Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

I keep having to remind myself that science is self-correcting …

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I have often been wearied by legends in their own lunchroom huffing that science differs from other endeavours because it is “self-correcting.”

To which I reply: Aw come off it, fellas. Any system that does not go extinct is self-correcting – after it collapses on its hind end. This is true of governments, businesses, churches, and not-for-profit organizations. I’ve seen enough of life to know.

Here’s a classic: At The Scientist’s NewsBlog, Bob Grant reveals (May 7, 2009) that

Scientific publishing giant Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals, but did not disclose sponsorship, the company has admitted.

Elsevier is conducting an “internal review” of its publishing practices after allegations came to light that the company produced a pharmaceutical company-funded publication in the early 2000s without disclosing that the “journal” was corporate sponsored

[ … ]

The allegations involve the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, a publication paid for by pharmaceutical company Merck that amounted to a compendium of reprinted scientific articles and one-source reviews, most of which presented data favorable to Merck’s products. The Scientist obtained two 2003 issues of the journal — which bore the imprint of Elsevier’s Excerpta Medica — neither of which carried a statement obviating Merck’s sponsorship of the publication.

The linked related stories and comments are most illuminating, and bear out my critique of “peer review” here. Let’s just say that peer review started out as a good idea, but …

(Note: There is no paywall, but you may need to register to view the story, .)

Also, today at Colliding Universes

Neutrinos: Sudbury Neutrino Observatory does the sun’s bookkeeping

Origin of life: The live cat vs. the dead cat

Cosmology: Wow. It takes guts to wage war with Stephen Hawking … he appeared in Star Trek

Universe: Arguments against flatness (plus exposing sloppy science writing)

Origin of life: Latest scenario gives RNA world a boost

Colliding Universes is my blog on competing theories about our universe.

Comments
---serendipity: "Thank you. Be on the lookout for my next act." I was complimenting Clive on his detective work. On the other hand, your act really never changes. There really isn't very much to it. You are absolutely sure of the truth that no abolute truth exists. That contradictory formulation informs everything that you write under every name that you write. Of course, you don't see it as a contradiction because you are only "provisionally" persuaded that there is any such thing as a contradiction.StephenB
June 3, 2009
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Similarly, on the Casimir effect: ___________________ In physics, the Casimir effect and the Casimir-Polder force are physical forces arising from a quantized field. The typical example is of two uncharged metallic plates in a vacuum, placed a few micrometers apart, without any external electromagnetic field. In a classical description, the lack of an external field also means that there is no field between the plates, and no force would be measured between them. When this field is instead studied using quantum electrodynamics, it is seen that the plates do affect the virtual photons which constitute the field, and generate a net force[1]—either an attraction or a repulsion depending on the specific arrangement of the two plates. This force has been measured, and is a striking example of an effect purely due to second quantization . . . . The causes of the Casimir effect are described by quantum field theory, which states that all of the various fundamental fields, such as the electromagnetic field, must be quantized at each and every point in space. In a simplified view, a "field" in physics may be envisioned as if space were filled with interconnected vibrating balls and springs, and the strength of the field can be visualized as the displacement of a ball from its rest position. Vibrations in this field propagate and are governed by the appropriate wave equation for the particular field in question. The second quantization of quantum field theory requires that each such ball-spring combination be quantized, that is, that the strength of the field be quantized at each point in space. Canonically, the field at each point in space is a simple harmonic oscillator, and its quantization places a quantum harmonic oscillator at each point. Excitations of the field correspond to the elementary particles of particle physics. However, even the vacuum has a vastly complex structure, all calculations of quantum field theory must be made in relation to this model of the vacuum. The vacuum has, implicitly, all of the properties that a particle may have: spin, or polarization in the case of light, energy, and so on. On average, all of these properties cancel out: the vacuum is, after all, "empty" in this sense. One important exception is the vacuum energy or the vacuum expectation value of the energy. The quantization of a simple harmonic oscillator states that the lowest possible energy or zero-point energy that such an oscillator may have is E = 1/2 h-bar w, [w being omega, angular velocity in the auxiliary circle of the SHM] Summing over all possible oscillators at all points in space gives an infinite quantity. To remove this infinity, one may argue that only differences in energy are physically measurable; this argument is the underpinning of the theory of renormalization. In all practical calculations, this is how the infinity is always handled. In a deeper sense, however, renormalization is unsatisfying, and the removal of this infinity presents a challenge in the search for a Theory of Everything. Currently there is no compelling explanation for how this infinity should be treated as essentially zero; a non-zero value is essentially the cosmological constant and any large value causes trouble in cosmology . . . _____________________ Observe not only the causal chain involved in the Casimir effect but the physically causal status of the vacuum of space; and also the role of stochastic phenomena and averages in that. (Renormalisation is of course quite another story . .. let's just say that there is an echo here of "in Him we live and move and have our being . . .") GEM of TKI PS: I trust these should suffice to help S et al understand that there is causality deeply embedded in Q mech.kairosfocus
June 3, 2009
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Further footnote, on QFT: ____________________ Quantum field theory or QFT[1] provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically described by fields or of many-body systems. It is widely used in particle physics and condensed matter physics. Most theories in modern particle physics, including the Standard Model of elementary particles and their interactions, are formulated as relativistic quantum field theories. In condensed matter physics, quantum field theories are used in many circumstances, especially those where the number of particles is allowed to fluctuate—for example, in the BCS theory of superconductivity. In quantum field theory (QFT) the forces between particles are mediated by other particles. The electromagnetic force between two electrons is caused by an exchange of photons. Intermediate vector bosons mediate the weak force and gluons mediate the strong force. There is currently no complete quantum theory of the remaining fundamental force, gravity, but many of the proposed theories postulate the existence of a graviton particle which mediates it. These force-carrying particles are virtual particles and, by definition, cannot be detected while carrying the force, because such detection will imply that the force is not being carried. In QFT photons are not thought of as 'little billiard balls', they are considered to be field quanta - necessarily chunked ripples in a field that 'look like' particles. Fermions, like the electron, can also be described as ripples in a field, where each kind of fermion has its own field. In summary, the classical visualisation of "everything is particles and fields", in quantum field theory, resolves into "everything is particles", which then resolves into "everything is fields". In the end, particles are regarded as excited states of a field (field quanta). _______________________ And, again, note the causal conditions and constraints. GEM of TKIkairosfocus
June 3, 2009
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Footnote: Note -- esp. those still confused on the causal status of Q- mech -- this on particle-antiparticle pair production, from Wiki: ______________ Pair production refers to the creation of an elementary particle and its antiparticle, usually from a photon (or another neutral boson). This is allowed, provided there is enough energy available to create the pair – at least the total rest mass energy of the two particles – and that the situation allows both energy and momentum to be conserved (though not necessarily on shell). All other conserved quantum numbers (angular momentum, electric charge) of the produced particles must sum to zero — thus the created particles shall have opposite values of each (for instance, if one particle has strangeness +1 then another one must have strangeness ?1). In nuclear physics, this occurs when a high-energy photon interacts in the vicinity of a nucleus, allowing the production of an electron and a positron pair without violating conservation of momentum. Since the momentum of the initial photon must be absorbed by something, pair production cannot occur in empty space out of a single photon; the nucleus (or another photon) is needed to conserve both momentum and energy (consider the time reversal of Electron-positron annihilation).[1] Photon-nucleus pair production can only occur if the photons have an energy exceeding twice the rest mass (me) of an electron (1.022 MeV), photon-photon pair production may occur at 511 keV; the same conservation laws apply for the generation of other higher energy leptons such as the muon and tau (for two photons each should have the one-particle energy in the center of momentum frame, for one photon and a heavy nucleus, the photon needs the entire pair rest energy). These interactions were first observed in Patrick Blackett's counter-controlled cloud chamber, leading to the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physics. In semiclassical general relativity, pair production is also invoked to explain the Hawking radiation effect. According to quantum mechanics, at short scales short-lived particle-pairs are constantly appearing and disappearing (see quantum foam); in a region of strong gravitational tidal forces, the two particles in a pair may sometimes be wrenched apart before they have a chance to mutually annihilate. When this happens in the region around a black hole, one particle may escape, with its antiparticle being captured by the hole. Pair production is also the hypothesized mechanism behind the Pair instability supernova type of stellar explosions, where pair production suddenly lowers pressure inside a supergiant star, leading to a partial implosion, and then explosive thermonuclear burning. Supernova SN 2006gy is hypothesized to have been a pair production type supernova. In 2008 the Titan laser aimed at a 1-millimeter-thick gold target was used to generate positron electron pairs in large numbers.[2] ________________ Observe the many NECESSARY causal constraints at work. GEM of TKIkairosfocus
June 3, 2009
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PS: Pardon this Let's Talk opinion piece (ZJB Radio, M'rat) from May 25, 2005, but it seems appropriate: ______________ Right makes . . . Right It has often been said that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” However, this is just as misleading as the equally common idea that might – or, for that matter; power, or wealth – makes right. In fact, it is right that makes right. So, as we consider our [Montserrat's] rebuilding/ re-development challenges and an upcoming election cycle (thus the need for us to collectively make a wise decision on our national leadership over the next several years), let us reflect on a key incident in the career of the Apostle Paul, while he was on his way to Rome as an Appeals prisoner: <blockquote.[Our ship] made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. . . . . When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along . . . When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. [Ac 27:7 – 22, as excerpted.] The incident exposes the down side to collective decision-making:
* The uncontrollable but partly predictable environment precipitated a crisis: buffetted by heavy head-winds, the ship was delayed until it was necessary to winter in a safe harbour, but the first harbour, Fair Havens, was not fully suitable. So, the majority wanted to move on to a hopefully better prospect, Phoenix. ? Paul warned of the risk involved, but the owner and the kubernete spoke with the voice of wealth and technical know-how respectively: they were more than willing to go along with the crowd, and advised the Centurion in charge to run a dangerous risk in the hope of a quick and desirable advantage. * As a result, the lone voice of safety and caution was easily overwhelmed by the majority, backed up by wealth and technical expertise; so the decision was to go ahead if opportunity should present itself. * Soon, a gentle south wind seemed to offer every advantage, and it was eagerly seized. But, before long, sudden disaster struck in the form of an early winter storm, and at once the ship was reduced to sinking condition, forcing the sailors to try to see if they could keep off the sandbars off the Libyan coast, and so they were only able to drift across the stormy seas while hope of a safe landfall faded. * Then, at the end, it was the very same Paul whose advice and leadership had been dismissed when things were looking good, who had to stand up and give hope and counsel. Then, he had to intervene a third time, to save lives by exposing the sailors’ plot to abandon the passengers as the ship ran aground on the north coast of Malta. So, through his second intervention, the company were all saved, even though the ship and its cargo were lost.
Plainly, this incident exposes the downside of democracy, of technical advice, and of looking to the wealthy and powerful for wise counsel: for, in a world of self-interested sinners the majority, the wealthy, the technically expert and the powerful are often tempted to act in their own perceived interests, rather than on what is wise and right. Sometimes, they get away with it, but that simply makes them less willing to listen to sensible advice the next time around. Sooner or later, such self-interested, reckless action leads to disaster. For, it is what is right that is right, regardless of who proposes or supports or opposes it. As David counselled: “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it . . .” Ps 127:1a. So, now, let’s reflect on our own circumstances as we work to rebuild Montserrat; then let’s talk, let’s pray and let’s act. _________________ So, let us remind ourselves of the price of ignoring prudent or even correct counsel.kairosfocus
June 3, 2009
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Folks: Very little of what further transpired in this thread since yesterday afternoon is even relevant to the main focus. (And by now diversion of a thread through red herrings led out to ad hominem soaked strawmen and ignited, thus clouding, confusing and poisoning the atmosphere should be a well known selectively hyperskeptical rhetorical tactic; one to be corrected not entertained . . . ) So, let's remind ourselves of the key lessons:
I: The notion that science stands on an epistemological pedestal because it is “self-correcting” is ill founded — all institutions that survive any length must be open to correction, whether from within or from without. II: Similarly, the first principles of right reason are not provisional, on pain of self-referential incoherence and absurdity. III: All major worldviews or schools of thought on a subject will have core, defining commitments that cannot be changed without the school or view losing its essential character. IV: So, to have core “dogmas” or “postulates” or “doctrines” or “first principles” or “theses” etc, is not a bad thing in and of itself. The challenge is to be open to correction on the principles of right reason — which are self-evident on pain of absurdity — while not being selectively hyper-skeptical.
Now, let's select a point or two to apply them: 1] What if the fire triangle is not true to the facts or adequate as an explanation . . . ? This of course would be a point where "science" should be self-correcting. (It would not overthrow the basic logic of cause point that unless all necessary causal conditions are met an event cannot happen, and that once a sufficient set of causal conditions is met, it WILL happen. And since this deals with real world events, it is not a matter of empty words about words. Unless you were born, you would not be commenting here.) In fact, some now argue for a so-called "fire tetrahedron" (which we can regard as "theory B" for illustrative purposes). The simplest response is that a fuel is by its nature something capable of undergoing the heat-evolving chain reaction called combustion under the situation of the presence of a relevant oxidiser and sufficient heat. So, it is not necessary to complicate the explanation -- I do like the approach of those who put the flames in the middle of the triangle (and comment about chain reactions) . . . It still remains that the necessary and sufficient general causal conditions for such a fire are: heat, fuel and oxidiser. 2] SD/BZ (etc), 478: Provisional, of course, unless you can provide persuasive evidence that humans are infallible. It seems we can infer to a rule from the evo mat advocate debater's handbook: When you cannot answer to a case, create an ad hominem-laced strawman and knock it over. Of course, not a single person in this exchange has argued that humans are "infallible," as was already pointed out correctively above. (Indeed, case study no 1 on an undeniable and self-evident truth was: "Error exists.") And of course dismissive assertions about "infallibility" reek of a sub-text of accusations and insinuations against those who argue that God -- not man -- is infallible. Worse, "you have to prove to/persuade me" is a favourite tactic of the selectively hyperspketical. To which the immediate answer is that this is inherently inconsistent and absurd; that we have it on rather good authority that we have a certain duty to seek out and follow the truth. But, more directly (and as was pointed out previously): it is obviously so to those who will but look, that even fallible thinkers like us sometimes reason CORRECTLY -- as opposed to "infallibly." (Just ask old Ms Smith from grade 1 . . . in case you had forgotten!) 3] But, if we can err, doesn't that mean that we can only know provisionally? Knowledge comes in two relevant degrees: defeatably warranted, credibly true belief, and warranted, true belief. The former, like beliefs of science, are indeed provisional. (And therein lieth part of the problem: if you confuse scientific -- empirically derived and tested -- knowledge with "knowledge" then you will imagine that warrant can only be by some extension or other of scientific -- provisional -- methods.) The case "error exists" (that is; certain claims we make fail to accurately correspond to reality) -- on which scientific provisionality is grounded -- illustrates the stronger degree of knowledge, which holds for a rather limited but important set of claims. Let's call the claim E and try to deny it: NOT-E. But, NOT-E would imply directly that E fails to refer accurately to reality. that is, to try to deny E instantiates its correctness; so E is UNDENIABLY true. Indeed, since the absurdity emerges at once, and so if we -- minded creatures in our common world -- understand what is being said in E, we can see that E is self-evidently and undeniably true; on pain of absurdity. The reasoning process above is correct -- as opposed to "infallible" -- and so we see that E is not only true but that on understanding what it is saying, we see that it MUST be true; at least if we wish to remain coherent in our thoughts. E is self-evident. It is a case of warranted, true belief. (And so - kindly note, DK -- the gratuitous ad hominem against SB about "reification" falls to the ground: it is not a matter of ego but of well-warranted, objective truth -- truth we discover, as opposed to imagine or perceive -- about our common world.) It brings with it others in its train:
[1] a true claim exits so truth exists -- it is possible to accurately say things about reality. Similarly, [2] in certain cases, such truths can be warranted (even to certainty on pain of absurdity) so knowable and known truth exists. And, [3] since we see that when statements of form {A AND NOT-A} are accepted, a morass of confusion and absurdity result, we have good reason to acceptt he law that forbids statements of that form: {A AND NOT-A} = 0; i.e. [4] a contradiction is necessarily false; on pain of absurdity. Namely, the law of non-contradiction.
_____________ Sadly, the above is replete with examples in point. Ultra-modern radical relativist thought [aka postmodern thought] is making shipwreck of reason,and is a menace to our civilisation. A civilisation now heading for the rocks and sand-banks of a lee shore in a typhonic storm. (Just as was so prophetically modelled for us in Ac 27: for, "right makes right," not popular opinion, nor money interest, nor technocrats propagating what "the big man" wants, nor government fiat. But sometimes, it takes an ill-advised and rash voyage that gets caught in a storm driving on to a lee shore to wake us up to our peril. Looks like we are getting one now -- hope it does not cost us a nuke war, or cultural collapse otherwise [e.g. thusly . . . pardon such an illustration on radical relativism in action through technocrats, Clive] to learn.) GEM of TKIkairosfocus
June 3, 2009
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serendipity keiths, StephenB writes to me: Good work! ------ To which serendipity responds: "Thank you. Be on the lookout for my next act." Umm, I think StephenB was writing to me serendipity. At any rate, have a good night, I'm sure I'll see you tomorrow.Clive Hayden
June 3, 2009
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StephenB writes:
Good work!
Thank you. Be on the lookout for my next act.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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----Clive to serendipity: "You move fast with your sock-puppets, I have to give you credit. It’s like a carnival act. I never seen such an amazing feat! It’s a lightnin’ fast sock puppet folks! Gather round! I recognize your style now right off the bat. Serendipity came on the scene the day after I banned beelzebub." Good work!StephenB
June 2, 2009
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That should read, "So why did you say that we can’t know anything for certain in the first place?"StephenB
June 2, 2009
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beelzeb---I mean, serendipity, You move fast with your sock-puppets, I have to give you credit. It's like a carnival act. I never seen such an amazing feat! It's a lightnin' fast sock puppet folks! Gather round! I recognize your style now right off the bat. Serendipity came on the scene the day after I banned beelzebub. Maybe give it a week next time? You should try to avoid getting my attention in the future, and just make comments here under the radar, and don't insult Atom.Clive Hayden
June 2, 2009
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----serendiity; "Provisional, of course, unless you can provide persuasive evidence that humans are infallible." You originally stated categorically that we cannot know anything with certainly. Now you say that you only meant that statement provisionally. Clearly, you have changed your position. Now you are saying that you don't know for sure that we can't know anything for certain? So why you said that we can't know anything for certain in the first place? Please explain your final position on this matter. Do you now mean to say that we cannot be certain about the law of non-contradiction?StephenB
June 2, 2009
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----serendipidy: "I already named one here. A related “self-evident truth” is that if two events appear simultaneous to me, they will appear simultaneous to you, regardless of how each of us is moving. Both “truths” were once considered obvious and indubitable, and both were falsified by Einstein." None of those are self evident. One thing can easily appear differently from one person to the next. In any case, as I have explained to you several times, self evident truths are not measurable or observable. Self evident truths are the foundation for those things that are measurable and observable.StephenB
June 2, 2009
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Provisional, of course, unless you can provide persuasive evidence that humans are infallible.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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----serendipity: "If so, then that’s a good reason for you to stop using the term “self-evident truth”, since such certainty is not possible for us." Are you sure that statement is true or is it only "provisionally true."StephenB
June 2, 2009
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Serendipity, No, I don't see a mistake because there is no mistake. Being an amputee, Methodist, or a woman is not what got ol' Bob O'H blacklisted, and neither will being any of those things get him out of being blacklisted. I'm still waiting for your knowledge of what is required to remove someone from that list.Clive Hayden
June 2, 2009
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Clive, Barry's policy doesn't mention people who are blacklisted. It also doesn't mention Methodists, women and amputees. By your faulty logic, you should conclude that Methodists, women and amputees aren't welcome at UD. Now do you see your mistake?serendipity
June 2, 2009
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serendipity, ------"I’m glad you agree. When will you be removing Bob O’H from the blacklist?" Not until you explain what constitutes taking someone off the blacklist from Barry's stated moderation policy.Clive Hayden
June 2, 2009
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I'm glad you agree. When will you be removing Bob O'H from the blacklist?serendipity
June 2, 2009
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serendipity, ------"Let me know when you’ve located the phrase “unless they have been blacklisted” in the passage above. I have been through it word by word and I’m quite sure that it’s not there." Exactly right.Clive Hayden
June 2, 2009
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Clive writes:
Which was exactly my point, it doesn’t even speak to taking someone off the blacklisted list.
Exactly. Instead, it says that "PZ -- or anyone else" is "more than welcome":
I’ll answer that. If PZ — or anyone else — came here and minded his manners, he would be more than welcome.
Let me know when you've located the phrase "unless they have been blacklisted" in the passage above. I have been through it word by word and I'm quite sure that it's not there.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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StephenB writes:
If you don’t know the difference between certainty and high probability, you are clearly out of touch with the subject matter.
I know the difference, but I also recognize that absolute certainty is impossible for us. 'High probability' is the best that a finite human can do, and the world will not end when you finally admit that.
A self-evident truth cannot be probable at any level. Self evident means certain.
If so, then that's a good reason for you to stop using the term "self-evident truth", since such certainty is not possible for us. As you acknowledged earlier in the thread:
The self-evident truths that underlie science cannot be proven.
You wrote:
No self-evident truth has ever been falsified. I challenge you to name even one.
I already named one here. A related "self-evident truth" is that if two events appear simultaneous to me, they will appear simultaneous to you, regardless of how each of us is moving. Both "truths" were once considered obvious and indubitable, and both were falsified by Einstein.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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serendipity, ------"Barry’s stated moderation policy makes no such distinction:" Which was exactly my point, it doesn't even speak to taking someone off the blacklisted list. Tell me, oh serendipity, what Barry's criteria is for taking someone off that list who has already been banned? Hmmm?Clive Hayden
June 2, 2009
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----Insert the word ‘extremely’ in front of ‘probable’, and I would agree. One is just as irrational as the other. The difference between obviously true and Extremely probable is decisive. If you don't know the difference between certainty and high probability, you are clearly out of touch with the subject matter. A self-evident truth cannot be probable at any level. Self evident means certain. ---“Truths” that seemed obvious have been falsified many times by science. Science is self-correcting, after all. No self -evident truth has ever been falsified. I challenge you to name even one. You obviously do not know what a self evidnet truth is, which means that you should not be trying to argue about the subject. ----In fact, You still seem unable to grasp that a belief that is held with extraordinarily high confidence can nevertheless be held provisionally." In fact, you do not know anything about the subject matter being discussed. Also, that statement is painfully redundant. Anything that is known with extraordinary confidence is automatically held provisionally. ---To hold a belief provisionally simply means that you are open to considering disconfirmatory evidence. It doesn’t mean that you will abandon your belief at the drop of a hat." Of course it does. More redundancy. It has nothing at all to do with self evident truths. ---"Please think about this so that you don’t continue to repeat your error." I am not in error. Anyone who thinks that a self-evident truth is "falsifiable" is not equipped to dialogue on the subject.StephenB
June 2, 2009
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StephenB writes:
You, on the other hand, think “self evident” truths can be “enormously likely.” That statement is irrational on the face of it.
Hardly. It follows directly from honestly acknowledging both our abilities and our limitations as humans.
It is the equivalent of saying that that which is obvious is, at the same time, only probable.
Insert the word 'extremely' in front of 'probable', and I would agree. "Truths" that seemed obvious have been falsified many times by science. Science is self-correcting, after all. You still seem unable to grasp that a belief that is held with extraordinarily high confidence can nevertheless be held provisionally. To hold a belief provisionally simply means that you are open to considering disconfirmatory evidence. It doesn't mean that you will abandon your belief at the drop of a hat. Please think about this so that you don't continue to repeat your error.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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Clive Hayden writes:
The moderation policy as stated by Barry is consistently being applied by me...But there is a difference in what constitutes placing someone in “moderation” who already posts here freely, and what constitutes taking someone off the blacklisted list. In Bob O’Hara’s case, he’s not “moderated”, for he’s already been blacklisted in the past.
Clive, Barry's stated moderation policy makes no such distinction:
I’ll answer that. If PZ — or anyone else — came here and minded his manners, he would be more than welcome. I’m not holding my breath though, because PZ does not appear to be able to rise above adolescent name calling.
Note that "anyone else" is welcome. No qualification; no "unless they've been blacklisted".
And on that score, what he said at AtBC tells me that I should not take him off the blacklisted status, for such disrespect would likely be perpetuated here.
Your prognostications are irrelevant. The policy states that "anyone else" is "more than welcome". It does not say "unless the moderator suspects that disrespect will 'likely' occur."
As far as “moderating” Diffaxial, his comments did deserve a placement in moderation.
If they did, then so did Upright Biped's (and the comments of many others on this blog). Since you have evidently given the others the benefit of the doubt and left them out of moderation, I recommend that you equalize the situation by removing Diffaxial from moderation as well.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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StephenB writes:
Thus, both you and serendipidy complain as if Clive had violated some universal standard of equal justice when he moderated Diffaxial...
No, I complain that Clive has failed to apply the quite mundane moderation policy consistently.serendipity
June 2, 2009
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----David Kellogg: "kairosfocus, there are many amusing things about the discussion. But those who have critiqued the “principles of right reason” are objecting to the reification of StephenB’s imagination. They are not, pace your comment, appealing to those same “principles.” Oh, but they do, and so do you---but you do it unwittingly. Thus, both you and serendipidy complain as if Clive had violated some universal standard of equal justice when he moderated Diffaxial even though both of you persistently claim that no such standard exists. Every time you say, "that's not fair," you are appealing to a unchanging, universal, immaterial standard of justice that transcends human behavior. It is only your postmodern bias that prevents you from seeing the obvious.StephenB
June 2, 2009
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"I’m not appealing to anyone’s personal sense of justice here. The moderation policy is available for our perusal. If Diffaxial’s behavior constitutes a violation of the policy, then so does Upright Biped’s." IF what you say is accurate you make a good logical argument but whose to say 2+2 =4? Perhaps Clive realized that logic need not apply in this sitiation? Maybe Diff was occupying the macro world and Upright the quantum world? "Diffaxial was placed in moderation; Upright Biped was not. I conclude from this and other examples that the moderation policy is not being applied consistently" Following up on Stephens point who are you to say that Clive was wrong in his application? Clive as the moderator interpreted the stated policy the way he understnds it to read. You think he is wrong in his interpretation but whose to say he was wrong? I mean what gives you the right to impose your interpretation and application of the policy? Vividvividbleau
June 2, 2009
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serendipity, The moderation policy as stated by Barry is consistently being applied by me, for it pertains to the particular circumstances of what constitutes someone being "moderated" for someone who already posts here, or may come to post here anew. But there is a difference in what constitutes placing someone in "moderation" who already posts here freely, and what constitutes taking someone off the blacklisted list. In Bob O'Hara's case, he's not "moderated", for he's already been blacklisted in the past. I can re-examine whether he should be taken off the blacklisted status, which was not enumerated by Barry at all, notice. And on that score, what he said at AtBC tells me that I should not take him off the blacklisted status, for such disrespect would likely be perpetuated here. Notice, on this account of what constitutes taking someone off the blacklisted status, was not at all mentioned by Barry, thus, I am not inconsistent with the moderation policy. As far as "moderating" Diffaxial, his comments did deserve a placement in moderation. You're welcome to point me to others whom you feel deserve to also be placed in moderation status, and I will consider it.Clive Hayden
June 2, 2009
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