How to decide on what to take seriously

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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#21  Postby Teague » Sep 09, 2011 9:24 am

A written paper on the subject would be satisfactory, not a website.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#22  Postby isnur » Nov 06, 2011 10:31 pm

Hi everyone!

First of all, I don't agree that one necessarily has to have studied in university or have a recognized degree in order to propose a new theory. A human being with great intelligence may understand things that others don't, and may be able to describe what he (or she) understands by simply using logic (even if it is not an easy task).

In second place, I don't think it is necessary that a person that wants to replace an old (wrong) theory with a new one has to fully understand the old theory. Why do you have to understand a wrong theory? what good is it for you? It is, in my opinion, sufficient that that person only understands a few basic parts of the old theory and where are the limitations..

Finally I want to give an answer to the question "how to decide what to take seriously?"... well, in this case I would say you must take seriously something only if after understanding it you still think it is right. For example if you read the webpage of Jacky Jerome and understand everything that is said there, and find no errors, then why not take it seriously? in that case you MUST take it seriously. If, on the other hand, you find errors then you must ask yourself: are these errors typing mistakes? or are they fundamental mathematical or physical misconceptions that bring down the entire theory? in the latter case you MUST NOT take it seriously.. In case you can't find any errors because your mathematical (physical) background is limited and does not allow you to verify the accuracy of the proposed concepts then it doesn't make any sence for you to take the decision if the theory is serious or not! leave the job to someone else ;)............in case you can't find any errors it doesn't mean that someone else will not be able to find errors... but until that moment why not take the theory seriously? if you don't it means only one thing... that you don't trust yourself!

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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#23  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Nov 13, 2011 3:01 am

I view the science-pseudoscience as a continuum. It can be nothing else. This is not to say that, after analysis, one can find clear examples of true science and pseudoscience but any "formula-based" diagnostic is going to be useful, but never perfect.

Even though Kurt Godel demolished David Hilbert's dream that mathematics is truth, it can also be said that Hilbert made many substantial contributions to the discipline of mathematics as if 'reality" or "evidence" did not matter.

One can see how this technique can work. Firstly, our ignorance of the world, although growing, is still profound. Thus, any early science, any early evidence -might not be representitive even in terms of naive reality.

Second, the metaphysics of naive reality is unacceptable. So all we have in science is phenomina, models of descriptive and predictive phenominal systems, which are tested to destruction.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#24  Postby hackenslash » Nov 13, 2011 2:39 pm

Darwinsbulldog wrote:Firstly, our ignorance of the world, although growing, is still profound.


I don't think that's what you intended to say, is it?
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#25  Postby MrFungus420 » Nov 14, 2011 2:24 am

isnur wrote:Hi everyone!

First of all, I don't agree that one necessarily has to have studied in university or have a recognized degree in order to propose a new theory. A human being with great intelligence may understand things that others don't, and may be able to describe what he (or she) understands by simply using logic (even if it is not an easy task).


That may be true, but as a general rule, those who have not been trained in a field are not competent to comment on it.

isnur wrote:In second place, I don't think it is necessary that a person that wants to replace an old (wrong) theory with a new one has to fully understand the old theory. Why do you have to understand a wrong theory? what good is it for you? It is, in my opinion, sufficient that that person only understands a few basic parts of the old theory and where are the limitations..


No.

In order to replace a theory, the new theory must describe why the old theory worked as well as it did. The new theory must account for everything that the old theory did.

isnur wrote:Finally I want to give an answer to the question "how to decide what to take seriously?"... well, in this case I would say you must take seriously something only if after understanding it you still think it is right. For example if you read the webpage of Jacky Jerome and understand everything that is said there, and find no errors, then why not take it seriously? in that case you MUST take it seriously. If, on the other hand, you find errors then you must ask yourself: are these errors typing mistakes? or are they fundamental mathematical or physical misconceptions that bring down the entire theory? in the latter case you MUST NOT take it seriously.. In case you can't find any errors because your mathematical (physical) background is limited and does not allow you to verify the accuracy of the proposed concepts then it doesn't make any sence for you to take the decision if the theory is serious or not! leave the job to someone else ;)............in case you can't find any errors it doesn't mean that someone else will not be able to find errors... but until that moment why not take the theory seriously? if you don't it means only one thing... that you don't trust yourself!


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We can be deceived. And if you have someone cherry-picking small bits of information, they can present a case that seems to be valid. That is part of the reason that the results of the per-review process are so highly regarded. Trained experts in the field examine the claims to see if they are supportable, if the methodology was valid, if things were overlooked, etc.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#26  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Nov 14, 2011 7:08 am

hackenslash wrote:
Darwinsbulldog wrote:Firstly, our ignorance of the world, although growing, is still profound.


I don't think that's what you intended to say, is it?


Yes it is actually. Admitting we have discovered much, and yet much remains to be discovered is no bad thing, IMHO. Ok, I could have said the above better. "Knowledge is like an onion perhaps?
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#27  Postby Zadocfish2 » Nov 14, 2011 4:38 pm

The more we discover, the more we find that still needs explaining. In a way, ignorance grows with knowledge, because knowledge uncovers previous ignorance.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#28  Postby hackenslash » Nov 14, 2011 9:50 pm

No, ignorance never grows, but our understanding of our ignorance grows. In other words, while our ignorance is reduced, and in fact as a symptom of that reduction, we learn mostly just how ignorant we really are.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#29  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Nov 14, 2011 11:55 pm

hackenslash wrote:No, ignorance never grows, but our understanding of our ignorance grows. In other words, while our ignorance is reduced, and in fact as a symptom of that reduction, we learn mostly just how ignorant we really are.

Yeahbutt dats wot I meant. :)
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#30  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 15, 2011 7:56 am

isnur wrote:Hi everyone!

First of all, I don't agree that one necessarily has to have studied in university or have a recognized degree in order to propose a new theory. A human being with great intelligence may understand things that others don't, and may be able to describe what he (or she) understands by simply using logic (even if it is not an easy task).


Sure, but if we are talking about scientific theories rather than the lay definition, then there is a required following step after induction: experimentation.

Logic alone is insufficient to inquire substantively into reality.


isnur wrote:In second place, I don't think it is necessary that a person that wants to replace an old (wrong) theory with a new one has to fully understand the old theory. Why do you have to understand a wrong theory? what good is it for you? It is, in my opinion, sufficient that that person only understands a few basic parts of the old theory and where are the limitations..


Well, in this case and in general, it's not a 'wrong theory'. It's the generally accepted theory by professionals. That's not to say it is forever right and unchanging, but that it clearly explains the data satisfactorily. If someone wishes to set up a competing theory, then they should be very familiar with the conventional one in order to ensure that they don't reinvent the wheel, or overlook aspects that their theory should cover.

In essence, it's absolutely essential.



isnur wrote:Finally I want to give an answer to the question "how to decide what to take seriously?"... well, in this case I would say you must take seriously something only if after understanding it you still think it is right.


I feel you place far too much weight on logic - it is not sufficient for it to be logical, nor is it sufficient to deem yourself an arbiter. Experimentation is not optional when making scientific claims.


isnur wrote:For example if you read the webpage of Jacky Jerome and understand everything that is said there, and find no errors, then why not take it seriously? in that case you MUST take it seriously.


I don't want to get too bogged down in semantics, but I wonder what 'taking something seriously' entails? To you, does it mean maintaining it in your mind as an equal possibility to the conventional one? Does taking it seriously mean actually going out to do the necessary observational experiments?

Instead, I'd rather forward the notion of degrees of confidence. Something might be very appealing, might be logical and internally consistent, but how is the confidence come by? Are we to regard our thought processes as sufficient arbiters of reality, or should we instead be skeptical of our mental product and seek to test it to breaking point? This is integral when we know how easily even the most intelligent and self-aware of us can be funneled into believing things because they are emotionally significant or satisfactory.

Next I'd look to see if the author has considered ways to falsify their claims and how they've treated those ideas. I'd also be interested to see their responses to skeptical questions to their claims and the nature of the response.

These degrees of confidence are necessary when so much information is available and we need to be able to sort potential wheat from potential chaff.


isnur wrote:If, on the other hand, you find errors then you must ask yourself: are these errors typing mistakes? or are they fundamental mathematical or physical misconceptions that bring down the entire theory? in the latter case you MUST NOT take it seriously.. In case you can't find any errors because your mathematical (physical) background is limited and does not allow you to verify the accuracy of the proposed concepts then it doesn't make any sence for you to take the decision if the theory is serious or not! leave the job to someone else ;)


This is kind of interesting. In these cases where independent authors claim better solutions to cosmological questions, then they already are making claims against the experts. The experts have already answered.

Of course, they could be wrong. However, if the experts are wrong, and this independent author is right, you would have no means to verify or falsify it yourself - best to suspend judgment.


isnur wrote:............in case you can't find any errors it doesn't mean that someone else will not be able to find errors... but until that moment why not take the theory seriously? if you don't it means only one thing... that you don't trust yourself!


And there's the crux of the matter. We become so assured of ourselves as we develop, and our expectations of the human-constructed world around us validate our concepts that even when we are in no position whatsoever to make judgment on a topic, we will often do so anyway and firmly believe that we are right.

A little less self-trust with respect to cosmological claims would be a welcome thing. Professional scientists learn to know the limits, their own and their methodological ones, and in most cases remain very cautious about their claims. A little knowledge on the other hand can be a bad thing, where undue confidence is achieved only due to a preponderance of ignorance.


In summary, I think you should be very careful about trusting your impression of a theory if you do not have the necessary data or skills to evaluate the data. There are people who spent many years studying, many years practicing, and through dedication and experience have developed all our knowledge of this topic. Take their claims 'seriously', because their claims have already had to survive a trial by fire by their peers. Take internet claims with a healthy dose of skepticism: at the end of the day you might, out of the thousands of claims, reject a few that ultimately prove to be right. In that future, they'd have the necessary evidential basis for you to reconsider your position and evaluate them in a new light. Better that than simply and naively lending credence to any and all claims just because someone has made them, and has apparently gone to a lot of trouble to do so.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#31  Postby No7ThePostOffice » Dec 18, 2011 9:41 pm

I could help commenting on this discussion after reading what some people wrote in.

Throughout history certain individuals of non specific fields have shown abilities transcending those in specific fields. This can be Science, Music, Art etc etc. These people are Polymaths. They can be "experts" in a whole range of subjects even though they have not progressed through the normal channels and are not qualified by the establishment. Is it right that their theories are discounted then on the basis of their lack of qualifications rather than the merits of their work? These multi talented people can add a new perspective to a problem because of their abilities to span a whole range of subjects that specialists cannot. Polymaths often see the "bigger picture".

Jacky Gerome has explained the anomolies in the OPERA experiment in plain simple english and a few drawings and formulas all of which are proven and established in other areas of science and engineering. Has anyone else explained the discrepancies thus far? I do not know this person or what he does but his theories seem plausible to me they should not be brushed off lightly.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#32  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 19, 2011 5:45 am

No7ThePostOffice wrote:I could help commenting on this discussion after reading what some people wrote in.


I think your post would have been more appropriate directly before my post than directly after it.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#33  Postby No7ThePostOffice » Dec 19, 2011 10:47 am

Spearthrower wrote:
No7ThePostOffice wrote:I could help commenting on this discussion after reading what some people wrote in.


I think your post would have been more appropriate directly before my post than directly after it.


I'm sorry I respect and value your opinion. I think I made an error when posting my comment.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#34  Postby JTRizzle » May 25, 2014 10:51 am

Dead thread? but interesting... i also find it interesting that no one followed Philippe's advice and offered up mathematical or experimental evidence contrary to Jerome's theory. i still fail to see how we can ignore any theory which stands up to that much scrutiny. a theory which describes all aspects of observed phenomena is necessarily just as "correct" as any other theory. theories live and die by the emergence of data which either confirms or denies the theory. to prove that Jerome's theory is incorrect requires data contrary to his theory. the validity of a theory is its consistency with data. if indeed, Jerome's theory is invalid, there will be data which contradicts it. if it is indeed valid, it is every bit as valid as any other, there being no varying degrees of validity. where can i go to hear more on this particular discussion? I find Jerome's theory fascinating and i would like to see it tested, or "spell-checked" if you will. is there any page on the internet where i can find that?
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#35  Postby theropod » May 25, 2014 1:58 pm

to prove that Jerome's theory is incorrect requires data contrary to his theory.


Nope, first off nothing can be proven one way or another, and second Jerome must supply data in support of his hypothesis. It is completely the responsibility of the advocate to supply the supporting data.

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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#36  Postby rustem » Sep 19, 2016 1:13 pm

While the writings of Jacky Jérôme look like humongous oversimplification and don't really sound "sincy", the idea that everything in the Universe is actually just spacetime and nothing more in not only his. Look here: http://onlyspacetime.com/ – the author is an educated physicist and his book seems much more credible.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#37  Postby tuco » Sep 19, 2016 8:57 pm

Having smaller than small statistical sample of 1, I would think that to decide what to take seriously (and whatnot) takes leet forum searching skills/effort.
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Re: How to decide on what to take seriously

#38  Postby BWE » Sep 19, 2016 10:19 pm

theropod wrote:
to prove that Jerome's theory is incorrect requires data contrary to his theory.


Nope, first off nothing can be proven one way or another, and second Jerome must supply data in support of his hypothesis. It is completely the responsibility of the advocate to supply the supporting data.

RS

This is well stated and speaks to a deeper issue I think. A few years back I went through a phase of interest in what basically amount to wingnut theories of everything. There are a lot of them out there. By the time I lost interest, I had noticed that one commonality most of them shared was an effort to reify the metaphors we are forced to use to try to make language express the notions of space-time and quantum superposition/uncertainty/ variations on Schrödinger's equation. We really don't have any experiential analogs to what GR and QM/QFT suggest and a vast majority of the theories I encountered centered around some method of turning the metaphor into a concrete concept. Turning "hard like a rock" into a new word with the qualities of the original metaphor.

I can't help thinking that this is an important part of the process of developing knowledge. It's maybe some sort of heuristic the species level of organization employs. Which, too, is a metaphor.
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