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Old 8th August 2019, 06:53 AM   #281
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Might as well equate quantum mechanics with playing the bongos.
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Old 8th August 2019, 07:10 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post

Originally Posted by IanS View Post
... do you really think that if you go to the LHC in Geneva (for example), and call all the hundreds of scientists, mathematicians, technicians & engineers there to a meeting, and tell them "OK, I want all of you stop the science now, stop all the experiments and the calculations and the research, because we must now spend an indefinite time into the future debating this essential philosophical question of whether or not certain of your "principles" are reducible to other principles!", do you really think anyone there is going to take any notice of you or that anyone should take any notice of you?

.
Of me? No. Why should they?

Of a philosopher, say, Anthony Grayling? Yes. THE LHC TAKEN WITH PHILOSOPHY

And, guess what? They didn't need to spend an indefinite amount of time to cover the issues.

And they didn't have to halt their day jobs. I am puzzled as to why you thought they would have to.

OK I am not going to spend my time looking through your other links/posts to what any other philosophers may have said about science (or about philosophy), or your mention of what other scientists of the past may have said about philosophy, but I just looked at the one above as the first one I noticed in your posts … what do you think that link says (from Grayling) that is a rebuttal to what you just quoted from me above? …

...in that link, where do you think Grayling was telling scientists and others at CERN to stop the science and listen to his philosophising instead? Can you quote from your link where Grayling is telling the CERN staff how to conduct the science? Because I just spent my time reading your link and I do not see where he says anything of the sort!

Grayling is simply a well known academic who has a considerable interest in, and a great admiration for, science and the achievements of science. He is also a well-known atheist who has appeared alongside various scientists in many well known YouTube debates against theists & creationists. No doubt it was in that capacity, and with that background and that deep interest, that he was able to visit the LHC and meet with some of the scientific staff there.

So what is your point in any of that? How do you think it shows Grayling making any claims of telling the staff at CERN what to do, or telling the physicists there that there are only doing “philosophy”, or telling them that they must must read ancient philosophy in order to be able to explain the results they are now getting at the LHC?

Afaik, Grayling is not so stupid as to be making any claims like that. He's just one of many academics all over the world who do take a deep interest in science (and quite right that he should!).


You seem to be doing what religious creationsits do when atheists tell them that progress in science has shown why we should no longer believe in supernatural gods ... where, the theists/creationsist then reply with a list of named scientists who are (or once were) practicing Chrsitians!

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Old 8th August 2019, 07:11 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Scientists do all sorts of stuff in their free time. I can also tell you a couple of physicists who do standup comedy.
When a scientist does philosophy, at any time, he does not do it as something totally detached from his scientific task. Like the case I have just mentioned, he thinks that it is something different from doing science in the everyday sense but directly linked to science in a wider sense. Not like golf, which has nothing to do with it. The difference is notable.

By the way, do you know whose text it is?

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Old 8th August 2019, 07:23 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post

Yes because the word "philosophy" is ill defined nothing so vague as to be meaningless.
There's no ambiguity in this case. All the people Robin and I have quoted understand that it is one thing to do science and another to interpret it or analyze its meaning. That second function is what is usually considered the philosophy of science. The philosophy of science is concerned with all the assumptions, foundations, methods, implications of science, and with the use and merit of science. Some usual problems: demarcation science and pseudoscience, objectivism, realism and instrumentalism, analysis and reductionism, etc. are usual problems of philosophy of science. Some of them had been dealt with in this thread.

MORE: "Related Entries" in "Philosophical Issues in Quantum Theory" (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-issues/

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Old 8th August 2019, 08:00 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Here is Ernst Mayr discussing reductionism in the correspondence section of Nature:

https://www.nature.com/articles/331475a0.pdf

But, hey, proper scientists have no interest in nor time for such subjects, right?

OK, as I said above I think it's just a pure waste of time getting any further into discussion of what individuals such as Ernst Mayr (who I'd never heard of) thought about philosophy. But I just wanted to say the following, because as I mentioned above, this is exactly the sort of debate I've had before with creationist Christians here, who think that by listing numerous names of scientists (mostly long since dead ones, such as Newton or Maxwell etc.) who were self-professed Christians, that somehow refutes atheists who point out that most scientists today have far less religious belief than the non-scientists in the general population around them.

In which respect - Ernst Mayr was apparently born in 1904. That was a time just before the discovery of relativity theory and before the discovery of quantum theory, and it was also not so long after Darwin had made the world aware that humans almost certainly had evolved from earlier apes, and hence could not have been created by a Christian God (although even by 1904 many academics were still trying to ridicule Darwin for that discovery). ...

... that was a time when many young scientists (PhD and postdoctoral fellows) at the big European universities, still sat around in the evenings at university dining halls and university clubs, eating, drinking and debating the historic names in philosophy. It was a fashionable thing to do for the most educated and affluent young graduates of that era. It was the sort of lifestyle that was enjoyed by most of the younger individuals who became the great pioneers of Quantum Theory in the 1920's (you can find some of that in Graham Farmello's book on the life of Paul Dirac, although Dirac himself was far from any such privileged background and appears to have regarded that sort of philosophical indulgence as trivial nonsense unworthy of his time).

Ernst Mayr is from around that same age. So it would not surprise me if he, like many young academics of the time, had been taught about the famous ideas of much earlier philosophers, and if he regarded that as important.

But on a separate note – although your link is to something in the journal Nature, it is not actually a research paper in Nature. It is merely a letter to the editor expressing Mayr's views on things that Stephen Weinberg had apparently once said. It was also a letter from way back in 1988. And finally, Mayr is described amongst other titles as a Philosopher of Biology and a Historian of Science … and that is a million miles from people like Weinberg in theoretical physics.
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Old 9th August 2019, 01:32 AM   #286
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
When a scientist does philosophy, at any time, he does not do it as something totally detached from his scientific task.
I can still say the same about physicists doing standup comedy. One of them explained chain reactions and moderators (as in, the ones in a nuclear reactor) in terms of a bar brawl. Vince Ebert did a joke about light diffraction and why the sky is blue, among other things. Hell, he even has a CD out called "Big Bang" (well, in German.) Etc.

None of that was particularly detached from the actual physics. You could literally take the joke about the chain reaction and use it to explain it in a classroom, and it would be a 100% correct way of illustrating it.

BUT here's the important part: that doesn't matter.

What matters is: is he saying something based on evidence, and testable against the real world?

If yes, then that's science either way. It can be in a philosophy book, it can be in a standup comedy joke, it can even be in a SF novel or movie. It's science.

If no, then how would you know he's right? It seems to me like then what still applies is Hitchens's Razor: "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. "
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Old 9th August 2019, 02:26 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I can still say the same about physicists doing standup comedy. One of them explained chain reactions and moderators (as in, the ones in a nuclear reactor) in terms of a bar brawl. Vince Ebert did a joke about light diffraction and why the sky is blue, among other things. Hell, he even has a CD out called "Big Bang" (well, in German.) Etc.

None of that was particularly detached from the actual physics. You could literally take the joke about the chain reaction and use it to explain it in a classroom, and it would be a 100% correct way of illustrating it.

BUT here's the important part: that doesn't matter.

What matters is: is he saying something based on evidence, and testable against the real world?

If yes, then that's science either way. It can be in a philosophy book, it can be in a standup comedy joke, it can even be in a SF novel or movie. It's science.

If no, then how would you know he's right? It seems to me like then what still applies is Hitchens's Razor: "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. "
Even you will be able to realize that making jokes about the Big Bang or comparing my girlfriend to a space rocket is not the same as discussing instrumentalism in science. I won't insist on this. It would be futile.

Our knowledge doesn't end with evidence. If so, you wouldn't be able to go out on the street.
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Old 9th August 2019, 02:52 AM   #288
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
OK, as I said above I think it's just a pure waste of time getting any further into discussion of what individuals such as Ernst Mayr (who I'd never heard of) thought about philosophy. But I just wanted to say the following, because as I mentioned above, this is exactly the sort of debate I've had before with creationist Christians here, who think that by listing numerous names of scientists (mostly long since dead ones, such as Newton or Maxwell etc.) who were self-professed Christians, that somehow refutes atheists who point out that most scientists today have far less religious belief than the non-scientists in the general population around them.

In which respect - Ernst Mayr was apparently born in 1904. That was a time just before the discovery of relativity theory and before the discovery of quantum theory, and it was also not so long after Darwin had made the world aware that humans almost certainly had evolved from earlier apes, and hence could not have been created by a Christian God (although even by 1904 many academics were still trying to ridicule Darwin for that discovery). ...

... that was a time when many young scientists (PhD and postdoctoral fellows) at the big European universities, still sat around in the evenings at university dining halls and university clubs, eating, drinking and debating the historic names in philosophy. It was a fashionable thing to do for the most educated and affluent young graduates of that era. It was the sort of lifestyle that was enjoyed by most of the younger individuals who became the great pioneers of Quantum Theory in the 1920's (you can find some of that in Graham Farmello's book on the life of Paul Dirac, although Dirac himself was far from any such privileged background and appears to have regarded that sort of philosophical indulgence as trivial nonsense unworthy of his time).

Ernst Mayr is from around that same age. So it would not surprise me if he, like many young academics of the time, had been taught about the famous ideas of much earlier philosophers, and if he regarded that as important.

But on a separate note – although your link is to something in the journal Nature, it is not actually a research paper in Nature. It is merely a letter to the editor expressing Mayr's views on things that Stephen Weinberg had apparently once said. It was also a letter from way back in 1988. And finally, Mayr is described amongst other titles as a Philosopher of Biology and a Historian of Science … and that is a million miles from people like Weinberg in theoretical physics.
You have written a comment complaining about the principle of authority by resorting to the principle of authority. Weinberg is a true scientist, while Einstein is not. A rather strange argument of authority, where a scientist like many others is placed above a genius.
However, you have been given the reasons for one and the other. Those of your idol (Weinberg) have been criticized. And you have been unable to discuss either one or the other. You prefer to dismiss the reasoned opinions of the top scientists of the 20th century scientific revolution with the vague claim that "they were other times". What kind of reason is that? His reason is not reason: it is idolatry.

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Old 9th August 2019, 03:14 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Even you will be able to realize that making jokes about the Big Bang or comparing my girlfriend to a space rocket is not the same as discussing instrumentalism in science. I won't insist on this. It would be futile.

Our knowledge doesn't end with evidence. If so, you wouldn't be able to go out on the street.
I'm curious now. Exactly which activity you do on the street that is not relying on at least prima facie evidence?

Because when I go out, even crossing the street starts with gathering real world data about whether a car is coming or not, and making a prediction about whether the time I need to get to the other side is shorter than the time it needs to cover the distance from where the nearest car is. And then I test that prediction when I actually cross. If I falsified that prediction, well, I guess that's what medical insurance is for Err... I mean, I'll adjust my theory a bit for next time.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:08 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Even you will be able to realize that making jokes about the Big Bang or comparing my girlfriend to a space rocket is not the same as discussing instrumentalism in science. I won't insist on this. It would be futile.

Our knowledge doesn't end with evidence. If so, you wouldn't be able to go out on the street.

Can you give an example of something we have knowledge of without evidence?
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Old 9th August 2019, 05:47 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Can you give an example of something we have knowledge of without evidence?
Cue some meaningless variation on "CAN YOUR PRECIOUS SCIENCE TELL YOU IF A PAINTING IS BEAUTIFUL?" or just straight up solipsism.
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Old 9th August 2019, 06:17 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Cue some meaningless variation on "CAN YOUR PRECIOUS SCIENCE TELL YOU IF A PAINTING IS BEAUTIFUL?" or just straight up solipsism.

That wouldn't work.
What you find beautiful is obviously a function of human esthetics, shaped by evolution, expressed by your personal genetics and refined by the sum total of your life experiences. It's science.
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Old 9th August 2019, 06:19 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
That wouldn't work.
What you find beautiful is obviously a function of human esthetics, shaped by evolution, expressed by your personal genetics and refined by the sum total of your life experiences. It's science.
I didn't say it would work, I said that would be the argument followed by the "Sticking fingers in ears and going LALALALALAL I can't hear you" when anyone tried to explain it.
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Old 9th August 2019, 06:47 AM   #294
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
That wouldn't work.
What you find beautiful is obviously a function of human esthetics, shaped by evolution, expressed by your personal genetics and refined by the sum total of your life experiences. It's science.
Well, technically it does fit under 'life experiences', but just for completeness sake, a large part seems to also be learned from others, e.g., via inculturation.
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Old 9th August 2019, 06:49 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Cue some meaningless variation on "CAN YOUR PRECIOUS SCIENCE TELL YOU IF A PAINTING IS BEAUTIFUL?" or just straight up solipsism.
To be fair, though, that seems to be more like the domain of other posters. David, I may not agree with his reasoning or argument style most of the time, but he doesn't really do solipsism.
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Old 9th August 2019, 07:34 AM   #296
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Can you give an example of something we have knowledge of without evidence?
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm curious now. Exactly which activity you do on the street that is not relying on at least prima facie evidence?
.
I beg your pardon, I believe we are speaking of scientific evidence. I don't know what "prima facie" evidence is.

Anyway:

I have no evidence that the woman in bed with me loves me. I have some clues and a great deal of confidence in her. This is love. This is not evidence. Maybe she put poison in my coffee to marry the milkman. I don't have any evidence that's not true.
I have no evidence that the shiny disc I see through the window is a large incandescent sphere. Scientists say it and I believe them by the principle of authority.
I have no evidence that my car will run in the morning. I have four ideas that I have read about how the engine is that are not evidence of anything and a series of machine gestures and intuitions that allow me to start it.
Driving is a series of habits, intuitions and reflexes. If I were to search for evidence of uniformly accelerated movements and trajectories while driving, I would cause a monumental traffic jam at least and I would not get to the office in time.
I have no evidence that the President is the one in the photo. Newspapers say so and I believe them. They say he is in Somalia. I have no evidence of that.
I've been up for two hours and I don't have much evidence. And I haven't started working.
As soon as they give me the first report from the Area of Goods, of whose author I have no evidence, I will dedicate myself to analyzing the data. But to analyze is not to have any evidence.
Etc., etc.


How have I functioned during these two or three hours? With hints, habits, intuitions and a good amount of credulity. Evidence, rather few. And a little of analysis!

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Old 9th August 2019, 08:01 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I beg your pardon, I believe we are speaking of scientific evidence. I don't know what "prima facie" evidence is.

Anyway:

I have no evidence that the woman in bed with me loves me.
No evidence? Not even her behaviour toward you is evidence that she loves you? If you actually have no evidence at all that she loves you then then why do you think she loves you (assuming for the sake of argument that she does in fact love you)?

The "prove love really exists" or "prove your loved ones really love you" is a very silly argument. Whatever its trying to prove.
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Old 9th August 2019, 08:04 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
How have I functioned during these two or three hours? With hints, habits, intuitions and a good amount of credulity. Evidence, rather few.
I think you're confusing evidence with proof. The way my wife has behaved towards me for the last thirty-five years falls short of proof that she loves me, but I find it very convincing evidence.

Dave
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Old 9th August 2019, 08:07 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I beg your pardon, I believe we are speaking of scientific evidence. I don't know what "prima facie" evidence is.

Anyway:

I have no evidence that the woman in bed with me loves me. I have some clues and a great deal of confidence in her. This is love. This is not evidence. Maybe she put poison in my coffee to marry the milkman. I don't have any evidence that's not true.
I have no evidence that the shiny disc I see through the window is a large incandescent sphere. Scientists say it and I believe them by the principle of authority.
I have no evidence that my car will run in the morning. I have four ideas that I have read about how the engine is that are not evidence of anything and a series of machine gestures and intuitions that allow me to start it.
Driving is a series of habits, intuitions and reflexes. If I were to search for evidence of uniformly accelerated movements and trajectories while driving, I would cause a monumental traffic jam at least and I would not get to the office in time.
I have no evidence that the President is the one in the photo. Newspapers say so and I believe them. They say he is in Somalia. I have no evidence of that.
I've been up for two hours and I don't have much evidence. And I haven't started working.
As soon as they give me the first report from the Area of Goods, of whose author I have no evidence, I will dedicate myself to analyzing the data. But to analyze is not to have any evidence.
Etc., etc.


How have I functioned during these two or three hours? With hints, habits, intuitions and a good amount of credulity. Evidence, rather few. And a little of analysis!

That's probably a comment on the nature of specific kinds of evidence, and what is good evidence and what isn't; and not on having or not having evidence.
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Old 9th August 2019, 09:15 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I beg your pardon, I believe we are speaking of scientific evidence. I don't know what "prima facie" evidence is.
Right. So basically your argument boils down to your not knowing what science is, so you just make something up instead. Bonus points for suddenly not understanding a common expression either.

Well, science is nothing more than applying the scientific method. It doesn't mean... whatever you imagine it to be, if you think that the fact that the car turned on when you turned the key to be anything else than evidence you can apply that method to.

Or to quote Vince Ebert, the physicist turned comedian I mentioned before, "The Scientific Method is, simply put, just a way to test suppositions. If I supposed for example 'there might be beer in the fridge' and go look in the fridge, I'm already doing science. Big difference from Theology. There they don't usually test suppositions. If I just assume 'There is beer in the fridge' then I'm a theologian. If I go look, I'm a scientist. And if I go look, find nothing inside, and still insist that there's beer in the fridge, that's esoteric."

And that's really it. That's really all there is to it.

So if you're telling me that you're applying anything else when starting your car, well, maybe you should start doing it like the rest of the world then
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Old 9th August 2019, 09:17 AM   #301
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There's no such thing as "non-scientific evidence."

Either you collect under scientific concepts or it's not evidence, it's a belief.
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Old 9th August 2019, 09:21 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There's no such thing as "non-scientific evidence."

Either you collect under scientific concepts or it's not evidence, it's a belief.
Or even more clearly, in both science and just logic, evidence is only what helps support or disprove the conclusion. As in, you can make a sound argument (logical, probabilistic, just maths, whatever) from it as a premise, to the conclusion. Anything else may be a belief, or may in fact be even provably true, but it's just a red herring either way.
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Old 9th August 2019, 09:28 AM   #303
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Old 9th August 2019, 01:18 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I beg your pardon, I believe we are speaking of scientific evidence. I don't know what "prima facie" evidence is.

Your claim that knowledge does not end with evidence was not qualified by specifying "scientific" or any other particular kind of evidence. If you wish to revise that claim by adding such qualifiers, then you can disregard the rest and we can get to arguing about what kinds of evidence are or are not "scientific." Otherwise, let's continue.

Quote:
Anyway:

I have no evidence that the woman in bed with me loves me. I have some clues and a great deal of confidence in her. This is love. This is not evidence. Maybe she put poison in my coffee to marry the milkman. I don't have any evidence that's not true.

Does she not behave as if she loves you (or at least, as if she enjoys being in bed with you)? If not, maybe you shouldn't be in bed with her.

Does she tell you she loves you, and pass up opportunities to tell other random people that she loves them? That would be evidence she loves you.

Do you even have a milkman? (They're pretty rare, in the present day.) If not, that would be evidence that she's not planning to marry that nonexistent person.

Has drinking the coffee she prepared for you ever caused you to become suddenly gravely ill or drop dead? That would be evidence that she did not put poison in it.

Quote:
I have no evidence that the shiny disc I see through the window is a large incandescent sphere. Scientists say it and I believe them by the principle of authority.

Have you ever observed for yourself the shape of that shiny disc in the sky? If so, and it appeared round, that is evidence that it is a shape that is round from at least one viewpoint, such as a disk, cylinder, cone, or sphere. It's also evidence against an infinite variety of alternative conceivable shapes (triangle, cube, line, etc). If you've observed it multiple times and it always looked round, that is further evidence that it's either a shape that's round from every viewpoint (i.e. a sphere) or that you're always seeing it from the same relative viewpoint. When you observe the disc in the sky, is it always in the same place in the sky, or does it appear to move? If the latter, that's evidence that you're seeing it from different relative viewpoints at different times, which is further evidence that it's a sphere.

Further, that scientists say it is a large incandescent sphere is strong evidence that it is so, as they've had ample means and opportunities to observe it in ways that you cannot easily have done yourself. The evidence that that's the case is available in books about how solar astronomical observation is done; the history of scientific observations and theories of the solar system; the availability of instruments with which you can make congruent (or potentially conflicting) observations for yourself, such as telescopes and filters with which you can observe the shapes of sunspots as they move across the "face" of the disc; and many other forms of evidence.

Quote:
I have no evidence that my car will run in the morning. I have four ideas that I have read about how the engine is that are not evidence of anything and a series of machine gestures and intuitions that allow me to start it.

Has your car run most mornings? That is evidence (though not proof) that it will run in the morning, whether you understand how it runs or not.

Quote:
Driving is a series of habits, intuitions and reflexes. If I were to search for evidence of uniformly accelerated movements and trajectories while driving, I would cause a monumental traffic jam at least and I would not get to the office in time.

If you have not caused collisions, or traffic jams such as you describe, that is evidence that your movements while driving are reasonably uniform, because if your movement differed excessively from other's movements (which you can see for yourself with your own eyes are usually reasonably uniform) that would cause collisions or delays, which you acknowledge not causing.

Quote:
I have no evidence that the President is the one in the photo. Newspapers say so and I believe them. They say he is in Somalia. I have no evidence of that.

Yes you do. The person in the photo looks like the President, and newspapers (presumably ones that you've experienced to be reliable, not crackpot tabloids) reported so. That's evidence.

Quote:
I've been up for two hours and I don't have much evidence. And I haven't started working.

If you remember performing about two hours' worth of activities this morning (eating breakfast, reading news stories about the President, looking at a clock after getting up and again more recently and noting the change in indicated time, writing the post I quoted, and so forth), that is evidence you have been up for two hours.

You're surrounded and bombarded by evidence of the world all the time. It's not your own imaginings what time it is, or whether the sun's disk is visible today, or that you haven't succumbed to poison in your coffee.

If you really thought you have no evidence of how the car ahead of you is moving in traffic, then you'd have to conclude that you'd be no worse off if you closed your eyes and guessed how hard to press the accelerator or brake. I hope for your own and others' sake that you don't really do that, or think that.
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Old 9th August 2019, 01:31 PM   #305
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Old 9th August 2019, 03:35 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I beg your pardon, I believe we are speaking of scientific evidence. I don't know what "prima facie" evidence is.
Prima facie is not unscientific. The term only refers to evidence based on the first impression.

Quote:
I have no evidence that the shiny disc I see through the window is a large incandescent sphere. Scientists say it and I believe them by the principle of authority.
Myriad answered this quite comprehensively:

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post

Have you ever observed for yourself the shape of that shiny disc in the sky? If so, and it appeared round, that is evidence that it is a shape that is round from at least one viewpoint, such as a disk, cylinder, cone, or sphere. .........

I will add the following however:

I assume the disc you are referring to is the Sun. If it were the Moon, (which is not incandescent), you would see the spheroidal shape clearly shown by the moving crescent as it goes through its phases.

The moon is special only in the sense that we can make this observation with the naked eye. Other celestial bodies that reflect light can be observed, and confirmed, as being spheroid in the same way. A small step from here is to conclude that all celestial bodies are spheroid. This assumption is confirmed by our knowledge of gravity and how this force will pull such bodies into this shape.

Even those of us with rudimentary knowledge of physics can make these observations and come to these conclusions without just accepting what Scientists say and believing them by the principle of authority.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:11 PM   #307
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Actually, I would add something I've said before, but is nevertheless relevant to such "ah, but how do you know the sun is round?" diversions: does it matter?

There is a great number of things we don't bother proving or disproving, not because of some great faith in figures of authority, but because just that: we don't bother. Because it doesn't matter to any course of action at hand.

E.g., when I wake up in the morning, it doesn't REALLY matter if the sun is a sphere, or a disc, or a lightbulb hanging from the dome of the firmament. I'll go with it being a sphere, because it makes no difference, and it's not worth my time to prove or disprove it. There is no point in wasting time getting philosophical about what is the real nature of the sun, or what does "morning" REALLY mean. The fact is that it's morning, and I'm supposed to go to work. Whether the sun is a star or a lightbulb or just part of a simulation, makes exactly zero difference.

If it DID matter, then I probably would investigate. E.g., if there suddenly were a bright reddish light in the east when all clocks say it's midnight, I probably wouldn't just get dressed and go to work. I might in fact, hypothesize that the best course of action is to duck and cover.


So here's what this all means: just because we don't follow every irrelevant detail for our interests and decisions, doesn't mean it's a valid alternate way to knowledge. It means literally it NOT being a way to knowledge. Because we're just not that interested in taking any road to knowledge there at all.

It simply is to epistemology what staying home is to tourism


Even shorter version: as I was saying before, concentrate on the parts of the model that matter for the problem at hand, ignore the rest. All the "ah, but not everyone checks if the sun is really spherical" twaddle is nothing more than the observation that most people are sane enough to do just that.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:14 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, I would add something I've said before, but is nevertheless relevant to such "ah, but how do you know the sun is round?" diversions: does it matter?

There is a great number of things we don't bother proving or disproving, not because of some great faith in figures of authority, but because just that: we don't bother. Because it doesn't matter to any course of action at hand.

E.g., when I wake up in the morning, it doesn't REALLY matter if the sun is a sphere, or a disc, or a lightbulb hanging from the dome of the firmament. I'll go with it being a sphere, because it makes no difference, and it's not worth my time to prove or disprove it. There is no point in wasting time getting philosophical about what is the real nature of the sun, or what does "morning" REALLY mean. The fact is that it's morning, and I'm supposed to go to work. Whether the sun is a star or a lightbulb or just part of a simulation, makes exactly zero difference.

If it DID matter, then I probably would investigate. E.g., if there suddenly were a bright reddish light in the east when all clocks say it's midnight, I probably wouldn't just get dressed and go to work. I might in fact, hypothesize that the best course of action is to duck and cover.


So here's what this all means: just because we don't follow every irrelevant detail for our interests and decisions, doesn't mean it's a valid alternate way to knowledge. It means literally it NOT being a way to knowledge. Because we're just not that interested in it.

It's as much an alternate epistemology, as staying home is an alternate kind of tourism


Even shorter version: as I was saying before, concentrate on the parts of the model that matter, ignore the rest. All the "ah, but not everyone checks if the sun is really spherical" twaddle is nothing more than the observation that most people are sane enough to do just that.
Similarly: For almost everyone, almost all the time, the Earth is flat.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:18 PM   #309
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Well, more like, for almost everyone almost all the time, it doesn't MATTER if it's really flat or a sphere of such great radius that the local curvature is too small to observe.
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Old 9th August 2019, 05:23 PM   #310
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Well I suppose this just illustrates the difference between us. I am driven to find explanations for different phenomena I observe. Saying "this doesn't effect me so I won't bother with it" won't work for me.
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Old 9th August 2019, 08:45 PM   #311
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The point was that if it does interest you enough, then you do something about it. The things that you don't bother to check -- and there must be SOME -- those obviously don't interest you that much, do they?

The whole taking some things without evidence, which David seems to think is a good enough source of knowledge too, is in fact what we do when we can't really be bothered to look for reliable knowledge. It's not an alternate way to know stuff. Is all I'm saying.
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Old 9th August 2019, 09:30 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, technically it does fit under 'life experiences', but just for completeness sake, a large part seems to also be learned from others, e.g., via inculturation.

From the chemical composition of the amniotic fluid the newly conceived fetus is exposed to in the womb, to every experience your senses take in, to every chemical that interacts with your bio chemistry through life, literally everything that happens to you, apart from the information in your genetic code, falls under 'life experiences'.
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Old 10th August 2019, 12:12 AM   #313
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This is my general answer. If I find the time, I will answer some particulars.

In the context in which we were talking it was understood that we were talking about scientific evidence:
Hans: “If yes, then that's science either way. It can be in a philosophy book, it can be in a standup comedy joke, it can even be in a SF novel or movie. It's science”.

Such a broad concept of science can lead to quite a lot of confusion. That's why I specified that I was referring to scientific evidence (Joe says there is no other). I will specify more: I refer to the one that is obtained through controlled observation (test) and mathematically formalized quantification. It is the one taught in universities and published in scientific journals.

If you don't precise your concepts, how do you distinguish what is mere hint from what is evidence? How do you explain the difference between science and informal observation?
Obviously, none of the knowledge I discussed above was obtained by that method.

But although you insist on confusing science with informal observation and calling simple observation a "test", several of the knowledge I mentioned referred to knowledge not based on observation and informal tests: of authority, by habit, by intuition and analysis. Go over the list and you'll see.
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Old 10th August 2019, 01:59 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
No evidence? Not even her behaviour toward you is evidence that she loves you? If you actually have no evidence at all that she loves you then then why do you think she loves you (assuming for the sake of argument that she does in fact love you)?

The "prove love really exists" or "prove your loved ones really love you" is a very silly argument. Whatever its trying to prove.
Silly or not silly they had asked me for knowledge of something that is not based on evidence. Except in extreme cases one cannot prove that his wife loves him. Love is a case of intuition and trust. If you put your wife to the test, the most normal thing would be she to send you to hell. I don't advise you to try it.
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Old 10th August 2019, 02:04 AM   #315
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I think you're confusing evidence with proof. The way my wife has behaved towards me for the last thirty-five years falls short of proof that she loves me, but I find it very convincing evidence.

Dave
Proof and evidence are used as synonym words in the scientific literature. I can provide you some examples.
I can use evidence in a softer way than proof or vice versa. Only let us know how we use the words. And how you differentiate them from intuition, hint or analysis.
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Old 10th August 2019, 02:14 AM   #316
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or to quote Vince Ebert, the physicist turned comedian I mentioned before, "The Scientific Method is, simply put, just a way to test suppositions. If I supposed for example 'there might be beer in the fridge' and go look in the fridge, I'm already doing science. Big difference from Theology. There they don't usually test suppositions. If I just assume 'There is beer in the fridge' then I'm a theologian. If I go look, I'm a scientist. And if I go look, find nothing inside, and still insist that there's beer in the fridge, that's esoteric."
If you use a comedian as authority, we're finished.

Your problem is to test. If you don't strictly define "to test", everything is science. In science, testing is controlled observation. Without that an Aristotelian theologian can say that he is a scientist because his doctrine is based on observation. In fact, there are some that say so.
If you define it more strictly, ordinary experience can be the antecedent of science. Never science.
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Old 10th August 2019, 02:16 AM   #317
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There's no such thing as "non-scientific evidence."

Either you collect under scientific concepts or it's not evidence, it's a belief.
Sorry. You can use scientific concepts and doing pseudoscience. Concepts alone don't make science. Science is a method.
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Old 10th August 2019, 02:24 AM   #318
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Have you ever observed for yourself the shape of that shiny disc in the sky? If so, and it appeared round, that is evidence that it is a shape that is round from at least one viewpoint, such as a disk, cylinder, cone, or sphere. It's also evidence against an infinite variety of alternative conceivable shapes (triangle, cube, line, etc). If you've observed it multiple times and it always looked round, that is further evidence that it's either a shape that's round from every viewpoint (i.e. a sphere) or that you're always seeing it from the same relative viewpoint. When you observe the disc in the sky, is it always in the same place in the sky, or does it appear to move? If the latter, that's evidence that you're seeing it from different relative viewpoints at different times, which is further evidence that it's a sphere.

Further, that scientists say it is a large incandescent sphere is strong evidence that it is so, as they've had ample means and opportunities to observe it in ways that you cannot easily have done yourself.
With the same data from the immediate observation men have considered that the sun was a small rock hanging a short distance from the Earth or a hole in the celestial vault.
That's right. Scientists say otherwise. But I can't directly test what they say. So I give them my trust. I believe in them.

I can do such a reasoning for my wife. The difference is that I love my wife and not the scientists. That's why I trust my wife more.
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Old 10th August 2019, 02:44 AM   #319
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
If you really thought you have no evidence of how the car ahead of you is moving in traffic, then you'd have to conclude that you'd be no worse off if you closed your eyes and guessed how hard to press the accelerator or brake. I hope for your own and others' sake that you don't really do that, or think that.
If evidence is to have a proof that allows to discard the wrong choices I have no proof that the steering-sudden wheel movement I make is the right one to avoid the bike crossing, I have no proof that the newspaper photo is of the President, I have no proof when I analyze something. I have habits, customs, intuitions, confidence and methods of analysis (comparison, synthesis, etc.).

I can have more or less justified confidence (this is not an evidence) in the way I drive, but the specific movement I make two meters away from the bike is not based on a test of any kind. I do it intuitively.

The proof that I am guided by things that are not evidence is that exploiters and demagogues try to rely on it to deceive me. And many times they do. If I had evidence about everything, they wouldn't be able to deceive me. And let it be known that I am deceived less than many others. Or so I think.

The question is: how do you differentiate evidence for mere indication?

To consider as a mental experiment: The Truman Show.

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Old 10th August 2019, 02:46 AM   #320
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Prima facie is not unscientific. The term only refers to evidence based on the first impression.

(...)

I will add the following however:

I assume the disc you are referring to is the Sun. If it were the Moon, (which is not incandescent), you would see the spheroidal shape clearly shown by the moving crescent as it goes through its phases.

The moon is special only in the sense that we can make this observation with the naked eye. Other celestial bodies that reflect light can be observed, and confirmed, as being spheroid in the same way. A small step from here is to conclude that all celestial bodies are spheroid. This assumption is confirmed by our knowledge of gravity and how this force will pull such bodies into this shape.

Even those of us with rudimentary knowledge of physics can make these observations and come to these conclusions without just accepting what Scientists say and believing them by the principle of authority.
About the lack of evidence in "prima facie" observation see my 318 comment. Thanks.
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