Science and philosophy gave him something he never thought he’d find… respect for religion |312|

Which system seems to work overall? Democracy or Science?
Heh, my view on that is along the lines of - I think it it was Churchill who said: democracy is the worst form of government, with the exception of every other known form of government.

As a student of both history and politics at university , all things being equal, I came to see evolution as a better rate for change than revolution.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Heh, my view on that is along the lines of - I think it it was Churchill who said: democracy is the worst form of government, with the exception of every other known form of government.

As a student of both history and politics at university , all things being equal, I came to see evolution as a better rate for change than revolution.
So you were saying democracy works overall? Do you think the same about science as currently practiced - that it seems to be working well overall?
 
So you were saying democracy works overall? Do you think the same about science as currently practiced - that it seems to be working well overall?
When I referred to the system working overall I was actually referring to the competition of ideas. That it produces winners and losers sure but overall I think it works to allow advancement but not too fast.

The upshot being we should push for our views we would not want a society where everyone thought the same on everything. We should welcome opposing views, not villify them, even if we make them work for it before agreeing with them. And we should appeciate them even when we disagree.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

When I referred to the system working overall I was actually referring to the competition of ideas. That it produces winners and losers sure but overall I think it works to allow advancement but not too fast.

The upshot being we should push for our views we would not want a society where everyone thought the same on everything. We should welcome opposing views, not villify them, even if we make them work for it before agreeing with them. And we should appeciate them even when we disagree.
With regards to science you don't think the "competition of ideas" is either rigged or incredibly flawed in some cases?

Same with democracy?

Or do you see these issues as part of what keeps shifts at what you've decided is an appropriate pace?
 
Well, the answer is no blue-shifted quasars coming towards our galaxy, signifying ejection.
I think Arp's hypothesis is that the matter that is ejected contains particles that are less massive than the ones we know (he argues based on Mach's principle that the mass of a particle comes from the rest of the universe, which it only 'sees' gradually). The low mass particles means that m sub e that appears in the formula for the energy levels is lower - hence the red shift.

His concept is that new matter is created in these processes (something postulated by Fred Hoyle).

So the red shift is not exclusively caused by Doppler shifting.

David
 
With regards to science you don't think the "competition of ideas" is either rigged or incredibly flawed in some cases?

Same with democracy?

Or do you see these issues as part of what keeps shifts at what you've decided is an appropriate pace?
Of course they are flawed! We should be continuously trying to improve then. Thats been one of my major points. In treating the other as the enemy, we focus our attention in the wrong place, and look for the wrong solution.

So much energy is wasted on blame - as if we all aren't living in glass houses! If only we throw out these bums everything will be great! Then the new guys come and soon they become seen as the bums, and so on.

The reason is that Us tends to think of themselves as better than Them. But the thing is, to us we're and us, but to them we're a them. To us, they are the bums to be thrown out, to them we are.

The reason is simple; the one thing we all have in common is that we're human. We may have different ideas on certain things but overall we're far more similar than we are different. thinking otherwise is due to our ingrained bias in favour of those we see as us and against them.

In reality, we are generally not as great as we commend ourselves for and they are generally not as terrible as we fear.

It rarely leads to positive change, and serves rather to reinforce biases and encourage divide. It makes things worse.

Do I know that my proposed solution will work? I don't. But I don't think it's really been tried. (although it has in some macro ways, for example no western-style democracy has ever been at war with one another IIRC).

My hypothesis is that we have to recognize our ingrained bias, and try and either get around it or use it to our advantage. Focussing on blame reinforces us them divides. We can't help fearing Them, it's human nature, built into our fight/flight systems. Realizing that we are more similar than different brings conceptually brings Them much closer to the Us group - our fear is diminished, along with fight or flight and improve relations among all. With the reduced distraction that comes with the us them dynamics attention can be more productively applied to make better decisions with less stress.

Worth a try in my opinion.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Of course they are flawed! We should be continuously trying to improve then. Thats been one of my major points. In treating the other as the enemy, we focus our attention in the wrong place, and look for the wrong solution.

So much energy is wasted on blame - as if we all aren't living in glass houses! If only we throw out these bums everything will be great! Then the new guys come and soon they become seen as the bums, and so on.

The reason is that Us tends to think of themselves as better than Them. But the thing is, to us we're and us, but to them we're a them. To us, they are the bums to be thrown out, to them we are.

The reason is simple; the one thing we all have in common is that we're human. We may have different ideas on certain things but overall we're far more similar than we are different. thinking otherwise is due to our ingrained bias in favour of those we see as us and against them.

In reality, we are generally not as great as we commend ourselves for and they are generally not as terrible as we fear.

It rarely leads to positive change, and serves rather to reinforce biases and encourage divide. It makes things worse.

Do I know that my proposed solution will work? I don't. But I don't think it's really been tried. (although it has in some macro ways, for example no western-style democracy has ever been at war with one another IIRC).

My hypothesis is that we have to recognize our ingrained bias, and try and either get around it or use it to our advantage. Focussing on blame reinforces us them divides. We can't help fearing Them, it's human nature, built into our fight/flight systems. Realizing that we are more similar than different brings conceptually brings Them much closer to the Us group - our fear is diminished, along with fight or flight and improve relations among all. With the reduced distraction that comes with the us them dynamics attention can be more productively applied to make better decisions with less stress.

Worth a try in my opinion.
What does this have to do with my questions?
 
What does this have to do with my questions?
You asked me about whether I thought there were flaws and if so whether I thought they had a positive effect. I agreed there were flaws, and that they should be addressed, and gave some thoughts about how to approach doing so.

To me, it gets at what I perceive to be at the heart of an enormous amount of conflict from government and politics to science and religion to discussions on this forum. It's what I think we must do in order to start addressing these flaws in a more productive manner.
It relates closely to the discussion I've been having with David.
 
wky2w
Heh, I've tried to engage you on the Wiseman dogs that know debate in the past, and even did a detailed analysis at one point (think it was on the old forum). While I don't think all your critiques of Wiseman here are off (particularly with regards to some public comments he's made), I think you're quite off on your analysis of the paper itself. Also note that its strange to bring up Wiseman as an example specifically here given that Wiseman did consult with Sheldrake on that experiment. But this is a whole separate discussion.
Well the basic point here is that Wiseman chose to change the experiment by changing the protocol. Sheldrake devised the protocol so that a human would assess the point at which the dog decided to wait for his owner. This was done blind, so that there was no bias involved in this procedure, and it avoided the possibility that the dog would sometimes go to the window out of boredom, etc. Wiseman changed that so as to take the first visit to the window. This was almost bound to wash out the signal. I presume it was done deliberately.

It would have been infinitely more interesting if he had convincingly explained why Sheldrake's protocol was wrong. Like I said, it is always more effective to explain why an experiment gave the wrong result, than to try to refute it with a different experiment that gives a different result.

David
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

You asked me about whether I thought there were flaws and if so whether I thought they had a positive effect. I agreed there were flaws, and that they should be addressed, and gave some thoughts about how to approach doing so.

To me, it gets at what I perceive to be at the heart of an enormous amount of conflict from government and politics to science and religion to discussions on this forum. It's what I think we must do in order to start addressing these flaws in a more productive manner.
It relates closely to the discussion I've been having with David.
The question is the degree of flaws. You seemed to say things work well enough. I'm curious how you know that given publications like Why Most Published Research Findings Are False?

There's also a lot of other reports about a credibility crisis. Your comments suggest, however, that there isn't a crisis?
 
wky2w

Well the basic point here is that Wiseman chose to change the experiment by changing the protocol. Sheldrake devised the protocol so that a human would assess the point at which the dog decided to wait for his owner. This was done blind, so that there was no bias involved in this procedure, and it avoided the possibility that the dog would sometimes go to the window out of boredom, etc. Wiseman changed that so as to take the first visit to the window. This was almost bound to wash out the signal. I presume it was done deliberately.

It would have been infinitely more interesting if he had convincingly explained why Sheldrake's protocol was wrong. Like I said, it is always more effective to explain why an experiment gave the wrong result, than to try to refute it with a different experiment that gives a different result.

David
We can get back into the analysis of the wiseman paper if you like. It's been awhile since I've gone through it thoroughly so I'll have to read it again. But if we're going to do it, let's do it right. Let's start from scratch, put aside the party lines, put aside prexisting notions, avoid generalities, and go through the papers section by section. Let's take our time and do it right.

If you're you up for it let me know and I'll start reading back up.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

We can get back into the analysis of the wiseman paper if you like. It's been awhile since I've gone through it thoroughly so I'll have to read it again. But if we're going to do it, let's do it right. Let's start from scratch, put aside the party lines, put aside prexisting notions, avoid generalities, and go through the papers section by section. Let's take our time and do it right.

If you're you up for it let me know and I'll start reading back up.
Do you agree with David, that Wiseman changed the protocol of Sheldrake's original experiment?
 
The question is the degree of flaws. You seemed to say things work well enough. I'm curious how you know that given publications like Why Most Published Research Findings Are False?

There's also a lot of other reports about a credibility crisis. Your comments suggest, however, that there isn't a crisis?
You seem to be putting a whole lot of words in my mouth.
And its somewhat ironic that you believe that the Iaonnidis paper somehow contradicts any position I have. That's a 2005 paper. I joined Skeptiko in 2010 and the earliest post of mine that I was able to find on the old forum was January, 2011. (many posts on that forum were deleted so it might even have been earlier). I've mentioned or posted that paper probably more than any member of this forum with the possible exception of linda. I even wrote a blog post on it (I was surprised to see its still there, I should pick that up again!). I've made many more posts on the themes of that paper and others like it.

I agree its an important paper and deserves as much attention as it can get. The good news is work along that vein has been steadily increasing since that time, particularly by groups like the Cochrane Collaboration and the Meta Research Innovation Centre at Stanford, each of which I've linked to quite a bit.

So happy to discuss it, it has had a good amount of impact on my thinking over the years and you should assume that my views are pretty closely in line with it. If you start a thread on it I'll join in! But you're not going to hear my crying about a "credibility crisis" - my views are somewhat more nuanced on this than that.
 
Do you agree with David, that Wiseman changed the protocol of Sheldrake's original experiment?
Here's a brief summary of my general position at the time I last did an in depth review of this case (from the old forum):

Arouet;n214215 said:
In one of those the threads I posted the results in chart form that show why there is something to be concerned about.

Long story short from my point of view:

1) wiseman's study shows that we should be cautious in interpreting Sheldrake's results and that it is not telling the whole story to simply say that the results were the same. Wiseman's study provides context that I don't think should be ignored and should be used to modify Sheldrake's protocols for further study.

2) Wiseman's study is more useful to illustrate potential improvements on Sheldrake's protocols not as any kind of confident statement on whether Jaytee could or could not predict when her owner was coming home. This is due to his very small sample size.
As I said, its been awhile since I looked at it in depth so I'd have to do some studying before talking about it in detail. I'm willing to do it if you guys want to have the type of discussion on it that I proposed above.
 
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You seem to be putting a whole lot of words in my mouth.
How so? You just said the competition of ideas seems to be working.

I'm just asking how you know that it is, in fact, working with regarding to the scientific research.

And its somewhat ironic that you believe that the Iaonnidis paper somehow contradicts any position I have.
But I didn't say it contradicted any position you have? I merely asked you to clarify your position.

But you're not going to hear my crying about a "credibility crisis" - my views are somewhat more nuanced on this than that.
What are these views then? Because earlier in this thread you seemed to suggest that things are, over all, working.

Here's a brief summary of my general position at the time I last did an in depth review of this case (from the old forum)

As I said, its been awhile since I looked at it in depth so I'd have to do some studying before talking about it in detail. I'm willing to do it if you guys want to have the type of discussion on it that I proposed above.
Did Wiseman alter the protocol or not? And did he give a justification for why he altered it?

Not sure why answering this would require an in depth revisiting of the papers?
 
How so? You just said the competition of ideas seems to be working.
In simplified terms, competition of ideas require people to make their arguments, put their best foots faorward. There will be others, with opposing views who will be critiquing those ideas, while presenting ideas of their own. This requires all parties to continue to develop their ideas, overcome obstacles, solve problems, etc. with so

Now of course that's simplified and in practice its never that ideal, and there are all sorts of bad ideas that get through, or abuses, etc. But with just so many ideas out there there needs to be a way to make decisions and figure out which ideas are most worth pursuing and making people make their case seems to produce less abuse than, say, systems where a unilateral power makes decisions without any requirment for justification or critique. It basically assumes that all parties are biased, but that with biases going in different directions, they will serve as checks on one another.

It is the basis of democratic government, the western legal system, the scientific method, philosophy, etc. It works far from perfectly, but to work optimally it requires people with a variety of views to actively participate.

Now, of course I need to disclose my bias here, which is being educated and working in law for over a decade, plus my time having intellectual discussions over the internet, I have spent a pretty high proportion of my life heavily involved in the competition of ideas. So I'm not saying there might not be other approaches that could also work, just that from what I know of history, politics, law in addition to my personal experience, regulated competition works better than systems that do not encourage opposition.

My opponents (in any of my various endeavours) may be pains in my necks at times, but I value them as much as I value the people on my side, and they play a critical role in helping me develop my views.

I'm just asking how you know that it is, in fact, working with regarding to the scientific research.
The Iaonnidis paper is part of science working. Iaonnidis' paper does not reveal, in my opinion, a crisis in the system, in the oh-my-god-the-entire-system-is-a sham-house-of-cards-and we've-all-been-had kind of way that some people present it as. It is much more nuanced than that. It does help us make improvements to the system to help us identify the ideas most worth pursuing and the most reliable results . I suggested having a more full discussion on it because it doesn't reduce accurately to sound-bites "its a crisis!" or "relax, everything is working as it should".

Whether we're talking about government, science or philosophy or just everyday human social interaction these are complex, immense, systems, tasked with incredibly difficult problems to solve. They are flawed systems undertaken by flawed individuals. Many mistakes get made, many abuses occur - our practical goal is not to eliminate all mistakes, or eliminate all abuse. Those are nice dreams, but not realistic in my opinion. Rather, we want to work towards minimizing the negative, and maximizing the positive.

As a science, the scientific method has made enourmous gains in figuring out how the universe, and its compenent parts, work It is a history filled with flawed, incomplete and downright wrong ideas. But slowly and gradually we idenitfy mistakes, and work things out. It is far from perfect - very far - and we are continuously learning new methods. Researchers like the cochrane group and METRICS are making great strides in looking at immense amounts of research and sussing out which methods seem to produce the more reliable results, and which do not. Evolution - not revolution. Filled with lots of problems to solve, but slowly figuring stuff out with the result being a much better quality of life for people as a whole compared to years past.

But I didn't say it contradicted any position you have? I merely asked you to clarify your position.
I thought I had, hopefully I have now clarifiied more, but any further I think we should take it out of this thread since we're getting far off topic!

What are these views then? Because earlier in this thread you seemed to suggest that things are, over all, working.
And I clarified (with the churchill quote) that I thought they were still quite flawed, just less so than alternatives.

Did Wiseman alter the protocol or not? And did he give a justification for why he altered it?Not sure why answering this would require an in depth revisiting of the papers?
Sorry, I thought you were familiar with the paper. Briefly, he made adjustments to how the data was analysed. And yes, he explained in detail in the paper. What was overstated (not in the paper itself but in comments that were made subsequently, is that WIseman's experiment should be considered to have "debunked" Sheldrakes.
 
[QUOTE="David Bailey, post: 90941, member: 37"
I understand that to mean that with galaxies scattered all over the sky (but physically separated in the direction of the line of sight), you have to pick out cases where a galaxy is well separated in the sky so that overlap doesn't mess up the picture. By analogy, if you wanted to study the shape of frogs, and you only had some pictures of them mating in pools, you would want to pick out those frogs that were clearly separated from their companions!

This doesn't seem unreasonable to me.[/QUOTE]

One thing that we should discuss, David, in our upcoming Wiseman discussion is what makes you favour Arp's filtering here but object to Wiseman's filtering in his Dogs study? Putting aside the specifics, and whether or not the particular technique is sound or not, putting aside differences between the types of experiments, are their goals not essentially the same? Applying criteria to filter out the noise? If not, I'm curious as to what you see is the difference?

I mean, it didn't seem like it was just that you disagreed with Wiseman's analysis, it seemed that you disagreed with him altering the analytical protocol in principle to change a significant finding to an insignificant finding on the same dataset. But with Arp, who made similar modifications to Tang's protocols, you had no problem in principle, and found it reasonable.

Is there a reason to approve of Arp attempting to separate the frogs but not Wiseman?

Or do you not see them as essentially similar?
 
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I thought I had, hopefully I have now clarifiied more, but any further I think we should take it out of this thread since we're getting far off topic!
It doesn't seem any more off topic than all this stuff about quasars?

The Iaonnidis paper is part of science working. Iaonnidis' paper does not reveal, in my opinion, a crisis in the system, in the oh-my-god-the-entire-system-is-a sham-house-of-cards-and we've-all-been-had kind of way that some people present it as. It is much more nuanced than that. It does help us make improvements to the system to help us identify the ideas most worth pursuing and the most reliable results . I suggested having a more full discussion on it because it doesn't reduce accurately to sound-bites "its a crisis!" or "relax, everything is working as it should".
.
But the issue seems to be if there is a crisis how would we know? It doesn't need to be a "house of cards" to be a crisis, anymore than the corruption of democracy doesn't require a 1984 dystopia.

I mean look at this bit of news Chuck posted about a few weeks ago:

Everything Is Crumbling


This isn’t the first time that an idea in psychology has been challenged—not by a long shot. A “reproducibility crisis” in psychology, and in many other fields, has now been well-established. A study out last summer tried to replicate 100 psychology experiments one-for-one and found that just 40 percent of those replications were successful. A critique of that study just appeared last week, claiming that the original authors made statistical errors—but that critique has itself been attacked for misconstruing facts, ignoring evidence, and indulging in some wishful thinking.
Sheldrake had this post a few months ago:

The Replicability Crisis in Science


The world of science is in the midst of unprecedented soul-searching at present. The credibility of science rests on the widespread assumption that results are replicable, and that high standards are maintained by anonymous peer review. These pillars of belief are crumbling. In September 2015, the international scientific journal Nature published a cartoon showing the temple of “Robust Science” in a state of collapse. What is going on?


I could go on...but really anyone who's curious can look in this thread.

So it seems without a thorough overview I don't know how one can confidently assert that science as practiced is working, and this is before we even get into the over-representation of the materialist faith.
 
It doesn't seem any more off topic than all this stuff about quasars?



But the issue seems to be if there is a crisis how would we know? It doesn't need to be a "house of cards" to be a crisis, anymore than the corruption of democracy doesn't require a 1984 dystopia.

I mean look at this bit of news Chuck posted about a few weeks ago:

Everything Is Crumbling




Sheldrake had this post a few months ago:

The Replicability Crisis in Science






I could go on...but really anyone who's curious can look in this thread.

So it seems without a thorough overview I don't know how one can confidently assert that science as practiced is working, and this is before we even get into the over-representation of the materialist faith.
I took a quick look at that stuff awhile back, but I'll have to look closer. But the question I ask myself is: is the problem that 60% or so of those studies failed to replicate, or rather than some people unwisely placed too much reliance on studies where no attempts to replicate had been made?

How are we determining what the percentage of failed replications should be, with the system working as it should? What criteria are we applying here?

From briefly reading the abstract one of the predictors of successful replication was the quality of the original study. Makes sense, the higher quality of the study the more likely it will be replicated. But high quality does not equate guarantee. Even with high quality studies we should expect a certain percentage to not successfully replicate. What should be considered acceptable? How are we determining that number?

I suspect a lot of the reason that some people perceive there to be a crisis is because they had unrealistic expectations for science in the first place. The scientific method has seen a steady evolution over the last few hundred years. But one reason we're seeing these reports covering entire fields over the last decade is because of the development of meta-research, particularly over the last two decades. Scientists (such as at Cochrane, and METRICS) have made a lot of progress in terms of the development of the field of meta-analysis, which is allowing us to take a broader look at what methods are being used, and which methods produce the best results. In that process we're going to learn a lot as well about what produces less reliable results. This knowledge will be used to guide future research.


Heh, this single thread has produced quite a lot of homework reading for me! In terms of keeping the discussion of this subtopics in this thread I suppose if its good with David its fine with me, but I suspect the discussions will be easier to follow in separate threads. And again, they require some digging below the surface.
 
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I took a quick look at that stuff awhile back, but I'll have to look closer. But the question I ask myself is: is the problem that 60% or so of those studies failed to replicate, or rather than some people unwisely placed too much reliance on studies where no attempts to replicate had been made?

I suspect a lot of the reason that some people perceive there to be a crisis is because they had unrealistic expectations for science in the first place.
I think I'm just confused by the idea of unrealistic expectations. I think the drug companies upset about lack of replicable data had pretty reasonable expectations.

Same with people who would've thought that a major theory of psychology was built on some kind of solid foundation? From the article Chuck posted:

And yet, it now appears that ego depletion could be completely bogus, that its foundation might be made of rotted-out materials.That means an entire field of study—and significant portions of certain scientists’ careers—could be resting on a false premise. If something this well-established could fall apart, then what’s next? That’s not just worrying. It’s terrifying.
It's the "what's next" that's disturbing. There are already a lot of revealed issues, but without some major efforts on replicating the various findings in every field it's hard to know how far the rot extends?

And tying this back into Bernardo's post about militant atheists stealing others' meaning to enhance their own....why/how did the self-professed guardians of good science miss this? How did they miss the pseudoscience going on at the FBI?

It seems to me that the failures of science-as-practiced, the failures of (pseudo) skepticism, and the attempts to use science to advance the missionary work of the atheist & materialist faiths might all be interrelated.

We often see studies about the mental deficiencies of the religious. I think more work needs to be done on the psychological failings of those who support materialism, who think the universe is by necessity mechanistic.
 
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