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post #61 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood View Post

Keep the discussion away from Religion and Politics, please.  Perhaps steer it back towards audio related discussion.


Haha. Yeah, I wonder how long this thread can last in the "Sound science" forum...

post #62 of 150

Quote:

Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Danneq,

 

What is eugenicism at its most basic form? It's simply promoting certain traits in humans via selective breeding, and with negative eugenics, discouraging undesirable traits with sterilization or other means. It is a science and it works, the only problem, and it's a big problem, is that people are too bigoted and/or don't know enough to turn eugenics into a practical science. And in anthropology, like most fields, most of the body of knowledge is schizophrenic and self-validating.


Yes, but WHICH values and WHY? Science is simply trying to understand the world around us. The scientific method is an instrument in this quest.

Sorry for the Wikipedia quote, but here is the Wikipedia definition of science:

Quote:
...a systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the world and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories. (source)

 

Eugenics is pseudoscience just as creationism is. In eugenics there are certain traits in humans you wish to promote. Which traits are these and why do you want to promote them? This is a complete reversal of science where there are theories that are falsifiable, i.e. which can be proved wrong through testing. Instead of having a theory which have to be changed if measurements disprove it, you set out with a certain value system that you adapt the scientific method to.

 

Sorry again for the Wikipedia quote and link, but this is what Wikipedia says of eugenics:

Quote:
Eugenics is the study and practice of selective breeding applied to humans, with the aim of improving the species. (source)

In which way is this similar to, for instance astrophysics where scientist try to understand the universe?

In eugenics you set out from the judgment that mankind needs to be improved as a species. This reeks of unscientific value judgments and for me in the worst case it ends up in either Auschwitz or Rwanda in 1994. In the best case it ends up in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" where mankind has done away with natural birth and people are born through in vitro and are genetically designed to be of either the "Alpha", "Beta", "Gamma", "Delta" or "Epsilon" caste. You might think this is stupid, but if you look at the history of mankind, how often has not science been used as a means to manipulate and destroy instead of helping man to understand the world?

 

As soon as you start to mix in value judgments in scientific research, it is no longer what I would call true science. True science meaning a way to understand the world around us.

Even if people are not free from judgment, science HAS TO be free from judgment.


Edited by Danneq - 5/29/10 at 5:31am
post #63 of 150

 

@ Head injury

 

You write

 

Quote:
And I am making an argument that there is a universal claim to truth, and it is science.

 

"Truth" is a big word to use.

 

Once again the Wikipedia definition of "science" (gotta love Wikipedia!):

Quote:
[Science] is a systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the world and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories. (source)

 

What does this have to do with "truth"? Or perhaps I should try to rephrase myself and ask you: can science prove what is "good" or "evil"? If it cannot, does it mean that such things do not exist. Does such things as morals not exist?

 

Also, which age of science shows the truth? What science says about the world is not the same now as it was 10, 50 or 100 years ago. So when science has to change its concept of the world, you mean that absolute truth has changed?

 

Giordano Bruno was a monk AND scientists in the late 16th century who was found as a heretic by the roman inquisition and burned on the stake for his theories of the universe. He believed that the sun was just one of an infinite number of heavenly bodies. The science in those days was basically the same as the Roman church, relying on the teachings of Aristotle who said that the earth was the center of the universe and that the sun revolved around it. Observation (telescopes were not invented yet) clearly showed that the sun revolved around the earth and the stars in the heavenly spheres did the same.

So according to science in those days Giordano Bruno was not only wrong, he was also a heretic (with gnostic leanings which the church also did not approve of. The gnostic teachings were originally a part of the Christian movement, but as opposed to the form we see now in the world, it was anti authoritarian and believed in the individuals direct contact with god. A complete opposite to the hierarchical Roman church. Of course the church did its best to wipe out all gnostic movements in Europe and did quite a good job...).

 

Modern science has proved the science 400 years ago to be wrong. But is the truth that our science produces absolute and eternal? If we need to change theories according to new findings, does that mean that reality changes? To me it sounds quite illogical.


Edited by Danneq - 5/29/10 at 5:25am
post #64 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danneq View Post

I have to agree with what eucariote writes. However existentialism/pragmatism forgets the thing that makes ethologist Desmond Morris see man as a playful ape that has never grown up. Do you enjoy music, movies and games, eucariote? What necessity have these got according to either pragmatism or neuroscience? Something that does not play any relevance for our lives/survival besides providing simple enjoyment does not seem to have any place in these theories. Or am I mistaken?

 


I *love* music- it's what got into this headphone endeavor.  You probably saw this coming, but I really like the pragmatist theory of beauty.  To quote John Dewey (Art as Experience, p.15):
 
"..when an organism shares in the ordered relations of its environment does it secure the stability essential to living.  And when the participation comes after a phase of disruption and conflict, it bears within itself the germs of consummation akin to the esthetic.  The rhythm and loss of integration with environment and recovery not only persists in man but becomes conscious with him"
 
I would add to that in the brain, memories co-exist together in the same network of synapses and are actively organized and unified while not becoming too disrupted (some speculate these are the roles of slow wave sleep and paradoxical sleep).  And in my own 5 cent addition to Dewey, I think some part of aesthetic arises in this created wholeness of experiences.  For example, temporal lobe epileptics (where all these organized memories are activated at once) report an intense feeling of oneness, beauty and understanding.  These are the sorts of connections I think that good music can help bring about.  
post #65 of 150

Danneq, you're arguing against a strawman when you say eugenics presupposes "desirable traits". I already said I don't trust people today, or people in the 20th century, to know a good trait when they see it. Eugenics could be a science, but it likely never will be in our lifetime because I don't think people in general are remotely close to having an objective view of the topic. I guess you just forgot when I said that if people today tried to do eugenics, they'd probably cripple us the same way modern livestock has been crippled, and probably breed us for herd mentality? It's the same conclusion as your brave new world or Auschwitz, so I don't know what you're arguing about. Where you and I disagree is that I think eugenics is a science, but that people are unscientific. You think eugenics is unscientific because you say it presupposes "desirable traits". It's just an argument of semantics really, as it is only true of some adherents of eugenics, the same way if you criticize creationism, you're really just criticizing the adherents who believe in certain ideas about creationism that fly in the face of scientific understanding of reality. I could likewise defend creationism, as certain concepts in it can constitute a theory of the universe without flying in the face of science, but the creationists who believe that set of ideas are rare, just as eugenicists who believe in a set of ideas about eugenics that isn't unscientific are rare.


Edited by haloxt - 5/29/10 at 6:53am
post #66 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0dhi View Post

There is no 1:1 correspondence between a wavelength of light and a perceived colour (Magenta for example). Light is not even required for the perception of colour (dreams, the perception of "black", etc). Moreover, you've missed the point the above poster was trying to make, which is that the perception of colour, as a form of qualia, has nothing to do with light. It is an experience, and only the observer has direct experience of it. External observers can only measure and affect that experience through its physical correlates, i.e., neural activity, but the nature of the experience itself cannot be communicated externally or between experiencers.


That is 100% correct. Lets take it in an audio direction. If I had a pure silver headphone cable, science would suggest that it would make no difference to the sound than a copper cable. None what so ever. Tell that to all the audiophiles though. It does change the sound for some people, because they think it is true that it does. You cannot convince them otherwise, because they hear it. Are they flawed ? Yes. But it isn't like science is perfect anyway. Truths are an idea with a positive truth value. If I think silver sounds different from copper, I perceive it to be true. Therefore truth is 100% based on individual perception. When a bunch of people perceive something to be a truth, of course is it much easier to convince others, but you still must convince them. They must accept it for it to be a truth to them.

post #67 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Danneq, you're arguing against a strawman when you say eugenics presupposes "desirable traits". I already said I don't trust people today, or people in the 20th century, to know a good trait when they see it. Eugenics could be a science, but it likely never will be in our lifetime because I don't think people in general are remotely close to having an objective view of the topic. I guess you just forgot when I said that if people today tried to do eugenics, they'd probably cripple us the same way modern livestock has been crippled, and probably breed us for herd mentality? It's the same conclusion as your brave new world or Auschwitz, so I don't know what you're arguing about. Where you and I disagree is that I think eugenics is a science, but that people are unscientific. You think eugenics is unscientific because you say it presupposes "desirable traits". It's just an argument of semantics really, as it is only true of some adherents of eugenics, the same way if you criticize creationism, you're really just criticizing the adherents who believe in certain ideas about creationism that fly in the face of scientific understanding of reality. I could likewise defend creationism, as certain concepts in it can constitute a theory of the universe without flying in the face of science, but the creationists who believe that set of ideas are rare, just as eugenicists who believe in a set of ideas about eugenics that isn't unscientific are rare.


Well, I have said what I can in this case. I have defined the concepts of science and eugenics and I have pointed to sources (albeit only Wikipedia).

 

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines eugenics as this:

Quote:
a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed. (source)

 

And science as this:

Quote:

1 : the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study <the science of theology> b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge <have it down to a science>
3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science
4 : a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws <cooking is both a science and an art>
5 capitalized : christian science

 

(source)

 

 

You are welcome to define both of these concepts and how they go together. I admit that Merriam-Webster writes that eugenics is a "science", but where in its definition of the word "science" can you see anything about "improving", i.e. acting to change/manipulate the subject in question?

Of course I am arguing against a strawman since the only thing you have really said is that eugenics is a science which I done my best to refute. I have tried to point out that science in the true meaning of the word is supposed to be free from value and judgment.

 

I think we are talking past each other. When you say it is just semantics, it is basically what I have been saying all along. I have just been meaning it on a deeper level. We do not use words, they use us - i.e. our thoughts and ideas are so deeply intertwined with the words and concepts we use that unless we deconstruct a word/concept, we will forever be caught in a loop of circular definitions.

 

So for a discussion to be meaningful, the concepts used need to be dissected first so that no misunderstandings of a semantical nature will happen.

 

I do not think that eugenic is unscientific just because it presupposes "desirable traits" (I admit that that was my wording). I believe that eugenics is unscientific because it sets out to change something as opposed to observe and create theories which can be falsified by additional testing.

Or have I misunderstood eugenics again? What is your definition of eugenics? And what is your definition of science?

See, we are getting into definition of words and we seem to have different understanding of the words "eugenics" and "science". Please enlighten me of your definition. I just want to see how your definition is.


Edited by Danneq - 5/29/10 at 8:04am
post #68 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_Tarlow View Post

That is 100% correct. Lets take it in an audio direction. If I had a pure silver headphone cable, science would suggest that it would make no difference to the sound than a copper cable. None what so ever. Tell that to all the audiophiles though. It does change the sound for some people, because they think it is true that it does. You cannot convince them otherwise, because they hear it. Are they flawed ? Yes. But it isn't like science is perfect anyway. Truths are an idea with a positive truth value. If I think silver sounds different from copper, I perceive it to be true. Therefore truth is 100% based on individual perception. When a bunch of people perceive something to be a truth, of course is it much easier to convince others, but you still must convince them. They must accept it for it to be a truth to them.


The cable does nothing different for an individual. The cable does the exact same thing for everyone who uses it, because it works based on scientific principles. Gravity works the same for everyone, so no matter how hard we believe we will not float away. Or like the photon of green light, which has the same wavelength for everyone. The wavelength is a truth, because it's constant and testable. What the cable does to a signal is a truth, because it's constant and testable.

 

What differs from person to person is the brain and how it perceives the truth. This is where everyone differs. Some people's brains trick them into thinking there's more to the truth than there really is. That does not make their perception true. Hallucinations aren't truths, they're just perceptions.

 

I think your argument would be a lot less ridiculous sounding if you replaced "truth" with something else. Then I would agree with it more.

post #69 of 150

But what is truth if not what we perceive it to be? Thinking about anything else but perception is counter to what science teaches us.

post #70 of 150

@ Head Injury and Scott_Tarlow

 

It is good that the two of you are actually keeping your discussion within the realms of "sound science".  

post #71 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_Tarlow View Post

But what is truth if not what we perceive it to be? Thinking about anything else but perception is counter to what science teaches us.


Truth is what we can measure, and what science can prove. Science can explain perceptions, but it can't prove them because we can't share them.

 

And science is not all about perceptions. We can theorize plenty about quantum mechanics, even though by its very nature it can't be perceived.

post #72 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Truth is what we can measure, and what science can prove. Science can explain perceptions, but it can't prove them because we can't share them.

 

And science is not all about perceptions. We can theorize plenty about quantum mechanics, even though by its very nature it can't be perceived.


The theories are grounded by perceptions. I took a year of modern physics, I know how early quantum mechanics was formed. I don't think you have evidence to support that science = truth. That is actually a belief, many share that, but prove to me that science is 100% true. It takes the same leap of faith to think that science is 100% the answer that Christians take thinking Christ is their savior, or the same arrogance. 

post #73 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_Tarlow View Post

The theories are grounded by perceptions. I took a year of modern physics, I know how early quantum mechanics was formed. I don't think you have evidence to support that science = truth. That is actually a belief, many share that, but prove to me that science is 100% true. It takes the same leap of faith to think that science is 100% the answer that Christians take thinking Christ is their savior, or the same arrogance. 


The theories are grounded in perceptions that have been tested, can be tested, are repeatable and consistent (as consistent as quantum mechanics is anyway). Your belief that green can be red, up can be down, and cables can do magic are all based on an individual's own unique perceptions and can in no way be tested by others.

 

If you want to play the proof game, prove to me that your perceptions are as true as mine.

 

I don't believe that science holds all the answers, just that it's our only hope of holding all the answers. An answer based on untestable and individual truths can't be shared or proved, so it's ultimately useless to everyone else. Why should I care if you see green as red? What does that prove, besides the fact that we're different? What does one individual's perception of differences in cables prove, when someone else doesn't perceive it or when science tells us that there should be no difference?

post #74 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_Tarlow View Post

People in science learn not to believe. You can't believe anything in science. All scientists know this.


Are you a scientist? Since I have learned in my high school that Science is very much based on belief. You decide to believe the leading theories, you decide to believe data cited by other scientists, you decide to believe if you are comfortable with the facts that are being presented. Don't generalize science. As long as nothing in this world is perfect and absolutely true, you ALWAYS have to believe.

post #75 of 150

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

The cable does nothing different for an individual. The cable does the exact same thing for everyone who uses it, because it works based on scientific principles. Gravity works the same for everyone, so no matter how hard we believe we will not float away. Or like the photon of green light, which has the same wavelength for everyone. The wavelength is a truth, because it's constant and testable. What the cable does to a signal is a truth, because it's constant and testable.

 

What differs from person to person is the brain and how it perceives the truth. This is where everyone differs. Some people's brains trick them into thinking there's more to the truth than there really is. That does not make their perception true. Hallucinations aren't truths, they're just perceptions.

 

I think your argument would be a lot less ridiculous sounding if you replaced "truth" with something else. Then I would agree with it more.


What you say is only true if all of physics, neuroscience and signal theory are entirely "complete" and entirely "true". That assumption is demonstrably false.

 

Secondly, when you say "Hallucinations aren't truths, they're just perceptions.", it's true but not the complete truth. There have been studies showing that a person's beliefs (though they are false) can result in neural activity that shows the brain reacting as though the belief were physically true. That doesn't mean that, in the case of cables, the cable really makes a difference, but it does mean that there's more to it than just hallucination. The person who believes a silver cable sounds better doesn't just think they sound better - there is neural activity that you would expect from the brain had the cable actually sounded physically better.

 

I personally wouldn't buy an expensive cable because I don't think there's enough evidence to suggest it makes any difference. But that's me. Someone else who has paid for such a cable and does believe they hear a difference - they derive real and neurologically measurable enjoyment from that belief, even though it isn't (let's assume) actually caused by the cable. What right do you or I have to force a different belief onto that person? It will deprive them of harmless and real enjoyment of life. And for what? An ideological crusade. Like it or not, science doesn't give anyone the authority to dictate other people's beliefs. All one can do is offer them the best evidence but it's up to them to listen.

 

 

 

  "I am not very skeptical... a good deal of skepticism in a scientific man
  is advisable to avoid much loss of time, but I have met not a few men,
  who... have often thus been deterred from experiments or observations
  which would have proven servicable."   - Charles Darwin

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