Δευτέρα, 2 Ιανουαρίου 2012

The Scientist's Creed

V1.07
The text is still work in progress, based on comments as well. Please note which version the comments refer to.

    1. I believe in one reality
    2. that is accessible,
    3. objective,
    4. and dynamic,
    5. and in no other authority.
    1. And in the existence of timeless symmetries
    2. which delineate reality's dynamics
    3. thus providing the only basis
    4. for exerting some control
    5. through conscious actions
    6. including predictions.
    1. I believe that acquiring the means
    2. for controling reality
    3. is a worthy goal
    4. whose promotion I choose
    5. as my personal objective.
    1. I believe that rationality
    2. is the reflection
    3. of one of the most generic symmetries of all.
    1. I believe that the control potential
    2. of intelligent beings
    3. can be enhanced by tools
    4. which are constructions of their own
    5. that exploit the symmetries
    6. to achieve specific goals.
    1. I believe in evidence
    2. which are records
    3. of reality's dynamics
    4. accessible only by the senses
    5. as enhanced and rendered more objective
    6. by tools of observation, measurement
    7. and recording.
    8. I believe that evidence expose the symmetries
    9. through their repetitive patterns
    10. which patterns are themselves accessible
    11. at least in part
    12. by intelligence
    13. including the human mind.
    1. And in imagination and intuition
    2. that contribute falsifiable hypotheses
    3. regarding the symmetries
    4. thus shedding new light
    5. in existing evidence
    6. and guiding the search for new.
    1. And in the great utility
    2. of acquiring additional targeted evidence
    3. to elucidate relevant patterns
    4. and test the corresponding hypotheses,
    5. or even producing it myself
    6. by inducing closely controlled dynamics
    7. relevant to the symmetries under examination.
    1. I believe in the need for clear distinction
    2. between my presumptions regarding the symmetries
    3. and the actual symmetries themselves,
    4. and in my inescapable inability
    5. to ascertain that the two coincide
    6. irrespective of the available amount of evidence,
    7. and also that subjectivity
    8. is the main reason
    9. that blurs this most important distinction.
    1. And in the need therefore
    2. for continuous, diligent and free search
    3. for inconsistencies between the two
    4. using all available ethical methods and tools
    5. by anyone interested
    6. and in any case
    7. by the competitive joint action
    8. of several qualified specialists.
    1. Finally I believe
    2. that the perpetual enhancement
    3. of the means to control
    4. stands as my highest priority
    5. and certainly above all current presumptions
    6. even the ones stated
    7. in this very text._
Find here a discussion on why a Scientific Creed is needed, and here The Scientific Creed with explanatory comments.
To κείμενο στα Ελληνικά εδώ.


71 σχόλια:

  1. @Eleni Miltsakaki

    Thanks for the feedback!

    There are points that I can simplify, and I'm preparing a version where the text will be accompanied with clarifications. Stay tuned!

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  2. Don't the latest finding of quantum mechanics refute the first claim, that of "ONE reality"? Don't you think the observer plays any role in the FORMATION of reality?

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  3. You refer to "repetitive patterns". What if a very important event happens only ONCE?

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  4. The "accessible only by the senses" refers to the currently known senses? Would you accept a spiritual kind of sense that will be "discovered" that we have in the future?

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  5. Where does the term "logic" refer to? To the rules of logic set by Aristotle? To my logic? To yours logic?

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  6. Last but not least, I would disagree with "Control" being the ultimate goal. Would YOU like to be UNDER control? Would you like to control Love? Would you like to control other people?

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  7. @Spiros Kakos

    Thank you for your rich feedback.

    As a general note of caution I would respond that this is a 'Creed' text. It's important that it is kept brief so it cannot go into a lot of details either in depth of analysis or in clarifying limits and exceptions.

    Having said that, my view is that most of your concerns are adequately covered. For more, please look for the individual responses below.

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  8. @Spiros Kakos

    'Don't the latest finding of quantum mechanics refute the first claim, that of "ONE reality"?...'

    I don't consider the principle of uncertainty to mean 'multiple realities'. The electron may not be in one particular place at any time, still, this is o n e reality. A counter-intuitive one to be sure, but still one.

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  9. @Spiros Kakos

    'Don't you think the observer plays any role in the FORMATION of reality?'

    Yes, I certainly do! This is what 'control of reality' is all about! Influencing reality.

    The scientist discovers the invariables (the scientific laws of the phenomena at hand) in order to influence the outcomes.

    If your point is that this influence makes the discovery of the invariables more complex, I agree again. It certainly does.

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  10. @Spiros Kakos

    'Who decides who are "qualified specialists"?'

    The emphasis in that part of the text is primarily in '10.5 by anyone interested'! Science is expected to work for anyone who tries it, not only for positively prejudiced practicians.

    In what follows regarding the 'specialists' the emphasis again is on the 'competitive joint action' and the 'several', as a minimum for accepting some scientific claim, even with the tentative nature that all scientific claims have.

    However much of a 'specialist' one individual is not enough, this is the gist of the text. Hopefully in a later version I can improve the wording to reflect it more clearly.

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  11. @Spiros Kakos

    'Where does the term "logic" refer to? To the rules of logic set by Aristotle? To my logic? To yours logic?'

    You wouldn't disagree I hope that logic is a fundamental tool in science, and is used a lot. This is what the text says.

    It refers primarily to mathematical logic. The fact is that mathematicians all agree, through the ages even, on what is logically proven and what not. Furthermore, scientists of other disciplines disagree a lot but not on what is logical and what is not.

    Therefore logic is objective enough for the purposes of the scientific endeavour.

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  12. @Spiros Kakos

    'Last but not least, I would disagree with "Control" being the ultimate goal. Would YOU like to be UNDER control? Would you like to control Love? Would you like to control other people?'

    Control is not necessarily the ultimate goal in general. It's the ultimate goal o n l y of the scientist!

    Scientists invariably wear other hats in addition to the scientific one. Under the 'responsible social being' hat, for example, Einstein was against nuclear research, despite his scientific hat. We are all complex beings and, as a result, we have to perform complex balancing acts in our decisions. This very much applies to scientists.

    Deciding to not control something that I c a n control is still a kind of control, isn't it? This is an option both for "Love" and for "other people".

    The text does not cover scientific ethics, with the exception of 10.4, which still refers to the scientific process and not to how science is used by individuals or the society.

    My view is that, to be accurate, the scientist does her best to acquire t h e m e a n s for control (I had to change the text to reflect that, so thank you for making the point!). How these means are used is a matter for individual and social ethics. Extremely important matter, still not one that the Scientific Creed text needs or aspires to address.

    Still I accept that what the text implies, even following the change, is that control is in general highly desirable. In my opinion, if it wasn't, science would not be one of the most important human projects. It would not even be desirable and worthwhile!

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  13. @Spiros Kakos

    'You refer to "repetitive patterns". What if a very important event happens only ONCE?'

    What's important for science are the Invariables, not specific events. If the Invariables are known, specific events can conceptually be predicted (and may be controlled), however rare they may be.

    I cannot think of any invariables that would, by specification, apply to one and only one event. Any examples?

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  14. @Spiros Kakos

    'The "accessible only by the senses" refers to the currently known senses? Would you accept a spiritual kind of sense that will be "discovered" that we have in the future?'

    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by 'spiritual'. Senses are, by definition, empirical and objective, in the sense that there exists high convergence regarding their results among all individuals that possess them. Any additional senses that may be discovered which would possess those two attributes, I would certainly accept.

    Any kinds of intuitions that are called "senses" only because those who name them would like their audience to think they possess attributes that they don't, I most certainly would not accept as having a role within article 6. Not that I deny their existence and usefulness, quite the contrary. They are taken into account within article 7.

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  15. Regarding reality:

    I was refering to the role that the observer plays (or may play) in the formulation of the invariables themselves.

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  16. Regarding Logic:

    Mathematical logic is also based on axioms, correct? So there is not only one "Logic" out there...

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  17. Regarding repetitive patterns:

    Once-off events may be extremely important. And in such events it may be possible that the physical laws / invariables are also unique at that time. I would think of the time of the creation of the universe for example.

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  18. Regarding Control:

    My personal opinion is that scientists try to uniderstand. That is why they conduct research. Genuine scientists never have "control" (or discovering the "means for control") in their mind. They just want to... research! Companies funding them have of course the means for control in their mind.

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  19. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding Reality:

    I'm not sure what you mean. An example?

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  20. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding Logic:

    I don't agree that Mathematical Logic is based on axioms, not quite. Logic is, I think, about the meta-axioms which are used to manipulate statements, including axioms.

    Conceptually many different 'logics' could exist based on different sets of such meta-axioms. An example would be that a=b & b=c would not lead to the conclusion that a=c. The science that would arise from this different set, if any, would conceptually be different than the current one. Whether it would be as successful in providing means of control over reality is anyone's guess, still that would be the ultimate test in accepting it as 'real' science.

    In practice an alternative logic has not been proposed by anyone, in any way similar to the alternatives to the Eucledean geometry, which are based on a different set of axioms.

    My guess on why this is the case is that logic is hardwired in our brains much deeper than geometry is, and they cannot function outside it. I could be wrong. The fact remains that there is only one logic used in science for now. In that respect I consider it safe to accept logic to be objective, until further notice.

    After all, The Scientist's Creed is not dogmatic! I only need to get it right given today's situation, not for all time. If need be, it is itself subject to updates to reflect future developments on the scientific process and fundamental assumptions themselves.

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  21. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding repetitive patterns:

    My initial reaction would be that Invariables that are 'different' depending on time, are not Invariables at all! Invariables are defined to be universally applicable irrespective of place and time, depending only on initial conditions.

    Invariables that only apply to conditions that were present at some particular situation, this is another matter. It could well be that some Invariables that were applicable at the beginning of the Universe, if it had one, a l t h o u g h s t i l l v a l i d, do not apply any more, and will not apply ever again, because the same conditions will never occur again.

    Such Invariables could well be not discoverable, depending on the richness of the relevant evidence that remain available at the time of the corresponding research. That would be a problem regarding the innate curiocity of the scientist, but not at all regarding her objective for control. After all, if the conditions will not appear again, if the Invariables will not apply again, then they will not affect the level control either!

    It should be clear however, that as per the Scientific Creed, to the extend that the Big Bang conditions are replicated in the LHC, the Invariables will apply and expose themselves in the evidence. That's exactly what 'although still valid' above means.

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  22. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding Control:

    I agree with you. My claims regarding control are consistent with yours regarding understanding. Control is just one step back. We are so curious about everything and so thirsty for explanations, b e c a u s e it provides us with control. It is our competitive advantage as a species, and it has a lot to do with our impressive success up to now.

    So, I do agree that scientists experience it as curiosity. Curiosity is so deeply hardwired in our brains because it secures additional control.

    The reason why I focus on control in the Creed instead of curiosity is that enhanced control, not a satisfied curiosity, is the ultimate test of real science. If it works objectively and dependably for anyone who tries it (equivalently, if it provides with means for control) it is science, if it doesn't it is not! Astrology is also a result of curiosity based research and may well manage to satisfy the thirst for understanding for many. The reason why it is not science, t h e o n l y o n e , is that it does not work!

    The litmus test therefore for the success or failure of the real scientist is not whether she has managed to satisfy her curiosity but whether she has achieved to secure some additional means for control. That's why this is stipulated as her primary objective in The Creed.

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  23. Regarding Logic:

    There are many axioms on which mathematical logic is based (just look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_axioms for example). And there are many who have proposed different kinds of logic. However changing that system of axioms is much harder since it is now embedded into many things on which many have invested a lot. Dialetheism is a nice example. In order not to be dogmatic, you have to accept that those axioms WILL change eventually!

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  24. Regarding reality:

    For example some theories claim that the wavefunction of the electron collapses only when a conscious (whatever that means) being interacts with it (the observer). That would be a direct way of affecting "reality" based on your free will (YOU decide if you look at the Universe after all)...

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  25. Regarding control:

    I will insist knowing that we finally disagree on fundamendal things. Knowing and learning (and trying to become a better person) is the ultimate goal for me. And I understand this is the ultimate goal for many others too, especially scientists. And scientists especially "research just for research". Haven't you heard the "science for science" motto? Inventors and corporations are into the "find something that will give us control" thing. Scientists are into the "let us propose a theory about how this works" thing...

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  26. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding control:

    I've already answered that I'm in agreement to that and why I don't consider it inconsistent to what I claim regarding control.

    You may be aware, however, that rich research in astrology by astrologers is going on all the time. And you have not answered how you would distinguish this kind of research, happening for its own shake, from corresponding research conducted by astronomers.

    _______

    I fully respect and completely accept what you state as your personal goal. The Creed, however, is not about personal goals. It is about the abstaction of the Scientific goal in its purest form. If you were a scientist and nothing else, not even a person, what would your goal have been then? That's what the goal in the Creed is about!

    ________

    It comes to mind that 'control', as a term, strikes a chord with you that is not meant by me. By "control" I mean "influencing reality in a desirable way". When I hit a button at night and the lights turn on, that's control. When I hit the break and the car decelarates, that's control. It's not necessarily anything fancy like 'controling everything' or 'controling other people' or 'controling love'.

    Admittedly, it cannot be excluded that it is possible to 'induce love' to people by chemicals. If that's the case, scientists would love to know how! It's important however that they would not necessarily want to use that knowledge. Scientists want to know how to explode a nuclear bomb. You admit to that yourself by saying 'resarch for its own shake'! That does not mean they want to actually do it! That's why, thanks to your objection, I altered the text to refer to 'means of control' instead of just plain 'control'.

    Science therefore, and I believe that very strongly, is about acquiring means to control. How these means are exercised, as I've already said, is another matter. In particular, avoidance of using available means to control is itself a very special kind of using those means, a very special kind of control.

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  27. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding Reality:

    If the 'wavefunction collapses when interacting with counsiousness' theory proves correct, this would still not be a way to influence the Invariables. It would just be a new presumed Invariable itself!

    Grant it that, in such a case, a large number of other presumed Invariables would have to be abandoned as corresponding to actual Invariables. The c o n c e p t however of the Invariable, as being a universal that holds irrespective of place, time and individual circumstances in general, would still hold.

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  28. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding Logic:

    For the purposes of The Scientific Creed, Logic is the set of fundamental rules that mathematicians and scientists in general use to convince each other. The rules on what is a valid way to put forward a scientific argument.

    Putting those rules down on paper in a concise and unambiguous manner is, admittedly, far from trivial. It is a project started from Aristotle long ago, very much in progress to this day.

    As the definitive set of rules is currently not available, I use Logic in a loose manner in The Creed. Loosely speaking then, Logic is the way scientists use to argue among them. Scientists often disagree. They disagree much less, much-much less, on what is a valid way to argue, this is my justification for believing that Logic exists and is objective.

    Agreement on how to argue Logically is an indispensible part of the scientific process because it is vital in overcoming subjectivity. It is also not obviously existing in any way, despite the fact that we see it happen in practice. That's why I think it's important to include it in The Scientific Creed.

    _______

    Regarding dialetheism, the question that's important from the viewpoint of The Scientific Creed is: Has dialetheism lead to new models of the world that work? Has it facilitated argument and agreement between the scientists regarding the Scientific worldview? When the answer will be 'yes', then either Logic will have changed while still remaining objective, or the Creed will have to be updated.

    _______

    So in order not to be dogmatic I have to admit that I am wrong on everything I consider true and just don't know it yet? I don't think so. And if this is what you think the case is, I would love to see you demonstrate your lack of dogmatism then... :-). By the way, including your very statement, and I quote, "Logic axioms WILL change eventually!"... :-).

    Anti-dogmatism to me is being always open to the idea of being wrong. Never excluding it completely. Science is all about being right in a very real way, i.e. that you accomplish what you set out to do (control). The reason it is also not dogmatic is, that it never claims to have achieved being right with certainty. Still, the fact that you can read this reply is a very strong testament to the fact that there are things about which it is right indeed.

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  29. Russell was haunted by that problem (which he helped discover in a way): no matter how hard he tried to set solid foundations for logic, he always failed...

    My certainty that logic axioms WILL change eventually is based on their very nature: axioms do not "come from somewhere". They are here just because we choose them! So it is not a matter of "right and wrong" whether Dialetheism is correct. IT IS A MATTER OF FREE WILL! Choose your axioms and it will be wrong. Change the axioms and it will be true. As simple as that.

    And things become dangerously dogmatic when we forget this simple truth.

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  30. @Spiros Kakos

    I beg to disagree.

    It is success that makes the difference between right and wrong. If it works it is right, however counter-intuitive. If it does not work it is wrong, however intuitive. There is nothing dogmatic about that because reality desides, not any individual or group that has to be accepted as an absolute authority.

    The reason why Euclidean geometry (EG) survived the centuries was not that Euclides willed the specific axioms and neither was it a result of dogmatism. It survived because it helped build successful models. If still survives because it works!

    The Twelve Gods of Olympos was a set of axioms that was willed into existence, much like EG was. Unlike EG however, it is all but nonexistent now in terms of practicians. Why? Because it doesn't work! It is for this very reason that it had to be dogmatically defended against challenges (Socrates died under such a law), unlike EG which never had to be defended, dogmatically or otherwise, against anyone. EG is subscribed to because it works, and anyone that is happier with another geometry, is free to use it instead! Einstein has, to good effect! Why? Because EG did not work for him.

    Dogmatism is only ever needed to sustain beliefs that do nοt work. Beliefs that do work, do not need any defence of any kind.

    This goes for Logic (or rationality if you prefer) itself. I accept that it lacks solid foundations. You can't build anything solid on nothing. Any founding principles are, by definition, not solid! Russel did indeed help to expose this truth. The value of founding principles is not that they are inescapable, it is, if at all, that they work. And Logic does!

    When you can w i l l yourself to, without the help of technology, travel to the moon, not burn in a fire, run faster than light or grow a missing limb, come back to me. I will become your first convert and will accept willingly any axioms that you will.

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  31. There are mystics who are not burned by fire. Or others who travel with their mind far beyond the moon. But I guess you cannot accept that argument because their experience cannot be replicated by you or me... :)

    What is more, I will remind you of what we once discussed at Kalithea once upon a time: The axioms of a religious persons DO WORK for that person and DO PROVIDE CONTROL! That is why he continues being religious...

    Last but not least, your answer does not refer at all to the problem of the foundations of Logic: Have you for example tried to work out a logical system based on Dialetheism and saw that it doesn't work?!?

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  32. @Spiros Kakos

    I don't find mind traveling particularly impressive. I do it myself all the time. Yesterday, for example, I was in Mars for a couple of hours, and the day before in the Golden age of Pericles. That took a bit longer but was well worth it! :-)

    Mystics who burn without burning, that's interesting! Evidence please? You know, the extraordinary kind...

    I did answer regarding the problem of foundations of Logic. Every foundation is necessarily axiomatic i.e. arbitrary and intuitive. That's not a problem as long as it works.

    I wouldn't know where to start with dialetheia, would you? Besides, I am happy with Logic as it stands and the fact that it actually works means a lot to me. If you want to try to invent a new one, please be my guest. If you succeed, let me know so I can update The Creed accordingly.

    Speaking of unanswered questions, you never answered how you differentiate between the astrologers' and the astronomers' research for its own shake.

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  33. Comments below this one refer to version 1.03 of the Creed.

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  34. I will start with the unanswered question: I believe astrologers looked at a way to understand how the whole universe and the stars affected human affairs. And they did that with the ultimate goal of helping people out (please do not come up woth the "charlatans" arguments, this also applies to "bad scientists" today). On the other hand astronomers have put humans completely aside and use billions of dollars to research lifeless things for no purpose at all. I do not find it really easy to decidem but I really think that a sincere astrologer is much more usefull than a sterilized astronomer of today.

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  35. I do not get it why you mock up "mind travelling". If all there is are data reaching our mind, then how much different is for your brains "computing center" (as you could call it) is seeing something and seeing it in a drean or in your mind?

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  36. Regarding Dialetheism, I simply pointed out the fact that other axioms can work as well. The fact that you haven't tried it out or that the consensus of mainstream science today (another word for "status quo") does not bother changing its axioms, is the basis for being dogmatic. Surely you cannot bare the burden of creating all different logical systems in order to critisize them, but the argument that "I accept that because it works" becomes void when you accept the possibility that ANY OTHER set of logical axioms would ALSO WORK...

    I will remind you that a "working material invention" has almost nothing to do with what we discuss here. Many inventors of great usefull things were NOT scientists! If a CD-player is working it is not because of science understanding how atoms work. Simply because we have not yet found it out! There are many theories about quantum mechanics which is still a field under investigation adn still, all CD players are working perfectly!

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  37. @Spiros Kakos

    Didn't ask for a comparative appraisal of the two. Was interested in a distinctive attribute b e t w e e n the two.

    I don't confuse my dreams with my reality, do you? That apparently means the brain has a way to distinguish between the two, even if it's not yet known.

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  38. @Spiros Kakos

    Never denied that other axioms can work as well.

    Dogmatic would be to deny a priori that an alternative c a n be valid and refuse to examine the evidence produced.

    Scientists research what they intuitively believe will be fruitful. Not researching other people's intuitions is not dogmatism! That would be absurd! It would mean, for example, that scientists not interested in researching the 'Stork Theory' for how babies are conceived, would be dogmatic!

    Anyone who really thinks the Stork Theory has merit, let them invest their own time on it, and present their evidence to the rest. Dogmatic would be to refuse to examine the evidence, once produced, not refuse to invest on the project!

    Dialetheism, for example, is very much counter-intuitive to me. Even if I wanted to research it, I would never make anything out of it because my intuition doesn't help me. Still I don't exclude the possibility that y o u could make something out of it. That would be dogmatic.

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  39. You claim you can distinguish your dreams from reality. How can you do that? Is it a simple "I know it" or are there any objective evidence to suuport the distinction? Because in dreams you also see, you also talk with others, you also smell etc... How can you tell then? Is it that we know because our mother once upon a time told us so?

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  40. @Spiros Kakos

    It's a fair question.

    Nothing of the acts I dream has any impact on the reality I experience afterward, either in my 'awake' life or in my following dreams, e.g. if I was injured in my dream, the injury is not there when I wake up. Similarly if I brake a glass in my dream, the glass is intact both when I wake up and in my following dreams.

    If I die in my sleep, I can still both live and dream the next day, which is nothing similar to what happens if I die in the 'awake world'.

    Furthermore, from the people that I interact with in my dreams, no one ever remembers anything, unlike the interactions I have with them while awake.

    Someone can impact my 'awake world' independently of whether I'm present in it or in my 'dream world' at the time. Nothing similar happens in reverse! In fact no one in either world seems to be able to impact my 'dream world' in an enduring way, not even myself!

    Places of the 'awake world' which I visit in my dreams do not necessarily appear to be consistent to them. Places of the 'awake world' are consistent and recognizable between visits, places in the 'dream world' are not.

    So what would 'visiting Mars in my dreams and carving a rock there with my initials' mean, if it leaves no durable marks in either world?

    The 'dream world' therefore, is much less durable and much more chaotic, if not completely so, as opposed to the 'awake one' which is clearly continuous and organized. Actions have consequences in the 'awake world', much more serious ones than actions in the 'dream world'.

    In other words, the 'dream world' appears very much the way virtual reality simulations of the 'awake world' seem within the 'awake world', and not vice versa. It's a very reasonable hypothesis then to accept that dreams are just that! This is the empirical justification for accepting the intuition that the 'awake' world is the real one and the 'dream world' is, well..., a dream world.

    As an added bonus we already possess very promising models of the brain as a simulation machine! The 'dreams are simulations' model for dreams fits extremely well with them. And, think about it, a whole new world is saved in the respective models! Unbeatable in terms of simplicity...

    So far no empirical inconsistencies have surfaced that necessitate reexamination of this simple model, which makes it a very successful one. On the contrary, the neurological evidence consistent with it is mounting with the application of fMRI technology.
    ____

    Having said all that, I wouldn't claim that the above evidence exclude a successful alternative model, which would hypothesize a 'dream world' that is also real. All objects of the 'awake world' would have to be replicated in the 'dream world', in a way independent to the 'awake world', and all objects of all fantasy to be added. And while plenty of objects co-exist in both, minds travel between them, and are in only one of them at any time... Good luck to whoever would want to try it. I don't consider it an easy enterprise, and doubt it very much that it could be made cohesive or descriptive in any essential way. Still I don't exclude that it can be done.

    Which brings me back to the question of control. What would be the purpose of such an alternative model? If there are no problems with the existing one, why want a more complex one? There is only one reason in my mind. Enhanced control!

    If such a model worked, in ways that the current doesn't, it would immediately be regarded a scientific one, even if more complex than the current accepted model, and however 'crazy' it would be considered to be by current thinking. If it did not work, on the other hand, it would be dismissed as one more of the brilliant ideas that, regrettably, don't pass the 'means of control over reality' test.

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  41. @Spiros Kakos

    By the way, I hate to have to raise the issue for a third time, still the distinction between the astrologer's and the astronomer's research question, you have left unanswered. In your previous attempt you informed me of how you would value the two, g i v e n that you can distinguish between them. My question though was how you would make the distinction.

    And still is...

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  42. Both astronomer and astrologer analyze celestial objects. Maybe I am missing the point here but can you guide me as to what kind of difference is there between them besides the one I mentioned? (i.e. that astrologer tries to connect what he finds with the fate of humans) After all astronomy is the continuation of astrology exactly because they deal with the same things.

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  43. Concerning dreams:

    I undestand there is no objective crystal clear criterion to make the distinction The "consistency between things you experience" or the "the 'dream world' appears very much the way virtual reality simulations of the 'awake world' seem within the 'awake world'" are not the objective criteria that would suffice for a hardcore scientist are they? :) After all "reality of the awake" can be blurring, confusing and not coherent as well all too easy as the dreams (sometimes more)...

    PS. I do not understand the question " If there are no problems with the existing one, why want a more complex one?" Isn't "science" which tells us that complexity is something fundamental in life (and... evolution?)?

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  44. Concerning dreams (addition):

    Isn't the model "there is one reality" more simple than the model "there are two different things - dreams and reality"???

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  45. @Spiros Kakos

    So I gather that you consider Astrology a science, right? And as they are both concerned with analysis of the celestial objects, a similar one to Astronomy for that matter, correct?
    _______

    In your words, ' "reality of the awake" can be blurring, confusing and not coherent...'. Very well said!

    It's this fuzzy reality that scientists put up with, in all their models. No criterion is ever 'crystal clear' in the absolute sense of the word and scientists, hardcore or otherwise, live with that reality however discomforting they may find it.
    _______

    'Science recognizes complexity & Science finds simplicity a desirable property of models', is a true proposition.
    _______

    A simpler model is only preferable to a more complex one, when both are equally successful (primary objective control, remember?). If that weren't true, Einstein would never have bothered with Relativity. Furthermore, the empty model would otherwise be the ideal one to map to any reality whatsoever!

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  46. The blurring line between reality and dreams is of great importance: it shows that "reality" is really a mind game and not something "objectively real". How different are those two experiences? Not at all! Telling the difference is a matter of choice. This is not nihillistic. It is simply not being dogmatic. An interesting subject maybe for future posts... :)

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  47. Regarding astrology and astronomy:

    If science is seeking the truth based on observation and verification via predictions you make, yes they are both science. Is there any other criterion I must take into account? Please guide me.

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  48. @Spiros Kakos

    "The blurring line..." is very well explained by the "simulations" model. Both reality and dreams are simulations run in the mind. Reality is the simulation that runs in real time, while experiencing reality and serves mostly to survive it. Dreams is the off-line simulation which is disconnected from reality, and serves other purposes not definitely known yet. My money is in the "what if" scenarios creation regarding reality and the "maintenance" of the brain ones.

    It is an interesting topic indeed. :-)

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  49. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding Astronomy and Astrology:

    They are both empirical and are both concerned with control. Still only astronomy tests its results to verify that control is actually accomplished, that's why I don't consider astrology to be a science, at least not yet. It fails to follow articles 8 to 11 of The Creed.

    It w o u l d turn into a science if any of its models were tested and turned out to work. I don't consider it very probable...

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  50. But every astrologer thinks that his model works. And people for whom the model works go again and again to the same astrologer...

    Your (or mine) subjective opinions do not matter in that.

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  51. Regarding dreams and reality:

    Why can't you think in the reverse way regarding the simulation model? What is the "real time"? The one you decide?

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  52. @Spiros Kakos

    Thinking that something works, astronomer or astrologer or anyone, may be enough for them, which is fine. It's not enough for anything to be c o n s i d e r e d s c i e n c e though.

    For the 'science certification' to be provided, it has to work for e v e r y o n e, remember? Even for skeptics. Not just for positively prejudiced individuals. The lights go on when you hit the button, i r r e s p e c t i v e of whether you believe that they will. "Working" in science needs to be as objective as possible (Articles 1, 2, 9 & 10 of The Creed).

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  53. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding dreams and reality:

    I've already expanded on the asymmetries of the two 'worlds'.

    Still, I'll gladly follow your lead. What does 'simulation' mean in the 'Dream World' (DW) ?

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  54. You have confused the "light going on" with science? How is that? Why only science can take advantage of that reality which everyone sees (i.e. scientists and non-scientists as well)? Science provides scientific models. We see a light going on. Science interprets that via electrism (a completely HUMAN-MADE idea). Other attribute that to God. So? The fact pre-exists all explanations and you cannot take it into your favor (neither can I of course or the astrologer or the astronomer).

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  55. Regarding dreams: Why can't you dream of a "reality" in which you are sitting in a simulator?

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  56. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding what is science and what not:

    I did not invoke the example of a thunderbolt. Electrical lights were s e t - u p in accordance to scientific discoveries and explanations. We don't just see a light going on. We m a k e it so (control).

    If that doesn't strike you as essential, I would suggest you refrain from using science based technology and limit yourself to taking advantage of religion based one only. For just one week!

    I'm sure there is a number of electricians out there (excuse me, I meant lighticians) who, for a good price, will install lights you can turn on by praying. No wiring required either... :-)

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  57. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding dreams:

    Brilliant attempt! I do mean that. My compliments.

    It does not work unfortunately and the reason why is that it just reinforces my argument of asymmetry in favor of AW.

    'Simulation' as a concept, when based on AW, is understood based on notions and experiences lying entirely within AW. DW does not contribute anything.

    As you invoke it on the other hand, attempting to base it on DW, it does not lie within DW. For me to understand it, you exploit experiences and notions I have within AW.

    Quite an essential asymmetry, don't you agree?

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  58. Regarding what is science and what not:

    Then you must acknowledge that each sector has its scope. The role of astrlogy for example is not to create inventions (neither does true science I would say but that would drive the conversation too far...). So you must judge its fitting into the defintion of "control, prediction and verification" in its own field! Correct?

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  59. Regarding dreams:

    I do not get your argument. You are saying that we cannot dream of simulations? Is that it? Where have you concluded that?

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  60. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding dreams:

    No, it's not that at all.

    The simulator is an AW experience and concept, true?

    If I assume AW to be the real world, I can explain what a simulation is by invoking experiences (the simulator) completely existing within AW, without invoking DW at all.

    The converse is not true because to explain what a simulation is within DW you invoked AW concepts (the simulator).

    Agreed?

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  61. @Spiros Kakos

    Regarding what is science and what not:

    All sectors have their scope. So does poetry... I'm not denying that astrology is useful. Apparently it is to a lot of people. As long as we agree astrology is not science, I'm satisfied. Do we?

    The claimed role of astrology includes control in the sense of accurate predictions. That means it aspires to be a science. The question is, does it cut it? Astronomers predict eclipses with high accuracy, very dependably for all to see and challenge. What does astrology predict accurately independent on whether the judge is a believer or not and how is this evidenced objectively?

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  62. Regarding dreams:

    I cannot understand why you cannot accept a dream world where everything is defined within the dream, i.e. a complete world. Why do you believe that everything in awake is defined with terms from awake (proof?) while in order to use simulation (for example) in dreams you have to invoke some kind of "out-of-the-dream" data. It really looks like a "this is the way it is" argument. You can see in a dream, you can drive a car, you can enter a simulation. And you will always be WITHIN the dream.

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    1. I do not object to the dream world.

      I'm underlying an essential asymmetry between the two, which justifies the preference of a model that accepts the AW as real and the DW as a simulation within it, rather than vice versa.

      I don't deny that the reverse model might also be viable (although I have my reservations). My argument is that it is not as simple.

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  63. Regarding what is science and what not:

    Remember though that in the old days astrologers predicted eclipses (astronomer is a relatively new term)... And if astrology has good results in prediction (according to its followers it has) and if it uses methods (the fact that you disagree with them does not change that) makes it a science!

    You can define "science" any way you like (after all that is the...definition of the "Definition"!). So if you define science as "something which results in inventions" it could not be. However I could define science as "something which tries to help humans in their everyday life" and in this case it would be (and it would gain points vs. astronomy for trying harder to help the people than just analyzing spectra for no apparent reason)... Your choice.

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    1. Very well put. Had astrology confined itself in predictions which can be objectively verified even by skeptics, such as eclipses, if the verification was as positive, I would consider it a science.

      Kamateros also wanted to do good, and he had a method, his water and directions on how to use it. He also had followers that would testify that he was right. Would you agree then that, according to your definition, he was a scientist as a result? If not, what's missing?

      Still, I just realized that this additional example is not really necessary. The fact that you accept astrology as a science and I don't, I think is an excellent result for this productive conversation, in the sense that we managed to pinpoint the essential difference between us.

      I declare myself covered in the particular issue.

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  64. And I will gladly put an end to our conversation with just a minor (but truly important) clarification: It is not true that "I consider astrology a science". What I said is that "If science is defined as the systematic search of what will happen with specific methods, then there is no OBJECTIVE way to categorize astrology as non-scientific". Thanks for the good conversation. It was long, but fruitful.

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    1. I did not define science in such a way. Did you?

      My definition is: "what objectively works".

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  65. @Spiros Kakos

    I did not mean to end the conversation. I thought that one specific issue, what is science, came to a satisfactory closure point. I was wrong even about that, as your last comment proved. :-)

    The issue regarding dreams remains very much open.

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