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26362Re: [evol-psych] Re: Scientific justifications

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  • Irwin Silverman
    Aug 3, 2003
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      On Sun, 3 Aug 2003, Robert Karl Stonjek wrote:

      << I think most physicists believe they are searching for models which
      accurately reflect nature. The mathematics discovered is not an
      intrinsic quality of nature any more than geometric relationships are.

      Euclidean geometry, for instance, accurately models objects on flat
      surfaces. The laws he discovered still hold, as do the relationships
      between angles and so on. Even so, Euclid's laws were found to be
      limited in the early 19th century and this led to non-Euclidean
      geometry.

      Modelling is not the same as truth. One can say that a model is true,
      if we stretch the word a bit, but most models are accepted as accurate
      approximations to within the parameters thus far tested by experiment
      or observation >>


      Well put, but, sadly, not well heeded. This is particularly
      true of contemporary 'cognitive neuroscientists', who seem really to
      believe that their beeps and squiggles are actual representations of
      reality while the rest of us, observing actual behavior, are working in a
      world of fancy - for e.g., the spate of recent claims that, whatever the
      behavioral evidence, the modular mind 'could not exist' because the theory
      of brain currently in fashion suggests that it doesn't work that way.
      This is not to deny that current technology may well bring us to
      breakthroughs in the understanding of how the brain works to generate
      cognition and behavior. But this will also require researchers who
      understand how science works to generate conclusions.
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