Russell jumping into one of gg's questions
Strata Rose Chalup
Wed, 30 May 2001 14:32:01 -0700
A nice definition. I'm sure those on the list with PhD's in science will
appreciate your valuation of their training as scientists-- you could have
saved them years of study!
Anyone who has studied the theory AND practice of science knows there is
a LOT more to practicing science than your paragraph, Jeff. And anyone
who has practiced science for years and dealt with the scientific
community knows there are many, many opportunities for individuals
and groups to fit the experiment to the theory and turn a blind eye to
anything that doesn't fit their hypothesis. Until the next big breakthrough
comes along and reveals that what we "knew" to be correct was only a puzzle
piece-- continental drift, plankton productivity not being uniform in
the water column at commensurate depths, upper-air particle movement, etc
A *good* scientist sees things that look irrational according to his or her
model, and then tries to verify the occurrences, and, if verified, extend
the model. For subjective issues such as psychology and religion, outside
observers cannot, by definition, do direct verification, and the science
model breaks. Remember that homosexuality used to be classified as a mental
disease, for instance, until study after study showed that same-sex
preferences occur in many other species as well as humans. As long as you
persist in calling anything you disagree with "irrational", Jeff, you won't
extend your models very far.
For a good time, go read "The Cost of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes
the Best Things in Life", by Barry Schwartz.
Jeff Bone wrote:
> And I'll be definitionally precise in saying that a scientist is any person who
> engages the world in the manner suggested previously, treats their hypotheses as
> tentative, and seeks to build and refine their mental models of how things are.
> That's a rational process, it's (a part of) the scientific method. Anyone who
> strives to pursue knowledge and understanding in that fashion is a scientist,
> regardless of occupation, education, etc.
> The notion that there are "scientists" and then there are "ordinary people" is pretty
> wonky, Strata. What's the difference? Some of the most ordinary people I know
> aren't just scientists by education and philosophy but also by profession. Say what
> you mean: nonscientists.
> Religion is irrational. Definitionally. That's not the same thing as being wrong.
> Eschewing the irrational in favor of the rational is mostly a matter of taste, though
> choosing rationality may perhaps confer some advantage in terms of ability to cope
> with reality.
> > > .... you're correct in implying that *any* belief in a scientific theory or
> > > discipline as an absolute is exactly the same as any other kind of faith. Just
> > > exactly as irrational. But scientists are the *last* people in the world that
> > > will make any claims that their theories are "true" in anything other than a
> > > probabilistic or formal sense.
Strata Rose Chalup [KF6NBZ] strata "@" virtual.net
VirtualNet Consulting http://www.virtual.net/
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