What is Real?
30 views | +0 today
Follow
What is Real?
You like science, understand it, follow its developments, yet feel uncomfortable with how scientists describe the world you live in ? Come talk about it.
Curated by La Life
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Rescooped by La Life from A quoi sert la connaissance ? What is knowledge for?
Scoop.it!

Biocentrism vs. Multiverse and backwards time

Biocentrism vs. Multiverse and backwards time | What is Real? | Scoop.it

Jerry Coyne summons Sean Carrol to take on biocentrism. It’s a fair fight.

more...
La Life's curator insight, December 3, 2013 9:18 AM

The kind of claptrap that Lanza portrays in the Independent is what you reap when you sow unreal science.

 

Lanza’s unreal statements are legitimized in the public perception at least, by countless other bullshit that scientists peddle all the time as empirical truth to the public.

Three examples :

 the constant reference to the notion of "observer" in mainstream accounts of QM. Quantum indeterminacy and the collapse of the wave function/decoherence are not functions of "conscious observation", whether of Schrödinger’s cat or the photon going through the second slit. They are functions of whether there is some other thing there that interacts with the quantum system and reduces it. It has nothing to do with "observation". Keep talking about "conscious observers", and you’ll legitimize Lanza’s bunk.

 Multiverse theories : as long as cosmologists get credit for coming up with any bunk they feel like provided they show some half-consistent set of complex mathematical expressions that rely on the purely abstract concept of probability 1 at infinity, you will be legitimizing any crap that claims crazy stuff that we can’t observe can still be scientific. 


 Universe from nothing : yet another cosmological theory gleaming pseudo-data, removed from any real observations by several layers of maths and probabilities, relying on barely plausible interpretations, once again relying on probability 1 at infinity and making empirical truth claims about stuff that is ontologically outside of our experimental reach.

 

Sean talks of "mapping maths to observable things". Well, as long as you keep confusing the map with the territory, and end up believing that the maths IS the reality, this is what you get, and you have very little to oppose the crazies because, ultimately, you yourself give no credit to empirical validation to make truth claims.

 

That’s what I don’t understand about self-proclaimed "naturalists". It seems that, counterintuitively, these are the most egregiously platonician about their worldview, that the maths is indeed the real world, rather than an imperfect approximation.

 

Do we still have to remind ourselves that we can’t account for gravity, EM and nuclear forces out of the same consistent mathematical theory? Shouldn’t that give us a strong clue that we can’t claim our maths to actually BE reality, or even consistently map to it?

 

It’s only if you apply the same standards of self-criticism to yourself as you do to others, and most importantly not criticize them using arguments that could just as well be applied to yourself, and accept the fact that our current theories do not explain how nature is set up that you can then oppose rational empirical standards to crazy claims. Otherwise you don’t really have much standing.

Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

Science Doesn't Want To Take God Away From You

Science Doesn't Want To Take God Away From You | What is Real? | Scoop.it
A chance encounter forces Marcelo Gleiser to rethink the relationship between science and religion.
La Life's insight:

The question is: what does science actually want to do to you?

 

While this is a moving account, science remains nonetheless a fuzzy concept. Mostly because it is used in a multitude of meanings.

 

Is science the community of scientists? The corporation constituted by  the apparatus of science funding? Is it the canonical scientific method? Is it the corpus of facts that we know to be true? Is it the mountain of bullshit crypto-facts that science keeps piling up daily with no-one bothering to check them? Is it the pile of theoretical dung that are Lambda-CDM cosmology and standard model physics, is it string theory? Is it the pharma industry? Monsanto?

 

It makes no sense to talk about "science" in the abstract, without clarifying what we mean by that term when we use it. It is one of  the most abused words of the day, on either "side of the science debates".

 

If by "science" we mean "the methods by which we question the world and discover true facts", then we should stop using the word "science", because 90% of people involved in what can also be called "science" don't do that. They write grant applications, they proclaim that 5% deviations from placebo to be miracle drugs to resolve existential problems, they tell us that our selves don't exist, that we don't control our lives, that there is no meaning in the world.

 

Enough with this "science is wonderful" bullshit. True things and real questions are wonderful. Science as it manifests itself to people has long stopped really caring about that.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

Ignorance in Science: Brain research

A 2010 scientific paper in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience discusses problems with neuroscience research quality and proposes as a solution that researchers should be trained in analytical methods. What does it say about modern science that someone has to suggest that researchers should be trained to analyze data?

La Life's insight:

Some selected quotes:

"Few, if any, of the previous reports appear to be valid."

"The most plausible explanation for the 100-fold discrepancy is that the (...) method did not (...) measure [the compound under study]."

"Another (...) metabolite not actually present in the brain at [reported] levels (...) can be neurotoxic (...) at high doses."

"(...) values that are smaller by a factor of about one million."

"A million-fold error was present in a recent report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that clearly arose from the use of inappropriate analytical methods."

"the obvious discrepancy between the previous literature and the results (...) was not detected during peer review."

"the original paper (...) continues to be cited at a high rate when a paper reporting the inaccuracy of the data (...) has been published."

 

In every field of science it is the same story: ignorance, data cherry picking, excessive interpretations, no reality checking. This drives blissful ignorance rather than knowledge.

 

The contents of these articles, in particular with respect to Oxytocyn and Serotonin, should be reviewed in light of the grand claims about human nature and happiness routinely made by neuroscientists (viz. In particular, the Churchlands) in that regard. Would be interesting to see whether they persist since 2010, when this article was published.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

 Christopher Chabris: Why Malcolm Gladwell Matters (And Why That's Unfortunate)

 Christopher Chabris: Why Malcolm Gladwell Matters (And Why That's Unfortunate) | What is Real? | Scoop.it
La Life's insight:

Through a critical review of Gladwell's work and a damning list of Gladwell recent quotes, Christopher Chabris makes interesting points about the importance, value and implied ethics of science writing and popularization, arguing against oversimplification. Ultimately, he supports the possibly apocryphal Einstein quote "you can simplify as much as possible, but not more."

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

Conscious movement - enough with egregious misreadings of Libet

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WN5Fs6_O2mY?start=1870&end=1917" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

La Life's insight:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WN5Fs6_O2mY?start=1870&end=1917"; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

If thinking about movement actually changes what we understand as the "physiological" brain, i.e. stuff in the brain that we can clearly recognize as causing events, how can anyone take the Libet experiment as meaning that movement is not caused by consciousness?

 

It's at best inconsistent, and inconsistency is usually the mark of ideological motives..

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

Particle Physics Foundations of Dark Matter-Dark Energy-and Inflatio Resubida

Particle Physics Foundations of Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and Inflation (1/3) © CERN Kolb, Edward (Rocky) (speaker) (University of Chicago) CERN. Geneva Acad...
La Life's insight:

Many examples in this talk of how a scientist just "believes" thing, not the mention the evidence and ontological confusion.

 

Getting to the end, I realized that this guy who makes fun of MOND on the basis of absence of evidence, is in fact a SUSY fan! No wonder belief is the dominant impression of his talk...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

Letters to People: Science and Pseudo-science

In a thoughtful column in the NYT this Thursday, Massimo Pigliucci (@mpigliucci) and Maarten Boudry (@mboudry) argue for a clear distinction between science and pseudo-science.

La Life's insight:

Nit-picking at Thursday's NYT column by @mpigliucci @mboudry on the question of legitimate knowledge.


TL;DR.: Advocating for science shouldn't dispense us from being careful about the sweeping claims we make on its behalf.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by La Life
Scoop.it!

Hegel vs. Eliminative Materialism in Neuroscience | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and Blog

Hegel vs. Eliminative Materialism in Neuroscience | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and Blog | What is Real? | Scoop.it
Paul and Patricia Churchland are researchers and advocates of eliminative materialism in neuroscience and philosophy of mind. Eliminative materialism claims (Hegel vs.
La Life's insight:

I don't know about soul-less abyss, but it sure ain't pretty. Can you square happy puppy pics with gritty understanding of the human condition?

more...
No comment yet.