Author Topic: The $%*! frustration thread  (Read 510903 times)

Zephira

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3900 on: September 08, 2009, 05:43:42 pm »
How long does it take for symptoms to show up after you've caught a flu? There's somewhere between five and ten people in this household, depending on the day and time of day, and I wouldn't want to get any of them sick.
Okay, maybe a couple...
And don't you dare die on us. The Lord J can't be taken down by pigs :lol:

Luckily, I've never seen the Exorcist, Although the movie Sunshine really freaks me out, and I can't figure out why. It's not a scary movie in that things jump out at you or there's aliens or monster. What's creepy is that when you expect something bad to happen, or expect some big monster to jump out and eat someone's eyeballs, nothing happens. I think it might be more fear of an unknown, and of everything going wrong at once, and of responsibility, which is a big part of the last half of the movie. I almost want to watch it again, just for the music, but I know that one guy without skin is going to keep me up for nights to come.

kingpingu30

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3901 on: September 08, 2009, 05:47:18 pm »
I watched the first Exorcist movie, and i actually nearly pissed myself laughing. But, we were just poking fun at everything at that time...

FaustWolf

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3902 on: September 08, 2009, 05:52:58 pm »
Yeah, the rest of The Exorcist is freaking hilarious. The Exorcist II takes the cake if you're looking for a movie to make fun of though. It was always the demon face in part 1 that got me, and the image of Damien Karras' elderly mother just staring zombie-like if I recall correctly. Damien's whole dream sequence was just brilliant, and contained the most horrifying movie imagery ever recorded. It's the uncanny valley effects that always get to me.

Thought

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3903 on: September 08, 2009, 05:55:09 pm »
That would be 80% of the remainder!

Curses! I've been making those kinds of mistakes a lot lately. I need to be better about checking my composition before posting. My sincerest apologies.

Now hopefully this post won’t be plagued by similar errors.

Actually, that’s bad scientific practice. If one’s hypothesis has repeatedly been ‘proved wrong’ by the trend of significant data, one should reform the hypothesis, not keep repeating to get favourable results.

Quite true, but please, do show me where there is extensive peer reviewed research on the topic of paranormal phenomenon. Usually (or always) a scientific experience on, say, ESP will produce negative results, yes? Alas, negative results are seldom publishable and so while there may be a lot of studies, they remain outside the realm of public accessibility. Additionally, just because something hasn't been proven yet does not preclude the possibility that future advancements might lead to confirmation. For quite some time String Theory didn't actually make any verifiable predictions; it was the physics equivalent of ghosts. Technology and our understanding have improved so that String Theory is starting to enter the realm of real science. Perhaps in another 20 or 30 years advancements in neuroscience will allow us to scientifically prove the existence of ghosts. Probably not, but I can see no logical reason to bar it from even being brought up in scientific circles.

An additional word seems to be in order for the PEAR group that Faust mentioned earlier. As far as I can tell, the best science has done to disprove their "research" is to call into question their methodology (and a few object to the significance of their "results). I haven't found a single example of anyone replicating the experiments, either exactly or with corrected methodology. The first step in peer review of any scientific study is a critique of the methodology. The second step is to actually run the experiments. If the methodology of the PEAR group was flawed, it should be corrected and the experiments re-run. It appears that this has never happened.

That’s why it’s exasperating (and worrying and in a way insulting and disrespectful) that…five people now…seem to be implying that mechanics is a hypothesis equalled by the paranormal. It’s exasperating because it’s so obviously rubbish caused only by social influence as opposed to true curious enquiry.

I suspect you misunderstand my intent. I am merely arguing for the possibility that something that is currently considered paranormal could be scientifically tested.

I also generally reject the notion that something is unbelievable simply because it is not believed. Conceptually, I find the claim that there is a teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars to be no more unbelievable than the claim that there is a space station orbiting the Earth. Neither claim requires extraordinary proof, just actual proof. Likewise, I reject the claim that an idea somehow needs more proof to be proven true simply because it is in contradiction to commonly held ideas: all it needs is proof. Thorough proof, to be sure, and sound proof. But nothing particularly unusual or extraordinary.

Though, given how rare such proof is in paranormal circles, perhaps such mundane proof is perceived as being extraordinary?

MsBlack

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3904 on: September 08, 2009, 07:31:26 pm »
Quite true, but please, do show me where there is extensive peer reviewed research on the topic of paranormal phenomenon. Usually (or always) a scientific experience on, say, ESP will produce negative results, yes? Alas, negative results are seldom publishable and so while there may be a lot of studies, they remain outside the realm of public accessibility.

Fair enough. I think I overestimated the amount of formal studies into it. That said, anyone should be able to see on a personal level the inconsistency of any number of paranormal ideas. Invariably, something like telepathy is claimed that only ‘explains’ the facts a tiny minority of the time. If such theories were correct they would always apply and be consistent and repeatable. But they’re not.

Additionally, just because something hasn't been proven yet does not preclude the possibility that future advancements might lead to confirmation.

See, this is what I meant about ridiculousness. That’s technically true on some impractical epistemic level, but it completely misses the point that some claims are so inconsistent with reality as to be unworthy of consideration.

For quite some time String Theory didn't actually make any verifiable predictions; it was the physics equivalent of ghosts. Technology and our understanding have improved so that String Theory is starting to enter the realm of real science.

So far as I know, String Theory’s claims are still untested. Indeed, I don’t see that it deserves the title of ‘theory’; at this point, it still seems to be ‘hypothesis’. I would question how much you know and understand (and I know and understand) of String Theory though, as from what I gather, it’s popular to invoke it and get excited about it without understanding it.

Perhaps in another 20 or 30 years advancements in neuroscience will allow us to scientifically prove the existence of ghosts. Probably not, but I can see no logical reason to bar it from even being brought up in scientific circles.

It shouldn’t be illegal, but ridiculous claims shouldn’t distract from meaningful research. Of course people have the right to waste resources on bogus claims, but they shouldn’t.

An additional word seems to be in order for the PEAR group that Faust mentioned earlier. As far as I can tell, the best science has done to disprove their "research" is to call into question their methodology (and a few object to the significance of their "results). I haven't found a single example of anyone replicating the experiments, either exactly or with corrected methodology. The first step in peer review of any scientific study is a critique of the methodology. The second step is to actually run the experiments. If the methodology of the PEAR group was flawed, it should be corrected and the experiments re-run. It appears that this has never happened.

I wonder what your standards for ‘disproof’ are, considering a consistent failure of a hypothesis apparently isn’t enough. At the end of the day, if paranormal ideas were correct and consistent, they would be repeatable, but they’re not—because they’re not correct and consistent.

I suspect you misunderstand my intent. I am merely arguing for the possibility that something that is currently considered paranormal could be scientifically tested.

Perhaps. Though, I suspect that you misunderstand the implications of what you’re saying. The way you’re arguing—particularly the analogies you keep making—suggest that you consider baseless, biased ideas that blatantly don’t hold up, which make no sense and which have no explanatory depth to be on par with proper hypotheses that tick all the boxes. You keep making direct analogies between the two implying that they’re both equally worthy of formal consideration.

Conceptually, I find the claim that there is a teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars to be no more unbelievable than the claim that there is a space station orbiting the Earth. Neither claim requires extraordinary proof, just actual proof. Likewise, I reject the claim that an idea somehow needs more proof to be proven true simply because it is in contradiction to commonly held ideas: all it needs is proof. Thorough proof, to be sure, and sound proof. But nothing particularly unusual or extraordinary.

Again, the implications are ridiculous. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but claims can only be extraordinary with respect to a frame of reference. If our frame of reference is as strong as current physics, a paradigm shift as dramatic as accommodating the paranormal would certainly require extraordinary evidence. If you ask someone for the time, you’d probably accept their answer; are you telling me that if they told you they had proof of a telepathic Teapot instead, that'd be good enough for you? Or perhaps that you would require a formal study to be done to determine whether or not they were giving you the right time?

Though, given how rare such proof is in paranormal circles, perhaps such mundane proof is perceived as being extraordinary?

Relatively extraordinary but not absolutely extraordinary, perhaps?

Lord J Esq

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3905 on: September 08, 2009, 09:51:34 pm »
J, you live in Washington, right? I read recently that there's 2000 suspected cases of it at Washington State University...is Washington State the start of an almighty H1N1 pandemic? Good luck fighting it off. Let's see how many Swine Flu veterans the Compendium can accumulate!

Aye, I read about that last week, and that's why I immediately suspected swine flu when I began to feel ill.

I don't know if it'll be the start of a pandemic or not. The WSU flareup itself is calming down, but may take root in other areas. These transmissions are hard to track.

Still hella sick today, but my symptoms are different. Right now I have the Devil's own sore throat. =(

ZaichikArky

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3906 on: September 08, 2009, 10:00:45 pm »
Like I said, the swine flu has been proven to be no more serious than the normal flu, and probably much less serious than certain strains of flu. I don't feel like I'm affected by it, but I still feel kinda sick. Symptoms of the cold and the flu aren't really similar. Some people confuse the common cold for the flu. Sometimes, rarely, it is possible to have symptoms of a flu if you have a nasty cold. I have never had a high temperature or felt dizzy when I have the cold, but I occasionally feel nauseous. No matter what strain of the cold, it always starts out the same for me: a couple days of sore throat followed by nasal congestion for up to a week, followed by a few days of coughing. Right now, I just have a headache and sore throat D:. I hate being congested. One time I was congested for a month. I must have had some stupid sinus infection that took a long time to clear up. My sinuses are weak. I think it has to do with that wisdom tooth that lodged itself in my sinus cavity and had to be surgically removed when they discovered it >_>;

Uh anyway, the flu usually lasts for a week while sometimes a cold could last for longer! Maybe you should be hoping you have the flu : ).

Thought

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3907 on: September 09, 2009, 02:04:52 pm »
MsBlack, I suspect that you could classify my objects to paranormal research and the debunking there of into a larger category of my objections to the present manifestation of the scientific community.

I have already covered my great annoyance that the scientific community does not respect and does not publish negative results. It seems that you understand this objection, yes?

We are now entering into the second of my great annoyances with the scientific community: lack of independent confirmation of results. Peer-Review, as noted previously, consists of analyzing the methodology that a researcher used and in independently running the experiments to confirm the results. Please note, this is a two step process. On occasion independent verification of experiment results occurs, usually when two or more careers have been built around contradictory stances, but this information is likewise seldom published (confirming results is almost as looked down upon as negative results). The effective result is that, from the perspective of someone researching a particular field but not actively participating in it, there is often no distinction between independently confirmed results and unconfirmed research.

I am quite happy to entirely sidestep the question of if science should investigate paranormal topics. The fact of the matter is, a handful of individuals attempt to scientifically investigate them and the scientific community, on occasion, acknowledge that research by rejecting it. Science is engaged, so it should behave in an appropriate manner. Thus, if it is going to specifically reject something, it must do so in a scientifically rigorous manner. This means that if someone puts forwards a hypothesis and has data to support it (such as the PEAR group), science has obligated itself to evaluating the methodology (which has happened, to an extent) and independently test the hypothesis (which has no happened, at least not that I can determine, though see my earlier comments regarding the publication of negative results for a caveat).

The issue of paranormal research is a red herring in this regard. Scientists have been half-assed in rejecting it. Paranormal topics may be bunk, but so is the rigor with which it has been debunked.

I am quite happy to label Remote Viewing, Ghosts, Telepathy, Telekinesis, etc as bogus. But as soon as it is claimed that these things have been disproven, rigorous criteria must be applied. In doing so I find the "disproof" to be little better than the "proof." Paranormal researchers use sloppy methodology, the debunkers likewise do not follow proper protocol in addressing the issues. I must insist that even if paranormal concepts are crap, the analysis of and response to those concepts must be intellectually sound. From what I have researched into the matter, responses to paranormal concepts have a good start, but they have not followed through. Until the analysis has been completed, I must maintain that it should continue.

Thus concludes the real body of this post. Now allow me to respond directly to a few particular comments that you made. These responses don't particularly relate to my arguments, but may be of interest to the topic in general.

If such theories were correct they would always apply and be consistent and repeatable. But they’re not.

Ideally, yes, but science is seldom so neat. You will find that consistent and repeatable results are the odd duck out as far as scientific research goes, if one looks at experiments in aggregate (rather than in print, as it were).

Establishing tight controls for an experiment is incredibly difficult. I am not a scientist, so the majority of my perceptions in this regard are second hand and anecdotal, having come from friends and relations who are scientists. That being said, let us take mice as an example of how difficult research can be. It was recently noted (as in the past two years) that the most common form of food given to research mice contained relevant levels of phytoestrogens that can skew test results. Ignoring the effect that such a thing would have on a single set of experiments at a specific institution, consider the problem then of peer-reviewing those experiments. If another lab followed the protocol exactly, but their animal resource center used a different food that did not contain phytoestrogens (or didn't contain the same amount), the results could very well be different. Switch that around now; research was conducted without these unaccounted for phytoestrogens but the results were not reproduced by institutions that did have these phytoestrogens. Are the results bogus or are the phytoestrogens skewing the experiments?

But science is worse than that. If one of the technicians caring for the mice used a different soap that morning in the shower, the mice will behave differently. If someone came into the room at an unusual time, that can skew the results. If the air filters in the room need to be changed, that can skew results. If construction happens nearby, that can skew results. And so on, and so forth.

That is just on the living side of research. If one is harvesting and studying parts of the mouse, that just allows for more opportunities for confounding factors to be introduced. Chemicals might be mislabeled, microscopic cracks in testing equipment might cause unusual reactions, instruments might be in need of recalibration, etc.

A lot of a scientist’s time is spent running down all these possibilities, and others. Eventually, after a lot of due diligences, consistent and repeatable results are obtainable.

But paranormal research seldom has this due diligence, it seldom has controls, it seldom even has a significant testing population. That Person A appears to have psychic powers in their own home but not in a lab may well mean that they do not truly have psychic powers, but confounding factors need to be investigated before a definitive conclusion can be made. Likewise, a significant number of instances need to be tested, and the confounding factors investigated for each.

In turn, reviews of paranormal research often lack similar due diligence. Potential explanations for the phenomenon can be found in faulty methodology. The solution is not to stop there but to continue on and rerun the experiments as one might run real science experiments.

Without the due diligence of true science, it should be expected that paranormal research will be a mixed bag at best, regardless of its validity.

You say that paranormal "theories" are inconsistent, I say show me where they have been tested rigorously.

So far as I know, String Theory’s claims are still untested. Indeed, I don’t see that it deserves the title of ‘theory’; at this point, it still seems to be ‘hypothesis’. I would question how much you know and understand (and I know and understand) of String Theory though, as from what I gather, it’s popular to invoke it and get excited about it without understanding it.

Still untested, yes. I am sorry if I was unclear, but I meant that it is beginning to enter the realm of testability (hence "real science"). Particular particles (though from what I understand, the moniker "particle" may be misleading) that are predicted/necessitated by string theory could be produced and observed by the Large Hadron Collider, if they can ever get it working properly. Thus it hasn't been tested yet, but it might be tested in the near future.

Additionally, String Theory has really given way to M-Theory (which is mostly the same, with a few additions, and the two are usually used interchangeably by laypersons, such as myself. This is really a bad habit that should be broken, like a dog peeing on the carpet, so again I must apologize). M-Theory relates to the possibility of a multiverse and in turn makes particular predictions as to how our universe originated. There are two (that I am aware of) different potential origins to universes: one is that they are produced from pre-existing universes in a manner that admittedly I don't understand well (it seems to do with quantum fluctuations along the lines of virtual particles/antiparticles). However, if this particular aspect of the theory is correct, there would actually be trace elements of our "mother" universe in our own. The theory predicts that these would be very subtle traces, requiring particularly sensitive equipment to detect. As a bit of trivia, if you happen to watch Big Bang Theory, the character of Leonard made reference to this in the first episode. Energy traces of the Big Bang will be different if it was formed from a pre-existing universe or not.

And to be complete, the other potential theory for the origin of the universe is that it is the result of Branes colliding; the points of contact spawn randomly generated universes.

However, this touches on another potentially observable phenomenon that could confirm M-Theory, or parts there of (but this is much farther away from being a reality). Branes, the fundamental element of existence, would have two sides (unlike the older strings of String Theory which would only have one). This would imply that we actually have a sister universe, as it were, on the flip-side of our particular brane. Sharing the same brane, these two universes would also share a lot of other things such as matter and energy. Current imbalances in our own universe could thus be explained by the missing elements being on the other side of our brane. At least part of that hypothesis is testable; we can determine if there are missing elements in our universe (or, more exactly, not in our universe). Scientists have been wondering if dark matter/energy exists and, if so, where this stuff is. M-Theory predicts that not all of it will be found in our universe; if science can indeed confirm that it is missing, that would support M-Theory.

Allow me to here state my own lack of understanding in this regard. Branes (sometimes called P-Branes, but too many jokes are possible with that) seem to function on both a super-microscopic level and an extra dimensional level. Branes relate to gluons and all that fun stuff, but an entire set of muliverses are supposedly created when branes collide. It generally seems like there are two different things at work here, both given the same name, but as far as I can tell that is only appearances; they are really one thing. Which, as indicated, I don't understand and thus may be aversely influencing much or everything that I said above.

Again, the implications are ridiculous. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but claims can only be extraordinary with respect to a frame of reference. If our frame of reference is as strong as current physics, a paradigm shift as dramatic as accommodating the paranormal would certainly require extraordinary evidence.

Not at all, our paradigm must conform to the available evidence. Perfectly ordinary proof is all that is needed to overthrow a paradigm. It must be verifiable and solid proof, but all proof should be that way regardless, so it would be hardly unusual in that regard. It is to evidence that we must cling, not to theories. If we find that we have put on a hat that is too small for our head, let us get a new hat, not cut off part of our head.

The paranormal will almost certainly not overthrow our current paradigms, but if legitimate proof of the paranormal does arise, it need only be the same quality of proof that built our paradigm and sustains it.

If you ask someone for the time, you’d probably accept their answer; are you telling me that if they told you they had proof of a telepathic Teapot instead, that'd be good enough for you? Or perhaps that you would require a formal study to be done to determine whether or not they were giving you the right time?

Oddly enough, I rarely ask people for time, choosing instead to look at my watch. Which relates to our discussion in that I try to personally investigate that which I believe.

To use your analogy, if the individual lacked a means of telling time, indeed I would disbelieve them. Likewise, if the individual had a little device in their pocket that told them the position of all teapots, and they told me that there was a teapot orbiting the sun between mars and earth, I would indeed most likely believe them (but, of course, only if I have reason to believe in the abilities of the device).

I am familiar enough with watches to trust their abilities to track time, if properly maintained and configured. If I were to believe a teapot-locating device, I would want to likewise be familiar enough with it to judge it capabilities of tracking teapots.

GenesisOne

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3908 on: September 09, 2009, 02:26:12 pm »
Very interesting, Thought.  You have a very sensible understanding of scientific verification via experimentation and the elimination of variables.

IMHO, paranormal activity falls under pseudoscience.  For the sake of simplicity, I define it as “a scientific claim that cannot be tested under any circumstances other than the ones arranged by the defendant of the claim.”  Such a science would include:

- Vague or exaggerated claims (e.g. Telekinesis)
- Relying more on confirmation rather than being objective (e.g. Global Warming)
- Lack of being open to testing by other experts (e.g. Dr. Masaru Emoto’s water crystal influence)
- Absence of progress (e.g. Telepathy)
- Personalization of issues  (e.g. Second-hand smoke)
- Use of misleading language (e.g. Hoax petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide, or water)

One of the biggest tenets of scientific data is the ability to repeat results. <-- Analogy Alert!

What if I claimed I literally weighed a ton?  I step on a metric scale and it read 1,000 KG.  I sit on a chair, and it breaks under my colossal weight.  Same thing happens when I lean on a table.  There!  I just proved that I weigh a ton!  But wait a minute…  In a different setting arranged by scientists, I only weigh around 75 to 80 KG, and tables and chairs can support my weight.  What just happened?

Reply with your answer, and we’ll continue from there.

Thought

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3909 on: September 09, 2009, 04:52:45 pm »
I'm not entirely sure what you’re getting at, Genesis, but I'm game:

I might well note, in response to the scientists response to your claim, that you claim would be correct under the proper objective circumstances. Specifically, since weight is result of gravity effecting mass, change one of those variables and you'll change the weight. Or in other words, you would weigh literally a ton, if gravity was great enough.

But after having tested you and finding your claims to be incorrect, the proper course of action is to determine what is causing this divergence of results.

Let us take the cynic perspective and suppose that an investigation of the differences in test results indicated that you had rigged the results of your experiments (you messed with the impressive scale, weakened table legs, etc). Your specific claim would be disproven, but not the larger claim that you (or an individual like you) could weigh a ton. If your claim was ridiculous enough, we might be able to actually disprove the larger claim (such as if you said you literally weigh "purple" kg), but a different experiment would need to be devised to address that topic.

If we aren't being cynical and assume that your experiments were valid (that is, you did not mischievously change starting conditions by purposely weakening a table, or messing with a rather impressive scale), then of course another explanation must be found. A simple water displacement test would most likely follow, in order to determine your mass. The most likely outcome here is that it would be discovered that you have normal mass, for a human. Thus investigation would turn to gravitational differences. Perhaps the gravity in your test zone was different (though roughly 10x gravity would be rather easily noted and would have probably come up even before the confirmation test). If we allow the effects of rapid acceleration to play in as well, perhaps you were conducting your experiments on a rocket shooting off into space. If, however, a water displacement test indicated abnormal mass, we might instead start by investigating the verifying scientists' facilities. And so on, and so forth.

As a side note, I would argue that your definition of pseudoscience is incorrect and itself misleading, as it focuses on results rather than processes.

Masaru Emoto's experiments do indeed qualify as pseudoscience, but not for the reason you listed. Rather, I would argue that they count as pseudoscience because of his measures. The aesthetic nature of frozen water is highly subjective. Lacking an objective measure, any experiment he performs will inherently be pseudoscience. His controls are themselves worrisome, but until the measures are a far more pressing concern in my mind.

His experiments could be modified to approach real science. For one, instead of examining water to see if it is aesthetically pleasing, one could measure the specific crystal formations and compare those, provided one had pre-established basic category of crystalline shapes (which would itself require a pilot study). Or one might be able to measure the density of the crystals that form, or their refractive qualities, etc. Once a proper measure is put in place on that end, one would also need to put a proper measure in on the other end. That is, one would need to systematically identify what counts as "positive" and what counts as "negative." This would probably require a very large number of cohorts, each with their own control groups

After those are established satisfactorily, then one could begin addressing issues of controls on the experiments. Poor controls, however, to me does not indicate that something is pseudoscience. Just, poor science.

Global Warming, on the other hand, seems like it would fit the criteria of good science. Unfortunately, experiments on it cannot be run in a lab with fine controls. Rather, we must gather data and make predictions, using future occurrences as our experiments. Sort of like theories on how stars form: we can't replicate it in a lab, but we can theorize how the process happens and will continue to happen and look for those specific instances in the universe.

For GW, the research I am familiar with has collected data legitimately and from that data predictions are routinely made. I can't find a fault with the process itself. To take the perspective that GW is bunk, such "evidence" against it would come in the form of routinely failed predictions. What constitutes a failed prediction would probably necessarily be established beforehand. Predicting global temperature increases would need to be within a given range: given current predictive models it seems unreasonable to demand an exact estimation. But something along the lines of "current greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will produce a global temperature increase of between .5 degrees C and .75 degrees C yearly. This temperature increase will itself increase by a factor of X for every Y megaton-increase of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere." Thus if one year worldwide GG levels decreased but the temperature increased, that would merit particular investigation. Or if one year GG levels significant increased but temperatures decreased. And so on.

Pseudoscience, as I would define it (and thus in turn how I would argue you should define it) is determined by unscientific processes. There may be unscientific aspects of good science (the personalization of second-hand smoke), but that doesn't make it pseudoscience. Good science is like a tool, it is up to us to determine how to use it. Pseudoscience is like a moose, I have no idea how to use it and we should probably back away very slowly so as to not startle it.

KebreI

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3910 on: September 09, 2009, 05:37:18 pm »
THE CAPSLOCK KEY IS THE MOST USELESS KEY ON THE WHOLE BORED!!!! JUST USE SHIFT!!!

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3911 on: September 09, 2009, 05:50:02 pm »
Well put, Thought.

I guess it was a roundabout way of me saying that any scientific claim, when given results under specific circumstances and experimentation, should be able to replicate said results under different, and thereby more objective, circumstances.  Don't you just love Double Blinds?  It's the best thing ever to happen to science like syrup happened to pancakes and waffles.

I was being simplistic when I said that pseudoscience is a scientific claim that cannot be tested. I will now have to rely on an actual dictionary definition to find more impartial ground.  Here's what I happened upon (credit to Wikipedia):

Pseudoscience: a methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific, or that is made to appear to be scientific, but which does not adhere to an appropriate scientific methodology, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, or otherwise lacks scientific status.

In other words, a scientific claim has to be falsifiable, or the ability to be proven false.  Since that’s next to impossible for claims such as telepathy, telekinesis, and remote viewing, it is safe for me to say that such claims are pseudoscientific in nature.

Now for some role-playing to reinforce my newfound definition.  
I make a claim that the earth is flat.  My evidence to present:

- The earth I and everybody else walks on is constantly under our feet.
- The horizon and ocean appear flat, like a table.  Any mountains or hills I see are simply bumps.
- My friends and family sailed beyond the ocean and I never saw or heard from them again.  This would imply an existing “edge” to the surface they sailed on.
- Every picture of the earth I have seen may be round in shape, but it’s always a two-dimensional photograph, thereby erasing any discernment of it being a sphere.

I have given the evidence to be subjected to scientific testing.  Mr. Thought, the floor is yours.

Thought

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3912 on: September 09, 2009, 06:31:46 pm »
In other words, a scientific claim has to be falsifiable, or the ability to be proven false.

To note, not all scientists agree with that. There is a notable degree of debate in what constitutes a scientific hypothesis. I know, science is the last place you'd expect philosophy to pop up, but it does. Since you used Wikipedia first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_science

I happen to agree with you that falsifiability is a necessary component of good science, but I acknowledge that this isn't a universally held belief.

However, this happens to touch on an aspect of my objection to MsBlacks objection to statements that the paranormal may merit further research. It is scientific to say that a limited, falsifiable claim is, well, false ("I have an alien in my pocket!" is false if investigation of the contents of my pocket fails to produce an alien), but it is unscientific to say that aliens exist. If they do, we can provide proof, but if they don't, then it is near enough impossible to prove as to effectively be impossible (we could examine every square inch of the universe). Thus it is improper to say that science has disproven aliens. Subsequently, if new evidence arises, the issue might merit returning to ("okay, I didn't have an alien in my pocket yesterday, but by golly I have him in my lunch box today!")

- The earth I and everybody else walks on is constantly under our feet.
- The horizon and ocean appear flat, like a table.  Any mountains or hills I see are simply bumps.
- My friends and family sailed beyond the ocean and I never saw or heard from them again.  This would imply an existing “edge” to the surface they sailed on.
- Every picture of the earth I have seen may be round in shape, but it’s always a two-dimensional photograph, thereby erasing any discernment of it being a sphere.
 

Your assertion is incorrect. The horizon, particularly on an unbroken ocean vista, does not appear to be flat. Furthermore, since you brought up sailing, if you had ever watched a ship appear on the horizon (presumably one that hadn't sailed far enough away to fall off the edge of the earth) you will notice that the top of the sail appears first and, only after some time, will the hull of the ship appear above the horizon. If the earth was flat, they should appear at the same time. Likewise, if a ship is sailing away from you, the hull will sink below the horizon long before the sail. Now I suppose it could be falling off the earth, but that is rather slow fall and is in itself suspicious.

Given the inconsistencies of your observations with independent observations regarding the real world, I propose a test! A vessel with a small crew will sail beyond the horizon. As it would be ridiculous to risk the lives of good men and women for such an experiment, the craft will be equipped with a suitable number of inflatable dirigibles that can be deployed to airlift the humans out in the event of World’s End. Furthermore, in order to affect proper controls, I suggest we have two groups of such individuals, one of which will be placed in an internal environment designed to simulate sailing on the ocean. The two groups will be given a sedative to put them to sleep, at which point a crew of disinterested day laborers will move them onto their respective vessels, effectively blinding the testing population. We two, and all other scientists involved, will go willingly into an isolation chamber for a year. That should nicely double-blind the experiment. After all, the edge of the world may only be a manifestation of the placebo/experimenter effect.

And for a tertiary critique of your claim, I ask you to observe this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Waterman_Butterfly_Map_1996.jpg

There, now you've seen a picture of earth that is not round. As a word of advice, never try to visit Antarctica.

GenesisOne

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3913 on: September 10, 2009, 01:50:56 pm »

All right, then.  As long as you knew that I was simply role-playing.  I know the earth is spherical in shape.  The sad about it is that there's still a flat earth society to this day, even if it's through websites.  They've even gone as far as to provide the physics and properties of a flat earth.   :( *sigh*

But no more jokes or role-playing.  Now I have a real scientific claim: interstellar travel.  Only this time, I will provide evidence against it, enough to even call it a pseudoscience.  Here's my evidence to present:

- Our current rocket technology is incapable of providing the speed needed to make interstellar travel realistic (close to 87% the speed of light).  Engine design alone would affect the

- Reaching such speeds would be dangerous.  Running into small particles (like the size of a grain of sand) would punch major holes in any spacecraft due to the high speed of impact.

- The Doppler effect of traveling at such speeds would blue shift ordinary visible light all the way to the wavelength of gamma and x-rays. Shielding gamma rays is next to impossible (they can even travel through many feet of solid metal). When they do strike matter (like space traveler's bodies), the results are devastating.

- The lack of gravity would likely be fatal within a couple years (determined from the effects of prolonged weightlessness among the astronauts of the Space Station).

- It would be impossible to carry enough food and water for such a trip. The idea of making a self-contained bio-habitat is appealing, but impractical, due to the large amount of space required.

Interstellar travel falls under a number of the different properties of pseudoscience that I labeled, including exaggerated claims (anti-matter and fusion engines) and absence of progress.  And the best property about this claim is that it’s falsifiable.

I have given the evidence to be subjected to scientific testing.  Mr. Thought, the floor is yours.

Thought

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Re: The $%*! frustration thread
« Reply #3914 on: September 10, 2009, 02:31:20 pm »
I'm still not sure what you are getting at Genesis, though this is getting long enough and off-topic enough that I'll respond via PM (unless someone has a reason for this to continue here).

But until I have the time to write a reply, I have one word for you, just one word: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090909/sc_livescience/micelevitatedinlab;_ylt=AsKoa0FwiyNsKdm0U8.eEAOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNlYjU0bjRqBGFzc2V0A2xpdmVzY2llbmNlLzIwMDkwOTA5L21pY2VsZXZpdGF0ZWRpbmxhYgRjcG9zAzEwBHBvcwM3BHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5faGVhZGxpbmVfb

... a URL counts as a word, doesn't it?