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Empiricism Doesn't Work

# Empiricism Doesn't Work

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Peru_Serv

Lima, Peru

#1 Mar 17, 2012
Well, I've made this challenge many a time in other threads but the evolutionary apologists just avoid it because they have no answer. So to prevent wiggle room, I've decided to start my own thread to challenge ALL of you explicitly to justify empiricism.

The challenge is this: Devise an empirical method by which one can verify that the star closest to the sun is 4.3 light years away (give or take 20 percent).

No one here, so far, has been able to elaborate a method although on the face of it it's a simple trigonometry problem. Go to the Atacama desert (the star in question is only visible in the southern hemisphere) and measure the angle of the star using instrumentation. Wait six months and measure the angle of the star again. As such, you have a large triangle. You can, therefore, draw a line from the apex of the triangle to the base such that a right angle is formed and use the tangent funtion on a calculator to determine the exact distance of the star. Right?

Well, unfortunately there are a few flies in the ointment. You'll need to know how large the base of the triangle is. No problem, you might be thinking, we know that the earth is 150 million kilometers away from the sun... but wait... how do you know that? Simple, you might say, it's right here at http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/glossary/au.html

STOP! STOP! STOP! You must do the problem EMPIRICALLY which means you now need to devise a method for determining how far away the Earth is from the sun. That's not all, you cannot just say that a light year is 9.4605284 × 10^12 kilometers because you looked it up in Wikipedia. No, no, my friends, we're doing it EMPIRICALLY which means we need to devise a method for measuring the speed of light and the length of a year.

So I look forward to reading your responses. Failing to hear a response, I will simply assume that you've admitted I'm right and that empiricism specifically (and science, by extension) is an unworkable philosophy.

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MIDutch
#2 Mar 17, 2012
Yeah, bronze age FAIRY TALES and magic work SOOOOOOO much better.

That's why sprinkling the blood of a sacrificed dove on a lepers toes has been used so successfully for the treatment for leprosy for the past two millennia.

Level 9

Since: Sep 08

#3 Mar 17, 2012
This may become an ever reducing problem where Peru will keep asking how you determine that. But he has already admitted that we can measure the angle difference when the orbit of the Earth form the base of the triangle. So all we have to do now to satisfy Peru's request is to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun and we will know that the base of our triangle will be twice that. Now it is rather difficult to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun directly. It emits so much radiation and is so far away that we cannot bounce a signal off of it. We can bounce a radar signal off of other planets. Venus for example. And by using trigonometry and the distance from Earth to Venus it is very simple to get the Earth to the Sun distance. As outlined in this article here:

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php...

Challenge met and accepted. The triumph of materialism.

Next question.

“CO2 is Gaseous Love”

Level 10

Since: Dec 08

Home, sweet home.

#4 Mar 17, 2012
Empiricism Is The Only Thing That Works.

The rest is just perception and common consent.

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“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

#5 Mar 17, 2012
Sirius was brilliant last night, as were Venus, Jupiter and Mars. Canopus is the brightest star in the Southern sky. I can resolve six of the Seven Sisters with my left eye, only four with the right.

“I am the great an powerful Ny!”

Since: Dec 06

#6 Mar 19, 2012
Subduction Zone wrote:
This may become an ever reducing problem where Peru will keep asking how you determine that. But he has already admitted that we can measure the angle difference when the orbit of the Earth form the base of the triangle. So all we have to do now to satisfy Peru's request is to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun and we will know that the base of our triangle will be twice that. Now it is rather difficult to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun directly. It emits so much radiation and is so far away that we cannot bounce a signal off of it. We can bounce a radar signal off of other planets. Venus for example. And by using trigonometry and the distance from Earth to Venus it is very simple to get the Earth to the Sun distance. As outlined in this article here:
http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php...
Challenge met and accepted. The triumph of materialism.
Next question.
You forgot to empirically derive the length of a meter. How did they come up with a length for a meter? After that they'll need to show where the word meter came from, then the language in which to name the word, then origins of written language, then spoken language, then human intelligence to think of the language, then...well, you get the idea. Everything needs to be proven every single time a claim is made and must be done by that person. They have to show their work and then show how it's possible to be able to show said work.

Man, science is hard.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#7 Mar 19, 2012
Peru_Serv wrote:
Well, I've made this challenge many a time in other threads but the evolutionary apologists just avoid it because they have no answer. So to prevent wiggle room, I've decided to start my own thread to challenge ALL of you explicitly to justify empiricism.
The challenge is this: Devise an empirical method by which one can verify that the star closest to the sun is 4.3 light years away (give or take 20 percent).
No one here, so far, has been able to elaborate a method although on the face of it it's a simple trigonometry problem. Go to the Atacama desert (the star in question is only visible in the southern hemisphere) and measure the angle of the star using instrumentation. Wait six months and measure the angle of the star again. As such, you have a large triangle. You can, therefore, draw a line from the apex of the triangle to the base such that a right angle is formed and use the tangent funtion on a calculator to determine the exact distance of the star. Right?
OK, so we at least have the ratio between the distance to the star and the distance to the sun. That's good.
Well, unfortunately there are a few flies in the ointment. You'll need to know how large the base of the triangle is. No problem, you might be thinking, we know that the earth is 150 million kilometers away from the sun... but wait... how do you know that? Simple, you might say, it's right here at http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/glossary/au.html
STOP! STOP! STOP! You must do the problem EMPIRICALLY which means you now need to devise a method for determining how far away the Earth is from the sun.
That has classically been the most difficult part of this whole endeavor. however, we can use the phases of Venus and a triangle between Venus, the Earth, and the Sun to get a ratio between the distance to Venus and the Distance to the Sun.

Next, we can use a device like Fizeau apparatus to determine the speed of light. This is a time-of-flight device using straightforward mechanics.

We know the length of a year by observing the stars throughout a year and seeing how long it takes for the constellations to make a complete circuit at night. Together with the Fizeau results, we get the length of a light-year.

Finally, we can measure the time it takes for a radar beam (produced and detected by oscillating circuits) to reflect off Venus and return. This time, along with the speed of light, gives the distance to Venus. This, with the ratios above give the distance to the Sun and then the distance to the star.

Alternatively, we can measure the distance to an asteroid that comes close to the Earth in its orbit (distances small enough that parallax from earth can be accomplished). Then, we can use the orbit of this asteroid and the observed relationship between orbital time and mean distance to obtain the scale of the solar system, hence the distance to Venus, etc.
That's not all, you cannot just say that a light year is 9.4605284 × 10^12 kilometers because you looked it up in Wikipedia. No, no, my friends, we're doing it EMPIRICALLY which means we need to devise a method for measuring the speed of light and the length of a year.
Speed of light is done with a Fizeau apparatus. The length of the year is done by actual measurement of star locations in the sky over a year.
So I look forward to reading your responses. Failing to hear a response, I will simply assume that you've admitted I'm right and that empiricism specifically (and science, by extension) is an unworkable philosophy.
Actually, ALL of these were found empirically, so it has been a *very* successful philosophy.

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“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

#8 Mar 19, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
......Actually, ALL of these were found empirically, so it has been a *very* successful philosophy.
I'm curious. Is the Earth's orbital diameter used as a base line for paralax measurements? If so, to what angular degree are these measurements resolvable, more or less? Are there superior methods?
Gillette
#9 Mar 19, 2012
Peru_Serv wrote:
Well, I've made this challenge many a time in other threads but the evolutionary apologists just avoid it because they have no answer.

The Emperor of time-wasting Sophistry really has no clothes.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#10 Mar 19, 2012
15th Dalai Lama wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm curious. Is the Earth's orbital diameter used as a base line for paralax measurements?
Yes.
If so, to what angular degree are these measurements resolvable, more or less?
The Hipparchos mission, an orbiting observatory, had resolution in the range of a few milli-arc-seconds. This allowed good distance measurements via parallax for stars within about 1000 light years.
Are there superior methods?
There are many, many distance measuring techniques in astronomy. Direct parallax is the most direct, but it only works for fairly close stars. For clusters, it is possible to use the movement of stars over time to get good distances via a modified parallax method. This allows us to catalog stars by spectral type, which then allows us to determine absolute brightness and therefor distance given apparent brightness. The chain continues and the overall result is called the 'distance ladder'.

“Wear white at night.”

Since: Jun 09

#11 Mar 19, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes.
<quoted text>
The Hipparchos mission, an orbiting observatory, had resolution in the range of a few milli-arc-seconds. This allowed good distance measurements via parallax for stars within about 1000 light years.
<quoted text> There are many, many distance measuring techniques in astronomy. Direct parallax is the most direct, but it only works for fairly close stars. For clusters, it is possible to use the movement of stars over time to get good distances via a modified parallax method. This allows us to catalog stars by spectral type, which then allows us to determine absolute brightness and therefor distance given apparent brightness. The chain continues and the overall result is called the 'distance ladder'.
Thank you. I realized you had answered the first question in your original comment after I posted mine. I fiddled with the parallax problem but it's only an exercise if you don't have a handle on the resolution.
Peru_Serv

Lima, Peru

#13 Mar 31, 2012
Subduction Zone wrote:
This may become an ever reducing problem where Peru will keep asking how you determine that. But he has already admitted that we can measure the angle difference when the orbit of the Earth form the base of the triangle. So all we have to do now to satisfy Peru's request is to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun and we will know that the base of our triangle will be twice that. Now it is rather difficult to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun directly. It emits so much radiation and is so far away that we cannot bounce a signal off of it. We can bounce a radar signal off of other planets. Venus for example. And by using trigonometry and the distance from Earth to Venus it is very simple to get the Earth to the Sun distance. As outlined in this article here:
http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php...
Challenge met and accepted. The triumph of materialism.
Next question.
Ahh, my first real answer. Of course you left out exactly how you planned on measuring how far away Venus was. The article you referenced said that it could be done by bouncing a radar wave off of Venus, and that radar waves travel at the speed of light. To that end I ask you this: A) How do you know that radar waves travel at the speed of light and B) How do you know what the speed of light is and C) Why did you skip the part about figuring out how long a year is?
Peru_Serv

Lima, Peru

#14 Mar 31, 2012
llDayo wrote:
<quoted text>
You forgot to empirically derive the length of a meter. How did they come up with a length for a meter? After that they'll need to show where the word meter came from, then the language in which to name the word, then origins of written language, then spoken language, then human intelligence to think of the language, then...well, you get the idea. Everything needs to be proven every single time a claim is made and must be done by that person. They have to show their work and then show how it's possible to be able to show said work.
Man, science is hard.
I think the challenge is really quite fair considering that I'm permitting you to use math (and math isn't empirical). It does tend to show the obvious flaw with empirical verification, however, in that you have to keep verifying more and more things with an infinite regress problem.
Peru_Serv

Lima, Peru

#15 Mar 31, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
OK, so we at least have the ratio between the distance to the star and the distance to the sun. That's good.
<quoted text>
That has classically been the most difficult part of this whole endeavor. however, we can use the phases of Venus and a triangle between Venus, the Earth, and the Sun to get a ratio between the distance to Venus and the Distance to the Sun.
Next, we can use a device like Fizeau apparatus to determine the speed of light. This is a time-of-flight device using straightforward mechanics.
We know the length of a year by observing the stars throughout a year and seeing how long it takes for the constellations to make a complete circuit at night. Together with the Fizeau results, we get the length of a light-year.
Finally, we can measure the time it takes for a radar beam (produced and detected by oscillating circuits) to reflect off Venus and return. This time, along with the speed of light, gives the distance to Venus. This, with the ratios above give the distance to the Sun and then the distance to the star.
Alternatively, we can measure the distance to an asteroid that comes close to the Earth in its orbit (distances small enough that parallax from earth can be accomplished). Then, we can use the orbit of this asteroid and the observed relationship between orbital time and mean distance to obtain the scale of the solar system, hence the distance to Venus, etc.
<quoted text>
Speed of light is done with a Fizeau apparatus. The length of the year is done by actual measurement of star locations in the sky over a year.
<quoted text>
Actually, ALL of these were found empirically, so it has been a *very* successful philosophy.
A fair answer, but it obviously leaves out quite a few things. You propose to measure the speed of light using this device, which will measure the speed of light in the atmosphere. Now the article I read about the device in question ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fizeau%E2%80%93F... ) freely admits that light moves more slowly through water. So now you need to determine the speed of light in a vacuum and show that the space between here and Venus is, more or less, a vacuum.

Additionally your plan for measuring a year is off. You plan to measure the year by observing the stars, but a year is defined as the time it takes for the Earth to completely go around the Sun. As such, you will need to measure that rather than merely assuming that the time in which the constellations rotate coincides with the time it takes the Earth to go round the sun.

Then that, of course, leaves you with the thorny problem of how you demonstrate that the star in question really is the star closest to the sun and that there isn't a closer one.
Peru_Serv

Lima, Peru

#16 Mar 31, 2012
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you but it really is quite interesting. Of course a lot of you have posted things like, "All of this has been determined empirically" but the question is: How do you know that they have been determined empirically? Because you've read them in your high school science textbook? Personally I don't see how the it's-in-the-book-so-it-must-be -true argument is that far off from the Christians' arguments about the Bible.

Level 9

Since: Sep 08

#17 Mar 31, 2012
Peru_Serv wrote:
<quoted text>
Ahh, my first real answer. Of course you left out exactly how you planned on measuring how far away Venus was. The article you referenced said that it could be done by bouncing a radar wave off of Venus, and that radar waves travel at the speed of light. To that end I ask you this: A) How do you know that radar waves travel at the speed of light and B) How do you know what the speed of light is and C) Why did you skip the part about figuring out how long a year is?
A) Radar is light. Therefore it travels at the speed of light.

B) Many scientific tests have shown what the speed of light is. How often do you have to repeat a test before you accept the results? By the way, all of those results were identical within the uncertainty of the experiment.

C) Now this is getting ridiculous. Do you want me to prove that 1 + 1 = 2 as well? Science is always based on prior work. We would get nowhere if we trusted none of the work done by others before our time. That does not mean we cannot test it to make sure that they were right and that is done fairly often when new testing devices come along. Some of the first tests to see whether the device is working is to test it in a situation that should provide known results. If you get a different answer there is either something wrong with your new device or something wrong with the known results. This results in further testing the few times it shows up and usually ends up in finding the known results were correct. Though very rarely, and it is exciting when this happens, the new device is wrong and the "known results" were wrong.

At any rate to not trust previous work at some point is insane. If you want to know how every step of one process was determined you could do it but to completely understand every single step from 1 + 1 = 2 all the way up to the end would take more than a lifetime of work.

Even crazy Christians do this. They will very often base their assumptions about the Bible on work done by others before them. That is why some of the clearer reasoners are revered, Thomas of Aquinas comes to mind.
Peru_Serv

Lima, Peru

#18 Mar 31, 2012
Subduction Zone wrote:
<quoted text>
A) Radar is light. Therefore it travels at the speed of light.
B) Many scientific tests have shown what the speed of light is. How often do you have to repeat a test before you accept the results? By the way, all of those results were identical within the uncertainty of the experiment.
C) Now this is getting ridiculous. Do you want me to prove that 1 + 1 = 2 as well? Science is always based on prior work. We would get nowhere if we trusted none of the work done by others before our time. That does not mean we cannot test it to make sure that they were right and that is done fairly often when new testing devices come along. Some of the first tests to see whether the device is working is to test it in a situation that should provide known results. If you get a different answer there is either something wrong with your new device or something wrong with the known results. This results in further testing the few times it shows up and usually ends up in finding the known results were correct. Though very rarely, and it is exciting when this happens, the new device is wrong and the "known results" were wrong.
At any rate to not trust previous work at some point is insane. If you want to know how every step of one process was determined you could do it but to completely understand every single step from 1 + 1 = 2 all the way up to the end would take more than a lifetime of work.
Even crazy Christians do this. They will very often base their assumptions about the Bible on work done by others before them. That is why some of the clearer reasoners are revered, Thomas of Aquinas comes to mind.
I think you're missing the point. The point is to determine things EMPIRICALLY as that's the ideal of science. Really what everyone on this forum does, however, is to look at the latest issue of Scientific American (or the equivalent) and treat that document as though it were a "Bible" of sorts. As such that's more of a pissing contest between two factions saying "my wizards are better than your wizards"

As for the question of how many scientific tests would convince me of the truth of something, that's easy. I would require an infinite number of successful tests. That, however, is more a matter of the problem of INDUCTION which is beyond the scope of this thread. I'm more interested here in the infinite regress problem associated with empiricism.

As for proving that 1+1=2 that's not at issue. There is a proof for that which is available. It's on page 362 of Principia Mathematica. As such it's safe to say that there is a 362-page proof of 1+1=2 and since this is a PROOF (not an experiment which we do not know if it will occur the same way the next time) we can say without a doubt that we KNOW 1+1=2. Still, this is not EMPIRICAL but rather it is RATIONAL, which is basically another way of me saying that science blows while math doesn't.

Level 9

Since: Sep 08

#19 Mar 31, 2012
Well it is nice to see that you admit that you are irrational Peru. An infinite number of tests is of course impossible on the face of it, and it is a lie too. There are many aspects of science that you believe based on only one or two tests. Science uses empirical tests to support rational thought. Since you are irrational those tests do not matter to you.

Please tell me when you are ready to try to make a rational argument. Otherwise I will merely drop in now and then and point out how stupid your ideas are.
The Dude

Sunderland, UK

#20 Mar 31, 2012
Peru_Serv wrote:
<quoted text>
I think you're missing the point. The point is to determine things EMPIRICALLY as that's the ideal of science. Really what everyone on this forum does, however, is to look at the latest issue of Scientific American (or the equivalent) and treat that document as though it were a "Bible" of sorts. As such that's more of a pissing contest between two factions saying "my wizards are better than your wizards"
As for the question of how many scientific tests would convince me of the truth of something, that's easy. I would require an infinite number of successful tests. That, however, is more a matter of the problem of INDUCTION which is beyond the scope of this thread. I'm more interested here in the infinite regress problem associated with empiricism.
As for proving that 1+1=2 that's not at issue. There is a proof for that which is available. It's on page 362 of Principia Mathematica. As such it's safe to say that there is a 362-page proof of 1+1=2 and since this is a PROOF (not an experiment which we do not know if it will occur the same way the next time) we can say without a doubt that we KNOW 1+1=2. Still, this is not EMPIRICAL but rather it is RATIONAL, which is basically another way of me saying that science blows while math doesn't.
Translation: "Won't somebody take my COSMIC SHEEP SERIOUSLY?!?"

“CO2 is Gaseous Love”

Level 10

Since: Dec 08

Home, sweet home.

#21 Apr 1, 2012
Peru_Serv wrote:
Well, I've made this challenge many a time in other threads but the evolutionary apologists just avoid it because they have no answer. So to prevent wiggle room, I've decided to start my own thread to challenge ALL of you explicitly to justify empiricism.
The challenge is this: Devise an empirical method by which one can verify that the star closest to the sun is 4.3 light years away (give or take 20 percent).
No one here, so far, has been able to elaborate a method although on the face of it it's a simple trigonometry problem. Go to the Atacama desert (the star in question is only visible in the southern hemisphere) and measure the angle of the star using instrumentation. Wait six months and measure the angle of the star again. As such, you have a large triangle. You can, therefore, draw a line from the apex of the triangle to the base such that a right angle is formed and use the tangent funtion on a calculator to determine the exact distance of the star. Right?
Well, unfortunately there are a few flies in the ointment. You'll need to know how large the base of the triangle is. No problem, you might be thinking, we know that the earth is 150 million kilometers away from the sun... but wait... how do you know that? Simple, you might say, it's right here at http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/glossary/au.html
STOP! STOP! STOP! You must do the problem EMPIRICALLY which means you now need to devise a method for determining how far away the Earth is from the sun. That's not all, you cannot just say that a light year is 9.4605284 × 10^12 kilometers because you looked it up in Wikipedia. No, no, my friends, we're doing it EMPIRICALLY which means we need to devise a method for measuring the speed of light and the length of a year.
So I look forward to reading your responses. Failing to hear a response, I will simply assume that you've admitted I'm right and that empiricism specifically (and science, by extension) is an unworkable philosophy.
Your GPS works by measuring time lag in radiowaves, the speed of light is known. You can watch a star waggle against the background over a full year and measure the angle. A²+B²=C² has been experimentally tested with every measured triangle, even that defined by Earth across the orbit of the Sun and a given nearby star.

Why not just keep the units in kilometers, so the speed of light is insignificant?

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