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The argument to end all cable wars

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 
Well sorry the title is BS. obv there isn't one. but I just wanted to see if you'd read this... But while you're here, try this argument out:

1. Science is based on
a. Observations (experience)
b. Reproducibility of a phenomenon
2. Listening to cables is based on
a. Observations (my experience)
b. Reproducibility of a phenomenon (To me)

EDIT: Ok, rereading this I can see the issue I've probably created for myself, underneath this edit, I go on about stating have I not met the scientific requirements of a phenomena -I'm wrong in this account. It isn't scientific, not one bit, It should state, "have I not clearly demonstrated the existence of a phenomenon that allows me to differentitate between cables" So once again, this part is about me domonstrating the existence of the phenomenon, and the second part actually does have something to do with science. Furthermore you might wanna disregard the stuff above this edit. My more recent posts and discussion with other members should be much clearer than this original one.

So now I ask, if I hear something, a change (please insert -soundstage/headstage/frequency response/ what other else you want here) in the way my music sounds because I change the cables. And assuming I hear the same differences while switching from one cable to another. Then have I met the scientific requirements of a phenomena?
1. Did I notice a particular phenomena?
2. Did I repeat the phenomena to the same testing device (Me)?

If no then don't read further because well you're just lying to yourself. But if yes, then ok so now I have this THING, this change in sound.

Now, WHY is it that I must take up the burden of proof? Why am I the one who has to explain this change? Isn't that science's job? Isn't it science that's supposed to experience this phenomena that occurs over and over again? Additionally, isn't it science's job to explain why it doesn't occur in other people?

Why is the burden of proof on the people who experience the phenomena?

If I could see ultra-violet rays, and scientists test if I can actually see it (by shining a visible light + extension to ultraviolet rays on a white board) and I do see it, in fact I point it out. Are scientists gonna call me a lier? Are they going to say, oh no you have to prove that the UV light thing that your pointing at exists. Or is it up to the scientist to explain to me how I am seeing UV light? The reason I brought this up is because there is a case of a girl that was able to see beyond violet, and she correctly pointed out the location of the light on a board where they shined the light spectrum. Basically she saw UBER violet just a notch above violet I guess.

But now you have audiophiles and audio-notso-philes who claim they hear something different when they switch cables. Not only that but they are infact able to hear differences in cables. While you yourself cannot do this, why is it then that the audiophile must be the one with the burden of proof? How exactly do you prove an experience that you have? Its a trap if you ask me to use science -because science may not know why yet - and I can't use science to explain if science doesn't have that piece of information. Additionally, isn't it then on science to tell me what I'm hearing? Its a repeatable phenomena and its something that I can even demonstrate to be affecting my music (by blindly testing as pyrokid mentions in his thread here or whatever method you would like).

So I now ask....
Why is science not looking for the answer but instead, why are members of this forum using science to disprove my experiences when you in fact can't disprove an experience.

Ok that's all folks, back to the quibbling and bickering.
post #2 of 123
You're misstating science.

It's the scientific process, not a monolithic belief system of established facts.

The problem with cables is that they've failed every test devised under the scientific process. No one has ever demonstrated a difference of any kind.

Further, there is of evidence that humans are deeply influenced by suggestion and placebo.

Moreover, profits on cables run into the hundreds or even thousands of percent. There is EVERY incentive to make bogus products, make up marketing copy, and hope to sell them at a huge profit.

The answer to the debate is simple.

It's uncomfortable for a person to admit that they paid 99% profit to a manufacturer who makes a cable that they, themselves, likely know is bogus and sold just to make them a load of money. That's humiliating. It's a lot easier just to rail against science and the "skeptics" who are actually "too cheap" to spend $800 on a $3 piece of wire.

If you want to talk about burden of proof, it always rests on the party making the claim.

Think that through. Are people supposed to automatically believe and trust everything they hear?

If someone tells you that the CIA is controlling his thoughts with their orbital mind control satellites, does that mean that the CIA is actually practicing mind control?

Suppose you do accept that claim. But the more you look at it, the more it falls apart. You can't find any evidence whatsoever that the CIA is controlling thoughts.

Now, do you assume that there's some secret black program that's beyond your ability to comprehend, possibly run by space aliens, thus rendering it undetectible to humans?

Or maybe it's a lot more likely that the person making the claim is a nut. At some point, you just have to dismiss claims that have zero substance. Especially zero substance claims where someone is asking you for a lot of money.

The only thing left to settle with cables is running believers through experiments that will demonstrate to them just how unreliable their sense of hearing is.
post #3 of 123
Thread Starter 
I think you completely misunderstood all that I stated above.

1. Make a claim (eg. I can tell the difference between 6 cables)
2. I clearly show I am able to differentiate between 6 cables
3. I have already shown that I can hear a difference between the 6 cables
4. Is it then not up to science to explain why?

A lot of what you stated above, doesn't even address any of what I posted above. and going onto psychological reasons may be a good explanation of science based on the fact that these cables may be expensive or cheap -who knows I may prefer cheap cables, but what matters is that I can differentiate between them, not that I necessarily prefer the expensive one. But the fact that I may prefer a cheaper cable, negates your argument, and the fact that I can differentiate between several cables, and I can do it repeatedly just to demonstrate that it is an actual phenomenon negates the remainder of your "claim a nut" (sorry I don't mean to make fun of the last couple of sentences but if you have a better name for the claim argument then I'll use it) argument.

I make no claims on which cable is different, I simply state that I hear, or have this physical experience, that allows me to differentiate between cables - I am making no other claims at all.

---err leaving work now, will respond in a few hours after a couple of drinks
post #4 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
1. Make a claim (eg. I can tell the difference between 6 cables)
2. I clearly show I am able to differentiate between 6 cables
3. I have already shown that I can hear a difference between the 6 cables
4. Is it then not up to science to explain why?
Yes. It is up to science to theorize why. That theory should then be tested to determine if it is true or needs correction. And, you never really prove a theory true -- you corroborate it over time until it becomes generally accepted or something comes along to disprove it.

And, incidentally, scientific inquiry would include validating that you have proven you can hear those differences by examining your testing methodology and attempting to reproduce your results.
post #5 of 123
Thats right. But you're going to have a hard time with no. 2. Designing double blind trials is not easy - you'd need a huge sample size to convince everyone.
post #6 of 123
post #7 of 123
I've called the FBI, your house is surrounded. You have no alternative but to surrender. You will be taken away as a human experiment, your evolved hearing range is an unexplained phenomenom, way beyond normal.
You can hear the difference between electrons flowing through different metallic compounds such as gold, copper and silver. It's unbelieveable, not only do they sound different - they also affect the sound quality of an audio system.
Nurse! double the morphine, I'm going to have to dissect, now this won't hurt a bit...
This is for the good of mankind, and of cause science...
post #8 of 123
Okay, if I understand your argument, it essentially looks like this...

1. You loosely characterised the fact that science is empirically driven.

2. You then decided to analogise this to the fact that what you do with cables is at least in some superficial sense based on observation.

3. You then proceeded to assume that this was at all analogical to scientific methodology, even though a scientific experiment involves falsification while what you're largely suggesting is your methodology essentially relies on agglomeration. That is, the proof instrumentality of science involves eliminating theses falsified by evidence, whereas your proof methodology is largely about accumulating a sufficient amount of evidence that a particular thesis gains plausibility. This is _not_ the same sort of thing.

4. You then claim science has the burden of explaining why your apparently infallible perception of 'differences' between cables has occurred, and that it is insufficient for other [alleged?] scientists to disprove your thesis using science. This is, in a word, absurd.

Burden of proof is on the person making an affirmative statement as to the existence of a particular phenomenon. In some cases, the existence of the phenomenon is virtually indisputable, and so the burden subsequently shifts to proving a characterisation of the phenomenon. However, in a case such as this, the burden does start on the matter of existence. When you characterised your experience, you were more or less attempting to meet your burden of proof for establishing the existence of the phenomenon. However, as noted previously, you used an insufficient proof methodology. When people offer competing theses and raising evidence that tends to falsify your thesis, they're basically doing the process on your behalf and your evidence is essentially not surviving scrutiny.

On another note, and I think really this is the crux of the matter...

Scientific inquiry is largely ineffective in breaking down the debate over cables largely because it aims to answer questions and falsify propositions that are categorically different from the sort that generally motivate belief in the efficacy of cables.

People will continue to believe in cables so long as they continue to think about audio analogically rather than in terms of its constituent physical phenomena. What I mean by this, for example, is in reference to statements such as (a) a system is only as strong as its weakest link, (b) descriptions of audio as though it were a sort of hydraulic system (e.g. that audio "passes" through some sort of conduit system), and (c) assigning unique, pratically metaphysical characteristics to materials and devices. All three of these types of statements commit one or more fallacies. (a) commits the fallacy of assuming all putative "links" are of equal importance in an i/o transfer function, even despite an absence of evidence for considering an interconnect to be as relevant as something like an integrated circuit in the "circuit path." (b) commits the fallacy of mischaracterising the physical phenomena in play as to give someone the impression that "impurity" or some other characteristic will pollute the audio in the manner that a dirty pipe may of drinking water. This, in contrast to a perhaps more appropriate (though still awkward) model of visualising it as a series of reactive nodes, some of which bi-directional, and of varying reactivity and magnitude. (c) commits the fallacy of assuming whatever putative properties given to something are (1) existent in the first place, and (2) transitive such that it may be applied broadly. Taking into account the issues in (a) and (b), this sort of exercise is made all the more dubious.
post #9 of 123
Holy crap. That was well written.

Maybe do that last paragraph in point form. For readability's sake.
post #10 of 123
Oh man, pseudoscience is fun.

Who needs such a thing as controlled conditions!
post #11 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
I think you completely misunderstood all that I stated above.

1. Make a claim (eg. I can tell the difference between 6 cables)
2. I clearly show I am able to differentiate between 6 cables
3. I have already shown that I can hear a difference between the 6 cables
4. Is it then not up to science to explain why?
You lost at point 2, unless you can clearly show that you are able to differentiate between 6 cables. If you have, I would really like to know about it (so would many other people). If your ability to clearly differentiate between 6 cables comes from some sighted comparison, then your "ability" has not yet been clearly proven.

Claiming that you can differentiate between the 6 cables while looking at them is as inane as testing someone on the SAT and giving them all of the answers beforehand. Of course you can distinguish them while sighted, because you know which one is which -you have all of the answers. The curious, and controversial, aspect is the fact that people who claim to be able to differentiate between the cables actually can't when they're put to a test. Once the answers are hidden, they can't ace the test. It's really easy to claim to be able to hear differences, but nobody actually can, or if they can, they haven't been able to prove it in any manner whatsoever.
post #12 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filburt View Post
Okay, if I understand your argument, it essentially looks like this...

1. You loosely characterised the fact that science is empirically driven.

2. You then decided to analogise this to the fact that what you do with cables is at least in some superficial sense based on observation.

3. You then proceeded to assume that this was at all analogical to scientific methodology, even though a scientific experiment involves falsification while what you're largely suggesting is your methodology essentially relies on agglomeration. That is, the proof instrumentality of science involves eliminating theses falsified by evidence, whereas your proof methodology is largely about accumulating a sufficient amount of evidence that a particular thesis gains plausibility. This is _not_ the same sort of thing.

4. You then claim science has the burden of explaining why your apparently infallible perception of 'differences' between cables has occurred, and that it is insufficient for other [alleged?] scientists to disprove your thesis using science. This is, in a word, absurd.

Burden of proof is on the person making an affirmative statement as to the existence of a particular phenomenon. In some cases, the existence of the phenomenon is virtually indisputable, and so the burden subsequently shifts to proving a characterisation of the phenomenon. However, in a case such as this, the burden does start on the matter of existence. When you characterised your experience, you were more or less attempting to meet your burden of proof for establishing the existence of the phenomenon. However, as noted previously, you used an insufficient proof methodology. When people offer competing theses and raising evidence that tends to falsify your thesis, they're basically doing the process on your behalf and your evidence is essentially not surviving scrutiny.

On another note, and I think really this is the crux of the matter...

Scientific inquiry is largely ineffective in breaking down the debate over cables largely because it aims to answer questions and falsify propositions that are categorically different from the sort that generally motivate belief in the efficacy of cables.

People will continue to believe in cables so long as they continue to think about audio analogically rather than in terms of its constituent physical phenomena. What I mean by this, for example, is in reference to statements such as (a) a system is only as strong as its weakest link, (b) descriptions of audio as though it were a sort of hydraulic system (e.g. that audio "passes" through some sort of conduit system), and (c) assigning unique, pratically metaphysical characteristics to materials and devices. All three of these types of statements commit one or more fallacies. (a) commits the fallacy of assuming all putative "links" are of equal importance in an i/o transfer function, even despite an absence of evidence for considering an interconnect to be as relevant as something like an integrated circuit in the "circuit path." (b) commits the fallacy of mischaracterising the physical phenomena in play as to give someone the impression that "impurity" or some other characteristic will pollute the audio in the manner that a dirty pipe may of drinking water. This, in contrast to a perhaps more appropriate (though still awkward) model of visualising it as a series of reactive nodes, some of which bi-directional, and of varying reactivity and magnitude. (c) commits the fallacy of assuming whatever putative properties given to something are (1) existent in the first place, and (2) transitive such that it may be applied broadly. Taking into account the issues in (a) and (b), this sort of exercise is made all the more dubious.
1. Ok with you there
2. I never said what I did with cables was scientific. Since this is the point that Royal crown objects to as well, here's my response.
-I PROPOSE NO SCIENTIFIC TRUTH in the statement regarding the existence of an audible sound - I am in fact demonstrating the EXISTENCE Of a phenomena that I DETECT. By some physical reason, I am able to detect differences between 6 cables Sonically. So take a set up, blind fold me, put me in a chamber so that I feel no vibrations, nor much of anything else, cut my tongue out so I cannot taste (get the picture) all I have is my hearing <I'm doing this to just simplify things.

Now a second person, or even third (if you really wanna double blind this) switches the cables after ever 1 minute song sample (same sample plays, everything similar except the cable). I get out of the chamber, and I pick out, CORRECTLY, which of the cables is which - I differentiate between all of them. To negate any future revisions on Uncle Erik's argument -I do not say if I prefer any cable, I am merely able to pick out and differentiate a particular cable form the rest.

Once again, this is a means of me proving the existence of some physical/psychological sound or thing that I can sense (through my ears) that allows me to differentiate the cables. ONCE AGAIN: NO scientific claims. The burden is in me proving that there is something uniquely sensible about each cable through my HEARING. Hopefully that's enough to clear up Royalcrowns' post.

3. You're off base. I am not making some inductive proof that cables (their construction or composition) result in different sounds. I COULD CARE LESS. I am merely demonstrating that there exists such a thing- that I can experience through the use of my ears. A thing that exists due to the changing of the cables in my stereo system.

4.I do not make any illogical (absurd) claims in my statement. What I state is that Science cannot disprove my experience. How can a field, a practice, a process, a branch of knowledge (I'm reaching here) that is BASED on Emperical evidence ,on EXPERIENCE, disprove MY EXPERIENCE? Isn't science the process (I don't want to argue that its something more so I'll just go with it from Uncle Erik's suggestion) of describing phenomenon? A process that utilizes EXPERIENCES to further promote an understanding of the underlying principles in the physical world?

If you were to approach a color blind man and ask him what he sees - would you dismiss it (assuming you did not know what color "blindedness" was) if he could demonstrate that he could not in fact see color? Would you then not test him? And try to find an explanation for this strange phenomenon- this experience? So what of the audiophile that can hear, will you denounce his experience (if demonstrated to be true eg. 6 cables example)? Or would you now try to determine HOW it was so.

Lastly...
NO, there is no categorical distinction here. The issue here is, everyone here against cables uses CURRENT science to attempt to disprove the audiophile audible account. as you stated, SCIENCE CANNOT DISPROVE EXPERIENCE -if anything it FEEDS on it. At the end, science can only find a way to explain the current phenomena it cannot disprove the phenomena -and if there is no possible way for science to explain the phenomena then science needs to have another revolution. Think coppernicus, newton, einstein type revolutions. But I realize this won't occur because the phenomena only occurs in a small minority in the population -it isn't enough to be of concern for the great irrefutable, always true pillars of science (sarcastic abit at this point).

The real issue at the moment is people believe that if it cannot be explained by science, then it does not exist. Now that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Just look at other phenomenon that science could not explain in the past (during that time of course). Look at magnetic fields, the propagation of light (in relation to the aether), and the neutrino (with relation to balancing the electron spin number). In the past, these phenomena did not lead people to conclude omg omg omg omg... science can't explain it OMG THEY DONT EXIST AHHHAHAHAHAH. NO what happened was that science needed to change. There needed to be a scientific revolution to explain the physical phenomena. At the end of the day... science bows down to experience (so long as you can demonstrate it to be a true experience -hence the 6 cable test).

But lastly LET ME REITERATE
1. I make no claims that CABLE A is better than CABLE B
2. I can only DIFFERENTIATE between a group of cables -SONICALLY while suspending all of my other senses.
3. Take all my arguments with the following implied statements "IF I can demonstrate that I hear something that allows me to differentiate between a set of cables then...."
post #13 of 123
Saying that science cannot fully prove or disprove anything is rather pointless.
Science proves concepts to a more probably degree. Here is an example. Let's consider astronomy in the western world as you pointed out as "revolutionary."

The pervading thought was that we lived in a geocentric solar system, with perfectly circular orbits. Try throwing astrology into there as well. Then, came Galileo and Copernicus and the introduction of the possibility of a heliocentric solar system. A radical thought at the time, but it proved a far more accurate system in predicting the path of the planets and was therefore more probable to be true. Later came Tyco Brahe and Kepler, the latter of whom later found the elliptical model to be even more accurate. Thus an elliptical model of the solar system was far more probable. And then after this, comes of course Newtonian physics and then later relativity.

We do not know for sure that relativity is the right model, there are many inconsistencies with it. But for the most part, it is more probable to be a more accurate model than Newtonian physics.

The evidence for such theories came in the form of hard, quantitative data that was objective and repeatable. The phenomenon was not like the case with cables where it is non repeatable, anecdotal, qualitative, and as many studies suggest to be mostly visual.

Simply because you have an experience does not make it a genuine phenomenon that cannot be explained by modern science. Hearing something includes a host of factors ranging from neurology and psychology to human anatomy as well as electrical engineering in the case of cables.

To say that our current understanding of the human ear and conductive properties of cables strongly suggests that cables making a difference is highly improbable and would require evidence on your part to prove to a probable degree to be a genuine phenomenon. You are ignoring the necessary practice of producing a controlled environment as well, ignoring a multitude of factors/variables that could come into play (such as psychology..). To say that this cannot be explained my modern science would be highly improbable, unless further evidence is shown.

Even if only a minority of the population has the ability to tell variations in the cable, there are more than enough people to organize a focus group to study this. As I said in other threads, you would think a company like Monster Cables who has reaped such massive profits from cables would be able to finance a study to show not only that cables do make a difference, but also that theirs are quantitatively better than those of the competitors. No such study has occurred, to my knowledge. They could also win a handy $1,000,000 from the James Randi educational foundation (James Randi Educational Foundation) by proving it.

Other studies have been done, granted they are rather informal but they tend to indicate that sonic differences cables are visual, placebo, etc.

I got this from Nick_Charles, and it is a rather good example of such a study.
Cable Nonsense

Quote:
Sorry, but I do not buy the claims of those who say they can always audibly identify differences between cables, even when the comparisons are properly controlled to ensure that the identity of the cable being heard is not known by the listener. We have accomplished too many true blind comparisons with listeners possessing the right credentials, including impeccable hearing attributes, to know that real, audible differences seldom exist - if the comparisons are properly implemented to eliminate other causes such as system interactions with cables, etc.

Indeed, during these comparisons (without changing cables), some listeners were able to describe in great detail the big differences they thought they heard in bass, high-end detail, etc. (Of course, the participants were never told the NAUGHTY TRUTH, lest they become an enemy for life!)
post #14 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
1. Ok with you there
2. I never said what I did with cables was scientific. Since this is the point that Royal crown objects to as well, here's my response.
-I PROPOSE NO SCIENTIFIC TRUTH in the statement regarding the existence of an audible sound - I am in fact demonstrating the EXISTENCE Of a phenomena that I DETECT. By some physical reason, I am able to detect differences between 6 cables Sonically. So take a set up, blind fold me, put me in a chamber so that I feel no vibrations, nor much of anything else, cut my tongue out so I cannot taste (get the picture) all I have is my hearing <I'm doing this to just simplify things.

Now a second person, or even third (if you really wanna double blind this) switches the cables after ever 1 minute song sample (same sample plays, everything similar except the cable). I get out of the chamber, and I pick out, CORRECTLY, which of the cables is which - I differentiate between all of them. To negate any future revisions on Uncle Erik's argument -I do not say if I prefer any cable, I am merely able to pick out and differentiate a particular cable form the rest.

Once again, this is a means of me proving the existence of some physical/psychological sound or thing that I can sense (through my ears) that allows me to differentiate the cables. ONCE AGAIN: NO scientific claims. The burden is in me proving that there is something uniquely sensible about each cable through my HEARING. Hopefully that's enough to clear up Royalcrowns' post.
If you can detect a difference between cables, then yes, science will need to change. I don't think anyone will deny this. The key is that we can't even observe these phenomena, let alone analyze them. Nobody has ever been able to observe this phenomenon of cables sounding different. Nobody. The scientific process only starts after observation of a phenomenon, and since we don't have any observations of this phenomenon we can't offer any theories or explanations beyond just-so stories.

Note: by observation I mean something verifiable. Tons of people claim to hear differences between cables, but nobody actually has - or if they have, it's not repeatable and/or documented. If someone passes a blind test, only then do we need a scientific theory to account for the observation. However, without an observation, you can't have a theory in the first place.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
3. Take all my arguments with the following implied statements "IF I can demonstrate that I hear something that allows me to differentiate between a set of cables then...."
IF you could demonstrate that you hear something that allows you to differentiate between a set of cables, then the cable war would be over.
post #15 of 123
Thread Starter 
...once again read the part that states... "IF I am able to demonstrate that I am able to distinguish between..."

And its not pointless for me to say that science can't disprove my experience.

Because tell me, how can science disprove my experience? Any of it? How does science disprove experience, please tell me. HOW?

Once again, The repeatability arguments and whatever else you're trying to interject here DO NOT MATTER within the confines of what I am trying to demonstrate. What all of you cable -non hearers keep on going back on are arguments that HAVE been hashed out in the past. This is different. So your arguments regarding, oh its not testable its not this its not that -ALL meaningless and pointless because I am not talking about proving that cables have some scientific backing or reason why they sound different. I am infact saying that current scientific theories may not even be ABLE to explain the phenomenon (assuming I can demonstrate the existence of the phenomenon). But all of you guys keep talking about disproving a phenomenon with science. Think about it, can science disprove something that I experience? And if so, HOW? I really can't fathom a way for science to do that, if you can I am all ears.

Once again:
I am merely stating that science cannot disprove my experience (assuming that I can credibly demonstrate the ability eg 6cable example). And at that point, if I do demonstrate it, then is it not science's burden to explain how?

The problem is, all non-cable people keep on stating that science tells you this, science tells you that. Well in effect, you're using science to disprove something that I experience, something I can hear. Furthermore, you're using a science that for all we know, does not have the ability to explain a particular phenomenon.

Your later arguments from Nick_Charles concern the "IF" part of my statements. I'm stating that my arguments rely on someone having the ability to distinguish between 6 cables. And if such a person does exist, or say if I could do it (and demonstrate it), Then... why do you guys keep telling me that science disproves my experience. Forget about my ability or whatever to hear, just look at the experience itself. Can science disprove the experience?
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