Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


L&FP, 58b: The JoHari Window and recognising limits of our knowledge

The JoHari Window provides a useful context to control speculation or accusation or assumption posing as knowledge: Here, we see a personal focus. This can readily be extended to institutions, movements, interest groups and the public. We can even see, through faction dynamics, how a minority may see while the community at large is innocently or even willfully blind, stuck in an ill advised business as usual. For example: Therefore, we are well advised to heed an adjusted form of Dallas Willard’s observation on knowledge and how it confers legitimate authority: To have knowledge in the dispositional sense—where you know things you are not necessarily thinking about at the time—is to be able to represent something as it is on Read More ›

L&FP 58: Knowledge (including scientific knowledge) is not a simple concept

. . . as a result of which, once there is an issue, complex questions and limitations of the philosophy of knowledge — Epistemology — emerge. Where, in particular, no scientific theory can be even morally certain. (Yes, as Newtonian Dynamics illustrates, they can be highly empirically reliable in a given gamut of circumstances . . . but as Newtonian Dynamics [vs. Modern Physics] also illustrates, so can models and frameworks known to be strictly inaccurate to reality. Empirical reliability is something we can know to responsible certainty.) So, it is important for us to understand the subtleties and limitations of knowledge and of knowledge claims. As we have discussed previously, on balance, a good definition of knowledge (beyond merely Read More ›

The Intelligent Design Audiopaper Project

I was thinking recently, about how many audiobooks are consumed by people these days. I would guess that the main reason behind this consumption is convenience. Many people just don’t have the time, or don’t create the time, to really sit down and get their head in a book. But I understand that for many, it can also be due to personal preference, financial considerations, lack of space, being visually impaired, or learning difficulties. If non of these issues are barriers, I would always encourage reading (and ideally taking notes), rather than simply listening. On balance, the evidence does suggest that good reading is a much more efficient way of retaining information than listening, on its own. In general, listening Read More ›

L&FP42: is knowledge warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief?

It’s time to start delivering on a promise to address “warrant, knowledge, logic and first duties of reason as a cluster,” even at risk of being thought pedantic. Our civilisation is going through a crisis of confidence, down to the roots. If it is to be restored, that is where we have to start, and in the face of rampant hyperskepticism, relativism, subjectivism, emotivism, outright nihilism and irrationality, we need to have confidence regarding knowledge. Doing my penance, I suppose: these are key issues and so here I stand, in good conscience, I can do no other, God help me. For a start, from the days of Plato, knowledge has classically been defined as “justified, true belief.” However, in 1963, Read More ›

What about the elusive dream: metallic hydrogen?

With metal-like superionic water already on the table, why not look at the seemingly evasive metallic hydrogen? A year ago, there was a happy announcement (and an article in Science), but doubts have since been entertained; indeed Science issued a correction to the original paper. Science: >>Producing metallic hydrogen has been a great challenge in condensed matter physics. Metallic hydrogen may be a room-temperature superconductor and metastable when the pressure is released and could have an important impact on energy and rocketry. We have studied solid molecular hydrogen under pressure at low temperatures. At a pressure of 495 gigapascals, hydrogen becomes metallic, with reflectivity as high as 0.91. We fit the reflectance using a Drude free-electron model to determine the Read More ›

Robo-Doctor? In China, it seems Robot Xiao-Yi has passed the written medical licensing exams

Robo-Doc will see you? Maybe, but not just now. This item popped up from the usual suspect tabloid paper sites while searching on AI and memristors. I have tracked down a couple of more reputable sources so, here goes from China Daily (which is also on the spot): >>A robot has passed the written test of China’s national medical licensing examination, an essential entrance exam for doctors, making it the first robot in the world to pass such an exam. Its developer iFlytek Co Ltd, a leading Chinese artificial intelligence company, said on Thursday that the robot scored 456 points, 96 points higher than the required marks. The artificial-intelligence-enabled robot can automatically capture and analyze patient information and make initial Read More ›

Tabby’s Star — on the “extraordinary evidence” claim

If one watches the TED talk by Astronomer Tabetha Boyajian, one will notice that she begins with Sagan’s aphorism on “extraordinary” claims. This inadvertently reveals just how significant epistemological concerns are in scientific undertakings. Accordingly, for follow up, I post a corrective: The issue in knowledge is not extraordinary evidence (an assertion that invites selective hyperskepticism) but instead adequate warrant so that claimed knowledge is indeed warranted, credibly true (and so also reliable). END PS:  It seems I need to add a clip I just made and annotated from a UKG paper on envisioning future scenarios for RW purposes, to illustrate a point on risk vs uncertainty i/l/o planning horizons — though, frankly, a U-UBSE (unknown unknown, black swan event) Read More ›

Correcting Wikipedia on ID

Over the past couple of days, I headlined a discussion in a previous thread on how tainting accusations spread destructive untruths far and wide, using Wikipedia’s article on ID as an example. During the course of that discussion, I took time to do a point by point response to the lead. In turn, I think it worth the while to headline it: _____________ KF, 33:>>Let’s go a little deeper in that opening remark at Wiki, to see how framing with disregard for truth or fairness can mislead: >>Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God,>> 1 –> If the design inference on the world of life were a natural theology argument, it would have long since Read More ›

CR and the question of knowledge, with his championed “constructor theory” in play

CR is a frequent objector here at UD, and it seems again necessary to headline a corrective response given some of his remarks in the thread on UB’s discussion of information systems in cells: ____________________ KF, 62: >>CR: constructor theory formalizes the view that, in science, justification isn’t possible or even desirable and brings emergent phenomena, such as information, into fundamental physics First, no-one has discussed justification as a component for knowledge, as post Gettier, to be justified in holding a belief that turns out to be true is understood for cause as not equal to knowledge. The matter of warrant has long since been brought to your attention repeatedly but insistently ignored. Thus, you have shamelessly played the strawman Read More ›