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Re: [evol-psych] Re: Asteroids and the Scientific Method

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  • Julienne
    ... This note of yours is something of a surprise. First, and in a way most important, no one on this list intimidates me; not Edgar, not you. I don t see
    Message 1 of 89 , Dec 7, 2012
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      At 10:51 AM 12/6/2012, Fred Feinberg wrote:


      This note of yours is something of a surprise. First, and in a way most important, no one on this list intimidates me; not Edgar, not you. I don't see allies or approval here. I'm just discussing my views. Please remember this.

      >Second, you seem not to realize that I was not agreeing with Edgar,

      Edgar clearly thinks you agree with him.

      >in that I have been consistently trying to leave the door open for future vindication of things we do not presently fully understand. I cannot personally tell whether Astrology fits into this, or not. Because, AS I SAID VERY PLAINLY BELOW, the reason I believe "the scientific community" will not vindicate any of a number of things is due to how the scientific >community operates, and the nature of certain predictive systems.

      I agree with Edgar, that you are actually playing both sides.

      > I could go through all your examples below, like pointing out that the flat earth died before the time of Christ (Eratosthenes determined its circumference), others are simply not part of scientific discourse (there is no unidimensional "better off" means in child-rearing),
      while others are active areas of research that continually yield new, openly vetted data (dark matter). In short, the >scientific community isn't dedicated it energies to Astrology, as you know.

      The problem is that I see your attitude as equal to the Flat-earthers, and there is still  a flat earth society, whereas you think your attitude is post-Eratosthenes when it comes to astrology.

      (...)I don't wish to discuss Gauquelin specifically, as I do not know enough about his work to comment on it deeply (although that has not stopped Wade, apparently).

      Wade knows nothing about Gauquelin. However, see the articles I sent on what happened to Gauquelin's work.

      Lastly, I don't mind having principled discussions with True Believers -- that is what you are,

      So, once again you are condescending, and even insulting.

      and so is Edgar; your minds are made up; you're no longer either discussing evidence of the basis of demonstration, but arguing for your own conclusions --

      Not true - I have sent example after example. You seem not to be reading them.

      On the other hand, Edgar sends nothing -,and yet you equate me with him.

      but it's difficult to do so when all this Sound and Fury enters and my and others' bases for our views are casually chalked up to "intimidation". I'm not sure why you are so quick to attribute people's reactions to intimidation; you accused my mentioning I was a statistician as an attempt to intimidate you, for example.

      >Third, the reason I personally do not believe that Astrology, in the main, will be viewed as a successful predictive system is simply that the large-scale tests of it that HAVE been carried out have failed to rise above chance. And chance >is an *exceptionally* low bar, one only used by statisticians. If you tell me you have real musical talent, you don't mean that, if I collect a random sample of 10000 people and rank their musical ability, you will be slightly better than number >5000. That is what statistical significance is supposed to mean: DETECTABLE, not IMPORTANT.

      >When people who posit some new phenomenon try to demonstrate it, the statistical community automatically adopts >detectability as the standard, rather than effect size, importance, replicability, etc. When something doesn't even rise >above significance consistently, one has to wonder about it as a basis for real-world events.

      You keep mentioning that you are  statistician, as the basis for your views making you better able to judge astrology. My husband, as I told you, is a statistician - and clearly disagrees with you. Statistics isn't the problem here.

      Are you intimidated by me or Edgar? I don't think so. Am I intimidated by you or Edgar? No.

      Yes - you make me realize why Gauquelin gave up.  Once again I realize why people are afraid to
      march to a different drummer. It is crippling and very disturbing and saddening to my soul.

      By the way, there are STILL flat earthers, or their equivalent out there - you even had to argue
      about that.




      Re: Asteroids and the Scientific Method
      Thu Dec 6, 2012 4:39 am (PST) . Posted by: "Julienne" zjulienne2 At 01:33 AM 12/6/2012, Fred Feinberg wrote:

      >Well, as a statistician, I know not to assign probabilities to
      >facts: facts are either true, or not. One assigns probabilities to
      >uncertain events, the classic example being the outcomes of quantum
      >But your lay question is clear, if ill-posed. Astrology isn't a
      >unified system, since different Astrologers use different methods.
      >And "scientifically valid" isn't a yes-no sort of outcome, but
      >depends on when the evaluation takes place, and exactly by whom.

      Unlike the many approaches to medicine, from allopathic to Chines
      systems, and so many others?

      Dark matter, or not?

      Climate change? - Little Ica Age, or Global warming?

      Child rearing - to spank, or not to spank?

      I could go on and on...

      >What I think you meant to ask is the likelihood I personally assign
      >to the main contentions of most Astrological systems' being
      >eventually accepted by the scientific mainstream. Or, better:
      >consistently showing predictive validity above chance in a variety of domains.
      >The first I place pretty much at zero, owing to the nature of the
      >scientific community.

      And you will be wrong - because sooner or later we get closer and
      closer to uncovering the great mysteries. It took
      a long time to accept that the earth isn't flat...

      >The second I place near zero, since the many tests carried out
      >already are pretty much there.

      And again, you're wrong already, vi Gauquelin and others, which you
      can't see through Edgar's intimidation of you - eben though you
      already recognize Edgar's ignorance and dishonesty.

      >Am I sure? No. But you asked for my personal reactions. And there they are.
      >Incidentally, I'm disappointed in part of your reply, below. You
      >really did not have first-hand knowledge of Gauquelin, and did not
      >provide even a single peer-reviewed "scientific" article to back up
      >your incessant contention that Astrology had been thoroughly
      >examined and debunked. I know you BELIEVE that to be true. But you
      >claimed more than belief. I share that belief. But *you* claimed to
      >have evidence.

      No - Edgar doesn't believe that, and I don't believe that you believe him...


      This is like so many men who define women - and ignore women's
      voices. You have an astrologer here, but you're listening to Edgar,
      and you're just arguing with me - not open to really listening. You
      still want to just have a theoretical argument about whether the moon
      exists, instead of looking up into the sky. Like the Csicops, and the
      Amazing Randi, you
      ignore what you're shown, you ignore even the study you sent here,
      just as they ignored what they were faced with, and even lied about it.


      Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. Robert Louis Stevenson

    • Andy Anderson
      Julienne, Can you help me understand how astrologers do experiments? What would an astrological experiement look like? How would another scientist repeat the
      Message 89 of 89 , Dec 10, 2012
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        Can you help me understand how astrologers do experiments?  What would an astrological experiement look like?  How would another scientist repeat the experiment?  Assuming science doesn't prove anything, it only falsifes hypotheses, what has been falsifies by astrologers?   
        As a x-genetist, I can understand how a scientists do organic chemistry, microbiological or genetic experiments.  There was a time when I could cross to corn inbreds that another scientist had crossed and repeat his experiment or tweak his hypothesis (outcome) by following a specific methodology.  May be you could discribe an astrolgoical experiemental methodology for me.


        To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
        From: julienne@...
        Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2012 20:53:16 -0500
        Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Asteroids and the Scientific Method

        At 10:17 PM 12/7/2012, Fred Feinberg wrote:

        Hi Andy,

        I can't speak for anything like the majority of statisticians or users of statistical methodology. However, if I were to write one of those Freakonomics type books where I had to say what Science or Statistics really meant, it would boil down pretty much to this:

             Science helps us overcome known biases in human perception in helping determine what's true.

        The reason I emphasize this is that there are systems, like Astrology, divining, bloodletting, and thousands of others (not to mention whole religions!) that were believed in not only by some very bright people, but by very bright people who based their belief on what they took to be EVIDENCE. "Evidence" isn't enough. How it's collected is.

        It's like Richard Feynman said, in one of the most insightful and important remarks I've ever heard: that, if you are a real scientist, you put equal energy into supporting and refuting your theory, looking for evidence on both sides. Very few people do that. Most have a horse in the race.

        Edgar and Julienne have whole fleets of horses in the race. Each of them is completely committed to a final position, and endpoint in their debate. Neither is even trying to pretend to be equally arduous in collecting evidence in favor or against Astrology. Personally, I don't care about Astrology, and what I've seen of its predictive successes is, putting it mildly, inconclusive. Julienne does make a good point: if we decide in advance what is possible, we will not take a close look at things that may surprise us.

        I have come to the point now, Fred, where I think you are just in a coma. It  doesn't matter what I
        say, you can't take it in.

        I founded The International Society for Astrological Research for exactly the purpose of conducting
        sound and comprehensive research into astrology, because, in my twenties, I was frustrated with the
        level of astrology I saw being done, and the misinterpretations of it in the media - such as equating
        it with sun sign rubbish.

        I organized conferences all over the world, and travelled all over the world - over 80 countries,
        gathering together physicists, medical doctors, historians, mathematicians, psychiatrists,
        therapists of many kinds, biologists, geneticists, astronomers, and more, to bring their expertise'
        and their information and work to explore what was or was not to be found in astrology.

        You sit there smugly telling me what I believe in order to comfort yourself. I have always said,
        when asked, on, for instance, interviews on TV or radio, or for various publications, why I
        "believed" in astrology, that I don't believe in it - any more than I believe in biology. I've
        lived long enough, Fred, to see information taught us in school as gospel, be unmasked - not
        necessarily as fraud, but as incomplete, sometimes flatly wrong, sometimes needing fine tuning,
        sometimes exploding the current levels of information. Even this week - we knew (were told)
        there was no water on Mars - and now, guess what? - there seems to be water at the Martian poles.

        But you insist on lying and claiming that it is a religion to me, and that I do "believe"
        in it - and you appeal to the rest of the group here to join you in your belief. Seems to me,
        Fred, that the believer is you - trying to convince yourself in your pretend role of reasonable
        mediator, that you are being open and objective. But you're not.

        I sent, as requested, "sTARBABY", and the "CSICOP" article, and you simply brushed them aside
        as containing information which was confusing to you.

        Edgar knows nothing about astrology, and you know that - but you got a kick out of
        using him as a "balance" against me. Ignorance isn't a balance against a quest for
        knowledge and understanding, Fred - it's just ignorance.


        I think it was Erasmus Darwin who said we should do crazy experiments from time to time, like to play a trumpet every day for a month to daffodils, and see what happens. Most of the time, nothing. But, sometimes, we may question the very way we see the universe.

        I don't know if this sort of answer is what you were after. Obviously, it's a subject that intrigues me.


        Re: Asteroids and the Scientific Method
        Fri Dec 7, 2012 6:46 pm (PST) . Posted by: "Andy Anderson" nd_ndrsn


        In your sense of having “…a specific
        way of dealing with data and empirical questions,” would you say that is
        similar to a position of experiential, experimental observation, from a clearing
        free of “artificial scaffolding?”

        I for one would like to hear more of your
        position. It seems to me there are few
        places on the internet and few news groups that are not full of true believers proselytizing
        their beliefs, projecting thier fear. ]You articulate an
        important position. Thank you,


        Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
                    -- Albert Einstein

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