Originally Posted by Head Injury
If you think your senses are infallible, then you've gotta be a hoot to get high with.
Never stated senses are infallible, I agree that you cannot trust them (and hence the optical illusion comment shown above made by maverickronin). But the whole issue brought up was not a question of whether your senses lie, but rather whether or not you can prove or disprove that you actually sense something (ie. do you hear something from cables). Take for example the optical illusion comment. When you see something strange like the duck/rabbit image, you explain what causes the strange observation. In this case, it is an optical illusion.
Do you question the existence or non existence of the observation when you start to ask what did I just see? Or are you questioning what it is that you observe. In other words, do you question that you observed something strange, or do you question the strange observation? What I stated previously is that you dont question the act of observing something strange, but rather you question what it is that you observed. And when you get to the point that you shout out,"Oh! it was just an optical illusion!", notice that you have actually surpassed the point of questioning the existence of your observation but rather have spent the time questioning what the observation was. So the optical illusion comment actually does not apply to what I've stated.
The real claim that I'm making is that science cannot prove or disprove that you in truth sense something. It can only question what it is that you observed. It can ask questions such as, what caused the observation, why did I have the observation and so on. It cannot ask, was the observation real or not. And be careful not to confuse asking what caused the observation with proving or disproving the observation. Because you cannot find a cause for the observation does not prove that you did not observe something. In fact, to be able to do any scientific testing requires you to assume that you made such an observation and are now questioning the observation it self. That's the reason why you do AxB testing with different cables, you assume "hey I heard something when that cable was in there, I think the cause of what I heard is in that cable" So let's say that you do an AxB test and you are in fact able to discern between cables, so much so that the great Randi actually pays you $1 million dollars! Did the test prove that you observed something? NO it didnt! The test simply showed that what you observed is caused by the cables, not that you observed ANYTHING at all.
So then you should state that "Hey Mr. Idiot, FINALLY we get to the real topic at hand. All I really care about is that last thing you said, that the test could show if the cables were the cause of what you heard. So doesn't that disprove everything you said that AxB testing was useless, and is in fact usefull in skinning the snake oilers??"
Well if it were only the case that the anti snake oil folks would stop there. Unfortunately, they don't. They trespass on grounds that science cannot help them, and make claims believing that they are standing on the impregnable pedestal built by Newton himself while in fact are standing on the same ground as the snake oilers. They make the leap that because people cannot tell a difference between cables implies that they cannot hear anything different from different cables. Remember that all the AxB testing can do is show causality (do cables cause what you observed), the testing has no bearing on whether or not you heard something.
Then you say "Well if you cannot hear something different in the cables enough to tell a difference between the cables, doesn't that imply that you did not hear anything?"
Unfortunately, no it doesn't. It just shows that the cause for what I heard is not in the cables.
So you should then claim, "So its just some sort of placebo then, there's nothing wrong with the test. There's just something wrong with you"
Unfortunately, that's not the case either. The problem with the test is, no matter how perfect, no matter how precise it may be, it can never go beyond stating that either "Cables caused what you heard" or "cables did not cause what you heard." The test cannot then cross over the bounds and say "Therefore you did not hear anything."
And of course you should should, after such a long discussion, "Whats the POINT!?"
The point is, that when people claim that SCIENCE Tells us you cannot hear anything from cables, they're lying. That's not science. Science ended where you questioned the cause of what you heard. The arguments that the anti snake oilers make are therefore from the same basis as the snake oilers -they are beliefs. Not Science.