Scientific Quandary- or Logical Devil's Advocate

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twoshots
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05 Jan 2009, 10:36 pm

Well, I mean, just to point out straightway, mathematical biology is a burgeoning field (I would say most the applied work my professors do tends to be what could be classified as math biology). Math isn't just the language of physics, it's pretty much the language of anything precise.


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Magnus
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05 Jan 2009, 10:53 pm

A pure mathematician definitely is not as biased as a biologist who form ideas on theories for the most part. Math is sound.
I think Shiggily demonstrated that the emotional response from "scientists" is personal because they have a belief system that they cling too and any questions which challenge their mode is scary to them because they would have to reevaluate everything.

It's like if you poke one hole in their "reality" their whole bubble world explodes. :lol:


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starvingartist
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05 Jan 2009, 11:14 pm

Magnus wrote:
A pure mathematician definitely is not as biased as a biologist who form ideas on theories for the most part. Math is sound.
I think Shiggily demonstrated that the emotional response from "scientists" is personal because they have a belief system that they cling too and any questions which challenge their mode is scary to them because they would have to reevaluate everything.

It's like if you poke one hole in their "reality" their whole bubble world explodes. :lol:


is your perception of your reality more valid than my perception of mine? that sounds suspiciously subjective to me..... :wink: i fail to see how it is necessary to keep making this personal. i'm just saying 'hey, consider this....' :)



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05 Jan 2009, 11:18 pm

i feel i should also state that i am not a scientist, so perhaps these comments don't refer to me. i am actually an artist and a writer....but i'm sure you could have guessed that from my biases :wink:



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05 Jan 2009, 11:22 pm

I question my perception all the time. I realize there is much to the universe that I may never understand since I'm a mere human who is limited by my senses. Why is questioning the idea of what we believe is real or natural such a bad thing? Isn't the truth more interesting/mentally stimulating than a comforting and perhaps outdated ideology?


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starvingartist
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05 Jan 2009, 11:47 pm

Magnus wrote:
I question my perception all the time. I realize there is much to the universe that I may never understand since I'm a mere human who is limited by my senses. Why is questioning the idea of what we believe is real or natural such a bad thing? Isn't the truth more interesting/mentally stimulating than a comforting and perhaps outdated ideology?


where did i say this?


also, how can i know the difference between truth and ideology when i am a flawed human being? and why must you call my opinions outdated ideology? many here go on about emotional responses and their impracticality, but just can't resist being derisive and condescending in their 'correction' of others. i am much too humble to ever assume i have the 'truth' about anything. all i have are ideas, opinions, and biases. perhaps i don't belong here any more than i belong anywhere else. all i'm saying is: why is it so hard for some people to admit that things might exist that they can't imagine or comprehend? you don't have to provide obviously judgmental and patronising feedback to make your point. it's not necessary. i don't judge you for your beliefs in the purity of mathematics. math speaks to you, and it is how you view and describe your world, and to you it is beautiful. so i would guess anyway, for a proponent of mathematics. well, life speaks to me, and describes my reality, and is what i find beautiful, not math. it's not that i don't appreciate math at all; it's just not my language. i don't think it is appropriate to make a value judgment there.

a truly wise man understands that he knows nothing. but i'm sure you have many mathematical proofs that can debunk that statement, as well.



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:08 am

starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
Orwell wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
adaptation might occur, that does not imply evolution is fact. Speciation might occur, that does not prove evolution as fact. If other people make them so frustrated that they hide evidence, falsify studies, lie about misconceptions, and publish books with errors in them... maybe they need new jobs.

Any hiding of evidence or falsification of studies goes way over the line. I thought you were referring merely to the tendency of biologists to shout down anyone who questioned the theory rather than spend time answering questions.

How are you defining evolution? Adaptation is typically regarded as microevolution and speciation as macroevolution, so I'm not sure what you're still looking for. No, evolution does not have good, solid answers to every single question you might care you ask. It probably never will. It's a complicated subject that's hard to fully understand, and there will always be a degree of uncertainty.


At a basic level, biologists are very threatened by people who question things and challenge ideas. There are some other areas that are as well. I generally define evolution as the idea that spontaneous generation can happen randomly. Whereas creation is the belief that spontaneous generation cannot happen randomly.

Everything else can be mixed and matched to make numerous different theories.


what would you say to someone who told you they believed in creation and evolution at the same time?


evolution as defined by life spontaneously arising from nonlife does not co-mingle with the belief that life was created and cannot spontaneously arise.

You can believe life is created, and aspects of the larger encompassing theory of evolution, but you cannot hold both beliefs on the generation of life.


what if my definition of spontaneous differs from yours? i personally don't believe that anything happens with true spontaneity. i believe there are levels of organisation to the universe that we cannot see or comprehend that preclude the possibility of anything happening completely "spontaneously" or without purpose/randomly. the random is a factor, don't get me wrong....but it is only half of the equation. random exists simply to balance the equation of organisation. random serves the overall purpose. so when something happens "randomly", it is simply the system making course corrections, if you will. that's how i see it, anyway.


spontaneous is happening or arising without external causes, usually in spurts and not at predictable time intervals.


i know what the dictionary definition of spontaneous is, please don't patronise me. i did say i believe we have different definitions of spontaneous. was that not the first sentence in my post? so what was the point of your answer?


usually if someone states that their definition is different from mine it is an indicator for me to post my definition because it means there is a miscommunication. Then they post their definition and we can compromise on which one to go with for the purposes of the discussion. As I commonly have hang ups in discussions from me using dictionary definitions and another person using colloquial terms.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:10 am

starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
Gromit wrote:
Depends on how narrowly or broadly you define evolution.
That is true. I mostly included evolution as they would believe in a naturally occurring abiogenesis, where creationists would believe in a supernaturally occurring abiogenesis. It is really the only thing that separates evolutionists and creationists. Many creationists are intelligent design adherents or theological evolutionists (who believe that God created life and evolution acted on it). So all I am really looking at is the one thing that does not blend together to form a myriad of theories in between.


Quote:
Most likely "Not sure yet, this is still being investigated, ask again in 20 years when we may be able to tell you possible origins, but if there is more than one viable path, it may never be possible to be definite."
I think I have had only 2 professors that honest.


what school did you go to that your professors were this shamelessly biased and dishonest (perhaps by omission) about what can be proven and what is still arguable or unknown?

my professors would always tread carefully when it came to any such subjects that still involved conjecture, and presented the material to us as such....still guesswork as of yet. this was treated as a matter of academic ethics. shouldn't it be?


two in Missouri and one in Cali


maybe shameless academic bias is an american anomaly, then.[/quote]

It is a possibility (as I stated in a response to Gromit) but I have been talking with him and I might have just been crappy luck with who I ended up with. I haven't had a chance to take courses overseas though I am vying for a job in mainland so I can go to University of Tokyo.



Shiggily
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06 Jan 2009, 3:11 am

starvingartist wrote:

can't something happen 'without external causes' and still serve a higher purpose of balancing out the incredibly complex system which is the universe? all you did was state a definition; you didn't actually comment on my point. you seem to do this a lot. feels like sidestepping, to me.


it is not, its just a habit where I have unspoken expectations of a reciprocal definition from you before I can proceed.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:15 am

starvingartist wrote:
so now you are making qualifying judgments that math is somehow, what, more valid, more 'true' than biology? just curious as to what you mean by 'better' and 'more rigorous'. i have a feeling biologists may be slightly miffed by that comment.


I switched to a major in math with a concentration in Biology. It is better for me, not necessarily in general. It allows me to be in a situation where my constant questions and challenges and need for proof is not met with irritability as I only take a few biology classes and mostly math classes. Essentially it gets me out of the hair of the biologists and allows me to pose the same questions to mathematicians who don't seem to mind, and actually encourage it.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:20 am

starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Shiggily wrote:

"No human investigation can be called real science if it can not be demonstrated mathematically."
"Whoever despises the high wisdom of mathematics nourishes himself on delusion and will never still the sophistic sciences whose only product is an eternal uproar."
Da Vinci


Our most successful science physics (and its variants) is not derivable a priori from axiomatic principles. It is gotten by way of induction and abduction (see C. S. Peirce for more on that). Science grows out of experiences and is empirically based. Mathematics is a tool of physics, not its basis.

Da Vinci lived during a time when Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy were dominant, which is why he held to the principle you stated.

ruveyn


bwahahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


alright then, here's a question for you......which is more relevant as a basis for physics, mathematics or the human imagination, the ability to abstract and induce? if you ask me, the latter is more important because it is where we begin to understand the universe around us. math is simply the language we translate that understanding into.


it was just the concept that math is a tool of physics and not its basis. it is the language. without math physics wouldn't be the science it is, and without physics math wouldn't have the applications it has. They are closely intertwined. But I would only think math in general is more relevant because it existed before and has areas largely outside of physics. But that is not the answer specifically for the question you posted. The answer to your question is neither. They are too dependent on each other to be separated or considered more important or more relevant.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:21 am

starvingartist wrote:
Shiggily wrote:
pandd wrote:
Shiggily, very well, you've never claimed evolution was unproven, not fact, or anything like it. You never mistakenly defined evolution as referring to the origins or life, or if you did, all those silly biologists who think it refers to the origin of species are wrong (and also very dishonest). The theory of evolution changes every time someone publishes any paper about it or which refers to it. Mathematics is not entirely extrapolation based on non-provable inferred axioms. Biology is a cesspool of dishonesty, and you yourself would never be dishonest in any academic discussion (for instance by trying to pretend you were not mistaken about the what is and is not included in the theory of evolution).

Also it is highly unusual for academics to be honest (or at least those teaching biology), starvingartist, myself, and....well just about everyone else I know must just be lucky and your isolated anecdotal claims of constant dishonesty of educators involved in teaching biology and/or evolution to you is more typical of what everyone should expect (yet oddly fails to encounter). :roll:


useless. go. I will get what I want from someone who can do more than argue uselessly or bend over and sarcastically give up.

I get it. you are an atheist evolutionist who thinks everyone who questions you is a secret closet creationist out to destroy your precious little world and ruin science and threaten everything you hold dear. And the creationists think I am a crazy left wing pro-evolutionist who will burn in hell for questioning their ideals.

And both sides jump down your throat every time to ask for proof or point out inaccuracies or question concepts or definitions... because heaven forbid anyone would ever question something held so dogmatically.

because there is no way on Earth that anyone could actually be curious or search for the truth or request a little honesty.

Fine. I will email people who 1. disagree with me and 2. Can actually discuss things calmly and unemotionally and ... un-dogmatically. Because apparently starting a thread asking questions and expecting decent answers is a poor strategy.


so all of us who have responded to the original question in the original post have jumped down your throat and failed to provide you with any "truth" or "a little honesty"? well at least now you know in advance that you will not find the sort of discourse you are looking for in this forum, for it seems that none of us can figure out exactly what kind of discourse you are looking for, and therefore cannot provide. we tried rational and intelligent. i guess that's not enough.


no, not you. or Orwell, or Gromit, or most of the people in the thread. The post was just for him.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:24 am

starvingartist wrote:
twoshots wrote:
Math being "better" is subjective. However, math is the gold standard for rigor. The issue of truth is prickly, but in terms of its conclusions properly done math is 100% "correct". This kind of certainty is a priori unattainable in the sciences. Likewise however is that physics too has much more stringent requirements in terms of precision etc; biology is not without reason considered among the softer of the hard sciences.

well i am certainly the first to admit that math is not my forte so my opinions are based on supposition mostly, and i don't try to present them as anything other than that.

i will say one thing in defense of biology as a 'soft' science, though...

i believe biology will be much less of a 'soft' science when we attain the ability to create the tools and imagine the ideas necessary to translate that 'life language', whatever it may resemble--basically, when we can measure and quantify all of the factors that are life, since that seems to be the only way human beings can understand anything.


ehhh I don't really think of it as that much of a 'soft' science. its just still developing (and at a rather fast rate), and there are some kinks that need to be worked out.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:26 am

twoshots wrote:
Well, I mean, just to point out straightway, mathematical biology is a burgeoning field (I would say most the applied work my professors do tends to be what could be classified as math biology). Math isn't just the language of physics, it's pretty much the language of anything precise.


I did a class in mathematical biology... incredibly amazing new field. And very very addictive.



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06 Jan 2009, 3:31 am

Magnus wrote:
A pure mathematician definitely is not as biased as a biologist who form ideas on theories for the most part. Math is sound.
I think Shiggily demonstrated that the emotional response from "scientists" is personal because they have a belief system that they cling too and any questions which challenge their mode is scary to them because they would have to reevaluate everything.

It's like if you poke one hole in their "reality" their whole bubble world explodes. :lol:


ehhh... science is a balancing act so in some circumstances your last sentence is a possibility. Just look at some of the major scientific discoveries. They shifted the whole world around and in some cases the entire basic assumptions of science had to be re-examined. And that's kind of scary stuff for a scientist.

I mean, there was a mathematician William Shanks, who died thinking he had contributed greatly to mathematics by spending his entire life calculating pi to 707 digits (only to be debunked 60 years later because he had made an error in the 528th place (and every digit afterward)). To think that everything you have worked for could be wrong is the most earth shattering and horrifying thing to a scientist or mathematician