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Us vs Them

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

Re: Us vs Them

Postby really? » 17 Dec 2012, 10:52

NinjaPuppy wrote:
really? wrote:Let's not get sidetracked. I am talking specifically about the Moon hoax and 9/11.

OK then, let's go back to the definition of the word theory.


Which one there are two that concern us ? One is the scientific definition of. And the other is the laypersons usage. For a theory to have teeth it must be a scientific theory fore the lay usage it means speculative or conjectural.

http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-i ... heory.html
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby NinjaPuppy » 17 Dec 2012, 23:29

really? wrote:Which one there are two that concern us ? One is the scientific definition of. And the other is the laypersons usage. For a theory to have teeth it must be a scientific theory fore the lay usage it means speculative or conjectural.

http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-i ... heory.html

I'll pick "laypersons" for $200 please, Alex!

Does anyone here (an active member of this forum) even have a degree in any of the sciences? I know that we used to have a few who's education would qualify but let's keep it simple and start with the everyday persons definition. This is a message board comprised of people of all walks of life and interests, not a scientific committee.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby Arouet » 17 Dec 2012, 23:54

I certainly don't have a scientific background. I've picked up a lot over the last few years by getting into these topics.

The problem with using the colloquial definition of theory is it leads people to say things like "It's only a theory." Which is a complete misunderstanding of the significance of a scientific theory. I think its useful for lay people to know the scientific definition so that they understand what is meant when they hear scientists talking.

I try to use "hypothesis" instead of theory, which is what the colloquial definition is really getting at.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby Arouet » 18 Dec 2012, 00:47

You could be trolling again, but to be clear: theories do not graduate to laws. In fact, theories are stronger than laws. From the wiki on scientific laws:

Laws differ from scientific theories in that they do not posit a mechanism or explanation of phenomena: they are merely distillations of the results of repeated observation. As such, a law is limited in applicability to circumstances resembling those already observed, and may be found to be false when extrapolated
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby Arouet » 18 Dec 2012, 01:11

justintime wrote:
Theories

The theories are the explanations proposed in step two of the scientific method. Usually the word "theory" is reserved for more than a first attempt, which might be called a "hypothesis." A theory usually has already survived several falsification attempts, and is pretty well accepted. However, I'll use the word theory to mean any explanation of observations.

If science can never prove a theory "true," then truth really has no place at all in science.

The heart of science lies in this third step. Having your theory, use it to predict the outcome of a future observation.


If you're talking about a scientific theory, this definition is incorrect. A theory is not step two. It's after all the steps have been taken time and time again and there is a general consensus in the scientific community.

From wiki:

A scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment."[1][2] Scientists create scientific theories from hypotheses that have been corroborated through the scientific method, then gather evidence to test their accuracy. As with all forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and do not make apodictic propositions; instead, they aim for predictive and explanatory force.[3][4]


Also: sciencce can never "prove" a theory true. It can just continue to develop the body of evidence that it continues to make accurate predictions.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby NinjaPuppy » 18 Dec 2012, 01:21

Arouet wrote:I try to use "hypothesis" instead of theory, which is what the colloquial definition is really getting at.

I usually use the word, "thingy" - but then you'd just laugh at me.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby Arouet » 18 Dec 2012, 01:22

lol
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby NinjaPuppy » 18 Dec 2012, 01:34

Arouet wrote:lol

SEE????? I knew it!
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby really? » 18 Dec 2012, 11:48

There are a few regular JREF members similar to justintime. They are similar because they start a topic that seems reasonable to them yet when others point out their position isn't so reasonable they don't stop and reflect, but babble on. They consider no reason except their own. That's what irks us skeptics and the reason a thread like this or the one a JREF ends up full of contemptuous comments.
Following Arouet's link, I like this post to Justintime by Foster Zygote.
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Originally Posted by justintime View Post
Too many points to deal with in one post. The point raise in the legal system was the play on the line "beyond a reasonable doubt." So Skeptics are entitled to their doubts but are they reasonable and what is their threshold for accepting evidence because it appears very subjective from one Skeptic to another.
FZ: First off, in this context, the word "skeptic" is not a proper noun, so I'm not sure why you've begun to capitalize it.

FZ: You appear to be conflating skepticism with cynicism. They are not the same. Many skeptics I've encountered are among the least cynical people I've met. Skepticism isn't about saying, "I refuse to believe it". Rather, it is about saying, "I need to be convinced".
And guess what? Skepticism is subjective. It's a method employed by people. I'm not sure why you would expect all skeptics to agree completely about standards of acceptable evidence, or why it would surprise you that some people can be skeptical regarding certain issues, yet also believe in ghosts or gods.


Quote: Justintime
Skeptics are about debunking claims.
FZ: No, skeptics are about looking into claims in detail to see if they stack up against known reality. Everything we've learned through the application of the scientific method has been confirmed by skeptics.

Quote:Justintime
According to Brian Dunning Skeptics are also Ghost believers and many are deeply religious. So what have they debunked?
FZ:You think that selective choices by certain individuals not to apply skepticism to certain areas invalidates the value of skepticism?

Quote:Justintime
Skeptics are not experts in the field they criticize.
FZ: Really? Every skeptical peer review of a scientific publication is criticized by experts in the field. On this very forum I've seen crackpot claims about biology addressed by people with Ph.D.s in biology. I've seen an astrophysicist criticize statements regarding astronomy. I've seen engineers tear apart 9/11 conspiracy theories made by people who know nothing of engineering. I've seen geologists point out the fatal flaws in crazy theories about the Earth.

Quote:Justintime
This was a follow up to the notion that Skeptics are critical thinkers and evidence based directed. But critical thinking is a university level course often introduced in undergraduate courses and most Skeptics are not at that level of education on Skeptics forums (no offense intended). So much that is debated by Skeptics are really outside their scope.
FZ: So you've taken university courses in critical thinking, and you assume that no self-described skeptics have?

Quote:Justintime
Which brings us to extraordinary claims and extraordinary evidence. How many Skeptics can even raise to the level of understanding extraordinary evidence when they are barley coping with ordinary problems. I cited an example of a skeptic scientist Richard Muller who rejected climate change results because he was skeptical of its results even though it was peer reviewed research. He conducted his own research and came to the same conclusion. His research was denied peer review but Richard Muller announced he was now a climate change believer based on his own research which was a peer rejected study versus a peer reviewed one that he earlier denounced.
FZ: Could you cite a source for this, particularly of the part about Muller being denied peer review? Richard Muller supported the criticism leveled by two other scientists, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, who pointed out flaws in the statistical analysis of a study led by Michael E. Mann. This very criticism that they were engaged in is the peer review process. Muller did not deny global warming. He wasn't saying that global warming wasn't real, and he never later "announced he was now a climate change believer".

Quote:Justintime
So Skepticism is really a state of mind a psychological attribute of insecure individuals.
FZ: So you think that it is an attribute of insecurity to want to look at evidence in detail before deciding the merits of a claim? Is it a mark of a secure individual to simply believe whatever they are told?

FZ: Here's what I think. I think that you have a belief in something that you can't justify with facts or reason, and you've encountered many skeptics who have pointed out the logical flaws your arguments. But rather than address those flaws you've decided to poison the well by characterizing skeptics as as suffering from insecurity. Ironic, isn't it?
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby really? » 19 Dec 2012, 10:34

double post deleted
Last edited by really? on 19 Dec 2012, 10:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby really? » 19 Dec 2012, 10:37

really? wrote:Which one there are two that concern us ? One is the scientific definition of. And the other is the laypersons usage. For a theory to have teeth it must be a scientific theory fore the lay usage it means speculative or conjectural.

http://www.livescience.com/21491-what-i ... heory.html

NinjaPuppy wrote:I'll pick "laypersons" for $200 please, Alex!

Does anyone here (an active member of this forum) even have a degree in any of the sciences? I know that we used to have a few who's education would qualify but let's keep it simple and start with the everyday persons definition. This is a message board comprised of people of all walks of life and interests, not a scientific committee.


People. I think don't know the difference, but should . But if the lay definition is used then people think it has factual validity, when in reality it's only speculative causing much confusion and possibly hurt feelings. The science definition is more appropriate.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby really? » 19 Dec 2012, 10:46

[quote="justintime"

Carl Sagan tried to warn skeptics there would be days like this.

In his own words.


Carl Sagan wrote: When someone comes alone who challenges our belief system as insufficiently well-based – or, who like Socrates, merely asks embarrassing questions that we haven’t thought of, or demonstrates that we’ve swept key underlying assumptions under the rug – it becomes much more than a search for knowledge. It feels like a personal assault.


I don't know what to say to you except you might try and reflect upon what Sagan said. Maybe it will do some good.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby Arouet » 19 Dec 2012, 21:50

Actually, it works better without the added part so as to avoid what you have done: that is, narrow the issue to scientific skeptics. The point applies equally to all groups.
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby really? » 20 Dec 2012, 06:01

justintime wrote:
Carl Sagan tried to warn skeptics there would be days like this.

In his own words.



Carl Sagan wrote: When someone comes alone who challenges our belief system as insufficiently well-based – or, who like Socrates, merely asks embarrassing questions that we haven’t thought of, or demonstrates that we’ve swept key underlying assumptions under the rug – it becomes much more than a search for knowledge. It feels like a personal assault.


really? wrote:I don't know what to say to you except you might try and reflect upon what Sagan said. Maybe it will do some good.


justintime wrote:Maybe it will help if the entire paragraph was printed. He is talking about scientific skepticism, scientist and dedicated skeptics and their cherished beliefs. They are to a degree self-defining.


Sagan
Even when it’s applied sensitively,scientific skepticism may come across as arrogant, dogmatic, heartless and dismissive of the feelings and deeply held beliefs of others. And it must be said, some scientists and dedicated skeptics apply this tool as a blunt instrument, with little finesse. Sometimes it looks as if the skeptical conclusion came first, that contentions were dismissed before, not after, the evidence was examined. All of us cherish our beliefs. They are, to a degree, self-defining. When someone comes alone who challenges our belief system as insufficiently well-based – or, who like Socrates, merely asks embarrassing questions that we haven’t thought of, or demonstrates that we’ve swept key underlying assumptions under the rug – it becomes much more than a search for knowledge. It feels like a personal assault.


If it was so pertinent why did you not include the whole paragraph the first time ? Anyway it still doesn't change my reply one bit. You just keep plowing ahead. Stop for a moment and consider how the Sagan quote applies to you.

P.S. I notice Sagan serves you well when it's a point you agree with .
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Re: Us vs Them

Postby SydneyPSIder » 20 Dec 2012, 10:07

Arouet wrote:Right: skepticism is a method, not a worldview.

Correct. However, you and two or three others here are pseudosceptics, and that IS a worldview.
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