Author Topic: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories  (Read 7179 times)

Offline freknu

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Re: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 03:25:54 PM »
Yeah, what is currently supported by the evidence :) Although, even that has bunch of parentheses XD

Think of it as an analogy of a court room ("guilty" or "not guilty") which would be "valid" or "not valid", except in boolean logic that's simply true or false. A judge does not determine innocence, only guilt, and a scientist does not determine absolute truth, only scientific truth.

What can be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 03:31:14 PM by freknu »

Offline Daniel

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Re: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 03:30:14 PM »
And therefore the opposite of a "fringe theory".

I think the basic summary is this: be open to anything, but only accept what can be supported.
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Offline freknu

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Re: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 03:32:09 PM »
This is very good video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI, and is equally valid with regards to fringe theories.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 03:35:32 PM by freknu »

Offline Daniel

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Re: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2014, 03:36:15 PM »
Maybe I should rephrase:

dublin, good ideas, but I have no reason to accept them because you have failed to support them. In my opinion, it's time for some new ideas, but you could instead choose to support these ideas better.

Or to rephrase again:
All questions are scientifically valid. Not all answers are.

So there's nothing wrong with asking a question, but sometimes at some point you should be able to accept that the answer is not what you were expecting.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 04:32:38 PM by djr33 »
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Offline dublin

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Re: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2014, 10:54:22 AM »
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You seem to think there is some inherent advantage in new/fringe/creative ideas, and that's not true.

No that is not true. I never said that. I said that new ideas are a good thing, and no ideas bad. To encourage new ideas we need to encourage people to think for themselves and make mistakes, without fear that they will be punished or ridiculed. It doesn't matter who has these ideas. I would expect that people in academia would have more new ideas, as there are so many "coincidences" and "random" things out there that cry for someone to look at them.



Of course you will not follow every new theory you hear about. You can use your intuition to decide which new theory to give your attention to. That intuition is based on your knowledge and your interest. You will choose to pay attention to theories:

1. Theories that you at least partially understand
2. Theories that are built on the same or similar principles as theories you already believe are true
3. Theories that talk about matter you are personally interested in and want to learn more  about.

So you can get interested in a theory based on intuition of feeling.

But you can not reject theory based on intuition or feeling. You can ignore it based on intuition of feeling.

To reject a theory you need to prove that it is wrong.

I know that you keep saying that it is up to who ever proposed the theory to prove that it is right. And that theory can be proven when the theory creator supplied "convincing arguments". But at the same time you are saying that no theory can be proven or disproven. And you say that convincing argument is one that gets accepted.

Accepted by who? Based on what? What about theories that are accepted by half of the scientific community but rejected by the other half? Like two competing theories dealing with the original territory where PIE arose. Or multiple theories about spreading of Indoeuropean languages? How can they all be right or wrong? And what right or wrong means then? Just a consensus? Based on what? Common knowledge and belief of the group that gives consensus? What does this have to do with hard facts and science?

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Mainstream ideas are mainstream because people are convinced by them.

How and why when you say this:

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Science is about logic and testing, but we never actually know anything.

When do we have enough testing? Who decides this and how?

Black holes are a mainstream idea. No one has proof that they exist.
Higgs boson is a mainstream idea. No definite proof yet.
String theory is a mainstream idea. No proof.
If you ask any leading quantum physicist if he understands the theory he will say no. No one understands it completely, but that does not stop people from building quantum computers.

So where do we go from here? I have proven that in random examples you chose, my sound block theory works. It also works in examples I chose. It is useful. You have not proposed any alternative theory to explain observed phenomena. You are rejecting my theory because it doesn't seem right. You say "I have no reason to accept them because you have failed to support them". And yet as you say, theory can only become accepted, not true. So what you are saying is that your personal opinion is that my theory is wrong, and you base that personal opinion on your feeling and belief.

That is ok. It is your right to do what ever you want, and accept or reject personally what ever you want. But you can not present your personal belief and feeling as scientific truth. And you do, a lot.


This is the problem that you don't seem to be aware of, and which is killing every discussion here. You don't need to accept what I say, you can even publicly say it without having to explain why, But if you keep coming, day after day, repeating the same "I don't like it" argument, then there is something wrong with you. Why are you wasting everyone's time doing this?
Produce counter theory which will help the discussion, and we can all learn something form it.

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All questions are scientifically valid. Not all answers are.

Who decides and how which answer is valid? I presume you can test the answer using data? I did. It worked. Now what?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 10:55:55 AM by dublin »
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Offline Daniel

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Re: A disproportionate knowledge of 'fringe' theories
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2014, 01:33:46 PM »
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No that is not true. I never said that. I said that new ideas are a good thing, and no ideas bad. To encourage new ideas we need to encourage people to think for themselves and make mistakes, without fear that they will be punished or ridiculed. It doesn't matter who has these ideas. I would expect that people in academia would have more new ideas, as there are so many "coincidences" and "random" things out there that cry for someone to look at them.
Alright. Ideas are fine. What to do with them is a different question.

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Of course you will not follow every new theory you hear about. You can use your intuition to decide which new theory to give your attention to. That intuition is based on your knowledge and your interest. You will choose to pay attention to theories:

1. Theories that you at least partially understand
2. Theories that are built on the same or similar principles as theories you already believe are true
3. Theories that talk about matter you are personally interested in and want to learn more  about.

So you can get interested in a theory based on intuition of feeling.

But you can not reject theory based on intuition or feeling. You can ignore it based on intuition of feeling.
Why do YOU pursue your ideas? Is it not because you have a feeling that they are useful? Why would we react any differently?

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I know that you keep saying that it is up to who ever proposed the theory to prove that it is right. And that theory can be proven when the theory creator supplied "convincing arguments". But at the same time you are saying that no theory can be proven or disproven. And you say that convincing argument is one that gets accepted.
Yes. Science is both logical and social. Peer review is in place to ensure that what is published/accepted is convincingly argued. There have been a lot of false claims out there in the past, so this is a good thing on average. Are there problems sometimes? Sure. But I don't see an overall better approach.

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Accepted by who? Based on what? What about theories that are accepted by half of the scientific community but rejected by the other half? Like two competing theories dealing with the original territory where PIE arose. Or multiple theories about spreading of Indoeuropean languages? How can they all be right or wrong? And what right or wrong means then? Just a consensus? Based on what? Common knowledge and belief of the group that gives consensus? What does this have to do with hard facts and science?
Debates and controversies are commonplace. What allows an idea to be accepted or an article to be published is a convincing methodology. Believe it or not, scientists will approve a paper (in a review process) that disagrees with their own theory as long as the methodology and data are solid. As a simple example, there are standards for statistical methods required by many journals. If the data and statistical analysis work out, then most ideas can/will be published. Certainly some individuals have agendas, and certainly the currently accepted ideas are an assumed starting point (why wouldn't they be?), but there's a lot of flexibility when someone can present an argument in a scientifically convincing way.

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When do we have enough testing? Who decides this and how?

Black holes are a mainstream idea. No one has proof that they exist.
Higgs boson is a mainstream idea. No definite proof yet.
String theory is a mainstream idea. No proof.
If you ask any leading quantum physicist if he understands the theory he will say no. No one understands it completely, but that does not stop people from building quantum computers.
All true. But one important aspect there is that while these ideas are controversial, they actually are controversial: there are TWO sides, with supporters on each side. This is not the same as a theory that only one person believes and cannot convince anyone else.

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So where do we go from here? I have proven that in random examples you chose, my sound block theory works. It also works in examples I chose. It is useful. You have not proposed any alternative theory to explain observed phenomena. You are rejecting my theory because it doesn't seem right. You say "I have no reason to accept them because you have failed to support them". And yet as you say, theory can only become accepted, not true. So what you are saying is that your personal opinion is that my theory is wrong, and you base that personal opinion on your feeling and belief.
You have not proven anything. You have claimed that it works. I have explained repeatedly that your methodology and analysis are not convincing. We're at an impasse on that obviously.

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That is ok. It is your right to do what ever you want, and accept or reject personally what ever you want. But you can not present your personal belief and feeling as scientific truth. And you do, a lot.
Same to you. You're making claims, I'm making claims. I have said that I don't have any ability to make any sort of general announcement of the scientific community that you're wrong. I just personally do not believe your theory. Do whatever you'd like. I would hope that you seriously consider why I say that, but it appears instead that you will ignore anyone who disagrees and continue anyway. How many people would it take to convince you that you are wrong, or that this idea is probably not productive? 1? 10? 100? 1000? Or will you just continue to argue for it?

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This is the problem that you don't seem to be aware of, and which is killing every discussion here. You don't need to accept what I say, you can even publicly say it without having to explain why, But if you keep coming, day after day, repeating the same "I don't like it" argument, then there is something wrong with you. Why are you wasting everyone's time doing this?
Ok. It make more sense for me to ignore your claims then. Do you agree?

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Produce counter theory which will help the discussion, and we can all learn something form it.
Your own posts are practically a counterargument: they are random disconnected thoughts that don't add up to a scientific methodology. It's your burden to demonstrate the value in your theory. I could provide counter-evidence such as linking to basically any textbook on historical linguistics or any more general textbook that discusses the arbitrariness of language.

If you come up with a theory that elephants do not exist, why should I take the time to argue that they do? It's very easy to find such an argument out there. If you want to support your argument, you'll need to show why the existing evidence is incorrect AND why your theory makes more sense. Maybe this will be interesting for you:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

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Who decides and how which answer is valid? I presume you can test the answer using data?
I assume the reason you're talking to me is because you care about my opinion. If you don't, then don't bother. That's ok. As for testing it, again, I don't need to-- there's already plenty of evidence out there. You must show counterevidence, actually. That's where you have it backwards.
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I did. It worked. Now what?
We disagree there. You did not present any scientifically reliable methodology for testing your theory. Jkpate suggested one. You just made claims (which might be right or wrong-- they're not scientific).

You have created a theory. You have not shown that theory to be useful in explaining data or better than other theories as applied to the real world. Up to you what's next!
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