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  #31  
Old 21st November 2016, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

Spearthrower wrote:-
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No, I recognize it well having spent many years doing exactly that in one area of palaeoanthropology, that is, comparative anatomy.

For me, I think you're grossly simplifying the subject, because you know that the only power any description has is with respect to predictions that move it into inductive reasoning, and is therefore necessarily theory-making. Frankly, I think you're entirely overlooking how you would go from a description to a prediction, and this is the exact point where I think your method would stop being description and join ranks with all the other science.
No. Theory-making is certainly usually more robust with a credible mechanism in the model, but not absolutely essential. What you are saying here is that black-box science [science without mechanism] is non-science. Descriptive models [pattern discernment] can lead to reliable prediction, within limits. At the quantum level, we can only discern statistic scientific 'truths", but we might not be able to much about that, at least, not quite yet!
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  #32  
Old 21st November 2016, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

Science is the investigation of natural phenomenon. To do it accurately one has to use the scientific method. Which incorporates certain features. Such as observation
and experimentation and testable hypotheses and potential falsification and peer review. It is possible for science to be purely theoretical but at some point theorising
has to be presented as a testable hypothesis or else it is nothing more than mere speculation. Speculation that could actually be wrong. Hence why it has to be tested
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  #33  
Old 23rd November 2016, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

And just what is THE scientific method Surr?
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  #34  
Old 23rd November 2016, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

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Loki said View Post
And just what is THE scientific method Surr?
Sorry, I was being a Dick-head again wasn't I?

Obviously though it is depends to some extent the discipline in question [I the discipline primarily experimental or historical]. Or is the science pure or applied?

Obviously theoretical has more emphasis on the model [including mechanism usually], but even Einstein's mind experiment work had to be experimentally/observationally confirmed before it changed from self-consistent woo to real science.

I just don't see a problem with black-box science, if/when necessary.

But if one has a good description from the phenomena [but without mech], and can make good, falsifiable predictions, sticking to the presence of a mechanism seems insane to me, because proposed mechanisms have often been wrong anyway with the benefit of hindsight.

I don't see where my logic is flawed.
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  #35  
Old 23rd November 2016, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

Just butterfly-collecting, so I don't know why they bother!

Cnv and C. Schizophrenia Working Groups of the Psychiatric Genomics (2016). "Contribution of copy number variants to schizophrenia from a genome-wide study of 41,321 subjects." Nat Genet advance online publication.
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Copy number variants (CNVs) have been strongly implicated in the genetic etiology of schizophrenia (SCZ). However, genome-wide investigation of the contribution of CNV to risk has been hampered by limited sample sizes. We sought to address this obstacle by applying a centralized analysis pipeline to a SCZ cohort of 21,094 cases and 20,227 controls. A global enrichment of CNV burden was observed in cases (odds ratio (OR) = 1.11, P = 5.7 [times] 10-15), which persisted after excluding loci implicated in previous studies (OR = 1.07, P = 1.7 [times] 10-6). CNV burden was enriched for genes associated with synaptic function (OR = 1.68, P = 2.8 [times] 10-11) and neurobehavioral phenotypes in mouse (OR = 1.18, P = 7.3 [times] 10-5). Genome-wide significant evidence was obtained for eight loci, including 1q21.1, 2p16.3 (NRXN1), 3q29, 7q11.2, 15q13.3, distal 16p11.2, proximal 16p11.2 and 22q11.2. Suggestive support was found for eight additional candidate susceptibility and protective loci, which consisted predominantly of CNVs mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3725

A lot of mechanisms have been suggested for why people develop schizophrenia, copy number variation is just one of many proposals.

Yet work like this is invaluable because it helps describe the disease, and link that class of diseases to risk factors, which include genetic and epigenetic factors and environments.

These mainly descriptive investigations are slowly coming together over time.
The problem here is that schizophrenia is a class of diseases [like cancers] which not only have different causes, but manifest differently in each patient. There are similarities of course, but as in cancers, cause will be a mixture of deterministic and stochastic factors.
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  #36  
Old 24th November 2016, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

The problem (if there actually is one, that's debatable) as i see it, is not in efforts like Spock's to communicate the measures used by science to add rigour to the endeavour.

The problem as i see it is when various philosophers of science try to atomise science down to THE ONE TRUE THING. From where i sit this effort ends up reducing science to basic human curiosity. I agree with this result but can't really see the point of trying to systematically formalise curiosity.

Afaics science stems from:

"That's really cool. I wonder how that works. Lets find out."

And proceeds, as Feynman points out, by an ultimately simple process:

"Make a guess
Test your guess
If the test fails your guess was wrong."

All the entailments argued over ad nauseum by philosophers are contained within that simple idea.

The various tools used by science; hypothesis testing, peer review, statistical analysis, experimental design etc., are add ons which increase the rigour of the endeavour, the map is not the terrain.

It may be a simplistic or naive opinion, that is up for debate, but it makes a lot of sense to me.
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  #37  
Old 24th November 2016, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

Quote:
Darwinsbulldog said View Post
Just butterfly-collecting, so I don't know why they bother!

Cnv and C. Schizophrenia Working Groups of the Psychiatric Genomics (2016). "Contribution of copy number variants to schizophrenia from a genome-wide study of 41,321 subjects." Nat Genet advance online publication.


http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3725

A lot of mechanisms have been suggested for why people develop schizophrenia, copy number variation is just one of many proposals.

Yet work like this is invaluable because it helps describe the disease, and link that class of diseases to risk factors, which include genetic and epigenetic factors and environments.

These mainly descriptive investigations are slowly coming together over time.
The problem here is that schizophrenia is a class of diseases [like cancers] which not only have different causes, but manifest differently in each patient. There are similarities of course, but as in cancers, cause will be a mixture of deterministic and stochastic factors.
I am agreeing with what you are saying. It makes me worry when the biological sciences rely on psychological categorisation such as of Schizophrenia which is a very complex, multi-factored (biological, psychological, sociocultural), and heterogeneous disorder. I feel like it is on a level too high in abstraction.
For example, in DSM5 (A) you only need 2 or more of these symptoms of schizophrenia: Delusions, Hallucinations, Disorganised/ catatonic behaviour, Negative symptoms (e.g. Flattened affect). (B) Social/ occupational dysfunction. (C) Duration of symptoms for at least 6 months, and at least one month of symptoms that meet criterion A.
But this does not even address the cognitive symptoms of Schizophrenia, and these are the most debilitating symptoms as suggested by Associate Professor Tom Burne at the QBI UQ. This includes attention, working memory, and executive function. But all of this is still a grouping of people with similar problems, it does not mean that they have the same biological factors, one individual might have gene A which blocks gene B which contributes to their Schizophrenia because this effects neurotransmitters in their basal ganglia, whereas another person might have a genetic defect which changes genes to do with cell growth, or proliferation, or arborization etc. and then this interacts with neural activity which is in response to each individual's environment, social interaction, and traumatic experiences if they have any. and we decide to put these two people in the same category based on the abstracted level of positive and negative symptoms on the outside that we can perceive.
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  #38  
Old 24th November 2016, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

There are two things operating here. One is that it is convenient to group similar looking things together because having too many groupings makes peoples brains hurt. Two is in what Asimov called "the relativity of wrong", knowledge progresses and what is considered correct now will change in the future (an excellent essay well worth a read). Three, science is messy and noone has all the answers.

There are three things operating here. First....I'm sorry I'll come in again.
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  #39  
Old 24th November 2016, 02:08 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

I remember [just!] being a larvae at school. It was the first Chem class. We were looking forward to spectacular pyrotechnics and fancy shit.

What we got was:-

"Record 50 observations of a burning candle"

It became surprisingly interesting. An exercise in disciplined imagination, really. It was all about the behavior of the candle, and how it changed over time. We didn't really need to know the mechanism of combustion to find out an immense amount about it, and more importantly, about ourselves as observers. Stuff one person thought was simple and obvious, but didn't occur to another.

I don't think I ever forgot that lesson, because, to me, it is the alpha of science. Every comes from that, the predictions, and musings about possible mechanisms. Noticing and focusing. Recording, describing. Asking questions.

A lot of fancy shit has been added to that process, and deservedly so.

Add to that making hypotheses that are falsifiable and mutually contradictory [mutually exclusive], and you are god to go. There is not law that one cannot guess, and test for mechanism[s] at the get-go, but not at the price of rejecting perfectly good empirical data and the predictions emergent from a descriptive model.

IMHO, a lot of science had been held up by that. Stuff like biological evolution which lacked mechanism, but was totally empirically sound.

Science, as I see it is having the discipline and patience NOT to prematurely focus on mechanisms, because it so often leads to blind alleys, and false rejection of verifiable patterns of natural phenomena.

The very worst question in science is to ask "WHY", the second worst thing, is to obsess about "HOW", if it comes, fine. But sometimes the how becomes chronically difficult to guess. We had to wait for Darwin and Wallace in 1858 to give us a "how" [natural selection] that withstood the destructive testing of the scientific community. But empirical description and prediction was always available to us.

To pre-Darwinians, [Lamarck and a few others notwithstanding], the mechanism was the creator god, and we all know how well that turned out. Lamarck at least, gave us something falsifiable and testable. He turned out to be wrong on mechanism, but not totally wrong about description, because organisms inherit [what we now know as epigenetic markers] some of the experiences of their parents.

So I reject the assertion that "butterfly collecting" is some kind of poor cousin to science, because sometimes it is all we have, at least temporarily.

In my view intellectual honesty includes the acceptance of empirical patterns, when mechanism proves problematic. We are story telling apes, and we want answers. That is understandable, even laudable. But to reject what is known, and what is observed, because we might happen to have no clue how it works, is just plain wrong [IMHO].
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  #40  
Old 24th November 2016, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: The Core of Science

A last word on the subject of god and science. God is the ultimate Trojan horse. The god in the box. Look for Achilles in the box, and hey presto, you are doin' pseudo-science.
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