottery. How does that invalidate the constancy principle?
            I guess I simply don't understand what is intended by the "constancy principle." Underlying all this seems to be a general argument that we can know things without observation or test, simply because, well, we know them a priori. My sense is that anything not based on observation is not knowledge. It might be correct, but how can we know?

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by phank View Post
              I guess I simply don't understand what is intended by the "constancy principle." Underlying all this seems to be a general argument that we can know things without observation or test, simply because, well, we know them a priori. My sense is that anything not based on observation is not knowledge. It might be correct, but how can we know?
              Maybe an example will help. Someone observes that when A occurs, then B also occurs an instant later. He therefore forms this tentative hypothesis:
              If A then B.
              Isn't that assuming (at least for a while) that this will be true for ever, as long as the universe lasts? But maybe you are such a strict positivist that you reject that, because that is an a priori assumption! I ask you, how can science be possible when every tentative hypothesis must be rejected because it rests on an a priori assumption? Possibly you will say, no, just go on to test the hypothesis some more. After enough experiments or observations, maybe it will attain the status of "theory." Ah, but science would be impossible if the cause of any given effect keeps changing. At one instant, A is B's cause. At another instant, C is B's cause instead of A. Some instant later D is B's cause instead of C. If you still think science can be done starting with that sort of assumption, I am going to give up explaining the constancy principle to you.
              The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

              [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

              Comment


              • #67
                Hoppe (see my previous posts) wrote on page 113, " . . . [human] actions cannot be conceived as caused . . .." I'm not sure what he really means, and it seems to me that we could just say, "Human actions are not appropriate subjects of scientific examination (referring to science as done by physicists)." I am willing to concede that to some extent human actions can be anticipated, especially if she has much experience and talent for reconizing trends in human life. However, I think there is an irreducible randomness in human action such that "in general, the field of human actions is not fit for scientific treatment such as made by physicists."

                I believe that some empiricists (or positivists or whatever) would disagree. They would insist that human actions are phenomena that do not differ fundamentally from other phenomena in that way. Hypotheses can be formed and the predictions deduced from them compared to observations or experimental results. Depending on what the comparison shows, hypotheses can be bettered or new hypotheses created. Of course, for human action, hypotheses can be formed, etc., but what would be the outcome of such activity in the long run? We should not be surprised if social science will not create ever a field of knowledge as impressive as physics has.


                I'm afraid I need much time, say 3 months, to figure out a way to prove that. I may not have that much time, because I am about to start treatment for hypothyroidism.
                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                Comment


                • #68
                  What is apriori reasoning and what not? One definition of apriori reasoning, argument, justification or knowledge is that it is done independently of experience. But what if someone sits in an armchair to just figure out from contemplation of his own experiences and the facts of his life, and so perhaps reach a conclusion? To call such activity "apriori reasoning" may cause some confusion or puzzlement. On the other hand, it is not a posteriori in the scientific (physics) sense--make observations of the physical universe or run experiments, and then reason from the data gathered thereby. It seems now clear to me that we need another term for the armchair kind of reasoning. Suggestions?

                  I can't think of a better term than "armchair reasoning" but maybe one of you will better that.
                  The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                  [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Part 2 of "The science of human action cannot be like physics."

                    Physics is largely a "natural" science based on measurement. Let's take the familiar equation
                    F = ma

                    in which F is a force that is applied to an object that has mass m to accelerate it at a rate of a (let's ignore such complications as air resistance to motion and friction). Each of F, m, and a can be measured separately without using the equation above. For example, the object can be placed on a balance to determine its mass. To determine the acceleration a, a motion-picture camera can be trained on the object so that measurements on the frames produced in the camera produce data that can be used to determine the acceleration.

                    Now, people tried to found social sciences, including economics, on physics. Supposedly there should be constants in the social sciences as there are in physics. By "constant" I mean a relationship between the members of a set of measurements is constant as shown by the equation below. If you rearrange the equation above to get this equation:
                    F/ma = 1

                    the "1" there is a constant, showing that F is always equal to ma. Similarly,
                    E = mc2

                    Now a system of units of measurement can be chosen so that c is exactly unity; in that case, numerically, E = m.

                    Now, let's try to think of something that can be measured in the social sciences with the idea of physical measurement. You have now a week from now (2015 February 21, 7:38 PST). If there is no answer by 2015 February 28, 7:38 PST, I will post part 3 after that.
                    The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                    [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Oops, I omitted something in the last paragraph of my last post in this thread. Assuming we have in a social science or economics at least a measurement of one thing and of another (say, three things, analogous to F, m and a), can we have a constant relationship between all those measurements, analogous to F - ma = 0?
                      The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                      [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Some readers may need to read this thread
                        http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...ull=1#post6029
                        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                        [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                          Some readers may need to read this thread
                          http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...ull=1#post6029
                          Why?

                          Scientifically literate people already know all this.

                          And the YECs will simply ignore it.

                          K54

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by klaus54 View Post
                            Why?

                            Scientifically literate people already know all this.

                            And the YECs will simply ignore it.

                            K54
                            I feel for the author of that post, should he read this post. What a downer.
                            The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                            [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              It might be a great boon to have some way of measuring some sort of happiness. It's true that philosophers have defined happiness many different ways. However, if someone can think of some procedure to measure some sort of happiness, then--do you know what "operational definition" is? To measure happiness is also to define what it is. So, having that procedure, hopefully it would be generally accepted as a "makes sense" definition.

                              However, the best procedure I could think of is to do surveys. Someone might ask someone else, "Are you happy? Please select one of the following possible answers that best describes your happiness now: "Very unhappy. Unhappy. So-so. Happy. Very happy." I have thought of a few objections 1) Surveys are expensive. Probably we would never be able to survey all the world. 2) Statistical analysis of the survey data may help, but still does not solve the problem that the data is not truly measurement like in physics (imagine a scientist trying to survey an electron ). I'll try to think of more objections that surveys don't generate data like in physics.
                              The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                              [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                                (imagine a scientist trying to survey an electron )
                                Scientist: "During the experiment, did you at any point in time suddenly feel the impulse to readjust your course and pass through the right slit instead of the left one?"

                                Electron number 1: "Uh, I don't know. I usually go with the flow, I guess. But then you guys started staring at me, and I got self-conscious about where I was headed, so I wondered whether I should go through the right slit instead, but then I decided against it. I'm not someone bends to pressure that easily, unlike electron number 2 here."

                                Electron number 2: "Hey, that's not fair!"

                                Electron number 3: *snicker*

                                Comment

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