Objectivity in Science - Subjectivity on SciForums

Discussion in 'The Cesspool' started by dumbest man on earth, Jun 16, 2014.

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  1. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    One of the first principles of Science was fully ingrained into me at a very young age - so young in fact, that I am not even sure that I had ever heard the word "science" at that point of my life.

    I'll explain :
    It happened while playing with my siblings and cousins at my Aunt and Uncles place. My uncle Carl, knowing of my curious and inquisitive nature, showed me a small glass jar with a dozen or so "beans" in it.
    "You will like these", he said.
    "Just beans", I said.
    "Are you sure", he asked, as he placed three of the "beans" into my hand, and said "Hold these in your hands for a little bit".
    After a short amount of time, the "beans" began to move around in my hands!
    A b j e c t F a s c i n a t i o n ! ! !
    "Things ain't always what they seem", said my uncle Carl.
    I kept those "beans" for years!

    Objectivity, I found out years later, is a very important aspect of all of the Sciences.
    When observing any "event", or any "evidence", be it "physical", or "written", or "anecdotal" : Maintain Objectivity!

    Objective Observation basically means that the observation is "independent of mind".
    They contain no personal or individual "slant" or "perspective".
    An Objective Observation is perceived by all observers.

    Subjective Observations are not "independent of mind".
    They are influenced by ones own prejudices, biases, personal beliefs, feelings, emotions or attitude.
    A Subjective Observation is perceived only by an individual observer.

    My own, "Just beans", was a Subjective Observation! I learned quite a bit that day!

    1.) - Should SciForums allow or condone Subjective Observations in discussions about Science?

    2.) - Should not all Members of SciForums respect Science by keeping Subjective Observations out of all discussions?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2014
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Impossible to do.
    You have your own subjective opinions on science as well as anyone else, so who is going to be the independent arbiter, you?

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    Speaking personally, I see my own subjective opinions, in the main, to align with the popular logical mainstream approach, most of the time...Not all mind you, but most.
    In that respect, they are not really subjective, rather objective and logical in the face of data and evidence that is available. And in most cases supported by links, and articles from reputable sources.

    Your own take, subjective views, opinions and interpretations seems in my subjective opinion, to leave a lot to be desired. On many occasions on this forum, with regards to myself, and others, even including mods, you have expressed interpretations and opinions, that only you alone have presented and only you seem to hold.
    When you have been shown to be wrong or to have misinterpreted, you go into a scenario, that for an adult, appears beyond comprehension.

    In my subjective opinion, you appear to have an agenda, something your preamble, seems to mention and correctly deride. Then in your next breath, you are expressing your own subjective views, mostly in a passive aggressive type of ramble, while expressing indignation when others reply back defending their own subjective views.

    Finally the subjectiveness that you do apply, in most cases, appears to not be the mainstream position, or at least the round about manner you present your thoughts, appear to be deriding mainstream in one breath, and then when called to defend your position, that same indignation again surfaces.

    I should add of course, that the scientific method and peer review, are structured in such a way, that subjective bias is limited as much as is humanly possible.
    This explains naturally why certain groups will not give peer review, or the scientific method the credit it so rightly warrants.
    Many examples of that are found on this forum.

    No one needs be a "suckhole" to or for mainstream science methodology, and peer review, but we should all ask, why do these proven methods and reviews, cop the flak that they do from the anti brigade.
    The answer of course is obvious.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
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  5. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    - I have no Subjective Response to Post #2 :
    SciForums is supposed to be a Science Forum - Subjectivity should not be utilized in Science.

    - My Objective Response to Post #2 :
    SciForums is supposed to be a Science Forum - Subjectivity should not be utilized on SciForums.
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  7. Anew Life isn't a question. Banned

    just passing through, enjoying the differenential relationship of the ideas of 'objective' and 'subjective'.

    I don't think a peer group with holding in subjective positionality does as well as a peer group with subjective knowledge that addresses new matters with objective subjective anonymity.

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    for instance: natural health- is en lieu of behavioral health
    as intellectual health is vise of practical positive logic which does well to see that negative logic is unecessary
  8. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    Of course you can bring subjective observations into a discussion about science. Why wouldn't you? Subjective observation is one piece of evidence in science that can somtimes be misleading and at other times quite useful.

    It is also obvious that subjective observations can only go so far. If I claim the earth is flat because when I am at the beach the horizon is a straight line and refuse to accept other evidence that the earth is not flat, then that would be rather absurd dependence on subjective observation.
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    This is a very good subject for a philosophy of science thread. Thanks for starting it, DMOE.

    I think of it this way:

    When I make an Objective statement, I'm saying something about the world. "Fish have fins". (Fish would still have their fins even if human beings didn't exist.)

    When I make a Subjective statement, I'm really talking about myself. "Fish taste good". (In other words, I like how fish taste to me.)

    That's the ideal. The fact that we make observation statements using language complicates things. Language encodes meanings, classification schemes and so on, which are in part historical and social in nature.

    Again ideally. Somebody might conceivably make an objective observation of a unique one-off event that never repeats.

    But yeah, that's what science's 'repeatability' thing is all about. If a scientist is talking about the world and not just about himself, then whatever he reports should be observable by others as well. If everybody observes the same thing, that's pretty good evidence that it's really there.

    Saying that objective observations are independent of mind is probably too strong. Scientists will typically be trying to confirm their own hypotheses. They may have all kinds of subjective motivation to do that, since success might make their careers. Scientists will often spin their observational results to make their own pre-existing hypotheses look good.

    That's why it's important that the results be confirmed by individuals who aren't already believers in the hypothesis being tested, people who aren't already professionally (or sometimes politically) invested in the hypothesis being true. (We see this playing out with global-warming, where attempts have been made to prevent 'deniers' from earning tenure, from publishing in top journals and so on.)

    Parapsychology doesn't lack for observations. But for some reason only those who already believe in parapsychology seem to be able to produce or confirm parapsychological observations. Disbelievers never seem to observe these kind of things. (Several parapsychologists have even advanced a theory that the presence of disbelievers emit a parapsychological influence that suppresses paranormal phenomena in their vicinity. So parapsychological phenomena hypothetically only occur in the presence of believers and can only be observed by them.)

    What about "fish taste good"? Most Japanese have confirmed that seemingly subjective observation. (It would appear to translate to 'I like the taste of fish' and most Japanese like fish.)

    Ethics presents a whole class of problem cases. When we say 'child-molesting is wrong', are we talking about our own ethical responses to child-molesting, or are we somehow discovering that an abstraction (a class of actions) objectively possesses a rather mysterious ethical property (wrongness)?

    I think that it's important that everyone who is discussing science strive for objectivity. Objectivity is central and fundamental to what science is.

    But I don't think that it's always easy to separate objective and subjective remarks or to identify one from the other. Scientists (and laypeople discussing science even more so) exist in a historical context (where many things are simply assumed) and possess human motivations that extend far beyond their merely being dispassionate calculating engines. (Witness the way that atheists and theists make use of scientific arguments here on Sciforums.) That's just inevitable and can't ever be totally eliminated.

    So keeping science objective is always going to be a work-in-progress. It's an ideal that science strives for more than it's a goal that's easily met.
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Objectivity is collective. You can't be objective all by yourself. You need somebody else to point out the subjectivity in your observations. As Jesus said, you can't see the speck in somebody else's eye because of the beam in your own eye.
  11. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    Yazata, fully reading, and fully understanding the OP - prior to responding - is "Thanks" enough!
    I am extremely appreciative of you for always striving to maintain Objectivity in your Posts.

    How about : Objective Observations are completely unbiased and fact based. Therefore, Objective Observations are easily verifiable.
    Still possibly "too strong", but a "too loose or weak" definition can, and does, often lead to an increased misunderstanding.
    Ideally, the Objective Observations utilized in Science would lead to a greatly increased understanding of reality.

    Grok'd! I concur 100%!

    Conversely, Yazata, it is always very easy to discern between objective and subjective remarks, when those remarks are blatant and clearly worded.

    Too true. Especially when it seems (Subjectively!) that economics, politics and other factors affecting Science (and possibly even Science Forums!), are not "striving" for that same goal.

    Again, Yazata, as always, your comments are highly appreciated.
  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    I'm sure no one needs to get in a fluff about the lack of scientific objectivity.
    It does need to be reiterated, as I mentioned earlier, that the scientific method itself, including peer review, is a safety net against such excesses.
    And the progress of the sciences, especially over the last century or so absolutely confirms that.

    Scientific objectivity is an ideal goal that scientists strive to achieve. Unfortunately, because science is a human enterprise, complete objectivity can never be attained. However, the scientific method is designed to safeguard against bias as much as is possible.

    The other important point mentioned, is that mainstream science, by its very nature of logic and evidence based procedures, most certainly aligns with the desired scientific objectivity.
  13. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    ** The title of this Thread should read : Objectivity in Science - Subjectivity on SciForums **
    Please excuse my failed editing - prior to Posting the OP, dmoe

    *** Note : A Request to SciForums Members ***


    I humbly request that if a Member of this Forum does not know the difference between the words : "Objective" and "Subjective", there is no good reason for that Member to "HAVE TO" Post in this Thread.

    I humbly request that Members of this Forum understand this Thread is to address :
    I humbly request that if a Member of this Forum does not understand the two questions ^^quoted above^^, then there is no good reason for that Member to "HAVE TO" Post in this Thread.

    Considering that the subject is "Objectivity in Science", I am sure the Members that have actually been properly educated or professionally employed in the various disciplines of real Science, can understand these humble requests.

    Thanks, in advance to all SciForums Members, that respectfully honor these requests.

    Again, Objectivity...Please...Pretty Please, even???

    And, again, Thank You.
  14. leopold Valued Senior Member

    can science tell us what is objectively true?

    personally i do not agree with the author.
    he makes an erroneous assumption at the start of the essay.
    he believes science is not a natural outgrowth of human reasoning.
    i believe exactly the opposite.

    as for the OP, yes, i believe that most observations made in the hard science section should be objective.
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    I certainly do not have any more to add.
    After all, as has been shown, the scientific method and peer review, certainly act as safe guards for objectivity in science in general.
    And the objectivity of mainstream science is on the whole guaranteed.

    Again an excellent summary at....
  16. Andrus Registered Member


    Too many presumptions in one question so there are several answers: "No" to keep out and "yes" to respect science.


    Because there must be a "subject" who subjectively (and easily

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    ) "verifies" the observations here:
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    From leopold's link:

    The scientific method – Peirce then suggests – is the sole contender that posits an external reality or objective truth, so it is the only one that can calm the friction of our doubt.

    Totally in agreement.

    It then goes on to say.........

    There are a number of ways to take issue with the above line of reasoning,but it would be a distraction to pursue them here. Let me be careful. Regardless of whether Peirce’s argument is sound, he is not strictly) saying that the central tenet of science – realism – is true. That would be decidedly un-pragmatic. Instead he is saying that it happens to be the case that we believe it to be true, and cannot help ourselves. That Peirce himself
    believes it along with the rest of us, and that this belief bolsters his commitment to science, I still have to show. But let’s pause here to consider in more detail Peirce’s reference to folk realism, in order to assess its role in his broader argument.

    That continuation then seems to say we can never be certain of anything.
    Do we live in a Heliocentric Solar System?
    Is the earth an Oblate Spheroid?

    I'm sure most of us can comfortably say yes, with 100% certainty!
    I also find leopold's link rather philosophical, which in itself is not wrong, but like anything, when taken too far, gets to a situation of being absurd.

    It reminds me somewhat of what Bertrand Russell once said.....
    Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know.
    Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English philosopher, mathematician.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  18. leopold Valued Senior Member

    an objective observation:
    science and knowledge are not synonymous.
    experience and instinct are both forms of knowledge, neither of which are scientific in nature.
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"[1]) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[2][3] In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. A practitioner of science is known as a scientist.

    Experience is gained through scientific observations, and instinct is generally speaking, a reaction based on experience/knowledge.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

  21. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Heliocentric Universe???
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


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    Thank you...I'll fix that up right away!

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  23. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    You're welcome.

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    Had me wondering.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2014
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