TED Conversations

phoenix goodman

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Does the scientific establishment unwittingly suffer from paradigm bias? Does it assume incorrect axioms of existence?

In the light of Thomas Kuhn's "Paradigm Shift" theory, and inspired by the TED controversy of removing Rupert Sheldrake's talk, let us examine the current scientific establishment.

The scientific process is capable of historical meta-analysis to make sense of its own patterns and processes. As Kuhn points out, every generation of scientists tend to assume premises that are fundamentally false but define the paradigm in which they work, and all assumptions flow from those premises.

Two major examples to illustrate are the geocentric/religious paradigm overthrown by Copernicus, and the Newtonian absolute space-time paradigm overthrown by Einstein. Of course, we must look to the actual psyche's of the establishment itself in those contexts. Was Copernicus not considered a heretic? Did not pre-Einsteinian physicists literally just ASSUME absolute spacetime as an axiom when contemplating physics? They are only easily shown to be incorrect in 20/20 hindsight, although up to that point, all the textbooks of school and general consensus among very smart 'experts' propagated those fallacious foundations.

Scientists that are overly specialized, careerist, non-philosophical, and lacking in paradigm shattering intuition/creativity might be the 'gatekeepers' of today, propagating fallacious assumptions themselves, and dismissing all non-establishment positions as heretical.

Has science itself transcended all biases? Has it overcome all incorrect assumptions? Was Newtonian absolute spacetime the final barrier? If not, then we MUST give 'heretics' a shot, should we not? What if they are a paradigm shifter?

As a thought experiment- if we are to contemplate the hypothetical that there are indeed wrong assumptions, what might they be?

Could it be that matter emerges from mind, and not the other way around?
Can Cartesian dualism be solved?
Could it be that the paradigm of Empiricism is merely a subset of the superior Rationalism?

Was Leibniz right?

+3
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 26 2013: "At core the "scientific method" is based on a philosophical perspective / belief system, which cannot be proven to anyone that did not "choose" to share that perspective / belief system."

    You're right, and I wholeheartedly don't disagree with you. However, now what? If someone has such a completely different view that you can't even present observable facts to them without them questioning the validity of the observations, then ... how can you possibly think that any philosophy you present will ever jive with theirs?

    After all, they have a completely bizarre, completely incomprehensible, nonsense, and crazy point of view from which they judge their world in the first place.

    Let me also add the following perspective to "philosophy":

    Ableism - Absolutism - Absurdism - Acquiescence - Activism - Actual Idealism - Actualism - Advaita Vedanta - Aesthetics - African philosophy - Agnosticism - Agnotology - Altruism - Amor fati - American philosophy - Anti-imperialism - Anti-psychiatry - Antinatalism - Anti-intellectualism - Anti-realism - Antireductionism - Analytic philosophy - Anarchism - Ancient philosophy - Anthropocentrism - Anomalous monism - Applied ethics - Aristotelianism - Asceticism - Atavism - Atheism - Authoritarianism - Autodidacticism - Averroism - Avicennism - Axiology

    That's just the A's.

    None of these are science, none of these aren't subject to individual experiences and filters. Everyone will chime in their own flavor of whatever philosophy suits their current needs & desires. With infinite diversity! Every single philosophy can easily be nuanced into dozens of sub-philosophies, with hundreds of different ways of applying them.

    If there is anything truly TIMELESS in this world, then it is science. I don't think that 5 million years from now that there will be shift away from Darwin and Newton? We will always, going forward, use the experimental method, even if it's just inside some kind of computer?

    Philosophy? Leave that junk in church.
    • Mar 26 2013: This response embodies the quintessence of the very psychological constructs and premise-assuming dogma I addressed. I didn't want to reply but this simply nauseated me.

      I specifically said something about Rationalism Vs. Empiricism. However, the debate between "non-philosophy" and philosophy is a false dichotomy. There is NO debate. The universe, and the human condition, is not a mechanistic algorithm void of free will and values. Psychology, history and yes, SCIENCE, without philosophy (the strict exercise of human reason) is devoid of meaning. No one said anything about whether or not philosophy has validity. The fact, not opinion, is that it does.

      The question, to reiterate, is Rationalism vs. Empricism, a classic debate going back centuries, embodied by the Newton-Leibniz rivalry. The question is not if one is valid or non valid in a mutually exclusive sense, but what the strengths and weaknesses of each are, and if one is a subset of the other.

      The empiricist model is always provisional, and mired in sensory input (which themselves are deluded by the many illusions of physicality and our finite senses. Rationalism asserts that certain deeper truths... the "big questions" are knowable through pure reason, or 'hyperrationality".

      Empiricist materialist science has strengths and practical applications. Rationalism can conclude factors that empiricism can't touch by definition, as instead of being mired in sensory input, it is mired in pure thought. The exercise of a thought experiment, or even (non-instrumentalist) mathematics is a form of rationalism.

      Pythagoras' outlook that all things are numbers in a statement of complete ontological mathematics is an example of something concluded rationally without experiments (although maybe corroborated by them).

      Does infinity exist? Does 'zero'? What about "i"?

      IF they exist mathematically, they are "code" of the universe. If you put "i" axes on a cartesian grid, you have scope for zero distance. Rationalism.
      • Mar 27 2013: "Scientists that are overly specialized, careerist, non-philosophical, and lacking in paradigm shattering intuition/creativity might be the 'gatekeepers' of today, propagating fallacious assumptions themselves, and dismissing all non-establishment positions as heretical."

        You did write this, right?

        Let me be more direct: I question whether or not you're eluding to some kind of creationist drivel without having the guts to actually spell it out. There is a definite metallic taste in your posts, and it is a complete 180 of what science is. It directly mirrors a lot of what creationists are teaching in their Sunday sermons of what they think science is or "ought to be", at least from their point of view, just before they mention Ice-asteroids and giant floods that wiped out dinosaurs with tiny nostrils in an O2 rich atmosphere (too big to fit on a boat) and froze wooly mammoths standing up.

        From a historic perspective, perhaps you're confusing "bias" with the various changes that have happened over time to the various scientific disciplines. They are not dogmatic changes, as you appear to elude. They were refinements, and furthered our understanding step by tiny step, sometimes in very deep, fundamental ways, but nevertheless usually with less bias, not more.

        (1) Are you confusing measurement error with "bias"? Given the wooden, handcrafted nature of many early instruments, is that really even a valid idea to hold onto?
        (2) Are you referring to the slow and painful withdrawal of religious and dogmatic belief systems from science as "bias"? Are you suggesting a return of that bias by now injecting philosophy?
        (3) Are you referring to non-peer review as "bias"? It could be argued the other way around?
        (4) Are you referring to philosophy as unbiased? Can you state some philosophies that have no bias, in the first place?

        My apologies if I hit a little below the belt, but honestly, look at your own posts. Are you not a creationist in philosophy clothing?
        • Mar 27 2013: Look at the difference between "valid" and "sound" syllogisms. "All dogs are unicorns. John is a dog, therefore John is a unicorn." That is a VALID statement, but not SOUND.
          So, "incorrect axioms" are essentially syllogisms that begin with objectively false statements assumed as true premises- the difference is that instead of a thought exercise, this process is actually done in the name of discerning the true nature of reality.
          Imagine an establishment scientist in the era of Copernicus. He has a high IQ, extremely well read, etc. From his schooling, he has learned the "axiom" that the earth is the center of the universe. In the course of "if-then" statements, the "if" has been defined. He then might have come up with elaborate cosmological explanations whose conclusions flow from that premise, and whose conclusions might have been reached to a valid point because he is intelligent. However, it was the HERETIC Copernicus who had the insight to question the PREMISE- Geocentrism. This hypothetical, smart establishment scientist would then have heard Copernicus' Heliocentric model and scoffed. So, if we know that smart establishment oriented scientists can fall for this psychological process, is it not ABSURD to think that isn't going on right now?
          There you go, PHILOSOPHY for you, to give the process of science and history MEANING.
          I am the opposite of a creationist, which is purely based on faith and not rationality, and yet you make a hearty attempt at attacking that straw man. The almost comical fallacious irony is that your attitude regarding materialism and anti-philosophy is literally the closest a scientifically-minded individual can get to religious dogma, while all I am trying to do is merely make sense of the process of science itself and infuse it with direction and meaning. By understanding this, we can creatively imagine 'out of the box' possibilities that the establishment automatically dismisses- such as matter emerging from mind.
        • Mar 31 2013: You used the phrase "creationist drivel". Are you asserting the idea that anyone who proposes the idea that intelligent design is responsible for the creation of the universe is promoting "drivel"? If so, then you should sharpen your pencil. The fact of the matter is that we currently have NO satisfactory explanation for the origin of the universe. Even if one were to accept the Big Bang, its origins remain unknown. There is no less reason to suppose that the universe was created by a supernatural force than by some unknown, natural force. The term, supernatural, in my mind, only describes processes that we don't yet understand. It may turn out that our particular universe arose as a result of some super advanced technology wielded by a society that is billions of years more advanced than ours. This theory which is not supported by any "evidence", is still as valid as any other explanation.
          To me it is obvious that many in mainstream science have become shackled by outdated modes of thinking that deny any evidence if it pertains to a certain set of topics that it deems "woo woo". These subjects include but are not limited to; psi phenomena or ESP of any sort, existence of consciousness in any form outside of the skull including an afterlife or "spirit", God or ID, UFOs as craft for inter dimensional or extraterrestrial beings, and anomalous archeology. Many of these perplexing ideas could easily be proven or disproved if our best scientists were to actually research and study them, yet they lack the will, courage, or resources, to do so. One particular phenomena I have personally studied, EVP, has been written off as CB radio interference or audio pareidolia in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The paradigm IS shifting, thankfully, and no amount of derision, ridicule, and ad hominem attacks will stop the number of Sheldrake-like researchers from growing and flourishing. I know. Let the insults begin. (-:
        • thumb
          Apr 3 2013: EVP = electronic voice phenomenon
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_voice_phenomenon

          Apophenia
          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia

          Baruss, Imants (2001). "Failure to Replicate Electronic Voice Phenomenon," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 355–367, 2001
      • Mar 27 2013: Phoenix,

        You mention Copernicus, as if he's the posterchild for philosophical science. From my perspective, he's the posterchild for non-philosophical science.

        He didn't prevail because he was a nice guy, had a great haircut, knew someone's sister -twice removed-, or wielded some kind of magical power of persuasion over the masses.

        He prevailed because others measured the same things he measured, saw the same things he saw, and calculated the same conclusions he calculated. DESPITE what certain "philosophies" (read: Religious dogma of his time) were saying.

        Just look at the title of what was used to try to undermine Copernicus' assertions: "On the Truth of Sacred Scripture", written by Giovanni Maria Tolosani.

        Again, please consider the "industrial methodology" of science versus the -necessarily self-inflicted- dogmatic approach of philosophy. If there is a better approach in science, it will be adopted. That's not a philosophy. It's a practical truth. Just like somewhere along the way there was a move away from throwing books onto pyres (alongside their writers) rather than today's approach where we just make fun of them on Amazon.com.

        I would also argue that "philosophy" has always followed from things that already took place. Nowhere in history has a philosophy created anything. If anything, existing processes, methods, and even thought processes gave rise to new NAMES of philosophies, perhaps. In a sense you could capture the essence of what philosophy is by saying that it "defines the underlying principles with important sounding words", but that's pretty much where it ends.

        I keep asking for the same thing, over and over - where/how would philosophy enhance science? And, one more step down the slippery slope - if you did manage to inject it, why stop there? Why not religion next? Or politics? Or ... whatever? Wouldn't they also serve to reduce "bias" on the same level? Do you see my problem with this now? I hope I made it clear.
        • Mar 29 2013: "I keep asking for the same thing, over and over - where/how would philosophy enhance science? "

          It's a feedback loop.
          It's not true that science is standing apart from philosophy, nothing is. The philosophy of modern science is Positivism, that states that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in scientific knowledge.
          Doesn't it enhance science ?
      • Mar 29 2013: Re : Rationalism vs. Empiricism, a classic debate going back centuries, embodied by the Newton-Leibniz rivalry.
        That's true, despite the fact that Émilie du Châtelet proved by experiment hence empirically, that Leibniz was right with his ' living force'/innate mass , but main stream science swallowed her proof without changing its attitude. And ' Leibniz vs Newton pattern was perpetuated.
        XVIII c. - ' Wallace vs Darwin' , XIX c.' Freud vs Jung' XX c. Bohm vs Copenhagen terpretation...and a lot in between.
        A main schism which separates the two participants in all these patterns pertains to the ' vis viva ' controversy. And now the local event - ' TED vs Shaedrake'. Is it local or global only future can tell and it's very near.

        Thank you for asking right question : " Was Leibniz right ? " It helps to connect the dots.

        Probably there are examples where Empiricism doesn't compete with Rationalism but complement each other as they should.
        "each portion of matter can be conceived as like a garden full of plants, or like a pond full of fish. But each branch of a plant, each organ of an animal, each drop of its bodily fluids is also a similar garden or a similar pond".
        This famous passage from Leibniz can serve as a soundtrack to Mandelbrot set visualization.
        Or is it my wild imagination ? :)
    • Mar 26 2013: "If there is anything truly TIMELESS in this world, then it is science. I don't think that 5 million years from now that there will be shift away from Darwin and Newton? We will always, going forward, use the experimental method, even if it's just inside some kind of computer?

      Philosophy? Leave that junk in church."

      Science is also a philosphical belief system - i.e Science is a Philosophy - so are you saying that "junk" should be left in the church of science....
      • Mar 27 2013: It's interesting how you use the word of "church" and science all in the same sentence. But here's a definition of PHILOSOPHY:

        phi·los·o·phy

        /fəˈläsəfē/
        Noun
        1.The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline.
        2.A set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning such study or an aspect of it.

        (copied from the "Almighty" fountain of knowledge, aka: "Google").

        Notice how philosophy is deliniated as an "academic discipline"?

        Pray tell, exactly how many courses in philosophy does one need to fully comprehend physics, math, and engineering? And, more to my point - WHICH ONES, EXACTLY?

        Are you going to argue that all our college curricula are in sore need of revision because philosophy isn't taught to science students?

        I *really* can't help but feel that some people are advocating a return to 18th century schooling, where the emphasis was on "reading-writing-arithmetic" and "philosophy-science". Where Geometry and Geography were taught in the same class. And where "classical philosophy" was a core requirement for graduation, right next to "hymn singing 101".

        Frankly - completely laughable. Start without "philosophy" and see how far you get. Start with pure math and science, and see "philosophy" in the rear view mirror.
        • Mar 27 2013: I'm sorry I can't help you. I did try. Good luck.
        • Mar 29 2013: Hi, Chis, happy to see you here!
          Would it be right to equate knowledge with wisdom ? What is not wise is not knowledge. Sounds a bit weired for some, but it'll make the notion " clever fool' redundant .
          Not that bad :)

          In the comment above you say :
          To insist the box simply 'evolved' by 'chance' flies in the face of reason.
          Yes.
          The question is : what is the reason for ' box' to evolve ?
          Thank you !
        • Mar 31 2013: Chris,
          'evolve itself from a 'box' to a 'present.'
          !!!! :)
          I don't have your verbal capacity and can't say it better. I would say :
          the reason for the box to evolve is to elaborate the tool for escaping from the box.
          Someone said that the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction must have sense :)
          But isn't it reasonable to presume that ' fall' suggests 'rise' ?

          Btw, sorry for ambiguity, by ' clever fool' ( it's the way we say it in Russian ) i meant ' book smart ' I guess, that the divorce of wisdom and knowledge is right in the eye of the storm.
          Thanks for responding !
          Harro, sorry for using your reply button :)
    • thumb
      Mar 26 2013: All is philosophy for it is of the mind
      • Mar 27 2013: Substitute "philosophy" with "religion" and "mind" with "God".

        Seriously, you're stepping into metaphysics here. The only thing missing is a divining rod.

        Philosophy has the distinct property (perhaps shared with religion) that it is and end and a means unto itself. Philosophy doesn't create anything, doesnt' discover anything. If anything, it's "discovery" of the act of "discovery". Heck, why stop there? Why not "discover" ad infinitum, applying different layers of philosophy until it oozes into collapse?

        The original question was about scientific bias and a role that philosophy may play in reducing the bias. My assertion is that this is nonsense. Science, at its core, is a method by which to reduce bias in the first place. I think the inclusion of philosophy in scientific papers will NOT reduce bias in any way - quite the opposite.

        Just think, how many "schools" of philosophy are there? Which one should a scientist, engineer, or mathematician mention in his dissertation? Which one should they pick for Newtonian problems vs. subatomic ones? Which one should apply to global warming vs. oil discovery work?

        Again I ask, this time of you, Casey: Give examples how how philosophy would solve the problem of bias?
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2013: Philosophy discovered science.

          Please read what the founding father of "science" called his greatest work

          Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica

          What bias problem would you like to solve? Existence?
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2013: Oh and can you show me something that is outside of mind or interdependent of it
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2013: And religion has been trying to use science to prove god. The first images after the big bang, just 15 seconds after is called the face of god.

          "Well I would trust that the Dean is educated enough to understand Einstein's point that any ray of light ( a straight line ) send out will eventually return to its origin and therefore he would understand that there are no "straight lines"" ~Ed Schulte
        • Mar 31 2013: Harro-said, "The original question was about scientific bias and a role that philosophy may play in reducing the bias. My assertion is that this is nonsense."
          Your position assumes that science, by its very nature, is without bias, a declaration I would counter is much more absurd than the idea that philosophy can reduce bias. OF COURSE science is biased! Are you saying that the many historical examples of scientific wrong thinking that led to persecutions, executions, and exile of scientists all over the world whose ideas were thought to be rubbish at the time, but later shown to be correct, are no evidence of bias? Or, are you saying that modern science has overcome it's prejudices; that it is completely open to new ideas, even those whose reality would create a major paradigm shift? Either proposition is preposterous. Sheldrake's work meets all the criteria for "real science", yet, Tedx pulled his video.
          Philosophy is exactly the right tool for determining whether or not there is bias in science. The idea of "laws' did not flow from science, but from philosophy. Science itself would not exist had not a thinking brain or consciousness pondered the idea that we needed a certain structure and methodology to properly examine the world around us. To put it another way, what experiment would you propose to determine if there were bias? It cannot be determined through experimentation, but rather by thoughtful consideration of issues that involve politics, money, egos, and careers; not things that are easily measured in the laboratory.
          The reluctance of science to investigate claims having to do with the esoteric is, in itself, a blatant example of scientific bias. To say that the study of possible different levels of existence is tied to religious dogma, does not consider the nature of reality and possible explanations provided by quantum physics. If so, then you must dismiss the likes of Strassman and Penrose/Hammerhoff. Lol, but Freud was a true scientist!
      • Mar 27 2013: Sorry, I don't see a reply button near your last posts, so I will reply "up here" under this post.

        Casey - science isn't about metaphysical stuff like "existence". It isn't about subjective things (at this point in time) like "mind".

        It IS about things like string theory, God particles, subatomics, uncertainty principles, etc. None of these are aided by "philosophy". The fact that light goes no more than "c" - that isn't a philosophy. It's a fact. Oberservable, measurable, repeatable fact. Regardless of whether I grew up in the 1980's, 2150, the US of A, or North Korea.

        Whether or not there are different levels of existence? Really? Do I really have to dissect how this is head-on falling/stumbling on top of religious dogma? How it's filled with so much cultural and individual bias and "made up stuff" that it has no place in science?

        It seems to me that you're trying to answer religious questions (existence, outside of the mind) with something akin to science. Psychology, perhaps?

        Also, not to start pointing fingers, but just because Newton gave his work a title with the word "principle" doesn't make it so. After all, I couldn't call the bible "The Science of the Afterlife" or refer to Newton's laws as "Newton's philosophies", right? It wouldn't change their state, their status, and meaning one bit.

        "outside of the mind" ... I can't help but think you're refering to math? Which now begs the question - exactly what philosophy of math are you refering to, specifically? You can probably attempt to sweep imaginary numbers, calculus, and geometry under the catch-all phrase of "philosophy", but that would be more disingenious than calling "philosophy" a science. After all, at no point are students taught philosophy to understand a math curriculum, are they? Is the absence of a thing going to now become proof of its necessity?

        Please, reread the original question posed, and in its context, reevaluate your own statements.
      • Mar 29 2013: What is not ?
      • Apr 5 2013: To James Clary:

        "OF COURSE science is biased! Are you saying that the many historical examples of scientific wrong thinking that led to persecutions, executions, and exile of scientists all over the world whose ideas were thought to be rubbish at the time, but later shown to be correct, are no evidence of bias?"

        You're making the mistake of turning history inside out. It was emergent science - REAL science, not dogmatic belief in religious junk - which was persecuted, not the other way around.

        How many astronomers were persecuted as heretics for publishing their observations?

        How many scientists were discredited for having the wrong race, religion, or family history?

        You, and others like you, seem to prefer to point to the obviously flawed times in human history when there was no science, when there was no scientific method, and erroneously assign it the label of "science". Let me be clear on the following: Dogmatic beliefs are not science. Even when they called themselves "scientists". The same is true today: Creationism isn't science either (clearly not, when it run by mostly imprisoned ex-school teachers and dentists, making demonstrable perverse claims about the nature of everything including gravity).

        Why was the earth ever considered flat? Did anyone actually measure this, or did they just stand in one spot and proclaim it so? Even in earliest antiquity, several mathematicians and astronomers (astrologers?) believed that the sun was at the center of the universe. It took us another 2,000 years of political and religious strife to be able to say this publicly without fear of a fiery death.

        Again (and again) I ask this: Please show how philosophy isn't biased, or that the scientific community is biased. I believe you're wrong on both counts, and have failed to show any bias in science.

        Lack of proof isn't proof. I keep saying this, time and again. Please make your case.
    • Mar 26 2013: very well said! you saved me a lot of time in pointing out all the inaccuracies and misunderstandings of the original question, as well as the assumptions riddled throughout - of particular note since those are exactly what the question claims to be against.
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2013: Your remark about philosophy strikes with ignorance. One cannot understand scientific method without understanding philosophical discipline of epistemology. Without philosophy, you won't be able to tell how you know that you know anything.

      Check out this article by Sean Carroll, a physicist. I share his frustration about the attitude towards philosophy among some scientists. If people had more respect for philosophy, there would be far fewer useless debates that go in circles and lead to nothing but mutual insults because of mutual ignorance.

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2012/04/28/a-universe-from-nothing/#.UVJAsSR4y9U
      • Mar 27 2013: Dear Mr. Grudzinsky:

        Please reread the original question posted by Mr. Goodman. Essentially he's trying to solve scientific bias with philosophy.

        Let me say that one more time: He is proposing, that scientific bias should be solved with philosophy.

        Please correct me if I'm wrong on this - although, between his rantings about metaphysical nonsense, I'm pretty sure I got that part right?!

        It deeply disturbs me, that anyone would make such an absurd statement in the first place. It directly undermines the whole idea of the scientific method?! The whole idea of having experiments, sharing data, peer review, publishing (for others to see & comment), etc. ALL of that is meant to reduce bias. All of that is what the scientific method is, and it is used in every facet of science - mathematics, the various science disciplines, medicine, etc.

        Imagine someone making a pill, running it through the scientific gauntlet of peer review, and then someone else along the way "sprinkled" it with some Roman Catholic "philosophy"? How is that NOT BIAS?

        You mentioned in one of your other replies a reference to "circular" thinking. I can't but help that you got that idea from some Creationist video. Honestly, I don't think there's any circular thinking in all of science, except the made up ones that Creationist seem to mention in every discussion (while completely ignoring their own "God's God" circular nonsense themselves). We could easily degenerate this discussion into a Creationist flame-war, but let me ask you this instead, just as I have others before:

        Name examples where philosophy is going to reduce bias in scientific endeavours? Injecting philosophical nonsense into the value of "0" and reducing the world into numbers isn't really a philosphy. It's basic kinematics. Even the leap into imaginary numbers isn't some philosophical acceptance of how nonexistent numbers create order? At best, it's an aberration that makes some parts of math work?!
        • thumb
          Mar 27 2013: Harro,

          What's the fuss about? The question in this conversation is a valid philosophical question. Whether science is biased and whether it needs to be fixed is a philosophical question. If scientists decide to fix it, they will be acting as philosophers, because bias in science cannot be detected or solved by any scientific experiment or theory.

          Have you read Sean Carroll's article? I can only agree with him that philosophy is relevant to science in the same way as mycology is relevant to fungi. How dare philosophers to talk about improving science? How dare sociologists to talk about improving society? Isn't society capable of improving itself?

          You also comment about links that I post without even opening them. The link about evolution is, actually, anti-creationist and it's not a video.

          Re: "Name examples where philosophy is going to reduce bias in scientific endeavours?"

          I have answered this question in one of my comments which you choose to ignore. E.g. requirement for a scientific theory to be falsifiable came from philosophy. "Occam's razor" is a philosophical principle. Peer review is not based on any scientific data. You seem to have a very fuzzy understanding of what philosophy is. Like Sean Carroll, I see this as a source of the anxiety around these issues.
      • Mar 27 2013: Arkady,

        "Peer review is not based on any scientific data"? You couldn't be more dead wrong. What do you think review is? Just reading someone's paper before it gets published to make sure the spelling is right? Peer review is an iterative process, and it's not just in the same discipline. Take evolution for example, or the idea that the Earth is billions of years old. How many different scientists, in the past 150 years, in completely different disciplines ranging from molecular biology to geology and astronomy (and the 1,000 other disciplines in between) have validated the same & similar claims over and over? Using different data sets, different observations, different ways of measuring, and completely different methodologies - always with additional review within their own discipline even?

        "Bias in science cannot be detected or solved by any scientific experiment or theory." Come again? Uhmmm. I really don't know what to say to that. Other than...aparently your view of reality is at least a little different from mine. How do you propose to reduce bias then? Some magical philosophy tweaks here and there? Or ... peer review (see above)? Do you really want to set up a "philosophy review"?

        Personally, I definately have bias against philosophy and religion in general. There is no doubt about it. It oozes from my posts even. That doesn't mean that I'm wrong about philosophy in science.

        Science is no more a philosophy as a stamping press in a car factory is a philosophy. It is a method for "quality assurance" - making sure that the end product is free from obvious defects in data, conclusions, etc.

        Why do you think not a single Creationist "scientific" paper has ever been accepted? Could it be that they can't pass the first step (usually spelling - being harsh again)? Could it be that they OOZE philosophy first and science second? Could it be that their bias is so deep that even the most basic peer review points out the problems and fallacies?
        • thumb
          Mar 29 2013: Re: ""Peer review is not based on any scientific data"? You couldn't be more dead wrong. What do you think review is?"

          Review does not add any data to the results. Review provides opinions. Opinions are not scientific data. And opinions can be biased. If a research contradicts to reviewer's opinion, it may receive a negative review despite being a valid scientific research with valid repeatable results. And if a research contradicts opinions that dominate the mainstream science, it can be turned down by scientific community despite being a valid research.

          I guess, this thread is about this kind of bias.

          Re: "Personally, I definately have bias against philosophy and religion in general."

          It's great that you acknowledge that. Bias is an emotional attachment to an opinion. It makes us blind to other points of view.
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2013: Re: "None of these are science, none of these aren't subject to individual experiences and filters. "

      Exactly. Not everything is science. It does not mean that these things are useless. With that attitude, shall we throw out of the window art, morality, law, human rights, poetry and everything else that is not subject to experimental method?
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2013: Harro, reading your post a second time, I think what you say can be said without the last attack on philosophy in general.

      I agree with you that we must accept certain things as foundation and build on them. We cannot question the foundation without risking the whole structure of science to crumble down. But the foundation cannot come from science. It comes from philosophy. One cannot build a rational system founded on itself. Circular reasoning is fundamentally flawed.

      Philosophical teachings do not agree with each other - so what? Whoever wants to build knowledge on those teachings is free to do so, but it will not be science. That's all.
    • thumb
      Mar 27 2013: Recently, I was interested in a philosophical question whether evolution theory is falsifiable. I came across an interesting discussion of what science is.

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/falsify.html

      There is an interesting thought at the end:
      "Philosophers do conceptual tidying up, among other things, but scientists are the ones making all the sawdust in the workshop, and they need not be so tidy. And no cleaner should tell any professional (other than cleaners) how it ought to be done. Creationists who say, "evolution is not like what Popper said science should be, so it isn't science" are like the janitor who says that teachers don't keep their classrooms clean enough, so they aren't teachers."

      I agree with that. A philosopher may say that science is dogmatic or that scientific postulates are wrong, but that does seem like a janitor saying to a teacher than he is not a teacher because his desk isn't clean.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.