Big Scientists Pick Big Science's Biggest Mistakes

Nov 23, 2010 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Discover

Earlier this week Richard H. Thaler posted a question to selected Edge contributors, asking them for their favorite examples of wrong scientific theories that were held for long periods of time.

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“Shaggin' Wagon.”

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#1
Nov 24, 2010
 
Interestingly, they state that ID and Creationism are "scientific mistakes which have lasted to long". Although I agree that they are mistakes I don't see how they are scientific in the least.
MIDutch

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#2
Nov 24, 2010
 
Noodly James wrote:
Interestingly, they state that ID and Creationism are "scientific mistakes which have lasted to long". Although I agree that they are mistakes I don't see how they are scientific in the least.
Well, for close to 2000 years "creationism" WAS the default "scientific explanation" in the Western world (never mind that there was NO empirical evidence to support it).

Whether it was valid or not is "kind" of a separate issue.
LGK

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#3
Nov 24, 2010
 
Noodly James
I detect an error in your thinking; please correct me if I'm wrong.

You think there's something out there called "Science" & it can be defined. You think if there is a definition, it (defn) would be a scientific statement. I'm afraid it won't be. It will be a philosphical claim. This means science as separate from non-science is a fiction.

Now, if I wanted to fool people this is how I'd do it: Create a fiction e.g. an entity called "Science." Arbitrarily annoint the entity Sole Begator of Truth. Box knowledge statements into science & non-science thus effortlessly dispensing with all inconvenient truth. Just call stuff non-science & you blind people from any truth it might contain. Demonise it even, you never know how clever your opponents are. Why risk engaging them with logic when mere labels will do?

Like I said, I might be wrong but given deception is the oldest trick in the book, I suspect it's been played on you. The issue is, could it be true that design exists in nature? It's not, is it science or whatever label. Who cares? Is it true or not - is what you need to worry about.
The Dude

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#4
Nov 24, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
Noodly James
I detect an error in your thinking; please correct me if I'm wrong.
You think there's something out there called "Science" & it can be defined. You think if there is a definition, it (defn) would be a scientific statement. I'm afraid it won't be. It will be a philosphical claim. This means science as separate from non-science is a fiction.
Now, if I wanted to fool people this is how I'd do it: Create a fiction e.g. an entity called "Science." Arbitrarily annoint the entity Sole Begator of Truth. Box knowledge statements into science & non-science thus effortlessly dispensing with all inconvenient truth. Just call stuff non-science & you blind people from any truth it might contain. Demonise it even, you never know how clever your opponents are. Why risk engaging them with logic when mere labels will do?
Like I said, I might be wrong but given deception is the oldest trick in the book, I suspect it's been played on you.
You are totally correct and this is exactly what has happened. You have just described the modus operandi of the Intelligent Design movement perfectly. Rename Creationism "Intelligent Design", tell everyone it's a "scientific theory", arbitrarily anoint it as "truth" (which for the fundies means "God", as they "know" that Goddidit & evolution is wrong is "truth"). Then dismiss any and all inconvenient facts, demonise science and then push this on the public.
LGK wrote:
The issue is, could it be true that design exists in nature? It's not, is it science or whatever label. Who cares? Is it true or not - is what you need to worry about.
"Truth" is subjective. Science deals with facts and evidence. Has nature been "designed"? Possibly. But the REAL issue is, is there any evidence for it?

And so far, not a shred has been presented that amounts to more than argument from incredulity. Hence, ID/Creationism, being incapable of following the scientific method, is pseudo-science.

Heck, even Behe equated it with astrology.
MIDutch

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#5
Nov 24, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
Noodly James
I detect an error in your thinking; please correct me if I'm wrong.
You think there's something out there called "Science" & it can be defined. You think if there is a definition, it (defn) would be a scientific statement. I'm afraid it won't be. It will be a philosphical claim. This means science as separate from non-science is a fiction.
Now, if I wanted to fool people this is how I'd do it: Create a fiction e.g. an entity called "Science." Arbitrarily annoint the entity Sole Begator of Truth. Box knowledge statements into science & non-science thus effortlessly dispensing with all inconvenient truth. Just call stuff non-science & you blind people from any truth it might contain. Demonise it even, you never know how clever your opponents are. Why risk engaging them with logic when mere labels will do?
Like I said, I might be wrong but given deception is the oldest trick in the book, I suspect it's been played on you. The issue is, could it be true that design exists in nature? It's not, is it science or whatever label. Who cares? Is it true or not - is what you need to worry about.
Fortunately, your definitions are irrelevant.

The world, in general, has a pretty good idea what science is and it will keep on producing REAL results on a daily basis.

The world in general has ALSO determined that SCIENCE is the BEST way to understand the workings of the universe.

Unfortunately for you, the world in general has also determined that your childish, goat-herder interpretation of your favorite bronze age book of myths, fables and fairy tales is FALSE, probably because it has been an ABYSMAL FAILURE at producing anything of scientific or technological significance despite 2000+ years worth of "creation science research".

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

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#6
Nov 24, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
Noodly James
I detect an error in your thinking; please correct me if I'm wrong.
You think there's something out there called "Science" & it can be defined. You think if there is a definition, it (defn) would be a scientific statement. I'm afraid it won't be. It will be a philosphical claim. This means science as separate from non-science is a fiction.
Now, if I wanted to fool people this is how I'd do it: Create a fiction e.g. an entity called "Science." Arbitrarily annoint the entity Sole Begator of Truth. Box knowledge statements into science & non-science thus effortlessly dispensing with all inconvenient truth. Just call stuff non-science & you blind people from any truth it might contain. Demonise it even, you never know how clever your opponents are. Why risk engaging them with logic when mere labels will do?
Like I said, I might be wrong but given deception is the oldest trick in the book, I suspect it's been played on you. The issue is, could it be true that design exists in nature? It's not, is it science or whatever label. Who cares? Is it true or not - is what you need to worry about.
What I mean by science is reality. Testable reality. Conclusions can be drawn which are derived logically ( a part of science) but these conclusions can never supersede data.

The presence of apparent design is not in question and never has been. We disagree about the origination of the apparent design not the presence of complexity. Given that science is naturalistic by definition, inserting a supernatural omnipotent entity is not science. Once said entity becomes testable it becomes a part of the natural world and therefore forfeits its supernatural status. This is why ID is not and CANNOT be science. It is a violation of the definition of science.

ID suffers from several flaws: Arguments from incredulity, Arguments from ignorance, Sharpshooter fallacies, and (of course) an overarching desire to SHOW the presence of god. Claiming design from an intelligent entity not only doesn't produce useful information MANY of the designs are irreparably flawed.

I am a biochemist and an MD with a specialty in radiology. This means that I have been exposed to all of the flaws present in biology from nucleoside to human. If there is a designer (and he were human), then they would be fired.

1/8 of women will get breast cancer and 1/3 of men will get prostate cancer. That's a design flaw. And there are millions more.
Chimney

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#7
Nov 25, 2010
 

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LGK wrote:
Noodly James
I detect an error in your thinking; please correct me if I'm wrong.
You think there's something out there called "Science" & it can be defined. You think if there is a definition, it (defn) would be a scientific statement. I'm afraid it won't be. It will be a philosphical claim. This means science as separate from non-science is a fiction.
What a hoot!

Why is astronomy science but astrology NOT science?

Because one uses the scientific method, and the other does not.

Formal logic is also defined by philosophy. Does this mean logic as separate from non-logic is also a fiction?

Noodly is right - creationism can hardly be called a mistake of science when it has never used anything even approaching the scientific method.

“Only a fool says he knows all.”

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#8
Nov 25, 2010
 
"Another frequent topic of disbelief among Edge responders was theism and its anti-science offshoots—in particular the belief in intelligent design, and the belief that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Going by current political discussions in America it may seem that these issues are still under contention and shouldn’t be included on the list, but I’m going to have to say differently, and agree with Milford Wolpoff:
creation

Creationism’s step sister, intelligent design, and allied beliefs have been held true for some time, even as the mountain of evidence supporting an evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life continues to grow. Why has this belief persisted? There are political and religious reasons, of course, but history shows than neither politics nor religion require a creationist belief in intelligent design."

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2...

Interesting Article.
Well first I have to disagree (no surprise form my umm... fans. lol), ID and Creationism is not anti-science. But I will agree that the fight in the U.S.A. is far more political then scientific. In fact, if you are a politician and believe in young earth creationism, you will be heavily under attack by the media and liberal socialist, and will be called stupid.

“Only a fool says he knows all.”

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#9
Nov 25, 2010
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch...

Yah...Politics can get very ugly in the States. Evolution and Creation is a vary large political fight. After all, if you can teach children the view that there might be a Creator, then the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other foundational documents that helps the American People to keep a small government and a republic in the U.S.A. are not old fashion and out dated. We The People will begin to believe that our rights are given to us by a Creator. SCARRY! And so is Life Liberty and the Right to Property.

But if Evolution and it's ideas take over the views of We The American People, then Socialism, Big Government and maybe Communism might be the new direction our country will take. Why, because rights are now given by humans and so the human government can take them away. But of course, this is what Americans want.

Yep... I have to agree. Creationism and Evolution is more then science. It's how we think as a nation under...umm...ourselves?

If there is a God...Help Us!
The Dude

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#10
Nov 25, 2010
 
Aaron Weaver wrote:
Well first I have to disagree (no surprise form my umm... fans. lol), ID and Creationism is not anti-science. But I will agree that the fight in the U.S.A. is far more political then scientific. In fact, if you are a politician and believe in young earth creationism, you will be heavily under attack by the media and liberal socialist, and will be called stupid.
With good reason. Creationism IS stupid, because it isn't science. It's about pushing religion into public schools, which is illegal. ID/C is nothing more than a political tool to help enable that.

Unfortunately for the fundies, they already lost.
The Dude

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#11
Nov 25, 2010
 
Aaron Weaver wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =_cqvP1K2xV0
Yah...Politics can get very ugly in the States. Evolution and Creation is a vary large political fight. After all, if you can teach children the view that there might be a Creator, then the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other foundational documents that helps the American People to keep a small government and a republic in the U.S.A. are not old fashion and out dated. We The People will begin to believe that our rights are given to us by a Creator. SCARRY! And so is Life Liberty and the Right to Property.
Shame that all the documents you cite are secular, with no mention of your particular god or anyone else's. The Constitution is completely bereft of a deity.
Aaron Weaver wrote:
But if Evolution and it's ideas take over the views of We The American People, then Socialism, Big Government and maybe Communism might be the new direction our country will take. Why, because rights are now given by humans and so the human government can take them away. But of course, this is what Americans want.
Yep... I have to agree. Creationism and Evolution is more then science. It's how we think as a nation under...umm...ourselves?
If there is a God...Help Us!
I'd address the above, but you upset me because you just killed a kitten.

So Aaron, what's the "scientific theory" of ID/C? Why are you incapable of answering this simple question?
LGK

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#12
Nov 25, 2010
 
The Dude
My point, & you missed completely, is it matters not that we call knowledge “science” or “non-science.” Of course there'll be creationist who insist their claims be called “science.” That’s humans for you. Equally evolutionists obsess with ever narrowing definitions of “science.” Who cares?

As for Behe being an astrologist, this is simply & factually incorrect. I’ve met the man

Noodly James
If science is naturalistic by definition it, by definition rules out intelligence. Any arguments therefrom are superfluous. What you’re left with is this: It’s been decided before hand there’s no design & when we investigate guess what we find – no design! Isn’t that self-serving?

Arguments from incredulity, sharp-shooter fallacies, & an overarching desire to SHOW XYZ etc are not unique to ID practitioners neither are evolutionists exempt from them. Here’s a flawed argument from evolutionists – faulty designs in organisms. Flaws of this include

(1) Faulty design is not the equivalent of non-design. East German Ladas were designed!

(2) Design is about balancing competing objectives e.g. a lead car absorbs collision impacts well but is no good on gas. There's no perfect design, they are ALL flawed.

(3) A design can only be faulty if compared to a better standard; so calling out one pre-supposes the designer intended to meet the ideal but failed. How do we know what shape human spine the designer intended?

(4) Some designs are meant to be faulty. Imperfect equipment is good for business. It's so you can keep coming up with better & models – the latest iPod, again!

Chimney
You’ve built yourself a nice strawman there. Who compared astronomy to astrology? I haven't, I dont know enough about astrology!
The Dude

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#13
Nov 25, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
The Dude
My point, & you missed completely, is it matters not that we call knowledge “science” or “non-science.” Of course there'll be creationist who insist their claims be called “science.” That’s humans for you. Equally evolutionists obsess with ever narrowing definitions of “science.” Who cares?
Scientists do. Without working definitions, science doesn't work.
LGK wrote:
As for Behe being an astrologist, this is simply & factually incorrect. I’ve met the man
I don't care if you've met Chewbacca the Wookiee. I did not say that Behe was an astrologer. I said Behe equated ID with astrology. In court. Under Oath.
LGK wrote:
Noodly James
If science is naturalistic by definition it, by definition rules out intelligence.
Intelligence is naturalistic. Allow me to demonstrate by cutting open your cranium and poking various sharp instruments into your brain and let's observe what happens to what remains of your 'intelligence'. I am unaware of the existence of any "non-natural" intelligence of any kind.
LGK wrote:
Any arguments therefrom are superfluous. What you’re left with is this: It’s been decided before hand there’s no design & when we investigate guess what we find – no design! Isn’t that self-serving?
"Design" is not ruled out. It never has been. It simply has not been demonstrated.
LGK wrote:
Arguments from incredulity, sharp-shooter fallacies, & an overarching desire to SHOW XYZ etc are not unique to ID practitioners
Even if you are correct, this does not address the fact that ID rests upon all of these fallacies and more.
LGK wrote:
neither are evolutionists exempt from them. Here’s a flawed argument from evolutionists – faulty designs in organisms. Flaws of this include
(1) Faulty design is not the equivalent of non-design. East German Ladas were designed!
(2) Design is about balancing competing objectives e.g. a lead car absorbs collision impacts well but is no good on gas. There's no perfect design, they are ALL flawed.
(3) A design can only be faulty if compared to a better standard; so calling out one pre-supposes the designer intended to meet the ideal but failed. How do we know what shape human spine the designer intended?
(4) Some designs are meant to be faulty. Imperfect equipment is good for business. It's so you can keep coming up with better & models – the latest iPod, again!
Yet the whole point of the design argument is that the "designs" are so cool therefore they "must" have been designed. Then we point out things which are not so cool and all of a sudden those concerns are simply dismissed as though they don't matter. As it stands, ID has yet to quantify design in an ID context without resorting to poor analogies (humans make cars therefore God make humans!).
LGK wrote:
Chimney
You’ve built yourself a nice strawman there. Who compared astronomy to astrology? I haven't, I dont know enough about astrology!
Nor science either it seems. Falsification doesn't matter?!? Oy! You got a problem, go take it up with Behe. You get his number perchance? Tell him I said thanks for what he did at Dover.
LGK

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#14
Nov 25, 2010
 
The Dude
Dover? Please tell me what other scientific theory are to be believe by Judicial fiat.

You wrote,“Yet the whole point of the design argument is that the "designs" are so cool therefore they "must" have been designed.”---

This is what happens when you learn about theories from the media & Law Courts. That definition of ID is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I can see why you have problems with ID; all you know about it is propaganda. If you want a serious discussion about it, reconsider your sources.
LGK

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#15
Nov 25, 2010
 
Noodly James
You referred to APPARENT DESIGN as something different from design. Would you care to explain the difference between the 2 & how you test for such a difference?

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

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#16
Nov 25, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
The Dude

Noodly James
If science is naturalistic by definition it, by definition rules out intelligence. Any arguments therefrom are superfluous. What you’re left with is this: It’s been decided before hand there’s no design & when we investigate guess what we find – no design! Isn’t that self-serving?
Arguments from incredulity, sharp-shooter fallacies, & an overarching desire to SHOW XYZ etc are not unique to ID practitioners neither are evolutionists exempt from them. Here’s a flawed argument from evolutionists – faulty designs in organisms. Flaws of this include
(1) Faulty design is not the equivalent of non-design. East German Ladas were designed!
(2) Design is about balancing competing objectives e.g. a lead car absorbs collision impacts well but is no good on gas. There's no perfect design, they are ALL flawed.
(3) A design can only be faulty if compared to a better standard; so calling out one pre-supposes the designer intended to meet the ideal but failed. How do we know what shape human spine the designer intended?
(4) Some designs are meant to be faulty. Imperfect equipment is good for business. It's so you can keep coming up with better & models – the latest iPod, again!
It only rules out an untestable causative agent, intelligent or not. Like I said, everyone agrees that there is design. It's the jump to god and aliens that isn't supported.

1. Faulty design isn't mean't to show there was no designer. Faulty design is mean't to show that whatever designed life most definitely should not be designing anything as it's designs are flawed.

2. They are all flawed. We agree. An omnipotent god would do better than Down syndrome and Harlequin Ichthyosis.

3. What the hell are you talking about with this one? You are the one claiming a designer. You tell me what his artistic inspiration is.

4. Ok, this is actually funny.:)

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

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#17
Nov 25, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
Noodly James
You referred to APPARENT DESIGN as something different from design. Would you care to explain the difference between the 2 & how you test for such a difference?
How you test for a difference? No one can show the designer. We can show that Darwinian evolution models applied to computers programs generate the biological appearances which are present in nature.

Or for a less sexy example: A snowflake appears designed. Each and every unique one of them. By recreating the conditions we can recreate the flake. Hence, not designed.

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

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#18
Nov 25, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
The Dude
Dover? Please tell me what other scientific theory are to be believe by Judicial fiat.
You wrote,“Yet the whole point of the design argument is that the "designs" are so cool therefore they "must" have been designed.”---
This is what happens when you learn about theories from the media & Law Courts. That definition of ID is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I can see why you have problems with ID; all you know about it is propaganda. If you want a serious discussion about it, reconsider your sources.
It isn't evolution which was on trial in Dover. It was ID and it's lies. It matters not if you REALLY think ID is valid. The DI muffed that one hardcore.

“Shaggin' Wagon.”

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#19
Nov 25, 2010
 
As for a designer designed process, to do that requires the testable presence of a designer. We have plenty of computer models showing how a designer is not required.
The Dude

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#20
Nov 26, 2010
 
LGK wrote:
The Dude
Dover? Please tell me what other scientific theory are to be believe by Judicial fiat.
It wasn't. It was decided by the scientific community. What the courts decided was that ID was Creationism, and since creationism is nothing more than religious apologetics pretending to be science, Creationism is illegal to teach in the US, as it violates the First Amendment. The ID crowd had their chance to bring the evidence to court that would demonstrate otherwise, and they couldn't bring it. Just like they couldn't bring it to any other evolution v creationism court case since 1925.
LGK wrote:
You wrote,“Yet the whole point of the design argument is that the "designs" are so cool therefore they "must" have been designed.”---
This is what happens when you learn about theories from the media & Law Courts. That definition of ID is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I can see why you have problems with ID; all you know about it is propaganda. If you want a serious discussion about it, reconsider your sources.
My sources are the IDer's I converse with and their own writings. In fact it is more likely that I know far more about ID than you do. If that is not the case, you already know you are deliberately lying when you claim that ID is scientific.

You can prove me wrong by answering these simple questions:

What exactly IS the "scientific theory" of ID/Creationism? Who or what is the creator and how can we tell? What mechanism did it use to do whatever it is you think it did and how can we tell? How is "design" quantified? When and where did it do it? What scientific observations can be made in regards to ID/Creationism? Why is this allegedly all-powerful universe-creating creator apparently incapable of such a simple thing like evolution and how were these limits determined scientifically? What useful scientific predictions does ID/Creationism make? How can it be tested? How can it be falsified? Why is it that every time I ask these questions that not one single fundie EVER wants to answer them?

Thanks in advance.

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