Redefining science by inference

I am responding here to some comments on my post about science bashing and its discussion in other blogs (here, here & here). I think there are two aspects worth covering:

The arrogance of science bashers

1: There is a certain amount of arrogance in ideologically motivated outsiders telling scientists how science should be done. Or misrepresenting and slandering the way science does happen.

I have images of theologians, intelligent design (ID) proponents and post-modernist philosophers of science (e.g. Steve Fuller) telling their motor mechanics, plumbers or dentists that they are doing their job wrong. That they are just going along with the ‘dogma’, ‘religion’ or ‘faith’ of their profession. Even that the professionalism of these people somehow makes them evil and leads to Hitler and Nazism.

But, at the same time, these critics regularly do rely on their mechanics to repair their cars, their plumbers to clear their drains and their dentists to fill their teeth. Similarly they also make regular use, in their day-to-day lives, of the technology and knowledge that the scientific endeavour has provided, and continues to provide, humanity. (I doubt they would be foolish enough to board a plane which had been designed and built using ideas or inferences derived using the “scientific” methodology they are advocating).

There is an abrupt discontinuity between their ideological science-bashing and the practical and unquestioning acceptance of scientific knowledge when it really does matter.

Playing with words

2: Attempts to give ID scientific credibility often amounts to playing with words in a way that just doesn’t happen (and is certainly not required) in the honest scientific process. One can go on about ‘induction’, ‘abduction’, ‘deduction’, ‘inference’, ‘a postiori’, ‘a priori’ and ‘philosophical process’ but this doesn’t change the facts about ID – although it may cloud or confuse those facts.

The idea “that the universe, or some part thereof, was designed” by some sort of intelligent being is only an idea, only a belief.  Calling it an ‘inference’ is just a ploy to give it a higher status than it deserves. And the real status is the same as the idea (belief) that the moon is made of cheese, thunder, lightning, earthquakes and disease are caused by the anger of gods, the seas on the moon are made from asphalt, etc. etc.

We can deduce or infer these sorts of ideas (OK the lunar cheese is facetious) but, by themselves, they are only ideas. They may “start from empirical data” (the facts of thunder, lightning, earthquakes, disease and the dark appearance of lunar seas) but without further work they remain only ideas, or maybe only beliefs.

After all, don’t superstitions “start from empirical data” (usually anecdotal, subjectively interpreted and not critically analysed). Even pigeons have been shown to make such ‘inferences’, exhibiting superstitious responses based on their experiences (empirical data).

And we might call these ideas, inferences, suspicions, speculations “scientific”. But, it seems to me, such a description can be warranted only if there is a genuine desire and effort to then do some science. To test these ideas (inferences), develop hypotheses and theories, and validate these by mapping against reality.

Making “inference” respectable

So what do we do if we don’t want to, or can’t, test an idea (inference) but want to claim that it is respectable? Why, we call it “scientific”. But to do that we have to change the meaning of that word – we have to remove the requirement for proper evidence and experiential validation. So we call our idea (really just only a belief or even a superstition) an “inference”!

And them we try to give the concept of “inference” the same respectability, the same status, as “scientific theory.” We need to work on this because a simple Google trends search for “scientific theory” and “scientific inference” does indicate the later term has no real provenance. But we can use a lot of fine sounding words and philosophical concepts to blur the difference between “inference” and “theory”.

So now we can claim that ID is “scientific” and demand that it is treated with the same respect as evolutionary science. After all we have empirical data – the obvious patterns (design – noun) in nature, life and the universe. We can make an inference from those patterns. We can treat them as “empirical data.”

Poverty of “inference”

But, of course, that’s where things start to break down. We don’t really want that inference to be tested by the normal scientific process of formulating hypotheses, collecting data, developing theories and further testing and validation against reality. After all, this might destroy our dearly held beliefs (an occurrence commonly experienced by those involved in real science).

So we resort to all sorts of tactics to cloud the issue and divert attention (a bit like magicians and illusionists). We attack the “scientific establishment” and academia. We label science and scientists as atheistic (which does scare some of our constituency). We raise all sorts of moral fears about “materialism”, “naturalism”, racism, Nazism and Hitler.

We attempt to cloud the public and political understanding of science with tacky videos (e.g. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed ). We even go so far as to campaign for the definition of science to be rewritten in Education Board standards to remove the requirement for experiential validation (as in Kansas, USA). And we try to divert discussion of evolutionary science by using terms like “inference”. Attempting to create a new scientific concept with the same authority as theory.

We attempt to discredit the findings and theories of evolutionary science. We use “reinterpretation research” to desperately search for alternative explanations for the huge amount of factual evidence in evolutionary science.

But one thing we never do is advance an ID hypothesis or theory capable of testing, of mapping against reality. We never allow the “ID inference” to be exposed to the normal critical scepticism of the scientific process.

Disclaimer:

My use of ‘we’ in the later part of this post is, of course, satirical. I certainly don’t think this process, commonly used by ID proponents, is at all scientific.

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40 responses to “Redefining science by inference

  1. “One can go on about ‘induction’, ‘abduction’, ‘deduction’, ‘inference’, ‘a postiori’, ‘a priori’ and ‘philosophical process’ but this doesn’t change the facts about ID – although it may cloud or confuse those facts.”

    You missed out my favourite one.
    The universal band-aid of meaninglessness.
    “In principle”

    Certain people (who shall remain nameless) just LOVE this phrase.

    Let’s road test it. :)

    Ken said…”They may “start from empirical data” (the facts of thunder, lightning, earthquakes, disease and the dark appearance of lunar seas) but without further work they remain only ideas, or maybe only beliefs.”

    To which I say….” Yes Ken but ‘in principle’ it could be science. In principle.

    (insert waving hands here)

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  2. You have a very strange sense of science-bashing. Just because people like Fuller challenge the scientific establishment, it doesn’t follow that they’re bashing science. They might just be accusing science of not living up to its own standards. In any case, ‘science-bashing’ is the wrong phrase for whatever these people might be trying to do.

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  3. “Just because people like Fuller challenge the scientific establishment…”

    Challange? To do what exactly? Give a concrete example.

    “They might just be accusing science of not living up to its own standards.”

    Then they should demonstrate it, shouldn’t they?
    Where’s their scientific work?

    What have the “challengers” done lately?
    What’s their workable alternative?

    (sound of crickets chirping)

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  4. Workable Alternatives?
    “Catastrophic Plate Tectonics” theory in 1994 predicted what geologists later discovered about the earth’s interior.

    Recent discoveries have left geologists with new puzzles. For example, deep in the earth’s mantle are pieces of cold plates that apparently came from the earth’s surface. How could these cold plates sink slowly through the hot mantle (up to 7232°F), over millions of years, without “melting”? In their search for answers, conventional geologists are hindered by a belief that the earth’s plates have been moving at current, slow rates (1–2 inches per year) for millions of years.

    See http://tinyurl.com/6dfrq7 – which says “we must constantly reevaluate models and adopt new ones if they make better sense of the evidence.”

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  5. Ross, that’s a YEC site.

    You do realize that, don’t you?

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  6. @ Roger (#2) – science bashing is what we’re dealing with when people like the producers of “Expelled” equate science with the rise of Hitler and the evil that followed in his wake. Fuller may not come out & say that outright, but others of his persuasion do. “Science bashing” it is.

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  7. Good piece Ken.

    I have to say that it says pretty exactly what I was thinking myself.

    I think it might pay to make (pedantically) clear that from about “Making “inference” respectable” onwards ‘we’ exclusively refers to supporters of ID, that you’re taking their position. (Its clear to me and will be to most readers, but I can just imagine some trollish types playing on the word ‘we’ by having ‘we’ representing other people.)

    Roger: From what I’ve seen on the internet, ID is almost entirely, if not entirely, defined by science-bashing.

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  8. [off-topic, but of interest I hope]

    “Church of England to apologise to Darwin”

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/631203/church-of-england-to-apologise-to-darwin

    (Link to MSN / Nine News website. Other sources of this story are also available.)

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  9. Pingback: Is intelligent design science? A response to Ken Perrott : Thinking Matters Talk

  10. @ Heraclides:

    The text of the apology by by Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs reads:

    “Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends.”

    It adds:
    “But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well.”

    In other words it is putting people like Dawkins (and I dare to suggest you and me) on the same level as the religious evolution deniers.

    Of course the later group is coming out attacking the Anglicans. Some suggest a different apology:

    “If the Anglicans really had faith seeking understanding, they would rewrite the statement as follows: “Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you and the world an apology for accepting your views uncritically and failing to foresee the damage that accrued to our church, culture, society, politics, law, education, philosophy, theology and general well-being of the millions of individuals your damnable doctrines relegated to the category of the unfit. Though too late to help the 148 million people killed by state-sponsored democide under regimes inspired by your false and pretensious claims (11/30/2005), we try to practice the old virtues of ‘speaking the truth in love’ and so hope that by raising awareness of the deadly power of lies we can make some amends.””

    And these people suggest a religious crusade against Darwin
    “Leaders of other churches without hobbles and blinders on might do well to make this their official proclamation before the scientific societies parade their Emperor Charles in new clothes next year.”

    Seems that they are determined to hot up their science-bashing campaign.

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  11. Sheesh, Ken – why do these folks steadfastly deny the actual evidence? Hitler admired Pasteur & Koch (germ theory) & his attitudes to Jews mirrored those of Martin Luther centuries before him. Plus the man professed to be christian… No evidence that what Stalin did to his countrymen was motivated by some misreading of Darwin, either.

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  12. That second paragraph could be read so many ways. At the very least they could explicitly say which way they mean it.

    You could, for example, have “those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests” to refer to anti-vaccinists and a number of “natural remedy” proponents, and (small?) number of people trying to get treatments out by side-stepping the FDA and evidence-based testing by declaring them to be dietary supplements and so on.

    You could also have it mean creationists, too. Which does make the whole thing a bit silly, as it’d contradict their first paragraph.

    It’ll be interesting to see how they respond. I hope they have to good sense (and honesty) to be more explicit.

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  13. @ Is intelligent design science? A response to Ken Perrott : Thinking Matters Talk:

    There are several misrepresentations of science and scientists in this response. I have dealt before with the “naturalism” and “supernatural” issues and we will no doubt discuss these further. They are common ID (and science-bashing) arguments and I think many scientific spokesperson have not dealt with them adequately.

    However, there is a key problem. “Thinking Matter Talk” has a habit of deleting contributions (and has apparently done this with at least one comment in this discussion). I have also encountered that problem with “Uncommon Descent”, “Christian New NZ”, “Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society” and similar blog sites.

    At my age I am conscious of the limited time I have left. I have no wish to waste that time in making contributions which will be treated this way. (Perhaps it’s also a matter of demanding a bit of respect).

    For this reason (and only this reason) I personally will not participate in any debate on the Thinking Matters blog, or the other blogs which don’t allow proper discussion. Hopefully there will be an opportunity for me to participate in discussion of these issues here, or on other sites which do allow proper discussion of these interesting issues.

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  14. “I have no wish to waste that time in making contributions which will be treated this way.”

    Quite right. If they wish to create an echo chamber, then let them stew in their own juice.

    (For the benefit of those who don’t know….)

    Uncommon Descent is notorious for deleting comments.
    As near as anybody can figure out, they’re going for some sort of record.

    Yet most of their deleted comments and vanished threads that became an embarrassment are carefully preserved.
    Pandasthumb.org on their forum section keeps a running commentry on the UD antics.
    It makes for entertaining reading.

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=48ce1766b082c4ce;act=ST;f=14;t=5735

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  15. Ken, I’m not aware of any comments on Thinking Matters Talk being deleted, except for spam and openly abusive rantings. You may be assured that if you post there, your comment will not be removed.

    Regards,
    Bnonn

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  16. “…and openly abusive rantings.”

    Oh really? Well, I’d like to believe you.

    Only CNNZ already used that line.

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  17. Ken, or others. How do you know we live in a “natural” universe? What would be the difference between a “natural” universe and a “supernatural” universe? Do you have a non-arbitrary definition?

    Also, is there a agreed on definition of what “science” is in the first place?

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  18. @ James:

    I don’t think (and the history of scientific knowledge shows this) we live in a ‘natural’ universe (as in the dictionary definition of normal and understood). The ‘natural’ ‘supernatural’ categories used by opponents of scientific knowledge are really just a substitute (and diversion away from) the issue of evidence based and experientially validated knowledge. That is the issue ID proponents always try to avoid.

    You could have a look at Dogmatism around science – the “supernatural.” for my views. I may develop this further in another post because one of the arguments in this area used by Behe and Jay Richards is actually quite valid – but is presented in a dishonest way.

    Meanwhile, James, perhaps you could answer your own questions to let us know where you are coming from.

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  19. Ken a “natural” universe would be one that is self generating (or generated from a previous physical cause) and a universe that is self sustaining. Science probably will never discover the first answer and may not discover the second.

    So the properties and processes we see in this universe do not in themselves prove a “natural” universe. They may in fact be the properties and processes of a surpernatural universe. How would one know? Compared to what?

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  20. James – we will obviously disagree about the meanings of “supernatural” and “naturalism.” Thankfully science doesn’t have to be concerned about this. Scientists come to their investigations without any obligatory philosophical requirements (that is they have the same prejudices as any other human and no “gatekeeper’ enforces otherwise). However they base their hypotheses and theories on empirical evidence. In the end our theories have to be mapped against reality – not against the subjective mind with all its inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices.

    In the end that is why science is so successful – and why the philosophically constrained (and evidence ignoring) religions and philosophies are not.

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  21. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Ken, I think what Jim is driving at is: how do you know that science “maps against reality” in a meaningful way? What if, in fact, reality is far more extended than can be determined empirically?

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  22. However they base their hypotheses and theories on empirical evidence. In the end our theories have to be mapped against reality – not against the subjective mind with all its inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices.

    But Ken, your very view of reality, your evidence, your theories are all filtered through your subjective, and bias mind. You can not escape inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices…Ever…

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  23. Great link Island, and let me quote:

    If you disallow unproven and speculative physics theory, then an evidentially supported implication does necessarily exist that carbon-based life is somehow intricately connected to the structure mechanism of the universe, and weak, multiverse interpretations do not super cede this fact, unless a multiverse is proven to be more than cutting-edge theoretical speculation.

    That’s the “undeniable fact” that compels Richard Dawkins and Leonard Susskind to admit that the universe “appears designed” for life! There is no valid “weak” interpretation without a multiverse, because what is otherwise unexpectedly observed without the admission of speculation, is most-apparently geared toward the production of carbon-base life at a particular time and region of the observed universe. Their confidence comes from the fact that their admissions are qualified by their shared “belief” in unproven multiverse theories, but their interpretation is strictly limited to equally non-evidenced “causes”, like supernatural forces and intelligent design.

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  24. Something else that you might be interested in, although it isn’t… “natural vs super-natural”, rather, it’s the most natural expectation, vs the unexpected observation, and “plausible” scientific solutions to this anthropic issue:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0512148

    Take note that… “increasingly ambitious ideas that attempt to explain why certain features of our universe aren’t as surprising as they might first appear”… requires that scientists bail-out on causality-responsible first principles, which represents a violation of the scientific method and Occam if it turns out that the the natural expectation for said cosmological principle is correct.

    So it’s “an appearance of design” that likely underlies a true anthropic cosmological principle, vs… a highly speculative bunch of cutting-edge scientists who are ideologically predisposed to willfully ignore evidence for the former.

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  25. @ James:

    This is circular James – probably because you can’t appreciate the actual mechanisms operating in the scientific process.

    Of course everyone’s view of reality is subjective – it couldn’t be any other way. That is why it is silly to claim an ‘inference’ as scientific or in any way describing reality. The same goes for ‘revelation’. That is why we have to adopt scientific methodology to go beyond ‘inference’ and ‘revelation’.

    Again, after collecting evidence, formulating hypotheses, testing these, developing theories and verifying these experientially (mapping against reality) will still have only an imperfect picture of that reality – an imperfect reflection of that reality. The scientific process enables us to improve that picture over time (and with effort).

    Yes, subjective attitudes may still have residual influence in these scientific theories – it’s part of their imperfection. And we reduce these subjective influences by more evidence, more testing, etc. More science!

    Now that is something ID just doesn’t do – it won’t even contemplate doing. It prefers to stick with subjective ‘inference’. That leaves it at the level of a superstition. You can hold on to your superstitions – that doesn’t worry me at all. But don’t call them ‘scientific.’

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  26. @ Dominic Bnonn Tennant:

    Reality is certainly far more extended than we can determine today, probably than we can ever determine. There may be parts of reality which are not capable of being understood by humans – either because of limitations inherent in our sort of species, or because those parts of reality are not ‘logical’. Of course we have no reason to assume the later now. The most sensible attitude is to assume that reality is rational and is (in theory capable of being understood until we find otherwise.

    Certainly it would be silly to listen to people who claim a special part of reality is not capable of being understood – but they can tell us all about it. To me that is delusional.

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  27. James:

    But Ken, your very view of reality, your evidence, your theories are all filtered through your subjective, and bias mind. You can not escape inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices…Ever…

    Ken described this as circular. I’d go a little further and say it illustrates that you don’t understand how the science process works and why. One of the keys points of the science process, is that it recognises these issues attempts to deal with them.

    By contrast, a “belief” approach to things, as taken by religions, makes no effort to address the issues you raise.

    Looked at this way, you criticism is more correctly applied to those working from a “belief”/religious approach.

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  28. @27:

    Reminds me what I tried to write about regards the word ‘supernatural’ in another thread. To me ‘supernatural’ is (usually) a misnomer. In using it, the person is giving the unkown thing a property of “not able to be described as a natural event/thing”, when in practice they can’t say either way if that’s true or not.

    With this in mind, most using of the word would be more correctly replaced with ‘mythical’ or the like–a thing for which there is no natural evidence.

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  29. James,

    Ken and Heraclides are wrong, of course, as I have previously demonstrated, but was ignored by them. Their righteous statements about “how science works” may be *necessarily true*. but this does not even come close to the reality when it comes to anticentric scienTISTS, especially when it comes to this subject. This is easily demonstrated, and there are a couple of more examples here:

    http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?plckPersonaPage=PersonaBlog&plckUserId=f4af536be6e34501aa356a4a76ef99cf&U=f4af536be6e34501aa356a4a76ef99cf&plckScript=personaScript&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckElementId=personaDest&category=PluckPersona&sid=sitelife.tallahassee.com

    Anyone who thinks that they refute the claim, can do it here, in front of the cream of the cutting-edge:

    http://dorigo.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/guest-post-rick-ryals-the-anthropic-principle/

    Another example that is conveniently ignored:

    Does the motion of the solar system affect the microwave sky?

    http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/29210

    Lawrence Krauss even talks about this direct observation:

    THE ENERGY OF EMPTY SPACE THAT ISN’T ZERO
    But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? ***That’s crazy*** We’re looking out at the whole universe. ***There’s no way there should be a correlation*** of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.
    -Lawrence Krauss

    “That’s Crazy”… “There’s no way”… Really, Larry?… Are you sure that it isn’t more-like… willful ignorance and denial?

    Or isn’t it actually compounded supporting evidence for the life-oriented cosmological structure principle that we already have theoretical precedence for?

    The problem here isn’t that we don’t have evidence, (make that, compounded evidence, and/or independently supportive evidence), the problem is that nobody is looking into this from any perspective that isn’t aimed at refuting the significance of the evidence, and it’s only because they don’t believe their eyes.

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  30. I almost forgot this, and I warn you.. it ain’t pretty:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0705.2462

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  31. Heraclides said:

    Ken described this as circular. I’d go a little further and say it illustrates that you don’t understand how the science process works and why. One of the keys points of the science process, is that it recognises these issues attempts to deal with them.

    By contrast, a “belief” approach to things, as taken by religions, makes no effort to address the issues you raise.

    Looked at this way, you criticism is more correctly applied to those working from a “belief”/religious approach.

    Perhaps you missed my point Heraclides. Science can never escape subjectivity as long as it is done my men. All theories, evidence, and conclusions are filtered through the subjective mind. Either individually or collectively. Check out a couple of Island’s links, they are quite interesting.

    And science is also based on a “belief.” I asked this above – is there a agreed on definition of what “science” is in the first place?

    Why has no one answered it?

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  32. @30:

    The guy at the first link has obvious no idea of how day-to-day actually works. As community, scientists are forever nitpicking others’ work. If one drops the ball, others spot that and let them know and not always with subtlety, either! :-)

    To the second: read the comments for yourself.

    To the third: I’m not a physicist, but this doesn’t imply anything like “we’re the centre of the universe”. The issue is with the mathematics used. Besides a couple minutes on google looking at the subsequent papers would show you that, e.g. http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1475-7516/2005/10/012

    To post 31: This twit has obviously never heard of internal controls (didn’t even read past the first couple of sentences!)

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  33. @32: No, you just provided a circular argument proving that you missed my point! :-) A major point of the science process is that it recognises that we’re “human” and deals with it. Its one reason for the process in the first place.

    Religions on the other hand, make no attempt to counter for this.

    Like I wrote earlier your criticism more correctly applies to religions, not science.

    “science is also based on a “belief.”” No, and you have been told before. Pointless repeating the obvious explanations.

    Do you even try look further than your nose. Like in wikipedia for starters? James: “Oh, its so hard. I’m not sure I can type that.” Yes, you can, you type: w-i-k-i-p-e-d-i-a-.-o-r-g, then s-c-i-e-n-c-e. Yes, I’m winding you up. But its like the point I made to DBT earlier that he is like a horse refusing to drink when there is water all around it. No point in trying to take it to water when it can’t be bothered to drink some half a metre from its face ;-)

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  34. Heraclides, what on earth do you mean “science” deals with it? It can’t deal with it – how can the human mind be divorced from subjectivity? Show me one scientist or group of scientists that are not subject to inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices. Who escapes the Matrix?

    Now to “belief.” We have been over this before Heraclides. You “believe” for instance, that your preception of reality corresponds to reality – that you are not a brain in a vat. Can you prove this? No, you take it on blind faith.

    And I asked you Heraclides to provide a definition of science? Why won’t you? Afraid?

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  35. James:

    I take it that you are repeating my name in an attempt to be condescending ;-) Thus, your post will be be treated humourously with the (lack of) sincerity it conveys :-) And there will be lots of winks to convey that ;-)

    And I’m going to have a little fun. After all, why not? ;-)

    Heraclides, what on earth do you mean “science” deals with it? It can’t deal with it – how can the human mind be divorced from subjectivity? Show me one scientist or group of scientists that are not subject to inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices.

    Dearest James, I didn’t write about scientists. I wrote about science, the process. Try reading what was written ;-)

    Now to “belief.” We have been over this before Heraclides.

    Dearest James, you lost out last time, why waste everyone’s time repeating this? ;-)

    And I asked you Heraclides to provide a definition of science? Why won’t you? Afraid?

    Dearest James, of course not :-) It just revels that you can’t be bothered to even try ;-)

    Dearest James, you know that cliché along the lines of if you teach a man to fish… well, if you learn to research, there is no need to ask questions for which you can trivially get the answer yourself :-)

    Dearest James, Wikipedia isn’t exactly the most source of reliable information on the planet, but its a sight better than behaving like a horse refusing to drink water half a metre from its face… :-) Can you guess why I chose “half a metre from its face” by the way…? ;-)

    Dearest James, do you know that teaching students involves getting them to learn how to do the work for themselves, not “gifting” them the answers… ;-)

    Dearest James, when people are really discussing something, they learn the points at hand themselves and bring the points and their views on them to the table. But you, like many creationists, seem to think that doing no work, not bothering to even try understand the issues at hand is fine. And then call your not even making an effort a cop-out by trying to make out that others should do your work for you. Dearest James, that not how life works. In real life, you get to do your own work.

    Oh, but that’s right. ID isn’t about understanding anything, or doing work. Its about being “anti”. How silly of me to forget that ;-)

    Dearest James, honestly why should anyone waste their time with someone who can’t even look at wikipedia? So let me just poke you into doing your own homework instead ;-)

    Type ‘w’. Then type ‘i’. Then type ‘k’. Then type ‘i’ again. Then type… :-)

    Dearest James: And with that, I’m off! :-)

    (You can tell I’m having fun, can’t you?)

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  36. I know, I know :-) I just decided that rather than give a serious reply to which James will just play with, I might just as well make a little mischief. He’s only getting his own mischief back after all, in a humourous vein.

    Readers: note carefully the word ‘humourously’ near the top.

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  37. Dearest Heraclides, the reason you did not provide a definition of science is because any definition would be arbitrary and subjective. And it would be a “belief.” Because any definition of science would not in itself be subject to the scientific method.

    Second dear Heraclides. You can not divorce “science” from scientists. And scientists, like all men, have their built in preconceptions and prejudices.

    But it’s been fun…

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  38. James, I told you why I didn’t provide a definition myself: you should do your own homework. Your response attempts to put words in my mouth.

    You can separate process from people. (I’m not saying its easy.) Of course you don’t want to: your “people-based” argument will fall over…

    Mathematical proofs don’t ultimately rest on the person doing the proof, but the rules of the branch of mathematics used.

    If you did some homework, you’d know there is such a thing as logical algebra and its ilk, which can be used formalise logic and ascertain that a given logic is sound independent of what someone might “intuitively” think.

    Your reply suggested that you have missed the point of my “Dearest James” phrase: it satires an old-fashioned teacher dealing with a schoolboy who won’t do his homework ;-)

    Like

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