Re: [humanism-174] Excellent and Informative Description of Science

From: Randy P.
Sent on: Sunday, December 2, 2012 11:39 PM
Excellent point Greg. Sadly, I think it will likely have no impact on Mark since he is so deeply wedded, despite all argument to the contrary, to his claim that science has to be at its very core a dogma. I've been unable to persuade him he is wrong. Perhaps your contribution will help to clear away the fog obscuring his intellectual vision.

Come to think of it,  the best medicine that might cure him could very well be if we could just take from him the comforting binky (see the movie Mr. Mom for an explanation of a binky) to which he is so attached: his precious dictionary.

Actually it is possible to challenge some of the claims of religion with controlled experiments and other methods of science. Prayer for example. Experiments have been performed showing it has no real effect. The problem is that many believers often find a way to dismiss the evidence from those experiments that conflict with their religious belief. Hence religion is founded on dogma. Science, however, will eventually abandon any conclusion, no matter how intellectually appealing or how widespread its acceptance or how long-lived it has been, if newly discovered evidence requires it. This is the very antithesis of dogma.

Randy


From: Greg Priddy <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, December 2,[masked]:48 PM
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Excellent and Informative Description of Science

"It is true that these tenets were discovered and developed by a body of experts, who may be described as a body of authorities."

The significant factor that differentiates science from dogma is that while the tenets of science are discovered by experts, it's not merely the fact that they are experts that elevates those findings. It's the fact that those findings are supported by the results of independently repeatable experiments.

The claims made by Feishman and Ponds about cold fusion didn't go unchallenged simply because they were recognized experts. Furthermore, they ware challenged based on others not being able to duplicate their results. Try challenging religious dogma by means of a controlled experiment. Oh right, not possible.

-Greg

On Sun, 2 Dec[masked]:24:04 -0500
Randy Pelton <[address removed]> wrote:
> I am puzzled by this statement of yours:
>
> " "He also believes that morality is not absolute, this gives credence to religion."
>
> How, exactly does Coel give credence to religion by arguing that morality is not absolute? You must have a very different understanding of religion from that of myself and everyone else I know. At the very least, the three large monotheistic religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism - claim moral absolutes.
>
> I did not deny the definition of dogma that you offered. As I said before, I reject your contention that this definition and therefore the term dogma applies to science. Again, the system of science is not dogmatic. You have not provided a convincing argument that science is dogmatic. The definition you provided is not evidence that science is dogmatic. Science, to repeat once again, is not a collection of "established opinions." The underlying, foundational tenets of science are not a set of "established opinions." It is true that these tenets were discovered and developed by a body of experts, who may be described as a body of authorities. But these tenets upon which the scientific enterprise is built are not opinions. Since dogma is founded upon opinions and science is not, science is not based on a dogma. As I said before, the conclusions derived by science through its examination of empirically-derived evidence, and tenets upon which the entire
> enterprise rests, are provisional truths, based on evidence, observation and testing. The standard of evidence required for these conclusions is significantly higher than the standard required for an "established opinion." In fact, as I have said before, an opinion, established or not, does not require evidence whereas evidence is an indispensable component of science and scientific conclusions.
>
>
> Randy
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Mark R. Orel <[address removed]>
> To: [address removed] Sent: Sunday, December 2,[masked]:18 AM
> Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Excellent and Informative Description of Science
>
>
> Randy: 
>
> Thank you for the link.  This is the first I've seen the word 'scientism'.  
> You can see my response below. So is everythingscience?
> No it isn’t. Science entails an obligation to do the best you can. It is acceptable to draw conclusions from limited data if you have nothing more; and you can do without rigorous controlled experiments if they are impractical. But to be scientific you should be continually seeking to do better, testing your conclusions, and checking for biase
> If you have an emotional commitment to a desired answer, then that in itself isn’t unscientific, but it is a warning flag that you are highly prone to a biased assessment and so to a false conclusion. If you think that holding to the desired answer is more important than the evidence for that answer then you’re being unscientific. (Following is a personal comment from me, Randy. I also think you are being dogmatic and are infected by dogma if the statement above describes you.) If your emotional commitment to a faith (perhaps a religious faith) is clouding your judgement over the evidence for that faith then you’re being unscientific. And if you point airily at “other ways of knowing” as an excuse to pretend that you don’t need to provide evidence then you are being unscientific.  
>
> I agree, and Randy you are holding to a desired answer that you find more important than the evidence for that answer when you deny the definition of a word, like dogma.  You want it to mean something that it does not.  The system that is science is
>    dogmatic. 
> As far as definitions go, Coel's blog is simply defining science as knowledge.  Which I can agree to as the word comes from the Latin scientia, which means knowledge.  His definition also applies to philosophy, as philosophy comes from the Greek, philosophia, which translates to love of wisdom.   He paints science with a broad brush which I have no problem with, it will make for an interesting philosophical discussion.  
> I especially like the fact that he doesn't seem to believe that
>    there is an absolute truth.  That all reality is empirical.  He also
>    believes that morality is not absolute, this gives credence to religion. 
>    (This comes for the remakes that follow the article, in which Coel
>    clarifies his reasoning in discussion.)
>
> M. Orel
>
>
> On[masked]:57, Randy Pelton wrote:
>
> While reading one of Jerry Coyne's blog posts I found my way to another blog post that I think to be one of the best descriptions of science I have ever read. I highly recommend this piece to all of you. 
>>
>>
>> http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/what-does-science-in-scientism-mean/
>>
>>
>>
>> Below is the post in its entirety. It is lengthy but, IMO, well worth the read. Above I have also provided the link to the original post. I recommend reading the entire essay. I have taken the liberty of bold-facing and italicizing some sections that I found of particular interest, importance or insight. 
>>
>>
>> I think all will benefit from reading and pondering this essay. There are a few who will, in my opinion, benefit more than others because of their repeated demonstration of a limited understanding of science and self-imposed restricted definition of it. I look forward to the discussion and debate that will follow.
>>
>>
>> Randy
>>
>>
>> What does “science” in “scientism” mean?
>> Posted on February
> 25, 2012 by Coel
>>
>
>
>
>
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