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#58099 - 08/10/11 12:29 PM Re: Doubt [Re: a. don]
Max Stirner Offline
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 Originally Posted By: a. don
Your argument against me is a 1-minute google search??


No. A 1 minute google search is enough to find out that a scientific theory does not become a scientific law. There is no need of complex arguments because this is a simple matter of definitions.

 Originally Posted By: a. don
There is a process. It's called scientific induction.


And it's a part of the scientific method. But it does not transform a scientific theory into a law.
If you want to prove that such a thing happens, please, bring me a reliable source where it says so.

 Originally Posted By: a.don
And there is a difference between law and theory.


When did I deny that?
I might have some trouble with english but in the sentence "A scientific theory does never become a scientific law" there is nothing to indicate that I think there aren't any differences between a theory and a law.


Please, if you don't want to do a 1 minute google search at least click this link and read what it says.

http://science.kennesaw.edu/~rmatson/3380theory.html

Even better, you don't have to bother clicking, just read this:

"Regardless of which definitions one uses to distinguish between a law and a theory, scientists would agree that a theory is NOT a "transitory law, a law in waiting". There is NO hierarchy being implied by scientists who use these words. That is, a law is neither "better than" nor "above" a theory."

Check another page, a dictionary, an encyclopaedia, whatever you like. It will always say the same thing "a scientific theory does not become a law". Maybe the word you're looking for is "hypothesis".


Edited by Max Stirner (08/10/11 12:36 PM)

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#58143 - 08/12/11 03:07 AM Re: Doubt [Re: Max Stirner]
a. don Offline
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Registered: 07/25/09
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I stand corrected as far as my lack of knowledge of hypothesis and theory. For that, I apologize.

However, here's a google quote:

"Scientific laws are similar to mathematical postulates. They don’t really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.

Specifically, scientific laws must be simple, true, universal, and absolute. They represent the cornerstone of scientific discovery, because if a law ever did not apply, then all science based upon that law would collapse."

"Scientific laws must exist prior to the start of using the scientific method because, as stated earlier, laws are the foundation for all science"

Absolute is the key word here.

My point is, a hypothesis once proven and converted into law cannot be disproven - Unless however you try to apply a law proven in one environment to another, for example the laws of gravity proven on earth will not be the same in Jupiter.

Now as far as theory is concerned:

"A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers"

And what I was trying to debate from the beginning:

"A theory is like the automobile. Components of it can be changed or improved upon, without changing the overall truth of the theory as a whole"

http://wilstar.com/theories.htm

Perdonatemi: L'umiltà è la corona de tutte le virtù ;\)

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#58152 - 08/13/11 06:50 AM Re: Doubt [Re: a. don]
Max Stirner Offline
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The only problem that I have with your last post is this:

How and when can you say that a law has been proven?


Edited by Max Stirner (08/13/11 07:11 AM)

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#58157 - 08/13/11 01:37 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Max Stirner]
Meph9 Offline
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conservation of mass?
grand unifying theory?

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#58162 - 08/13/11 03:54 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Meph9]
Jason King Offline
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Quick reply intended towards the last 3-4 posts.

There is a false dichotomy being offered between "law" and "theory". In geometry, these are termed "axioms" and "theorems" accordingly. The underlying idea, though, goes back to basic philosophy: not everything can be proven; some things are assumed.

It's a dirty secret to be sure (a degree of rationalism infects all philosophies), but also an unavoidable one.

To Meph9: neither of these have been proven (taking the term in a rigorous sense). The former has been verified empirically insofar as it's been tried, and the latter is, to now, a pipedream. But perhaps you meant quantum chromodynamics in the second case, who knows.

Look folks, we all take a lot of shit for granted when it comes to science (big bang, anyone), yet we have trouble taking similar claims even seriously when they're proposed outside of the Method. Again, the dirty little secret is that scientists do this all the time, yet they seem to be immune from the charge of fideism.

Paint with one brush, or hang up your philosophical coveralls . . .

JK
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#58165 - 08/13/11 04:24 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Max Stirner]
a. don Offline
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Posts: 60
Let's recur to google quotes once more:

"LAW
1) An empirical generalization; a statement of a biological principle that appears to be without exception at the time it is made, and has become consolidated by repeated successful testing; rule (Lincoln et al., 1990)
2) A theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by a statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present (Oxford English Dictionary as quoted in Futuyma, 1979).
3) A set of observed regularities expressed in a concise verbal or mathematical statement. (Krimsley, 1995).
THEORY
1) The grandest synthesis of a large and important body of information about some related group of natural phenomena (Moore, 1984)
2) A body of knowledge and explanatory concepts that seek to increase our understanding ("explain") a major phenomenon of nature (Moore, 1984).
3) A scientifically accepted general principle supported by a substantial body of evidence offered to provide an explanation of observed facts and as a basis for future discussion or investigation (Lincoln et al., 1990).
4) 1. The abstract principles of a science as distinguished from basic or applied science. 2. A reasonable explanation or assumption advanced to explain a natural phenomenon but lacking confirming proof (Steen, 1971). [NB: I don't like this one but I include it to show you that even in "Science dictionaries" there is variation in definitions which leads to confusion].
5) A scheme or system of ideas or statements held as an explanation or account of a group of facts or phenomena; a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as accounting for the known facts; a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles or causes of something known or observed. (Oxford English Dictionary, 1961; [emphasis added]).
6) An explanation for an observation or series of observations that is substantiated by a considerable body of evidence (Krimsley, 1995).
"

And:

"Theory & Law

A scientific theory or law represents a hypothesis (or group of related hypotheses) which has been confirmed through repeated testing, almost always conducted over a span of many years. Generally, a law uses a handful of fundamental concepts and equations to define the rules governing a set of phenomena
."

If something has been proven over years of repeated observation and testing in a lab, it has been proven true, at least under the circumstances observed and tested.
You cannot disprove something that has been proven true under the same circumstances.

However, and this probably is your argument, what does change is the perspective in the scientific community based on new discoveries, that is, new discoveries change the implications.

"Scientific Paradigms

Once a scientific theory is established, it is very hard to get the scientific community to discard it. In physics, the concept of ether as a medium for light wave transmission ran into serious opposition in the late 1800s, but it was not disregarded until the early 1900s, when Einstein proposed alternate explanations for the wave nature of light that did not rely upon a medium for transmission.

The science philosopher Thomas Kuhn developed the term scientific paradigm to explain the working set of theories under which science operates. He did extensive work on the scientific revolutions that take place when one paradigm is overturned in favor of a new set of theories. His work suggests that the very nature of science changes when these paradigms are significantly different. The nature of physics prior to relativity and quantum mechanics is fundamentally different from that after their discovery, just as biology prior to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is fundamentally different from the biology that followed it. The very nature of the inquiry changes.

One consequence of the scientific method is to try to maintain consistency in the inquiry when these revolutions occur and to avoid attempts to overthrow existing paradigms on ideological grounds
."

Also,

"As used in science, I think that it is important to realize that, in spite of the differences (see below), these terms share some things in common. Both are based on tested hypotheses; both are supported by a large body of empirical data; both help unify a particular field; both are widely accepted by the vast majority (if not all) scientists within a discipline. Furthermore, both scientific laws and scientific theories could be shown to be wrong at some time if there are data to suggest so."

The above quote regards falsifiability. Falsifiability is a concept meant to protect science from dogma. But what is wrong in this case, in other words, to what extent can something proven be proven wrong?

This quote sheds some light on the situation:

"As far as "detractors", the nature of science is to question things, nothing is (or should be) sacrosanct. But, this does not necessarily mean that just because someone questions a law (or theory) that the law/theory in question is wrong. Was Einstein a detractor of Newton when he showed that the Newtonian "Laws" of mechanics did not explain everything (wasn't that why quantum mechanics came into existence)? Just because Newtonian mechanics is "wrong" in some situations, does that mean it is useless? I don't think so!! If certain aspects of evolutionary theory (e.g., natural selection, gradualism) has "detractors" (and I mean among people who are qualified to argue about it -- among biologists), does that mean natural selection (or the idea of biological evolution in general) is wrong? NO!! Scientific knowledge is strengthened by people questioning what is or has been accepted"

Don't get me wrong, I never argued in favor of scientific dogma, yet what has been proven is still proven, especially if it is a law (theories are a lot more complicated).The key point being here, proven laws and theories are not necessarily paradigmatic for all ages (especially with the scientific community continually making breakthroughs), but rather they are continually modified with new perspectives (and their implications) based on new evidence. This is the very nature of science.

Now that being stated, can you provide me any instance where a proven law was disproven completely?? I'll bet you that many laws have been challenged and the paradigm surrounding such were changed, and new theories and laws were produced, but the original laws or theories still hold true at least to some extent.

http://evidence-based-science.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-is-scientific-law-theory.html

http://physics.about.com/od/physics101thebasics/a/hypothesis.htm

http://science.kennesaw.edu/~rmatson/3380theory.html


 Originally Posted By: Max Stirner
The only problem that I have with your last post is this:

How and when can you say that a law has been proven?


Check it out here:

http://physics.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/a/scimethod.htm

and

http://physics.about.com/od/physics101thebasics/qt/experiments.htm


Edited by a. don (08/13/11 04:30 PM)

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#58168 - 08/13/11 04:50 PM Re: Doubt [Re: a. don]
Meph9 Offline
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A scientific law des not need to work 100% everywhere across the universe forever it just has to work virtually everywhere. The simple fact is that there can always be an exception to any rule. Combine that with the fact that the universe is thought to be infinite and ever expanding it would be impossible to test an idea everywhere, thus to consider something as a law in this case the idea need only theoretically.
Because literally testing everywhere would be literally impossible. So if you consider a pure and strict defenition of a "scientific law" one could say that there are and can not ever be a true law. Fortunetally science leaves this semantics game to philosophers.

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#58169 - 08/13/11 04:58 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Jason King]
Max Stirner Offline
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@a. don

Very quick reply: what you are citing is an old version of epistemology applied to science. Contemporary epistemology has abandoned the concept of proven with something like an asymptotic tendency to truth. This law is proven in the sense that every single piece of data that we have in that context proves it but not in the sense of reaching some kind of absolute truth (even in a single precise context).
To get an idea of the problem behind "proving something" you can read for example the Munchausen Trilemma and the critique against inductive reasoning by Hume.

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#58170 - 08/13/11 05:07 PM Re: Doubt [Re: a. don]
Jason King Offline
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 Originally Posted By: a. don
Now that being stated, can you provide me any instance where a proven law was disproven completely??


Probably not, because there is no such animal as a "proven law". Besides, you're trading on ambiguities with your usage of "completely". A "law" is a generalization over phenomena which holds completely, or in each and every instance. Due to the nature of the problem of induction, this means such laws must be deductive (i.e. rationalistic) rather than empirical per se. Hence, they do not differ from "theory" in the most important regard, and are subject to falsification just the same.

Terminological history would be your friend here, as the concept of "law" (more ancient, yet primitive) ultimately gave way to the concept of "theory" (more modern and precise). Such things were termed "laws" during the time period when Rationalism was ascendant in the philosophy of the West, and later "theories" when empiricism came to dominate.

To return, can I give you a disproven "law" in science? I'll do you one better: I'll given you a disproven law in logic (more deductively rigorous than empirical science), which argues a fortiori. The Law of the Excluded Middle, which is nullified in all Intuitionist-type systems.

JK
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#58176 - 08/13/11 08:15 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Jason King]
a. don Offline
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Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 60
This is only proves my point. Back in the day of Aristotle, there was quite a different understanding of science and its mechanisms. As a matter of fact, there was a blurred line between philosophy and science.

Today, there is a different understanding, new evidence and different perspectives, in this case, for example, Brouwer's intuitionism, have shown that the law of excluded middle doesn't hold true all the time. However, the law of excluded middle holds always holds true in two-valued logic. This video is quite interesting (yet rudely boring-Oh my God, I just contradicted the law of contradiction! )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s20ki6Dtjlo

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#58177 - 08/13/11 08:25 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Jason King]
a. don Offline
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Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 60
@Max

"In Albert's view the impossibility to prove any certain truth is not in itself a certain truth. After all, you need to assume some basic rules of logical inference in order to derive his result, and in doing so must either abandon the pursuit of "certain" justification, as above, or attempt to justify these rules, etc. He suggests that it has to be taken as true as long as nobody has come forward with a truth which is scrupulously justified as a certain truth. Several philosophers defied Albert's challenge; his responses to such criticisms can be found in his long addendum to his Treatise on Critical Reason (see below) and later articles (see publication list)."

I think I must concur with Meph9 as far as scientists leaving the semantics for philosophers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münchhausen_Trilemma

(Note: I am not exactly a proponent of wikipedia, but sometimes I find something useful there)


Edited by a. don (08/13/11 08:31 PM)

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#58185 - 08/14/11 08:45 AM Re: Doubt [Re: a. don]
Max Stirner Offline
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 Originally Posted By: a. don
I think I must concur with Meph9 as far as scientists leaving the semantics for philosophers.


That's for sure. The intention of my latest questione (and reply) was just to point out that the foundations of science are not so solid as some people would like us to think.
Obviously once you have accepted the premises you're on solid ground.

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#58187 - 08/14/11 12:04 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Max Stirner]
Jason King Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Max Stirner
 Originally Posted By: a. don
I think I must concur with Meph9 as far as scientists leaving the semantics for philosophers.


That's for sure. The intention of my latest questione (and reply) was just to point out that the foundations of science are not so solid as some people would like us to think.
Obviously once you have accepted the premises you're on solid ground.


I'm not sure if the immediately above was tongue-in-cheek. It must be, right? Let's examine:

"Obviously once you have accepted the premises you're on solid ground."

Really? Solid ground?

Assumptive ground makes better sense. And really, I'm not sure which "premisses" we're accepting and whether it's merely being done so for the sake of argument or for something more ontologically pressing.

Point being: semantics (concept interpretation) is of the utmost importance in any theoretical structure provided. If you can't tell me what "shit" is, then you will never be able to understand the fact that I just PWNED your "shit".

Bottom line: you cannot escape philosophy, it's the discipline that gives meaning to your meanderings.

JK
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#58188 - 08/14/11 01:29 PM Re: Doubt [Re: Jason King]
a. don Offline
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Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 60
Look don't get me wrong, philosophy is beautiful. But the beauty of it does not consist in the actual results of a certain assertion, but rather the process of logic and argument employed in attaining such. In science you strive for results, even if in the future the whole scientific perspective shifts causing the results to be interpreted differently. This is totally different from philosophy.

I mean, if we are to accept everything that every philosopher has stated and argued as true, WE WOULD GO CRAZY. For example, it turns out that we come from nothing, we come from something, we used to exist in the world of ideas before we actually existed on earth, we don't exist, cogito ergo sum, to will is to be, nothing can be known, etc.

Some arguments may apply to certain circumstances, but in others they don't. In the end, you have to make up your mind in something, especially if you are into more practical sciences. As far obtaining results, some may be able to intuit, others observe and learn, others argue employing logic, others argue not employing tertium non datur logic, others just might bump into something accidentally.

Bottom line, just because there are those who find it ok to argue indefinitely (based on ever-more existing valid grounds) concluding that nothing can be known (including the latter statement!), there are those who strive for factual results. And I think that's the whole point.


Edited by a. don (08/14/11 01:44 PM)

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#58207 - 08/15/11 06:53 AM Re: Doubt [Re: Jason King]
Max Stirner Offline
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@Jason King

Let's see if this time I can explain myself better: science is a system through which knowledge is obtained. Like every system it has some premises (e.g. the universe is knowable). You can either refute or accept those premises. Let's take the example of someone who refutes them, the solipsists: the solipsists can criticize everything the scientists say just telling them "Blah blah blah the material world does not exist" while the scientists will reply "shut up and stop doing mental masturabiont".
But since the two systems are based on different premises (which are fundamentally a priori) nobody can rationally establish who's right. The scientists can succesfully criticize and confute the solipsists's system (or vice-versa) only if the conclusions they reach do not follow from the premises they established (except if the system is not based on the laws of logic but I think you get what I'm saying).

So you have accepted science's premises you are on "solid ground" in the sense that it's a well developed system.

P.S. When you read "nobody can rationally establish who's right" do not mistake me for a rationalist.

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