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Old 01-11-2018, 11:34 AM   #326
tame_deuces
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
It's a theory and it's considered by scientists, and that alone makes it a scientific theory according to what you've posted ITT. It's systematic, there is plenty of evidence offered to support it especially in the form of arguments, many people who accept it are educated on the subject, and it has also passed much peer based review. That you don't consider it 'fair' is irrelevant tbh.

So, clearly a scientific theory. By your own standards.



So you'll show how god can be falsified by moving the goalposts. I'd prefer it if you show how you would falsify the god that ID is intended to show exists. Can you do that?

Or maybe you can explain how ID can be Predictive, or Useful, or Corrective?
How can it be a scientific according to my own standards when it doesn't meet my own standards? I mean, I've seen people stretch the words of others around here, but I didn't know we were going for records.

You also ask for "specifics" which you ignore. If you're only asking rhetorically so you can wiggle your e-peen on some imaginary pedestal of excellence, perhaps it's time to close that browser tab and take a break.

You've reached a level of debate which isn't very compelling. I suspect you're mostly butthurt because I showed by direct quotation that you have been inconsistent in your arguments. I can only suggest that you stop engaging in debates to "win" or check the ego at the door.

But far more important than any of this: That you actually had to write that you saw ID as "systematic, educated, evidence-based, peer-based and fair " really says it all.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:51 PM   #327
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post

But far more important than any of this: That you actually had to write that you saw ID as "systematic, educated, evidence-based, peer-based and fair " really says it all.
There must be a post here on this forum somewhere where he says the exact opposite about ID
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:21 PM   #328
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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There must be a post here on this forum somewhere where he says the exact opposite about ID
This is indirect, but close.

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t's the only reason people believe and therefor an obvious and significant place from which to change those beliefs. Arguing specifics simply gives credibility where it isn't due. In the same way that ID has managed to associate itself with Evolution as a scientific theory of the same weight and has forced opponents to discuss them in that light it has earned a credibility it doesn't deserve through association.
Also, being in rural Mexico for a week has caused me to miss a week's worth of MB's circular ramblings. I'm delighted to find that he's back and has continued to provide evidence that he has yet to have learned some of the most basic things that people around here have tried to teach him.

Edit: Here's a much better one:

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
At best ID could be kindly described as pseudo science. "because it lacks empirical support, offers no tenable hypotheses, and aims to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes." Wiki

Irreducible complexity is grasping at straws and Specified complexity is just people seeing what they want to see. ID is not science, it's an attempt by the Creationists to legitimise their religious view.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:35 PM   #329
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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I'm not sure now how it evolved into a conversation about why Falsifiability is so important to science but I just went with it.
Well, it started because you introduced it as one of your fundamental tenets of science (and this was disputed by others). For example:

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There are no mainstream scientific Theories that include a supernatural element and that is because the supernatural can't be; Corrective, Falsifiable, Predictive, Useful, Internally or Externally Consistent, Parsimonious, or Testable. I.e. there's literally nothing scientific about the supernatural, so science procedes on the assumption that the Natural is all that there is, and it's only because of that that it works and has been so successful in explaining what we observe.
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As an example, scientific theories must be Falsifiable, to solve the Problem of Induction, and the supernatural cannot be Falsifiable, so a conclusion based on a non-falsifiable hypothesis could never be considered reliable.
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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
(Corrective, Falsifiable, Predictive, Repeatable, Testable, Useful, Internally or Externally Consistent, Parsimonious)
So it has been an integral part of your argument all along. You disappeared for a while and then reemerged in the new year with this statement:

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If it isn't falsifiable, it isn't scientific. You don't have to discount it because of course there are other ways of acquiring and understanding knowledge than just science, you just can't apply the scientific method to it at all because science requires falsifiability to eliminate the Problem of induction.
And that's why the conversation is where it is. You've made a false claim and have spent the recent days trying to defend it.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:03 AM   #330
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
How can it be a scientific according to my own standards when it doesn't meet my own standards? I mean, I've seen people stretch the words of others around here, but I didn't know we were going for records.

You also ask for "specifics" which you ignore. If you're only asking rhetorically so you can wiggle your e-peen on some imaginary pedestal of excellence, perhaps it's time to close that browser tab and take a break.

You've reached a level of debate which isn't very compelling. I suspect you're mostly butthurt because I showed by direct quotation that you have been inconsistent in your arguments. I can only suggest that you stop engaging in debates to "win" or check the ego at the door.

But far more important than any of this: That you actually had to write that you saw ID as "systematic, educated, evidence-based, peer-based and fair " really says it all.
Couldn't remove out the excess verbiage and ad homs in this because there'd be nothing left. ID sails comfortably through the 'soft goalposts' you mentioned and now you're avoiding having to agree that it's not scientific because it's not falsifiable, corrective, predictive etc etc. The criteria I've been listing 'ad nauseum'.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:05 AM   #331
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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There must be a post here on this forum somewhere where he says the exact opposite about ID
I don't consider ID to be a scientific theory because it fails to meet any of the criteria that make something a scientific theory. They aren't the criteria that TD listed.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:22 AM   #332
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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I don't consider ID to be a scientific theory because it fails to meet any of the criteria that make something a scientific theory. They aren't the criteria that TD listed.
Because what is science but an arbitrary list of criteria?
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:25 AM   #333
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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An idea that can't be falsified, i.e. there isn't a way to falsify it, is virtually useless.
Yup. Virtually useless.

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Here's a conclusion that's based on a non-falsifiable hypothesis: The universe can be rationally understood. If we ever run into something that we cannot rationally understand in science, we continue forward to continue pursuing a rational explanation anyway under the assumption that we will eventually understand it (perhaps with more information). But it's a non-falsifiable hypothesis that is used all the time.
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:19 AM   #334
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

There was a group that once had great influence in science, and who held a strict view of verificationism and who wanted to unify science under fairly strict rules as to how it should operate. It should be naturalistic, hold no unclear language, contain no unverifiable claims, only sensory experience could be evidence and everything should be reduced to empirical laws. They actively sought to make a recipe for exactly how science should look. They were called logical positivists.

If they had gotten their wish fulfilled, Karl Popper's ideals would not have made it into science. Today Karl Popper is the grandfather of the biggest and most influential scientific method in the world.

There is a reason science is best governed by norms. An semi-organized collective body of gathering and finding knowledge. Diverse enough that complete disagreements can exist within, but unified enough to actually make progress. Soft enough in the edges to allow new perspectives to crop up. If you stick big inflexible goalposts down in the mud, you're just potentially stopping the next big revolution in how to think about science.

For I have little doubt that those new paradigms will come. Many say we're soon reaching the barrier of experimental physics. Perhaps in a 100 years scientists will be working with simulation theories just as naturally as they do with empirical ones today. Who knows. Simulations can't tell you the truth, you say? Neither can empirical method Karl Popper tells us.

"The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Kuhn is still today the best book written on scientific method and thinking. It's also written in a very easy to read language and can be picked up by anyone. Well worth a read.

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Old 01-13-2018, 07:27 AM   #335
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
There was a group that once had great influence in science, and who held a strict view of verificationism and who wanted to unify science under fairly strict rules as to how it should operate. It should be naturalistic, hold no unclear language, contain no unverifiable claims, only sensory experience could be evidence and everything should be reduced to empirical laws. They actively sought to make a recipe for exactly how science should look. They were called logical positivists.

If they had gotten their wish fulfilled, Karl Popper's ideals would not have made it into science. Today Karl Popper is the grandfather of the biggest and most influential scientific method in the world.

There is a reason science is best governed by norms. An semi-organized collective body of gathering and finding knowledge. Diverse enough that complete disagreements can exist within, but unified enough to actually make progress. Soft enough in the edges to allow new perspectives to crop up. If you stick big inflexible goalposts down in the mud, you're just potentially stopping the next big revolution in how to think about science.

For I have little doubt that those new paradigms will come. Many say we're soon reaching the barrier of experimental physics. Perhaps in a 100 years scientists will be working with simulation theories just as naturally as they do with empirical ones today. Who knows. Simulations can't tell you the truth, you say? Neither can empirical method Karl Popper tells us.

"The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Kuhn is still today the best book written on scientific method and thinking. It's also written in a very easy to read language and can be picked up by anyone. Well worth a read.
And yet again you are talking about the scientific method in a conversation about what qualifies something to be described as a scientific theory, a distinction you appear to have failed to grasp since the beginning.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:01 PM   #336
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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And yet again you are talking about the scientific method in a conversation about what qualifies something to be described as a scientific theory, a distinction you appear to have failed to grasp since the beginning.
The distinction is understood. It's just understood to be a false rendering of reality.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:16 PM   #337
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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As an aside, following these comments (and reviewing similar ideas elsewhere) has been quite the headache. From finding consistent definitions for science terms (e.g. hypothesis, theory) even from so-called science organisations to whether science must include falsifiability (almost everywhere declares it must). I've written probably a half dozen replies myself and abandoned them all because of the inconsistency in what I found.
The inconsistency is evidence that there is not specific standard. Rather, this is a socially-constructed standard. Just like we all pretty much agree on what a "cat" is, and the fact that we can look up "cat" in the dictionary is not what makes the word "cat" what it is. (Indeed, I'd wager that close to 99% of the US population has never bothered to look up that word in the dictionary.* And yet we all seem to know what we're talking about.)

(*I just did it because I was curious about it in my usage of this example. I don't think I've looked it up before this.)

Here's my observation from a previous post:

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Also, at what point in history did evolution cross over from being "just a hypothesis" to a "Theory"? It's not as if there were some specific test of "those criteria" that suddenly created an objective measure of the theory-ness of evolution.

What happens at the "scientific" level is that there are enough people in science who are convinced that such-and-such is an accurate accounting of in the available data. When enough scientists accept something, it's acceptable science. That's the actual criteria. Again, science is a definitively human pursuit.
For example, Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory because it's not accepted by a large enough number of scientists to be broadly accepted as being an accurate accounting of the available data. It simply has not reached that level of acceptance. That's it.

The question of the status of string theory is debatable because there exists a real debate in scientific community. There are enough people that believe and disbelieve that there is an actual reckoning of the ideas. (Note: A "real" debate means that the two sides are roughly equal in the level of support, or a general openness to the idea that this is debatable withing the community. This sidesteps MB's logic that if some scientist believes something that it's automatically debatable.)

I think this way of looking at it is far more functional, useful, and coherent to reality than trying to argue it from the opposite direction. (The opposite direction would be like insisting that the dictionary definition of "cat" is what a "cat" actually is, as opposed to... well... a cat.)
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:40 PM   #338
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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The distinction is understood. It's just understood to be a false rendering of reality.
Karl Popper proposed that the distinction between a scientific theory and a non-scientific theory is that a scientific theory is in principle able to be falsified by empirical evidence. This is a philosophical theory about the nature of science. It doesn't imply (nor did Popper claim) that our method of doing scientific research should rely exclusively on coming up with a hypothesis and then trying to falsify it.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:21 AM   #339
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Karl Popper proposed that the distinction between a scientific theory and a non-scientific theory is that a scientific theory is in principle able to be falsified by empirical evidence. This is a philosophical theory about the nature of science. It doesn't imply (nor did Popper claim) that our method of doing scientific research should rely exclusively on coming up with a hypothesis and then trying to falsify it.
Exactly what I've been trying to say. That will probably start a round of 'oh no you haven't' posts, but yes, I have.

I think it's a hugely important distinction, between a scientific theory and one not deemed to be scientific, and the confusion around that causes a lot of misunderstandings and is also exploited by those who seek to undermine scientific ideas that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as people like Mike Pence claiming that ToE is 'just a theory'.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:05 AM   #340
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Exactly what I've been trying to say. That will probably start a round of 'oh no you haven't' posts, but yes, I have.
Oh no you haven't. It's one thing to say "Popper says" and it's another thing to say "science says."

Your position is largely dependent upon a lot of conflation of the term "scientific" to refer to a "theory", a "method", and a "referring to an academic field of study."

Quote:
I think it's a hugely important distinction, between a scientific theory and one not deemed to be scientific, and the confusion around that causes a lot of misunderstandings and is also exploited by those who seek to undermine scientific ideas that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as people like Mike Pence claiming that ToE is 'just a theory'.
The underlying problem here is that you think that because Popper said something that this is what necessarily the definition that everyone takes and understands. The examples of high end physics show that this definition seems insufficient to encompass the scientific theories that are being put forward in some situations, and the existence of debates within academia show that this is something being discussed and challenged earnestly. (Note: This is not a reference to the debates that happen *outside* of academia.)
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:13 AM   #341
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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And yet again you are talking about the scientific method in a conversation about what qualifies something to be described as a scientific theory, a distinction you appear to have failed to grasp since the beginning.
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Exactly what I've been trying to say. That will probably start a round of 'oh no you haven't' posts, but yes, I have.
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Oh no you haven't. It's one thing to say "Popper says" and it's another thing to say "science says."

Your position is largely dependent upon a lot of conflation of the term "scientific" to refer to a "theory", a "method", and a "referring to an academic field of study."
Here is an explicit example embedded directly in the context of the sentence that is at the root of the current thread of conversation:

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
If it isn't falsifiable, it isn't scientific. You don't have to discount it because of course there are other ways of acquiring and understanding knowledge than just science, you just can't apply the scientific method to it at all because science requires falsifiability to eliminate the Problem of induction. By that definition, which is (part of) the accepted definition of what constitutes science, string theory isn't a scientific theory because currently it doesn't meet the criteria.
Bolded: You have *explicitly* called out both the scientific method and science here.

Underlined: You have *explicitly* called out science here.

This is why your position falls apart. You keep conflating things and are not accurately rendering either your sentences or reality. You are not correctly recounting your position. You cannot be trusted with your own words.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:24 PM   #342
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Here is an explicit example embedded directly in the context of the sentence that is at the root of the current thread of conversation:



Bolded: You have *explicitly* called out both the scientific method and science here.

Underlined: You have *explicitly* called out science here.

This is why your position falls apart. You keep conflating things and are not accurately rendering either your sentences or reality. You are not correctly recounting your position. You cannot be trusted with your own words.
I agree with your assessment, MB went from science to scientific method not too long ago. His arguments are not consistent.

But there is of course another problem here, that occured when MB quoted OrP to claim he agreed completely with Karl Popper. But in the post you quoted he says science requires falsifiability to "eliminate" the problem of induction.

But Karl Popper did not believe falsifiability could resolve or "eliminate" the problem of induction, in fact he explicitly opposed the view that it could. In fact he proposed that induction should be ignored in scientific logic because this couldn't be resolved.

Popper also accepted that theories could be tentatively supported prior to empirical tests. So it's a bit nonsense to claim that some Popperian view should automatically make you reject string theory's credibility as a theory. Karl Popper might the target of much philosophical ire, but he was, contrary to popular belief, not a man without nuance. He did for example admit that infalsifiable statements had a place in science, he merely did not want them in scientific logic. He understood, as does anyone who grasps the issue, that it's not possible to argue anything without such statements.

It also bears note that string theory has in fact successfully passed many empirical tests, so not only is the representation of Popper wrong, but the claims about string theory are at best misguided.

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Old 01-15-2018, 07:28 PM   #343
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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It also bears note that string theory has in fact successfully passed many empirical tests, so not only is the representation of Popper wrong, but the claims about string theory are at best misguided.
I agree with this, but only to a point. My understanding of string theory is that there are a number of free parameters (or at least undetermined parameters) that could be used to make the model fit the data. I'm not sure whether the choice of those parameters are in some way in-principle falsifiable given that the primary target of string theory has been simply a different approach to fitting existing data into a new model that is in some way more aesthetically appealing in some sense.

I could be wrong. I haven't looked at anything at anything more than a cursory level since graduate school.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:06 AM   #344
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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I agree with this, but only to a point. My understanding of string theory is that there are a number of free parameters (or at least undetermined parameters) that could be used to make the model fit the data. I'm not sure whether the choice of those parameters are in some way in-principle falsifiable given that the primary target of string theory has been simply a different approach to fitting existing data into a new model that is in some way more aesthetically appealing in some sense.

I could be wrong. I haven't looked at anything at anything more than a cursory level since graduate school.
I'll disclaim that I'm no expert, so these are my layman understandings.

I think what you say is true, but it's important to note that the standard model of physics also has free parameters, some of which are indeed constructed to fit the observable data. That said the discovery of the Higgs-Boson by test was a huge step forward, greatly reducing those numbers of free parameters.

There is also the infamous Einstein example, when he needed a free parameter for the cosmological constant, but chose the wrong number for his early work on general relativity. And of course even today the prevailing explanation for the current cosmological constant, dark energy, is poorly understood.

I'm not saying all things are equal. The problem with string theory (to my understanding) is the immense amount of models it can generate and that the generated models haven't been as useful as one might have hoped, and of course the holy grail (a grand unified theory) has not been found and doesn't seem close either. There is also the thing about the main tenet (the universe being strings) being untestable in practice.

In a sense this little side-discussion serves as a good example as to why the main discussion of this thread is pretty damn close to useless. When you go to the edge of science, the lines do get blurry. You rely more and more on observational data, indirect testing and conjecture to develop your frameworks. The act of testing stuff can be enormous tasks, discovering the proposed Higgs-Boson took some 40 odd years. And no, you don't put everything on hold and deem all the work "unscientific" or "not theory". You work in parallell and develop the field, use lesser tests, observational criteria, qualified conjecture and whatnot to progress.

I mean, do we really claim that prior to 2012, the standard model was "not a theory"? I guess it's sort of an interesting little quarrel to properly understand exactly what science is, but there is no doubt that it was an accepted theory.

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Old 01-16-2018, 05:22 AM   #345
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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I agree with your assessment, MB went from science to scientific method not too long ago. His arguments are not consistent.

But there is of course another problem here, that occured when MB quoted OrP to claim he agreed completely with Karl Popper. But in the post you quoted he says science requires falsifiability to "eliminate" the problem of induction.

But Karl Popper did not believe falsifiability could resolve or "eliminate" the problem of induction, in fact he explicitly opposed the view that it could. In fact he proposed that induction should be ignored in scientific logic because this couldn't be resolved.

Popper also accepted that theories could be tentatively supported prior to empirical tests. So it's a bit nonsense to claim that some Popperian view should automatically make you reject string theory's credibility as a theory. Karl Popper might the target of much philosophical ire, but he was, contrary to popular belief, not a man without nuance. He did for example admit that infalsifiable statements had a place in science, he merely did not want them in scientific logic. He understood, as does anyone who grasps the issue, that it's not possible to argue anything without such statements.

It also bears note that string theory has in fact successfully passed many empirical tests, so not only is the representation of Popper wrong, but the claims about string theory are at best misguided.
Regardless, a theory isn't 'scientific' unless it can be falsified. I've been saying that since the beginning, and despite any factual mistakes I may have made I've been entirely consistent in the intended message and you've been confusing what I've been saying about 'scientific theory' with science generally, since the beginning, and you're still doing it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:27 AM   #346
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Regardless, a theory isn't 'scientific' unless it can be falsified.
Because what is a "scientific theory" than an arbitrary list of criteria that are arbitrarily applied?

Quote:
I've been saying that since the beginning, and despite any factual mistakes I may have made I've been entirely consistent in the intended message and you've been confusing what I've been saying about 'scientific theory' with science generally, since the beginning, and you're still doing it.
It's quite clear from the analysis that you are the one who is confused. From a single paragraph of yours:

(1) Not falsifiable is not scientific.
(2) You can't apply the scientific method because science requires falsifiability [to eliminate the problem of induction]
(3) By the definition of science, string theory is not a scientific theory.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:25 AM   #347
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

Sean Carroll's recent and relevant paper:

Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse

https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.05016
(not sure how to make that a hyperlink using Tapatalk)


Carroll's paper is criticised in link below (Peter Woit, suggesting that Caroll is arguing against a strawman of the counter arguments).
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/w...=9938#comments

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Old 01-21-2018, 10:36 PM   #348
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by BeaucoupFish View Post
Sean Carroll's recent and relevant paper:

Beyond Falsifiability: Normal Science in a Multiverse

https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.05016
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Carroll's paper is criticised in link below (Peter Woit, suggesting that Caroll is arguing against a strawman of the counter arguments).
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/w...=9938#comments

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I don't think there is need for a confrontational tone in this debate, as there are good arguments on both sides. The traits of science that Carrol downplays are integral in forming applicable predictable science, and the traits that Woit attacks are necessary to shift paradigms and lay the groundwork for new scientific work.

The story of phlogiston teaches us that science must never grasp existing theory too hard and that the door must be open to new perspectives, and pseudo-science like the works of Freud teaches us that we must be vary of science that can claim anything as a success, or fields can be held back. That's a delicate balance, and painting it as black and white just wastes everyone's time.

I'm pretty sure we don't have a big problem with theoretical physicists going around ruining science. You do after all have the conundrum that the two leading theories in cosmology aren't always compatible, so there must be room for scientific musing. And at the same time it is good that it is pointed out what is purely conjectural and what isn't.

However, as both these two point out (in nicer terms), to rely on "na´ve falsificationism" is rather silly.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:18 AM   #349
Mightyboosh
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
I don't think there is need for a confrontational tone in this debate, as there are good arguments on both sides. The traits of science that Carrol downplays are integral in forming applicable predictable science, and the traits that Woit attacks are necessary to shift paradigms and lay the groundwork for new scientific work.
The observed difference in the value is actually explained by god, goddidit. If we're throwing falsification out of the window, my conclusion is now as scientifically valid as any other. Special pleading FTW.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:38 PM   #350
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Re: Is a belief in god(s) Irrational?

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
The observed difference in the value is actually explained by god, goddidit. If we're throwing falsification out of the window, my conclusion is now as scientifically valid as any other. Special pleading FTW.
Validity in science means how well a model holds up internally (it does not contradict itself, it adheres to method correctly) and externally (findings and elements in the model are supported by observation and are not contradicted by observation).

More importantly; falsifiability does not ensure external validity or verify the hypothesis. I can say "my hypothesis is that a gnome will cause Mightyboosh to answer this post within one week", but you replying within a week doesn't mean that gnomes exist (validity) or that a gnome caused you to reply (verification).

Essentially, your protest shows a lack of understanding the important nuances here. "If God exists, we will observe gravity" is a falsifiable hypothesis which we will fail to falsify, that doesn't make it more valid. In fact, it doesn't tell you anything more about God existing than merely claiming "God exists!".

Last edited by tame_deuces; 01-22-2018 at 05:51 PM.
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