[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] rant on pseudoscience

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Rob Freeman <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 22:04:13 +1300
Message-id: <7616afbc1001220104m59690864je28595d73e2e4f35@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 5:58 PM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Paola, Avril, Rob, Ed, Rob,
> First of all, it is essential to distinguish empirical sciences from
> pure mathematics.  In empirical sciences, the ultimate test is agreement
> of predictions with observations.  Mathematics, however, is not an
> empirical science.    (01)

Greg Chaitin might have issue with that statement. He wants us to
accept a certain amount (Omega?) of maths is random, admitting of no
proof but observation (Chaitin: "Is mathematics quasi-empirical?")    (02)

But undoubtedly there is a difference of emphasis in mathematics. You
might say it is "top down", where science tries to be "bottom up".
Even if there is a degree of abstraction which escapes them both.    (03)

> ... I'd add that similar issues apply
> to every community or organization from a nuclear family up to
> the largest business corporations and governments.    (04)

Kuhn has a little to say about the exact kind of community which is
necessary for science:    (05)

p.g. 167
'... Just how special that community must be if science is to survive
and grow may be indicated by the very tenuousness of humanity's hold
on the scientific enterprise. Every civilization of which we have
records has possessed a technology, and art, a religion, a political
system, laws, and so on. In many cases those facets of civilization
have been as developed as our own. But only the civilizations that
descend from Hellenic Greece have possessed more than the most
rudimentary science.'    (06)

That last may be an unacceptable generalization today, but there are
plenty of societies which have become very rigid and unchanging for
long periods of time. It behoves us well not to take continual
"progress" in science for granted.    (07)

Exactly what leavens the mix, I don't know.    (08)

> I agree that peer review (and more generally review by the community,
> which could be family, colleagues, customers, voters, etc.) is
> necessary.  But it's also important to have an ombudsman, appeal
> process, or safe haven that can enable the lambs or goats to
> get a second chance.    (09)

Like a lot of rule-based systems, perhaps the best we can hope for is
that the rules are not applied too rigidly. Peer review might be good,
but too much peer review bad.    (010)

Many people have the feeling that academia worked better when there
was more tenure and less pressure to "perform."    (011)

Another option might be to follow the advice of lateral thinking guru
Edward de Bono (from memory) and reward honorable failure more than
success.    (012)

I wonder if there are any figures for the pay-off from Google's 20% time.    (013)

-Rob    (014)

P. S. Nice Wired reference Ali. Maybe the right amount of
interdisciplinary mix is the key after all.    (015)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (016)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>