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Thread: Existential comics punches scientism in the face, writes articulate blog post why.

  1. #61
    tWebber Carrikature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jin-roh View Post
    Come on, you have to admit that the comic where Sartre trolled Neitzsche was hilarious. Also, the quips on 'Philosophy News Network' new ticker are pretty clever. I think today's was 'Aristotle discovers fifth fundamental cause: a cause to party.'
    Oh some of them make me laugh super hard, no doubt. The one where they argue about tipping and Marx flips the table cracks me up every time I think about it.
    I'm not here anymore.

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  3. #62
    tWebber Jin-roh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I don't participate in such debates. I don't really think falsification is a criteria science uses much, so it wouldn't be a go-to reason for me as to why Creation Science wasn't a science.
    I'll take that as "yes, I would give that up."

    Testing other possible explanations seems worthwhile, and improves the quality of the research by ruling in or out other competing explanations. I wouldn't call it falsification.
    If it walks like duck, quacks like a duck...

    Popper's own example -Einstein's declaration that if stars did not appear to move when the moon passed between them, then gravity does not bend light- doesn't seem that fundamentally different than accounting for other factors. ("Did the time of day, not the internet, influence people's confidence? Let's do another test at 9:00am on a Saturday....")

    To do something, you don't first need a philosophical definition of what you are doing, you just do it. If I try stuff to see what works, there's not a lot of deep philosophy going on - it's the equivalent of a baby who gives everything in the world around him a poke and puts it in his mouth to see what happens.
    I think we can both agree that science is a bit more complicated than that. If that's all science is, and ever was...

    ... then rocks fall to the earth because that is their nature, as it is the nature of fire to move upwards, and all reality is fundamentally water.

    If a philosopher wants to come along after the fact and get all theoretical about why I'm doing it, and define it as different from what other people are doing, that is fine, but philosophers delude themselves as to their own importance if they believe that doing their philosophical theorizing was necessary for the scientist do research in the first place.
    I don't know, it really sounds like you're doing exactly what the comic criticizes there: drawing lines about what is a relevant question to ask. Also, you're kind of missing that things like Occam's Razor were conclusions of philosophy long before they were part of the necessary intellectual process of 'science'. Besides, even if you won't acknowledge it as such, attempting to falsify one's own conclusions does seem to lead to stronger conclusions. I also noticed that you seem to frame this debate as 'science v philosophy' thing, which I don't think is how most philosophers look at this issue.

  4. #63
    tWebber Jin-roh's Avatar
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    This (from the second link) is probably one of the most lucid things I've read in a long time. Thank you for posting.

    Because metaphor helps you move forward. It is heuristic, forcing you to ask new questions. If your love is like a rose, what color is the rose? But note that it does so at a cost. A metaphor puts blinkers on us. Some questions are unanswerable within the context of the metaphor. “My love is a rose” tells me about her beauty. It does not tell me about her mathematical abilities.

    Now combine this fact with history. Since the scientific revolution, one metaphor above all — the root metaphor — has dictated the nature and progress of science. This is the metaphor of the world as a machine, the mechanical metaphor. What questions are ruled out by this metaphor? One is about ultimate origins. Of course you can ask about the origins of the metal and plastics in your automobile, but ultimately the questions must end and you must take the materials as given. So with the world. I think the machine metaphor rules out an answer to what Martin Heidegger called the “fundamental question of metaphysics”: Why is there something rather than nothing? Unlike Wittgenstein, I think it is a genuine question, but not one answerable by modern science.

  5. #64
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jin-roh View Post
    This (from the second link) is probably one of the most lucid things I've read in a long time. Thank you for posting.
    You are welcome, I have found Ruse to be one of the most honest popular atheists of our time and very gracious in debates.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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  7. #65
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jin-roh View Post
    I don't know, it really sounds like you're doing exactly what the comic criticizes there
    He is. He's a big Dawkins fanboy.

  8. #66
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jin-roh View Post
    It appears Mr Ruse doesn't think too highly of Dawkins either
    Ruse (who is as previously noted an atheist) and the New Atheists (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens et al.) do not get along and neither side makes any attempt to hide it. The latter basically despise Ruse because he doesn't hate religion

    As Ruse says in Why God Is a Moral Issue:

    Source: Why God Is a Moral Issue


    The New Atheists are not a comfortable group of people. They have scornful contempt for those with whom they differ — that includes religious believers, agnostics and other atheists who don’t share their vehement brand of nonbelief. They are self-confident to a degree that seems designed to irritate. And they have an ignorance of anything beyond their fields to an extent remarkable even in modern academia.


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    And in "Fighting the Fundamentalists: Chamberlain or Churchill?" he has written about his disagreements with Richard Dawkins and other militant atheists

    Source: Fighting the Fundamentalists: Chamberlain or Churchill?


    I am on the outs with the militant atheist group because I do not see that committing oneself to science necessarily implies that one thinks that all of religion is false, and that those who worship a supreme being are in some respects at one with the fanatics who flew planes into the World Trade Center. Of course, I think some religious beliefs are wrong and dangerous. That is why I fight creationists. But overall, I don’t think someone is silly or immoral if he or she is a practicing Christian or Jew or Muslim or whatever. Although I don’t think you have to be a believer to be good, I fully accept that many believers are good because of their beliefs. Moreover, I think it is both politically and morally right to work with believers to combat ills, including creationism.

    The Dawkins-Dennett school allows no compromise. Religion is false. Religion is dangerous. Religion must be fought in every way. There can be no working with the enemy. Those like me who work with religious people are like the appeasers before the Nazis.


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    And from an article aptly entitled "Why Richard Dawkins' humanists remind me of a religion":

    Source: Why Richard Dawkins' humanists remind me of a religion


    Humanism in its most virulent form tries to make science into a religion. It is awash with the intolerance of enthusiasm. For a start, there is the near-hysterical repudiation of religion. To quote Richard Dawkins:

    "I think there's something very evil about faith … it justifies essentially anything. If you're taught in your holy book or by your priest that blasphemers should die or apostates should die – anybody who once believed in the religion and no longer does needs to be killed – that clearly is evil. And people don't have to justify it because it's their faith."

    In the caricaturing of "faith" as murderous fundamentalism, one hears echoes of the bloody and interminable Reformation squabbles between Protestants and Catholics. It is also of course to give help to the real enemy, those who turn their back fully on science as they follow their religion.

    There are other aspects of the new atheist movement that remind me of religion. One is the adulation by supporters and enthusiasts for the leaders of the movement: it is not just a matter of agreement or respect but also of a kind of worship. This certainly surrounds Dawkins, who is admittedly charismatic.


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    In the article he explains his support for evolution and opposition to creationism but notes that because he is not like Dawkins, who sees science and religion at war, those in the latter's camp loathe him. P.Z. Myers refers to him as "a clueless gobshite." As Ruse notes, "because I will not bow down in praise of Dawkins and company, because I laugh at their pretentions and positions, I am anathema maranatha."

    And this second article he concludes his piece with

    Source:


    Call it a secular religion if you will, but the humanism I have been discussing in this piece does bear strong similarities to conventional religion. One finds the enthusiasm of the true believer. And as a non-believing Darwinian evolutionist, as one who is a humanist in the broader sense, this makes me feel rather ill.

    © Copyright Original Source

    Last edited by rogue06; 06-26-2017 at 10:14 PM.

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  10. #67
    tWebber Jin-roh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    He is. He's a big Dawkins fanboy.
    Well there's just no hope then, is there?

    The word "science" in those circles is like "biblical" in Christian fundamentalism. It seems like it might refer to something, though it's not too long before you figure out it means "Us right. No ask questions. Others evil. Not like us" in their rather insular vernacular.

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  12. #68
    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jin-roh View Post
    I'll take that as "yes, I would give that up."
    I can hardly give it up if I never argued it in the first place and think it is a bad argument.

    If it walks like duck, quacks like a duck...
    It does neither, and is not the same thing.

    Popper's own example -Einstein's declaration that if stars did not appear to move when the moon passed between them, then gravity does not bend light- doesn't seem that fundamentally different than accounting for other factors. ("Did the time of day, not the internet, influence people's confidence? Let's do another test at 9:00am on a Saturday....")
    I think that is a scientifically valid question to ask and a scientifically valid test to perform. You can't rule it out from your philosophical armchair. But what would happen is simply that you wouldn't be able to convince many people that was a likely theory and so wouldn't get funding for it.

    I think we can both agree that science is a bit more complicated than that. If that's all science is, and ever was...

    ... then rocks fall to the earth because that is their nature, as it is the nature of fire to move upwards, and all reality is fundamentally water.
    Not even sure what you're trying to say here.

    I don't know, it really sounds like you're doing exactly what the comic criticizes there:
    Yes, I think the comic is entirely wrong. I thought I was clear on that.

    Occam's Razor were conclusions of philosophy long before they were part of the necessary intellectual process of 'science'.
    I disagree that Occam's Razor is part of "the necessary intellectual process" of 'science'.

    Humans tend to use a lot of heuristics in their thinking, and naturally don't construct models that are any more complicated than they need to be to explain the data because (a) we have evolved to love using heuristics where we can (b) making an extra-complex model would take gratuitous and unnecessary effort and people are lazy, and (c) the gratuitously complex parts of the model would be subject to arbitrary parameterization which in turn would be less useful because it gives the model less predictive power, and if the model can't predict anything then it's not much use in either telling us anything about the world or suggesting what type of experiment we might want to try next, and scientists tend to dislike wasting their time and funding on things that strike them as useless.

    So while it is true that various versions of Occam's razor are used quite frequently in practice by scientists, I think scientists would still behave exactly the same and use the same methods they do if Occam had never existed. Their work is not dependent on any ground-work laid by philosophers in the past.

    Besides, even if you won't acknowledge it as such, attempting to falsify one's own conclusions does seem to lead to stronger conclusions.
    If you accumulate more and more evidence for your theory, and are able to dismiss more and more competing explanations people have come up with, then your conclusions are 'stronger'. Nothing to do with falsifiability. I would also note that in Quantum Physics in the past and present there have been a variety of theories that at the time they were invented it was believed they were unfalsifiable, but subsequently people invented new and creative ways of testing them, but they were always regarded by scientists as scientific theories even when they were believed to be unfalsifiable (e.g. the EPR paradox, that was subsequently demonstrated to be theoretically falsifiable by Bell, and then finally confirmed by Aspect; or much of modern superstring theory).

    I also noticed that you seem to frame this debate as 'science v philosophy' thing
    I'm framing it as: "the OP comic is silly and wrong".

  13. #69
    tWebber Jin-roh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I think that is a scientifically valid question to ask and a scientifically valid test to perform. You can't rule it out from your philosophical armchair. But what would happen is simply that you wouldn't be able to convince many people that was a likely theory and so wouldn't get funding for it.
    At this point, I'm actually starting to wonder if you understood Popper on this point, or what he was trying to do, or why he thought it is was important. Or maybe the superfluous verbiage here is there because its hard to write, "testing for other factors necessarily involves a falsification test, even if we don't want to call it that."

    Also, it's also kind of weird for you talk about the hypothetical of funding, when this study on the internet and people's perception of their own knowledge, was already done. (Yale University, 2015 irrc)

    I disagree that Occam's Razor is part of "the necessary intellectual process" of 'science'.

    Humans tend to use a lot of heuristics in their thinking, and naturally don't construct models that are any more complicated than they need to be to explain the data because (a) we have evolved to love using heuristics where we can (b) making an extra-complex model would take gratuitous and unnecessary effort and people are lazy, and (c) the gratuitously complex parts of the model would be subject to arbitrary parameterization which in turn would be less useful because it gives the model less predictive power, and if the model can't predict anything then it's not much use in either telling us anything about the world or suggesting what type of experiment we might want to try next, and scientists tend to dislike wasting their time and funding on things that strike them as useless.

    So while it is true that various versions of Occam's razor are used quite frequently in practice by scientists, I think scientists would still behave exactly the same and use the same methods they do if Occam had never existed. Their work is not dependent on any ground-work laid by philosophers in the past.
    I don't think much of that is true. Certainly, I don't think it is 'naturally' true. I'm also beginning to think that your definition of terms like 'science/scientist' and 'philosopher/philosophy' are perhaps... fuzzy? Subjective?

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