Total Posts:26|Showing Posts:1-26
Jump to topic:

What is your definition of science?

blueberry_crepe
Posts: 25
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/14/2013 11:23:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
As a social scientist in training, I usually run into people arguing how what I do isn't a science. Instead, they argue that science=hard science. Personally, I disagree with this because 1) "hard science" is a relative term that changes throughout history and (2) my definition of science is "follows the scientific method and is falsifiable."

What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?
Bullish
Posts: 3,527
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/14/2013 12:01:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Something like this:

A series of strict steps grounded in empirical, inductive, and deductive reasoning to reach a conclusion about the world around us.
0x5f3759df
pozessed
Posts: 1,034
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/14/2013 4:56:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/14/2013 11:23:08 AM, blueberry_crepe wrote:
As a social scientist in training, I usually run into people arguing how what I do isn't a science. Instead, they argue that science=hard science. Personally, I disagree with this because 1) "hard science" is a relative term that changes throughout history and (2) my definition of science is "follows the scientific method and is falsifiable."

What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?

Science = An intuitive calculation based on observations of the universe.

Hard science = Peer reviewed and argued observations of the universe which are most likely to have no room for error.
Dragonfang
Posts: 1,122
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/14/2013 5:25:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Then I guess these people are unaware of the definition of science and use a shallow concept instead. You don't really understand the excitement science can bring until you realize how big it is.
blueberry_crepe
Posts: 25
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/14/2013 8:14:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/14/2013 4:56:14 PM, pozessed wrote:
At 8/14/2013 11:23:08 AM, blueberry_crepe wrote:
As a social scientist in training, I usually run into people arguing how what I do isn't a science. Instead, they argue that science=hard science. Personally, I disagree with this because 1) "hard science" is a relative term that changes throughout history and (2) my definition of science is "follows the scientific method and is falsifiable."

What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?

Science = An intuitive calculation based on observations of the universe.

Hard science = Peer reviewed and argued observations of the universe which are most likely to have no room for error.

I am not asking if you agree/disagree. I'm asking what your definition is. Also, please list what social sciences you think it entails.

Pozzesed: What is an intuitive calculation? I don't think science ever relies on intuition. The hypothesizing may, but the scientific process is opposed to intuition. That's why psychology makes a lot of unintuitive discoveries.

Also, you definition of "hard science" needs some clarification please. All social sciences are peer reviewed and argues observations of the universe. As for "most likely to have no room for error," that's a subjective claim. I can say psychological discoveries are unlikely to change as well (such as in-group/out-group dynamics, which has persisted in repeat experiments). As for physics, chemistry, and biology, they are constantly being challenged. Quantum physics has thrown away Newtonian Physics. A couple years ago they discovered gravity is not a real force. New bio studies show complex organisms, such as sea slugs, may have gone through endosymbiogenesis in the present. For a while, many physicist didn't think solar energy was possible.
AlbinoBunny
Posts: 3,781
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/14/2013 10:15:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/14/2013 5:04:35 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Explosionssssssss.

Implosionssssssss.
bladerunner060 | bsh1 , 2014! Presidency campaign!

http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org... - Running for president.
http://www.debate.org... - Running as his vice president.

May the best man win!
pozessed
Posts: 1,034
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/15/2013 4:56:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/14/2013 8:14:27 PM, blueberry_crepe wrote:
At 8/14/2013 4:56:14 PM, pozessed wrote:
At 8/14/2013 11:23:08 AM, blueberry_crepe wrote:
As a social scientist in training, I usually run into people arguing how what I do isn't a science. Instead, they argue that science=hard science. Personally, I disagree with this because 1) "hard science" is a relative term that changes throughout history and (2) my definition of science is "follows the scientific method and is falsifiable."

What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?

Science = An intuitive calculation based on observations of the universe.

Hard science = Peer reviewed and argued observations of the universe which are most likely to have no room for error.

I am not asking if you agree/disagree. I'm asking what your definition is. Also, please list what social sciences you think it entails.

I didn't think I was agreeing/disagreeing. I was giving my personal definitions. I didn't read/answer the last part of your inquiry though. I will and I apologize for that.

I think my definition would entail any social interaction that is observable.

Pozzesed: What is an intuitive calculation? I don't think science ever relies on intuition.
An intuitive calculation to me means: A personal event which provokes a thought that brings forth mental reasoning to resolve a personal perspective.

The hypothesizing may, but the scientific process is opposed to intuition. That's why psychology makes a lot of unintuitive discoveries.

All science relies on hypothesis. A hypothesis in my definition is the solution to the intuitive calculation.

Also, you definition of "hard science" needs some clarification please. All social sciences are peer reviewed and argues observations of the universe.

I wasn't implying they weren't.
As for "most likely to have no room for error," that's a subjective claim. I can say psychological discoveries are unlikely to change as well (such as in-group/out-group dynamics, which has persisted in repeat experiments).
I'm just making it clear that I think something labeled as "hard science" does have room for error (even if an error isn't likely it is possible).
As for physics, chemistry, and biology, they are constantly being challenged. Quantum physics has thrown away Newtonian Physics. A couple years ago they discovered gravity is not a real force. New bio studies show complex organisms, such as sea slugs, may have gone through endosymbiogenesis in the present. For a while, many physicist didn't think solar energy was possible.

Exactly.

I don't disagree with your stance in anyway. My definition of science has no quarrel with social science. I honestly thought it complimented social science quite nicely .

As for your questions: "What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?"

I gave my definitions. They are my definitions because it labels everyone in the world who has a perception of the world that relies on subjective interaction a scientist. Although to be a professionally respected scientist you would need to practice "hard science" and provide proof through experimentation and peer review.

Any social interaction observed is science. We deduce the best way to respond to situations through our observations. That deduction process would need science in order to exist.
Using statistics as proof of a groups habits or impulses would be a form of hard science (as long as it's critiqued and ridiculed amongst peer review). Even though the stats only apply to that group, it would be undeniable proof of something related to that group.
socratus
Posts: 102
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/17/2013 7:26:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Scientific heresy.
Matt Ridley lecture at the RSA in Edinburgh.
http://www.bishop-hill.net... ... eresy.html
=
Comment by Annonymous
In the nineteenth century many eminent physicists such as Maxwell and Lord Kelvin
believed in the ether theory.

Was the ether theory pseudoscientific?

If you think that the ether theory was pseudoscientific then it begins to seem that almost
all past scientists were pseudoscientists.

If you don't thnk that the ether theory was pseudoscientific but that the phlogiston theory
was could you explain what distinguishes the one as pseudoscientific but not the other?

Another question -

Maxwell spent an enormous amount of intellectual effort attempting to develop a mechanical
model of the electromagnetic field. Long ago virtually all physicists have abandoned this idea
and today it is almost totally forgotten.

Were Maxwell's unsuccessful attempts to develop a mechanical model of the electromagnetic
field an example of pseudoscience?

If so it seems that one of the greatest scientific minds of all time was a pseudoscientist.

You seem to use the term "pseudoscience" to include any scientific theory that is eventually
replaced or modified by a later theory.

Since modern physics consists of a number of mutually inconsistent theories e.g. general
relativity and QED, most physicists today hope that in the future more general theories will
be developed which will replace them.

If this happens does that mean that present day physics is a pseudoscience?

/ Annonymous /
http://www.bishop-hill.net... ...
The secret of God and Existence is hidden
in the ' Theory of Vacuum and Light Quanta' .
adiffer
Posts: 1
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/19/2013 1:19:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/14/2013 11:23:08 AM, blueberry_crepe wrote:
<snip>
What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?

If what you are doing fits Popper's description of science then you are doing science. If you are outside his definition, things rapidly get fuzzy until it is obvious you aren't doing science, but still might be doing something important/useful/fun.

Falsifiability is the key element. That requires one be able to make predictions where an experimental failure cannot be swept away easily as 'not having enough evidence' when doing the experiment or when forming the prediction. Economic predictions are the poster-children for non-falsifiable statements, yet we still make them and hope they are useful.

The second key that often gets overlooked, though, is the objectivity of the data. The scientific method requires a degree of independence between 'independent' observers running 'independent' experiments to check each other. Sciences manage this by establishing rules by which subjective data from instruments is turned into objective data suitable for a falsification test. The rules vary a bit between the sciences, but in general they are independent of us. This means people cannot be an integral part of the experimental apparatus and is the root reason we use double-blind studies and work so hard on the statistics in some fields.

I'm not convinced any of the social sciences are sciences by Popper's definition. Bits and pieces of them might be if good data rules are in use. However, I'm not that concerned with applying the label 'science' to the social studies some think of as sciences. I think the studies are far better off being precisely what they are instead of being shoved into the science mold. A study need not be a science to be VERY useful to us all.
Albert_C
Posts: 9
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/21/2013 12:46:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/21/2013 12:31:39 AM, Albert_C wrote:
Science is the approximation of what we perceived as reality.
Oh, I should answer why...
Science has never been an absolute truth, however it explains how the natural world (perceived reality) works in an approximation it deemed acceptable. It is constantly changing (updated), questioning its own foundations, and testing the currently known truth.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/2/2013 5:20:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'll go with "that which is produced by the scientific method." Roughly, that means a statement of fact supported by observation or prediction, or both, that is falsifiable.

Peer review is not an essential part of science, but it helps ensure quality. None of Einstein's publications were peer-reviewed, and we don't have any trouble calling them science.

Anything that meets the definition is science, including the social sciences. The problem that the social sciences face is that much of the analysis is statistical, and statistics is extremely difficult subject matter. It sometimes takes exceptional expertise to get a valid result. What happens is that the researcher gets some data and then applies "corrections" for various factors until the desired result is obtained. the peer review process can be ineffective because the selected reviewers are not experts in statistics either. A change in the peer review process to include such expertise would help. This problem affects climate and environmental studies as well.
Thalos
Posts: 20
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/2/2013 7:45:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/14/2013 11:23:08 AM, blueberry_crepe wrote:
As a social scientist in training, I usually run into people arguing how what I do isn't a science. Instead, they argue that science=hard science. Personally, I disagree with this because 1) "hard science" is a relative term that changes throughout history and (2) my definition of science is "follows the scientific method and is falsifiable."

What is your definition, why is it your definition, and what social sciences do you put under it?

Science is significantly difficult to define, but I think we can all agree it's not tennis. So there must be some way of demarcating it, and I think the best approach is to speak of it's focus and form.

The focus of science is natural phenomena (it's no wonder then it receives naturalistic answers just like a gold detector wouldn't receive silver inputs.) But then this raises the question of what counts as "natural"?

The form of science is the way in which knowledge is obtained, namely through a method. But there is no one method of science, over its history scientific knowledge has been gained through a very eclectic methodology rather than a flow chart that we were taught in high-school. So then what counts as a scientific methodology as opposed to other methods used in other fields like literature, theology, philosophy etc?

Intermingled in both of these unanswered questions is a proper distinction between the philosophy of science (which is what we're doing in this thread), the history of science, and the politics of science.

Science used to mean knowledge gained by deductive proofs and axioms, and resembled math and logic much more than what it is today. Now it's a bit more ambiguous. I recommend Chalmer's book "What is the thing called Science?" and Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and also Godfrey-Smith's, "Theory and Reality: An Introduction to Philosophy of Science."
'to your wounds, DDO -
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Thalos
Posts: 20
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.
'to your wounds, DDO -
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/3/2013 11:05:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.

Last I checked, the laws of physics are pretty universal, bud.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/4/2013 5:12:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/3/2013 11:05:26 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.

Last I checked, the laws of physics are pretty universal, bud.

How did you check that exactly?

And which universal laws of physics did you check, Newton's, the General Theory of relativity, Quantum Physics, or all three?

If you unified these theories, you should publish because there's gonna be a Nobel prize with your name on it.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Thalos
Posts: 20
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/4/2013 6:57:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/3/2013 11:05:26 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.

Last I checked, the laws of physics are pretty universal, bud.

check again, there are logically possible worlds wherein the laws of physics are different, theoretical physicist do this conceptualization for work.
'to your wounds, DDO -
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/4/2013 8:13:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 6:57:29 AM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 11:05:26 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.

Last I checked, the laws of physics are pretty universal, bud.

check again, there are logically possible worlds wherein the laws of physics are different, theoretical physicist do this conceptualization for work.

Theoretical physics is just one small-albeit rather prominent in mainstream media- section of physics. Pure theoretical physics about multiverses and that crap aren't science; however, most physicists aren't theoretical physicist. Experimental physics, for example, is the epitome of the scientific method.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Thalos
Posts: 20
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/4/2013 12:17:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 8:13:40 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/4/2013 6:57:29 AM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 11:05:26 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.

Last I checked, the laws of physics are pretty universal, bud.

check again, there are logically possible worlds wherein the laws of physics are different, theoretical physicist do this conceptualization for work.

Theoretical physics is just one small-albeit rather prominent in mainstream media- section of physics. Pure theoretical physics about multiverses and that crap aren't science; however, most physicists aren't theoretical physicist. Experimental physics, for example, is the epitome of the scientific method.

Theoretical physics isn't science, how so? The postulation of the Higgs Boson came out of the theoretical physics end, same with loop quantum gravity models and so on. These are all considered scientific theories intra-science.

Now you said that the laws of physics is universal, they aren't. Rather they're dependent upon this universe. But there are logically other possible worlds that aren't this universe, theoretical physics goes there.. sorry but you're wrong here. Are you thinking about another meaning of the word "universal?"
'to your wounds, DDO -
Thalos
Posts: 20
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/4/2013 12:19:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 8:13:40 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/4/2013 6:57:29 AM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 11:05:26 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
At 9/3/2013 10:20:46 PM, Thalos wrote:
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Cool, then physics isn't a science either by that criteria.

Last I checked, the laws of physics are pretty universal, bud.

check again, there are logically possible worlds wherein the laws of physics are different, theoretical physicist do this conceptualization for work.

Theoretical physics is just one small-albeit rather prominent in mainstream media- section of physics. Pure theoretical physics about multiverses and that crap aren't science; however, most physicists aren't theoretical physicist. Experimental physics, for example, is the epitome of the scientific method.

And what in the world is the scientific method? ... I've heard of an eclectic set of methodologies which is ever changing but have never known of a set method outside of out-dated high-school texts..
'to your wounds, DDO -
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/5/2013 1:59:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/3/2013 6:38:49 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Science is the study of interactions that can always be replicated following the same general paradigm. This is precisely why junk fields such as sociology, psychology, and etc.... aren't sciences.

Science works within domains. Newtonian physics works as a near-perfect approximation at speeds much less that the speed of light. What Einstein did was establish some of the bounds for Newtonian physics. Newtonian physics is still used for building bridges and airplanes, and the theory works fine.

The social sciences are more difficult in establishing cause and effect, because typically so many factors influence the outcomes. That doesn't mean that valid results are impossible. An example that comes to mind is that testing shows that playing violent video games increases aggressiveness for at least a short while afterwards. That's highly repeatable. However, there almost no evidence that playing violent video games has a long-term effect on behavior. In one survey, only a single study was found showing a long-term effect. Those are significant and useful results.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
9/5/2013 2:10:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/4/2013 8:13:40 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
Theoretical physics is just one small-albeit rather prominent in mainstream media- section of physics. Pure theoretical physics about multiverses and that crap aren't science; however, most physicists aren't theoretical physicist. Experimental physics, for example, is the epitome of the scientific method.

The scientific method begins with forming a hypothesis that agrees with observations. Multiverse theory has the initial hurdle of agreeing with all existing observations of experimental physics. The goal is to find a connection between the observed fundamental forces and physical constants of the universe. Forming an hypothesis consistent with observations is valid science.

However, it is not an established theory until it makes predictions that are then proved experimentally. That hasn't happened, and as far as I know everyone agrees that a theory won't be established as valid until that happens. This is no different from any other branch of science. Biochemists hypothesize about the causes and cures of various afflictions. Some go on to be proved and others disproved. Making hypotheses is a step in the scientific method.