Mod+ 269. DR. MICHAEL SHERMER, SKEPTICAL SCIENCE REPORTING

#1
I read the posted excerpts on this interview, and I was really struck by Alex's insistence that the interpretation of the results by the researcher is the only interpretation which can be considered. We've run up against that before from Alex. Scientists don't treat experimental results this way. This is something Alex has come up with as a layperson. But it brings me back to something I said to Saiko in another thread:

"It's a given that the conclusions drawn will depend upon your beliefs, so that is beside the point. The point is to perform research where the conclusions are constrained - the design, implementation and analysis only allow for a single conclusion. And that the same conclusion would be drawn by your enemies as by your supporters."

I think a lot of what gets missed when everyone argues about their pet ways of interpreting results is that this indicates the weakness of the research in the first place. If your enemies are drawing different conclusions from you, you need to do a better study. Science progresses when enemies are won over, not by confirming prior beliefs.

Linda

(as usual, Mod+ refers to http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/does-it-matter.1240/page-5#post-33913 )
 
#2
The point is to perform research where the conclusions are constrained - the design, implementation and analysis only allow for a single conclusion. And that the same conclusion would be drawn by your enemies as by your supporters."
lol. I'm not surprised to see your thoughts of mythical and overtly nonsensical constructs are ongoing. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a conclusion that is shared by everyone. Period.

You also continue your quest to slant your opinions as being some definitive take. Opinions about which only those who "don't know enough" could possibly see things differently. You also make the mistake of pitting your perspective "science" against viewpoints that are not so much opposing as just more encompassing.

BTW the type of research you advocate is both simplistic and anything but open research.
 
#3
There has never been, nor will there ever be, a conclusion that is shared by everyone. Period.
Sure there are:

The earth revolves in relation to the heavenly bodies. Some stomach ulcers are caused by H. pylori. Earth is composed of plates which glide over a mantle. Particles are distinguished on the basis of integer and half-integer spin. Bats negotiate via echolocation.

Etc., etc., etc.

Please be mindful of the mod+ designation.

Linda
 
#4
Sure there are:

The earth revolves in relation to the heavenly bodies. Some stomach ulcers are caused by H. pylori. Earth is composed of plates which glide over a mantle. Particles are distinguished on the basis of integer and half-integer spin. Bats negotiate via echolocation.

Etc., etc., etc.

Please be mindful of the mod+ designation.

Linda
None of the things you mention are believed/accepted by all scientists.

Mod + is there to tone down the rhetoric of those with your perspective. You don't get to re-purpose it to suit your own aims. To wit:
Now that we've been at the Skeptiko forum thing for a while we've noticed there are some discussion that need special moderation. People who accept that scientific materialism isn't a workable idea generally will be a good fit for these threads as the discussions generally explore what lies beyond the assumption that "consciousness is an illusion created by biological robots" (for more on this see: http://www.skeptiko.com/229-5-things-about-skeptiko/).
 
#6
I read the posted excerpts on this interview, and I was really struck by Alex's insistence that the interpretation of the results by the researcher is the only interpretation which can be considered.
Actually, that's not true. Alex just wanted Shermer to be honest when reporting on another researcher's work.
 
#8
None of the things you mention are believed/accepted by all scientists.
Really? Excluding ignorance and obstinacy (as you suggested), who doesn't?

Mod + is there to tone down the rhetoric of those with your perspective. You don't get to re-purpose it to suit your own aims.
I ran it past the moderators and they agreed (did you read my link?) that it was reasonable to ask for civility in these threads.

Linda
 
#9
This is what Pim van Lommel states in his paper:
(http://profezie3m.altervista.org/archivio/TheLancet_NDE.htm)

"And yet, neurophysiological processes must play some part in NDE. Similar experiences can be induced through electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe (and hence of the hippocampus) during neurosurgery for epilepsy,23 with high carbon dioxide levels (hypercarbia),24 and in decreased cerebral perfusion resulting in local cerebral hypoxia as in rapid acceleration during training of fighter pilots,25 or as in hyperventilation followed by valsalva manoeuvre.4 Ketamine-induced experiences resulting from blockage of the NMDA receptor,26 and the role of endorphin, serotonin, and enkephalin have also been mentioned,27 as have near-death-like experiences after the use of LSD,28 psilocarpine, and mescaline.21 These induced experiences can consist of unconsciousness, out-of-body experiences, and perception of light or flashes of recollection from the past. These recollections, however, consist of fragmented and random memories unlike the panoramic life-review that can occur in NDE. Further, transformational processes with changing life-insight and disappearance of fear of death are rarely reported after induced experiences.

Thus, induced experiences are not identical to NDE, and so, besides age, an unknown mechanism causes NDE by stimulation of neurophysiological and neurohumoral processes at a subcellular level in the brain in only a few cases during a critical situation such as clinical death. These processes might also determine whether the experience reaches consciousness and can be recollected."

Linda
 
#10
Sure there are:

The earth revolves in relation to the heavenly bodies. Some stomach ulcers are caused by H. pylori. Earth is composed of plates which glide over a mantle. Particles are distinguished on the basis of integer and half-integer spin. Bats negotiate via echolocation.

Etc., etc., etc.

Please be mindful of the mod+ designation.

Linda
Linda,

Barry Marshall, who won a Nobel Prize for showing that stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterium, was derided as a crackpot, and eventually resorted to drinking a petri dish of goop to prove his case, because his very correct experiments weren't convincing to the stalwartly objective agnostics who were his compatriots. Don't you think that's interesting? I think that's interesting. Good example you chose there.
 
#12
Linda,

Barry Marshall, who won a Nobel Prize for showing that stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterium, was derided as a crackpot, and eventually resorted to drinking a petri dish of goop to prove his case, because his very correct experiments weren't convincing to the stalwartly objective agnostics who were his compatriots. Don't you think that's interesting? I think that's interesting. Good example you chose there.
Thank you. I find it a good example of what I said in the OP - when prior results had been open to interpretation and belief, performing experiments which constrained the conclusions which could be drawn led even his critics to conclude that the association was causal.

Linda
 
#13
Thank you. I find it a good example of what I said in the OP - when prior results had been open to interpretation and belief, performing experiments which constrained the conclusions which could be drawn led even his critics to conclude that the association was causal.

Linda
Huh. I take something different away from the story. I see it as an example of the role cognitive dissonance plays in ensuring that even solid research can be overlooked when the subject is controversial. I guess in my view it's not possible to arrive at results so airtight and convincing that they won't be trumped by cognitive dissonance. I'm guessing this has informed most paradigm shifts in science through the ages. The list of crackpots who turned out to be right isn't a short one.

Interesting how we both have different takeaways, isn't it? I think it's interesting.
 
#14
Huh. I take something different away from the story. I see it as an example of the role cognitive dissonance plays in ensuring that even solid research can be overlooked when the subject is controversial. I guess in my view it's not possible to arrive at results so airtight and convincing that they won't be trumped by cognitive dissonance. I'm guessing this has informed most paradigm shifts in science through the ages. The list of crackpots who turned out to be right isn't a short one.

Interesting how we both have different takeaways, isn't it? I think it's interesting.
Don't get sucked into the black hole of silliness. There is a real thread about the podcast here. This is a distraction thread.
 
#18
Huh. I take something different away from the story. I see it as an example of the role cognitive dissonance plays in ensuring that even solid research can be overlooked when the subject is controversial. I guess in my view it's not possible to arrive at results so airtight and convincing that they won't be trumped by cognitive dissonance. I'm guessing this has informed most paradigm shifts in science through the ages.
This isn't a good example for that - Marshall hadn't done the kind of solid research which would allow you to say that H. pylori was causal. Observing an organism in the presence of a condition is insufficient to conclude causality, so being unconvinced by this research didn't depend on cognitive dissonance, only reasonable caution. The research which changed minds was the solid research he went on to perform. There was no compelling way to know beforehand that his idea was going to be the one which was right, out of the hundreds/thousands which were wrong.

Can you suggest an example where people (excluding ignorance) were still derogatory after the "mystery had been explained"?
http://www.michaelshermer.com/2003/03/demon-haunted-brain/

The list of crackpots who turned out to be right isn't a short one.
It's thousands of times shorter than the list of those who turned out to be wrong. How do you distinguish between them beforehand?

(By "beforehand", I mean "before one has gone through the process of figuring out which ideas are valid".)

http://skeptiko-forum.com/threads/the-nature-of-evidence.2059/#post-61867

Linda
 
#19
Is it longer than the list of crackpots that turned out to be... errr... crackpots?

Crackpottery is not a good indicator of rightness. ;)
I guess, on reflection, my take on it is that is it derogatory to call anyone a "crackpot" or any other epithet because their reality tunnel differs from one's own. Knowledge advances through conjecture and refutation; the critical rationalist sees everyone as having something worthwhile to contribute... some people more than others. In this particular case, the derogatory comments were advanced even though the subject turned out to be, you know, correct.
 
#20
This isn't a good example for that - Marshall hadn't done the kind of solid research which would allow you to say that H. pylori was causal. Observing an organism in the presence of a condition is insufficient to conclude causality, so being unconvinced by this research didn't depend on cognitive dissonance, only reasonable caution. The research which changed minds was the solid research he went on to perform. There was no compelling way to know beforehand that his idea was going to be the one which was right, out of the hundreds/thousands which were wrong.

Can you suggest an example where people (excluding ignorance) were still derogatory after the "mystery had been explained"?
http://www.michaelshermer.com/2003/03/demon-haunted-brain/


Linda
I'm not so sure, Linda. It sort of seems to me like maybe the problem isn't the "being unconvinced" bit so much as the "being derogatory" bit. Reasonable caution is being unconvinced. Cognitive dissonance is being derogatory.

You seem to lean towards a positivist epistemology. Would that be fair to say?
 
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