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The Pseudoscientific Use of Science Fallacy

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posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 07:24 PM
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What I’ve seen occur quite often among debate in general is the negligent use of “science” (using the term loosely here) to win an argument, as if dropping someone else’s physics paper was some proverbial trump card—because, well, it’s science!

We often hear such declarations as “neuroscience says this” or “physics says that”, which is presented to us along with the built in assumption that what these sciences say is indeed true, that it needs no personal confirmation, and that we should automatically cease our own thinking as someone of more authority has already done the thinking for us. On these boards as well, all it takes is any snippet, quote, quip, link or clip of some scientist speculating on the nature of reality to have us raving over the implications of this interpretation, someone else’s interpretation of someone else’s data, all the while avoiding the duty and work of conducting the experiments and interpreting the data ourselves.

But blindly accepting someone else’s science, someone else’s scientific method, is not in any way related to thinking scientifically nor practicing science, for there is no scientific method in this practice, and it is likely little thinking is used at all. Allowing another to conclude for us, without at first taking it upon ourselves to observe what it is they are actually basing their conclusions on, is an act of faith. Also, taking the interpretation of a scientist based on a faith in science is not the scientific method—it is credulity; and if this faith happens to be presented in an argument as “science”, and that we should believe it simply because we name it science, we are witness to instead an act of pseudoscience, or “a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method” (Oxford English Dictionary). The belief and practice of assuming science true is based on one’s faith, entirely absent of any scientific method or observation.

Being an advocate of someone else’s interpretation of phenomena, someone else’s science paper, someone else’s book, isn’t a sign of scientific thinking, not unless the advocate himself has approached the exact same subject using the exact same scientific method and has reached the same conclusions from the exact same observations, because that is at least a part of what the scientific method entails. Therefor, presenting someone else’s science as truth, simply because it has been deemed science, without first rigorously confirming it as true, is a leap of faith, breaches into the realm of pseudoscience, and as such, is a fallacy in argument.




posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 07:28 PM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


Are people using these other papers, etc as conclusive proof?



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 07:39 PM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


But blindly accepting someone else’s science, someone else’s scientific method, is not in any way related to thinking scientifically nor practicing science, for there is no scientific method in this practice, and it is likely little thinking is used at all. Allowing another to conclude for us, without at first taking it upon ourselves to observe what it is they are actually basing their conclusions on, is an act of faith.

Did you perform all of the necessary experiments, and get your results peer-reviewed, to make sure that all of the technology involved in making your computer work was sound?


Being an advocate of someone else’s interpretation of phenomena, someone else’s science paper, someone else’s book, isn’t a sign of scientific thinking, not unless the advocate himself has approached the exact same subject using the exact same scientific method and has reached the same conclusions from the exact same observations, because that is at least a part of what the scientific method entails. Therefor, presenting someone else’s science as truth, simply because it has been deemed science, without first rigorously confirming it as true, is a leap of faith, breaches into the realm of pseudoscience, and as such, is a fallacy in argument.

Tried-and-true scientific theories do not necessarily need to be "tested" by every Tom, Dick, and Harry every single time that they are going to be used in work that builds upon them.

That's what the peer-review process is for: so that you can safely say: "yes, this has been proven time and again to be true when observed in a controlled setting."

And yes, you can build upon the peer-reviewed and recognized work of others' when formulating your own theories. Your theories are what need to be tested by everyone else though, to prove that they are sound.

If you happen to find a problem with something generally accepted by the scientific community though, research it, get your findings peer-reviewed, and publish it. That's the great thing about science: it revises itself based on what is observable and proven. Observe something? Prove it, and science will adjust its view. Simple as that.

~ Wandering Scribe



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by Wandering Scribe
 





Did you perform all of the necessary experiments, and get your results peer-reviewed, to make sure that all of the technology involved in making your computer work was sound?


I did.

Heard about this thing called a computer.

I asked the guy at Best Buy which computer was a good one, took it home plugged it in and turned it on.


While I hooked it up and figured out how it worked, my wife also read the instructions and reviewed my results.




Sometimes science is like that annoying friend with you while watching a movie, "this is going to be great" or " your gonna love this part". He's itching to tell you what is going to happen ('cause he's seen the movie already) and instead of letting you enjoy the show, he plays the spoiler.

Now in modern life scientific inventions have been helpful, (my computer). It also sucks sometimes (nuclear waste).


The thing is, Nature exists and all science really does is attempt to explain it.

Science did not create gravity, radio waves, or electrons.

Since I was a child I have done extensive experimentation with gravity and submitted many of my results to the peer review process (my cousin Jason or my friend Mike).

Sometimes scientists invent things, but many inventors are not research scientists.

Both of them often just observe and rip off Nature, which existed before us.


I don't necessarily always need a scientist, or worse yet a snobbish, science jock sniffer, to interpret everything I observe with my own eyes.


Too many people these days, let "experts" do all their thinking for them.



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 08:45 PM
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reply to post by Wandering Scribe
 





Did you perform all of the necessary experiments, and get your results peer-reviewed, to make sure that all of the technology involved in making your computer work was sound?


I'm not presenting my case as science. I am presenting my own interpretation based purely upon my own interpretation, and by doing so take full accountability of my reason.


Tried-and-true scientific theories do not necessarily need to be "tested" by every Tom, Dick, and Harry every single time that they are going to be used in work that builds upon them.

That's what the peer-review process is for: so that you can safely say: "yes, this has been proven time and again to be true when observed in a controlled setting."

And yes, you can build upon the peer-reviewed and recognized work of others' when formulating your own theories. Your theories are what need to be tested by everyone else though, to prove that they are sound.

If you happen to find a problem with something generally accepted by the scientific community though, research it, get your findings peer-reviewed, and publish it. That's the great thing about science: it revises itself based on what is observable and proven. Observe something? Prove it, and science will adjust its view. Simple as that.

~ Wandering Scribe



I fully agree and concede this point. But I'm not necessarily talking about the scientific method itself. I am discussing the use of it in argument and discourse as irrefutable truth, as a rhetorical principle, when no such scientific method was taken by the one arguing the point. I am saying that although the scientists conclusion is an act of science, the passing off of it as truth by another who chooses not to employ those methods is pseudoscience and faith.

I think we might agree that science is essentially the use of the scientific method to devise theories. However, I'm not sure how promoting science and the scientific method yet taking it on faith from an authority is an act of science itself.



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 09:44 PM
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Of course there is a powerful thread of faith in the discussion of science, and that faith is sadly somewhat necessary. Why is it necessary? Well, it just isn't feasible for any person (including higher level physicists and biochemists) to perform 5% of the experiments and observations their knowledge base stands on. Would you fault a particle physicist for having faith in the operations of certain nuclear reactions, even if he or she hadn't detonated any fusion bombs or built even one fission reactor? There is just no possible way we can do what needs to be done personally to validate what we consider to be our own scientific knowledge. And this necessary assumption is built into the practice of science of course, that we need to have faith that the explanations and models we have learned are as correct a version of things as the collective body of science has found so far. We don't need to have faith they are correct full stop, but we do need to have faith that intense effort has been exerted to test and question them.

That is what science is about- making the act of having faith less perilous, by providing us with a rational mechanism for structuring what we can be more comfortable having faith in. For instance, when you get into an elevator, you wouldn't have done so if you didn't have at least some measure of faith you wouldn't plunge to your death, and thus you are having faith in building inspections and code enforcement. Are you lazy or uninformed because you didn't perform the building inspection yourself before getting into the elevator? No, there was simply no way for you to perform that task and tasks like it every time you interacted with a piece of machinery.

And so it is with science. To a degree you can't fault people for having faith in a system of peer review meant to take some of the dangers away from the necessity to have faith in knowledge itself. That is what science is for.

But I don't say there isn't some truth to what you say, if only slightly under-explained. Afterall, there is a very bad tendency to accept anything calling itself science, regardless of whether it has been reviewed and verified by qualified hands, and of course there is the inertia with the scientific community itself against changing its models too quickly, and even being hostile to challengers to established models. Such attitudes are often called "scientism".

This discussion is made difficult by the need to distinguish between what I consider the necessary faith in the scientific method and review system, and what I would consider the fallacious faith in accepting anything with the label of "science" applied to it, rightly or wrongly. So in summary:

Faith in instituational concept of science: sadly needed.
Faith in the power of the label "science" to explain away just doubt: mistake



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by Wandering Scribe
 



Did you perform all of the necessary experiments, and get your results peer-reviewed, to make sure that all of the technology involved in making your computer work was sound?


ooooohhhh!! i just LOVE it when people play this card. do you remember the thread about the 'facts' of science are determined in no small part by horses asses?

well, see, the thing about computers and 'all of the technology involved'....

could you please tell me: what scientific role did the marketing department of miscosoft have?
maybe you would like to tell me what technical expertise the accounting office had to share?
what about the app developers? their contributions to this technology must be HUGE, right?

NO! all science is flawed from the get go. the problem is that "Tom, Dick, and Harry" and every other 'horses ass' has their way with the scientific process..... and then in the end of it all we have the NERVE to call it "tried-and-TRUE"!


how about, lets call it "tried-and-convinient" or "tried-and-satisfied".



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 11:21 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 




could you please tell me: what scientific role did the marketing department of miscosoft have?

Can you please tell me: what computers does Microsoft design? What integrated circuits?
Last I heard they made software. As one who does it on occasion, I have to admit that's not really science.
edit on 12/21/2013 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 11:40 PM
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...Latour develops the methodological dictum that science and technology must be studied "in action", or "in the making". Because scientific discoveries turn esoteric and difficult to understand, it has to be studied where discoveries are made in practice.

Going back in time, deconstructing statements, machines and articles, it is possible to arrive at a point where scientific discovery could have chosen to take many other directions.
Science in Action


Latour claims, and i agree, that science is one black-box piled upon a long history of other black-boxes.

unfortunately, as i tried to point out in my previous post, the actual development process of ALL such black-boxes is tainted by the scientifically irrelevant circumstances surrounding the event.

but people rarely ever go back and check.
they simply proceed to construct their own black box on top!



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 

the statement i was responding to said:

all of the technology involved in making your computer work


they make an operating system. an OS is a technology which makes a computer work.



posted on Dec, 21 2013 @ 11:49 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 

Not really.
The technology is in the circuitry. The software is window dressing.

Try designing an integrated circuit without using principles of quantum mechanics.



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 12:17 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 

oh good grief. quantum mechanics is one of the biggest black-boxes out there! the interior of the QM black box is so terrifying that it leads down a drain!


Do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe, but just relax and enjoy it. I am going to tell you what nature behaves like… Do not keep saying to yourself, “But how can it be like that?” because you will get 'down the drain' into a blind alley from which nobody has escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.

Feynman, R. P., & Gleick, J. (1994). The Character of physical law.


OH NO! we dare not go there!

yeah. instead, how about we come up with a vast array of throw-it-and-see-what-sticks patchwork theories and a menagerie of exotic particles to plug up all of the gaps. thats way better.

it sure would be nice if we could go back and build it up from first principles.

but we cannot! our god Feynman has forbit it!

just because it works doesnt make it true.



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 12:18 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 




oh good grief. quantum mechanics is one of the biggest black-boxes out there! the interior of the QM black box is so terrifying that it leads down a drain!
Or to integrated circuitry.

Sort of like how the black box of relativity leads to the GPS system?

edit on 12/22/2013 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 12:33 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


youre making the OP's point exactly. you have made the incorrect inference that because the theories lead to workable technologies, the theories must be true.

modeling the universe as celestial spheres was incredibly useful at describing the motion of the stars and planetary bodies. does this mean celestial spheres exist?

no? why not? because someone came along and questioned it! bucked the system. did their own goddamned work instead of believing everything the establishment set before them.

this is not hard, phage.



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


modeling the universe as celestial spheres was incredibly useful at describing the motion of the stars and planetary bodies.

No. It wasn't. Things like retrograde motion (and the phases of Venus) made it very problematic.
Mostly because Earth is not the center of the Universe.

edit on 12/22/2013 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 12:56 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


well hell. it surely must have served some useful purpose. this is getting far too pedantic. do you want me to do flips and chase my tail too?

useful purpose = GPS

useful purpose != true



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 12:59 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 


useful purpose != true

Yeah. But...

The math sure works out pretty damned well. Predicting just how many microseconds to slow the clocks on the satellites to compensate for relativity before putting them in orbit is pretty impressive. Even if it is completely wrong. Right?

Or just a lucky guess?

edit on 12/22/2013 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 01:23 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


absolutely. incredibly accurate.

however, as you are aware, relativity cannot be reconciled with quantum physics. the reason i bring this up is to point out that a system of representation can only represent those things which it has been designed to represent.... the designing of which makes certain implicit assumptions about the nature things in general. (talk about pedantic, haha)

more simply: relativity cannot gain the 'outside' perspective on itself. it takes a person to do that. the trouble being of course that people, especially nowadays, have a terrible habit of getting trapped on the inside as well.

they seek to describe some phenomena which arises from outside their model in terms available inside the model. this is impossible to do. in fact, it usually takes a genius to do it.

but the scientific community actively discourages genius, as can plainly be seen by Feynman's quote.


how dare he define the limits of our thought?



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 01:26 AM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 




absolutely. incredibly accurate.
Lucky guess then?



but the scientific community actively discourages genius, as can plainly be seen by Feynman's quote.

Not at all.
The scientific community just demands that genius be demonstrated, not proclaimed.
Feynman qualified.

edit on 12/22/2013 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2013 @ 01:39 AM
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I think I agree with a lot of what you said, NiNjABackflip; at least the gist of it. What I got out of it is this:

You’ve had it with all the people making posts around here, quoting so-called scientific sources (which are very often questionable at best), and then presenting whatever it is as though they have even the slightest clue as to what they’re talking about.

If that’s what you’re getting at, then I agree with you.

From time to time, however, you do come across an intelligent science thread here. It’s just they’re few and far between. A couple times I’ve had an unpleasant exchange with one of those brain-dead know-it-alls. Anymore, though, I won’t waste my time; It’s pointless. If the person obviously hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about, then screw it and direct your attention elsewhere.

If you have an interest in science, though, don’t make ATS your primary source. There are a few sites out there that are legit, and won’t allow the nonsense that goes on around here. You need to at least half-way know what you’re talking about or will get 86’d.

It’s true that science is not absolute, or the last word, on any level or any topic. Any real scientist will concede that. It’s just an attempt to explain some of the wild stuff nature throws at us. It seems in physics there’s a complete paradigm shift every couple hundred years, or so, as better explanations come forth. I have a feeling we may be on the verge of having another one soon. And on and on it goes...

Just for kicks, you might checkout Physics Forum. You won’t find so much BS there...

Cheers!!

PS: I believe the “computer” posts here are more related to engineering technology, not science...


edit on 12/22/2013 by netbound because: (no reason given)



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