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Split From Epistemological Standards in Theory-Formation

  1. Jul 12, 2006 #1

    loseyourname

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    Come on guys, this thread exists because of off-topic posts. Don't start an evolution debate in addition to it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2006 #2

    Les Sleeth

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    Well, evolution is the best example I know of where belief is coloring the picture presented to the public. The Dawkins quotes you deleted show him doing what I've seen done many times, which is to state there is vast evidence ("billions of clues") like that evidence supports every bit of Darwinistic theory, and then NOT stating what the evidence doesn't support. It seems to me if we don't have an example of it happening within science, then we are restricted to speaking in hypotheticals.
     
  4. Jul 12, 2006 #3

    loseyourname

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    I don't agree that Dawkins is a good example of a person demonstrating "true-believerism" unless you're referring to his work in theology, but this isn't the place to debate that.

    It's okay to restrict your contention that certain members show traces of scientistic bias in their own thinking by only referring to their thinking. We needn't expand the discussion into the realm of public education and policy. If you must do so, however, I'd prefer you use an example of a scientist holding a belief that was later clearly shown to be in error, rather than contesting claims that are held to by the scientific orthodoxy. This is still primarily an education forum devoted to promoting the scientific orthodoxy, and that includes Dawkins' writings on evolutionary theory. I agree that standard of evidence disputes are covered under the auspices of epistemology and do belong here, but we're treading on delicate territory that is not taken to kindly in these parts when we start to question the standard of evidence for a foundational theory of the life sciences.
     
  5. Jul 12, 2006 #4
    What exactly is going on?
     
  6. Jul 12, 2006 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    Beats the H out of me. I'm outa here.

    BTW loseyourname, if I'm in your list of overly scientistic posters, that's unfair.
     
  7. Jul 12, 2006 #6

    loseyourname

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    I'm not accusing anyone of being overly scientistic, just saying that if Les is going to do so, he doesn't have to bring in examples from outside of the forum. He can just cite what he thinks are the offending posts. Anyway, I'm going to have to clean up all of this, too, for the thread to continue going in its original direction.

    I'll delete these posts in a few hours or so, but no more discussion on them please. Back to the topic of the thread.

    Edit: I decided to just move the off-topic posts to feedback, since this is essentially a commentary on why I edited and deleted the initial posts, which is fine to discuss (I do want people to know why), just not as part of the original thread. Besides, it's best not to just delete it since the explanation is primarily for Les and he hasn't read it yet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
  8. Jul 13, 2006 #7

    Les Sleeth

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    Mr. Dawkins did claim the article found here - http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/04/30/dawkins/index.html - that "billions of clues" and "millions of facts" support evolution, and he said it in a way that gives the clear impression the whole of Darwinism is supported by those clues and facts. I have been reading him exclusively lately, and I have yet to see him properly acknowledge what a number of other scientists do, which is that there is no solid evidence that microevolutionary processes are responsible for macroevolution.

    Dawkins is not only a "believer" of the category my thread is highlighting, he is downright fanatical about it. His arrogance isn't limited to antievolutionists either, he is just as condenscending to his own colleagues, Prince Charles, President Clinton, the Dean of Oxford, etc. He thinks he is so "right" that anyone who disagrees with him is automatically treated as a nitwit. In my opinion, he is a perfect example of "believerism" because he believes so strongly he cannot present the evidence in a balanced manner, and he cannot tolerate other views.

    So, it seems to me you have gone beyond administering the forum and imposed your views over mine without seeing a need to make your case. Hopefully you don't think you are truly qualified to mentor anybody in philosophy, so I don't know why you have censored me.


    Since when? Anyone who publishes is fair game.


    Why must I wait to criticize illogic, claims that lack evidence, and bias? Even if Mr. Dawkins turns out to be right, that doesn't mean he should have glossed over evidential gaps during the discovery process. It is perfectly proper to question process; in fact, Mr. Dawkins does so himself in his critique of Gould's book "Wonderful Life." Am I to be denied criticizing science exaggerations because it makes people uncomfortable? If I am wrong in my opinion, the correct way to deal with it is to make your case, not censor me.


    Wow, are you serious?????? Now you are advocating brainwashing? Orthodoxy is beyond reproach? Dogma is the way? Are you really insisting we all stop thinking, questioning, and doubting in the philosophy section where that is what philosophy is for? Is science now to be treated as God, and like the Church of old, doubters are to be stifled?

    If you want to turn PF into a mindless cheerleading club, and if Greg and the rest of the mentors agree, you are doing exactly what it takes to get rid of my input. But think about it carefully because all my experience tells me that questioning and doubting is a good thing. That is especially true in philosophy because it is the exchange of ideas, and the defense of those ideas, that brings clarity. Orthodoxy has a history of choking advancements to internal processes.

    Besides, I've not challenged the principles of science in the slightest. In fact, my call for objectivity is in support of one of the highest ideals of science. What I have challenged are excesses of scientism believers. If you truly love science, why wouldn't you welcome that or be fully ready to prove me wrong?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
  9. Jul 13, 2006 #8

    Evo

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    First, the same rules on personal attacks applies to attacks on mentors. Lyn was absolutely correct in trying to clean up that mess. LYN *is* the mentor over the philosphy forum here and is highly qualified. Please feel free to excersize your right to stop posting here, no one is forcing you to stay if you disagree.
     
  10. Jul 13, 2006 #9

    russ_watters

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    You have been around enough to remember the old TD secion, right? That objection sounds exactly like some of the objections we got to closing it. I haven't read the thread in question, but our time is not infinite and because of that we need to make judgements on what is worthwhile to discuss and how long we should indulge certain arguments before saying enough is enough.
     
  11. Jul 13, 2006 #10

    loseyourname

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    I agree with you that Dawkins is arrogant and does not invite particularly even-handed discussion. Much of what he claims is well beyond what is justified scientifically, which is fine in the sense that a lot of his work is speculative. The thing I objected to was that you were not quoting claims of his that were. You were quoting claims that are considered scientific orthodoxy, that speciation events are reducable to microevolutionary shifts in allele frequency in concert with the introduction of new genes (through mutation plus whatever other mechanisms are available). [Edit: Or they can be the result of hybridization; the point being, they are held to be the result of naturalistic events and naturalistic events only, which was really what you were objecting to.]

    Questioning this is okay, but we have strict rules about it. You have to submit a formal proposal to the IR forum outlining exactly why you object and citing experimental evidence of some sort. Now, I already know that your own method of investigation is not scientific, which I don't personally have a problem with, but that does make the results of that investigation, when they contradict the scientific orthodoxy, unwelcome here.

    First, the position of forum leader dictates that we impose our views over those of the posters. Judgement calls are part and parcel of what we do. I am glad to make every effort to explain myself, just not in the thread itself. Such a discussion is well off-topic and belongs here. If you're simply complaining that I gave no explanation until you asked, you have to remember that I delete, edit, close, or otherwise modify threads and posts quite often if I feel they violate guidelines. I am not obligated to explain these actions, but gladly will if asked. Most people never do.

    Second, no, I probably am not qualified. As of now, I have nothing more than a BA in philosophy, which is certainly not enough to teach. It was, however, the judgement of the staff that I was qualified to moderate the forum, which is not a university and not have quite as stringent a set of standards as to who can or cannot mentor. The mentor I replaced had no philosophical education whatsoever, yet she did a perfectly good job for many years.

    That is the thing. When he argues specifically for neo-Darwinist gradualism contra Gould and Eldredge (personally, I'm not sure that he strictly does - but I won't explain that here), or argues for selfish-gene theory, both of which are contested positions within the biological sciences, it is fine to criticize his methodology, although I would prefer you do so in the Biology forum and not Epistemology.

    However, when the "evidentiary gaps" you cite are holes in a naturalistic theory of organic evolution qua naturalism, not gradualism or genetic-level selection, those are simply not open to debate here. I'm not saying they are not open to debate at all, but again, PF is meant to be an education forum. We don't advance science here by arguing against widely accepted orthodoxy. We advance it by teaching it as it exists to those who wish to know. There are plenty of outlets by which you can critique naturalistic organic evolution; PF is not one of them.

    As I said above, feel free to argue for Gould's position. You were not doing so, however; you were arguing against the application of naturalism to organic evolution, arguing that science itself does not have the capacity to explain the origin of species.

    Les, I would hope you could reconcile the hyperbole here with what I've actually said and realize that neither I nor PF advocates brainwashing, but I am not going to go any further on this point.

    I assure you that your absence from PF will not stunt the historical progress of ideas.

    Might I ask a question here? You were criticizing moving finger's scientism with respect to its application in consciousness studies. I fully agree with you on that; his a priori dismissal of non-scientific explanations is not appropriate to that field of study. That, however, can be perfectly well demonstrated by citing what is normally cited: his own bias, the failure of scientific explanations to date, and the familiar arguments for and against first-person science, as well as your less-than-familiar arguments for union studies, which are also perfectly fine in that field.

    Why, however, did you feel it necessary to start talking about Dawkins? Your point could have been made equally well, and in fact has been made equally well many times in the past, without having to bring an evolution debate into the fold. Doing so would have been perfectly within our guidelines and I would have had no objection. That's what really gets to me here. It's as if you believe that the exclusion of unnecessary sidebars will somehow stunt the progress of consciousness studies. I've always appreciated your contributions in that field and feel that you have opened a lot of eyes, my own included, to possibilities that had not really been considered before. You did not, however, have to be the holy crusader against scientific excess in the study of evolution to do so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
  12. Jul 13, 2006 #11

    Moonbear

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    The purpose in moving this thread here was not to debate evolutionary theory. We're done here.
     
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