Showing posts with label science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science. Show all posts

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Null Hypothesis and Pattern Illusions.

Meredith L. Patterson
I build things with language. Some of them are even in words.
The null hypothesis is science’s first and last line of defense against one of the most terrifying properties of the human mind: the capacity to find patterns. Our pattern-matching ability is innate. We are the species whose niche is anything we can adapt to ourselves, and that facility for adaptation is built in part on our capacity to recognize patterns such as “when food sits in fire, its texture changes and it becomes easier to eat, until it burns.”
Like Philip K. Dick said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
 Jonathan Korman:
Of course, as a modern Hermeticist I am cultivating specific pattern illusions which I find help me live the life that suits me
Warning: JK is a synthesist so that anything you read about modern Hermeticism probably does not apply.  As usual for most mentioned on this blog johnbigbootie's One person Religion is about the best you can do. 

Creating beliefs is a necessary activity of a sapient, and probably any rational brain to stay alive.  As Shermer notes in The Believing Brain believing that the dark stripes in the waving tall grass calls for evasive action is a survival tactic.  The cost/benefit equation says don’t think just do.  Create a safe space from the grass, and then you can apply the null hypothesis that it is waving grass and not a tiger.  Otherwise the null hypothesis is likely to kill you.  

At almost any level of living beliefs allow us to function in common situations without having to really think about how we will react.  If a young woman sees a man leering at her her belief that he is a rapist is quite functional and she can take appropriate actions to eliminate the danger to her person.  Once she is safe it might be useful to examine her belief that the particular instance might have some prejudicial component and the null hypothesis that not all X are rapists could be useful in managing her prejudice.  But at some point the law of diminishing returns becomes important and the belief that all strange men are rapists may be functional.  

When I was learning to drive my instructor taught me to believe that all other drivers on the road were either drunk or crazy and my job as a driver was to make sure none of them could get close enough to my car to cause damage.  The null hypothesis that not all drivers on the road are drunk or crazy is a waste of time as keeping a safe space is reasonable in any case.  

Where beliefs become dysfunctional and should be tested against a null hypothesis are the "Everyone knows" or "It is just common sense" to believe Y.   Even then if "Everyone" in "Everyone knows" is the tribe, sect, or gang one is a member of, challenging Y against the null hypothesis may be hazardous to ones mental health at least.  But for those with an intelligent support group like a university or STEM community the null hypothesis is the path to intellectual growth and learning.  


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Science, Religionm and the Theory of Everything

Just to be clear:  Science says nothing at all about how the universe(s) came to be.  Science observes the fact that the universe(s) exist and things in them behave in observable ways.  Science also observes than humans are the ultimate top predator, and can even affect the planet which supports them.
Many humans have attempted to explain these facts.  Science drops back 15 yards and punts.  Some of the attempted explanations have been shown to be inadequate; others are sloppy enough that they cannot be shown to be inadequate.  One explanation of the facts is that God created everything that exists with many puzzles to keep humans busy not destroying the planet which supports them.  Believers, non-believers, and anti-theists can and are studying this theory to falsify it or prove it to be the correct explanation of all that exists.  None have succeeded and science doesn't care.   

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Science of God's Creation

May 12, 2015 -- 2:14AM, Roymond wrote:
I wish you could have visited our Intelligent Design club in college.  It was all people who had come to religion not by any assumptions, but via science.
At this point I think it would be better referred to as God Design to avoid the Dover crowd, and to leave undefined where God entered the picture.  

I have been in or assocciated with hard science both academic and commercial most of my life.  Without believers doing the bulk of the science both would come to a screeching halt.  As long as believers are using hard science to "Discover God's Creation" and not trying to prop up preconcieved notions of what that creation is, I see no reason to assume that my science of trying to figure out how things work is necessarily better science.

"So that is how God does it!" is essentially not conceptually different from "That is how it works!"  I am not sure anyone could find a scientist in any field that could prove that the Higgs is not indeed the God boson. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

There Ain't no Fundy Like a Science Fundy.

Theist wrote:
If you believe so....

Skeptic wrote:

Have you ever changed your beliefs based on new empirical evidence? If not, then it's "you believing so".

Blü wrote:
I agree with skeptic.

The only way to find out if something's true in reality is to look at reality - the world external to the self, about which our senses can inform us. And to reason honestly from our perceptions.

There ain't no fundy like a science fundy.

Have you ever changed your beliefs based on an opinion piece? If not, why not? 

Is what you learn from a story that you did not observe from a reliable source true in reality?  Does it matter if the story was fictional, or fiction based on reality?  If no, why?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Meaning and purpose Religion vs Science and Technology

Beliefnet an interesting discussion
Not mind boggling at all.  It is an evolutional necessity that the mind find a way to drag the body out of its nice warm bed every single morning, spend the day doing what it takes to acquire food, others to share it with, and repeat ad lib.  Any brain which didn't do this would find only a non-survival option. 

For the glory of God and not incidentally the vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies is a tried and true option.  Conservative and stult stable it provides meaning and purpose even for the idiot stick operators who can believe that they are building a Cathedral. 
It takes a heretic who finds meaning and purpose in improving the lives of those important to herm to shake up this self-perpetuating institution of the prevailing church which is why heretics are routinely scourged, tortured, and crucified or otherwise killed slowly and painfully.  The usual way out is to pretend to be a believer and start a new religion, usually with the same basic crap with a new vuvuzela.
Rarely an innovative group will find mutual support and quietly undermine the prevailing religion and enable others to find their own ways to meaning and purpose in living.  They and the innovators will always be a small group but their influence on the world will be, for better or for worse significant in changing the way the world works.  Evolution works on innovators as well and most fail, sometimes spectacularly, but their failure may in fact be caused by stimulation other innovators to find fresh solutions to living without God, the vuvuzelas, and the politicians who are their sock puppets.  

Science and technology may in fact be emerging as a secular alternative to the religious infrastructure.  It is not without issues, but innovation and improving the lot of the average person is basic to the system. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is Science Math?

I think you're conflating theory with support/evidence FOR the theory. The Theory of Plate Techtonics, for example, merely claims the existence and general behavior of tectonic plates. It does NOT specify the trajectory or velocity of these plates. Of course evidence FOR the Theory will almost certainly contain such data. But that doesn't mean that the Theory itself is mathematical, nor unscientific. The Theory is the conceptual skeleton to which the quantitative data "muscles" are attached. And science necessarily includes both: the conceptual AND the quantitative. If it did not it would be pure math, not science. Without that conceptual backbone, all the data would be devoid of meaning or value. oncomintrain
One of the best and certainly most succinct discussion of the relationship of science and math I have read. Congrats OCT.

In other words without math no science, but without science math is an intellectual exercise with no meaning.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Science of Meaning.

The Rosetta Stone, information is material, meaning is not - Beliefnet:

I will admit that in the limited world of the study of consciousness there are no tools for studying emergent properties of the working of the brain. And by the way I am not arguing the mind is an immaterial thing, it is an overlay on the brain and depends on a working brain for its existence. But until your scholars of consciousness can provide a reasonable ontological link between brain action and self, other, and fiction, and reliably distinguish between them as a child of 7 or 8 does quite reliably and naturally, we are in the realm of metaphysics not science.

Perhaps self generated dualism is the best way to think about the relationship between the brain and the mind. It is true that the mind "app" can be reduced to material actions of neuron activity, just as any app can be reduced to the the material changes in the state of silicon switches. But the meaning of the app is not found in the relationship of silicon switches, it is found in the usefulness of the app to the mind "app" using it for whatever useful or useless thing the mind finds to do with the app.

The meaning of Facebook is not found in the material state of some server farm somewhere, it is found in the way real people can use it to stay connected to people who they may have no material connection with. I have never met in person several friends on Facebook, due to geographic limitations, but I would have no qualms about sharing an extended visit with any of them. Indeed, I have done so on a couple of occasions. (I will admit to be very selective in my friends list.)

Similarly the meaningful connection between you and me is not found in the state of the switches at the Silicon Valley and the Minneapolis ends of the fiber optic network, it is the way each of our minds works with the data represented by the states of those switches. Please note that the state of our brains is no more relevant than the state of those switches.

I don't think scientists can think about the issues of mind and meaning as scientists. They just don't have the scientific tools.

I can't prove, but suspect, that the brain processes the information about self, other in the real sense of a known other real person, and a fictional character like God made, after all, in the image of self in much the same way neurologically. All have faces, bodies, emotions, needs, likes, dislikes, etc, that I suspect are processed in the same brain spaces dedicated to tracking those things. But somehow a healthy rational mind can keep the differences sorted out correctly and is able to process information derived from each stored source in an appropriate manner. I am skeptical that the scientists will ever be able to distinguish the stored information about, for example God in a believer, from the stored information about self. Yet the mind does this quite reliably most of the time. Although some of the people posting here make one wonder about how reliable the mind is in this function.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Supporting Science

This ought to be fun - Beliefnet:

"The industrial 'johns' and increasingly university 'johns' support science because some of it pays off in the marketplace big time. But it is the marketplace that pays for the science, so when it becomes clear that the marketplace is not interested in that particular science the funding is cut off and the scientists can either find other 'johns' who might still have market dreams, or move on to other science that has market potential. Or as happens in a few cases the scientist moves into herm garage files the patent numbers off the science and tries to find a VC that will buy it. A very few companies 3M, DuPont, and others will provide the 'garage' but the entrepreneurship is still the responsibility of the scientist."

Science and technology

This ought to be fun- Beliefnet : "Your son's masters may be in [computer] technology, but there is real science behind the technology he is studying. Pushing bits may be technology, but knowing how a bit stream is going to affect what it acting on is still science and damned hard science at that."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Global warming: not a fraud

Global warming: not a fraud
The most disturbing thing to me about the recent climate change and evolution debates is how ignorance has been elevated to knowledge, and how scientists have been assaulted for holding generally accepted theories.

These issues have been demagogued to death, and the credulous or stupid people who believe the rhetoric have, in some places, turned into the majority. Science is inherently undemocratic - you don't get to vote on whether two plus two equals four, but some politicians, school boards and political parties have adopted the "wishing makes it so" protocols, and we as a nation are poorer for it.
Jon Carroll

This introduces a "petition" by 250 scientists that should be required reading for all Americans.

Jon ends his column with
Let's do nothing, and watch the coastal areas get drowned. We'll all learn how to swim!