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# Common sense is useless in a discussion of scientific topics.

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posted on Nov, 4 2010 @ 05:15 PM
I wanted to post this here because there's a common type of comment in discussions about evolution that comes only from those that disagree with evolution, that it's against 'common sense'.

Well, I saw a YouTube video that inspired me to make this thread, I will post it now, and you can feel free to watch it instead of reading my summary of its claims.

The video has one great gameshow example that specifically demonstrates how useless common sense is in regards to scientific reasoning. I forget the game show and don't feel like rewatching the video, but here's the example

There are three doors. Behind one of these doors is a brand new car and behind the other two are goats. You are told to choose a door, let's say you choose door number 1. The host of the show, knowing what lies behind each door, then decides to open a door with a goat behind it, door number 3. You are then asked if you would like to switch to choosing door number 2.

Would it be a reasonable choice to switch? Would it make a difference?

Well, common sense dictates that it would still be a 50/50 chance, wouldn't it?

Actually...no, it wouldn't. You're best off switching doors. The video doesn't explain why, but it does direct you to the wikipedia page of the problem in its description on YouTube, so I'll provide that: Here's an explanation of the "Monty Hall problem"

You can watch the videos for further quotes and discussion, but I'd like to propose my own counterintuitive bit of science (and there are plenty).

I get a bucket of liquid nitrogen (which is −196 °C; −321 °F). I pull it up with one hand, hold my other hand out, and pour a splash of it onto my bare hand....and I feel a brief odd sensation but my hand is unharmed!
But I thought it would freeze my hand!

Ok, ok, I'll just quickly dunk my hand in and then pull it out, it should freeze quite quickly when it's so cold!
And I feel the same odd sensation but my hand remains unfrozen.

What's the deal?

Well, it's called the Leidenfrost effect. A quick and oversimplified version is that the surface of your skin is so much hotter than the nitrogen that the nitrogen boils and you form a small protective layer of gas between your hand and the insanely cold liquid.

Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking that this is quite a stupid example because it can't be true.
How about I show you video evidence of someone else doing exactly what I described.

I have to say, it took a lot of willpower to overcome the common sense instinct that sticking your hand in liquid nitrogen is a horrible idea.

So there you have it, science trumps common sense!

Evolution may seem counter-intuitive, but that isn't actually something uncommon in science. If anything it would be a hallmark of the theory. The common sense answers are the easiest to arrive at, but they don't always stand up to scrutiny.

Just a quick edit to clarify something;

I was not suddenly converted to hating common sense by this video, I already knew it had no place in science. This is something that any student of science should know, as common sense would seem to dictate that Sun goes around the Earth and yet we all (or almost all) know that it's the other way around.
edit on 11/4/10 by madnessinmysoul because: Clarification

posted on Nov, 5 2010 @ 07:47 AM

Another example of testing the Leidenfrost effect is in the Mythbusters episode #136 from 2009. They dipped their wet hand into molten lead.

posted on Nov, 5 2010 @ 08:30 AM
Wonderful Statistical Probability!

Conversely, This should also be a resounding Red Flag of why science should stay away from attempting to quantify the most important element NOT listed in the periodic table of elements...

The HUMAN element.

It CANNOT be quantified nor can its' child elements be quantified by science!

Science has nothing to do with wisdom.

posted on Nov, 5 2010 @ 08:50 AM

There are three doors. Behind one of these doors is a brand new car and behind the other two are goats. You are told to choose a door, let's say you choose door number 1. The host of the show, knowing what lies behind each door, then decides to open a door with a goat behind it, door number 3. You are then asked if you would like to switch to choosing door number 2.

Would it be a reasonable choice to switch? Would it make a difference?

Well, common sense dictates that it would still be a 50/50 chance, wouldn't it?

No, it wouldn't. When the host opens the door and it has a goat behind it, it changes everything, it's part of an elimination process. Hence it's no longer 50/50.

posted on Nov, 5 2010 @ 09:29 AM
you can't eat a ford but you

sure can eat a goat!

common sense there!

posted on Nov, 5 2010 @ 09:41 AM

...yes, but the majority of people who respond to the query deduce through 'common sense' that the probability is still 50/50.

There's a quote from Einstein that is also in the video provided that I'll try to quote properly: "Common sense is just the accumulated prejudices you gather by the age of 18."

Or something like that.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 12:44 AM

I maintain there is a logical fallacy in the "standard solution" to the "Monty Hall" problem. I understand the "standard solution" and the logic used to derive it, however, I still disagree.

The thing is that the first question is 1/3 chance the car is behind any particular door, so there is a 2/3 chance that you have picked a goat. Fine. When one goat is exposed, there is still a 2/3 chance that you picked a goat. Fine. If everything stays the same, there is still a two thirds chance that you picked a goat.

But NOW you are asked to make a new choice. The odds change to 50/50 because there are two doors, one with a goat and one without. You are free to choose between either door and you are making a new choice based on a completely different scenario, a two door scenario, and the three door scenario is moot.

The Wikipedia article suggests that the "standard solution" can be understood better if you think of a million doors instead of 3. After all, what are the odds of you picking the 1 right door out of a million? But it doesn't matter, you are never guessing which door hides the car out of three or a million or a billion or a trillion. All you are doing is choosing one of two doors that in the end you get to pick between. Then when the host has revealed all doors except one other, you get to guess which of those two unexposed doors hides the car.

I understand this is not the 'majority opinion', never-the-less, I stick by it.
edit on 7/11/2010 by rnaa because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 01:42 AM
Well maybe this is not common sense per say, but informed sense.

The Monty hall problem is awesome and actually had statistical mathematicians up in arms when it was first brought up, but the minute the math is done it makes perfect sense. Once your informed you understand the thinking behind it.

Same think with the liquid nitrogen, makes perfect sense when you understand the physics behind it. Of course this is the second law of thermodynamics and for the first couple of seconds you will create a protective layer around your hand.

Same thing with playing the lottery, playing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 has the same probability of winning as the 6 random numbers people choose. Actually picking the same numbers that won the week before increases your odds of winning. Can't remember the math exactly, it was in the book "the drunkards walk."

The thing about being informed is that it is uncommon today, which is sad but unfortunately true. Common sense is not so common anymore.

Pred...

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 04:38 AM

Well, that's the thing about common sense, it's common. The majority of science is uncommon and some of it is very rare to come across.

Now, you're right that an informed populace would allow for common sense to become a much greater thing, but that's not the case.

And any new counterintuitive scientific discoveries will be subject to the same bias that the old ones that are now in the canon of 'common sense' were subject to initially.

Hence, common sense is still useless in science. Only informed sense.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 04:38 AM

Yes, but it's incorrect not because it isn't the majority opinion, it's incorrect because it's going against demonstrable mathematics. And mathematics is the only place where you can have 100% proof.

And where is the logical fallacy, I've yet to see one.
Here's a link to a website that lists all the logical fallacies with in-depth explanations and examples.

...I just like sharing that website.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 10:52 AM

There may be proof in mathematics. Can you have 100% proof of evolution without direct retrospective observation, though? Probability weighs against chance occurrence for the origin of man (one of the logical outcomes of neo-Darwinianism). It is not 100% proof, but demonstrated to the extent that the likelihood of chance is highly improbable. That leaves us with the theory of directed evolution.

edit on 7-11-2010 by Raiment because: typo

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 11:06 AM

Originally posted by Raiment
There may be proof in mathematics. Can you have 100% proof of evolution without direct retrospective observation, though? Probability weighs against chance occurrence for the origin of man (one of the logical outcomes of neo-Darwinianism).

I hear a lot about people talking about how 'improbable' it is for evolution to be true, so let's take a look at something.

Get a standard deck of playing cards. Shuffle them.
Now deal yourself 5 cards.

The probability of the hand you just dealt yourself is 1/ (52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x 48)%
OR
1 in 311,875,200

That's just the chance of getting a hand of any 5 cards, but it doesn't preclude it from happening.
Shuffle the cards back into the deck.
Now deal yourself another hand, it's also a 1 in 311,875,200 chance.
But now that you've dealt yourself TWO hands the chances that you would get them both in that sequence is 1 in 97,266,140,375,040,000
And so on for each and every other hand you're playing.
It gets exponentially worse when you're playing with multiple people.

So the chances of that happening are so exponentially small, so why does it happen? Well, all the other possible options have an equal chance of happening, do they not? And are people not playing with cards all over the world? Eventually someone is going to get ten hands in a row in the exact same way you were dealt ten cards.

And hence there's really no logic in saying that probability is the reason why evolution cannot be true. Something being improbable doesn't mean it is impossible, only that it is very unlikely that it will happen.

I'm sorry for the huge quote, but I hate having to reword something I've already explained.

And anyway, is there a way to mathematically show the probability of the evolution of humanity?

It is not 100% proof, but demonstrated to the extent that the likelihood of chance is highly improbable. That leaves us with the theory of directed evolution.

No, it leaves us with something highly improbable happening.

Directed evolution would have to be...*gasp* directly proven.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 11:20 AM

Thank you for your answer. As I understand it, the probability of the origins of man by chance is quite improbable, not equivalent at all to the old bridge hand argument. It is more like something so close to zero that many scientists call it zero. I am not sure why guided evolution has to be proven, as non-directed evolution has not been proven either. Evolutionsts seem to always be asking for proof when they do not have it themselves, although they do have evidence to a certain extent. There are many gaps in neo-Darwinian theory; I'm sure you are familiar with them. Directed evolution could possibly be developed to the point of holding equal weight to non-directed evolution, as I see it.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 01:04 PM

Originally posted by Raiment

Thank you for your answer. As I understand it, the probability of the origins of man by chance is quite improbable, not equivalent at all to the old bridge hand argument. It is more like something so close to zero that many scientists call it zero.

The chance of two hands of cards in a poker game is 1.028107 × 10^-17%, the chances for an entire game would be exponentially lower. Both numbers are essentially zero.

Hell, the chances of a deck of cards being in any particular order are 1 in 80,658,175,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
or 1.23979993 × 10^-68%

...that's essentially zero as well.

And again, where is this probability of the origin of humanity?

And who are these scientists?

I am not sure why guided evolution has to be proven, as non-directed evolution has not been proven either.

Yes it has. I provided you with some info in another thread.

Evolutionsts seem to always be asking for proof when they do not have it themselves, although they do have evidence to a certain extent.

To a certain extent? Genetics, phylogeny, the fossil record, observed speciation, etc...that's a lot of evidence.

There are many gaps in neo-Darwinian theory; I'm sure you are familiar with them.

Can you show me these gaps?

Also, it's funny that you're using the word 'gaps' when you're putting forth a 'god of the gaps' argument.

Directed evolution could possibly be developed to the point of holding equal weight to non-directed evolution, as I see it.

Could possibly doesn't hold in a scientific debate.
And how could it be proven?

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 03:36 PM

And where is the logical fallacy, I've yet to see one.

OK, not 'logical' fallacy maybe. Reasoning fallacy. The conclusion is ignoring the facts of the situation.

The actual consequent of being asked if you want to change your selection is to throw the entire situation into a choice between two doors. Period. You have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 03:57 PM

Originally posted by rnaa
The actual consequent of being asked if you want to change your selection is to throw the entire situation into a choice between two doors. Period. You have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

But the choice between the two doors doesn't leave you with a 50/50 chance of picking the car.

There's a 2/3rds chance of originally picking a goat, so you've got a 2/3rds chance of getting it right if you switch, because the host has already taken the other goat out of the equation in 2 out of the 3 possible combinations.

Reducing the choice of doors to a 50/50 selection, doesn't alter the chance of picking the correct option to 50/50.

posted on Nov, 7 2010 @ 05:41 PM
The origin of humanity is getting amino acids from the prebiotic soup. Just getting one functional protein is 10 to the 164th power. A minimally complex cell needs 250 proteins of 150 amino acids, or 1 to the 41,000th power (more zeros than I can write here and make the post efficient). It makes the card hand seems possible. And does not even count all the other constants that had to be in place.

Non-directed evolution has not been proven from the fossils or geological remains we have now. Evolution on a large scale has been suggested, but not proven.

There is a lot of evidence for evolution, but not for change on a large scale; say, change above the species or order level.

That's why they (evolution and design) should have equal footing .The gaps in evolution are filled in with scientific hope, as in, we hope scientists will resolve this in the future. There are no verified transitional fossils (reptile>bird); geological formations are missing hundreds of millions of years of evolution; the fossil explosion, to name a few examples.

How can the origin of life by non-directed evolution by proven? It can only be pieced together and the gaps filled in with 'could possibly this or that' said by scientists.
edit on 7-11-2010 by Raiment because: edit quote

edit on 7-11-2010 by Raiment because: typo

posted on Nov, 8 2010 @ 02:10 AM

Just getting one functional protein is 10 to the 164th power.

No. For the bazillionth time.

The first life was nothing like a 'modern' cell, "It was life, Raiment, but not as we know it". The modern cell and its protein mechanism evolved from much simpler life forms, just fatty acids for example. No proteins, and no outlandish random atomic meetings, just organic molecular chemistry. No "designer" was necessary, just chemistry and physics. Chemical reactions are not random events, they happen according to known rules, proceed in known steps, have known results, and leave known by-products.

Please review the following video. If you understand the difference between abiogenesis and evolution, you may skip the first 1:50. Your 'odds' fallacy is addressed beginning at the 1:50 mark. At the 2:40 mark is the meat of Szostak's hypothesis. Given the known presence of a large range of organic molecules in the pre-biotic earth, the known environmental conditions of the pre-biotic earth, and the known characteristics of organic chemistry and physics, the process described in this video are a statistical certainty.

posted on Nov, 8 2010 @ 02:35 AM

OK, not 'logical' fallacy maybe. Reasoning fallacy. The conclusion is ignoring the facts of the situation.

The actual consequent of being asked if you want to change your selection is to throw the entire situation into a choice between two doors. Period. You have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

I dont care what any mathematician says..I agree with this statement..
Once the contestant was given a second choice with one door already open the odds changed to 50/50.
How could they remain at 1/3?
I'll put it anothet way. What if the compere did NOT open a door but merely asked the contestant if they wanted to change their selection? Then it would remain 1/3..

If q is unknown then the conditional probability is unknown too, but still it is always at least 1/2 and on average, over the possible conditions, equal to the unconditional probability 2/3.

There are too many other factors to take into account.
A bad example of common sense not being correct..

edit on 8-11-2010 by backinblack because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 8 2010 @ 03:56 AM

Science has nothing to do with wisdom.

Actually I would say wisdom has a lot to do with science, relying on the scientific method takes the wisdom to set aside superstition and look for answers based on evidence. So Science is wise, in a sense. It could also be argued that wisdom, the ability to be wise, stems from our evolution and science definitely does look at our evolution.

I agree with the OP, common sense is useless in science. We've discovered a lot of weird things about nature and the Universe that common sense never would have led us to. The concept Evolution is one of those things that sounds a bit odd when you first hear it but when you actually look at the evidence its all there. Many, because they've been taught to believe in myths, don't get past that initial oddness and never even get around to looking at the evidence.

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