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My new YouTube video about atheism
#11
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
(September 24, 2020 at 5:30 pm)Sal Wrote: Come on guise.

Instead of just disparaging a blanket claim about the social sciences, educate him on why they're useful.

If he can’t doesn’t already grasp why economics, law, education and sociology are both important and useful, I honestly doubt I’ll be able to get through to him.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#12
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
If you think so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feynman
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#13
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
Grandizer Wrote:Way to shit on decades of work in the social sciences.

I am not saying doing social science research doesn't sometimes require a lot of effort. I am just saying the conclusions social scientists end up with are way less certain than those in natural sciences.

Grandizer Wrote:the article specifically is related to psychology but all the same

No, it's not really the same. Sociologists and economists (and sometimes, but not always, linguists) assume psychology is true and make hypotheses that presuppose that. Therefore, the conclusions of sociologists and economists can only be true if their assumptions about psychology are true, and are thus less certain than psychology is. And not all parts of psychology are the same. You just can't compare the levels of scientific rigour in social psychology with the rigour in psychophysics, and it should be obvious why.

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:We can forget about law.

I am not sure what you mean.

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:And history.

History is usually not considered science. But if you want to, I guess you can say it's the softest science or one of the softest sciences. Using history to argue against sociological or economic theory makes you sound silly, right?

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:And geography.

Geography is a multi-disciplinary field of many sciences, some rather hard and some very soft.

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:Sociology

And what has sociology done useful? What has it even reached a consensus about? Has sociology ever made a prediction that proved to be correct?

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:psychology

Some parts of psychology are a useful hard science (psychophysics), some border with pseudoscience (social psychology). And psychology as a whole isn't exactly a social science.

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:education

I am not sure what you mean.

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:economics

How has economics helped us? Economists basically never predict recessions. They always talk about fairytales of eternal economic growth, and, when that proves wrong, they search for some smart-sounding post-hoc explanation for how it could happen. Sorry, but that's not science. Sure, not all of economics is equal. Austrian School of Economics is arguably not even coherent, it obviously contradicts basic game theory. Microeconomics is certainly more scientific than macroeconomics is, but comparing it to physics, or even to linguistics, is absurd.

BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:none of these disciplines have ever contributed as much to the human condition as corresponding 'ha' to a short 'a'

It's not very useful, but at least it very strongly suggests the De Saussure's model of language that made that prediction was somewhat correct. There appears to be nothing like that in other social sciences.

(September 24, 2020 at 5:43 pm)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote:
(September 24, 2020 at 5:30 pm)Sal Wrote: Come on guise.

Instead of just disparaging a blanket claim about the social sciences, educate him on why they're useful.

If he can’t doesn’t already grasp why economics, law, education and sociology are both important and useful, I honestly doubt I’ll be able to get through to him.

Boru
If economics and sociology could be studied scientifically, then they would be useful. But that doesn't seem to be the case. See, when you make a well-known economic or sociological model, you influence peoples behaviour with that model. Social scientists can't be passive observers, no matter how hard they try. People generally act in a way that makes the models less true just because they know about them. So, you can't know if your model had a kernel of truth to it or not.
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#14
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
@FlatAssembler, I'm gonna be blunt: Your assumption seems to rest on the notion of repeatability of experiments, prediction, and natural science models as per scientific methods, right?

We don't have a complete picture of our natural world, and us in it. The best we can do is try to explain our surroundings to the best of our ability. As it stands now, not even mathematics is complete, and it probably never can be (as per Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems). The points is, inarguably, that our ability to reach understanding - on a fundamental level - is incomplete. We might not ever be able to, we don't know.

This point is demonstrable easy to show: In physics and engineering, there are 2 "formulas" for describing fluid motion; turbulent and laminar. It's easy to predict how laminar flow will go, by its smooth motion in a system, and AFAIK impossible for turbulent (from what we understand of it). This isn't a particular esoteric problem for engineers, they just stick to systems where they maintain laminar flow. However, this is like a wall of comprehension for theorists in physics.

I think this challenge for understanding whatever reality is, isn't exactly disheartening - just means there's more stuff to explore.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feynman
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#15
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
(September 24, 2020 at 6:34 pm)Sal Wrote: @FlatAssembler, I'm gonna be blunt: Your assumption seems to rest on the notion of repeatability of experiments, prediction, and natural science models as per scientific methods, right?

We don't have a complete picture of our natural world, and us in it. The best we can do is try to explain our surroundings to the best of our ability. As it stands now, not even mathematics is complete, and it probably never can be (as per Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems). The points is, inarguably, that our ability to reach understanding - on a fundamental level - is incomplete. We might not ever be able to, we don't know.

This point is demonstrable easy to show: In physics and engineering, there are 2 "formulas" for describing fluid motion; turbulent and laminar. It's easy to predict how laminar flow will go, by its smooth motion in a system, and AFAIK impossible for turbulent (from what we understand of it). This isn't a particular esoteric problem for engineers, they just stick to systems where they maintain laminar flow. However, this is like a wall of comprehension for theorists in physics.

I think this challenge for understanding whatever reality is, isn't exactly disheartening - just means there's more stuff to explore.
It's hard to predict the turbulent movement because of the huge number of unknown initial variables and complex mathematics involved in it. However, predicting with physical and chemical certainty how a human being will behave is even harder. And predicting how a group of people will behave, which is what social sciences try to do, is impossible with any certainty.
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#16
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
But can't you see this fundamental limitation? Even in maths? Even in logic? Axioms?
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feynman
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#17
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
(September 24, 2020 at 5:58 pm)FlatAssembler Wrote:
Grandizer Wrote:Way to shit on decades of work in the social sciences.

I am not saying doing social science research doesn't sometimes require a lot of effort. I am just saying the conclusions social scientists end up with are way less certain than those in natural sciences.

So? That doesn't make the research less scientific. There are still controlled double-blind trials involved in some of these fields, along with objective measures constructed to measure variables of interest (and even the means to establish their reliability and validity). And some of these trials, believe it or not, are true experiments. That said, surveys and quasi-experiments still often work fine for their particular purposes, even if conclusions on causality should not be as confidently made. People tend to deride surveys but they don't realize a lot of effort is often put to ensure they work as intended (including, for example, adding questions just to test whether the respondent is taking the survey seriously and/or being generally honest in their answers - or even via rigorous analysis of the answer patterns). And often surveys are not conducted in isolation and are a part of wider study that may include true experiments and such. Some studies are done to build hypotheses, and other studies are done to test them. It's a variety of things.

So less certainty, maybe, but science doesn't operate on absolute certainty anyway. Plus, given enough time, technology, and further research, there will hopefully be more certainty regarding various aspects of human nature, both individually and collectively, presently and historically.
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#18
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
Sal Wrote:But can't you see this fundamental limitation?
I am not sure what you mean.
Sal Wrote:Even in maths?
Well, at least, in mathematics, you don't have to deal with unknown intial variables. You can prove he four-color theorem by brute-forcing, something like that is probably impossible in any other science.
Sal Wrote:Even in logic?
Again, I am not sure what you mean.
Sal Wrote:Axioms?
Again, I am not sure what you mean.
Grandizer Wrote:That doesn't make the research less scientific.
But it does. Scientific methods that are a normal thing in natural sciences are rarely applied in social sciences. In physics, any experimental result has a p-value, usually on the order of magnitude of one over a million. In linguistics, p-value is rarely calculated. And when it is, it's usually on the order of one over hundred or so.
Grandizer Wrote:There are still controlled double-blind trials involved in some of these fields, along with objective measures constructed to measure variables of interest (and even the means to establish their reliability and validity).
Sure, but such are very rare.
Grandizer Wrote:And some of these trials, believe it or not, are true experiments.
I am not saying it's never possible to make systematic observations or controlled experiments in social sciences. I am saying it's usually not possible. And when it is possible, it's quite often not done that way. In linguistics, for example, it was common knowledge for almost a century that vowel quality was determined primarily by the shape of the tongue, when there was never experimental evidence to support that, and experimental results suggesting otherwise began to appear as early as the 1920s.
Grandizer Wrote:they don't realize a lot of effort is often put to ensure they work as intended
Often it is. Usually, it isn't. Polls predict the results of the elections no better than guessing. And, when there are more rigorous forms of science, the results of surveys mostly prove to be wrong. Surveys found a huge correlation between brain tumors and cellphone usage, rigorous studies find no correlation whatsoever. Surveys found a significant negative correlation between vitamin E intake and lung cancer, rigorous studies found that vitamin E can even cause lung cancer. Surveys generally show calcium decreases the risk of heart diseases, rigorous studies tend to show it either makes no difference or actually increases the risk of heart disease.
Grandizer Wrote:Plus, given enough time, technology, and further research, there will hopefully be more certainty regarding various aspects of human nature, both individually and collectively, presently and historically.
Social sciences generally rely on dumb luck for the hypotheses to be proven or disproven. A big difference between the De Saussure's prediction of the Indo-European laryngeals and the prediction of background cosmic radiation is that astronomy was able to guarantee that, given the right kind of technology, that hypothesis can be proven or disproven. Linguistics couldn't guarantee that, in some possible world very close to ours no Anatolian language was attested, or none of their attestations survived.
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#19
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
(September 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm)FlatAssembler Wrote:
Grandizer Wrote:That doesn't make the research less scientific.
But it does. Scientific methods that are a normal thing in natural sciences are rarely applied in social sciences. In physics, any experimental result has a p-value, usually on the order of magnitude of one over a million. In linguistics, p-value is rarely calculated. And when it is, it's usually on the order of one over hundred or so.

Science isn't just about experiments. Science also involves theorizing based on the repeated observations made in nature or the results of prior studies. Einstein wasn't doing any experiments when he came up with the idea of relativity. And in fact, there are certain fields in physics that don't generally involve experiments, such as theoretical physics. It's something similar with social science.

We definitely do have something called the p-value in experimental psychology as well. Just so you know. Sometimes, depending on how cautious we need to be, it's 1/100. Sure it's not as extreme as 1/1000000 but that's more a difference in degree really. Again, science doesn't operate on absolute certainty.

Usually, whenever I hear someone say that the social sciences aren't really science, it's often said in a prejudiced way as a means to diminish the quality of contributions made in these fields, similar to how philosophy is also derided as something that's quite useless. It's a prejudiced stance borne out of ignorance not of facts.

Quote:
Grandizer Wrote:And some of these trials, believe it or not, are true experiments.
I am not saying it's never possible to make systematic observations or controlled experiments in social sciences. I am saying it's usually not possible.


Which is also a problem in ... wait for it ... the field of medicine itself! Is medicine then not true science? Is health science in general not true science?

Quote:Polls predict the results of the elections no better than guessing.

Hahaha, oh boy. If only statisticians were around here to have a word with you.

Quote:And, when there are more rigorous forms of science, the results of surveys mostly prove to be wrong. Surveys found a huge correlation between brain tumors and cellphone usage, rigorous studies find no correlation whatsoever. Surveys found a significant negative correlation between vitamin E intake and lung cancer, rigorous studies found that vitamin E can even cause lung cancer. Surveys generally show calcium decreases the risk of heart diseases, rigorous studies tend to show it either makes no difference or actually increases the risk of heart disease.

Without the proper context, one cannot properly comment on this rambling you're doing here. Yes, studies may sometimes contradict one another in their results. Hence why the need for "further research". That's something you also see in "hardcore" sciences like physics.

And by the way, it's hard to come up with a rigorous study that can very confidently find some independent variable causing some dependent variable in fields like medicine and such. Why? Because you can't just manipulate independent variables however you want without violating certain ethical standards in those fields.

Quote:Social sciences generally rely on dumb luck for the hypotheses to be proven or disproven.

Sure, bud, lol.
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#20
RE: My new YouTube video about atheism
Grandizer Wrote:Science isn't just about experiments.
Doing controlled experiments is an ideal of science. But when that's not possible, science should rely on predictions and systematic observations. You know, like astronomy and meteorology do. Inferior to doing controlled experiments, but far better than nothing. Astrophysics is a softer science than particle physics, you don't use astrophysics to contradict particle physics. But the difference between astrophysics and social sciences is that social sciences rarely, if ever, make specific predictions. The only specific prediction made by a social science is, as far as I know, the Indo-European laryngeals.

Grandizer Wrote:Einstein wasn't doing any experiments when he came up with the idea of relativity.

Yes, but he was doing experiments to test it.

Grandizer Wrote:And in fact, there are certain fields in physics that don't generally involve experiments, such as theoretical physics. It's something similar with social science.

Sure, like the string theory, which most physicists despise as pseudoscience.

Grandizer Wrote:that's more a difference in degree really

But, quite often, it isn't. Often times, p-values of 5% or so are a sign of p-hacking. In social sciences, there are almost always multiple null-hypotheses to choose from, and, if there are 20 of them, chances are, at least one of them will interpret your result as statistically significant (if the border of statistical significance is chosen to be 5%). Or, that you repeated the experiment multiple times to get a statistically significant result. But, of course, since the phenomena social sciences study are so subtle and hard to reliably measure, you need to put a high border of statistical significance, or else you will miss most real phenomena.

Grandizer Wrote:It's a prejudiced stance borne out of ignorance not of facts.

It's borne out of a-priori reasoning. If some field of study, such as astronomy, uses only systematic observation, and the other one, such as particle physics, uses both systematic observation and controlled experiments, the conclusions of the former are fundamentally less certain than the conclusions of the latter. If chemistry assumes physics is right and the theories in chemistry can only be true if the theories in physics are right, then, almost by definition, theories in chemistry are less certain than the theories in physics. Since biology assumes physics and chemistry are correct, and its theories can only be true if they are correct, they are less certain than physics and chemistry are. Since psychology assumes both physics, and chemistry, and biology, that all of them are correct, then, almost by definition, it's less certain than the softest of those sciences. And sociology and economics assume psychology is correct, and add a bunch of their own assumptions only to make things easier to model (that there are no systematic biases making society irrational...).

Plus, economics being useless is not a prejudice borne out of ignorance if you see that economists almost always talk about fairytales of eternal economic growth, and, when a recession happens, they are seeking for some post-hoc explanation and can't agree on it. It's the same reason people believe computer science is useful that they believe economics is useless: they see the fruits.

Grandizer Wrote:Is medicine then not true science?
Unfortunately, quite often, it isn't. The general rule appears to be that more it has to do with psychology, less scientific medicine becomes. Psychiatry has a horrible track record of convincing itself that very harmful treatments are useful. Freud convinced himself, and many other psychiatrists, that cocaine is a magical cure for almost all mental illness. The destruction of the frontal lobe was a common treatment all the way up to 1970s, and was counter-productive in almost all cases. And it's even now. Nobody knows how antidepressants are supposed to work, and there is not much evidence they work any better than placebo. The same applies, although to a lesser extent, to neurology. Nobody knows how a low-carb low-protein diet is supposed to help people with epilepsy, nor is there much evidence it actually helps. Though, quite surprisingly, the same is true for a lot of cough medication.
Grandizer Wrote:If only statisticians were around here to have a word with you.
Well, I did have some statistics classes at the university. Surveys are the last thing you want to rely on, and are often worse than useless.
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