The Instigator
thederper
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
cam13619
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Seismology is a pseudoscience

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
cam13619
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/5/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 788 times Debate No: 45253
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

thederper

Pro

Since there is no way someone can predict an earthquake, what exactly seismologists do other than guesses?

NOTE: I only consider seismology a pseudoscience, not geology altogether
cam13619

Con

I thank my opponent for the debate and accept his open challenge.

As my opponent did not provide a definition of seismology, I will provide one:

"Seismology is the study of earthquakes and seismic waves that move through and around the earth. A seismologist is a scientist who studies earthquakes and seismic waves [1]."

I will also provide a deffinition of psudoscience:
"A theory, methodology, or practice that is considered to be without scientific foundation [2]."

My understanding of the round is as follows:
  • The resolution is of the following statement "Seismology is a pseudoscience."
  • My opponent is affirming the above statement.
  • I am negating.
  • For this resolution, I understand the burden of proof to be shared.
    • The affirmation must prove the status quo is false, and must refute purpose as established by the negation.
    • The negation must support the status quo with my own argumentation, including establishing and affirming its purpose.
  • Round one is acceptance
  • Standard debating etiquette applies
As with most sciences, my understanding is that seismology's purpose is to further understand the natural processes and apply its knowledge.

I await the affirmations's opening statement.

[1] http://www.geo.mtu.edu...
[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 1
thederper

Pro

First of all thank you for your time writing this.
my main argument is that all the sciences have some standards.

Classical physics for example say:" x will happen for y reasons as prooved by data gathered from studies and supported by z formula"

Biology says: " we dont know whether x or y or z will happen but we know that nothing else can happen"

Even Quantum physics which look crazy to the average Joe have some laws which cannot be overriden

Seismology on the other hand cannot determine what will happen and therefore it can't predict earthquakes or even tell if & when there will be more earthquakes in a place

with this we conclude that seismology cannot be considered a real science at least until some way of understanding where an earthquake will happen or if there will be more earthquakes is invented
cam13619

Con

In this round I will address definitions, address my opponent's arguments, and establish my own.

Definitions:
My opponent did not offer any definitions in the prior round, nor did he object to the ones I established. Therefore, my definitions hold.


I feel no need to further define at this time.

Refutations:
Affirmation Argument A:
From my understanding, my opponent believes that all sciences must have standards. He claims that seismology doesn't have standards, therefore, it is not a science. This can be described in the following syllogism:

Major Premise: All 'sciences' without standards can be described as a pseudoscience

Minor Premise: Seismology is a 'science' without standards

Conclusion: Therefore, seismology is a pseudoscience

Rebuttal 1:
I believe that the minor premise of the affirmation's argument does not hold. By "standard," my opponent lists multiple examples. From my interpretation, by standards he believes that there is a method used to, in general, to either draw a conclusion or recognize probabilities. I would like to look specifically at the affirmation's example of biology. He states, "We dont know whether x or y or z will happen but we know that nothing else can happen." This logic can be directly applied to seismology, even at a very elementary level. For example, we know that there will either be an earthquake or there wont be. There is no partial earthquake. There are small ones and large ones, but it will or will not be an earthquake. We know that nothing else can happen. By my opponent's own example, seismology can be seen as having standards.

Rebuttal 2:
The affirmation's major premise also fails. In order for the syllogism to be true, my opponent must establish that all sciences without standards (again, by his definition) are pseudosciences. Therefore, should my opponent be convinced that seismology is a pseudoscience because it fails the standard of not predicting or being able to prevent something (as per his initial concern mentioned in round one), he must also believe that the following are pseudoscience:
  • Cellular Biology/Genetics: Unable to predict or prevent genetic mutations. (note that the affirmation claimed that biology is indeed a legitimate science) [1]
  • Volcanology: Unable to predict when dormant volcanoes can become active [2]
  • Particle physics/quantum mechanics: We cannot predict why particles behave like waves when not observed directly. We only know that they do. [3]

Effectively, several sciences have components which they cannot predict. That does not exclude them from being a science. Also note that when I mention prediction, I mean something accurate.

Summary of Rebuttal's for Affirmation Argument A:

I have established in Rebuttal 2 that, according to two of the affermation's examples and one additional one, that the affermation's argument is false. If he still insists that his examples hold to his argument, then, as per Rebuttal 1, seismology does not apply. Either his minor premise or his major premise fails and thus so does his argument.

Contention 1:

As Dr. Sheldon Gottlieb from the University of South Alabama points out, "A primary aim of science is to collect facts (data) [4]." This is something that seismologists are clearly capable of achieving. In fact, the entire purpose of the International Seismological Centre. Through communication and observation, a database is stored for seismic events [6].

Contention 2:

To further address the affirmation's initial concern, I would like to point out that seismology is not explicitly the science of observing earthquakes. Though I am likely neglecting to name several, the Seismological Society of America explains that there other significant purposes. The knowledge of observing earthquakes can be applied to make scientific discoveries. For example, "Much of what is known about the Earth's interior, from the uppermost crust to the central core, has been learned by painstaking analysis of the waves generated by earthquakes and, recently, by large explosions that are recorded by seismographs." Other uses include assisting in the search for oil and observing for nuclear activity [7]. In fact, in 2013 seismic activity played a role in detecting a nuclear test by North Korea [6].

Contention 3:

Contrary to the affirmation, seismology can predict earthquake activity. The Seismological Society of America is more of an expert than I am on the subject, and as such I feel they can put the following in better words than I:

"After decades of observations of earthquake locations, seismologists have been able to determine the locations at which earthquakes occurred most commonly in the past--and therefore are expected to be most likely in the future. This information is also vital to the task of earthquake hazard assessment. Again, while considerable progress has been made, fundamental questions remain unanswered. Large earthquakes do not always occur where they are expected, and sometimes expected earthquakes do not occur "on schedule."[7]"

This, to my interpretation, is quite similar to weather forcasts from the science of the atmosphere, metorology.

Conclusion:
Seismology is not a pseudoscience. The affirmation's only argument has been examined, critiqued, and rendered obsolete. Seismology's purpose has been established and backed up by evidence. Its foundation is strong: seismic waves have been observed, recorded, and even collected into a database. This means that seismology cannot fall under the definition of pseudoscience. At this point in time, I see no reason to vote for the affirmation and thus urge a Con ballot. Thank you.



[1] mda.org/publications/facts-about-genetics-and-NMDs/what-happens-in-families

[2]http://volcano.oregonstate.edu...

[3] youtu.be/A9tKncAdlHQ

[4] http://www.gly.uga.edu...

[5] http://www.isc.ac.uk...

[6] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...

[7] http://www.seismosoc.org...

Debate Round No. 2
thederper

Pro

a pseudoscience is something that is presented as science but it doesnt use the scientific method and it either doesnt work at all or it works but only due to experience of the "scientist" and not due to any data that prooves it is right.

an example of pseudoscience is accupuncture which cant be prooven correct and that is why they dont teach it in medical colleges.

you compared cellullar biology to seismology which is wrong since in seismology there are only two possibilities(there will or there wont be an eathquake) and while it is true that cellullar biology cant know what exactly will happen but it can show what wont happen(example: if a person with one albinism gene has a child with someone without albinism genes, cellullar biology cant know whether the child will have one albinism gene or none but is is certain the child wont have two)

Seismologyis a pseudoscience since it is clear it can neither determine the possibility of a place to have an earthquake nor the impossibility of it
cam13619

Con

In this round I will address the affirmation's new definition, introduce new rebuttals and restate my past arguments. I have no further contentions or definitions at this time.

Definitions:
The affirmation defined pseudoscience as the following:
"...something that is presented as science but it doesnt[sic] use the scientific method and it either doesnt[sic] work at all or it works but only due to experience of the "scientist" and not due to any data that prooves it is right"

There are some problems with the use of this definition. Though I have researched it, I have found that the affirmative has no source. Therefore, this is an informal definition. My definition should stand on that ground alone, however, I will address his definition as if it does stand.

Addressing the affirmation's definition of "pseudoscience":
Seismology does not fall under that definition. While I don't know if it explicitly follows the scientific method, seismology does work and least partially, it works for a population of scientists instead of an individual and it does have data. In fact, I mentioned all of this is my second and third contentions. To restate, "
Much of what is known about the Earth's interior, from the uppermost crust to the central core, has been learned by painstaking analysis of the waves generated by earthquakes and, recently, by large explosions that are recorded by seismographs." We use it to locate oil. We use it to detect the use of nuclear warheads. There are several uses of seismology that have worked and have explained. I have already stated that seismology is not practiced by individuals. The Seismological Society of America collects data on a global scale.

New Rebuttals:
Rebuttal 4
The affirmation claims that "Seismologyis[sic] a pseudoscience since it is clear it can neither determine the possibility of a place to have an earthquake nor the impossibility of it." In reality, this statement is clearly false. Not only does my opponent fail to back this (or any of his arguments, at this point) with evidence, but he is making a claim that goes against mine. In the previous round, I cited the Seismological Association of America. Seismologists have been able to recognise patterns and they use those patterns to predict where earthquakes are most likely to occur in the future.

"...can neither determine the possibility of a place to have an earthquake..."
"...
locations at which earthquakes occurred most commonly in the past--and therefore are expected to be most likely in the future."

To the judges, who's word will you take? The affirmation's or the Seismological Society of America's?

Arguments being revisited:
Rebuttal 2 (the part relating to cellular biology):
The affirmation defends himself against this rebuttal, claiming that the condition of albinism can only be passed down from the parents and how hereditary interactions (this one in particular) is binary. Unfortunately, his defence makes little to no sense.

Firstly, he explains that seismology is unrelatable to cellular biology because there are only two available outcomes, where as in cellular biology there are multiple. While I understand that cellular biology/genetics/hereditary interactions have more than one potential items to study (If my opponent is refering to this. again, I am slightly confused by purpose of the argument), so too does seismology. Again, just three examples besides earthquakes are the contents of inner Earth, the location of oil, and the detonation of nuclear warheads.

Secondly, though he claims that seismology has only two results (as congruent with most sciences, ex: true or false), he refutes it with an example that he claims is binary. The affirmation then claims that, if only one parent of an individual carries the gene for albinism, you will either be a carrier or not. You do not exhibit albinism. This is a perfect example of the Non Sequitur fallacy. The affirmation claims that, because seismology and hereditary interactions both result in either or scenarios, they cannot be compared. This claim leaves me puzzled.

Third, the affirmation falls also victim to the Straw Man fallacy. He attacks a subject similar to mine, but not the same. I claimed that cellular biology is similar to seismology in that you cannot predict when and where a new mutation will happen, just like you cannot predict when and where a new earthquake will occur. You address this using an example from herettitaty interactions. In addition, the notion that 'you will or will not be a carrier' is also completely false. Albinism is the result of a mutation [1]. You can be albino even if neither of your parents are carriers, let alone just one. In most if not all situations an individual cannot predict when and where a mutation will happen, as previously stated. Even if the probability of two mutations on the gene refered to as tyrosinase is low, improbability is not impossibility. The field of genomics is not as simple as a two by two Punnet Square.

This defence has at least three problems with it, including two fallacies. It does not stand.

Contentions 1, 2, and 3, Rebuttal 1, and the rest of Rebuttal 2.
I'd like to point out explicitly that the rest of rebuttal 2 and all of rebuttal 1 has been left untouched. the affirmation's first argument is still failing because it is failing the truth test for its major and minor premises.

All my contentions remain untouched and carry.

I await the affirmation's response.

[1] https://www.genome.gov...

Debate Round No. 3
thederper

Pro

you still havent shown a single evidence that seismology has improoved our life other than have them guessing.
i thought you said you are the one to bear the burden of proof
cam13619

Con

In this round I will be introducing a definition and explaining why the negation wins based on my understanding (which, if it was wrong, was never corrected by the affirmative) of the round.

Definition:
The affirmation seems to misunderstand 'burden of proof' as evidence. As such, I will define it for him for future reference.

"This phrase is employed to signify the duty of proving the facts in dispute on an issue raised between the parties in a cause [1]."

Why the negation wins this debate

My understanding of the debate, as quoted from round one, is as follows.
  • The resolution is of the following statement "Seismology is a pseudoscience."
  • My opponent is affirming the above statement.
  • I am negating.
  • For this resolution, I understand the burden of proof to be shared.
    • The affirmation must prove the status quo is false, and must refute purpose as established by the negation.
    • The negation must support the status quo with my own argumentation, including establishing and affirming its purpose.
  • Round one is acceptance
  • Standard debating etiquette applies

The above understanding of the debate is fair

The affirmative makes no objection or correction at any point in the round for the negation's understanding. The negation was permitted to establish the purpose of seismology because the affirmative asks in round one, "...what exactly [do] seismologists do other than guesses?" Both sides require burden of proof because the affirmation was to argue against the status quo, and the negation must have established the purpose of seismology.

The affirmation's reason for success is insufficient.

Never in the debate was it established that the negation's job was to prove that seismology is useful in the general population's day to day lives. The affirmation makes the claim that, since the negation did not successfully prove why, the negation has lost the round. I disagree. The above reason for success by the affirmative is the first time that seismology improving the general population's day to day lives is mentioned, and as such, this falls under the Red Herring fallacy. The affirmation mentions no other reasons for success.

The affirmation failed to meet his burden of proof.

According to my understanding of the debate, the burden of proof has been shared. The affirmation's job in this debate was to disprove the status quo (which is that seismology is not a pseudoscience). In his endeavours, he provides two visible arguments in addition to his closing statement: that seismology is not similar to other sciences and that seismology cannot predict the location or frequency of earthquakes. In round two, the negation dismissed the affirmation's main argument due to the conclusion that either its minor premise and major premise were mutually exclusive or incorrect. The affirmation did attempt to refute the dismissal in round three; however, in the same round the negation pointed out the existence of a Non Sequitur fallacy and a Straw Man fallacy in the said refutation. The affirmation's other argument, also found in round three, failed because it was a claim of fact with no warrant or support. The affirmation's also requirement was to either refute the established purpose by the negation, or to proof that the established purpose still allowed it to be a pseudoscience. The affirmative did not address any of the negation's contentions.

The negation successfully met his burden of proof.

The negation's job in this debate was to support the status quo (which is that seismology is not a pseudoscience). As mentioned in the above section, the negation successfully defeated both of the affirmation's arguments. Additionally, the negation must have supplied and defended the purpose of seismology. The negation established that seismology's purpose was to primarily collect data as well as detect underground nuclear detonations, determine the location of oil, and determine the contents of the inner earth among other things. This can be found in round two. In this debate, the affirmation only addressed one claim from the negation, saying that his main argument should not be dismissed. The negation's other arguments, including every contention, remained untouched.

For the reasons stated above (excluding the definition), I, the negation, urge a CON ballot. I thank the affirmation for the debate.

[1] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

As a note, new instances of logical fallacies have been bolded in my posts.

Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by cam13619 3 years ago
cam13619
gg
Posted by brepar 3 years ago
brepar
all of science is best guess.
Posted by cam13619 3 years ago
cam13619
To clarify, the phrase "the notion that 'you will or will not be a carrier'" should be read as " the notion that 'you will or will not be a carrier because of your parents'"
Posted by cam13619 3 years ago
cam13619
Apologies for the font size. For some reason it was inconsistent in the browser and I wasn't sure exactly what the proper size was.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Deathmonkey7 3 years ago
Deathmonkey7
thederpercam13619Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con pretty conclusively showed that seismology is not a pseudoscience.