Essay talk:Explaining the fall of Popper

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Straw Popper[edit]

Rightly attacking Popper for the wrong reasons.

A few brief points:

1. Popper is usually criticized for allowing too much under the banner of science. A pseudoscience like astrology, for example, would qualify as science under Popperian falsification. Bad, i.e. falsified, science, but science nonetheless.
Popper actually said ' It was rather that I felt that these other three theories, though posing as science, had in fact more in common with primitive myths than with science; that they resembled astrology rather than astronomy.' Perhaps you should read http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Popper and the links. If you disagree then make changes. --Dirk Steele (talk) 01:35, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
2. Popper allowed for historical sciences such as geology -- they just had to make falsifiable postdictions rather than predictions.
3. Evolution is an example of this -- Popper retracted his initial characterization of it as a «metaphysical research program.» See What Did Karl Popper Really Say About Evolution
Your link does not work. Popper rejected NS initially but retracted when he incorporated Mendal and thus Neo-Darwinism. The theory of evolution can therefore be falsified if a fossil is found outside of the evolutionary timeline. So evolution is a scientific theory unlike creationism which cannot be falsified and herefore does not qualify as a science.

--Dirk Steele (talk) 01:35, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

4. Popper intended to be descriptive as well as prescriptive. He failed at the former. See, e.g., Thomas Kuhns SSR.


5. Naive falsification fails when theory is underdetermined. See Duhem-Quine thesisWikipedia and Quines Two Dogmas of EmpiricismWikipedia. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:40, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Popper took into account that previous empirical knowledge has to be taken into account with any scientific endeavour. So youi are wrong here. --Dirk Steele (talk) 01:35, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I think I said in the opening of the essay that this was based more on a personal revelation about the downfall of Popper then any real research into the matter. Having had it said to me, it makes perfect sense that he would be criticized for letting too much in, as you said. Point two though I've never heard of, honestly. My understanding the issue(s) with Popper is based mostly on taking courses in Geography, Geology, and Economics. But allowing for 'falsifiable postdictions' seems like an enormous cop-out to me, which may explain why the first thing I found when I googled the word was an article on wikipedia talking about the paranormal.
If you have something to add I'll edit the essay to include it and some of what you've said.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 01:08, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
There has been no downfall of Popper except in your naive belief structure. In fact the whole of the criticism of Intelligent Design is based around the fact that because it cannot be falsified then it has no scientific basis. You are antagonistic against Popper because of your ideology. But you are wrong. Again. It is a shame that on RationalWiki there are not more people that can show you this fact. But maybe it is because you do not have anyone reading your total bullshitshit. Maybe? Dirk Steele (talk) 01:43, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Popper did not claim evolution was a metaphysical research programme, what he meant in that comment was referring to natural selection. He became a critic of NS becuase he believed it could not be falsified. Interestingly Popper was also endorsing an anti-Darwinian book by Norman Macbeth in the 70s. Not many people have picked up on this. Of course there is evidence that Popper later retracted some of his comments about natural selection, but again this is not the entire picture becuase I recently found another anti-Darwinian book published in 1986 and Popper even wrote a chapter in it. Popper died in 1994. DinoCrisis (talk) 01:30, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
Fixed link. DinoCrisis: You are right, he was talking about NS. Also, Popper did think historical sciences made predictions (contra my earlier statement). See the link for more explanation. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:29, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Dirk Steele[edit]

Thank you for providing another response where you demonstrate your lack of understanding of what is going on around you, while having an incredibly grating posting style that makes it so the only way anyone can understand what the fuck is going on by going into the Fossil Record.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 02:47, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Additionally, it's pretty clear that he has no idea what he's talking about. Dirk: I do not know of any significant philosopher of science who thinks Popper is right. That's because falsification admits of positive and negative counterexamples. This has been covered on this very wiki; see Debate:Philosophy_of_science and Debate:Falsifiability (esp. the first archive page). If you know better, I'd appreciate citations and summaries, rather than the invective and abuse you've been hurling around.TallMan (talk) 03:23, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeh well I do not claim to be an expert here and I will read up on your links. Are you disagreeing with Popper when he states that a hypothosis which cannot be falsified is not and cannot be a valid part of science? (Oh my my friendly abuse of Hamilton is in response to his abuse to me on other threads. Just a little injoke). Dirk Steele (talk) 08:56, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Your falsifiability link does not read well - I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability is better. Dirk Steele (talk) 09:12, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I am saying that falsifiability is neither necessary nor sufficient for identifying a claim as a scientific. As the WP article you linked says, virtually no one working in philosophy of science thinks it is; Popper's remaining adherents are, by and large, not philosophers of science. A cursory read of that WP article suggests that it's mostly accurate, but if you're genuinely interested in expert opinion you should look at the SEP article on demarcation (here).TallMan (talk) 11:14, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
And if you (Dirk) had bothered to read the posted article you'd have a half dozen branches of what everyone considers science that simply cannot be falsified, and cannot be tested really at all.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 16:23, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
I do not see any 'branches' referring to sciences that cannot be falsified in your posted article - am I looking in the wrong place? Sorry - feeling a bit thick this morning . see it now. Who should I read now to replace the view that the demarcation between science and pseudoscience is not determined by its ability to be falsified. Have I been mislead by Popper. Ta. BTW Evolution can be falsified. If a fossil of a rabbit is found in an inappropriate timescale then evolution is false. Barry Marshall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Marshall actually received the nobel prize for eating Helicobacter pylori bacteria to demonstrate how it causes ulcers. Also if the symptoms of gonorrea are found without the baterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae then that particular hypothosis if falsified and must be wrong. Surely? I am not sure of your aruments here but as I said I feel particularly stupid today. I am probably miles out of my depth too! Dirk Steele (talk) 12:55, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry if you don't understand what a controlled experiment is, but that is not my fault. When you get into college, take a physical science course like chemistry of physics, they'll probably explain it to you. As for who has replaced Popper, well, we have a nice article on the Demarcation problem that talks about Kuhn and Lakatos--Logic and Empricism (talk) 18:05, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
What have I said to make you think I do not know what a controlled experiment is? I read your demarcation link which states that to be considered a science it must be able to be falsified. Isn't that the Popper proposition? How has he then fallen? I have read a bit of Kuhn and to be honest I am not impressed. His views are more applicable to social 'science' I think. I do not see a paradigm shift between Newton and Einstein merely an addition to an existing theory that improves it. Nor do I see a move from Darwinism to Neo-Darwinism as a shift - merely the encompassing of the findings of genetics incorporated into natural selection. I find that post-modernist social 'commentators' really promote Kuhns views though because it implies that 'reality' is socially constructed. I will need to read some Lakatos though. --Dirk Steele (talk) 23:52, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
You're misreading the RW article on the demarcation problem. It lists falsifiability as one of several desiderata for science. It does not say that all scientific theories are falsifiable; nor does it say that all falsifiable theories are scientific. The relevant SEP article (linked to on this page and in the RW page on demarcation) does a better job covering the problem and covering issues w/ Popper's proposed solution to it. TallMan (talk) 01:38, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Did Popper say that falsifiability was the only criteria? Or the best? I think that if one cannot falsify a hypothothis then one is unable to say that it is either true or false. Therefore one cannot say it is true. And therefore not part of the scientific endeavour. It becomes an issue that cannot be categorised as either. I do not think that Popper said that all falsifiable theories are scientific!! That would be crazy!! A theory that has been falsified is not part of science. You seem a little confused here. Or maybe it is me. Dirk Steele (talk) 05:51, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
So I have read the SEP and looked at Hannson 2006 etc. I still cannot understand where Popper was wrong. It seems to me that truth and falseness are two ways of defining one thing. To quote the Tao Te ching 'When beauty is recognised ugliness then exists'. So we have the two concepts of true and not true. In order to show something is true one must also have to state it is not not-true. i.e it is not false. If one cannot demonstrate that something is not not-true then one cannot state it is true. But to be honest I am probably out of my depth here so feel free to denigrate. --Dirk Steele (talk) 11:29, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
The aim of RationalWiki is 'Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience' using the Scientific method which RW describes as ' At the core of the method is the idea that the truth value of a hypothesis, theory, or concept is best determined by its ability to make falsifiable predictions that can be tested against an empirical reality.'. If user Hamilton would like to suggest that the scientific method used here is actually wrong I suggest his talk should be aligned to the 'Scientific method' talk where it may be more visible and thus attract more debate. Dirk Steele (talk) 10:07, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
You said it yourself "the idea that the truth value of a hypothesis, theory, or concept is best determined by its ability to make falsifiable predictions". There is what is "best" and then there is "what is actually possible". It is not actually possible to perform a controlled study on the Coriolis Effect, so we turn to the next best thing, which is a lot of observation and comparing new information with old, generally accepted information. As I said in the closing paragraph of the essay "This doesn't strictly make it bad, as when it comes right down to it, the scientific method of experiment and falsification is still king, but the king is often so overbearing that it's impossible to get any work done very often, so we turn to the next best thing"--Logic and Empricism (talk) 17:34, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
So you would allow the teaching of Intelligent Design as a science within schools. And open the door for all sorts of woo. How the heck do you think the hypothesis of the Coriolis Effect cannot be falsified? Dirk Steele (talk) 08:57, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Pancake bunny.jpg--Logic and Empricism (talk) 18:57, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
You obviously lack any kind of intellectual argument. Which is what I expect from a pimplenosed teen. Dirk Steele (talk) 19:03, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I'm 22 and a math major with a clear face.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 19:31, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Then how come you act like a teenage acne riddled wanker? Too much testosterone still floating about your body probably.. One day you may become an adult. Dirk Steele (talk) 19:47, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Because at this point I've given up trying to explain to people who haven't the foggiest idea of what is happening around them how the world works. Take a damn class on philosophy of science after the one on intro to psychology.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 21:51, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Ha Ha! You prove you suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect in a single sentence. Shame you cannot falsify it. Dirk Steele (talk) 22:29, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
You're right. You cannot falsify the Dunning-Kruger effect. I hope you realize that to a strict Popperist, the DKE is pseudo-science.--Logic and Empricism (talk) 23:59, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
The D-K effect is easily falsified. What are you talking about? Dirk Steele (talk) 04:37, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

(undenting) Look, Dirk–you need to stop hurling invective and make a bloody claim. The fact is, practically no one working on the demarcation problem defends Popper or anything particularly close to Popper. That's because falsifiability is a bad way of distinguishing science from pseudoscience. It's bad for three reasons. 1) There are falsifiable non-scientific claims (astrology, phrenology, palmistry) and hence falsifiability is not sufficient to make something scientific. 2) Any scientific claim can be retained in the face of recalcitrant data by adjusting the auxiliary hypotheses that support the claim, and hence falsifiability is not necessary to make a claim scientific. 3) Scientific practice doesn't involve judgments about falsifiability, and hence Popper's views don't reflect actual scientific practice.TallMan (talk) 01:42, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

1. Popper did not claim that everything that can be falsified is a science. Only that if it is claiming to be a science it must be able to submit to falsification. Astrology is a failed hypothesis and is therefore not considered a science for this very reason.
2. So you are talking about how Newtons laws did not have to be thrown out because they could not explain the orbit of Uranus. But Popper was not a naive falsificationist. You are refering to the Duhem-Quine thesis which I still need to think about. Didn't Pooper emphasise systems and not an individual hypothesis? But in general, to me, if an idea cannot be in theory submitted to falsification then it must be 'true' and thus creationism is science.

3. 99% of all published science is shown to be wrong. Popper does reflect scientific practice and if he does not then it is the fault of some scientists. You seem to be regurgitating failed criticisms of Popper. But I suggest you amend the RW page on the scientific method to better express your views and engage those with more knowledge on this than I do. Dirk Steele (talk) 04:37, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Taking your points in order:
1) Popper's original claim was that falsifiability was necessary and sufficient for determining if something is a science. It sounds like you want to endorse the weaker claim that falsifiability is a necessary condition. Okay; fair enough. Then what about astrology? Astrologers make predictions all the time, and we can check if they obtain. That's falsifiability. Moreover, you say that astrology is a failed hypothesis, but you don't say what you mean by that. I would say that astrology is not a science because astrologers don't have a productive model from which they can derive predictions and explanations for the observed data.
Did Popper say that everything that can be falsified must be a true science? Astrology is a failed hypothesis because its predictions have been shown to be false. Therefore it is removed from the scientific endeavour and is not a science. What do you mean by a productive model? Dirk Steele (talk) 07:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
2) First, I didn't have Quine-Duhem in mind, but it's close enough. More importantly, Popper was a naive falsificationist, at first. His more sophisticated attempts still fall prey to the same criticisms. The later Popper attempted to respond to some of the criticisms offered by Lakatos and others, but the expert consensus is that he didn't do so adequately.
So you dismiss the ideas of Popper. And agree with Hamilton about his fall. Whom should I read then to gain a better understanding of the scientific method? Dirk Steele (talk) 07:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Finally, I have no idea what this sentence means: "But in general, to me, if an idea cannot be in theory submitted to falsification then it must be 'true' and thus creationism is science." Are you sincerely saying that creationism is science? Because that's ridiculous. In any case, whatever message you were trying to get across is garbled beyond recognition. Please try to state your ideas clearly.
I am posing the question that I understood to be true that Intelligent Design is not considered a science because it cannot be empirically tested and falsified. I have been using Popper to argue against ID. Now you tell me I am wrong. If something cannot be shown to be false then it must be true? Dirk Steele (talk) 07:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
3) That 99% number was pretty clearly pulled directly from your ass. It may be true that the vast majority of scientific claims are shown to be wrong, but you haven't given any evidence for it. Furthermore, the mere assertion that Popper reflects scientific practice isn't evidence either. Scientists do falsify claims–that's part of testing them. But they also confirm claims, and test models, and formulate hypotheses, and bring to bear intuitions honed by years of experience, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You have not shown that falsifying claims is especially important.
Yes 99% was pulled from my arse but it would appear to me that the vast majority of scientific hypothesies are eventually shown to be false. http://www.plosmedicine.org/annotation/listThread.action?root=9785 What percentage would you accept? Ok I bow down to your superior knowledge and accept that falsification is not important. Thanks. Dirk Steele (talk) 07:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Finally, you say that I am regurgitating failed criticisms of Popper and that I should engage with more informed people on the subject. I happen to be one of those people. I have a doctorate in philosophy and have done work in philosophy of science. I've worked with actual scientists as well; one of my colleagues at my alma mater was a publishing physicist and publishing philosopher of science. The criticisms which you take to have failed are, in fact, widely accepted–and if I were talking to a fellow expert, odds are good that everything I've said would be part of the conversational background. It may be that the expert consensus is wrong on this, but if you want to make that case you'll have to deliver some fucking arguments instead of bald assertions and bizarre insults (none of which, I must say, have been directed at Y.T.).TallMan (talk) 06:57, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

I mean't that you may have a more productive conversation with more informed people than I. Why don't you rewrite the RW page on the scientific method which states 'At the core of the method is the idea that the truth value of a hypothesis, theory, or concept is best determined by its ability to make falsifiable predictions that can be tested against an empirical reality.' I did read argumets by Hanssen, Gardner and Kuhn but then read arguments which refuted those. My initial disagreement was directed at Hamilton's talk because he wanted to show how Popper was wrong in order to include his idea that economics is a science and diss my view that psychiatry is a pseudoscience. I was using Popper to help show the difference between a pseudoscience and a science. As I have stated above I am pretty ignorant of this subject and so now I will retract all that I have believed about Popper and falsification. I would however be interested in your views as a philosopher of science to hear if you think psychiatry is a bone fide science and maybe point out where I may be going wrong. Thanks. Dirk Steele (talk) 07:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Is there any reason why astrology can't be a science? If it got treated as a science then it is blatently wrong, but is there any reason why wrong theories aren't science? Or is science only the set of theories that are falsifiable, but haven't been falsified yet? Because in that case, Newtons laws aren't science anymore.

Why the author is a dipshit[edit]

They have clearly never heard of a null hypothethis. — Unsigned, by: 81.131.134.93 / talk / contribs

I see my objection has received no challenges therefore I propose this article be deleted at once! By the way I think I have a rationalwiki login but I have no idea what it is. I have definitely vandalised before but that was a year or two ago. 81.131.134.93 (talk) 23:42, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Shut up Dirk--Token Conservative (talk) 00:04, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Don't know if anyone's noticed this...[edit]

...But there are a lot of spelling and/or grammar mistakes. I was going to fix them, but then I remembered that this post isn't mine.— Unsigned, by: Meinkr0phtR2 / talk / contribs