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What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Erribert
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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Erribert » May 22nd, 2018, 10:47 pm

Gee, I just love the replies I have gotten. This forum loves to take a sound bite and criticize it. That is fun. Some of the answers had some philosophy thrown in, which I appreciated. I also appreciate that some took the time to try to provide what they considered to be philosophical. Of course, as always, there were those who simply believe they know all about science and get triggered to display an irrelevant statement, just so they can see their name in print.

It is apparent that many did not read my original post carefully, or did not understand it. That’s fine, they were probably not scientists. The arguments provided are truly non sequiturs, having nothing to do with my original post or subsequent clarifications. Perhaps this is because of a misunderstanding of what science was meant to be. It seems that science has taken hold as Scientism and become a religion. Especially with the inclusion of external quotes that some seem to have extreme faith in.

Scientism is the faith in science by the general population (non-scientists). Karl Popper called it “Promissory Materialism”. I doubt there are many Popper fans amongst those who kindly took the time to reply. Many of my metaphysical arguments are much more eloquent coming from him. Of course one must read a lot by him so that one does not take quotations out of context. He is very interesting to read and may turn some peoples ideas of science upside down.

I hate to have to reiterate my original post which was quite clear, yet misunderstood. It would seem that there is a diversity in opinion in what science is, and how we categorize it differently from metaphysics. Of course science is a philosophy and attempts to create a picture of reality as seen through our limited five senses. With apologies to Plato, we all live in a cave that has five small holes. Through these holes we create sensations of reality. Once these experiences are created, they are heavily filtered out (99.9%) before reaching the Attention portion of our brains. That would be an active string of thoughts. With this 0.1% of information we harness that around us for our use and make conjectures.(philosophy).

There are books on the history of science, or it can be googled. Stay away from Wikipedia since that could have been written originally as a high school paper. Sometimes the links are useful, though. What is science? Is such science being used in the theory of evolution, for example?

One reply asked, “how can we test evolution when it takes millions of years?” Good point!! How can it enter into the discipline of science. As a side note: evolution is said to be extremely fast. Mass extinctions happen all the time. Just look at the end of the Pleistocene Era (only 12,000 years ago). According to the lore, as soon as a niche opens up, it is filled very quickly. I Like that idea. I have nothing against this “philosophy”.

Intentionally fitting findings (non-experimental) into a model is not science. It is highly unethical to consider such model fitting as science. The way science works is to attempt to disprove a theory. How does one go about trying to disprove this theory??? I will assume that in a philosophy forum, very few get that. Back in the day the same technique was used to connect stars in the sky to prove Cassiopeia. How quaint. Intentional data fitting...what an open mind these “scientists” have. :-). I can make any constellation I want from the observational data in the sky.

Metaphysics does not require experimentation. I did not make that term up, just ask Aristotle. Also be educated on the societal context of the time of the words he used. The meaning of words change rapidly over time. Philology. What was Plato’s Truth in his time. But, I digress.

While we can blithely claim that there is no solid line between science and metaphysics, we completely ignore the whole reason for naming, labeling, and categorization. This is all done so we can converse and do our best to exchange ideas. Dissolving categories for rhetorical reasons is a red herring.

The Theory of Evolution lies squarely in the discipline of metaphysics. I could point this out in so many ways. Yet this would leave me open to selective quotation and irrelevant responses. Which I have done enough of in this post.

I need to figure out how to capture selective quotes and make them yellow to join this club of “philosophy”. Right now, I simply philosophize arrogantly and dismiss others out of hand. Yes I have the same jack you all do. Philosophy, however, should also provide a philosophical response to the entire intent of the original post. At least in my opinion.

Belief in Evolution is Scientism. It is a faith that can be gotten from books. No experimental proof is required.

I have no problem with the metaphysics of Evolution. It is quite creative by joining data points. Remember that data are neutral. That is they do not provide meaning on their own. It is the model used that breaths life into such data. There are a number of theories of evolution. Pick one that you like. One of my favorites is that which uses the God of Randomness. If one then asks how does Randomness come about there is dead silence, or some nonsense about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle LOL. Randomness is a God that many pray to as the reason we are here! Again LOL.

Anyway, it’s been fun. Yes, the post was provocative to stimulate thinking. I wish it had worked :-) .

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Greta » May 22nd, 2018, 11:18 pm

Evolution is proved beyond any shadow of a doubt. Observational evidence is sufficient if one lacks a time machine. Evolution is hard science; it makes predications, and those predictions have been found to be correct again and again. It is one of the great theories, along with relativity and QM.
Consul wrote:I agree with Jack Smart:

"Metaphysics is the conjectural end of science."
Excellent.

Erribert
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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Erribert » May 23rd, 2018, 3:17 am

Erribert wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Historically, science was distinguished from philosophy through the scientific method. This method is a circular process by which a hypothesis is proposed then experiments are created and executed. Following data analysis, the hypothesis is rejected, modified, or restested with another set of experiments. Refinement of the hypothesis, through this method, may result in an accepted theory. No theory can ever e proven since science is intended to test theories, and such testing can happen forever; thus the idea of acceptance. At least that was how science was supposed to be able to distinguish itself. Newton and his colleagues conducted many hundreds of experiments, back in the day. The math was a result of such experiments.
There are ideas that are called theories that were never arrived at through the scientific method. It would seem that such theories still belong in the discipline of philosophy.
I agree with Jack Smart:

Erribert: Good for you. Why don’t we get rid of all categorization? Let’s make things easier! There is no sharp difference between a dog and a pony. A pony is the conjectural end of a dog. Wonderful! Now there is true meaning.

"Metaphysics is the conjectural end of science."

(Smart, J. J. C. "Methodology and Ontology." In Imre Lakatos and Theories of Scientific Change, edited by Kostas Gavroglu, Yorgos Goudaroulis, and Pantelis Nicolacopoulos, 47-57. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1989. p. 51)

Erribert: Okay, so Plato’s metaphysics of forms is a conjectural end of science? What science provided such conjecture?

"I came to reject a sharp line between metaphysics and science. Metaphysics is the more conceptual and relatively untestable end of science. Many scientific theories are only very indirectly testable and there is no sharp line between the testable and the untestable."

Erribert: LOL. ‘Thus I came to reject J.J.C Smart”. His knowledge is only very very indirectly detectable. There is no sharp line between silliness and nonsense. I wonder if he has ever done an experiment. Has he tested the pool water before jumping in, or does he think that it could be untestable? Perhaps he has never gone swimming. Has he ever cooked and tested the food before adding salt? Yes, Evolution is untestable because there is no cooking involved, no way to know if it is salty enough. We just have to take somebody’s word.

(Smart, J. J. C. Introduction to Essays Metaphysical and Moral: Selected Philosophical Papers, 1-8. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. p. 2)

Erribert: Good for Jack. I hope your philosophy brought you much meaning. So, exactly what is this connection between science and metaphysics? How do you define science? Science is as simple as putting one’s hand in a shower to check the water temperature (data analysis followed by new hypothesis) then adjusting the faucets (new experiment). That IS the scientific method at its core. We are all scientists. How does this fit with metaphysics, exactly?

"I regard metaphysics as continuous with science. Science gets metaphysical when it gets very general and controversial and relates itself also to humanistic and other non-typically scientific concerns. A criterion for metaphysical truth is plausibility in the light of total science."

Erribert: Science is trial and Error. Metaphysics is no trial, no error. Where is the continuity.

(Smart, J. J. C. "Physicalism and Emergence." 1982. In Essays Metaphysical and Moral: Selected Philosophical Papers, 246-255. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. p. 248)
Erribert wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
A well known example of this is the Theory of Evolution. This theory proposes a model for species differentiation. However, this theory has never been transferred to the scientific method of experimental design and testing. It is purely based on observation and model fitting of such observations. This intentional fitting of observations is unethical in the discipline of science. Observational theories have resulted in constellations in the sky. There is no intention to test the Theory of Evolution. Therefore it remains strictly a philosophy. I personally have no problem with such philosophy except when it is categorized as science.
Cut the crap! The Darwinistic theory of evolution is certainly and definitely not a conjectural or speculative metaphysical theory. It's a perfectly scientific theory which is empirically confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt.

"[E]volution is as solidly established as any scientific fact[.]"


Erribert: Well, gee, if you say so... LOL. Get real!

(Coyne, Jerry A. Why Evolution is True. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. xvi)

Erribert: I am glad you believe the Good Books you read and have your favorite priests that teach you the Truth. Good for you. Do you also donate at the alter.

"Evolution is not merely an idea, a theory, or a concept, but is the name of a process in nature, the occurrence of which can be documented by mountains of evidence that nobody has been able to refute." (p. 303)

Erribert: Evidence (data) are neutral. By themselves they have no meaning, by definition. Every scientist knows this. It is only when such data is connected with lines that meaning is created. The manner in which such data is connected is dictated by the model. Evidence does not support the evolutionary model, it is intentionally fit into the model. Some consider such evidence forcing to be unethical. The modeler simply sees what he/she wants to see. That is not science. Please cut the crap! Evolutionary theory is cheating big time!

"Are not the 'facts' of evolutionary biology something very different from the facts of astronomy, which show that the Earth circles the sun rather than the reverse?

Erribert: WTF??? Who is this guy?

Yes, up to a point. The movement of planets can be observed directly. By contrast, evolution is a historical process. Past stages cannot be observed directly, but must be inferred from the context. Yet these inferences have enormous certainty because (1) the answers can very often be predicted and the actual findings then confirm them, (2) the answers can be confirmed by several different lines of evidence, and (3) in most cases no rational alternative explanation can be found.

Erribert: No! The planetary system is modeled in a laboratory so that it can be experimented with. Again, who is this guy?

If, for instance, in a chronological series of geological strata a series of fossil therapsid reptiles is found that become more and more similar to mammals in successively younger strata, finally producing species about which specialists argue whether they are still reptiles or already mammals, then I do not know of any other reasonable explanation than that mammals evolved from therapsid ancestors. Actually, there are thousands of such series in the fossil record, even though admittedly there are occasional breaks in most of these series, owing to breaks in the fossil-bearing stratigraphy.

Erribert: wonderful! Science done in hindsight. LOL. What you are describing is a philosophy where data is intentionally fitted to a model. Where is the science? It’s like connecting dots on a page to prove a dog exists there on the page.

Frankly, I cannot see why such an overwhelming number of well-substantiated inferences is not scientifically as convincing as direct observations. Many theories in other historical sciences, such as geology and cosmology, are also based on inferences. The endeavor of certain philosophers to construct a fundamental difference between the two kinds of evidence strikes me as misleading."
(p. 303)

Erribert: Again, he is not describing science. How would he go about trying to disprove Evolution. That is the scientific method. It is not based on trying to prove something! Get real! Read some Karl Popper why don’t you? Geez! Science works by being negational. Otherwise we would still be in the Stone Age. It’s trial and error. Where is the trial and error with evolution?

"How can we establish theories concerning the causes of historical evolutionary processes when the most common method of science, the experiment, cannot be employed?

Erribert: “the most common method” indeed. Well, in fact, the only method. Otherwise it is just philosophy! These “theories” cannot be disproven. Thereforethey are not scientific theories. In fact, they are circular reasoning, through and through. Sorry to burst your bubble.

It is obvious, for example, that we cannot experiment with the extinction of the dinosaurs. Instead, one applies the method of 'historical narratives' to explain historical (including evolutionary) processes. That is, one proposes an assumed historical scenario as a possible explanation and tests it thoroughly for the probability of its correctness. In the case of the extinction of the dinosaurs, a number of possible scenarios were tested (such as a devastating virus epidemic or a climatic disaster) but rejected because they were found to be in conflict with the evidence. Finally, the Alvarez extinction theory (caused by an asteroid impact) was so convincingly supported by the existing evidence and by all subsequent research that it is now universally accepted (…)."
(pp. 303-4)

(Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. London: Phoenix, 2002.)

Erribert: LOL. Why in the Heck does he bring extinction and Alvarez into his discussion. What a non-sequiter! He forgot the dodo bird. This guy is nuts! Maybe he should use the Hitler example too, just for good measure. :-). Besides the Alvarez theory is not universally accepted. What hyperbole! He should get an acting award.

All in my opinion, of course, with some humor involved. It is not my intention to hurt anybody’s feelings. We are all grown ups here.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Eduk » May 23rd, 2018, 3:34 am

Erribert what are you hoping for? You are writing your messages on the evidence that the scientific method is effective. I think your position would be stronger if you communicated via pidgeon or smoke signal. I would also prefer you communicated in that manner.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Greta » May 23rd, 2018, 4:53 am

"Where is trial and error in evolution?" it is asked.

Life is the trial and death without passing on genes or memes is the error, evolutionarily speaking.

What of the dodo? It was raised on an isolated island largely devoid of large predators, as is common with isolated island life. Once predators arrived (humans) their time was over.

To deny evolution in the biosphere is akin to denying gestation and growth of organisms. Life changes, grows and develops at all levels, from microbes to entire biospheres. That's all that evolution is. Whatever can persist does, and what cannot, goes away. As a result life throws up ever more persistent and adaptable organisms that are utterly hell bent on either staying in one piece or replicating - because the ones that were less driven, couldn't compete in the long term, especially when extinction events weed out the most specialised and vulnerable.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Erribert » May 24th, 2018, 7:56 pm

Erribert wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Historically, science was distinguished from philosophy through the scientific method. This method is a circular process by which a hypothesis is proposed then experiments are created and executed. Following data analysis, the hypothesis is rejected, modified, or restested with another set of experiments. Refinement of the hypothesis, through this method, may result in an accepted theory. No theory can ever e proven since science is intended to test theories, and such testing can happen forever; thus the idea of acceptance. At least that was how science was supposed to be able to distinguish itself. Newton and his colleagues conducted many hundreds of experiments, back in the day. The math was a result of such experiments.
There are ideas that are called theories that were never arrived at through the scientific method. It would seem that such theories still belong in the discipline of philosophy.
I agree with Jack Smart:

"Metaphysics is the conjectural end of science."

Erribert: wonderful that you agree with Jack. So, Plato’s metaphysics of Forms is the conjectural end of which science?

(Smart, J. J. C. "Methodology and Ontology." In Imre Lakatos and Theories of Scientific Change, edited by Kostas Gavroglu, Yorgos Goudaroulis, and Pantelis Nicolacopoulos, 47-57. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1989. p. 51)

"I came to reject a sharp line between metaphysics and science. Metaphysics is the more conceptual and relatively untestable end of science. Many scientific theories are only very indirectly testable and there is no sharp line between the testable and the untestable."

Erribert: LOL. Here is an example of science. You turn on the faucets in your shower. You then put your hand in to test the water (experiment and data analysis). You then form a hypothesis (too cold because not enough hot water). You create an experiment and execute by turning up the hot water. You then put your hand in (data analysis). You then revise your hypothesis and readjust the faucets. And so on. Finally you form a theorythat such faucets have to be in a certain position. For your next shower you simply set the faucets to their theoretical position. Then you test your theory by putting your hand in.

That is all science is. We use science in cooking all the time by adjusting recipes or cooking time and then test empirically by tasting the food. Then add salt or something and taste again. We are all scientists. It can be as complicated as one wants, but still follows the same principles known as the Scientific Method. These is, of course a sharp line. If something is not testable through the scientific method it is not science. Jack seems to have gotten lost up in a cloud somewhere. He is way over complicating things.

"I regard metaphysics as continuous with science. Science gets metaphysical when it gets very general and controversial and relates itself also to humanistic and other non-typically scientific concerns. A criterion for metaphysical truth is plausibility in the light of total science."

Erribert: sorry, but that is totally falacious. What does he mean by “total science”. Is he contradicting his earlier assumption?
Erribert wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
A well known example of this is the Theory of Evolution. This theory proposes a model for species differentiation. However, this theory has never been transferred to the scientific method of experimental design and testing. It is purely based on observation and model fitting of such observations. This intentional fitting of observations is unethical in the discipline of science. Observational theories have resulted in constellations in the sky. There is no intention to test the Theory of Evolution. Therefore it remains strictly a philosophy. I personally have no problem with such philosophy except when it is categorized as science.
Cut the crap! The Darwinistic theory of evolution is certainly and definitely not a conjectural or speculative metaphysical theory. It's a perfectly scientific theory which is empirically confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt.

"[E]volution is as solidly established as any scientific fact[.]"


Erribert: sorry again, but that is untrue. Read the entirety of my first post. This selective copy paste you are doing is making you look silly.

(Coyne, Jerry A. Why Evolution is True. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. xvi)

"Evolution is not merely an idea, a theory, or a concept, but is the name of a process in nature, the occurrence of which can be documented by mountains of evidence that nobody has been able to refute." (p. 303)

Erribert: it is an idea of a process. The process is ONLY supported through the intentional (yes INTENTIONAL) fitting of data points. Remember that data themselves are neutral. That is, data do not convey meaning. It is the model which connects data points that creates meaning. A constellation is created by connecting stars. That is not science. Dots on a page can be connected to form any animal. Again, such modeling is not science.

"Are not the 'facts' of evolutionary biology something very different from the facts of astronomy, which show that the Earth circles the sun rather than the reverse?

Yes, up to a point. The movement of planets can be observed directly. By contrast, evolution is a historical process. Past stages cannot be observed directly, but must be inferred from the context. Yet these inferences have enormous certainty because (1) the answers can very often be predicted and the actual findings then confirm them, (2) the answers can be confirmed by several different lines of evidence, and (3) in most cases no rational alternative explanation can be found.

Erribert: be careful how you use inference in connecting your data points. You may end up with a circular argument. ‘Evolution is about survival of the fittest”. How do we know they are the fittest? Because they survive... Have you ever heard of a tautology? :-)

If, for instance, in a chronological series of geological strata a series of fossil therapsid reptiles is found that become more and more similar to mammals in successively younger strata, finally producing species about which specialists argue whether they are still reptiles or already mammals, then I do not know of any other reasonable explanation than that mammals evolved from therapsid ancestors. Actually, there are thousands of such series in the fossil record, even though admittedly there are occasional breaks in most of these series, owing to breaks in the fossil-bearing stratigraphy
.

Erribert: Well you have been trained well. I am sure you have read this stuff in books you have great faith in. Did you know that fossilization is an extremely rare phenomenon? Fossilization takes perfect conditions. Besides, connecting observations does not a science make. Again, read my entire first post.
Frankly, I cannot see why such an overwhelming number of well-substantiated inferences is not scientifically as convincing as direct observations. Many theories in other historical sciences, such as geology and cosmology, are also based on inferences. The endeavor of certain philosophers to construct a fundamental difference between the two kinds of evidence strikes me as misleading." (p. 303)
Erribert: This question is answered in the statement. Much of cosmology is philosophy. So, there is no difference.

"How can we establish theories concerning the causes of historical evolutionary processes when the most common method of science, the experiment, cannot be employed?

Erribert: Right, huh?

It is obvious, for example, that we cannot experiment with the extinction of the dinosaurs. Instead, one applies the method of 'historical narratives' to explain historical (including evolutionary) processes. That is, one proposes an assumed historical scenario as a possible explanation and tests it thoroughly for the probability of its correctness. In the case of the extinction of the dinosaurs, a number of possible scenarios were tested (such as a devastating virus epidemic or a climatic disaster) but rejected because they were found to be in conflict with the evidence. Finally, the Alvarez extinction theory (caused by an asteroid impact) was so convincingly supported by the existing evidence and by all subsequent research that it is now universally accepted (…)." (pp. 303-4)
Erribert: Okay, so on to extinction. How about recent extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene Era? That happened only 12,000 years ago. Or, the extinctionof the dodo? The asteroid-based dinosaur extinction is still under debate, by scientists. Not, I am afraid, universally accepted. Evidence can always be interpreted in multiple ways (different models). Who knows what will be discovered in this regard ten years from now. Models are continuously changing. They have to with each new discovery. It’s almost everyday that a new theory is proposed on the ascension of man. Usually based on just one set of bones. Do you know how many Neanderthal-like skulls have been found? Last I checked it was less than fifty. Yet there are all these “established” theories concerning Neanderthal importance. A small sample size does not a theory make. Sorry, that is just the way it is.

Still, your belief is your own. Providing quotes does not make it more credible, with Google, I can support anything, even both sides of an argument. Rather than quote, I try philosophical arguments.

Thanks for taking the time to address my original question.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Erribert » May 24th, 2018, 8:10 pm

Greta wrote:
May 23rd, 2018, 4:53 am
"Where is trial and error in evolution?" it is asked.

Life is the trial and death without passing on genes or memes is the error, evolutionarily speaking.

What of the dodo? It was raised on an isolated island largely devoid of large predators, as is common with isolated island life. Once predators arrived (humans) their time was over.

To deny evolution in the biosphere is akin to denying gestation and growth of organisms. Life changes, grows and develops at all levels, from microbes to entire biospheres. That's all that evolution is. Whatever can persist does, and what cannot, goes away. As a result life throws up ever more persistent and adaptable organisms that are utterly hell bent on either staying in one piece or replicating - because the ones that were less driven, couldn't compete in the long term, especially when extinction events weed out the most specialised and vulnerable.
Erribert: Well you took my quote out of context. I was referring to the scientific method of using trial and error. Is the earth one big scientist? Perhaps it is, as you say.

Yes, there is no doubt that species are lost to exist no more. I agree. Is that evolution or devolution?

You are quoting “Survival of the fittest”. This a definitional circle. We say they are the fittest BECAUSE they survive. There is no distinction made between survival and fitness. A tautology.

Yes, life does change, isn’t that wonderful. How does life “throw up” differentiation? Is it the God called Randomness? If we say something is caused randomly, we are saying we don’t know how it happens. That is not science as I see it. If we are talking about selection, we are referring to choice. Remember, Darwin was Christian. Nature is a god.

You are quoting a lot of Darwinism. Have you experienced this, or read it in books?

Thank you for your comments.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Greta » May 24th, 2018, 8:43 pm

Erribert wrote:
May 24th, 2018, 8:10 pm
Greta wrote:
May 23rd, 2018, 4:53 am
"Where is trial and error in evolution?" it is asked.

Life is the trial and death without passing on genes or memes is the error, evolutionarily speaking.

What of the dodo? It was raised on an isolated island largely devoid of large predators, as is common with isolated island life. Once predators arrived (humans) their time was over.

To deny evolution in the biosphere is akin to denying gestation and growth of organisms. Life changes, grows and develops at all levels, from microbes to entire biospheres. That's all that evolution is. Whatever can persist does, and what cannot, goes away. As a result life throws up ever more persistent and adaptable organisms that are utterly hell bent on either staying in one piece or replicating - because the ones that were less driven, couldn't compete in the long term, especially when extinction events weed out the most specialised and vulnerable.
Erribert: Well you took my quote out of context. I was referring to the scientific method of using trial and error. Is the earth one big scientist? Perhaps it is, as you say.

Yes, there is no doubt that species are lost to exist no more. I agree. Is that evolution or devolution?

You are quoting “Survival of the fittest”. This a definitional circle. We say they are the fittest BECAUSE they survive. There is no distinction made between survival and fitness. A tautology.

Yes, life does change, isn’t that wonderful. How does life “throw up” differentiation? Is it the God called Randomness? If we say something is caused randomly, we are saying we don’t know how it happens. That is not science as I see it. If we are talking about selection, we are referring to choice. Remember, Darwin was Christian. Nature is a god.

You are quoting a lot of Darwinism. Have you experienced this, or read it in books?

Thank you for your comments.
My favourite museum exhibit was a collection of animal skeletons - all these structures based on the same template - head, spine, ribs, pelvis, limbs, digits - just shifted, stretched, adapted and, in the case of snakes, some parts absent.

We have all experienced evolution, from zygote to adult. It's the same thing, just a smaller scale. In a sense evolution is just the growth of the biosphere from the perspective of its constituents.

I think of "survival of the fittest" as "survival of the persistent". The same dynamic was at play before abiogenesis in the early solar system. Of all the pieces of rock circling our star when it first ignited, the planets and other old bodies in the solar system are the ones that persisted. The others were either absorbed by larger bodies or dissipated into space.

What we see today is what has persisted so far. Each of us is the current end product of countless generations of survivors, human and then non human, all the way back to the last universal ancestor (LUCA). I see this as more awesome (both old and new meanings) than dubious.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by BigBango » May 24th, 2018, 11:46 pm

Erribert, you and others on this thread are misusing the term "Metaphysics".

Philosophy is just the explication of the world in epistemological and metaphysical terms while also justifying one's use of language, logic and the nature of truth.

Epistemology is an explication of how we can "know" about the world. How do you "know"or assimilate knowledge in your philosophical analysis?

Metaphysics is simply an explication of the objects or things that you think the world is made up of.

That objects are atoms and atoms have sub atomic particles are some of the metaphysical assumptions of science. Those ideas are just two different dimensions of science that a philosopher would want to make clear.

To ask the question "What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics is a "NON SENSICAL QUESTION". It's like asking what is the difference between an empty carton of eggs and volume?

An untestable scientific theory may have questionable metaphysics because there lacks any way to test them empirically. (Kant and a Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics.) At the same time, there is no good scientific theory that has no metaphysics. Metaphysics simply means objects.

You could say what is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and epistemology? that's like saying what is the difference between an empty carton of eggs and color? There are bad epistemologically based theories. Saying that I know there are angels on Venus because I dreamed about them is a suspicious scientific theory. It may be tested but we don't assume it to be true because you dreamed it.

Metaphysics has this common usage that tarnishes all metaphysics because there have been many bad apples throughout history. However, the very soundest scientific theory has its metaphysical presumptions and that is one way philosophy can play the overseer of science.

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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by -1- » May 25th, 2018, 12:30 am

BigBango wrote:
May 24th, 2018, 11:46 pm
To ask the question "What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics is a "NON SENSICAL QUESTION". It's like asking what is the difference between an empty carton of eggs and volume?
Why do you say that's an unanswerable, nonsensical question?

It sure is sensible and it has a convergent answer.

"The difference between a carton of Eggs and volume is that they both have no last names, especially the first of the two."
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Erribert
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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Erribert » May 27th, 2018, 4:30 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 8th, 2018, 4:26 pm
Erribert wrote:
May 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Historically, science was distinguished from philosophy through the scientific method. ...

If today’s science includes ideas which are untestable, what differentiates them from a philosophy such as metaphysics?

Cheers
Two things.
First, you are setting up a false dichotomy between scientific theory and metaphysics. They are not compatible in meaning to draw differentiation.
Secondly, I think you will need to give examples of scientific ideas that are 'untestable'.
Firstly, I do not see a false dichotomy.

Secondly, my posts are self explanatory.

Cheers

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Thinking critical
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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Thinking critical » May 29th, 2018, 5:57 am

Erribert wrote:
May 22nd, 2018, 10:33 pm
Eduk wrote:
May 8th, 2018, 2:54 pm
Erribert I am curious. Would you entertain the following thought experiment?
I assume your religion is very important to you? Possibly the most important thing to you?
Would you rather live in a world where in reality you knew your religion to be man made or in the same world where you didn't know it was man made?
If I understand your question correctly, you consider there to be a religion that is not man made. I am curious what kind of religion that would be. I have looked at a lot of religions, and so far they are all man made so far as I can tell. The religion of Scientism is a great example.

Do you have faith in science. Do you accept its teachings without personally experiencing what the books say? Do you believe in Evolution or lack holes? As a scientist I am vey sceptical. I am an agnostic when it comes to Scientism. Whenever I read a publication that describes an experiment and results, I first try to repeat the experiment. There are no experiments regarding black holes. There are four conflicting mathematical models for black holes. I guess believers get to choose which one to believe in.

There is a big problem in science with unrepeatable experiments. Amgen recently published a paper that at least half of the biotechnology experiments they studied in the literature could not be repeated. That is a big blow for Scientism. Of course no experiment exists for the Big Bang. So there is no way to test it scientifically. There is also no experimental test for evolution. Unless you can come up with one. It is hard to improve a “theory” if it cannot be tested. Testing requires a transfer to the scientific method. I suppose the term “theory” no longer applies to some “sciences”.

Could you provide me with a non-man made religion? Then perhaps I could answer your question.

Are you a scientist? Or, are you more interested in metaphysics?

Cheers
Erribert, you continue to repeat that your a scientist yet you have been unable to respond to any of the posts that have challenged your unsubstantiated opinions? If you are asking for experiments to test evolution or the Big Bang then please explain what on part of theory you would like to be tested?
Also, what do you mean by experiments for black holes? The questions you're asking and the language you're using makes it extremely obvious that you are not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination to the point that you actually appear to be some what scientifically illiterate.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

Justintruth
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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Justintruth » May 29th, 2018, 3:45 pm

I don’t get the Popper thing.

If I hypothesize that some species became extinct at some time then I can falsify that theory by finding fossils latter than that time. It’s not like his work requires a laboratory experiment. As long as I carefully do observation that could potentially falsify the theory then it’s ok on my read.

As for cosmology there are classes of theories that predict the cosmic background radiation and the relative abundance of hydrogen and helium. They both can be falsified by experiment. You run a radio telescope pointed the right way and you collect the data and it either supports or falsifies the theory. You measure the relative abundance of hydrogen and helium. It can’t be curve fitting in the case of the microwave background as the discoverers were completely unaware of the curve when they found the radiation.

To me all science is of nature. But one can turn ones attention away from considerations of “what is” to consideration of “the fact that it is”. When one does one turns ones attention from the physical to the metaphysical. It is a very difficult subject. It requires the brain to enter unusual states of understanding that are not easy to cause in someone who has not experienced them.

Now there is a loophole in neurology of course but that can be handled. You just expand the physics to include first person predicates and posit their factual existence in much the same way as current physical measurement outcomes. That is they are a function of the state vector of the neurology. The experimental design changes and we need more principles like Occam’s, but it’s plausible that we can connect up other experiencings to our neurology and memory and then experience phenomenologies different than our natural ones.

In the meantime we are not stuck as we can use the verbal reports of test subjects and verify their veracity. When investigating color synesthesia for example a clever test design allowed them to verify that people claiming the synesthesia actually could perform better on certain tests. They further were able to hypothesize that those with that capability should have some connections not found in others between two areas in the brain and design experiments that could falsifiy their theories.

The full meaning of our situation and how it plays in desire certainly involves both metaphysics and the physics of the substrate that causes it.

We all may be missing the point of the original post. What exactly is it?

BTW evolution is not a dynamic theory. It is a hypothesis about the operation of a particular dynamic physical theory. Direct calculation of the physics of an ecosystem is not practical but one may hypothesize That aggregate structures will occur in our physical dynamics and then test to falsify.

The notion of randomness is determined by the spectrum of the physical laws and nature. The technique of discretation into micro-states and the rest of statistical mechanics allows entropy to be precisely defined for our physical system but also for various types of signals. Whenever you have a defined spectrum consisting of outcomes that can be represented by random variables of some hypothetical values you can calculate an entropy for it as Claude Shanon defined. You can then look at the distribution resulting. If the possible micro states are equilikely in a given spectrum we call the outcome random. If only one state is possible we call it determined and there is a continuum of “somewhat” random that can be calculated. So randomness is not strictly only a function of the outcome but of the spectrum of possibilities also. And while outlying events are possible the improbability is astoundingly high in chemical reactions.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: What is the difference between an untestable scientific theory and metaphysics

Post by Karpel Tunnel » June 4th, 2018, 12:47 pm

BigBango wrote:
May 24th, 2018, 11:46 pm
Erribert, you and others on this thread are misusing the term "Metaphysics".
And he's not the only one who go by what you call below 'common usage'
Metaphysics has this common usage that tarnishes all metaphysics because there have been many bad apples throughout history. However, the very soundest scientific theory has its metaphysical presumptions and that is one way philosophy can play the overseer of science.
so thanks for pointing this out. It reminds of when people in philosophy forums describle knowledge as a specific kind of belief and common usage ideas about what beliefs are create an uproar. JTB definitions will often get great signal to noise problems almost immediately.

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