Let me preface this post by saying how grateful and appreciative I am that Mitch has decided to participate fully in this discussion by offering an explanation behind his comments as well as several apologies.
Mitch wrote:Incorrect. The scientific method has absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of information. Frankly the vast majority of information are things which has ultimately been decided and created by people. This goes back to the very process of life itself, which tries a vast diveristy of new things and goes with whatever works. In other words, it is the creative fount of life itself that produces the vast majority of what we call information. Now when it comes to things which have an origin outside human communication, the scientific method may have indeed played a role in bringing that information into the realm of human communication. For example take any facts about the human body. Sometimes those fact may indeed apprehended by the scientific method but it has nothing to do with why they are that way in the first place and neither is it the exclusive means by which this is done either. But the majority of information does not have an origin outside of human communication at all but started there in the first place with the creative decision of people themselves. That is the sort of informtion that fills the vast majority of libraries, media and the internet.
All completely theoretical. Nothing personal. Nothing rant-like. All a direct response to what you were saying. So do you get the point here?
I never labeled these remarks as a rant, Mitch. I was clear which part of your post I objected to. And I have already offered a rebuttal of this comment. I don't agree with your assessment because I don't agree with your definition of "information". I don't see the information incumbent in our DNA, for one example, as knowledge that humans have access to; therefore this is not related the the conversation. When I use the word "information" I'm talking about the accumulation of human
Mitch wrote:The only way you can MAKE your statement true is to restrict the subject of the information you are talking about in some way. This is in fact an essential part of the nature of science itself -- restricting its subject matter to only those things that the scientific method can be applied to. It is the shearest sophistry to then pretend that all reality is confined to this restriction.
Again nothing personal. We can actually measure the subject of all the material in all of our libraries and media and compare that which is scientific and that which is not, to completely and objectively disprove your claim that "for the vast majority of information, yes, the scientific method IS
the definitive source."
Again, not what I objected to. And I don't disagree at all. Of course, you're still really not getting the point. Evaluating all the information in every library would include things like fiction and poetry and op-eds. This isn't what I was talking about at all. At this point, I think the point has been lost in a sea of posts so it's not productive to argue over it anymore.
gary_s wrote: Of course, this opens to door to what I mean by this, and I do not mean that a trip to the grocery for a healthy meal should necessarily become a thesis project.
Don't be silly with your "thesis project" bullshit.
Ok, this was more personal and yeah ok, insulting. But nobody was talking about thesis projects and thus I am sorry but I thought this reference was ridiculous. But ok, this response was a tad too honest. That may have been the first thought that came to mind but I should not have said it. I was relaxed and honest when I should have been more uptight and realizing the people's feelings were eggshells all over the ground and tip toe around them.
Geeze, you don't have to tip-toe around me, Mitch. I'm not breakable. But for shit's sake, it was a joke! What did you do with your sense of humor, drown it? Must we always be deadpan serious all the time? Humor is scientifically proved to brighten your day.
Mitch wrote:It has nothing to do with the scientific method PERIOD. The overwhelmingly vast majority of people do NOT consult science or use the scientific method either to learn how to get to the grocery store OR to determine what to eat. The idea that we had to discover the scientific method before we could understand what a healthy diet consists of is completely ludicrous. Mostly science just confirms things we have already known and sometimes science offers various discoveries about nutrition and the result of this incomplete understanding is disastrous. Because what is healthy is a biological datum then this is something that becomes involved in the evolutionary process itself, where living things also adapt to their diet, so what is healthy can vary from one culture to another. Then the science worshippers come in with their insistence that people eat what they say is "healthy" and people start dying.
Mitch wrote:But the rest of it was not personal but entirely accurate and hitting the point dead center. The reference to "science worshippers" was not meant to in any way refer to you or any other atheists.
Yes, you were hitting YOUR
point dead center, but you missed MY
point by a mile. My point was not that people go round checking the scientific consensus with every move. It was only that as we go about our day, we quite often
, even more than we realize
, use evidence-based thinking to make decisions. ONE example of this would be a health-conscious mother shopping for healthy food. As she pushes her cart around the grocery, she's got in her head ideas like fruits and veggies, not so much meat, whole grains...all things she's learned through evidence-based pursuits. We may do the same thing while driving to work. I leave a half hour earlier than I need because I know, through repeated trial and error, that if I wait the traffic will be twice as bad.
Of course I never argued that we aren't emotional beings. And we make just as many decisions based on our emotions as we do evidence. When I say emotions, I mean we decide something because we "feel" that this is the right course of action at this time. But even in these times, there's the possibility that our brain is using evidence already stored from previous experience that we are just not conscious of.
For all I know the stupid people pushing their formulas and scientific cultural imperialism without any regard for the traditions of the people involved were Chrisians. What I do know is that people have come into areas selling their modern methods with no understanding of why there might be darn good reasons why people should do things the way they always have and deaths have resulted. This is in fact directly connected with some of the big blind spots of science.
I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here, Mitch. I'm in the dark. This appears to be something that you are aware of that bothers you, but there's no way I can relate to it without some additional details.
One is a tendency to make general conclusions on the basis of statistical evidence and thus to treat people as all being the same when they are acutally very different. The other is a blindness where tradition has its strength and that is an inability to see the long term effects of things. Tradititon may not come with rational explanations but that does not mean that it is not the reslult of things learned over a very long period of time about what works and what does not.
Again, I'm pretty much in the dark here on your specifics. But I can say that this idea that you have that tradition is somehow a valued thing could
be misguided. It depends what you mean by tradition, of course, so I'm not at all sure. But the thing to be careful with is not to place too much value on something just because it's handed down from your ancestors. Old knowledge isn't necessarily correct knowledge.
Mitch wrote:No because fortunately I am not that stupid. I discarded the myth of the all knowing medical doctor a long time ago and I see the ways in which the information on packages are incredibly deceptive. No what I do is go back to the ways that people have been eating healthy long before the "wonders" of the scientific era -- its called cooking -- another very rich field of information that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the scientific method in any way shape or form!
I am sorry if this implied that you were stupid, but that was not my intention. My intention was only that I have learned better than to follow what you are suggesting.
Well, I appreciate the apology, but this is still not what angered me. And you got your message across very clearly. However, I'm afraid that you are not so wise as you believe yourself to be. Unless you have a very large garden and do all your own cooking and canning and raise your own livestock, then I think you have to be just as dependent on product labeling as the rest of us. The problem is that almost no one now has the capacity to produce all of our own food and do all of our own cooking; most lifestyles simply don't allow this. Product labeling is a valuable tool for evaluating food, regardless of the fact that the information is presented in ridiculously small serving sizes. With just a modest application of mathematics, it's easy to glean the information you need from a can of soup. So, even though I don't have a home cooked meal every day, I'm not stupid either and I can use the information available to make good choices.
Mitch wrote:Regardless, your attempt to identify everyday thinking with the scientific method is something that I certainly cannot accept. From my perspective as a scientist there is very little difference between this and the creationst universities using the word science for the rhetoric they spend so much to give the superficial appearance of being science. So yeah my contempt here is pretty heavy handed. Playing fast and loose with what constitutes science is not something that I can be sympathetic with.
Well, there's a big difference; you're just connecting dots that aren't there. I did state that I know what constitutes science. I did state that I wasn't talking about "pure" or "official" science. A better term to use would be evidence-based thinking because we all do this to some degree. And I just don't see any connection to "creationist universities" use of the word. Their use of the word is more about deciding on a conclusion, then doing just the tests and studies that support their conclusions. Let me offer an example of what I'm talking about.Let's say that Jim has decided to go fishing and wants to catch that really big bass that has eluded him in the lake nearby. This time he's taking no chances. He's read several articles about the newest bass fishing lures and consulted with some colleagues about their experiences, and with that has built a small arsenal of bait that he's certain the fish will not be able to resist. He's also gotten a new and improved depth finder and a much quieter trolling motor.
Now, in my example, Jim has applied evidence-based thinking in several areas, lures, depth finding equipment and trolling motor. Jim did this through research and consulting with others. These activities are all evidence-based. No, this isn't pure science, but it is methodical and is a distinct feature of scientific thinking. The alternative would be for Jim to decide on a lure based on which one he feels will be successful, or perhaps a random choice. This is the core of my point that we employ a scientific approach even when we aren't doing science and in many everyday activities.
I'll even offer another example. People are often taken in these days by scams like the power band. Scams like this often claim special healing or health benefits from something as simple as a rubber band or metallic amulet. People read the articles and quotes from "doctors" and think this is real and spend their money on them. They think they are using an evidence-based approach to this decision, but they are merely being taken in. This demonstrates how we think we are being smart when we often are not.
I guess the lesson for me to learn here is that non-technical people often use the same words with a very different meaning. And perhaps I should make it more clear that when I am taking about science then what I mean is something much more restrictive and which is most certainly not some general philosophy of life. I shall have to think of how to be more diplomatic about this I guess.
Yes, diplomacy is always appreciated, as is patience. But don't assume that I'm a non-scientific type. Hey, I'm no PHD, but I do have scientific chops and I follow the writing of a great many hard-core scientists and I don't think my remarks would be rejected by them. Mainly because this line of thinking is not something I came up with myself, but rather gleaned from the many articles I've read that were produced by real scientists, and even some correspondence with them. So, you can object to my reasoning here, but I believe that I'm on firm ground and have scientific professionals that back me up.