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Old 01-03-2012, 02:56 PM
whc.03grady whc.03grady is offline
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Montana
Posts: 462
Originally Posted by Candyman74 View Post
Which scientific principle, specifically, are you referring to? (Schrodinger's Cat isn't a scientific principle).

If you could identify which scientific principle it is that you disagree with, at least we're all on the same page. And perhaps we can discuss the evidence for that principle, or illustrate how it is successfully used in technology, or how it is used to successfully make predictions.
None. I didn't say I was disagreeing with any scientific principle. And I realize Schrodinger's Cat isn't a scientific principle, it's a thought experiment.

I'm pointing out what I think may be an instance of a particular branch of science (quantum physics) overstepping the bounds of what science is allowed to make statements about. Science makes statements about the observable (empirical) world. The unobserved particle is, by definition, unobserved. What I'm asking is, on what basis does the quantum physicist get to make the claim that, during the time when it's unobserved, the particle has such-and-such property? The particle was unobserved! Science is only supposed to tell us about what IS observed. How can the physicist (who is a scientist, an empiricist) make a claim about a property a particle has during a time when she didn’t look at it?

Originally Posted by Candyman74 View Post
Of course [empirical results can trump principles of logic or reasoning]. They must. They have to. Otherwise we'd still believe that the sun revolved around the earth. It was our observations - empirical results - which told us otherwise and contradicted the logic and reasoning of centuries of great thinkers.
The Ptolemaic theory doesn't entail a contradiction; there's nothing impossible about it being true. It ISN'T true, yes. But there is a sense in which it could be. Nothing about the discovery that the Earth goes around the Sun (and not the other way 'round) required the revamping or even the serious reconsideration of any principle of reasoning. It did require the revamping and serious reconsideration of certain accepted principles of astronomy (and anthropology, religion, probably others). Big deal. We find out certain of our contingent principles (I should say “principles”) are wrong all the time.

It's a mistake to think that "logic and reasoning" somehow belong to times or persons, as you seem to be thinking. There's just no sense in which "If a=b, and b=c, then a=c" was a caveman principle 20,000 years ago and in which it's a modern human principle now. Mistakes in logic and reasoning may very well belong to times and persons, sure. If a bunch of (or even all) cavemen thought, "If a=b, and b=c, a≠c," that wouldn't mean the principles of cavemen reasoning were different than ours, or that reasoning operated differently 20,000 years ago. It would just show that a bunch of cavemen were wrong about transitivity.

Originally Posted by Candyman74 View Post
If your observations are at odds with your reasoning, the flaw is much more likely to be in your reasoning than in your observation.
I have no idea on what basis you could make this assertion.