[ExI] ​Popper and unscientific theories

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Mon Jun 13 23:05:35 UTC 2016

On Mon, Jun 13, 2016  Dan TheBookMan <danust2012 at gmail.com> wrote:

>> ​>​
>> OK lets talk about testable predictions. If the universe were a finite
>> ​ 4D
>>  hypersphere
>>>>  then if you kept moving in a straight line you'd eventually come back to
>>>> were you started, and if we look at the variation in the microwave
>>>>  background radiation in one part of the sky we'd expect it to match up
>>>> with the pattern
>> ​ ​
>> 180 degrees away, but we observe no such correlation.
>>>> That could be explained if the universe is larger that 13.8 billion light
>>>>  years, the light informing us of such a correlation hasn't had time to
>>>> reach us and in a expanding acceleration universe it never will. But
>>>>  that's not testable, Popper would say we're not allowed to hypothesize
>>>> about places we can never observe, therefore things must be the way
>>>> things seem to be and the Earth is at the center of the universe.
> ​> ​
> Let me state this a different way: Where does Popper hold this view?

Nowhere because Popper died
 in 1994, 5 years before the acceleration of the universe was discovered
and more than 10 years before the variation in the microwave background
radiation and lack of correlation with the pattern 180 degrees from it was
discovered.  But if we now strictly
​ follow Popper's formula for doing science the conclusion is the Earth
must be at the center of the universe.​

> ​> ​
> My understanding is that he's not against positing unobservables in
> scientific theories -- which unobservable parts of the universe would be,
> be they subatomic particles or regions of space not open to inspection.

Subatomic particles
​ are observable ​and theories about them are testable and that's why the
LHC was built, but stars more distant than 13.8 billion light years are not
observable and NEVER will be, therefore Popper would say a scientist should
never think about them.

> ​> ​
> I'm also not sure why you cut out the rest of my post

​I include enough of a post to enable a reader to know what I am responding
to, I see no reason to repeat more, anybody who wants to read the entire
post can do so in about .07 seconds, they don't need my help. .

> The same might be said of historians of science. Historians of science
> don't make new discoveries about cosmology and don't head on over to CERN
> with new proposals on particle physics.

​ o
f science
writes about things that humans did in the past and a good one writes about
things that
humans did in the past
that were true. But
​what do
philosopher of science
​write about? Scientists don't learn how to do science from reading
philosophy books and those books usually books aren't even good history
because the don't describe how science is actually done. ​

​> ​
> One can have a demarcation and yet that wouldn't provide with more than
> telling science from non-science.

​Well lets see how the 2 most famous philosophers of science did on that.
For most of his life Popper thought Darwin was on the unscientific side of
that demarcation line, and Ernst Mach thought Special Relativity, General
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics were all on the unscientific side on the
line, and till the day he died in 1916 Mach even thought it was
unscientific for chemists to talk about atoms.

> ​> ​
> All you've tended to do here is conflate the views of Popper or Mach with
> philosophy of science in general.

​Popper and Mach are the best known philosophers of science, if the
philosophy of science isn't what
philosophers of science
​ talk about then what on earth is the
philosophy of science

​> ​
>  Popper's falsification is wildly popular amongst scientists.

​It's not "​
Popper's falsification
​", Popper doesn't own the idea and didn't invent
it. Theories that weren't metaphysical ​drivel were popular among natural
philosophers long before Popper was born, and long before the word
"scientist" was even coined.

And you still haven't met the challenge I gave you in my last post:

Tell me one thing, just one thing, that people who call themselves
philosophers of science have discovered in the last century or so  that is
deep, clear, precise, unexpected, and true that scientists
​or mathematicians ​
had not discovered long before

​ John K Clark​

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