Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Moving From Pseudoscience To Actual Science


  • Please log in to reply
114 replies to this topic

#1 opacity951

opacity951

    Curious

  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 15 December 2016 - 10:03 AM

Hey everyone! I need your help.

 

My new girlfriend is smart, but shes misled and attracted to pseudo-scientific ideas (i.e crystal healing, astrology). I find this fairly annoying. She is a true social scientist though and searches for valid science when it comes to psychology, so I know she is capable and has the mind for genuine scientific ideas. 

 

My question for you is: is there a good science book/movie/T.V show that appeals to this kind of mind? Maybe something that can ease her into it? Something that can really outline that astronomy and physics can be as "magical" as there pseudoscience alternatives? I've tried to get her to read/watch Carl Sagan and other notable public ambassadors of science, but nothing is really connecting.

 

What I know wont work would be something like Sam Harris, Dawkins, etc. Though they are some of my favorite scientists, I believe they are to "purist" to convince her that the scientific mind doesn't have to be a boring and superficial one. 

 

Any help/recommendations are highly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Robert



#2 exchemist

exchemist

    Creating

  • Members
  • 1187 posts

Posted 15 December 2016 - 12:33 PM

Hey everyone! I need your help.

 

My new girlfriend is smart, but shes misled and attracted to pseudo-scientific ideas (i.e crystal healing, astrology). I find this fairly annoying. She is a true social scientist though and searches for valid science when it comes to psychology, so I know she is capable and has the mind for genuine scientific ideas. 

 

My question for you is: is there a good science book/movie/T.V show that appeals to this kind of mind? Maybe something that can ease her into it? Something that can really outline that astronomy and physics can be as "magical" as there pseudoscience alternatives? I've tried to get her to read/watch Carl Sagan and other notable public ambassadors of science, but nothing is really connecting.

 

What I know wont work would be something like Sam Harris, Dawkins, etc. Though they are some of my favorite scientists, I believe they are to "purist" to convince her that the scientific mind doesn't have to be a boring and superficial one. 

 

Any help/recommendations are highly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Robert

Forget it. If she goes in for ballocks you will always have an uphill struggle.

 

Have a short romance but do not, on any account, marry her.  



#3 OceanBreeze

OceanBreeze

    Explaining

  • Members
  • 527 posts

Posted 15 December 2016 - 12:48 PM

You might try the crash course philosophy series, beginning with number 8:

 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=-X8Xfl0JdTQ

 

I should tell you that there are entire cults of people who believe in non-science and nonsense, for no other reason than they want to, and no matter how definitive your argument against may be, it will fall on deaf ears.

It may be easier to find a new girlfriend than to convince your present one to change her beliefs.

 

Yeah, basically what exchemist said.

 

 



#4 DrKrettin

DrKrettin

    Understanding

  • Members
  • 282 posts

Posted 15 December 2016 - 01:45 PM

Forget it. If she goes in for ballocks you will always have an uphill struggle.

 

Have a short romance but do not, on any account, marry her.  

 

The trouble is, if you reject a partner on this kind of criterion, you can finish up with no eligible partner at all. I have met a surprising number of desirable women who would have been acceptable as a partner in all respects except this one. There are a number of ways in which somebody can be intelligent, cultured and educated without coming into contact with the difference between science and pseudoscience. Relationships are always a compromise. *sigh*



#5 CraigD

CraigD

    Creating

  • Administrators
  • 8034 posts

Posted 15 December 2016 - 10:07 PM

Scientific skepticism and critical thinking is a difficult to learn, witnessed by how lucrative so many credulous and pseudoscientific books, movies, and TV shows are. As someone acquainted with psychology and social science, your GF should recognize our judgement of truth is a very social process, in which judge accept people who appear to be authorities to be truthful, and in which appearance in books, movies, and TV give a strong appearance of authority. As with learning anything, learning critical thinking requires first having the desire to learn it, which requires some degree of accepting that it is useful and true. There’s a circular catch 22 here: before learning to distinguish science from pseudoscience, you must accept that such a distinction can be made, and that there are learnable techniques to do so. If you accept that, you pretty much already have the techniques.

One way to lead a person to be sympathetic toward, and eventually, accepting of skepticism and critical thinking, is to have them be sympathetic toward well know skeptics. Try the 2014 documentary An Honest Liar, about James Randy, the founder of the JREF, the organization famous for administering a challenge with a prize of $1,000,000 for the scientific demonstration of any paranormal ability. It shows a vulnerable, human side to Randy that was rarely visible in his decades as a famous debunker of scam and pseudoscience.

#6 exchemist

exchemist

    Creating

  • Members
  • 1187 posts

Posted 16 December 2016 - 03:46 AM

The trouble is, if you reject a partner on this kind of criterion, you can finish up with no eligible partner at all. I have met a surprising number of desirable women who would have been acceptable as a partner in all respects except this one. There are a number of ways in which somebody can be intelligent, cultured and educated without coming into contact with the difference between science and pseudoscience. Relationships are always a compromise. *sigh*

Yes but I have learned there some things you can afford to compromise on and some where you just can't, because you will cease to respect the person concerned. Going in for ballocks is one of these.  



#7 fahrquad

fahrquad

    Understanding

  • Members
  • 378 posts

Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:34 PM

Move on.  Life is too short to waste time on nut-cases.  Been there, done that in my 56 years.



#8 Ratch

Ratch

    Thinking

  • Banned
  • 13 posts

Posted 09 January 2017 - 01:33 PM

Hey everyone! I need your help.

 

My new girlfriend is smart, but shes misled and attracted to pseudo-scientific ideas (i.e crystal healing, astrology). I find this fairly annoying. She is a true social scientist though and searches for valid science when it comes to psychology, so I know she is capable and has the mind for genuine scientific ideas. 

 

My question for you is: is there a good science book/movie/T.V show that appeals to this kind of mind? Maybe something that can ease her into it? Something that can really outline that astronomy and physics can be as "magical" as there pseudoscience alternatives? I've tried to get her to read/watch Carl Sagan and other notable public ambassadors of science, but nothing is really connecting.

 

What I know wont work would be something like Sam Harris, Dawkins, etc. Though they are some of my favorite scientists, I believe they are to "purist" to convince her that the scientific mind doesn't have to be a boring and superficial one. 

 

Any help/recommendations are highly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Robert

 

What you should to do is have her explain her critical thinking about what she believes.  For instance, if she believes in evolution, then have her explain to you how something dead and inert can arrange itself into even the simplest cellular life all by itself.  And furthermore, continue to morph into even more complex multicellular life.  Get the idea?

 

Ratch



#9 Turtle

Turtle

    Member

  • Members
  • 15435 posts

Posted 09 January 2017 - 05:06 PM

What you should to do is have her explain her critical thinking about what she believes.  For instance, if she believes in evolution, then have her explain to you how something dead and inert can arrange itself into even the simplest cellular life all by itself.  And furthermore, continue to morph into even more complex multicellular life.  Get the idea?
 
Ratch


Troll much? See my response to your other espousal here: >> post #5 Pay special attention to not making claims without referential support on this forum. :nono:

#10 A-wal

A-wal

    Explaining

  • Banned
  • 813 posts

Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:55 AM

What you should to do is have her explain her critical thinking about what she believes.  For instance, if she believes in evolution, then have her explain to you how something dead and inert can arrange itself into even the simplest cellular life all by itself.  And furthermore, continue to morph into even more complex multicellular life.  Get the idea?

 

Ratch

Let's see how good your critical thinking skills are.

Genetic mutations create random variations which are normally a disadvantage to the carrier, in which case the carrier is less likely to pass on that mutation to future generations. If on the other hand the mutation is an advantage then the carrier stands more chance of passing on their genes than those without that mutation.

This means that over time, mutations help tend to thrive and mutations that hinder to to be eliminated. This is natural selection and what drives evolution by selectively reproducing 'good' mutations while simultaneously eliminating any 'bad' ones.

The giraffes with shorter than average length necks are at a disadvantage and are less likely to reproduce and giraffes with longer than average length necks are at an advantage and are more likely to reproduce. This means the average neck length in the gene pool increases with each generation until they are the optimum length.

You can do this with any trait of any living thing!

Leopards with superior camouflage are more likely to pass their superior camouflage on to future generations while leopards with inferior camouflage are less likely to pass their superior camouflage on to future generations which over time this causes their camouflage to gradually improve.

The intelligence/strength/speed/camouflage/etc of 'insert whatever you like here' will increase with each generation as those that have the most of it are the ones that are more likely to reproduce.

Given enough time this can turn any living thing into any other living thing which is how all life on the planet evolved from a single cell.

Evolution has to happen. If you want to refute it then the onus is on you to come up with some mechanism that could prevent it!

As far as starting life off in the first place, there are a lot of planets in the solar system. Even if the chances of life life starting on each planet is a billion to one that would still mean hundreds, if not thousands of planets with just in this galaxy and trillions in the universe.



#11 exchemist

exchemist

    Creating

  • Members
  • 1187 posts

Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:19 AM

What you should to do is have her explain her critical thinking about what she believes.  For instance, if she believes in evolution, then have her explain to you how something dead and inert can arrange itself into even the simplest cellular life all by itself.  And furthermore, continue to morph into even more complex multicellular life.  Get the idea?

 

Ratch

Perhaps she could start by considering the many inorganic processes in nature by which a locally ordered state is produced from a more disordered one.  

 

Can you think of any, to start her off? 



#12 HydrogenBond

HydrogenBond

    Creating

  • Banned
  • 3058 posts

Posted 12 January 2017 - 05:59 AM

I look at it this way, the layman understands science in a fundamental way, that is often obsolete or even based on misunderstanding of fundamental principles of science. For example, in early science education, the atom is often  expressed as analogous to planets orbiting the sun, with the sun the nucleus and the planets the electrons. This is pseudo-science, taught in science, as science.

 

Pseudo-science, is often taught in early science, because you need to build a foundation for the students, using things that are easier for them to visualize. This helps orientate their mind for the eventual transition. If you taught that atoms as composed of wave functions, you will lose a young and even an old layman audience, since this will appear very abstract, and can cause real science to look like pseudo-science. No foundation may be built if you get to exact. 

 

Another example is DNA is most often expressed as a double helix. This is partially true, but it is also pseudo science for laymen, since a double helix of just DNA is not bioactive. That model of DNA could not be used for evolution, as evolutionary pseudo science claims, since it is not bioactive. It may be good for long term storage of data, but it is not a useful template. Beta DNA, which so the most common conformation of DNA found in life, requires 30% chemically bonded water, by weight,  to maintain a bioactive state. If you were to teach this to students, the more complicated hydrated DNA would appear like pseudo-science, even though this supported by state of the art breakthroughs in modern science technology. 

 

I would not worry about your girlfriend, since pseudo-science is a conceptual stepping stone and allows one to exercise science skills, beyond memorizing a party line. For example, the alchemists did what would be considered pseudo science, today. In spite of that, they developed many key lab procedures like extraction and distillation, which are still used today, and which helped lead to discoveries that were closer to reality. 

 

An analogy is teaching a child how to play a new sport. You can't make it too hard or by the book or they might get bored. You may need to let them feel free to add their own two cents, even if unconventional, so they can develop enthusiasm, for an eventual transition to by the book. Big Foot can stimulate the mind more than polar bears and cause some to seek to investigate in the field, due to the stimulation of the unknown. There they learn science based on observation and record keeping. 



#13 DrKrettin

DrKrettin

    Understanding

  • Members
  • 282 posts

Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:00 AM

I look at it this way, the layman understands science in a fundamental way, that is often obsolete or even based on misunderstanding of fundamental principles of science. For example, in early science education, the atom is often  expressed as analogous to planets orbiting the sun, with the sun the nucleus and the planets the electrons. This is pseudo-science, taught in science, as science.

 

I disagree. Pseudo-science is something which claims to have a scientific base but which doesn't, either through deliberate distortion of facts or just sheer ignorance. Things like astrology and homeopathy. What you describe above is an attempt to model the atom, which can start off as the Bohr model, and the model can become increasingly complex and more accurate as the student becomes more mature. All our descriptions of the physical world are models which are inaccurate to some large or small extent, but that does not mean they should be called pseudo-science. If you insist on that, then you should also claim that Newtonian mechanics is pseudo-science as well. 



#14 exchemist

exchemist

    Creating

  • Members
  • 1187 posts

Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:57 AM

I disagree. Pseudo-science is something which claims to have a scientific base but which doesn't, either through deliberate distortion of facts or just sheer ignorance. Things like astrology and homeopathy. What you describe above is an attempt to model the atom, which can start off as the Bohr model, and the model can become increasingly complex and more accurate as the student becomes more mature. All our descriptions of the physical world are models which are inaccurate to some large or small extent, but that does not mean they should be called pseudo-science. If you insist on that, then you should also claim that Newtonian mechanics is pseudo-science as well. 

Quite right.  



#15 Ratch

Ratch

    Thinking

  • Banned
  • 13 posts

Posted 12 January 2017 - 10:37 AM

Troll much? See my response to your other espousal here: >> post #5 Pay special attention to not making claims without referential support on this forum. :nono:

 

No, I don't troll.  Just because you do not agree with what I aver does not make me a troll.

 

Suspending my participation in this forum tells me that you do not have an immediate cogent response to my points.

 

 You should be even-handed about requiring supporting documentation.  I see plenty of statements in this thread and others in this forum that are lacking in this respect.  It is not practical to document every assertion anyway.  These threads are discussions in written format, not a dissertation.

 

I will address the other thread when I have finished with this one.

 

Ratch



#16 exchemist

exchemist

    Creating

  • Members
  • 1187 posts

Posted 12 January 2017 - 11:04 AM

No, I don't troll.  Just because you do not agree with what I aver does not make me a troll.

 

Suspending my participation in this forum tells me that you do not have an immediate cogent response to my points.

 

 You should be even-handed about requiring supporting documentation.  I see plenty of statements in this thread and others in this forum that are lacking in this respect.  It is not practical to document every assertion anyway.  These threads are discussions in written format, not a dissertation.

 

I will address the other thread when I have finished with this one.

 

Ratch

Oh good, so you haven't finished?

 

I'd certainly like to know your views on the explanation of evolution provided by A-Wal and on my own observations on the spontaneous appearance of local order in nature.  



#17 Ratch

Ratch

    Thinking

  • Banned
  • 13 posts

Posted 12 January 2017 - 11:42 AM

Let's see how good your critical thinking skills are.

Genetic mutations create random variations which are normally a disadvantage to the carrier, in which case the carrier is less likely to pass on that mutation to future generations. If on the other hand the mutation is an advantage then the carrier stands more chance of passing on their genes than those without that mutation.

This means that over time, mutations help tend to thrive and mutations that hinder to to be eliminated. This is natural selection and what drives evolution by selectively reproducing 'good' mutations while simultaneously eliminating any 'bad' ones.

The giraffes with shorter than average length necks are at a disadvantage and are less likely to reproduce and giraffes with longer than average length necks are at an advantage and are more likely to reproduce. This means the average neck length in the gene pool increases with each generation until they are the optimum length.

You can do this with any trait of any living thing!

Leopards with superior camouflage are more likely to pass their superior camouflage on to future generations while leopards with inferior camouflage are less likely to pass their superior camouflage on to future generations which over time this causes their camouflage to gradually improve.

The intelligence/strength/speed/camouflage/etc of 'insert whatever you like here' will increase with each generation as those that have the most of it are the ones that are more likely to reproduce.

Given enough time this can turn any living thing into any other living thing which is how all life on the planet evolved from a single cell.

Evolution has to happen. If you want to refute it then the onus is on you to come up with some mechanism that could prevent it!

As far as starting life off in the first place, there are a lot of planets in the solar system. Even if the chances of life life starting on each planet is a billion to one that would still mean hundreds, if not thousands of planets with just in this galaxy and trillions in the universe.

OK, you decide the quality of my critical skills   Be sure to articulate where they lack judgement.

 

Genetic mutations are limited variations within a species.  Take dogs for instance.  No matter how many different types of dogs turn up at a dog show, they all have the common characteristics of a canine -good sense of smell, high endurance, nice temperament, and compatibility.  No matter how you breed them, you will not change a dog into a donkey.  A fruit fly has a quick lifespan of a few weeks.  No one has be able to breed a fruit fly into anything else other than a fly.  Mutations are not evolution, they are only the limited changes allowed within a species.

 

It is true that mutations can give an advantage to members within a species over those who do not have the mutation.  That happened during the industrial revolution where dark colored moths became predominant over white moths.  The dark moths were harder for the birds to spot in the sooty environment than white moths.  After the pollution was cleaned up, the white moths reappeared. The white moths never completely disappeared.  They just became fewer.  Crab grass will take over your lawn because it can thrive under more difficult conditions than lawn grass.  But lawn grass will not completely disappear.

 

Yes, good traits can be passed on to future generations.  That is proven by horse and dog breeding.  All that means is that the progeny is the best that can be had.  It does not prove evolution changed the species into something fundamentally different.  The horse will still be a horse and a dog is still a dog.  The leopard will have the best looking coat in the jungle, but it still will be a cat.

 

Time will not allow things happen if it is impossible for things to happen in the first place.  The basic premise of evolution is wrong.  You cannot show that things go from a simple to a more complex state.  It takes an intelligence to make that happen. I will address that principle further in the second thread.

 

Evolution cannot happen.  What did happen is a creation.  That can explain everything, without tortuous and unproven reasoning and assumptions. Notice that this is not a religious viewpoint, it is a theist view.  If you believe evolution to be true, then it is up to you to prove it could happen.

 

No matter how many planets in the universe, or how much time has passed.  If evolution cannot happen, it will not happen.

 

Ratch


Edited by Ratch, 12 January 2017 - 12:02 PM.