Originally Posted by fewtch
If a person distrust science at the same time they consider the senses "absolute truth" (even knowing they can be fooled), then it can be equated with belief.
Probably everybody occasionally has experienced one or the other self-delusion -- a reason more to be critical towards yourself and your senses and learn from the experience. But that doesn't mean your senses are generally unreliable. If they were, the human race (and related animal species) wouldn't exist today. Relying on your senses is the most natural behavior and a healthy attitude -- don't trust people who tell you otherwise, e.g. that you only have to trust data -- i.e. your intellect! How about biking or skating? Do you always have the laws of physics present for keeping balance?
Why do you equate relying on your senses with distrusting science? If I follow your point of view, I only have the right to hear what science has acknowledged as reality. Is this a «scientific», unbiased approach? I don't trust or distrust my hearing more or less depending on the kind of audio device in question, so it doesn't matter to me if it's a headphone, a speaker, a source device, an amp or a cable -- I'm as open as ever. Why should I be less critical towards my hearing in the case of a headphone, just because it's more likely to have a distinct sonic signature than a cable?
By no means I distrust science, actually I'm very interested in it. It's just that science isn't and has never been a monolithic collection of truths, but almost every truth has been modified throughout the history. Add to this that science has very little interest for audiophile concerns and therefore very little experience with corresponding phenomena. Subtle sonic differences below the level of sound transducers haven't found a satisfying explanation so far, and I can only wonder about people claiming that all audio phenomena are well studied and explained. Again, consider the sonic differences with amps -- barely denied even by ultra-skeptics, but simply not explainable on the basis of measuring data.
|I didn't intend anything malicious, only that trusting one's senses to the exclusion of known principles is really almost childish... like "willfully" shutting one's brain off and stubbornly insisting "I hear it, therefore it exists." A schizophrenic hearing voices would also declare the same thing. There need to be "checks and balances" on the senses, in the form of rational knowledge.
Sorry, but I'm of the completely other camp. If you let «rational knowledge» dictate you what's audible and what's not, you're not open-minded. Science isn't and never was a tool for dictating the laws of nature to follow the theories, it always was meant to experience nature and create the theories on the basis of these experiences.
You can call audiophiles «sick» in the sense of neurotic fanatics, and there's certainly some truth in it -- like with every form of excessive leisure activity --, but if in their never-ending search for the ultimate sonic experience a specific cable has a specific, consistent and repeatable effect on the sound, perceivable with the listener's ears, not measuring devices, it's all that matters. You don't want a cable that's scientifically approved to cause sonic differences. Just as little as you don't need a headphone that has been approved to be more brilliant or more spacious or whatever. Let your senses become independent of your intellect! Or rather: allow them to be as they once were. You can switch to a critical perspective anytime (since we're self-conscious humans, which is a good thing, among others), but in the end don't differentiate between more likely and more unlikely impressions! (Oops, am I preaching?)
I agree too -- good definition.