How do we find the ''best'' explanation?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Of course, that's what an education is. You have to trust the source or if you don't trust it you have to be able to get down to first principles yourself. No one would learn anything if that was done each time however.

    If a source has been trustworthy in the past you should probably give them the benefit of the doubt now. I don't find that all that difficult however. Do you?
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I go by what you do, not what you say you are doing.
    This doesn't tell you anything about human psychology itself.
    You can evaluate the papers. Not the science, or the field.
    You screw them up frequently - as in climate change, where you got them almost backwards, or racial politics in the US, where you are almost completely disconnected from historical and physical reality.
    No, you don't. All you have discovered is a pile of nonsense, and possibly some grounds for evaluating the politicians and journalists involved. You haven't learned anything about the science. The sense - the reality - is still invisible to you.
    They are not observational data about the science.

    If you downgrade scientific research and theory because journalists write nonsense about it, you are making a mistake. It's the same basic mistake many German intellectuals made when they dismissed relativistic physics because many of its proponents were Jewish and what they were saying about it appeared to make no sense, the same basic mistake Soviet intellectuals made when they bet on Lamarckian evolution because nonsense about Darwinian evolutionary theory was being promoted by market capitalists and fascists.

    As you note, ad hominem arguments are weak. They seldom lead to the best explanations, and then only by luck. The next step is to realize when you are making them.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
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  5. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    It's at this point that I like to remind everyone that this guy denies the Holocaust, in part because he does not trust "the mainstream". Fuck this guy.
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Latest new revelation, Japan was provoked into attacking Pearl Harbour, and if they hadn't the US would have attacked Japan!

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  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Science is supposed to work with the hard data, and not with hypothetical data from other planets they have never been. Hard experiments have been run where water is removed from life. There is no life at any level without water. You can use dehydrated yeast, from the grocery store, if you wish to do a home experiment. I am not basing this on prestige, like you are. You can prove this to yourself by running an experiment. You use dehydrated yeast, can add water to part of the yeast and then add other solvents to other packets of yeast and see if life appears. This has been done.

    The impact of water on the DNA has been know since the discovery of DNA, by Watson and Crick. This is not new or based on magic. The problem is prestige is selling an incorrect model within textbooks, and the masses of students just assume prestige means truth.

    Water is very unique, but not magical, if you have a solid background in chemistry. The high boiling point of water, for a molecule so small, is due to the strength of intermolecular hydrogen bonding network within water. The strength of this aqueous hydrogen bonding make water exclusionary. This is why oil will separate out of the water. The water can lower energy better without the oil. When water binds to the DNA; DNA has binding sites designed with water in mind, and then when the water self binds to other water, the entire strongly bound water matrix, become like scaffolding. This aqueous scaffolding makes the DNA active and alive. If we take away the water, as shown in textbooks, this fake version of DNA is not active. Try it in the lab. Don;t base you decision on prestige, either the high prestige of those in the field to my lower prestige, because I write in these forums. I recognize logic and data.

    The fake version of life, that assumes any solvent will work and DNA does not need water to work, makes use of a fudge factor called statistics because logic does not apply to their version. Once you add water, random has logical explanations.
  9. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Two claims about what I write, two lies. As usual.

    I never denied the Holocaust, but everybody who does not trust the mainstream history has to be prepared to be named a Holocaust denier today.

    Which is quite different. Roosevelt was unable to simply start a war, without Japan making the error strong enough so that Roosevelt would have strong enough arguments against the isolationists. So, following this logic, if Japan hadn't, the US would not have attacked Japan.

    To explain why I think so, let's quote Wikipedia about Roosevelt's position:
    Emphasis mine.
  10. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    Let's stop there. If this is the case, why do you add all the extra, magical abilities to water that have never, ever been observed? Why do you make claims about every other solvent merely because you haven't seen all the possible data about them?
  11. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Which was my point. But it gives me enough background to evaluate much of the quality of the scientific papers I see.
    For the field, there are review papers.
    In neutral language: Our evaluation of the results were different. There is no field of science named "racial politics", so our disagreement about this field were of completely different nature.

    Some cheap polemics of "you screw everything" type which is meaningless in the context omitted.
    The observation of political statements and journalistic distortions are observational data which show 1.) the existence of political pressure on science in a particular domain and 2.) the distortion which is politically wanted.

    Then there is my theory about the typical result of political pressure on scientists.

    They prefer not to lie, but are not heroes to die for the Truth. They try to minimize the distortions as well as their own risks. Therefore they write politically incorrect truths, but at less visible places. They tend to be prejudiced in favor of the political correct position, because those who feel too much pressure tend to switch into other research domains under less pressure, and it is clear that those prejudiced in favor of the political correct position feel less pressured. Remember that child labor paper? It served nicely to illustrate all these points.

    Another problem is that researchers have usually reasonable expectations about the results of their studies. Given their self-interest, they tend not to study those problems which will probably give politically incorrect results. We had an example of this too: All what is positive about an increase of temperature is somehow invisible.

    I do not at all downgrade science, I simply try to identify those domains of science which are under political pressure, and to get a correct expectation about the resulting distortions.
    Don't worry, I know when I make them. I have never said that I don't make them. As I have explained, they have low power, but, on the other hand, they can be easily obtained. I would not make them in a scientific article. But in a forum discussion this is not a problem at all.

    And they do not lead to explanations at all. All they do in scientific discussions is to give some justification for ignorance.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You could argue that once the U.S. stopped the oil shipments to Japan that something had to give. There is an argument that Japan would have had to get oil from Indonesia and would have had to attack the Philippines to get that oil (clear the shipping lanes).

    History is rarely as straight forward as it seems. Alternative arguments are always possible if reasonable.
  13. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    "they would make a mistake and we would enter the war"
    They made their mistake simply by their aggressive tendencies and military rule in Japan at that time.
    The aggressive policies of Japan, well before the oil embargoes and economic sanctions, was obvious, and Japan had already played its cards, and made the mistake that Schmelzer has highlighted.

    Let me add that I have visited Japan three times, including Hiroshima and if I was to chose another country to live in, other than my own, it would be Japan.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  14. river

    The best explanation is by who we trust , with the explanation or who gives the explanation .

    Scientists , politications etc.
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

    First of all nobody has even created life in the lab, from scratch, using water and all the chemical science assumes are connected to the formation of life on earth. Making life in water, should be the easiest to do since we know so much, which is confirmed. Use common sense!

    If we can't make life from scratch with the water, why would you expect someone to be able to derive an entire new life path, using another solvent? If making life in water was already done, I would concede the point. But if in water has not been done, other solvents are nothing by speculation at this time. The entire subject appeals to those who judge by prestige, not by chemical logic.

    The use of prestige to make science judgements is not a bad strategy, since one will be right most of the time. The analogy is going to a race track to bet on the horses. If you know very little about the intricacies of horse racing, a good strategy to help you win and appear to know more than you do, is to always bet on the favorites. These have the highest prestige, based on their records of racing. They will not win every race, but if all you did was bet the favorites, you will pick a lot of winners. When people bet on prestige, they don't have to do research nor know the topic. One uses a calculated guess, that the favorite horse will win most of the time.

    However, in horse racing, there are parameters besides record/prestige. It could be the time interval between races, the health of the horse, the amount of travel time and delay, or whether the horse runs good on grass or wet clay. This who always bet the favorites, will not know enough to include these thing things into the weight of prestige. In science, good logic and data also carries weight.

    Crick and Watson's first model of DNA was a triple helix with its bases on the outside of the molecule. The sugar-phosphate backbones ran down the centre, with the phosphate groups of each chain bound to one another by magnesium ions. Crick and Watson hoped that the low water content of the molecule would mean that magnesium ions were in abundance.

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    Phosphate groups of adjacent DNA chains bonded together by positive magnesium ions

    They had some difficulty making the model fit together, but found that it repeated its structure every 2.8 nanometres along its length. This was very encouraging, as both this 2.8 nanometre repeat and the helical structure would fit with Franklin's X-ray photograph. Crick and Watson needed to check their model accurately against the photograph, so invited Wilkins and his colleagues from King's College to the Cavendish Laboratory.

    When they arrived Franklin was still very dismissive of Crick's support for a helical structure. She pointed out that the proposed three-chained molecule couldn't exist, as any available magnesium ions would be tightly bound to water molecules. DNA actually contained ten times as many water molecules as Watson had thought.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Again - I go by your behavior. In several issues - climate change most obviously, but US racial politics and GMOs and others as well, you have drawn conclusions about the physical reality from your evaluation of what you have identified as competing propaganda. You have done the equivalent of drawing conclusions about human psychology from perceiving flaws in papers as evidence of a bias that one can allow for, without knowing much of anything about human psychology.
    Papers don't solve your problem - unless you learn from them, and become better informed in the field.
    In accurate language, yours were wrong - not merely mistaken in conclusion, but in method; not merely mistaken in verdict, but in reasoning.
    No, they were of almost exactly the same nature. You drew conclusions about physical reality by reasoning backwards from what you had identified as the direction of bias in your information. Your problem was the same in all of these: without information, your perceptions of bias are going to be in error most of the time - in severity, direction, source, even nature. In your case, you consistently make type I errors - you reject accurate information - so there's a feedback effect: your previous errors set you up for the next ones.
    Your observations did not show what you thought they did. You got the direction of the political pressure on US climate scientists completely wrong, for example - it's in the opposite direction from what you thought you saw.
    If you had actually applied that theory to climate change research, you would have corrected your wrong perceptions of the pressures on it and its bias. You would have noticed, for example, that the IPCC has been consistently underestimating the rate and severity of the climate changes and consequences it forecasts, as well as de-emphasizing the upper ranges of the bad possibilities manifest in its very own data and modeling, and drawn the correct conclusion.
    You still refuse to admit you were wrong about that paper?

    And when you are wrong, you have downgraded the science. And when you are ignorant, you are likely to be wrong.

    The vocabulary can be altered to fit your preferences: if you think you can even identify, much less evaluate, the distortions in research and theory you know nothing about, by looking at nonsense from journalists, you are making a mistake. If you draw conclusions of political pressure and derive expectations of distortion in scientific research from journalistic nonsense, without knowledge in the field, you are making a mistake. And so forth.

    You might think you are not downgrading the science, but unless you are correct in your evaluation - unless the distortions exist as you expect - you are doing exactly that.
    [quote"schmelzer"] Don't worry, I know when I make them. [/quote] No, you don't. You think you are identifying political pressures, perceiving bias, etc.
  17. river

    No, you don't. You think you are identifying political pressures, perceiving bias, etc.[/QUOTE]

    But iceaura in the end climate change and the reason for this change is Human based is nonsense .

    But of course to be politicaly correct is the goal because it makes people money .
  18. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Sorry, but if I talk in a forum about climate change, I also use my knowledge about reality, all of it, obtained in very different ways.
    You claim this. That's all. It would be better if you would restrict yourself to argumentation about the method, and the reasoning itself, which I have proposed, instead of wild interpretations about what I have done, given that you seem even unable to see that my notes about Pearl Harbor had not the intention to present Japan as a peaceful nation.
    Some usual "you are stupid" remarks deleted.
    Some usual "I have won all previous discussions" delusions deleted.
    To clarify: To identify political pressure, it may be already sufficient to identify the points where mainstream journalists write at all about scientific questions (which already identifies a critical domain). To identify the direction of pressure, you clearly need more. In particular you have to identify the direction of error of the journalists. The direction of error also has to be consistent. Without political pressure, journalists simply write nonsense, and their errors are white noise, with political pressure, they consistently err in a particular direction. But, of course, this requires already that you know they err, and consistently. Therefore you, of course, need some base for this claim. Say, Paddoboy would not have such a base, he would take what journalists write about science, consistently, as what science says.

    Not that to get such information about the direction of the difference would be difficult. It is usually provided by the same media, if you know how propaganda works. Namely, the journalist tells us the political correct things, in quite emotional form, but, of course, also provides some (often dubious) "experts". But at least some of them are really scientists, thus, not, like journalists, professional and enthusiastic liars. So, what they say is already more neutral in terms and more correct in content. And, given that political pressure leads to a large amount of such media nonsense, even the small amounts the in direction of truth which one can extract from the difference between the journalist's claim and the "expert"'s claim are sufficient to identify the direction of pressure.

    But, of course, you get already much more information if you read some review articles, even Wiki level info (something intermediate between review articles and "experts" in the media) gives you some information. The point: Don't expect that this is about reality. But it is sufficient to identify the direction of the political pressure.

    So, we have a lot of very different things:

    1.) Undistorted science (not existing)
    2.) Science distorted by a) things not studied because political incorrect results have to be expected b) scientists not in favor of the politically correct position leaving the domain, c) distorting grant distribution in favor of politically correct scientists. This is available, but it takes a lot of time to access it, you essentially have to become a specialist yourself, but at least some real research (not only review) articles completely (down to the footnotes).
    3.) What is left from (2) in titles, abstracts, review articles, by the interests of scientists in hiding their own politically incorrect positions. Easier but yet difficult to access.
    4.) What is left from (3) by the political position of at least some writers in Wikipedia. Easy to access.
    5.) "Expert" talk in mass media
    6.) Journalists and politicians talk in mass media.

    My claim about science under political pressure is that all the distortions from (1) to (6) are in the same direction - that of the political pressure. The consequence is that, once you have identified political pressure, and its direction (which can be done already by studying (4)-(6), but not (6) alone), to guess what (1) would be one has to extrapolate.

    The correct extrapolation is, of course, the difficult part. "Alternative" scientists may give some ideas, but are a highly distorted by various errors, which include a lot of white noise as well as systematic errors from own anti-establishment prejudices.
    river likes this.
  19. river

    Politics and the flow of monies direct the science of " truth " .

    Not only through NASA ; but through the individual departments within NASA its self .

    Science has become about ; things .
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You posted here. We read it. You got the direction of political pressure wrong, derived mistaken expectations of distortion and bias, misinterpreted reported research accordingly, and ended up in a silly muddle of reality denial assuming the whole issue was "fake" (your term).
    When you have done all that, you then need to avoid making the mistake of transferring whatever political pressure you think you have found in the journalism unto the scientific research reports without checking reality.
    Not on the science.
    That's a mistake. Without some knowledge of the physical reality and the research in the field, you probably cannot even tell if all the journalist's distortions are in the same direction, let alone the result of political pressure. And if you can, you are still marooned at the journalist and media level. Maybe that's where you went wrong on the climate science?
    You will go wrong immediately, and often, if you think you have identified even the direction of potential political pressure - let alone actual distortion of research reports - via 4 - 6, without knowledge of the field itself.

    Again: you got the direction of the US political pressure on climate change research backwards - the opposite of the real life US political pressure - in this manner. You made similar errors with racial politics in the US, GMOs, and several others (Holocaust denial, child labor economics, Party politics in the US, a fairly long list). So something isn't working for you in this. What's wrong with my suggestion - that you can't evaluate, or allow for, or even recognize, sophisticated American media manipulations unless you have information about the matter at hand ?
  21. river

    The best explanation is devoid of politics and money .
  22. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    After some usual "I'm the winner of all previous discussions" fantasies we read:
    Reread my post. I have explained that the pressure is not found by considering journalism alone.
    First, this is a general hypothesis. I have seen sufficient evidence in its favor, but it remains, of course, a hypothesis. A falsifiable one. But I see no falsification yet.

    And it is also a theory with explanatory power. There is one cause - political pressure - and this is combined with usual well-known patterns of behavior of various groups of society. So, a simple empirical falsification would also leave the question why such counter-intuitive things happen in reality, what is wrong with the explanation.
    You claim so, I disagree. If you would be correct, one could discuss if this would be a counterexample to the general hypothesis about the behavior of science under pressure, but once there is yet factual disagreement, this is too early.

    In my opinion, claims that the enemy has a strong hidden power and uses it for political pressure is a standard propaganda technique, which is part of the political pressure itself. You had, in this way, Jewish power in Nazi Germany as well as Trotskist power in Stalin's Soviet Union.

    The 3584th repetition of the usual "you are stupid" polemics disposed.

    PS.: Just a question:
    Are you participating in these despicable defamations? Or is this simply some remark which should be interpreted as something like "in discussions about Holocaust denial you were wrong too"?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Well, that's what you did in the case of climate change, GMOs, and a couple of others. Items 4-6 in your list above - Wikipedia, mass media, etc.
    No, it would fit your description of the behavior of science under pressure. You got the behavior of the science wrong, too. I tried to get you to look at the actual behavior of, say, the IPCC when it made its reports, and compare these reports with subsequent events, to no avail - you simply assumed, for example, it was exaggerating or highlighting the severity of the climate effects implied by the research findings, because you had determined from media patterns that was the direction of political pressure, and nothing would persuade you otherwise.
    I don't know. What I saw was your usual pattern of ascribing distortion to reported reality in order to agree with what you expected from your assumptions of political pressure you had derived by seeing patterns in media presentations. In other words, forming opinions about reality based on patterns of nonsense in the mass media, without information about the reality correcting your impressions.

    Of course this leads to significant error. How could it not?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016

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