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Author Topic:   Can't ID be tested AT ALL?
Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 224 of 304 (373667)
01-02-2007 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 223 by TheMystic
01-02-2007 9:44 AM


TheMystic writes:
Well, let me ask you a question - is this post being generated by a human, or a computer program, or something else? You know the answer...
One of the most difficult problems in the field of artificial intelligence is how to define intelligence. One approach is to simply define intelligence as a quality exhibited by people, and the problem can be attacked by having people participate in on-line one-on-one conversations, just like you might have using any instant messaging program like AIM or Yahoo Messenger. Many people are fooled by programs like Eliza into thinking they are conversing with a real person. Does this mean the programs are intelligent? This is an area of active debate within the AI community.
This is the long way around to rebutting your answer to this question, which is that it is obvious what is intelligent. I'm only pointing out that it isn't so obvious. Just as what we think are obvious signposts of a live intelligence can be mimicked by software, so can what we think are obvious signposts of intelligent guidance be mimicked by nature.
So in the same way, No, I do not consider what is currently called science to be the best way to explain the world around us because it has arrived at some obviously false conclusions.
It has? I don't know what "obviously false conclusions" you have in mind, but I think any reasonable person would question a view of modern science that held it as anything less than spectacularly successful. This is not the same thing as perfect, of course. I think the strongest criticism you could launch at the scientific method is the same one used against democracy, the worst system in the world except for all the rest.
Why should we believe our senses, for instance?
The senses can be fooled, of course, magicians do it all the time, but the reasons are more cognitive than sensory. Our senses are the only source of information we have about the world around us. We have no choice but to believe them. When Galileo watched the weights fall from the tower in Pisa, he believed his senses. When Newton watched the apple fall from the tree, he believed his senses. When Sir Arthur Eddington confirmed the theory of relativity by observing starlight during an eclipse, he believed his senses. When Crick and Watson looked at X-Ray diffraction pictures of DNA to deduce its structure, they believed their senses.
There's no other way to learn anything other than through our senses. If you don't believe this, spend a week in a sensory deprivation chamber, and at the end of that week tell me anything accurate about what's happened in the rest of the world. (Anything non-obvious, of course. No one's going to be impressed if you emerge from the chamber and announce that the earth continued to orbit the sun and that Paris Hilton said something stupid.)
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 223 by TheMystic, posted 01-02-2007 9:44 AM TheMystic has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 225 by TheMystic, posted 01-02-2007 11:40 AM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 228 of 304 (373696)
01-02-2007 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 225 by TheMystic
01-02-2007 11:40 AM


TheMystic writes:
But you know you are talking to a real person.
I know.
I presume you would not have bothered to answer Eliza.
What would give you reason to presume that?
The only answers I get are variations on 'I don't want to be told, I want to figure it out for myself'.
I don't know which answers matter. It depends on the question you are thinking of.
I make a distinction between science and technology.
That's what you think... Are we falling out here?
One of the modern sacraments is the 'scientific method', whatever the heck that is.
What do you think about life?
Perhaps we cannot function without our senses, but that does not mean they define knowledge.
Was it about something that we can do or think together?
Even the evolutionist realizes we come into life with some built-in firmware.
I noticed that also.
It is pure unexamined assumption to think our physical senses are the only things involved in that process.
Perhaps.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 225 by TheMystic, posted 01-02-2007 11:40 AM TheMystic has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 231 of 304 (373755)
01-02-2007 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 230 by TheMystic
01-02-2007 1:59 PM


Re: Making small steps back to topic
Hi Mystic,
You're confusing replication with research methods. First you say this about replication:
TheMystic writes:
I was presuming this thread to be using the term as in the high school fairy tale about the 'scientific method' where you take someone else's experiment notes and try to reproduce them in your own lab.
Replication is a key component of the scientific process. Research results are not accepted or are only provisionally accepted until successfully replicated.
You next stated your belief that the only acceptable way to provide evidence for the causes of a phenomena is to actually reproduce that phenomena ourselves, which has nothing to do with replication:
Well, certain things can't be reproduced in the lab, such as the origin of species.
Besides having nothing to do with replication, this is wrong for several reasons. First, we have already created new species in the lab. Second, you're misstating your own position, since creationists do not assert that speciation is impossible. What creationists believe is impossible is the creation of new kinds, which has no formal scientific definition. Third, actually reproducing phenomena in the lab under controlled conditions is only one of the available research avenues, and in many circumstances it is neither practical nor possible.
In fact, most people, scientific or otherwise, decide the accuracy of a theory by how well it fits with the data they have available (including value judgements about the one telling us the theory).
This might apply to yourself, and it even applies to scientists when forming initial impressions of newly released findings, but it certainly doesn't describe the way science works. Science advances through achieving replicatable results around which a consensus may be built, with the end result having some impact on current theory. Perhaps it confirms current theory, perhaps it augments it, perhaps it contradicts it. In any case, science moves forward.
If you're missing some data, sure, you try and go get it, but there again you probably go look it up on Google, not do an experiment.
This certainly applies to laypeople. And it even applies to scientists for areas outside their own area of specialty. But research is not performed by forming opinions and looking things up using Google.
The human mind is a massively parallel pattern matching device and we are able to try a peg in all the holes stored in our memory in a very short period of time. When we find one that fits, that's what we go with.
I can only guess you're thinking about how laypeople form opinions. Nothing you've been saying resembles the practice of science.
If you want to call that testing that's fine with me, but in that case ID can be tested quite nicely - it certainly fits all the observable evidence.
Well, it sort of does and sort of doesn't fit the evidence. In one way it fits the evidence because God can do anything any way he likes (the ultimate designer must be God because of infinite regression), and in this approach it doesn't matter what you find, God did it no matter what.
But in another way it doesn't fit the evidence, as indicated by examining the way in which design innovation spreads. People are the model for the designer. ("If you found a watch in a field, you wouldn't think it was natural, you'd assume it was designed.") Design innovations by people spread without regard to brands or companies or geographic borders. An example is windshield wipers, which after their first introduction quickly became standard equipment on all cars. But the fossil record shows that innovations in life forms spread in a nested hierarchical fashion as required by evolution.
I don't, by the way, have a problem with the scientific method, per se. It's a great discipline in theory, I just don't think anybody actually practices it, and probably nothing practical could get done if we did try to follow it.
The actual practice of science is a whole lot messier than the list of steps in the scientific method, but at heart that is how science is really done.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 230 by TheMystic, posted 01-02-2007 1:59 PM TheMystic has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 245 of 304 (373982)
01-03-2007 11:45 AM
Reply to: Message 236 by TheMystic
01-03-2007 8:13 AM


TheMystic writes:
Re: all that other stuff about tree distributions or whatever; ok, I'm impressed with your knowledge, but it seems like a perfect example of "baffle 'em with bullshit".
I don't believe that calling a message an example of "baffle 'em with bullshit" constitutes valid rebuttal. Simple courtesy, not to mention the Forum Guidelines, require that you explain why it is bullshit. If you don't understand it then either ask questions, or look things up, or don't reply, but don't call it bullshit.
You're also beginning to drift seriously off-topic:
The problem, I think, is that you *want* to find this disorder in order to fit your need to bolster the theory of evolution. This is part of why evolution is so destructive - it makes people try to find problems with a system that should instead be studied with awe. What I think you are probably missing is the way God uses, shall we say, chaos theory in his work. For instance, if you take a look at a zip file on your hard drive it will look like garbage, but of course it is not. God seems to code the bare minimum of information into DNA.
This thread isn't about the theory of evolution or God. It's about whether ID is testable. In reading your posts all I can see proposed for a test is, "If it looks designed, it is."
The problem with your test is that it lacks objective measures. If you look at life and see design and I look at life and do not see design, then how do you decide who is right? Science is a consensus activity, and theories emerge when many scientists look at some natural phenomena and reach the same conclusions. So you need to define some testable criteria for design that can be agreed upon. All you've done so far is characterize evolution as destructive and accuse evolutionists of committing spiritual suicide.
So if ID is testable, what are the objective criteria for testing ID?
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 236 by TheMystic, posted 01-03-2007 8:13 AM TheMystic has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 247 by TheMystic, posted 01-03-2007 12:07 PM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 249 of 304 (374008)
01-03-2007 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 248 by TheMystic
01-03-2007 12:15 PM


TheMystic writes:
I guess I've been invited to leave (see #245)...
You were not invited to leave, and I'm not operating in Admin mode in this thread. I merely pointed out that responding with accusations of "bullshit" violates simple courtesy and the Forum Guidelines.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 248 by TheMystic, posted 01-03-2007 12:15 PM TheMystic has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 253 of 304 (374014)
01-03-2007 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 247 by TheMystic
01-03-2007 12:07 PM


TheMystic writes:
Second, the way I have heard the expression used, it means if you can't respond directly to a boss or customer, if you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, you throw a lot of irrelevant information at them to distract them.
Yes, you have an accurate understanding of what the expression means. But this is a debate board with Forum Guidelines that require you to support your claims. If you believe the answer was bullshit then you have to support that claim. Without such requirements we'd get discussions of the form, "That's Bullshit!" "Oh, yeah, well you're bullshit!" "No, you're bullshit!" "No, you are."
We try to discourage such exchanges here.
I don't know who is running this thing...
I own the domain, I own the server, I wrote the software, I defined the board structure, and I wrote the Forum Guidelines, so in an ultimate sense that would be me. But it is really the moderator team who makes this place work.
So if science is a consensus activity and you want to reach consensus, by all means, get rid of me.
I can only guess that you've misunderstood my point. I was talking about a scientific consensus, not a consensus on this board that I want you to join. The theory of relativity is an accepted scientific theory because a consensus of scientists believe it accurately describes reality. The theory has been able to persuade scientists of this because it has passed all tests of its validity (so far). This is what ID must do, devise tests of its validity. Devising and passing such tests is how you convince scientists.
I thought science was about being correct.
Science is about building an understanding of how our universe works, and the scientific method is the best approach we have for approaching this task.
But if you don't like my proposed test(s), why not propose better ones?
I already think ID is a religious view because the designer, ultimately, is God. And I've already described how the evidence in the fossil record indicates that design innovation spreads in the form of a nested hierarchy, unlike design innovation by people, which is the model for the designer, so ID is already contradicted by established evidence. If you think ID is scientific then it is up to you to explain the contradictions and propose tests of its validity.
--Percy
Edited by Percy, : Fix grammar in last paragraph.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 247 by TheMystic, posted 01-03-2007 12:07 PM TheMystic has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 262 of 304 (374055)
01-03-2007 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 261 by aiguy
01-03-2007 3:07 PM


aiguy writes:
If you believe that physicalist theories explain consciousness, perhaps you could cite the relevant papers, and give us a brief summary of how physical interactions in the brain give rise to conscious awareness?
It almost sounds like you're arguing that because we can't presently explain how consciousness emerges from brain activity that it could therefore have a non-natural origin. Sounds identical to the God-of-the-gaps argument.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 261 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 3:07 PM aiguy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 263 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 3:42 PM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 264 of 304 (374064)
01-03-2007 3:53 PM
Reply to: Message 263 by aiguy
01-03-2007 3:42 PM


aiguy writes:
All that means is that we currently have no scientific understanding of consciousness, nothing more or less.
Then it sounds like you should be agreeing with Crash when he says that consciousness is based upon physical activity in the brain. He isn't saying we know how consciousness emerges from that activity, only that it must and does. Scientifically there is no other possibility. But from spiritual or religious or hokum perspectives there are, of course, a raft of other possibilities.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 263 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 3:42 PM aiguy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 265 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 4:15 PM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 266 of 304 (374081)
01-03-2007 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 265 by aiguy
01-03-2007 4:15 PM


aiguy writes:
This is just what I'm talking about. ID folks - and the backlash against science in general - accuse scientists of dogmatically adhering to materialism. This charge is sometimes warranted.
Hopefully it's always warranted. Science adheres to methodological naturalism, believing that all phenomena are amenable to study through their effect on the material world that is apparent to us through our senses. Phenomena that are only apparent via other avenues, such as revelation or visions, are not amenable to scientific study.
The scientific response to a question for which there is currently no well-supported answer is "We do not know", and not "It must be explainable in terms of physics, because everything just must be."
Science has no problem delivering a "we do not know" answer, but ultimately all science does reduce to physics. Perhaps consciousness is based upon physical principles not currently known or understood, but if we do eventually know and understand them then they'll at some level be part of the field of physics. Anything that doesn't ultimately reduce to physics cannot be part of the natural universe and so is not open to study by science.
When you say that consciousness may not necessarily emerge from physical (i.e., natural) activity in the brain, then what else is left but the supernatural. This is the God of the gaps argument of the creationists. You've accepted the creationist argument that scientists are arrogant for adhering to methodological naturalism, and you've attempted to deflect this criticism by parting ways with methodological naturalism, thereby conceding to organizations like ICR and the Discovery Institute want they want most. In fact, the defeat of methodological naturalism is a key component of the strategy outlined in DI's wedge document.
If you want to be scientific then your methods and thinking have to be consistent with methodological naturalism. There's no way around it.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 265 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 4:15 PM aiguy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 267 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 5:16 PM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 270 of 304 (374146)
01-03-2007 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 267 by aiguy
01-03-2007 5:16 PM


aiguy writes:
First, you've muddied the difference between methodological and epistemological naturalism. Yes, science holds that all phenomena are amenable to study via materialism, but that does not mean that currently unexplained phenomena will necessarily be explainable within what we view as "natural" or "physical" today.
This doesn't just imply that in the future we'll find surprising natural phenomena, but that what we actually define as natural will change. It won't. It can't and remain scientific. If it's apparent to us via its effect on the world around us, then it is natural and is amenable to scientific study. This will never change, because we can't study things which have no effect on the natural world.
Debates about philosophy are as relevant to the practice of science as arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Use whatever labels you like, the fact of the matter is that science studies the natural world. Everyone concedes that we don't know everything, and there may be enormous unknown realms out there yet to be explored, but if they are detectable by us then they are natural. It can be no other way.
At heart all science reduces to physics, but I think you've misinterpreted what I mean when I say this (and Crash said it first, of course, at least in this thread). At one point you said, "I almost agree with you here, but not entirely, and you've said something different this time." I didn't say anything different, I said the same thing in two different ways hoping to increase the chance my meaning would be clear. Let me try again.
I don't mean that all science will be explainable via the equations of particle physics, for that obviously isn't true, most phenomena are simply too complex. In other words, when you say, "But that is not the same as saying we are sure that physics will eventually explain it," I was never claiming that physics would explain it. What I mean is that at heart all natural phenomena are the result of physical interactions of matter and energy, i.e., physics. It can be no other way. That is still my response to your claims about consciousness, where you appeared to be saying that it transcended the physical. It doesn't. It can't. The natural is all that is and can be apparent to us by its effect on the natural world. Anything that has an effect on the natural world is natural. Anything that has no effect on the natural world is not of this world and is supernatural and cannot be studies by science. It can be no other way.
I'm afraid that you, Percy, have made a "physics of the gaps" argument when you say that consciousness must be reducible to physics. There are a great many scientists who disagree with that - and again I'm taking about real, red-blooded, methodological naturalist, empiricist, verificationalist scientists.
I doubt that there are many scientists out there who think consciousness involves more than interactions between matter and energy.
I have no idea what you mean by "supernatural". What else is left is this: WE DO NOT KNOW.
We agree about the "We do not know" part. Where we disagree is when you go on to conclude from "we do not know" that there may be more to the natural world than science can study.
I am also very aware that science does not explain everything either.
I can only grant that science is not capable of understanding everything. I'm sure there are many things in the universe beyond the scope of human scientific understanding. But if something is natural then it can be studied by science, even if we ultimately fail to figure it out. If it isn't natural then it can't be studied by science.
Epistemologically, we concede that there may be real things that exist in the world that transcend what we currently understand as "physical".
If all you're really saying is that we'll learn many amazing things in the future, then fine, no argument. But despite your many statements rejecting religion and spiritualism, the phrase "transcend the physical" sounds very much like spiritualism to me.
--Percy
Edited by Percy, : Fix grammar.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 267 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 5:16 PM aiguy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 275 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 9:14 PM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 273 of 304 (374160)
01-03-2007 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 271 by aiguy
01-03-2007 6:54 PM


I'm beginning to get the feeling that you're defining the natural as that which science is able to explain. It isn't. The natural is that which science is able to study.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 271 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 6:54 PM aiguy has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 277 of 304 (374233)
01-03-2007 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 272 by crashfrog
01-03-2007 7:16 PM


Crash writes:
aiguy writes:
So I believe you are mistaken again.
Percy doesn't speak for me, so Percy's impression of my words are irrelevant.
These "you said", "no I didn't" things can get pretty confusing to dissect, but Aiguy seems to be trying to cut his distinctions mighty fine, and as far as I can tell you and I are in agreement. To put it in my own words this time, I believe that consciousness is an emergent phenomena of underlying, low-level physical processes within the brain that are nothing more than interactions of matter and energy.
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 272 by crashfrog, posted 01-03-2007 7:16 PM crashfrog has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 279 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 9:32 PM Percy has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 286 of 304 (374338)
01-04-2007 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 275 by aiguy
01-03-2007 9:14 PM


aiguy writes:
Percy writes:
This doesn't just imply that in the future we'll find surprising natural phenomena, but that what we actually define as natural will change. It won't. It can't and remain scientific.
I disagree. Think about "action at a distance". Newton accepted that gravity was a force that acted unmediated across space. Einstein believed that only local causality was possible, and that action at a distance was impossible. Then quantum physics reintroduced that concept in yet an even stranger way. QM changed a great deal about what we believe is "natural", including that the physical world is deterministic (which is a very big deal indeed).
You're using the wrong definition of natural. Natural is not "currently accepted scientific thinking." Natural is that which is detectable by us because of its interactions with the world around us. The definition of natural did not change with the advent of the quantum age. It cannot change. It will never change.
I'm surprised at people's animosity toward philosophy. I can only believe you have not studied it. There of course would be no science at all without philosophy. Where do you think concepts like "methodological naturalism" come from?
There's no hostility toward philosophy here. I actually own books by Popper, and by Ruse, Witgenstein, Kant, Hume, Spinoza and Plato, too (and Alan Sokal, if he counts). I love philosophy. What your sensing is a rejection of approaches such as yours that argue that philosophical ruminations trump reality. You're violating the quote in your own signature by using reasoning unconstrained by empiricism. I live in the real world.
If there are causes that transcend physical interactions as we understand them, then science - as we understand it - will not explain them. If WE DO NOT KNOW, then this always remains a possibility.
If there is more than matter and energy in the universe, then if it is detectable because of its interactions with the rest of the universe then it is natural and amenable to scientific study. Once again, the definition of natural is not that which science can explain. It is that which science can study. A phenomena that science can study but not explain is still natural.
And if we eventually discover phenomena in the universe based upon neither matter nor energy, it'll just be another natural phenomena, not a transcendence of other natural phenomena. You don't seem to realize that your language is very similar to creationists arguing for a role for the supernatural in science.
And once again you say that I agree with. I would encourage you to review your statements and see that you really have vacillated between statements of epistemological and methodological naturalism.
I've simply described the way science works and how it defines the natural. Your supposed philosophical contradictions can't change the way the world really works.
You (and Crash) however lapse into materialist dogma when you say all things must be explainable within physicalism.
I think you're being incredibly picky over a minor point. If you want to be incredibly precise then yes, certainly, we must concede that there may be more than just matter and energy out there. But so what? If we can detect it then it's still part of the natural world, and all Crash and I are saying is two basic things:
  • That you can't use qualities such as complexity and difficulty of reductionism to argue for phenomena for which there is no evidence.
  • That consciousness is based upon completely natural phenomena.
--Percy
Edited by Percy, : Fix list of philosophers.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 275 by aiguy, posted 01-03-2007 9:14 PM aiguy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 289 by aiguy, posted 01-04-2007 1:29 PM Percy has replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 290 of 304 (374435)
01-04-2007 2:19 PM
Reply to: Message 289 by aiguy
01-04-2007 1:29 PM


Well, I've had my say and you've had yours. If we continued I think it'd just be repetitive.
--Percy
Edited by Percy, : Spelling.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 289 by aiguy, posted 01-04-2007 1:29 PM aiguy has not replied

Percy
Member
Posts: 22700
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 296 of 304 (374540)
01-04-2007 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 291 by melatonin
01-04-2007 2:27 PM


Great find! If anyone knows how to get these videos onto an iPod that would be great!
--Percy

This message is a reply to:
 Message 291 by melatonin, posted 01-04-2007 2:27 PM melatonin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 298 by melatonin, posted 01-04-2007 6:31 PM Percy has not replied

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