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Old 09-16-2011, 12:45 AM   #3331
jay73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Jungian (and Freudian for that matter) psychology is pseudoscience because it doesn't meet scientific standards, not because he believed in weird things.
And we are going in circles again. X is not science because it doesn't meet scientific standards. A polar bear isn't a grizzly bear because it doesn't meet grizzly bear standards. So? Should the polar bear be ashamed of himself? Free tautologies for all.

And then that ludicrous notion of "pseudoscience". Something is science or it is not. I do not know anything called "pseudoscience"; "pseudo" adds a moral element to an objectively verifiable statement (but that is the whole point, isn't it, slipping in a value judgement in order to seduce the gullible? A rhetorical trick as old as the world).

As for "scientific" psychiatry, that appears to be on its way out again. After few decades of obession with medication at the expense of therapy, an increasing number of practitioners (and the public at large) is realizing that the results have been disastrous. Science isn't the kind of panacea you would make it out to be.

Psychology, by the way, shows that people are not driven by facts but by beliefs - and that belief precedes fact, not the other way round.

Last edited by jay73; 09-16-2011 at 12:56 AM.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 08:33 AM   #3332
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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
And we are going in circles again. X is not science because it doesn't meet scientific standards. A polar bear isn't a grizzly bear because it doesn't meet grizzly bear standards. So? Should the polar bear be ashamed of himself? Free tautologies for all.

And then that ludicrous notion of "pseudoscience". Something is science or it is not. I do not know anything called "pseudoscience"; "pseudo" adds a moral element to an objectively verifiable statement (but that is the whole point, isn't it, slipping in a value judgement in order to seduce the gullible? A rhetorical trick as old as the world).
And I'm the one accused of being too black or white. In fact, drawing a line in the sand between science and non-science is famously difficult. Poppler considered the Demarcation Problem the central problem in the philosophy of science. His solution, falsifiability, has problems of its own but is widely accepted to be at least an important, if not key, component of what makes up real science.

Pseudoscience dresses itself up in the trappings of science, usually using a lot of buzz words and misleading language. Jung's concept of synchronicity is a widely used example. It's unfalsifiable and makes unsupported claims.

And yes, there may be a negative value judgement in the term, but I would argue that is justified. When a chiropractor claims, for example, to be able to treat high blood pressure, when there isn't a shred of evidence chiropractic treatments can do that, is that not unethical? At best, they're bilking people for money, at worst, they are putting people at risk, both from the risk of chiropractic adjustments (risk with no benefit is bad, if I have to spell it out) and from the risk that people will not seek medical care that can actually lower their blood pressure. You have a treatment who's foundational theory is simply wrong (subluxations), who has no evidence efficacy for anything but some musculoskeletal pain, and makes unsupported health claims. To call it pseudoscientific seems entirely accurate, negative connotations and all.

Quote:
As for "scientific" psychiatry, that appears to be on its way out again. After few decades of obession with medication at the expense of therapy, an increasing number of practitioners (and the public at large) is realizing that the results have been disastrous. Science isn't the kind of panacea you would make it out to be.
Well that's a straw man. "Scientific psychiatry" would be psychiatry that 1) has a theory of mind based on evidence, and 2) utilizes treatments that are scientifically plausible and evidence based. It doesn't matter if those treatments are pills or talk therapy or behavior therapy or whatever. The fact that pills can and have been abused or their benefits overstated says nothing about science. (In fact, it's generally been bad science - withholding negative findings in studies, for example - that have led to problems.)

Quote:
Psychology, by the way, shows that people are not driven by facts but by beliefs - and that belief precedes fact, not the other way round.
I agree. Does that mean that trying to figure out what is true has no value or is a useless endeavor?

I have not tried to claim that science can answer questions of morality or value. I do think knowing what's true is an important component of moral reasoning. If someone murders a person, most of us would want that person convicted and either locked up or executed. If we find out that person has a tumor pressing on his brain causing aggression, does that not complicate the moral calculus? And of course, when we decide on the right thing to do, science can help us achieve the goal. If we decide it's right to make sure that everyone has health insurance, science would help us evaluate effective ways to achieve that goal. (And I'm not claiming consequentialism or utilitarianism to be the end all be all of moral reasoning. I personally lean towards value ethics. But clearly there are circumstances where there is a "right" thing to do and we need to know how best to achieve it.)

Last edited by reed9; 09-16-2011 at 09:18 AM.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 09:15 AM   #3333
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Yes, let's have people's brains mapped in their entirety (which I do think is possible, at least theoretically), run simulations based on certain patterns of stimuli to predict output, and imprison/punish/drug/<insert dehumanizing action here> "potential" criminals based on their neurophysiology.

Or on a less "judicial" note, let's tell people what they absolutely, inevitably will and must become in their lives based on similar methods, despite their personal aspirations. If your neurophysiology doesn't allow you to become a good musician, then tough luck; no matter how much you want to make it happen, your brain is quite literally incapable of developing the skills necessary, so don't even bother trying.

Apply this to bascally anything you have ever wanted to do/become that you never could, and you start seeing where the "purely scientific worldview" becomes depressing.
There's another straw man slain. We could stuff a bed.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 09:17 AM   #3334
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(…and personally, after going through all the sh*t I have in this thread, I'm beginning to wonder if the classic counter of "…but you can make your own 'value'" is even worth it anymore; apparently anything that isn't science is either petty/insignificant or utterly worthless in every sense of the word. )
Maybe if you'd stop pretending people are making arguments they aren't making, you'd be less angry.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 09:32 AM   #3335
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Now, that's just silly and naive. One of the few things you can be sure about is that you can't predict future - there are way too many variables. Plan whatever you want or try to predict all you want, but in reality it is always quite possible (quite possible means significant probability - from 25 to 75%) that real turn of events will have nothing in common with your prediction. As they say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
Irrelevant. Whether you have good information or not, you're still making predictions when weighing moral choices. So while the road to hell may be paved with good intentions, it's also bound by the guardrails of irrationality and ignorance.

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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Another problem is that science is a tool and as a result is strictly within "moral gray" area. It is said that nazi performed human experiments, and animal rights activist are vocal about animal experiments as well, even though either of those may have had practical applications. Also if I remember correctly, guys that developed first car safety systems were actually smashing corpses against the wall in order to determine human body limits. Scientific research is neutral.
Two indefensible assertions: science is strictly within the moral gray area and scientific research is (morally) neutral. And you cite as your reference... a sociopathic, amoral regime. Terrible argument.

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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Kinda reminds me of a certain dude that believed in science selectively - things that "makes sense" are true, and those that "do not make sense"(quantum physics) are not. Useful knowledge can have an unusual or "improper" origin, which means it can originate from superstitious person.
On the offhand chance that such knowledge is useful, sure. The problem is that you might as well be spinning the roulette wheel of truth. Your odds of winning are not good.

And to be honest, your approach is reminding me of the "makes sense" camp.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 09:49 AM   #3336
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Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
Irrelevant. Whether you have good information or not, you're still making predictions when weighing moral choices.
Long ago I used to think this way, however I've changed my opinion. Trying to predict future when making moral decision will mostly waste your time, so you'll end up doing nothing due to lengthy decision making process.

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Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
And you cite as your reference... a sociopathic, amoral regime. Terrible argument.
You need to read more carefully, instead of starting to write answer immediately after seeing word "nazi".
I also mentioned animal research and car safety systems research that surprisingly weren't done by nazis.

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Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
On the offhand chance that such knowledge is useful, sure.
You're going in circles, since this has been already discussed by reed9. His point (if I understood him correctly) was that it is hard to measure "usefulness" of knowledge. For example (AFAIK), germanium, when discovered was thought to be useless - until "somebody" invented transistor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
And to be honest, your approach is reminding me of the "makes sense" camp.
Now that came out of the blue. Is this statement actually based on something?
Anyway, your opinion is irrelevant. If you can provide decent argument, go ahead, however an "opinion" (that isn't based on anything) isn't interesting.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 10:15 AM   #3337
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
You're going in circles, since this has been already discussed by reed9. His point (if I understood him correctly) was that it is hard to measure "usefulness" of knowledge. For example (AFAIK), germanium, when discovered was thought to be useless - until "somebody" invented transistor.
Not only is it difficult to measure the usefulness of knowledge, I do not think usefulness should be the main consideration in scientific inquiry.

This is where is does get into values. As I said, I'm not a consequentialist or utilitarian. I consider knowledge to be valuable in and of itself. Even in the case, as MrCode fears could happen, that knowledge leads to overall negative utility. Not that I think negative consequences of knowledge are inevitable or that there isn't a utilitarian argument to be made for scientific progress and free inquiry. But those are not my primary motivators.

Last edited by reed9; 09-16-2011 at 10:23 AM.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #3338
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Long ago I used to think this way, however I've changed my opinion. Trying to predict future when making moral decision will mostly waste your time, so you'll end up doing nothing due to lengthy decision making process.
Well, YOU would probably be paralyzed by indecision, because you seem to be hung up on the unachievable goal of absolute certainty. Most of the rest of us are happy to function under a certain amount of uncertainty.

For example, I have no problem making the moral decision that driving with any of my passengers unbuckled is unacceptable. Sure, anything can happen in a car crash, and the ultimate outcome cannot be predicted. Every once in a while you hear of someone who was thrown from their vehicle and survived as it burst into flames. But since the odds overwhelmingly favor superior outcomes with seat belts, it's a gamble I'm willing to take.

If, on the other hand, I required absolute certainty, then I would never be able to drive anywhere. That's not living.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
You need to read more carefully, instead of starting to write answer immediately after seeing word "nazi".
I also mentioned animal research and car safety systems research that surprisingly weren't done by nazis.
Well, next time don't play the Nazi card, then.

Crash-testing with corpses? They're already dead, right? And the knowledge gained from testing could save human lives? Sounds like a positive moral decision to me. But morals are subjective, so maybe you feel that the rights of the dead are more important than those of the living?

Animal testing... what's its potential to save human lives? Are human lives more important than animal lives? Considering that the alternative is to experiment on prisoners and the insane... you might disagree, but I see a morally positive decision here, too. Of course, that depends on the research, its ultimate value, and its ultimate cost to the test subjects. These are situational moral choices, but overall, I'd say testing on animals is better than the alternative... testing on humans (wittingly or otherwise) or not testing at all and dealing with the consequences.

So either way, your statement is still incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
You're going in circles, since this has been already discussed by reed9. His point (if I understood him correctly) was that it is hard to measure "usefulness" of knowledge. For example (AFAIK), germanium, when discovered was thought to be useless - until "somebody" invented transistor.
You're the one who brought up usefulness, not me. I'd say it's better to focus on whether the information is correct, because certainly if your information is not correct, then it's useless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Now that came out of the blue. Is this statement actually based on something?
Anyway, your opinion is irrelevant. If you can provide decent argument, go ahead, however an "opinion" (that isn't based on anything) isn't interesting.
Out of the blue? Ye gods. Do you even read what you type?
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:24 PM   #3339
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
Well, YOU would probably be paralyzed by indecision,

Well, next time don't play the Nazi card, then.

Crash-testing with corpses? They're already dead, right?

Animal testing... what's its potential to save human lives?

So either way, your statement is still incorrect.

You're the one who brought up usefulness, not me.

Out of the blue? Ye gods. Do you even read what you type?
"You, you, you, you, you..."
Your arguments have degraded during last few days. I have impression that you have "lost your cool" and now simply reject emotionally everything I write without actually reading or trying to understand it. I'm only interested in people that can provide decent argument using their logic and knowledge - without getting overly emotional. If you aren't one of those, I have nothing to talk about with you.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:34 PM   #3340
brianL
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This thread is beginning to convince me of one thing: Annie Hall was right in her opinion of philosophy.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:35 PM   #3341
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Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
"You, you, you, you, you..."
Your arguments have degraded during last few days. I have impression that you have "lost your cool" and now simply reject emotionally everything I write without actually reading or trying to understand it. I'm only interested in people that can provide decent argument using their logic and knowledge - without getting overly emotional. If you aren't one of those, I have nothing to talk about with you.
Playing the ad hominem card because all your previous arguments have been exposed... big surprise. I have provided decent arguments using logic, which is, incidentally, a sign of remaining emotionally controlled. Meanwhile, I've had to point out fallacy after common fallacy in your posts.

I like how you're pretending I'm the one performing the emotional rejections, when you've been moaning about what a waste of time this conversation is for pages and pages now.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:45 PM   #3342
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Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
What if the prediction was made without the knowledge of the subject? Would he/she still act contrary to the prediction? It seems to me that it's a question of knowledge: if a subject is predicted to (say) make a left turn, as in your example, and the subject didn't know that they had been predicted to turn left, would they still be able to turn right instead (or do anything else)? I would contend that they wouldn't be able to, since they wouldn't be equipped to make an alternate decision. I'd say that behavioral prediction is possible (to a degree), so long as the subject isn't aware of the results of said prediction.
It's easy to imagine hiding the prediction from the subject in a simple scenario, but I think that in general the problem is this: the behaviour of the human can depend on everything in their observable universe, which must include the computer making the prediction, hence the predicting program runs into the self-reference problems that gives rise to undecidability.

On a more practical level, look at how much trouble there is in trying to predict whether a program is malware or not, obviously predicting human behaviour is going to be a lot harder than that...
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:47 PM   #3343
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No, we call them the "Dark Ages" because Petrarca did so. Any medievalist will show you that the man's views were ideological and in many respects inaccurate - there is plenty of documentation, ranging from parish records to archeology. Unfortunately, Petrarca's views become a secular myth, the kind that is the most pernicious and also the hardest to root out. Like the widespread myth that people in the Middle Ages believed the earth is flat: http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/...FlatEarth.html
Regarding Petrarch... point taken. Regarding documentation... no. Archaeology is not documentation. The widespread loss of literacy and the dearth of good historical references in the Dark Ages is well-established.

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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Isn't it? How about the biological underpinnings of nazism or the economic roots of marxism? Sure, their scientific theories have not withstood the test of time but the real point is that it is absolutely irrelevant whether scientific theories are correct or not. The purism of a handful of laboratory denizens is not going to change that. The majority of the people were, are and will be moved by science only if it serves their personal agenda. I can't count the number of people around me whose strong opinions are justified by an "understanding" of evolution, which often turns out to be rudimentary at best; or who go about preaching the evolutionary creed as a way of making up in intellectual status what they lack in physical, emotional, creative or financial attractiveness.
I'd say the the fact that Nazism and Marxism had underpinnings of pseudoscience, and not actual science, is a vital distinction.

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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Your view of Jung suggests a wikipedia level of familiarity with the man's ideas. If he explored astrology, mythology, etc. it was to discover what they reveal about universal human thought patterns. You may want to read his "Psychology East and West" or his "Answer to Job". For his views on ESP and the like, you should consult his early clinical studies.
So the argument here is, I should focus less on his pseudoscientific approach to physics, and more on his pseudoscientific approach to the human psyche?

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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Update, update. That moral judgements should be valid only if they are supported by calculation is a conviction that is restricted to the consequentalist/utilitarian school of ethics - there are many rival theories out there.
Except I've never said that moral judgements should be valid ONLY if they are supported by calculation, so, straw man. I'm merely saying that when a moral judgement needs to be informed, junk information is not helpful, and leads to junk judgements.

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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Influenced, maybe. Taken? Never.
?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Naturally? As if "good" information" (why apply an ethical epithet to an epistemological noun?) must lead to good moral decisions; history would show the contrary.
Example?
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:55 PM   #3344
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Originally Posted by ntubski
I think that in general the problem is this: the behaviour of the human can depend on everything in their observable universe, which must include the computer making the prediction, hence the predicting program runs into the self-reference problems that gives rise to undecidability.
True, but what if we don't need to have absolute certainty of the position/velocity of absolutely every particle in the universe just to predict whether someone will pick vanilla or chocolate ice cream when presented with the choice? If we can create a model of the human brain that is accurate enough to model behavior adequately, such that one could use that knowledge (to anyone's benefit or detriment; this is why I'm saying the technology, if it is/can be developed, can be abused), then why does self-reference/recursion even need to be a problem?

I think the only way you could mitigate this is to say that the human brain operates on a quantum level, in which case you'd have Heisenberg uncertainty problems to deal with, let alone the problem of modeling the entire universe within itself. AFAIK, that's an open question, though.

Last edited by MrCode; 09-16-2011 at 02:03 PM.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:59 PM   #3345
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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
And we are going in circles again. X is not science because it doesn't meet scientific standards. A polar bear isn't a grizzly bear because it doesn't meet grizzly bear standards. So? Should the polar bear be ashamed of himself? Free tautologies for all.

And then that ludicrous notion of "pseudoscience". Something is science or it is not. I do not know anything called "pseudoscience"; "pseudo" adds a moral element to an objectively verifiable statement (but that is the whole point, isn't it, slipping in a value judgement in order to seduce the gullible? A rhetorical trick as old as the world).
Good point about adding a moral element to an objectively verifiable statement, but that's intentional. Because, it turns out that the products of pseudoscience are commonly not objectively verifiable (and all too often, objectively verifiable to be false), and while masquerading as real science to gain authenticity, they simultaneously undermine confidence in real science while spreading incorrect information, often with dishonest, propagandist intentions.

So yeah, its practice is morally objectionable, at least in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
As for "scientific" psychiatry, that appears to be on its way out again. After few decades of obession with medication at the expense of therapy, an increasing number of practitioners (and the public at large) is realizing that the results have been disastrous. Science isn't the kind of panacea you would make it out to be.
Except that, how have we established that the results have been disastrous? Through science.

Of course, there are many elements of psychiatry that have never passed scientific muster. For example, the use of ritalin and similar stimulants to help children diagnosed with ADD. If you give ritalin to any child, you will see an improvement in attention, whether they've been diagnosed ADD or not. This result scientifically invalidates the claim that the drug treats a clinical disorder. So this practice cannot be laid at the feet of science.

Psychiatry has a long history of pseudoscience, and not coincidentally, a long history of disastrous results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
Psychology, by the way, shows that people are not driven by facts but by beliefs - and that belief precedes fact, not the other way round.
Well, we are a species who has selectively bred for gullibility for millenia.
 
  


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