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Old 08-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #1888104  /  #1
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....scientific theories are subject to constant adjustment in light of the data.
The above, correct and unproblematic from the perspective of practice, does represent for current science a significant problem in terms of discourse and conceptualization comprehension: Theoretical frameworks tend invariably to be interpreted, to a certain degree, as 'truth', and become the center of dogmatic attitudes and expressions, leading to sterile discussions and inane controversy. Thus the concept 'theory' has an inherent, built in problem.

Perhaps scientific discourse needs to abandon the concept of explicatory theory: Model frameworks intended to provide an explanation and predictive capacity need not be considered, as they are today, the goal of science. Facts have to do with practice (mechanical behaviour), not with comprehension. Thus one thing is to describe facts, and derive predictive tools from these, the other is to propose 'subject to correction models'. A 'subject to correction model', by itself, presented as a summa of knowledge, as subject of proper academic study, is both self-contradicting and self defeating. Rather, the approach should be that of modelic multiplicity within a cloud of facts - thus requiring no theoretical 'correction', as there is no theory to begin or end with.

In fact, my historical sense leads me to conclude that future generations of scientists will not only reject the concept of theory as now understood, but will see it as something primitive and science-fictional; an example of the dogmatic, myth creating tendency of our species.



* Febble wrote (to some creationist...):

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Old 08-18-2012, 10:49 AM   #1888106  /  #2
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in other words, that which is understood now as scientific ideal becoming the reality of scientific discourse.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #1888108  /  #3
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Originally Posted by figs View Post
in other words, that which is understood now as scientific ideal becoming the reality of scientific discourse.
... unless and until you present additional data that could modify what we understand now.

Kind of takes the whole discussion full circle in one post.

What's the problem again? Money? Ego? Power?
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:03 AM   #1888111  /  #4
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the problem I have with science is scientism.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:12 AM   #1888117  /  #5
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the problem I have with science is scientism.
OK, it's on the list.

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Old 08-18-2012, 11:14 AM   #1888118  /  #6
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are you trying to be funny or something?
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #1888119  /  #7
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in other words, that which is understood now as scientific ideal becoming the reality of scientific discourse.
... unless and until you present additional data that could modify what we understand now.
that has nothing to do with what I wrote

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Kind of takes the whole discussion full circle in one post.

What's the problem again? Money? Ego? Power?
see my answer above...
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:36 AM   #1888125  /  #8
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the problem I have with science is scientism.
That's a large part of the problem I described in the OP. It can be illustrated as follow: 'I hit a nail with a hammer and it enters the wood; I didn't need to pray, and no god was present.... therefore no god!!!'. Only matter exists!!! Only scientific processes describe reality!!!. That's what a large segment of scientific discourse can be reduced to. Not that my interest is related to theism as such. But mechanical facts are that, and only that; they are not 'truth'. They are a description of the recurrent behaviour of a particular set of perceptions. Other perceptions occur, which might be nonrecurrent and unmeasurable, and they are as much 'facts' as those describable and replicable.

But my OP pertains more the concept 'theory': It is a very faulty concept, one which derives from the concept 'religious dogma'; the need to have a 'Koran' (a set of definite scriptures). It is a concept that contradicts scientific ideal (in the sense of opens source, data receiving, self correcting modeling). That theory is understood conceptually as an hypothetical model which might be wrong, does not change the fact that it is not how theory is understood emotionally.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #1888134  /  #9
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Perhaps scientific discourse needs to abandon the concept of explicatory theory: Model frameworks intended to provide an explanation and predictive capacity need not be considered, as they are today, the goal of science. Facts have to do with practice (mechanical behaviour), not with comprehension. Thus one thing is to describe facts, and derive predictive tools from these, the other is to propose 'subject to correction models'. A 'subject to correction model', by itself, presented as a summa of knowledge, as subject of proper academic study, is both self-contradicting and self defeating. Rather, the approach should be that of modelic multiplicity within a cloud of facts - thus requiring no theoretical 'correction', as there is no theory to begin or end with.
This is where your explanation falls short.
All models are 'subject to correction models' no matter how many or few facts they are based upon. The models are only as good as the model builders, and error is always present in these models. So there is only a measure of degree between your two items bolded above.

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in other words, that which is understood now as scientific ideal becoming the reality of scientific discourse.
... unless and until you present additional data that could modify what we understand now.
that has nothing to do with what I wrote
Take any past pardigm shifting thoery and apply it to your idea above, I like using geologic thoeries as examples since they tend to be more distinctive in history. It only takes one person to come up with a new explanation of the existing facts to force this 'cloud of facts' to shatter and be rearranged. Some facts are kept as part of this new thoery, others are no longer of primary relavence to the new theory (whereas they were important to the old theory).

How does this modelic multiplicity handle the wholesale rearrangement of the facts at hand?
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:23 PM   #1888154  /  #10
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*
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....scientific theories are subject to constant adjustment in light of the data.
The above, correct and unproblematic from the perspective of practice, does represent for current science a significant problem in terms of discourse and conceptualization comprehension: Theoretical frameworks tend invariably to be interpreted, to a certain degree, as 'truth', and become the center of dogmatic attitudes and expressions, leading to sterile discussions and inane controversy. Thus the concept 'theory' has an inherent, built in problem.

Perhaps scientific discourse needs to abandon the concept of explicatory theory: Model frameworks intended to provide an explanation and predictive capacity need not be considered, as they are today, the goal of science. Facts have to do with practice (mechanical behaviour), not with comprehension. Thus one thing is to describe facts, and derive predictive tools from these, the other is to propose 'subject to correction models'. A 'subject to correction model', by itself, presented as a summa of knowledge, as subject of proper academic study, is both self-contradicting and self defeating. Rather, the approach should be that of modelic multiplicity within a cloud of facts - thus requiring no theoretical 'correction', as there is no theory to begin or end with.

In fact, my historical sense leads me to conclude that future generations of scientists will not only reject the concept of theory as now understood, but will see it as something primitive and science-fictional; an example of the dogmatic, myth creating tendency of our species.



* Febble wrote (to some creationist...):
I agree with you that science, fundamentally, is not about "explanation" but about prediction. However, within a finite temporal range, we can establish causal links, and thus come up with "explanatory" models, given certain inputs.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:25 PM   #1888156  /  #11
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Originally Posted by figs View Post
Perhaps scientific discourse needs to abandon the concept of explicatory theory: Model frameworks intended to provide an explanation and predictive capacity need not be considered, as they are today, the goal of science. Facts have to do with practice (mechanical behaviour), not with comprehension. Thus one thing is to describe facts, and derive predictive tools from these, the other is to propose 'subject to correction models'. A 'subject to correction model', by itself, presented as a summa of knowledge, as subject of proper academic study, is both self-contradicting and self defeating. Rather, the approach should be that of modelic multiplicity within a cloud of facts - thus requiring no theoretical 'correction', as there is no theory to begin or end with.
This is where your explanation falls short.
All models are 'subject to correction models' no matter how many or few facts they are based upon. The models are only as good as the model builders, and error is always present in these models.
hmmm... I am quite aware of that....

Quote:
So there is only a measure of degree between your two items bolded above.
indeed, and my point is that degree is quite a problem, since it creates in scientific discourse a very strong dogmatic tendency

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in other words, that which is understood now as scientific ideal becoming the reality of scientific discourse.
... unless and until you present additional data that could modify what we understand now.
that has nothing to do with what I wrote
Take any past pardigm shifting thoery and apply it to your idea above, I like using geologic thoeries as examples since they tend to be more distinctive in history. It only takes one person to come up with a new explanation of the existing facts to force this 'cloud of facts' to shatter and be rearranged. Some facts are kept as part of this new thoery, others are no longer of primary relavence to the new theory (whereas they were important to the old theory).
see? your mindset is that of 'theories', new and old and shattering.... the construction of science fictional brief dogmas as a modus operandi. Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.

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How does this modelic multiplicity handle the wholesale rearrangement of the facts at hand?
it doesn't, thats the point. Facts (observations) exists, and they are interpreted and arranged into mechanical models. Those models apparently match observations or they don't. That doesn't mean the first is a correct model and the second isn't. It just means that current facts are suggestive of one over another. That's the scientific ideal, but that is not the reality of scientific discourse.

The spectacle of discussions in evolutionary forums provides a perfect example of the problem being described. A model is constructed based on interpretations of facts, and it becomes the subject of fanatical defenses and attacks, quite absurdly. Several years later facts change, and the theory changes; then it happens that the once sacrosanct random mutations are considered an error; or that this or that Lamarckian concept was valid. Point is, there was never any need for fanatical defense, or for declaring random mutations as sole source of variation as fact, or for declaring Lamarck as invalid. But that happens because such are the needs of theory. The only thing needed is a description of observations, and suggestion of various macro explicatory processes.

It is the explicit tendency/desire to construct a single, exclusive narrative which accommodates all the facts which I am describing as a problem.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:32 PM   #1888159  /  #12
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I agree with you that science, fundamentally, is not about "explanation" but about prediction. However, within a finite temporal range, we can establish causal links, and thus come up with "explanatory" models, given certain inputs.
yes, and as such that is unproblematic, except for the tendency to present those explanatory models as exclusivistic conclusions. My point is that scientific discourse should be, ideally, based on explanatory multiplicity and ambiguity. Not 'theoria' but all 'hypothetica'.
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:37 PM   #1888163  /  #13
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[snip]
It is the explicit tendency/desire to construct a single, exclusive narrative which accommodates all the facts which I am describing as a problem.
Why is it a problem?
What are you proposing as the solution(s) that does not already fall under the problematic?

You do realize that the desire for a unified theory goes back at least to the pre-Socratics, and is taken as the sine qua non of genuine knowledge as opposed to mere belief?
Whether this goal is correct or not, whether it is adequate or not, whether it is achievable or not, whether it is worthy or not, have been hashed out over millenia.
So far, it has stood the test of time, in no small part due to profound failures to grapple with, let alone answer, the two questions above.

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Old 08-18-2012, 01:01 PM   #1888168  /  #14
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[snip]
It is the explicit tendency/desire to construct a single, exclusive narrative which accommodates all the facts which I am describing as a problem.
Why is it a problem?
Because it is a dogma prone attitude, and dogma is dangerous; which contradicts the ideal of self correcting modeling; and is unnecessary from a technical point of view.
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What are you proposing as the solution(s) that does not already fall under the problematic?
multiple hypothetical narratives coexisting within a cloud of facts, none presented as academically doctrinaire.

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You do realize that the desire for a unified theory goes back at least to the pre-Socratics,
couldn't care less; for all I know it goes back to the australopithecines... using the Greeks as an argument from authority... please....

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and is taken as the sine qua non of genuine knowledge as opposed to mere belief?
Well, I certainly don't take such an absurd notion as a sine qua non of genuine knowledge - genuine knowledge being a problematic concept in itself -; Knowledge has to do with description of facts, not with 'unified theory. Your position is the epitome of primitive thought.

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Whether this goal is correct or not, whether it is adequate or not, whether it is achievable or not, whether it is worthy or not, have been hashed out over millenia.
that's just stupid; history hasn't ended...

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So far, it has stood the test of time, in no small part due to profound failures to grapple with, let alone answer, the two questions above.
Regarding 'standing the test of time', so has religion and faith, the later being much more successful in terms of its acceptance and attraction than science. So I wouldn't present durability of a tendency as proof of its value.

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Old 08-18-2012, 01:51 PM   #1888193  /  #15
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you place too much faith in 'observations'.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:52 PM   #1888195  /  #16
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you place too much faith in 'observations'.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:54 PM   #1888196  /  #17
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So there is only a measure of degree between your two items ....
indeed, and my point is that degree is quite a problem, since it creates in scientific discourse a very strong dogmatic tendency
What's your criteria for seperating your two items?
Or do we start talking about "Laws" and "Theories" of nature here?

Quote:
Quote:
Take any past pardigm shifting thoery and apply it to your idea above, I like using geologic thoeries as examples since they tend to be more distinctive in history. It only takes one person to come up with a new explanation of the existing facts to force this 'cloud of facts' to shatter and be rearranged. Some facts are kept as part of this new thoery, others are no longer of primary relavence to the new theory (whereas they were important to the old theory).
see? your mindset is that of 'theories', new and old and shattering.... the construction of science fictional brief dogmas as a modus operandi. Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.
Take another view of this for a moment.
What I'm saying is that a BETTER explanation of nature exists as the present model that people use in their science. Call this explanation a thoery, but also realize it is a collection of the facts available that is presented in a way that is both explanatory or ALL the facts available and predictive. There is no reason to think that another explanation (theory) could, or would, exist that either changes or supercedes the present explanation (theory); and those that cling to the notion that the present explanations (theories) are sacrosanct are exhibiting subjective, not objective, tendencies to the matter at hand.
However, any new explanation (theory) should be faced with a vetting process that might resemble a dogmatic defense of existing explanations (theories); but the criticism would have to be analysed to determine whether such vetting was objective or subjective.

Quote:
Quote:
How does this modelic multiplicity handle the wholesale rearrangement of the facts at hand?
it doesn't, thats the point. Facts (observations) exists, and they are interpreted and arranged into mechanical models. Those models apparently match observations or they don't. That doesn't mean the first is a correct model and the second isn't. It just means that current facts are suggestive of one over another. That's the scientific ideal, but that is not the reality of scientific discourse.
In my (limited) experiance there are few people (assuming these people have the knowledge to absorb the facts at hand) that cling to the notion that present models in use are fully "correct" while superceded models are "incorrect". In fact, much more information is discovered about present models by understanding any OTHER models that have been proposed and superceded and knowing WHY those models no longer work with the present set of facts on hand.
Now, if we are discussing the optionality of wholly new models that are presently shown false or incomplete with existing data then it certainly up to the model builder to figure out what data is required to make his model work. That drives research and possibly discovery; but this forum is littered with ideas from people who propose new models but cannot and will not defend, or even figure out, what new information or changes to existing information is required for their model to become valid.

Quote:
The spectacle of discussions in evolutionary forums provides a perfect example of the problem being described. A model is constructed based on interpretations of facts, and it becomes the subject of fanatical defenses and attacks, quite absurdly. Several years later facts change, and the theory changes; then it happens that the once sacrosanct random mutations are considered an error; or that this or that Lamarckian concept was valid. Point is, there was never any need for fanatical defense, or for declaring random mutations as sole source of variation as fact, or for declaring Lamarck as invalid. But that happens because such are the needs of theory. The only thing needed is a description of observations, and suggestion of various macro explicatory processes.
I would in general agree. But not all defense of models is subjective, and the process itself can be constructive to any development or adaptation of new ideas.

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It is the explicit tendency/desire to construct a single, exclusive narrative which accommodates all the facts which I am describing as a problem.
Maybe from 30,000 feet this is true, but the devil is in the details of the models themselves at ground level. I find that those who try to describe, or own, a single narrative of a theory miss out on important detail and facts about their narrative. Which makes their attempts much more abstract and useless.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:00 PM   #1888201  /  #18
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see? your mindset is that of 'theories', new and old and shattering.... the construction of science fictional brief dogmas as a modus operandi. Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.

....

The spectacle of discussions in evolutionary forums provides a perfect example of the problem being described. A model is constructed based on interpretations of facts, and it becomes the subject of fanatical defenses and attacks, quite absurdly. Several years later facts change, and the theory changes; then it happens that the once sacrosanct random mutations are considered an error; or that this or that Lamarckian concept was valid. Point is, there was never any need for fanatical defense, or for declaring random mutations as sole source of variation as fact, or for declaring Lamarck as invalid. But that happens because such are the needs of theory. The only thing needed is a description of observations, and suggestion of various macro explicatory processes.
I'm assuming you mean "new information (facts) are discovered".

Otherwise you have a mild contradiction here.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:22 PM   #1888220  /  #19
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you place too much faith in 'observations'.
See?

told'ya





eta: Here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by figs View Post
Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.
See?



etaa: Bah! Mike's already ninja'd it.
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Last edited by eversbane; 08-18-2012 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:44 PM   #1888240  /  #20
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are you trying to be funny or something?
hooliganism is on the list also
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:41 PM   #1888468  /  #21
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the problem I have with science is scientism.
That's a large part of the problem I described in the OP. It can be illustrated as follow: 'I hit a nail with a hammer and it enters the wood; I didn't need to pray, and no god was present.... therefore no god!!!'. Only matter exists!!! Only scientific processes describe reality!!!. That's what a large segment of scientific discourse can be reduced to.
Here is a classic example of that. It is commonly used to forbid scientific discussion from ever taking place, by immediately turning it into a philosophical/religious discussion:


If the universe looks (philosophically) nondeterministic to Richard Feynman then all who suggest that his scientific model of the universe is too incomplete for such a prediction (when tested does not really produce a complete computer model of matter) are punished by claiming they're religious fanatics who need to find their own universe.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:46 PM   #1888508  /  #22
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see? your mindset is that of 'theories', new and old and shattering.... the construction of science fictional brief dogmas as a modus operandi. Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.

....

The spectacle of discussions in evolutionary forums provides a perfect example of the problem being described. A model is constructed based on interpretations of facts, and it becomes the subject of fanatical defenses and attacks, quite absurdly. Several years later facts change, and the theory changes; then it happens that the once sacrosanct random mutations are considered an error; or that this or that Lamarckian concept was valid. Point is, there was never any need for fanatical defense, or for declaring random mutations as sole source of variation as fact, or for declaring Lamarck as invalid. But that happens because such are the needs of theory. The only thing needed is a description of observations, and suggestion of various macro explicatory processes.
I'm assuming you mean "new information (facts) are discovered".

Otherwise you have a mild contradiction here.
that's quite an irrelevant comment on your part, and no there is no contradiction
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:51 PM   #1888510  /  #23
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Originally Posted by figs View Post
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Originally Posted by eversbane View Post
you place too much faith in 'observations'.
See?

told'ya eta: Here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by figs View Post
Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.
See? etaa: Bah! Mike's already ninja'd it.
That's just silly absurdity on your part. There is no faith involved, just simple defining logic. The equivalence of fact and observation is an empirical given. That says nothing pertaining the mechanics of the observation; and in that confusion on your part, seems to me, lies the origin of your absurd remark.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:06 PM   #1888517  /  #24
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So there is only a measure of degree between your two items ....
indeed, and my point is that degree is quite a problem, since it creates in scientific discourse a very strong dogmatic tendency
What's your criteria for seperating your two items?
Or do we start talking about "Laws" and "Theories" of nature here?
theories are exclusivist concepts, conceived to define a standard academic position. An hypothetical model would be presented as an idea among several.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Take any past pardigm shifting thoery and apply it to your idea above, I like using geologic thoeries as examples since they tend to be more distinctive in history. It only takes one person to come up with a new explanation of the existing facts to force this 'cloud of facts' to shatter and be rearranged. Some facts are kept as part of this new thoery, others are no longer of primary relavence to the new theory (whereas they were important to the old theory).
see? your mindset is that of 'theories', new and old and shattering.... the construction of science fictional brief dogmas as a modus operandi. Anyhow, clouds of facts can't shatter, since facts are observations.
Take another view of this for a moment.
What I'm saying is that a BETTER explanation of nature exists as the present model that people use in their science. Call this explanation a thoery, but also realize it is a collection of the facts available that is presented in a way that is both explanatory or ALL the facts available and predictive. There is no reason to think that another explanation (theory) could, or would, exist that either changes or supercedes the present explanation (theory); and those that cling to the notion that the present explanations (theories) are sacrosanct are exhibiting subjective, not objective, tendencies to the matter at hand.
I have seen very few theories that deserved to be described as presenting all the facts available and predictive.

Quote:
However, any new explanation (theory) should be faced with a vetting process that might resemble a dogmatic defense of existing explanations (theories); but the criticism would have to be analysed to determine whether such vetting was objective or subjective.
not at all; it should be analyzed on its merits and compared with others, but no dogmatic defense of a standard model is required in that process. You operate under the dogmatic premise that there can only be one standard academic model. That is what I consider a problem of discourse.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
How does this modelic multiplicity handle the wholesale rearrangement of the facts at hand?
it doesn't, thats the point. Facts (observations) exists, and they are interpreted and arranged into mechanical models. Those models apparently match observations or they don't. That doesn't mean the first is a correct model and the second isn't. It just means that current facts are suggestive of one over another. That's the scientific ideal, but that is not the reality of scientific discourse.
In my (limited) experiance there are few people (assuming these people have the knowledge to absorb the facts at hand) that cling to the notion that present models in use are fully "correct" while superceded models are "incorrect".
Yes, that's the ideal. But that ideal is not being manifested in the attitude towards models, which is for instance what you evidence above.

Quote:
In fact, much more information is discovered about present models by understanding any OTHER models that have been proposed and superceded and knowing WHY those models no longer work with the present set of facts on hand.
That's a confused statement, and tangential to my point.

Quote:
Now, if we are discussing the optionality of wholly new models that are presently shown false or incomplete with existing data then it certainly up to the model builder to figure out what data is required to make his model work.
again, tangential and primitive. you are fixed in the notion of false and incomplete, while the correct scientific notion would be 'apparently more fitting the data and having testable predictive power', but that only describes some mechanical aspects, and mechanics are observations that have been defined into replicability, not theoretical explanations.

Quote:
That drives research and possibly discovery; but this forum is littered with ideas from people who propose new models but cannot and will not defend, or even figure out, what new information or changes to existing information is required for their model to become valid.
oh please...

Quote:
Quote:
The spectacle of discussions in evolutionary forums provides a perfect example of the problem being described. A model is constructed based on interpretations of facts, and it becomes the subject of fanatical defenses and attacks, quite absurdly. Several years later facts change, and the theory changes; then it happens that the once sacrosanct random mutations are considered an error; or that this or that Lamarckian concept was valid. Point is, there was never any need for fanatical defense, or for declaring random mutations as sole source of variation as fact, or for declaring Lamarck as invalid. But that happens because such are the needs of theory. The only thing needed is a description of observations, and suggestion of various macro explicatory processes.
I would in general agree. But not all defense of models is subjective, and the process itself can be constructive to any development or adaptation of new ideas.

Quote:
It is the explicit tendency/desire to construct a single, exclusive narrative which accommodates all the facts which I am describing as a problem.
Maybe from 30,000 feet this is true, but the devil is in the details of the models themselves at ground level. I find that those who try to describe, or own, a single narrative of a theory miss out on important detail and facts about their narrative. Which makes their attempts much more abstract and useless.
and that's the problem with academic theorization...
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:41 PM   #1888568  /  #25
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Perhaps scientific discourse needs to abandon the concept of explicatory theory: Model frameworks intended to provide an explanation and predictive capacity need not be considered, as they are today, the goal of science.
Scientific models that make no predictions are untestable and don't really qualify as scientific models.

Quote:
That's a large part of the problem I described in the OP. It can be illustrated as follow: 'I hit a nail with a hammer and it enters the wood; I didn't need to pray, and no god was present.... therefore no god!!!'. Only matter exists!!! Only scientific processes describe reality!!!.
This looks like a straw man. Certainly, it does not follow that not having need of the "God" hypothesis to explain a particular phenomenon doesn't prove there is no God. However, it is the business of proponents of the "God" hypothesis to demonstrate that that particular theory is actually needed or useful in explaining any phenomenon. Otherwise, it is not a testable hypothesis and is not science.
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