Nick Matzke posted Entry 2903 on February 15, 2007 12:41 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2893

I received this note from a Kansan who asked that it be posted on PT. She said Jack Krebs (head of Kansas Citizens for Science) might be too modest (or maybe he is trying to return to normal life!).

On the day after Charles Darwins’ birthday, and the day before Valentines Day, the Kansas State Board of Education delivered its much-anticipated reversal of the anti-science standards adopted in November 2005.

Although this outcome was expected after the August 2006 primary election resulted in a guaranteed moderate majority on the board, conservatives fought to the end to amend the standards to include their non-natural definition of science and their bogus evolution criticisms. Each motion to amend was defeated. Ultraconservative Ken Willard of Hutchinson requested that the board go into executive session just before the standards discussion. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, “He asked whether the state can endorse an idea that nature can be solely explained by material causes and whether the state can suppress information critical of evolution – two problems conservatives say the new standards would create, though opponents argue otherwise.” Willard never explained why no state includes supernatural explanations in its science standards, because he doesn’t like the answer: such topics are outside the domain of science.

There are a number of hard-working Kansans who deserve recognition for their efforts. First and foremost is Jack Krebs, president of Kansas Citizens for Science, who helped mobilize other concerned Kansans to fight the many-headed Hydra known as ID. Blogger Pat Hayes of Red State Rabble (http://redstaterabble.blogspot.com) kept us succinctly yet poetically up-to-date on the latest developments, and scienceblogger Josh Rosenau of Thoughts from Kansas (http://scienceblogs.com/tfk) provided interesting political and scientific commentaries. The Kansas Alliance for Education PAC (http://www.ksalliance.org/) supported pro-science candidates for the state board of education races, and hundreds of volunteers mobilized across the state to raise money and work on their behalf. Those volunteers themselves were a decisive factor in the victory.

Obviously, the creationists aren’t going to give up and go home, and they’ll keep pushing to re-create science in their image. Five seats on the state board of education are up for re-election in 2008; four of these seats are occupied by moderates, two of whom have already decided not to run.

Reasonable, pro-science Kansans will be looking for candidates who understand that science curricula should be determined by scientists and educators, not lawyers and glorified PR firms masquerading as think tanks.

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Comment #161060

Posted by Tom Gillespie on February 15, 2007 1:41 PM (e)

Bravo!
“not lawyers and glorified PR firms masquerading as think tanks.”

That is what I have felt all along - the fact that we glorify the D.I. by referring to it as a “think tank” has been a matter of consternation to me for a long time. In fact it is the absolute opposite of a think tank with the notable exception that members spare no effort in thinking up ways to obfuscate, spin, and otherwise distort. The continued absence of the long-promised results of the DI’s “thinking” supports a conclusion that, although those people appear to be tanked, real thinking is a precious rare commodity.

Tom

Comment #161064

Posted by FL on February 15, 2007 1:54 PM (e)

Reasonable, pro-science Kansans will be looking for candidates who understand that science curricula should be determined by scientists and educators…

…like the scientists and educators who actually showed up, testified up, and underwent the public cross-examination at the KBOE 2005 Science Standard hearings, natch!

Next election is in 2008, next Science Standards Review is in 2012, and that same Topeka Capital-Journal reports that both sides are “gearing up.”

Like a professional political observer told the newspaper last year,

“It’s only halftime.”

Works for me.

FL

Comment #161066

Posted by Pat Hayes on February 15, 2007 2:34 PM (e)

Dear FL: It’s true mainstream scientists and educators boycotted the right-wing school board’s kangaroo court in May 2005.

You forgot to mention, however, that dozens of scientists and educators did participate in four well-attended statewide hearings just a few months earlier in Feb. 2005.

The success of the pro-science speakers at those hearing and the clearly stated religious motivations of those speaking for the ID-inspired standards, written by John Calvert of the ID Network, forced the board to short circuit the curriculum development process and restrict public testimony on the standards to a group of “experts” supplied by the Discovery Institute.

The issues were debated again – this time not in the board’s rigged hearings whose outcome was never in doubt – during the Kansas elections. The ID forces stumped the state, paid for inserts in local papers, bought radio ads on Christian stations, and set up web sites.

In the end, the voters heard and responded to the message sent by moderate pro-science candidates such as Sally Cauble and Jana Shaver. Scientists and educators played a key role in the election, just as they did in the public hearings.

It may be, as you say, halftime, but to carry the battle into the second half, the ID faithful will have to file a lawsuit. That not-so-intelligently designed will not take on scientists, educators, or KCFS, but the clearly expressed intent of the voters to restore real science to the science standards.

That suit – if filed – will fail because the ID-inspired standards can’t be successfully separated from the clearly sectarian religious motivations of its backers.

Like everything else about intelligent design, the threat to sue is empty.

Comment #161067

Posted by Cheryl Shepherd-Adams on February 15, 2007 2:42 PM (e)

FL: “…like the scientists and educators who actually showed up, testified up, and underwent the public cross-examination at the KBOE 2005 Science Standard hearings, natch!”

Were these the ones who
(a) admitted they hadn’t read through the standards they were condemning?
(b) - except for one - wouldn’t give an accurate number for the age of the earth?
© denied common ancestry?
(d) weren’t evolutionary biologists by any stretch of qualification?

Comment #161073

Posted by waldteufel on February 15, 2007 3:15 PM (e)

Apparently FL is one of the Babble thumpers who would like Kansas to return to the status of international laughing stock while keeping its kids ignorant of modern science. Putz.

Comment #161077

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 3:24 PM (e)

FL, why didn’t you just say:

“Curses! Foiled again!”

and move on?

sooo pathetic.

Comment #161088

Posted by Henry J on February 15, 2007 4:33 PM (e)

Re “and whether the state can suppress information critical of evolution”

Information? First, ya gotta produce that information before anybody could actually suppress it.

Comment #161094

Posted by FL on February 15, 2007 5:10 PM (e)

Ms. Shepard-Adams, it honestly doesn’t look like you’re willing to give sufficient credit to those genuine scientists and educators for the clear and large amount of expert testimony for which your evolution attorney, as well as the rest of the gang, had NOTHING by way of refutation at all.

I understand your objections, but I have some questions of my own in reference to them.

*****

(a) admitted they hadn’t read through the standards they were condemning?

My understanding is that those expert scientists and scholars who said they had not read the Science Standards in their entirety, at least read the sections relevant to their own field of expertise and said so. Would you agree?

(b) - except for one - wouldn’t give an accurate number for the age of the earth?

And do you agree that at least one scientist had to publicly remind your evolution attorney that he was asking a question totally outside the scientist’s own field of expertise?
(In fact, the KBOE 2005 transcripts show multiple violations at this point on the part of your evolution attorney. Would you agree?)

c) denied common ancestry?

Did they ALL deny common ancestry? And in those situations where your evolution lawyer didn’t even ask the expert witness about common ancestry, how is it you happen to claim that such person denied it?

Also, wouldn’t the acceptance or rejection of common ancestry be Totally Irrelevant to expert witnesses like chemist Dr. Charles Thaxton whose specialty is Origin of Life and who testified SPECIFICALLY concerning the KS Origin of Life Standards?

How about practicing PhD chemist John Millam, testifying about the nature of science and the KS science defintion? How is acceptance or rejection of common ancestry relevant to his historical analysis of the nature of science which went totally UNOPPOSED by your lawyer and the rest of you?
Common Ancestry sure doesn’t look relevant to such presentations imo.

(d) weren’t evolutionary biologists by any stretch of qualification?

Isn’t expert witness Ralph Seelke a biology professor who teaches at Wisconsin-Superior? Are you personally qualified in any way to reject a PhD biology professor’s expert testimony under oath unless he first claims to be an evo-biologist? And why wasn’t your evolution attorney able to refute his testimony at all?

AND—- if you’re going to insist on ONLY evolutionary biologists testifying at public hearings in order to be considered qualifed to testify in such matters, are you prepared, right here and right now, to state your public rejection of the Dover testimony of Barbara Forrest, Robert Pennock, and others, seeing as they are clearly NOT evolutionary biologists?

*****

Albeit lengthy, these questions are simply meant to show the problematic nature of your objections.
And again, your objections ignore a massive amount of virtually unchallenged expert witness testimony by these genuine scientists and scholars in 2005.

And of course, you personally, and your comrades in arms as well, COULD HAVE left the safety of the Internet and accepted the invitation to testify against the 2005 Kansas Science Standards and submitted your particular testimony to an honest and open cross-examination process, just like the other side clearly did.

But you didn’t do it. Didn’t even try.

Honestly, that is one of the reasons why it’s only halftime around here.

FL

Comment #161098

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 5:26 PM (e)

shake your fist harder, FL.

Comment #161101

Posted by J. Biggs on February 15, 2007 6:04 PM (e)

“It’s only halftime.”

Based on the outcomes of previous battles between ID/Creationism and real science the outcome of “the game” is hardly in doubt. Even if the creationists board members succeed in getting their agenda on the books the ensuing legal battle would find said changes in the school curriculum unconstitutional. Therefore the creationists still lose and cost the school district a lot of money in the process. Seems to me all your side ever does is hurt public education in favor of pushing a religious agenda. By the way, do you care to tell everyone if the ID/Creationism side won any of the following legal battles.

Epperson v. Arkansas
McClean v. Arkansas
Segraves v. California
Edwards v. Aguillard
Webster v. New Lenox
Peloza v. Capistrano
Freiler v. Tangipahoa
LeVake v. Independent S.D.
Kitzmiller v. Dover

The score if you care to tally it is: good science - 9, pseudo-scientific religious crap - 0.

Comment #161102

Posted by obo on February 15, 2007 6:13 PM (e)

FL,

I have a simple question. Who backed out of testifying in a real legal case? You know, where there is a impartial judge and actual rules of evidence. Was it it IDiots or the Evilutionist.

Any self respecting chemist should know the age of the earth. Its kind of like asking an expert on China were North America is on a map. Granted, its outside their specific expertise, but it such basic knowledge that one would have to know it. The experts couldn’t give a correct answer meant that they A) ate too many paint chips when a child. B) are idiot savants. or C) are willfully ignorant any evidence and/or theory that challenges their view of the universe. I would rather have people from choice A than from choice C, be involved with setting the science standards.

As for your evolutionary biologist, Ralph Seelke, when your star witness comes from the University of Wisconsin-Superior you really are in trouble. I’m from Wisconsin. UW-Superior isn’t in the upper crust of science academia, even for the state. It falls well below UW-Steven’s Point (Smoke a joint, go to Point) and even below UW-Stout (When in Doubt, go to Stout.) I know more people who wanted to go to Platteville, rather than Superior, and who the hell would want to go to Platteville?

Just remember IDist could leave the safety of the Internet, go into a lab and actually try to get results. It is usually better to do some science, before trying to get the science you haven’t done into class rooms.

Comment #161103

Posted by Cheryl Shepherd-Adams on February 15, 2007 6:17 PM (e)

FL:”Ms. Shepard-Adams, [sic] it honestly doesn’t look like you’re willing to give sufficient credit to those genuine scientists and educators for the clear and large amount of expert testimony for which your evolution attorney, as well as the rest of the gang, had NOTHING by way of refutation at all.”

Sorry, FL. It’s up to the challengers - the ID folks - to come up with the evidence to change the status quo through the scientific venues.

Like it or not, that’s the way science works. All the ID dog-n-pony shows won’t change that fact.

As a science teacher, I’m not happy with your vicarious interference in my classroom. I resent your accusation of cowardice on my part because I didn’t encourage scientists to participate in the mockery of science that were the hearings in May 2005. I’m not hiding behind some two- or three-letter pseudonym. My name has been attached to letters to the editor, to media interviews, and to the hateful emails sent my way.

The scientists who blazed the trails of knowledge weren’t cowards, either. They had the cajones to publish their data and see their conclusions supported or refuted. They don’t hide at the Biologic Institute and refuse to discuss their work. They’re out there, on the front lines, gathering the evidence to support their contentions.

Funny how those who testified at the ID hearings haven’t done that. They’re the ones who’ve led the boycott against science. They refuse to submit their work to peer review. They conduct their business through press release and politics instead of peer review and rigor.

And you accuse me of cowardice?

Comment #161108

Posted by J. Biggs on February 15, 2007 6:31 PM (e)

Also, wouldn’t the acceptance or rejection of common ancestry be Totally Irrelevant to expert witnesses like chemist Dr. Charles Thaxton whose specialty is Origin of Life and who testified SPECIFICALLY concerning the KS Origin of Life Standards?

We better give up folks, their side has Dr. Charles Thaxton an Originoflifologist.

Although you are correct in pointing out that Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, just the origin of species; and even though science is close to adequately answering how the first life form arose, it really doesn’t belong in the H.S. biology curriculum.

I might also point out that the ID/Creationism side has a tendency to conflate the abiogeisis explanation for the origin of life and evolution, which make Dr. Thaxton’s opinions on evolution including common descent entirely relevent.

Comment #161111

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 7:54 PM (e)

Is nobody bothered by the inherently anti-realist approach to science that is embodied in the science standard ?

I mean, I have no problem with this as such, but I think it is just going to confuse kids to embrace such a science standard without making it explicit. Bound to do more harm than good, given the general idea that science is synonymous with some sort of scientific realism and the “pursuit of truth” about the world.

Although let me guess, pretending an anti-realist philosophy of science is really a realist philosophy of science if being “pro-science” ?

Sorry for the cynicism.

Comment #161115

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on February 15, 2007 8:12 PM (e)

So, sciphishow, since you brought it up – please explain to us how one can empirically test a supernatural cause.

Comment #161116

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 8:20 PM (e)

So, sciphishow, since you brought it up – please explain to us how one can empirically test a supernatural cause

What is a “supernatural cause” Nick ?

By the way, it doesn’t bother me if they decide to adopt an anti-realist approach to science or a realist approach that admits to an incredible limitation to what science can tell us about the world.

If there is no way to empirically test such a thing, then thats fine. You are stuck at the point with one of the above. That isn’t really a problem as such.

What is a problem is when you want to claim some sort of broad scientific realism and then rule out lots of different possible means of explanation as out of bounds by fiat.

I get the impression that most kids don’t really know any philosophy of science at all and are also really ignorant of the history of science as well (heck look at the general confusion most people have over the Galileo affair and the like) .

The proposed science standard sadly appears to just continue to reinforce the confusion and misunderstanding kids have. It is sad that science has to suffer because of the fears of a bunch of religiously motivated bigots who can’t handle having their favorite philosophical presuppositions about the universe questioned, and need to rule out any competing ideas by fiat.

Comment #161117

Posted by Allen MacNeill on February 15, 2007 8:23 PM (e)

This was inevitable, given the outcome of last year’s state board of education elections, but it’s still nice to know that the newly elected board of education candidates followed through on their campaign promises. An interesting sidelight to this story comes from an email I received late last week. The email came from Rob Crowther of the Discovery Institute, home church of the “intelligent design movement” (yes, I’m on their mailing list; it’s always good to know what the other side is doing). In the email, Crowther railed against the new Kansas science standards, but the interesting thing is that he railed specifically against the removal of an item about the abuse of science (the rise and fall of eugenics in the 20th century and the Tuskegee syphilis study were the main examples). The email encouraged me to send an email to the board of education protesting the new standards because they included this change. Interestingly, there was no mention at all in the email of the fact that almost all of the proposed changes are to the parts of the old standards dealing with evolution and “intelligent design.” Hmm…it appears that deliberate prevarication is part and parcel of the Discovery Institute’s modus operandi. Crowther is a master propagandist, and his work in this case would have made Goebbels proud…

Comment #161118

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 8:24 PM (e)

FL said:

If you’re going to insist on ONLY evolutionary biologists testifying at public hearings in order to be considered qualifed to testify in such matters, are you prepared, right here and right now, to state your public rejection of the Dover testimony of Barbara Forrest, Robert Pennock, and others, seeing as they are clearly NOT evolutionary biologists?

Apples and oranges. The creationist critics of evolution should be biologists because they are criticizing biology. The fact that they rarely are is very telling, as are their frequent flubbings of the facts.

Barbara Forrest, OTOH, was there to discuss ID and its inherently religious roots. She was there to expose a PR scam, not to make a scientific argument about biology.

I find it highly ironic how attentive so many Biblical Fundamentalists are to making sure that Biblical passages be read and understood in context, and yet those very same people are inattentive to the point of perceived intentional distortion when it comes to the context of what scientists have to say about evolution. “Any contextual assumption that fits their preconceptions” seems to be the rule. Come to think of it, that is very common in literalist Biblical apologetics as well. What a coincidence.

Comment #161119

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 8:32 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #161120

Posted by Jack Krebs on February 15, 2007 8:34 PM (e)

Thanks very much for the kind words. Normal life is not here yet though: I have a TV show tomorrow and a panel discussion Saturday night. Interest is high about what happened in Kansas and what it means.

FL is a regular on the KCFS discussion forum, by the way, and we have discussed the issues he is bringing up here interminably. Don’t wear yourself out arguing with him.

And Allen MacNeill is exactly right on about the DI’s post last week about eugenics et al in the old standards. Thanks, Allen

So Kansas is a big victory because it is a defeat for the “teach the strengths and weaknesses” tactic, but the IDists in Kansas are a bit bitter, so I imagine there is more to come.

Comment #161121

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 8:35 PM (e)

Sci Fi Show said: What is a problem is when you want to claim some sort of broad scientific realism and then rule out lots of different possible means of explanation as out of bounds by fiat.

Could you give a few examples of such explanations, how exactly they are ruled “out of bounds by fiat”, what they would explain, and the kinds of research they would spawn that current methods do not? It is easy to speak in vague general terms on this issue. The devil is in the details.

Put another way, explain what we lose by not adding the disclaimer:

“These results could have been caused by the magic sky pixie of one’s choice, but we have no way to gather evidence for or against such a hypothesis”

to every science paper.

Comment #161122

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 8:46 PM (e)

Could you give a few examples of such explanations, how exactly they are ruled “out of bounds by fiat”, what they would explain, and the kinds of research they would spawn that current methods do not?

I can think of plenty, but I think you misunderstand the nature of the objection.

Assume for the sake of argument that the YEC’s are 100% right in their claims about the age of the earth and the universe. Again, just for the sake of argument. Any explanation that leads to that conclusion will inevitably involve the actions of a divine agent. Note I am not a YEC, i’m simply using it as a very simple and clear example.

But the standard as written would rule that explanation out of bounds and not admissible as science. Even though it would happen to be what actually happened.

Which is fine. I don’t have a problem with that per se.

What I have a problem with, is that by defining science in such a way it ceases to be a search for the truth about how the world works, and instead becomes a search for predictive power and instrumental value. This is an anti-realist approach to science.

Now it is not such an anti-realist approach I have a problem with either, that is a perfectly legitimate approach to doing science. In fact it is pretty workable really and looking at the history of science it is probably an easier case to make for how science works than the scientific realist approach. Look at Ptolemy’s astronomy as a perfect example (in hindsight) of instrumentalism in practice. The theory of epicycles is actually usefully predictive and works nicely as such. But it doesn’t reflect the way the universe is actually set out.

Where my beef stems from is that there are certain religiously motivated people who want to adopt this anti-realist approach to science, but then dishonestly pretend that they are actually adopting a scientific realist approach to the world. It is depressing that they do this, but I guess they can’t compete on a level intellectual playing field.

Comment #161123

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 8:56 PM (e)

What I have a problem with, is that by defining science in such a way it ceases to be a search for the truth about how the world works, and instead becomes a search for predictive power and instrumental value. This is an anti-realist approach to science.

one man’s pragmatism is another man’s reality.

a search for predictive and explanatory power IS what science is all about. it’s not some mystic search for truth; perhaps that’s why most layfolk (and ALL creobots) seem to confuse it with religion so readily?

sounds like an awful lot of projection.

Comment #161124

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 9:01 PM (e)

Who backed out of testifying in a real legal case?

LOL.

answer:

William Dembski.

TWICE.

so are you confused about what backing out means?

or are you confused about what a real court case is?

both?

I rather think you are simply, confused. It applies to everything collectively in your case. (note, just for you, FL, the word is not used here in the legal sense).

LOL.

Oh, BTW Jack, FL is a regular here too.

Keep on pressin’ on.

Comment #161126

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 9:06 PM (e)

It is usually better to do some science, before trying to get the science you haven’t done into class rooms.

god you’re funny.

I know people who have published hundreds of articles and won numerous awards for their work in 15 years.

it’s been a lot longer than that for the idea of “intelligent design”, yet there never has been any published research, or even a testable hypothesis put forward.

If it boiled down to a graduate level thesis, the graduate student IDist would have been tossed years ago for failure to produce.

but you just keep… shaking.. that.. fist… boy!

Comment #161130

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 9:21 PM (e)

one man’s pragmatism is another man’s reality.

If science is inherently anti-realist in orientation thats fine, but to pretend that this allows it to tell us what the world is actually like is just plain wrong, and frankly dishonest.

a search for predictive and explanatory power IS what science is all about. it’s not some mystic search for truth;

No worries. So you are a scientific anti-realist. I don’t have a problem with that. But don’t pretend if you think that, that science is telling us something about the way the world really is. You’ve already conceded that is not its purpose or direction.

Heck look at the history of the phlogiston theory of burning. It did actually work and was actually predictive. I suppose that in “one mans reality” (yours I guess based on what you have implied) that makes phlogiston real.

I guess it is unreasonable for me to be a little bit suspicious of such a claim ? Sheesh.

Comment #161132

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 9:31 PM (e)

Assume for the sake of argument that the YEC’s are 100% right in their claims about the age of the earth and the universe. Again, just for the sake of argument. Any explanation that leads to that conclusion will inevitably involve the actions of a divine agent.

No it wouldn’t. The God Theory does not win by default. Establishing that the earth was 6,000 years old would prove evolution wrong, it would not prove the creationists right. They would be merely one of literally infinite possible just-so stories about how we all got here.

That sir, is the point. Until a theory makes accurate predictions, and better ones than other theories, it is not science. YEC theories make predictions that have been proven false over and over again, and ID makes no predictions at all. That is what makes YEC bad science, and ID not science at all. The fact that it also involves God is incidental.

I ask again, but with less demand: Give just one example of such an explanation, how exactly it is ruled “out of bounds by fiat”, what it would explain, and the kinds of research it would spawn that current methods do not?

Your example makes my point. Let’s grant FTSOA that it was valid to conclude God created the world, as the YECers have been telling us all along. Now that we know that, what do we do? What science do we now study differently, and in what exact manner?

See, the problem is you could never be sure what God would or would not do, so there is no way to predict anything using that hypothesis. It is akin to Q on Star Trek. Every problem could be him, but of what use is that hypothesis? Best to act as if he is not involved and do the best you can otherwise.

Comment #161133

Posted by Andrew Wade on February 15, 2007 9:36 PM (e)

Look at Ptolemy’s astronomy as a perfect example (in hindsight) of instrumentalism in practice. The theory of epicycles is actually usefully predictive and works nicely as such. But it doesn’t reflect the way the universe is actually set out.

:Shrug:. Neither does Copernican astronomy for that matter. Newton’s gravitation isn’t it either. I suppose you could argue for the reality of a particular gauge of general-relativity, but that seems rather silly and scientifically vacuous.

Comment #161134

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 9:40 PM (e)

Neither does Copernican astronomy for that matter. Newton’s gravitation isn’t it either. I suppose you could argue for the reality of a particular gauge of general-relativity, but that seems rather silly and scientifically vacuous.

Sure. As I have noted in the long term, for being “right about how things are” science has about the poorest possible of track records. That doesn’t make it any less useful, but it does mean that this does need to be kept in mind.

Comment #161135

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on February 15, 2007 9:40 PM (e)

Here is a good article on the standards change.

Comment #161136

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 9:41 PM (e)

No it wouldn’t. The God Theory does not win by default

Why don’t you actually respond to the point I made instead of ignoring it and going on a tirade ?

Am I too assume you concede the rest of it by your ignoring the actual point of what I wrote ?

Comment #161137

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 9:47 PM (e)

What I have a problem with, is that by defining science in such a way it ceases to be a search for the truth about how the world works, and instead becomes a search for predictive power and instrumental value. This is an anti-realist approach to science.

On the contrary, it is as realist as it can get, for it recognizes the raw, sometimes unpleasant fact that we have found no reliable method of finding truth without predictive power. This should not even have to be said. It is very easy sir, perhaps far easier than you realize, to concoct a theory that accounts for a large body of facts. It is far more difficult to use a theory to predict factual information before it is gathered, perhaps again, more than you realize.

A simple example. Let’s say you chose a polynomial with which to create a sequence of numbers, and the object of the game is for me to guess your polynomial. No matter how many numbers you give me in a sequence, I can produce an infinite number of polynomials that will produce that sequence. Say you chose Y = X, and gave me the sequence 0, 1, 2. I could guess Y = X, but Y = X + X(X-1)(X-2) works as well, as do infinitely many others. Therefore, until I predict the next number in the sequence, I cannot have much confidence that I have guessed correctly.

For a more humorous example, were you to bet on every Super Bowl that has been played and had always bet on human mascots to beat animal mascots, you would be 19-7. Care to give me those odds in the next one? I’ll take the animals.

A theory that only looks backwards is of little use, and deserves little confidence, and that is all you can do with supernatural beings. It’s not that they exist or not, it’s that we can’t do anything with that knowledge. Nothing is more realistic than that.

Comment #161138

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 9:57 PM (e)

On the contrary, it is as realist as it can get, for it recognizes the raw, sometimes unpleasant fact that we have found no reliable method of finding truth without predictive power

You don’t really know anything about the philosophy of science do you ?

Comment #161139

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 9:58 PM (e)

As I have noted in the long term, for being “right about how things are” science has about the poorest possible of track records.

That’s like saying Babe Ruth sucked because he got out over 50% of the time. Compared to the track record of all the other methods, science’s track record looks pretty darned stellar. Science is what got us understanding that the earth wasn’t flat, although there are still those who use other methods of truthtelling to argue otherwise. Go figure.

Science is superior to the other methods of knowing because it had the most effective bullshit detectors: the insistence on making objective predictions and publishing those results where one’s competitors can get at them. The attacks can be viscious, and the weak die. The ones that have the muster last over time. These other ways of knowing lack that, which is why their track record is truly so poor.

The kinds of theories you are defending had their shot. They lost. Hell, the ID people can’t even fill their own magazine with content. How many years has it been and still no substantive work? One of the big reasons is their inability to answer the challenge of falsifiability, ie, making predictions.

Comment #161140

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 10:03 PM (e)

TSPS said: Why don’t you actually respond to the point I made instead of ignoring it and going on a tirade ?

Am I too assume you concede the rest of it by your ignoring the actual point of what I wrote ?

I did respond to the argument you made, by showing an invalid conclusion in it. Then I showed that even granting that conclusion, the rest of your argument still doesn’t follow.

I will ask again, and I’ll keep asking until you answer: Give just one example of such an explanation, how exactly it is ruled “out of bounds by fiat”, what it would explain, and the kinds of research it would spawn that current methods do not?

The methods you are defending are ruled out of bounds by virtue of their inability to provide answers to these questions, not by fiat. They explain nothing, inspire no research. They are after-the-fact storytelling, not science.

Comment #161141

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on February 15, 2007 10:03 PM (e)

Sci Phi, if you’re not entirely a troll, you are confusing and impressing yourself with words. You have come up with ‘anti-realist’ which evidently impresses you but to your frustration does not have the same effect on others. Why doesn’t it? Perhaps because you have not produced an evidence based reality which is opposed.

What is not supported by the preferred ‘definition of science’ is replacing ‘don’t know’ with wishful thinking. This is pro-reality.

Comment #161147

Posted by MarkP on February 15, 2007 10:08 PM (e)

You don’t really know anything about the philosophy of science do you ?

I recognize that you are avoiding the arguments presented against you, just as you did on your previous visit here, and instead trying to distract from those issues by making baseless irrelevant claims. And despite your bluster, you still have yet to provide a single example of exactly how we would put into practice what you preach. It is obvious why.

You are full of sound and fury sir, signifying nothing.

Comment #161148

Posted by misanthrope101 on February 15, 2007 10:08 PM (e)

“What I have a problem with, is that by defining science in such a way it ceases to be a search for the truth about how the world works, and instead becomes a search for predictive power and instrumental value. This is an anti-realist approach to science.”
____

Transcendental “truth” may be found in art and philosophy, but the truth science is after is that which can be discovered through studying the physical world. Scientists are looking for the best theory that fits the facts, not any theory at all that may be true, facts notwithstanding. For scientists to entertain the idea that creationists are “100% right” we would have to show persuasive facts and logic to support that conclusion. What you seem to be asking is for us to give Creationism a shot by ignoring all the evidence in support of evolution. Saying “yes, all these facts support your theory, and the arguments supporting Creationism have all been refuted, but Creationism COULD still be right, and you’re not a REAL scientist if you dismiss it out of hand, absence of evidence notwithstanding” isn’t very persuasive. That science doesn’t consider magic and leprechauns as viable explanations of phenomenon doesn’t mean that science is anti-realist; it only means that you’re re-defining reality to extend beyond what science can study.

Comment #161149

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 10:14 PM (e)

What you seem to be asking is for us to give Creationism a shot by ignoring all the evidence in support of evolution

No I just picked it as a clear example.

The standard as set out cannot deal with anything beyond entirely naturalistic causes. Not a problem.

But, if for the sake of argument life arose by such a mechanism that is outside the scope of “science” as defined in the standard, then no amount of hypothesizing or work can even in principle come to the correct conclusion because the correct conclusion is ruled out by definition.

I’m not arguing that some variety of YEC is correct, I don’t think it is. It was simply an example.

Comment #161152

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 10:17 PM (e)

I recognize that you are avoiding the arguments presented against you

What argument ? You don’t seem understand the basic difference between realist and anti-realist approaches to science.

Given you don’t even seem to understand that, and that that was the substance of my argument, which you didn’t answer, I don’t see how I am avoiding your argument.

Comment #161153

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 10:20 PM (e)

But don’t pretend if you think that, that science is telling us something about the way the world really is. You’ve already conceded that is not its purpose or direction.

you’re confusing reality with perception.

stop it.

Comment #161156

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 10:23 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #161160

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 10:43 PM (e)

Heck look at the history of the phlogiston theory of burning. It did actually work and was actually predictive. I suppose that in “one mans reality” (yours I guess based on what you have implied) that makes phlogiston real.

However, the reason we no longer use the phlogiston theory is not because of some underlying “TRUTH”, but simply because something with better predicitive and explanatory power came along.

perhaps a better example?

how about Newtonian mechanics?

Still used quite a lot, actually (if you took physics you did a lot of calculations essentially based on it), but as a whole, it was displaced as a primary theory because quantum mechanics has still better predictive and explanatory power (at a certain resolution, at least). Still, most engineers don’t use quantum mechanics to calculate the forces involved in bridge building.

Both examples show us it has NOTHING to do with any underlying “Truth”, but rather a steady shift as better explanations are found.

There is no search in science for any underlying “Truth”, just attempts to build on what came previously in order to better it.

That’s why we call them theories; they are open to better interpretations based on observation and experiment at any given time.

this is also the thing the IDers seem to keep failing to understand. there is no institutional preservation of evolutionary theory as “Truth”, for example. It’s always open to someone who can prove there is a better way to explain the observed data, and predict the path any specific trait will take, or where we will find any given predicted type of fossil.

In fact, this is the advantage of science over religion; it really isn’t a pursuit of some underlying “Truth”; it is a flexible enterprise that is most effective when it is entirely of a pragmatic nature. There is no assumption in science that there is some goal of Truth that will one day be realized (even the idea of a “grand unifying theory” really isn’t about finding the ultimate end-all be-all of energy, matter, gravity, etc.), rather there is acknowledgement that our ability to experiment and predict based on observation is limited to the technology at hand, and makes room for ever changing additions as our knowledge and technology grows.

There is no expectation of finality. no expectation of any underlying realizable “truth”.

Comment #161163

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 10:46 PM (e)

Sci Phi, if you’re not entirely a troll, you are confusing and impressing yourself with words.

ooooh. I rather like that.

pretty and descriptive.

Comment #161164

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 10:50 PM (e)

There is no search in science for any underlying “Truth”, just attempts to build on what came previously in order to better it.

Sure. I don’t have a problem with that though. I’ve said that a couple of times.

However there is another approach to science called scientific realism that is not content with the purely instrumental approach you are advocating here. That view wants to claim that science does tell us something about how the world actually works, rather than just providing a collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful.

Those who want to say foolish things like “science disproves the existence of God”, or generally use science as a club against religious believers (Like Dawkins, Dennet, Meyers, et al) are not happy with the anti-realist/instrumentalist view of science that you are espousing but instead are working from a scientific realist approach.

The problem is when you take your pragmatic approach and then pretend to be scientific realists. This is the heart of the problem I have with the standard as currently written. It will confuse students to advocate the pragmatic approach to science when there are vocal people trying to present science in a realist manner. Nothing in the standard requires students to be made aware of this really significant difference in approach. I think students should be educated properly instead of mislead in the way this standard is likely to unintentionally (or heaven forbid intentionally) mislead and confuse students.

All I want to see is good science education, rather than seeing science corrupted and used as some sort of ideological cudgel. That cannot be good for the future of actual research and that would be a real tragedy.

Comment #161165

Posted by misanthrope101 on February 15, 2007 10:53 PM (e)

“But, if for the sake of argument life arose by such a mechanism that is outside the scope of “science” as defined in the standard, then no amount of hypothesizing or work can even in principle come to the correct conclusion because the correct conclusion is ruled out by definition.”
———————————-

If for the sake of argument we all sprang into existence 23 minutes ago, and our memories of the past beyond that point were all illusions, then that hypothesis is beyond the scope of science, and no amount of…. etc. There is no practical limit to the number of theories you can posit that fall outside of science. Faeries, ESP, magic, leprechauns, elves, etc all fall oustide of science. You don’t have to look to the evolution/creationism “debate” to find that. I can tell you that there is an invisible pink unicorn orbiting Neptune that sends me telepathic messages, and that is no more or less supported by facts, no more or less subject to the processes of science, than creationism. It COULD be 100% correct. But if you have a blinkered, naturalistic worldview, you’d never arrive at “the truth”, which shows that your way of looking at the world is incomplete. Or is that ridiculous? I’m voting for ridiculous.

Comment #161166

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 10:54 PM (e)

I will ask again, and I’ll keep asking until you answer: Give just one example of such an explanation, how exactly it is ruled “out of bounds by fiat”, what it would explain, and the kinds of research it would spawn that current methods do not?

Is it important to have such an example ? The complaint I have is one of confusing terminology and misleading students.

Your demand is a red herring.

Comment #161167

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 15, 2007 10:58 PM (e)

The standard as set out cannot deal with anything beyond entirely naturalistic causes. Not a problem.

You really don’t know anything about the philosophy of science, do you Jason?

Many of us have explained that “naturalistic causes” means nothing except with respect to available evidence, yet you continue with your mindless IDist nonsense about things being ruled out a priori. Nothing is ruled out a priori, the only requirement is that verifiable evidence that we all can investigate is necessary for any collective knowledge about reality. Some call this “methodological naturalism”, an unfortunate misnomer, but however much it obscures what happens in science the real issue is evidence for hypotheses in science.

Read some Kant, for once, and quit learning your “science” from paid liars.

But, if for the sake of argument life arose by such a mechanism that is outside the scope of “science” as defined in the standard, then no amount of hypothesizing or work can even in principle come to the correct conclusion because the correct conclusion is ruled out by definition.

Yeah, well it isn’t ruled out by definition, that is a canard that you repeat without reason or evidence. You must mischaracterize the scientific process in order for your “criticisms to work”, and you remain completely ignorant of how science actually operates (it is rare that “natural” shows up in the major science journals in the way you use it (which I must tell you because you know so little) rather the matters of “falsifiability” and “evidence” is what is brought up).

If you must persist in this line of accusation and lack of understanding, please produce some evidence for your charges for once in your miserable work of battling against science.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #161168

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 10:58 PM (e)

If for the sake of argument we all sprang into existence 23 minutes ago, and our memories of the past beyond that point were all illusions, then that hypothesis is beyond the scope of science, and no amount of…. etc. There is no practical limit to the number of theories you can posit that fall outside of science.

Sure. And provided you are going with an instrumentalist approach to science that does not aim at finding out what is “really real” but is only interested in providing a useful framework and some predictive models, then there is no problem.

The problem is when you want to claim that science does get at the way the world really is. Then you need to do more than simply exclude such approaches by fiat as the standard in question would.

The underdetermination problem is a well known one in the philosophy of science. It would do kids well to grapple with these sorts of questions in science class instead of pretending they don’t exist.

Comment #161169

Posted by The Sci Phi Show on February 15, 2007 11:01 PM (e)

your miserable work of battling against science.

I’m not battling against science. I want to see science properly taught to kids so that they actually understand the enterprise they are engaged in.

Comment #161170

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 11:03 PM (e)

The problem is when you take your pragmatic approach and then pretend to be scientific realists.

again, this sounds like you are projecting to me. Projecting a WHOLE lot onto a list of people that don’t fit what you are saying at all.

keep trying, you’ll get it eventually, I think.

Comment #161171

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 15, 2007 11:07 PM (e)

You really don’t know anything about the philosophy of science, do you Jason?

This is THAT Jason?

Oh crap, I had totally forgotten about that. the link simply didn’t click for me until you said that.

nevermind then, this is a waste of time.

Comment #161172

Posted by Henry J on February 15, 2007 11:12 PM (e)

Re “tendency to conflate the abiogeisis explanation for the origin of life and evolution,”

Not to mention that we know abiogenesis happened at least once, since life is here now and there was a time it wasn’t - and once is all that’s necessarily required for evolution. But a non-evolutionary origin of species requires an abiogenesis event for every independently originated species.

Henry

Comment #161174

Posted by misanthrope101 on February 15, 2007 11:22 PM (e)

“The problem is when you want to claim that science does get at the way the world really is. Then you need to do more than simply exclude such approaches by fiat as the standard in question would.”
——————-

But the only way we have to ascertain “the way the world really is” is through evidence that can be perceived. Making up ideas and saying “this COULD be true” doesn’t suffice in a world where we can look around, gather evidence, and find explanations that fit the evidence. All science does is look at the data we have available. They don’t rule out explanations “by fiat” but based on whether or not there is evidence to support them. Religion, the other dominant approach, precludes all explanations that don’t accord well with their holy book of choice. While science evaluates all explanations for which there is evidence (good or bad), religion is the worldview you’re thinking of when you say that it excludes any explnation it doesn’t like “by fiat”.

Comment #161178

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on February 16, 2007 12:18 AM (e)

Still haven’t heard of a way to empirically test a hypothesis of supernatural cause…

The best sciphishow did was ask what a supernatural cause was. That’s my point. It’s totally unconstrained. Unconstrained hypothesis = no empirical expectations = no way for physical evidence to bear on whether or not it is true.

Comment #161181

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 1:14 AM (e)

Although “The Sci Phi Show”’s and certainly Fl ‘s claims and posts are at least delusional false generalisations Sir_Toejam you’re certainly wrong when writing
that in science there is no expectation of finality,of any underlying realizable “truth” and so on.

Scientific Method = rationally-mathematics + empirical data.

Popper’s or others philosophies of science are about this method in contrast to other methods of thinking(ie rational but without emp.data,or non rational at all) and about how one can strictly define it ,if possible.
Expectation or not of truth (and so on) belongs to the realm of the understanding or of the (more literally than of the above use of the term) philosophy of science.You have (or anyway by your posts it seems to me) a scientific philosophy that belongs to positivism’s camp.One can also have other understandings of science (ie platonic,realist,…)
but (this is what you don’t seem to get) all of them accept and are based of and on the same -above mentioned- scientific method.(As an example see the Hawking-Penrose debate on fundamental theoretical physics)

“The Sci Phi Show” is using a naive eicotological antipositivistic
(naming it realist) approach and attack to the scientific method
when non positivism has simply nothing to do with that.

Comment #161182

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 1:17 AM (e)

oops
scientific Method = rationallity-mathematics + empirical data

and not rationally-mathematics.anyway…

Comment #161184

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 1:52 AM (e)

double oops. rationallity -> rationality. I obviously need to practice my english more.sorry…

Comment #161186

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 2:54 AM (e)

By the way,(due to this blog debate also)I have recently realised that there is big fuzzyness and difference in the terminoly,taxonomy and classification of philosophical matters between transatlantics and cisatlantics.Or is it Anglophones and continentals? Or is it intranational and intraphone? (Or is it just me :-))
Perhaps other non USers and non Anglophones would like to help clarify things?
Philosophy is per se very fuzzy and one needs not complicate matters by using the same terms for different,often opposite, things.

ie I live in the city where Plato grew and mostly lived and here Platonism is a synomym for Idealism (and platonism opposite or at least different from realism) .And here platonism-idealism is a dualistic philosophy because there is the contast between the world of being (einai) -or world of ideas- and the (pseudo)world of becoming (gignesthai) -or world of senses-.
On the other hand I found in the anglophonic wikipedia that there are lemmata on Platonic Realism and Platonic Idealism ,one stating that the other terminoly is false.
As I understand , the platonic-realistic-monist (english?) terminology is so because in order to classify ,it focusses on plato’s claims that THERE IS objective reality and that sensual reality ISN’T true (pseudo world) while our platonic-idealistic-dualistic (non-english?) terminology focusses on the claim of the DIFFERENCE between the two worlds and the DOMINENCE-TRUENESS of the world of ideas.

Comment #161187

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 3:17 AM (e)

Sorry again for the errors…
terminoly -> terminology
contast - > contrast
intraphone -> intraphonic
synomym - > synonym

Comment #161209

Posted by Frank J on February 16, 2007 5:01 AM (e)

Doesn’t anyone else see the irony that ultraconservatives want to liberalize science education to permit “alternative” nonsense from “lawyers and glorified PR firms masquerading as think tanks” that at best has not earned the right to be taught?

Comment #161210

Posted by Darth Robo on February 16, 2007 6:46 AM (e)

Okay, I know FL, but who’s Jason?

Comment #161213

Posted by Katarina on February 16, 2007 7:50 AM (e)

Hi Thanatos,

Glad to see you again.

platonic-realistic-monist (english?) terminology is so because in order to classify ,it focusses on plato’s claims that THERE IS objective reality and that sensual reality ISN’T true (pseudo world)

The way I read it, Platonic realism has to do with defining universals or forms, independently of perception. This doesn’t seem to have any use for interpretation of science, to me. But I do agree with the positivist philosophy that science is the only way to make progress in our knowledge of reality.

Comment #161219

Posted by khan on February 16, 2007 8:55 AM (e)

I’m still trying to figure out how reality is ‘anti-realist’.

(Is that the new buzzword?)

Comment #161220

Posted by Raging Bee on February 16, 2007 8:59 AM (e)

And again, your objections ignore a massive amount of virtually unchallenged expert witness testimony by these genuine scientists and scholars in 2005.

And what about the ID “Experts” who testified in the Dover trial? How did they fare?

That view wants to claim that science does tell us something about how the world actually works, rather than just providing a collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful.

That “collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful” does, in fact, tell us a lot about how the world actually works. You are merely expressing the same concept two different ways, and pretending they’re two different things.

Assume for the sake of argument that the YEC’s are 100% right in their claims about the age of the earth and the universe. Again, just for the sake of argument. Any explanation that leads to that conclusion will inevitably involve the actions of a divine agent.

Instead of asking us to assume this, why don’t you tell us exactly how you would prove it? Have you actually found an explanation that leads to that conclusion without recourse to “goddidit” or “the Bible tells us so?”

Comment #161221

Posted by Raging Bee on February 16, 2007 9:07 AM (e)

Darth: “Jason” is Jason Rennie, a.k.a. The Sci Phi Show, a UD regular who follows the standard creationist tactic of soliciting audio interviews and “debates” between evolutionists and creationists, always implying that a) he’s offering the evolutionists an indispensible opportunity to get their views out to the public; and b) if they don’t take his offer, it means they’re hiding something.

See the earlier PT post titled “Jason Rennie Interviews” for an example of his MO.

Comment #161222

Posted by Darth Robo on February 16, 2007 9:09 AM (e)

Ah, just found PZ’s banned list. Know him. That you, Sci Phi?

Comment #161224

Posted by Raging Bee on February 16, 2007 9:15 AM (e)

Is it important to have such an example?

Yes, it is indeed important to provide examples of alleged behavior, in order to prove that the alleged behavior is indeed taking place. Without at least a few significant examples, the allegation is empty and without substance.

The complaint I have is one of confusing terminology and misleading students.

Coming from a creationist, that “complaint” is as hypocritical as it is laughable.

Comment #161225

Posted by Flint on February 16, 2007 9:28 AM (e)

I suppose it might be useful to postulate that there exists an objective reality, within which everything is what it is and works the way it works. And I suppose we might consider science as the best method we have found for approximating that objective reality.

I don’t think anyone is arguing that science always (or even ever) gets it absolutely and completely correct. The point being dodged here is that no method has ever been discovered for getting any closer to objective reality than science.

Now, since science is imperfect, I suppose we can call it anti-reality, so long as we understand that Making Stuff Up is even MORE anti-reality. There are surely great advantages to declaiming that one has “the real Truth” and thus establishing reality-by-fiat. You don’t need to test, you don’t risk being wrong, you don’t have to make any predictions. Your target audience needs no further education - they’re already skilled at this method. If these advantages are considered sufficient, then you go to your church and we’ll go to ours.

Comment #161226

Posted by Darth Robo on February 16, 2007 9:30 AM (e)

Ah, cheers, Bee. Probably different Jason, then. I’ve not been reading all the threads, since I’m still trying to sort my ISP out. :(

Comment #161232

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 16, 2007 9:41 AM (e)

I’m not battling against science. I want to see science properly taught to kids so that they actually understand the enterprise they are engaged in.

Since you don’t know the first thing about science or philosophy, save your concerns for your own comprehensive ignorance.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #161233

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 16, 2007 9:55 AM (e)

You have (or anyway by your posts it seems to me) a scientific philosophy that belongs to positivism’s camp.One can also have other understandings of science (ie platonic,realist,…)
but (this is what you don’t seem to get) all of them accept and are based of and on the same -above mentioned- scientific method.

Of course you can have other understandings of science, but no “realist” or “Platonic” view informs us of how we might obtain something worthy of being called “truth” (aside from “inter-subjective” assignments of truth-values). I realize that Platonism is predicated on the belief that we have an unobstructed avenue to truth, but this was based upon a category mistake wherein the interpretive framework of the mind was taken to be more “true” than the data taken in by our senses.

Whether one accepts the positivist view or not (and science rests substantially upon positivism no matter how dead it is philosophically), the problem of interpretative mediation of all “truth” remains unavoidably with us. Not that we cannot agree reasonably and sensibly about shared interpretations of the “truths” regarding our perceived environment, but even within such understanding our ability to find some “ultimate truth” remains beyond our capacity to predict. IOW, even the tantalizing “theories of everything” hardly hint at giving us answers on the order of telling us what “energy is” or the like.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #161234

Posted by GuyeFaux on February 16, 2007 9:55 AM (e)

For all who are wondering who Jason is:

He’s Jason Rennie http://thesciphishow.com/

Nice enough guy in that I think he’s interested in conversing (as opposed to just talking). He’s made some shoddy arguments in the past though, that he hasn’t quite owned up to.

Comment #161236

Posted by Dizzy on February 16, 2007 10:00 AM (e)

Err, what part of the new standards espouse “realism” (I assume meaning “scientific realism”), to the exclusion of other views?

Is any scientist completely realist? Is anyone purely anti-realist?

This reeks of “teach the controversy” here, where there is little controversy…not to mention false dichotomy, and misrepresentation.

Comment #161237

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 16, 2007 10:06 AM (e)

Doesn’t anyone else see the irony that ultraconservatives want to liberalize science education to permit “alternative” nonsense from “lawyers and glorified PR firms masquerading as think tanks” that at best has not earned the right to be taught?

Well, yes, but then “liberals” and scientists are not immune from falling into placid inertia and satisfaction with incomplete but reasonable explanations in the face of alternative hypotheses. Hence even the fact that no, or virtually no, IDist has ever supported a non-politicized alternative theory in science that has proven to have merit does not automatically exclude their insistence that science be open to non-standard concepts.

However, the track records of IDists don’t commend their arguments from an intellectual standpoint. Lynne Margulis and others are invoked from time to time by these people who still deny the implications of her endosymbiotic hypothesis, meaning that they are still incapable and unwilling to consider a good concept even after it has been heavily substantiated. So rather than opening up science, they in fact are opposed to the openness that it has demonstrated thus far.

That is where their extreme hypocrisy really hits home.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #161246

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 16, 2007 10:37 AM (e)

That view wants to claim that science does tell us something about how the world actually works, rather than just providing a collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful.

That “collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful” does, in fact, tell us a lot about how the world actually works. You are merely expressing the same concept two different ways, and pretending they’re two different things.

To add to Bee’s fine words, I would note that you (Jason) are equivocating terms quite intensively, due to your general ignorance and “learning” what you “know” from the IDiots. Pragmatism, or pragmaticism, is called that because of the philosophical recognition that we have no obvious avenue to “truth”, so that we don’t look for “Truth”, but rather for how we might best understand the world to work.

Then again, a number of philosophies do not like the term “pragmatism” or Peirce’s deliberately terrible take-off from it, “pragmaticism”. The fact is that we simply know the world in a certain (biological, evolutionarily-produced) manner, and there is nothing that “practicality” so to speak adds to, or detracts from, the way in which we know the world. I am not claiming that pragmatism boils down to practicality, which is the naive view of those philosophies. Nevertheless, the tone of much of pragmatism suggests, as does the name, that what we know is a pragmatic view, not a strangely familiar grasp “on the world” into which we “are thrown” (to use a phenomenological phrase).

The fact is that science does tell us much about how the “world really is”, unless one accepts Kant’s extreme view that the world should be understood to be entirely different from how we perceive it to be. Philosophically he does have a point, of course, however the convergence of the various means we have of perceiving the world (using machines, “inter-subjective” comparisons, and even animal studies), plus the predicted tendency of evolution to produce reasonably straightforward “solutions” to organisms’ understandings of “the world”, suggests that where we “see a straight line” is where a “straight line” actually exists. That we know color to be less of a one-to-one correspondence with “reality” underscores the one-to-one correspondences that do apparently exist.

And of course my scare quotes around “reality” do not suggest any doubt as to the realism (“realism” used in the vernacular sense) involved in science. The scare quotes are there because “reality” is not something that can be pinned down by philosophical terms. But the very fact that we don’t like the term “reality” in philosophy or even in science is due to our very close concern about portraying “reality” as carefully and precisely as possible. For the “reality” of science is that it is subject to neurological processes that “color” the world that we perceive and that exist intermediately between all “direct perception” and our mental models of the world. We are the ones who care about realism, which is why we don’t claim that our models of reality in fact capture what “the world really is” when we are speaking most carefully (but in the vernacular we very well may say exactly that). You, on the other hand, ignorantly blunder on without such understanding, and fault us for thinking much more clearly and reasonably about how reality is “known” by us.

Assume for the sake of argument that the YEC’s are 100% right in their claims about the age of the earth and the universe. Again, just for the sake of argument. Any explanation that leads to that conclusion will inevitably involve the actions of a divine agent.

.

And what is a “divine agent”? You use these terms without any proper analysis of what they even can mean. If by “divine” you simply mean “not understood” I would agree, but otherwise you are simply utilizing words without considering what they can mean. As per your usual method.

[Bee’s response to the above quote] Instead of asking us to assume this, why don’t you tell us exactly how you would prove it? Have you actually found an explanation that leads to that conclusion without recourse to “goddidit” or “the Bible tells us so?”

Exactly, you need to give us a meaningful context within which to consider it. As of now you’re only using religious terms as if they were meaningful outside of the mythic structure of the Hebrew Bible. Until you can make your hypotheticals meaningful in a “realistic” framework, consider yourself to be as anti-realist as your naive accusations try to depict us as being.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #161250

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on February 16, 2007 11:14 AM (e)

… He asked whether the state can endorse an idea that nature can be solely explained by material causes and whether the state can suppress information critical of evolution …

Actually, it’s a simple matter to respond to this one.

The state has the responsibility to endorse teaching accurate accounts of the scientific method in public school science classrooms.

The state has the responsibility to suppress efforts to promote a specific religious belief in public school science classrooms.

Comment #161252

Posted by Frank J on February 16, 2007 11:25 AM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Well, yes, but then “liberals” and scientists are not immune from falling into placid inertia and satisfaction with incomplete but reasonable explanations in the face of alternative hypotheses. Hence even the fact that no, or virtually no, IDist has ever supported a non-politicized alternative theory in science that has proven to have merit does not automatically exclude their insistence that science be open to non-standard concepts.

No argument there.

It’s just that one would expect “conservative” types to regard Margulis’ work as “not established enough” for high school biology, but ID/”teach the controversy” as inappropriate “revisionist history.” They might reluctantly include the former, but not the latter.

Then again, the authoritarian far-right is only conservative whan it suits their agenda.

Comment #161253

Posted by MarkP on February 16, 2007 11:37 AM (e)

Rennie asserted:

What is a problem is when you want to claim some sort of broad scientific realism and then rule out lots of different possible means of explanation as out of bounds by fiat.

I asked, repeatedly:

Give just one example of such an explanation, how exactly it is ruled “out of bounds by fiat”, what it would explain, and the kinds of research it would spawn that current methods do not?

Rennie responded:

Is it important to have such an example? The complaint I have is one of confusing terminology and misleading students.

Your demand is a red herring.

So asking you to provide a single example of what you asserted there are lots of, and indeed what is crucial to your argument, is a red herring now is it? And you presume to lecture others on their understanding of the philosophy of science? Priceless!

You know, some of us have noticed this consistent dodge by ID proponents any time they are asked to defend their pseudointellectual musings with something as radical as actual evidence/data. You’ll forgive our impertinance in concluding, provisionally barring such evidence, that such views are quite vapid and unworthy of serious consideration.

Comment #161255

Posted by fnxtr on February 16, 2007 11:44 AM (e)

Okay, science fiction, I’ll bite:

What, exactly, do you mean by “anti-realist”? What is the realism, reality, realistic-ness, whatever, that the people you oppose are “anti”???

Can you answer the question clearly and succinctly, without just blubbering that scientists are – or might be – missing “something”?

Just askin’.

Comment #161256

Posted by DMC on February 16, 2007 12:07 PM (e)

PZ’s banned list is a hoot.

Reminds me of Nixon’s “enemies” list.

Comment #161262

Posted by David B. Benson on February 16, 2007 12:50 PM (e)

Frank J — They are not ultraconservatives even if they call themselves that. Strictly speaking, they are not even reactionaries in that they continue to use modern conveniences.

Ultraconfused might be a good label?

Comment #161263

Posted by Popper's ghost on February 16, 2007 1:02 PM (e)

That view wants to claim that science does tell us something about how the world actually works, rather than just providing a collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful.

Please point out an instance where the predictions of those theories deviate from how the world actually works – and how you know.

The complaint about “scientism” is of mistaking the embedded empirical view for a God’s eye view. But the complaint rests on the hypocritical assumption that the complainer has access to the God’s eye view, with talk of “the divine” and “the supernatural” that the complainer can somehow distinguish from the mere empirical view upon which science is based.

Comment #161265

Posted by gwangung on February 16, 2007 1:10 PM (e)

So asking you to provide a single example of what you asserted there are lots of, and indeed what is crucial to your argument, is a red herring now is it? And you presume to lecture others on their understanding of the philosophy of science? Priceless!

Is this related to “pathetic level of detail”?

Comment #161266

Posted by Popper's ghost on February 16, 2007 1:16 PM (e)

The problem is when you want to claim that science does get at the way the world really is. Then you need to do more than simply exclude such approaches by fiat as the standard in question would.

Ah, so you’re arguing that science really can get at the way the world really is, rather than just providing a collection of useful predictive theories that are pragmatically useful, and in order to do the former rather than just the latter, we need to expand the standards to allow those forms of explanation that truly at the the way the world is – explanations like “God did it” and “it was a miracle”. Then we will have a fully formed science, and not just this paltry “pragmatism” that we have now.

Comment #161267

Posted by FL on February 16, 2007 1:23 PM (e)

All I want to see is good science education, rather than seeing science corrupted and used as some sort of ideological cudgel.

A lot of Kansans agree with that very sentiment. They’re not looking to read Bible verses in biology class.

But they do want something other than the usual uncritical canned textbook’s spoonfeeding of Darwinism in the biology class.

They want more critical thinking skills stuck in there; they want the problems and weaknesses of evolution NOT glossed over; they want to make sure that the religion of materialism/naturalism is no more preached any more than Bible verses in the public school biology classroom.

(Jack doesn’t want you to argue with me, folks, and you certainly do not have to. In fact, why not agree and make things simple?)

The key issue now is how much OFFLINE public education work each side is willing to do for the next two to five years. I have no TV appearances lined up like Jack does, but I know how to write a letter to the editor, and that works for me.

Comment #161268

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 1:40 PM (e)

Hi Katarina
the example of platonism that I used when I was speaking of terminology and the questions asked were not concerning platonic-scientific relations but concerning … what I said, difference of terminology,classification and taxonomy of philosophical theories and matters between the two sides of the atlantic, or between english speaking and non English speaking people,or …
that is the difference in emphasis or focus that is given on different aspects of a certain philosophy between different groops in order to name and categorise it.
I didn’t focus on different interpretations per se although one may suppose that there are.
Read more carefully the relevant post and you’ll see. :-)

anyway more modern “versions” (my own favourite is what I call scientific platonism) of platonism
-caution! not neoplatonism,unfortunately this beautiful word,at least to my greek ears beautiful, is an amalgam of platonic philosophy,of some other philosophies and of some religions,an amalgam that formed during the time from post hellenistic ages to middle ages or even later.ie christianity according to some views is a neoplatonic creation-
are not about universals -the english translations of plato’s words sound very antiaesthetical to my subjective ears-
,they are more about mathematics as the language of the cosmos or as the meaning of the cosmos or as the cosmos per se theistically or atheistically)

Comment #161269

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 1:44 PM (e)

Hi Glen

according to modern platonic-oriented scientific thinkers there is an avenue to truth.I don’t know if you have heard of it….
It’s called Mathematics. :)
It’s not an unobstructed avenue but they don’t care.

anyway, the philosophical ideas one has concerning the fundamental natural laws,that’s physics by the way, can effect,help,clarify or direct thought on -at least-fundamental issues.although from time to time in a negative manner :-)
as an example as a guide to choose between thinking (and researching) in aristotelian-binary logic or fuzzy logic,choosing between macrocosmic rules or microcosmic rules as fundamental,as aesthetical rule between theories,….

“theories of everything” can’t really say what energy really is.
true,
but as I recall, a theory of everything isn’t here yet,
as it’s still a goal,at least for some.

auf wiederhoeren

Comment #161272

Posted by ben on February 16, 2007 2:42 PM (e)

All I want to see is science education, rather than seeing science corrupted and used as some sort of ideological cudgel.

A lot of Kansans agree with that very sentiment. They’re not looking to read Bible verses in biology class.

Bullshit. Virtually all of the people involved in pushing anti-evolution stupidity would be reading bible verses in every class if the law would let them, and you know it. Examples of non-theists within the ID PR movement are so rare as to be exceptions that prove the rule, the rule being ID = goddidit. The only innovation ID brings to the long-running movement to put creationism in public schools is lying about that intent, like you are.

Comment #161273

Posted by Peter Henderson on February 16, 2007 2:43 PM (e)

FL wrote:

A lot of Kansans agree with that very sentiment. They’re not looking to read Bible verses in biology class.

But they do want something other than the usual uncritical canned textbook’s spoonfeeding of Darwinism in the biology class.

They want more critical thinking skills stuck in there; they want the problems and weaknesses of evolution NOT glossed over; they want to make sure that the religion of materialism/naturalism is no more preached any more than Bible verses in the public school biology classroom.

Now where have I heard those sentiments before ? Aaah ! Here they are. From AiG’s website the other day :

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2007/0215kan…

Ken Ham, AiG–U.S. president, observed: “It’s sad to see the way the NCSE and the secular media have continually misrepresented what happened in Kansas. Evolution didn’t have to be ‘restored’ or returned—it was never taken out of the standards to begin with.”

Ham added: “It seems that all you have to do nowadays is to suggest to students that they can question evolution, and the resulting uproar by evolutionists and the secular media is incredible.”

It’s a shame that the young people of Kansas will now receive a one-sided indoctrination program of evolution teaching in their science classes. They are being denied the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not evolution is true or false.

The problem is FL that this critical thinking is coming from young Earth creationists, people who believe in a 6,000 year old Universe, dinosaurs living alongside people in the Garden of Eden etc. When you realise what the YEC’s believe then their true intentions become all too apparent.

Comment #161276

Posted by pondscum on February 16, 2007 3:59 PM (e)

So, FL and colleagues only want students to be taught critical thinking?? If there were an ounce of truth in that sentiment, then why restrict the critical thinking to evolution? The critical-thinking argument is a sham. As others have pointed out, what is coming from FL and colleagues is truly bluster and fist-shaking. The irony is that YECs and IDists are fighting their own caricature of the high school classroom. There is no evidence to support the notion that teachers use evolutionary biology to advance a materialist/humanist/atheist agenda. OK, back to lurking…

Comment #161278

Posted by Thanatos on February 16, 2007 4:04 PM (e)

Katarina

rereading your post I just bumped up onto the aforementioned difference in terminology.
The definition of positivism that I know of ,is that according to it :

either (strong version) there is no real :) reality and we just think and live trying our best not to die :)
( official thanatoean definition :-))
or (weak version) if there is a reality our understanding of it is only a crude model and we have really no way of really knowing.

The weak version isn’t really positivism but a blend of positivism ,realism and -literal- agnosticism.

What you mentioned is closer to the weak definition which as said not really positivism.

Comment #161279

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 16, 2007 4:11 PM (e)

The irony is that YECs and IDists are fighting their own caricature of the high school classroom.

hey, have you ever tried punching an old, stale bale of straw?

It can tear up your fingers!

no wonder these IDiots get so upset.

Comment #161280

Posted by gwangung on February 16, 2007 4:15 PM (e)

A lot of Kansans agree with that very sentiment. They’re not looking to read Bible verses in biology class.

But they do want something other than the usual uncritical canned textbook’s spoonfeeding of Darwinism in the biology class.

They want more critical thinking skills stuck in there; they want the problems and weaknesses of evolution NOT glossed over; they want to make sure that the religion of materialism/naturalism is no more preached any more than Bible verses in the public school biology classroom.

FL, FL….

With every post, you keep on demonstrating that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. And you’re just regurgitating anti-evolutionist pap.

How do you critically think about evolution without knowing the basics? How do you do it without understanding scientific methodology? And you CLEARLY don’t understand scientific methodology if you think you have to teach weaknesses in the reigning paradigm at the high school level.

And…just how do you do non-naturalistic science?

FL, how many times have you’ve been asked this question and you’ve totally ignored it?

Comment #161281

Posted by gwangung on February 16, 2007 4:17 PM (e)

So, FL and colleagues only want students to be taught critical thinking??

But clearly not to THEIR ideas.

Comment #161283

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 16, 2007 4:20 PM (e)

FL wants something more than uncritical canned Darwinism? I totally agree. Kansas schoolchildren should be taught that:
Darwin didn’t realize inheritance was carried by genes. He certainly didn’t know genes were made of DNA.
In fact, he thought cells were full of an amorphous goo called protoplasm, and never dreamed that large molecules like protein and DNA had regular structures.
Darwin didn’t realize how ancient the earth really was, and didn’t know about atomic energy, so he had no idea about the tests used to measure the age of the earth and its fossils.
Darwin thought the continents had always been in their present positions, making the positions of ancient fossils confusing, to say the least.
Speaking of fossils, Darwin never heard of australopithecines, homo habilis, or any of the other transition fossils between apes and humans.
Schoolchildren, in Kansas and elsewhere, should know that evolutionary biology is science because it has been more and more strongly supported as new facts come to light, and that Darwinism is not a religion, because when Darwin is wrong, scientists are willing to say he’s wrong and move on.

Comment #161285

Posted by MarkP on February 16, 2007 4:46 PM (e)

FL said:

But they do want something other than the usual uncritical canned textbook’s spoonfeeding of Darwinism in the biology class.

They want more critical thinking skills stuck in there; they want the problems and weaknesses of evolution NOT glossed over;

This is just one of many red herrings creationists like to use. No one wants the scientific criticisms and problems for evolutionary theory glossed over. These should be discussed thoroughly. What many of us object to, and apparently a majority of Kansans agree, is the introduction of unscientific ignorant criticisms of evolution by religiously motivated, nonbiologically trained individuals that amount to “I don’t see how this could be true”. There too little class time to waste on such nonsense.

Comment #161289

Posted by J. Biggs on February 16, 2007 5:06 PM (e)

But they do want something other than the usual uncritical canned textbook’s spoonfeeding of Darwinism in the biology class.

They want more critical thinking skills stuck in there; they want the problems and weaknesses of evolution NOT glossed over; they want to make sure that the religion of materialism/naturalism is no more preached any more than Bible verses in the public school biology classroom.

Charade you are FL. You would love nothing more than to see your religious viewpoint taught in school. You know very well that biology is no more philosophically materialistic/naturalistic than is forecasting the weather. You only object to it being taught because it contradicts your literal interpretation of the bible. Quit lying for God FL.

Comment #161414

Posted by Katarina on February 17, 2007 1:46 PM (e)

Thanatos,

If you look at the wikipedia definition and scroll down to “Modern Positivism” that is what I meant. Its “features” are listed there and if you look at the second part of number one, “.. a linguistic or numerical set of statements,” I guess that’s where the use of mathematics would come in. I’m not sure why Glen seems to think Positivism is philosophically dead. Is it because reality is so subjectively interpreted by us, even collectively, or because reality’s meaning can’t be separated from our perception? I think science is a way of at least getting to bits and pieces of reality, if not some “ultimate truth,” (and what does that mean, anyway?) reality being, maybe, confirmation of a set of perceptions about how objects interact with one another in processes.

I do not even qualify as an amateur philosopher, but I do enjoy thinking about these things. Since you and Glen seem to know much more than I, I’m hoping at least one of you will teach me something.

Comment #161509

Posted by Thanatos on February 18, 2007 6:54 AM (e)

Katarina

you’re seeming to be doing quite well by yourself.

philosophy = philosophia = philos (friend,lover) + sophia (wisdom,true knowledge)

By definition philosophy can’t really be taught.Except perhaps only specific disciplines of it,or history of it.
Keep posing yourself questions about everything as you’re seeming to be doing,keep trying to answer as you’re seeming to be doing and that’s it.
Others can only point you, to already posen questions,already stated answers.
That’s good since one has not infinite time.That’s bad because there is no use of the imagination.
That’s not bad per se but also not good per se.
The voyage,the return to the beloved Ithaca has a virtue of itself.

at your service
ciao

Comment #161552

Posted by Keith Douglas on February 18, 2007 1:36 PM (e)

Realism and antirealism are best understood as positions about the goal of science. IMO, if one realizes that the very idea of error presupposes some degree of realism, the debate is over.

Thanatos: Idealism sensu Plato is an ontological view, not an epistemological one, which is what realism (or antirealism) is. Plato was very much a realist; he felt you most certainly could have knowledge of the way the world (or at least the Forms) is/are.

Katarina: But science is not positivist in the correct sense of the world. Consider the case of molecular shape. No chemist I know of will deny that molecules have shape, despite this being a transphenomenal (and hence, non-positivist) hypothesis.

Comment #161569

Posted by Katarina on February 18, 2007 3:09 PM (e)

IMO, if one realizes that the very idea of error presupposes some degree of realism, the debate is over.

Good point, but why is the debate over? The very idea of error relies on our intuition that there is a “real,” which demonstrates… that we have an ideal.

We have to go further to find the real “real,” and match our repeated results with that of others, then design new experiments to test our interpretations, until we finally understand the process, or the shape, of the entity(ies) in question.

Do you mean transphenomenal as opposed to phenomenon “any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning” (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=phenom…? Why does that oppose positivism?

Comment #161570

Posted by Katarina on February 18, 2007 3:13 PM (e)

Thanatos: Why return to Ithaca? Not everyone has one, you know

Comment #161582

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 18, 2007 5:52 PM (e)

according to modern platonic-oriented scientific thinkers there is an avenue to truth.I don’t know if you have heard of it….
It’s called Mathematics. :)
It’s not an unobstructed avenue but they don’t care.

You’re awfully smarmy for an idiot who can’t even respond to anything I actually wrote. Why would I bring up the “avenue to truth” if I didn’t know about it, moron?

Whether it’s “obstructed” or not depends on where you are vis-a-vis the light. Once one is “turned” toward truth (the Good) it is not really “obstructed”.

The worst insult you make to learning and intelligence is by totally ignoring what I pointed out about “mathematics” (I didn’t mention it by name, as it is not actually the only Platonic “avenue to truth”, it is the one that can be “taught”) and other supposed “truths”, that they’re how we interpret “reality” and are not reality themselves (other than “mental reality” if one wishes to call them that). Kant more or less took care of all of the “Platonic truths”, though he left any number of problems behind. I said something like that, but you want to repeat your insipid “learning” rather than to deal with your profound lack of understanding of the issues involved.

Anyhow, we’ve dealt with “modern platonists” like David Berlinski, and have noted their decided inability to deal with science. You might want to read what he writes to learn how to totally avoid dealing with reality by christening mathematics as reality—if you have any need to bolster the ignorance you’ve revealed thus far.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #161655

Posted by Thanatos on February 19, 2007 7:34 AM (e)

Dear dear Glen

I started visiting this site some time ago interested in the american religion vs science-evolution wars having -I admit-in my mind the American=Idiot stereotype.
The blog is wonderful,so
I started to think then ,following this and relevant blogs that there may be hope for the transatlantic barbarians.
Unfortunately your kind of thinking although evidently not religion-wise dogmatism,is a dogmatism,and is unfortunately refueling my stereotypism(sic).
I can’t really answer when you’re failing to see that your argumentation is a philosophy,is a point of view.You fail to see all the metaproblems.You fail to see that I’m not saying that my view is correct and yours wrong.(which is my view by the way?)
I just mentioned ,in hummoristical manner by the way,read between the lines MORE (more (vocativus-kletike) by the way not moron,please when naming me in greek names ,use my language correctly, that we’re are talking about very fuzzy things and one should have in mind the complexity of them.

I apologise to any bystander for the harsh words I use,but unfortunately it comes to this:
for any non USAer talking to USAers usually-statistically is the same whatever the USAer may be,a fanatic christian YEC-OEC,a
kill_all_the arabs_they_are_all_terrorists_peaceloving jew
,an IDiot,a self centered overspecialised scientist in a desperate need of sphaerical education.

Charein!

Comment #161656

Posted by Thanatos on February 19, 2007 7:35 AM (e)

Katarina

try reading Ithaca in a more metaphorical way

Bises

Comment #161676

Posted by Katarina on February 19, 2007 9:33 AM (e)

Cher Monsuir Thanatos,

Literally, not everyone’s home is a place from which a certain philosophy springs, let alone a place from which all philosophy springs. I’ve met few people who are as proud of their home as Greeks, and I’m not saying it’s without good reason.

Metaphorically, not everyone starts out committed to a certain ideal, or expectations of the end of the journey. (Read between the lines: perhaps your philosophical leanings are just a little biased, as I doubt you would deny.)

Also, home doesn’t always stay the same: when Odysseus returned home to Ithaca, did he not have new enemies to slay before he could call it home again?

Je vous adresse mon très amical souvenir

Comment #161677

Posted by Thanatos on February 19, 2007 9:37 AM (e)

Keith Douglas wrote:

Idealism sensu Plato is an ontological view, not an epistemological one

I disagree.
One can focus on ontology or epistemology(or anything else),accepting that being and thinking are quite seperate entities.But that’s a working hypothesis and since we’re philosophising,since we’re dealing with such quite abstract ideas (and not sweating in the mud trying to survive) we have to deal with this assumption too.
Plato’s thoughts (and thoughts of almost every thinker) are both epistemological and ontological(among other things).
world of being-ideae vs world becoming-senses ?!?! doesn’t that say something to you?

And although science is our god (IDiots please mind the metaphor),the basic philosophical questions are far from being answered.And perhaps will never be…

But science is not positivist in the correct sense of the world. Consider the case of molecular shape. No chemist I know of will deny that molecules have shape, despite this being a transphenomenal (and hence, non-positivist) hypothesis.

It’s sometimes ( especially when philosophising over the internet :-)) all about the words we use.Does quantum mechanical reality or unreality (or whatever) really has a meaning for shape (molecular or not) and if so (in a qm mathematical context) what has that shape has to do with our deterministic 3dimensional euclidean (non relativistic)understanding of shape or space or spacetime whatever that is?

Realism and antirealism are best understood as positions about the goal of science

I agree but that’s in the eye of the beholder and again in the definition of realism itself.

IMO, if one realizes that the very idea of error presupposes some degree of realism, the debate is over.

I disagree and tend to agree in general with Katarina’s answer to you.Once you try to be austere(and that’s what one MUST be),to define things strictly then you crash onto the wall of selfreference.Define error ,define empirical and so on…

See you

Comment #161681

Posted by Thanatos on February 19, 2007 9:54 AM (e)

Dear Katarina

you have clearly misunderstood me.

Again,try reading Ithaca metaphorically.

a hint :) in a platonic view, where Ithaca read True (or whatever).

I was obviously thinking in neohellenic poetical-philosophical context and you didn’t get it.
Guilty. Homer is famous globally, C.P.Cabaphes (or kavafis,kavaphis,…) obviously isn’t.
try Ithaca by C.P.Cabaphes

anyway,sorry for the stereotypical outburst but glen was not the paradigm of politeness and I really don’t understand why.

Chaire!

Comment #161686

Posted by Katarina on February 19, 2007 10:20 AM (e)

Oh, you meant this. I get it now.

Comment #161687

Posted by Thanatos on February 19, 2007 10:28 AM (e)

Yes :)

Comment #161744

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on February 19, 2007 8:04 PM (e)

Once you try to be austere(and that’s what one MUST be),to define things strictly then you crash onto the wall of selfreference.

Most scientists are realists, which is a strong argument IMO. They have several reasons. First, they constrain the issue of selfreference by using observations. Second, observed laws and objects are observable and stable, not ephemeral and transient. Third, it is known that we can’t have turtles all the way down - quantum mechanics and entropy puts limits on the layers of effective theories before an ultimate one. Fourth, theories demands parsimony, and in physics specifically found to mean minimizing the number of free parameters, which illuminates the previous reason IMHO.

Now, this isn’t enough to constrain realism fully of course. Math gives more input here, I think. It shows that we can know an object well by mapping all possible quantities in all possible ways. ( http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2006/09/dime… ) Also, objects are recognizable under transformations of dualities.

Physicists like Tegmark seem to argue one step further here and arrive at a solution. They claim parsimony by equating the physical object with the full mathematical representation, making platonist mathematicians correct in some sense.

Comment #161745

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on February 19, 2007 8:06 PM (e)

“an ultimate one” - a fundamental one.

Comment #161798

Posted by Thanatos on February 20, 2007 3:56 AM (e)

Dear Torbjörn Larsson

although I agree almost fully in principle with your last comment, you’re IMO quite superoptimistic in the context of philosophical strictness mood.
Although ,it’s the standard aesthetical scientific canon -especially in physics- not to like turtles all the way down,it’s more constraining(masking? pushing under the carpet? :-) ) as you wrote not eliminating the selfreference,it’s more wishful thinking ,than

quantum mechanics and entropy puts limits on the layers of effective theories before an ultimate one

Physics,Fundamental Physics
(even if understood in a more broad mathematical sense ie including Turing machines etc) is ,concerning these strange-beautiful issues, the best game we’ve got,
but it’s not ,at least yet, terra firma

bye

Comment #161875

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 20, 2007 5:01 PM (e)

Unfortunately your kind of thinking although evidently not religion-wise dogmatism,is a dogmatism,and is unfortunately refueling my stereotypism(sic).

Of course, a mindless dogmatist like yourself can only prattle on aimlessly, avoiding all hard thought and critical thinking. You haven’t addressed any of my actual points, rather like an IDist you are only capable of making unevidenced charges of some sort of calumny when you don’t even understand the issues. God you’re dumb.

I can’t really answer when you’re failing to see that your argumentation is a philosophy,is a point of view.You fail to see all the metaproblems.

I discussed the metaproblems, cretin. That you don’t understand what I wrote is no more an argument than the fact that Dembski doesn’t know the difference between climate and weather, or evolutionary trends and specific (and difficult to study) evolutionary instances, is an argument against evolution.

You fail to see that I’m not saying that my view is correct and yours wrong.(which is my view by the way?)

You’re too incompetent at reading to recognize that I wasn’t hitting at “your position”, I was hitting your ignorance and inability even to understand why Platonism is not an acceptable position today. But feel free to avoid any substantive response, while you continue to address all that you know, which are your own strawmen.

I just mentioned ,in hummoristical manner by the way,read between the lines MORE (more (vocativus-kletike) by the way not moron,please when naming me in greek names ,use my language correctly, that we’re are talking about very fuzzy things and one should have in mind the complexity of them.

OK, so you don’t understand English whatsoever, and can’t write in our language. I’m not going to call you “Death” (I knew what your pseudonym meant, of course), moron, since that has no relationship to what you write, only with what happens to any intelligent discussion when you enter into it as the poseur that you are.

I apologise to any bystander for the harsh words I use,but unfortunately it comes to this:

Apologize for your stupidity and ignorance instead.

for any non USAer talking to USAers usually-statistically is the same whatever the USAer may be,a fanatic christian YEC-OEC,a
kill_all_the arabs_they_are_all_terrorists_peaceloving jew

What’s a USAer, ignoramus?

Anyhow, it’s clear that you’re a stupid and hateful bigot spewing anti-Americanism where you yourself fail to understand what an American has written. You are what you condemn, a dogmatic stupid fool who doesn’t even begin to understand what he despises.

,an IDiot,a self centered overspecialised scientist in a desperate need of sphaerical education.

What’s a spherical education, retard?

Anyhow, if I hadn’t had a great deal of education in philosophy I might even suppose that you knew something, instead of being a completely ignorant sap without any understanding of continental philosophy. None of us continentalists would abide your level of ignorance and argumentation in favor of exploded metaphysics, rather you’re just about as much a logocentrist as any idiot fundamentalist. The truth is that you are akin to fundamentalists, for you don’t understand that fundamentalism is a species of the philosophical idiocies that you enjoin upon those of us who have the intelligence and education to know better.

Take a philosphy course for once, worthless git, and don’t forever project your ignorance and bigotry on those who know incredibly more than you do about philosophy (and science).

Glen D

http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #161974

Posted by Thanatos on February 21, 2007 5:07 AM (e)

Glen
I just give up.
Obviously you’re the speaking voice of what all scientists have in mind ,you’re the speaking voice of Truth and I’m Plato’s reincarnation gone mad.Sorry.next time I’ll try to be Heracleitus.
OK all matters and problems solved.
Glen said so.
I just give up.