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The argument to end all cable wars - Page 2

post #16 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by royalcrown View 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.




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.
Thank you for getting it... but would head-fiers be happy with one person? Or do you guys need a crowd because I might not have enough funds for a crowd, maybe one or two people.
post #17 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
Thank you for getting it... but would head-fiers be happy with one person? Or do you guys need a crowd because I might not have enough funds for a crowd, maybe one or two people.
I think most skeptics would be happy with just one person, with one caveat. If you (or anyone) could detect a difference, I think most people would want to see repeatability (i.e. more than one test, each consisting of x significant trials).
post #18 of 123
I said trying to say that science cannot disprove something is pointless because science cannot disprove anything. It can only strongly suggest something to be highly improbable. Saying such only demonstrates that you have an understanding of how one specific part of the scientific method works/implies.

And like I said before, before you can declare this to be an actual phenomenon that cannot be described by science you have to prove it as such. And that will be quite hard to demonstrate in an if situation, as science right now can quite easily propose a number of possible causes -- most of which are psychological.
post #19 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
Because tell me, how can science disprove my experience? Any of it? How does science disprove experience, please tell me. HOW?
I don't think anyone is asserting that science would or could disprove your experience. The fact that you experienced something is a matter of observation. If all we have is your word that you experienced something, that's nice and all, but it is not enough information to form an independent judgement. If it is possible to test your claim, then we could independently verify you really observed something.

Assuming you did, then it's time to explain why you detected differences.

Quote:
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).
Yes, of course that is possible. We'd have to start working on new theories. Or we could toss our hands up and say we'll never understand this and it's hopeless to try.

Quote:
[...]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.
Who does this? What science can do is attempt to explain your experience -- that is, say why you experienced what you did.
post #20 of 123
Thread Starter 
in response to Randomasdf
========
so you're telling me that if the only connection I have to a test is my ability to hear the outcome of changing cables, that it is psychological?

Heres the scenario
I have done the following prior to the test:
1. heard all 6 cables and claim that I detect differences in each (audible differences)
2. Been blindfolded, and placed on a memory foam mattress with a 7 button controller in one hand.
3. I push the button to begin the test.

Test
Music plays in 1 minute intervals, same sample, same player, amp, speakers etc...
After 1 minute, a computer randomly chooses which cable to go next and this repeats every 1 minute interval.

During the 1 minute interval, I am allowed to
1. Press any of the 6 buttons indicating which cable I believe is the one playing
2. Abstain from pushing any button

If I press one button, the computer locks out any other answers. If I chose to press no buttons, the computer marks that as my answer (unknown).

This is done for 30 minutes, perhaps longer/shorter whatever.

The only difference here is what I can hear.... how is any of that psychological? Once again, do not interject what has been hashed out in the past into what I am arguing -because I am not making the same arguments as other cable believers. I am merely trying to demonstrate that it would be up to science to explain what I perceive should I be able to perceive it and demonstrate that I am able to.


==============================

True conclusion of all this:

OK so now that, I hope, things are clearer...

What's the importance in all this?

All comments regarding cables, and debates on cables even on other forums (as seen in this thread as well), keep going back to the idea that science disproves people's claims about hearing something. Mind you, YES these head-fiers, audiophiles have not gone through rigorous demonstrations that they have the ability to detect sonic differences (although if memory serves me correctly, there was a cable builder who was able to demonstrate the ability to detect, different sounds in various grades of silver -wyvrn audio I believe- but thats a side note for now), but all of the arguments that people have so far against cables are arguments against their experience.

Everyone argues that "science tells you can't tell the difference." Science tells you that "you can't hear this, or that." Well that is what I hope I have brought about here. Its that Science CANT tell you that you don't experience something, science CANT be used to disprove experience.

Science is limited to the following
1. Prove/Disprove a theory (and if you denounce inductive reasoning -get rid of the prove part)
2. Explain a phenomenon
3. Accept a **demonstrable** sensation as fact/truth

So now look back on all the previous threads/discussions regarding cables and science. Don't all of them (hopefully except for this one) attack a person's experience? And if they do, ask the poster -how can science attack what can neither be proven/disproven by science because it is not a theory but rather a statement of fact regarding the detection of a phenomenon (explicable or otherwise).

There ya go, the real ending to the argument... I should really get used to the flaming by now but thank you for those that have gotten the argument
post #21 of 123
Yes, given the completely hypothetical situation where cables matter to SQ, proper application of the scientific method would be unable to prove that cables do not change SQ.

Though luckily we live in a world where such tautological arguments are considered pointless.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
So now look back on all the previous threads/discussions regarding cables and science. Don't all of them (hopefully except for this one) attack a person's experience? And if they do, ask the poster -how can science attack what can neither be proven/disproven by science because it is not a theory but rather a statement of fact regarding the detection of a phenomenon (explicable or otherwise).
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could simplify the issue to that degree? Unfortunately we can't and we must take into account psychological phenomena like confirmation bias. I can shout that they sky is green at the top of my lungs, hell I can experience a green sky, but once it is independently shown that the atmosphere filters non-blue light my experience says nothing about the objective situation (not that it did in the first place either).
post #22 of 123
Oranges taste like triangles.
post #23 of 123
pdupiano - two things:

1. Is this just a testing proposal that you will do, or have you already done this?

2. When people say "science" most of the time they're referring to a scientific procedure, or specifically in this case, a scientific methodology of observance. When people say "science tells you that you can't hear x or y" what they mean is "blind testing, conducted in a scientific manner, has shown us that your unblinded anecdotes mean nothing because when conducted in a scientific manner nobody has been able to observe x or y"
post #24 of 123
Thread Starter 
how is that a tautology? Even your poor characterization of what I've argued here is not even a tautology.

Furthermore I never stated that Science (the scientific method if you prefer) could not prove that cables do not change the sound. I claim that science is still lacking and lacks the ability to explain the phenomenon should it be deemed demonstrable.

Do you think using big words gets you extra points, or that I wouldn't look at what you're writing closely?
post #25 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdupiano View Post
how is that a tautology? Even your poor characterization of what I've argued here is not even a tautology.

Furthermore I never stated that Science (the scientific method if you prefer) could not prove that cables do not change the sound. I claim that science is still lacking and lacks the ability to explain the phenomenon should it be deemed demonstrable.

Do you think using big words gets you extra points, or that I wouldn't look at what you're writing closely?
You gave us a hypothetical test with a hypothetical result and requested that we define what science would show in that situation, I don't see how my characterization was very far off. Further it is tautological because you are suggesting that science would show what was already shown (because such testing as you suggested would be scientific, even if inadequate by realistic standards) which no one has disagreed with.

You say that scientific inquiry cannot disprove experiences; that is completely correct. It can only show that it is more likely that such experiences arise because of phenomena other than the effect a cable has on the signal running through it.

Please stop with the ad hominem attacks, they do nothing to further the debate and they weaken your argument.
post #26 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by royalcrown View Post
When people say "science tells you that you can't hear x or y" what they mean is "blind testing, conducted in a scientific manner, has shown us that your unblinded anecdotes mean nothing because when conducted in a scientific manner nobody has been able to observe x or y"
A wise old judge told me once that whenever he reads a brief that has a lot of statements in it to the effect that something is "clear," that there is "no" evidence for something, or that something is "always" or "never" the case, he always suspects right away that the situation is not so clear, etc., as otherwise the matter would speak for itself, and not require hyperbole or categorical statements.

Also, I really love the repeated references to "anecdotes" by some objectivists. The arguments for DBT's are strong enough that one doesn't need to disparage other positions by using loaded words like "anecdotes."
post #27 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by royalcrown View Post
pdupiano - two things:

1. Is this just a testing proposal that you will do, or have you already done this?

2. When people say "science" most of the time they're referring to a scientific procedure, or specifically in this case, a scientific methodology of observance. When people say "science tells you that you can't hear x or y" what they mean is "blind testing, conducted in a scientific manner, has shown us that your unblinded anecdotes mean nothing because when conducted in a scientific manner nobody has been able to observe x or y"
1. Testing Proposal
2. right I understand what you're saying, but realize the the cruz of people's arguments (atleast within these forums) is that science tells you that you can't hear differences or that people use science to disprove your experience. And if people truly do mean as you say when they use the word "science" to describe a certain methodology rather than Science (not the process but rather a body/collective of knowledge), then here is my argument against that.

Scientific Testing requires the following
1. Proper identification of a phenomenon to be tested
2. Proper instrumentation capable of testing the phenomenon

Unfortunately
1. Those who test for sound differences do not know what they are looking for. Yes I understand that they are looking for sound differences, but when's the last time you hear someone do a scientific test based on the wide range of possible differences (eg. headstage, frequency response, noise, distortion etc...)
2. Proper instrumentation comes from a strict understanding of what you are specifically studying. Take for example the testing or proof of the existence of the neutrino. Scientists first defined, what a neutrino was and based on understanding what the wished to find they created big vats that could detect a neutrino as it passes through the earth. This was done as well for anti matter, for the aether experiment etc... and Unfortunately, we do not know what it is about this phenomenon that would allow someone the ability to differentiate different cables. It is still difficult to isolate, particularly if we have only a handful of people in the audio world that can perceive the phenomenon, perhaps there are non audio enthusiasts who can perceive the changes on the basis that they have yet to damage their hearing

Its possible to do the testing but the real point I am striving for first is a means of getting beyond the arguments that people have regarding cables. Trust me I'm tired of those arguments as well because they're old (and don't work) so we need some new ones.

The idea that a scientific method or process can prove or disprove an experience is false and perhaps a misunderstanding at best. Science has its limits, and I'm afraid it cannot tell me that I don't hear something or feel something -it is limited to description. The scientific method, when applied to this notion of testing what you are hearing is flawed because it is missing the two criterion I posted above regarding specific testing and proper instrumentation. Using a flawed (scientific) method/process to test sonic attributes of cables resulted in useless data because what exactly were you testing? In all of these tests, people were in fact testing experiences rather than a phenomenon (hypothesized to be true or otherwise). If they were testing a specific phenomenon, then they would have used instruments designed to pick up a particular phenomenon, not a person. By using a person to detect sonic differences, they were in fact using science (scientific method) to try and prove/disprove an experience. And that, I'm afraid, is something that science cannot do, and if it can, if science can dictate to me what I feel and perceive, then science is no longer a method, procedure, or a collaboration of knowledge -it is a religion, an ideology, and perhaps a prison for my mind.
post #28 of 123
Of course you hear differences in cables. Most people do, even in blind tests.

The problem is, they hear them even when the test is a swindle (i.e., the same cable presented twice, but the listener is told they are two different cables).

And in non-swindle cases, the differences appear to be uncorrelated with the choice of cable (i.e, random).

I designed and took a careful blind test of a $1000 digital coax S/PDIF cable vs a $2 one, with top-of-the-line equipment used throughout. I heard differences in every test -- sometimes prefering the $2 cable, sometimes the $1000.

Science cannot prove there is no audible difference between cables, because as you say, that is a matter of personal experience. But we have no interest in proving or disproving that. We want to test the hypotheses: do audiophiles reliably express a preference for this expensive audiophile cable over this other cheap one, when visual identification of cables is denied, in situations similar to what they would experience in real-world listening.

That is a question statistical science can answer.

Your argument that science cannot prove or disprove personal experience, while true, is simply not useful here.
post #29 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePredator View Post
You gave us a hypothetical test with a hypothetical result and requested that we define what science would show in that situation, I don't see how my characterization was very far off. Further it is tautological because you are suggesting that science would show what was already shown (because such testing as you suggested would be scientific, even if inadequate by realistic standards) which no one has disagreed with.

You say that scientific inquiry cannot disprove experiences; that is completely correct. It can only show that it is more likely that such experiences arise because of phenomena other than the effect a cable has on the signal running through it.

Please stop with the ad hominem attacks, they do nothing to further the debate and they weaken your argument.
I gave you an if then argument
"If there is a person capable of demonstrating the ability to differentiate between 6 different cables (through the isolation of all other possibilities but the changing of the cables), then is it up to that man to prove that cables make a difference or is it up to science to prove that the cables make a difference?"

The hypothetical test, scenario etc.. are merely there to appease people's appetites for the legitimacy of the first part. Furthermore, the "testing" itself is not a test on cables, but rather a test on the experience of the phenomenon. There is a difference between the procedure to test (or better yet to demonstrate the existence of ) the phenomenon and the procedure to later test the cables (in search of the phenomenon).

Your statement "It can only show that it is more likely that such experiences arise because of phenomena other than the effect a cable has on the signal running through it." clearly shows the reason why I needed to put forth the hypothetical test. It is to demonstrate that the only difference/change was the cables.

You other comment "Unfortunately we can't and we must take into account psychological phenomena like confirmation bias. I can shout that they sky is green at the top of my lungs, hell I can experience a green sky, but once it is independently shown that the atmosphere filters non-blue light my experience says nothing about the objective situation (not that it did in the first place either)." also shows the need for the hypothetical test to be put forth for reference because it would remove the psychological influences in the demonstration. Furthermore if you experienced a green sky, and demonstrate that you in fact do experience a green sky - I would run tests to determine why you would experience a green sky, not say Oh but science tells you that you can't experience a green sky.

Lastly the attack is on your improper use of tautology and your mischaracterization of my argument. Why use big words when you don't have to.. or at least use it properly to avoid confusion. I'll keep out the personal attacks if you keep out misused big words.
post #30 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

Science cannot prove there is no audible difference between cables, because as you say, that is a matter of personal experience. But we have no interest in proving or disproving that. We want to test the hypotheses: do audiophiles reliably express a preference for this expensive audiophile cable over this other cheap one, when visual identification of cables is denied, in situations similar to what they would experience in real-world listening.

That is a question statistical science can answer.

Your argument that science cannot prove or disprove personal experience, while true, is simply not useful here.
Wavoman, I hope you read my post (I apologize for there being so many) regarding the true motive behind this. It is not to in fact create a scientific test that can end the cable debate, but it is to get rid of, hopefully, the most common attack against cables, which if you look around the forums is the experience of hearing something. Furthermore, the question of expensive versus inexpensive, will be something I tackle later on, if I can. But for now I am content in trying to get this simple point across.

But my suggestion to the issue you bring up is that the word preference already assumes that someone has in fact passed my hypothetical test, and there are individuals who can differentiate between various cables. And if that has occurred then I'm afraid, your question as you phrase it cannot be answered by science as well. You can gather a lot of data, statistical and otherwise, but it is ultimately an aesthetic question. Do you prefer picaso or the comic strips in bazooka joe?

My constant argument against individuals who use the "objectivity in science" and the advances in statistical data will be this.

1. Gather data on 60% of all americans living in the US (large data set, simply to negate comments regarding sample size)
2. Record their age, height, sex, body parts
3. Come up with a conclusion.

The stuff above is all objective, I will be more than content to agree that up to that point science is objective and that statistics is ok. But then you have 2 conclusions based on the same exact data.
Bill says "The average american has all their body parts"
Ted says "The average american has 1 testicle, and 1 ovary"

Both statements are true, both come from the same data, both are in regards to the body parts of americans. What we notice is that there is an injection of subjectivity in reaching conclusions -mind you the most important part in a scientific endeavor. So because of that, science cannot be purely objective. Additionally the second statement is TRUE. Absolutely true, yet we all laugh at it and realize its pointless and meaningless. and that demonstrates some of the difficulties and problems with statistical evidence -you make of it what you will.
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