The Instigator
Illegalcombatant
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
Floid
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Science is based on logic fallacy/s

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Floid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,528 times Debate No: 16025
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

Illegalcombatant

Pro

4 Rounds
8,000 Character limit
72 Hours to respond
1 Month voting period

NO VIDEO LINKS
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PROBLEMS ?

If you have any problem with the debate please post in the comments section first so we can try to come to an agreement before starting.
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EXPECTATIONS

It is expected that both parties act in good faith, eg no semantics, no cheap shots.
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Round 4

Round 4 is the last round, no new arguments are to be made in round 4. Only rebuttals, counter arguments of the previous arguments, and summaries.
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Definitions

Science =In modern use, science is "often treated as synonymous with ‘natural and physical science’, and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use." [1]

Scientific Method = Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning [2]

Logic fallacy = In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is incorrect reasoning in argumentation resulting in a misconception [3]

Opening statement

Okey thought I would cause some trouble, so I am going to attack science or more specifically the philosophical principles and foundation that science is built on.

1) Uniformitarianism

In the philosophy of naturalism, uniformitarianism assumes that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe [4]

But on what basis is it claimed that the universe operates in the same way, in all places at all times ?

Obviously the universe has not been fully observed, so this claim of uniformity is based on a sample.

A fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole (or even of every proper part) [5]

Consider this argument.........

1) All observed swans are white (This was true in some region of the world in the past)
2) Therefore all swans are white

1) All observations of the universe, show consistency of universal laws (This is true for now)
2) Therefore the Universe has and always will be consistent with those universal laws

Its logically fallacious to claim that just becuse some part of the universe is consistent with universal laws, that means the universe always operates to those observed universal laws.

2) Empiricism and the reliability of experience

Empiricism then, in the philosophy of science, emphasizes those aspects of scientific knowledge that are closely related to evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Hence, science is considered to be methodologically empirical in nature [6]

But how do we know that experience (like the experince of observaing those experiments) is its self reliable ?

Begging the question (or petitio principii, "assuming the initial point") is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise [7]

1) Experience is reliable
2) We know from experience that experience is reliable
3) Therefore experience is reliable

Assuming experince is reliable to prove that experince is relialbe is logically fallacious.

3) Falsifiability

"Falsifiability or refutability is the logical possibility that an assertion could be shown false by a particular observation or physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, it means that if the statement were false, then its falsehood could be demonstrated"

"Falsifiability, particularly testability, is an important concept in science and the philosophy of science. The concept was made popular by Karl Popper in his philosophical analysis of the scientific method. Popper concluded that a hypothesis, proposition, or theory is "scientific" only if it is, among other things, falsifiable. That is, falsifiability is a necessary (but not sufficient) criterion for scientific ideas" [8]

So how is the principle of falsifiability its self falsifiable ? It isn't, as such according to its own rule, it should not be regarded as a scientific.

Science built on a rule that its self says is not scientific.

I look forward to Cons reply.

Sources
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...(philosophy)
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Floid

Con

I accept your definitions. You raise some interesting points, but the underlying problem behind your overall view is that you restrict science to speaking in absolutes when science instead admits its own short comings.


1.) Uniformitarianism

You are right in that uniformity is an assumption made in science. It is not a logical fallacy because science admits that it is making an assumption on this point.

But on what basis is it claimed that the universe operates in the same way, in all places at all times ?

1.) That claim is not made. We make that assumption because it is useful and allows us to attempt to learn more about the universe. Without assuming uniformity, there is no science. So we start with a few basic assumptions and see where it takes us. But science admits the possibility that the assumption is false and thus averts a logical fallacy on this point.

2.) And as a point of clarification, science even admits that the universe doesn't operate in the same way, in all places, and at all times. Examples of this are at the proposed singularity at the beginning of the universe or past the event horizon of a black hole.


Consider this argument.........
1) All observed swans are white (This was true in some region of the world in the past)
2) Therefore all swans are white

True, but the scientific argument is:

1.) All observed swans are white.
2.) Therefore, until we have evidence to the contrary, the most logical theory is that all swans are white


1) All observations of the universe, show consistency of universal laws (This is true for now)
2) Therefore the Universe has and always will be consistent with those universal laws

But science doesn't claim uniformity on the basis of observation. It assumes uniformity to be pragmatic. Without observing some basic unformity assumptions about light, we have no observations of the universe to begin with...


2) Empiricism and the reliability of experience

The scientific method itself is an answer to your begging the question argument. We can never know with certainty whether or not experiences are reliable. However, it is more useful to assume that the more experiences we have that are in agreement (without have any that are in disagreement) then the greater the probability that our experiences about that subject are reliable.

Again, science admits this limitation and leaves itself open to always be reinterpreted or overturned.


3) Falsifiability

:So how is the principle of falsifiability its self falsifiable ? It isn't, as such according to its own rule, it should not be regarded as a scientific.

Science built on a rule that its self says is not scientific.

The definition of science we have agreed upon is "natural and physical science". The principle of falsifiability is a philosophical and not a natural or physical . You can't apply science to this principle therefore this argument is a mute point.
Debate Round No. 1
Illegalcombatant

Pro

I thank Pro for their response.

What this debate is about Science and Logical fallacies

After reading Pro's response I think that Pro has mis understood what the debate resolution is. The debate is not whether the logical fallacies that science are built on can be justified on pragmatic grounds (for the sake of this argument I will concede that they are), the debate is about whether science is built on logical fallacies.

For example Pro says "You are right in that uniformity is an assumption made in science. It is not a logical fallacy because science admits that it is making an assumption on this point. "

Pro agree's that science is committing a logical fallacy, but then seeks to justify that fallacy. I remind Pro once again that the debate is about whether science is built on logical fallacies in the first place.

I would also point out, that admitting that something is committing a logical fallacy doesn't mean the fallacy just ceases to exist. It especially doesn't cease to exist when the same fallacy although admitted is still being done.

Consider this example.......

An ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.

1) Pro argues that science is good
2) Pro is an atheist liberal who wants to raise your taxes and probably worships satan
3) Therefore science is not good

Now, this is clearly an ad hominem, but what if I then admit that I have committed this logical fallacy, does the fact that I have admitted it make it some how make it no longer a logical fallacy ? of course not. What if I admit I am committing this logical fallacy while I continue to make the same argument based on this logically fallacy ? Does my admission some how make the logical fallacy no longer a logical fallacy ? I thinketh not.

Pro says "The principle of falsifiability is a philosophical and not a natural or physical"

ALL principles/laws are philosophical, you can't find principles/laws in the physical world because they lack any physical attribute.

The law of uniformity is philosophical
The law of addition is philosophical
The concept that experience is reliable is philosophical
Philosophy is philosophical

I look forward to Pros reply.
Floid

Con

Perhaps I unnecessarily complicated my argument which really consisted of two parts:

1.) Science is not based on logical fallacies because science does not deal with absolutes which is required for the logical fallacies proposed by Pro.

2.) The justification for the assumptions made by science is pragmatic in nature.

Point 1 is what demonstrate Pro wrong and what Pro has ignored while Point 2 was unnecessary on my part and what Pro has now argued against.


Lets examine the debate a little further.

Pro claims that Con has agreed "that science is committing a logical fallacy". But a review of the round 1 arguments reveals this is not the case.


Uniformity

Pro misstates science stance on uniformity and in Pros misstatement is the straw man that attempts to construe science into committing the fallacy of composition.

Pro uses the example:

1) All observed swans are white (This was true in some region of the world in the past)
2) Therefore all swans are white

The above statement has two important characteristics for this debate:
1.) It commits the fallacy of composition.
2.) It is not a scientific view and therefore irrelevant to the debate

As I stated in round 1, the scientific view is:

1.) All observed swans are white.
2.) Therefore, until we have evidence to the contrary, the most logical theory is that all swans are white

The above statement has two important characteristics for this debate:
1.) It does not commit the logical fallacy of composition because it does not claim that all swans are white, it claims the most logical assumption that can be made given the information at hand is that all swans are white
2.) It is a scientific theory.

I would as Pro to address this in the next round since it was overlooked previously.



2) Empiricism and the reliability of experience

This was not addressed by pro in this round, so I assume we are in agreement that science is a frame work that attempts to make empiricism reliable while readily admitting that it never will be absolutely reliable.

On this point we have answered pro's original question:

But how do we know that experience (like the experience of observing those experiments) is its self reliable ?

Science tells us that we can never ultimately trust experience and must always leave it open to reinterpretation. On this point, Pro again attempted to pigeon hole science into offering certainty when all science offers is doubt.


3) Falsifiability

It appears we have agreement on falsifiability also. Pro's original argument was that "Science [is] built on a rule that its self says is not scientific" but we now both agree that of course the principle of falsifiability is a philosophical principle and not a scientific one.

There is no logical fallacy in scientific theory being built on philosophical principles.



Summary

Con is at fault for unnecessarily clouding the debate with the talk of pragmatism. However, this does not excuse Pro for answering the refutation of its arguments. Statements of certainty are required to commit the logical fallacies Pro has suggested. Science does not make statements of certainty. The divide between claiming something likely true and something true is the divide between a logical theory and a logical fallacy.

“If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part.”
-Richard Feynman



Debate Round No. 2
Illegalcombatant

Pro

I thank Con for their response.

In the previous rounds I kept referring to Con as the Pro, hopefully this didn't confuse people too much.

I Concede that all assumptions of science are "useful"

I want to make this clear, because the debate is on whether science is built on logical fallacies. By me making this clear concession, Con does not have to waste time trying to justify the "usefulness" of science and the assumptions/principles its built on.

1) Uniformitarianism

"In the philosophy of naturalism, uniformitarianism assumes that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe"

Con says "You are right in that uniformity is an assumption made in science. It is not a logical fallacy because science admits that it is making an assumption on this point. "

I remind Con that admitting an assumption has being made (and if that assumption is logic fallacious) the admission its self doesn't change that the assumption is logical fallacious in the first place.

Con says "And as a point of clarification, science even admits that the universe doesn't operate in the same way, in all places, and at all times"

So science does assumes uniformitarianism while admitting that the universe doesn't operate in the same way, in all places, and at all times" and thus refutes Uniformitarianism. How is this not a direct contradiction ?

"In logic, the Principle of contradiction (principium contradictionis in Latin) is the second of the so-called three classic laws of thought. The oldest statement of the law is that contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true, e.g. the two propositions A is B and A is not B are mutually exclusive" [1]

2) Empiricism and the reliability of experience

Con says "Science tells us that we can never ultimately trust experience and must always leave it open to reinterpretation. On this point, Pro again attempted to pigeon hole science into offering certainty when all science offers is doubt."

My argument is based that science is built on the foundation that experience is GENERALLY reliable not ABSOLUTELY reliable.

I fully accept that science (and the scientific method that is a part of science) does not make the assumption that experience is absolutely reliable, but it is built on the assumption that experience is GENERALLY reliable.

This assumption has nothing to back it up, other than its own assumption. Or another way of putting it, science justifies that experience is generally reliable because it has be shown in the past that experience is generally reliable.

Consider this joke.......

Person 1: I have a generally reliable memory
Person 2: How do you know that ?
Person 1: Because I took a memory test last week, and it the results said that my memory was generally reliable.

But you see the problem here is, if Person 1 memory is not generally reliable, then maybe their memory of taking the test is incorrect, or maybe there memory of their test results is incorrect, and thus their whole justification for assuming they have a reliable memory falls apart.

That's why you can't assume that thing is true of the thing that your trying to prove is true. Science assumes that experience is generally reliable because experience is generally reliable.

"Begging the question (or petitio principii, "assuming the initial point") is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise"

Science and laws/concepts/principles

In order to justify the contradiction of science being built on principle of "Falsifiability" con says "but we now both agree that of course the principle of falsifiability is a philosophical principle and not a scientific one."

Previously I pointed out to Con that all "laws/concepts/principles" are philosophical/conceptual in nature. Although Con agreed that the principle of falsifiability is philosophical Con had no rebuttal that all the other laws/principles of science are philosophical.

I ask Pro to present just one law/concept/principles of science that is not philosophical/conceptual.

3) Falsifiability

Con says "There is no logical fallacy in scientific theory being built on philosophical principles." I agree there isn't. But you see this doesn't give you or science a free pass to commit logical fallacies and just try and sweep those logical fallacies under the rug now does it ?

As I asked before "So how is the principle of falsifiability its self falsifiable ? It isn't, as such according to its own rule, it should not be regarded as a scientific."

Science claims that anything that is not falsifiable is not "scientific", yet is built on the concept of falsifiability which in of its self is not falsifiable thus according to its own standard is not "scientific". But science doesn't hold its self to its own rule. This is just special pleading or in lay mans terms not playing by your own rules.

"Special Pleading is a formal logical fallacy where a participant demands special considerations for a particular premise of theirs. Usually this is because in order for their argument to work, they need to provide some way to get out of a logical inconsistency. Therefore, they introduce a "special case" or an exception to their rules" [2]

I look forward to Cons response.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://rationalwiki.org...
Floid

Con

Uniformity

Unfortunately, Pro has ignored Cons argument on this point. As stated in the previous round, to commit the fallacy of composition, Science would be required to claim uniformity is true. Science does not claim uniformity true, instead science claims that among all the possibilities, given what we have observered, the most likely possibility is that the basic physical properties are the same in the same "universally" (Con use quotes here since it seems Pro has become confused on this point as discussed later).

Con again asks Pro to address this argument in the next round since it has thus far been overlooked.


"So science does assumes uniformitarianism while admitting that the universe doesn't operate in the same way, in all places, and at all times" and thus refutes Uniformitarianism. How is this not a direct contradiction ? "

It is not a direct contradiction because Pro does not understand either science's view of uniformity nor Con's use of it so far. Pro is attempting to claim science believes uniformity is universal (literally). Instead, despite thinking it more likely than not that uniformity exists in most of space and time, science has clearly stated a few places where it thinks this is not true (like at a singularity). So Con will now use "universal" to show that neither Con or science claims uniformity is likely universally. The common theme that is developing is that Pro's claim of what science states and what science actually states are not the same thing.


2) Empiricism and the reliability of experience

Pro claims that science "Science assumes that experience is generally reliable because experience is generally reliable."

I agree that if Pro's statement above was the view of science then science would be begging the question. However, Pro has again mistated science's view. Science is skeptical of experience which is why a key tennet of the scientific method is reproducibility. If an experience is reproducible in a different location, at a different time, and by a different people then the probability that the common experience (should the experiences turn out the same) was in error decreases.


3) Falsifiability

Science requires that scientific theories be falsifiable.
Falsifiability is not a scientific theory (it is not based on natural/physical principles).
Therefore, scientific rules do not apply to falsifiability.

If Pro wishes to have a philosophic debate about the falsifiability then Con would suggest Pro do so...

However, there is no special pleading taking place because the scientific method clearly is not meant to be a tool to evaluate philosophical principles which is what Pro is trying to claim.


I ask Pro (sic) to present just one law/concept/principles of science that is not philosophical/conceptual

Ohm's law, Gauss' law, Faraday's Law, Maxwell's Equations... to name a few of hundreds.

All of these are actual physical and natural laws. One can easily set up experiments that demonstrate/test any of the above laws or principles hence they are scientific. One can not set up an experiment to demonstrate or test falsifiability which is why it is philosophical.






Debate Round No. 3
Illegalcombatant

Pro

I thank Con for their reply.

1) Uniformitarianism

I think Con is downgrading what Uniformaitarianism says. Uniformaitarianism was defined as "In the philosophy of naturalism, uniformitarianism assumes that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe"

Con says "It is not a direct contradiction because Pro does not understand either science's view of uniformity nor Con's use of it so far. Pro is attempting to claim science believes uniformity is universal (literally). Instead, despite thinking it more likely than not that uniformity exists in most of space and time, science has clearly stated a few places where it thinks this is not true (like at a singularity)."

If the universe doesn't operate by the same natural laws and processes everywhere then Uniformaitarianism is false.

2) Empiricism and the reliability of experience

Con has sought to refute my arguments on the reliability of experience, by making the distinction between one observation and many observations as Con says "If an experience is reproducible in a different location, at a different time, and by a different people then the probability that the common experience (should the experiences turn out the same) was in error decreases. "

There is a hidden assumption in the the more experience = less probability of error claim.

The hidden assumption is that experience is generally reliable. This is easy to demonstrate cause if it was assumed that observation in of its self was NOT GENERALLY unreliable, then putting a together a bunch of generally unreliable observations would not lead to the conclusion that more observations = less probability of error claim.

As stated before it is assumed that experience is generally reliable (whether it be one observation or many) because experience (in multiple observations) is shown to be generally reliable.

3) Science and laws/concepts/principles

Con says "Ohm's law, Gauss' law, Faraday's Law, Maxwell's Equations... to name a few of hundreds."

There is a big difference between a "law/concept/explanation" etc and the physical phenomena that it seeks to explain. To claim for instance that faradays law cause it seeks to explain a physical phenomena means that the law its self is physical is clearly logically fallacious.

ALL laws/concepts/principles have no physical properties. They seek to explain the physical, they are not themselves physical. Faradays law is no more physical than the law of falsifiability.

4) Falsifiability

Faradays law is regarded as "scientific" because as Con says "One can easily set up experiments that demonstrate/test any of the above laws or principles hence they are scientific"

Now Con doesn't challenge that the law of falsifiable is in of its self unfalsifiable and thus according to its own rule its not "scientific". But Con merely retorts that the law is "philosophical", but you see the question wasn't if the law is philosophical/conceptual (all laws are) the question is, is the law of falsifiability "scientific" ? as scientific say for instance as faradays law ? The answer is no, cause faradays law is falsifiable, the law of falsifiaibliy is not falsifiable.

Does trying to make a distinction between laws as "scientific" and "philosophical" get around this ? I don't think so, cause there is no real distinction, just a made up categorical distinction.

Closing Argument

1) Uniformitarianism is even proved by science in some cases to be false.
2) That experience is generally reliable is assumed because it is assumed that experience (multiple observations) is reliable.
3) The law of falsifiability is of its self not falsifiable thus according to its own standard, is not "scientific"

All 3 above are foundations that science is built on. Thus science is built on a logic fallacy or logical fallacies.

I ask a vote for the Pro.

Notes - This was more of an exploratory debate for me, to throw some idea's around. So I thank Con for providing counter arguments so I can see how I can make my argument stronger in the future.

Floid

Con

Floid forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 5 years ago
Illegalcombatant
"I feel that you've done a nice chunk of research and have formed a unique opinion on the matter"

Thanks for the compliant, but my so called "research" is basically a few Wikipedia readings....hell I didn't even really read it, I just scanned it, COPY N PASTE FTW !!!

I think points 1 & 3 I can't address cause those are actually points of contention that might be in this debate.

As far as point 2 "I feel much of our time would be needlessly idled on describing the concept of axiomatic information and how it relates to tentative understandings of reality (I want to stress the point that axioms don't beg the question)."

Sure I can agree that axioms exist, BUT just because something is said to be axiomatic doesn't mean it is, so I would reserve the right to attack any alleged "axioms" of science and thus argue they are assertions/unjustified premises not axioms.

Just post a detailed list of points you want agreed on I will either say yes or no. For before I accept this debate I want agreement that........

1) Something something
2) Not this
3) Mangos are delicious

The simpler the better. Hared physical science is not a strong point of mine.

I will get back to you after I have read your debate, doing other stuff at the moment.
Posted by FREEDO 5 years ago
FREEDO
Probability is illusionary; science is meaningless.
Posted by Molzahn 5 years ago
Molzahn
I would love to have a friendly debate with you, Illegalcombatant. I feel that you've done a nice chunk of research and have formed a unique opinion on the matter. Unfortunately, before I can consider being a combatant there are a few key problems I wish to resolve within your initial stance of the debate.

1) Science does not necessitate metaphysical naturalism, nor any philosophical premise. Science (through empiricism) is a tool to make a best guess prediction based on statistical observation.

2) I feel this discussion would be very much like my last debate with Judgment (http://www.debate.org...). I feel much of our time would be needlessly idled on describing the concept of axiomatic information and how it relates to tentative understandings of reality (I want to stress the point that axioms don't beg the question).

3) Uniformism is a unique premise, but the science of today tells us that the cosmological make-up of the universe was not the same in early stages of the big-bang (we can't make predictions before a specific state). It is true that science makes one key assumption: conditions are repeatable. Different models within scientific prediction may disregard uniformism; it isn't an essential component of scientific investigation.

I'm curious what your thoughts are on this. If we can smooth out the rough edges, I'd gladly join the debate with you. If not, I'd still love to watch to see what points you will bring up. Let me know!
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Nice debate IC, I may take this if you don't get an accept in a couple of days.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
IllegalcombatantFloidTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Clear win on arguments to Con, Pro should have argued for Empiricism or Materalism, not science.