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Author Topic: How does cognitive bias affect our receptivity to new theories?  (Read 8098 times)

Offline Martin J Sallberg

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The reason for a "collective judgement" from "the scientific community" is that science has become too large a subject for any one person to master. But different branches of science often rely on the results of experiments, or the dictates of theories, from another specialization. So that atmospheric modellers, for example, are primarily applied mathematicians. But they depend on research in oceanography to obtain a boundary condition for their models, on chemists for reliable measured rates of reaction (and the underlying principles of how to measure them) in order to incorporate chemical processes  into their models, etc.

There is a system that is far from perfect, but generally very reliable, that allows this to happen. Empirically this system can be judged by its productivity in terms of technological spin-offs, predictions that are borne out in practice, etc.

It is possible to work collectively without an official viewpoint that ridicules other viewpoints. Just that all psychologism inherently ridicules its opposition and can therefore not be part of it.
 

Offline damocles

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The reason for a "collective judgement" from "the scientific community" is that science has become too large a subject for any one person to master. But different branches of science often rely on the results of experiments, or the dictates of theories, from another specialization. So that atmospheric modellers, for example, are primarily applied mathematicians. But they depend on research in oceanography to obtain a boundary condition for their models, on chemists for reliable measured rates of reaction (and the underlying principles of how to measure them) in order to incorporate chemical processes  into their models, etc.

There is a system that is far from perfect, but generally very reliable, that allows this to happen. Empirically this system can be judged by its productivity in terms of technological spin-offs, predictions that are borne out in practice, etc.

It is possible to work collectively without an official viewpoint that ridicules other viewpoints. Just that all psychologism inherently ridicules its opposition and can therefore not be part of it.
I think that I disagree with you here. Let me illustrate with an example: A team of scientists is working on the circulation of air pollutants. They need to be able to insert a value for the rate of a chemical reaction which must be measured indirectly.

There are three teams of scientists who have studied this reaction, each using a different method of determining the rate, and coming up with three wildly different results. Team A have used a method that the referees have found fault with, and after submitting the referee's comments to get replies to the referees' comments, the journal editor has decided not to publish the paper. Teams B and C have managed to get their very different results published. An expert reviewer has reviewed the work and recommended that the value obtained by team C is the most reliable.

The scientists working on the circulation of pollutants need to be able to take the value obtained by team C and insert it into their own study. They do not want to have to evaluate the three pieces of work. It might be only one of twenty such reactions, and they lack the expertise to do this evaluation anyway. Their main concern is to find a reliable value to plug into their circulation model. Life is too short!

Meanwhile the results of team B are there if new evidence leads to a new comparison. The results of team A are, unfortunately, lost forever.

This is how science works. It is, as I have repeatedly been saying, not a perfect vehicle for discovering the way that nature works, but it has been very fruitful.

I think that perhaps that Martin has a very idealized vision of the way that science "ought to be" -- perhaps defining "science" as "knowledge of nature" -- whereas my vision is of "science" as it "is", a "warts and all" methodology that has proved to be very fruitful
 

Offline Martin J Sallberg

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It is either absolutely objective science, or just a belief system among other belief systems. Geocentrism was also "fruitful" in that it could predict most of the motion of celestial bodies and left the anomalies on the "back burner".
 

Offline yor_on

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Science has a bias :) towards getting as accurate information as possible. And it is conservative but not impossible, although the more 'of stream' ones ideas are the slower the ship will turn, and one will need experiments proving it, at least to me. To be objective in a ideal manner I don't expect to be possible, as we're all human.
 

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