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Old 01-03-2012, 06:00 PM
whc.03grady whc.03grady is offline
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Montana
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by Candyman74 View Post
I have no idea on what basis you could make this assertion.

I'm afraid the whole subject of the scientific method is too much for me to want to get into a long debate about. I'll leave it to others; suffice it to say that you are misunderstanding some fairly fundamental concepts. But it's too much for me to want to engage in because I know how these threads go.
I'm sorry if you think I'm trying to drag you (or anyone) into a debate on the pitfalls of the scientific method (if there are any), or anything like that. Myself, I don't know how such threads usually go but if you're worried that I'm looking for some point at which I can say "a-HA! Science is fundamentally flawed, the Bible is the literal truth, evolution sucks", trust me, I'm not going there (it would be pretty weird if I did, as a dyed-in-the-wool atheist). But like I said, I don't know if that's how these threads usually pan out anyway, that's just my guess. If I were to debate someone on the subject of the scientific method, I assure you, I'd keep it on the level (which isn't to say I'd just unquestioningly eat up anything you'd try to feed me).

I also appreciate the responses you and others have given of examples of revolutions in science, but those kinds of shifts in thinking aren't what I see to be happening in the situation being discussed (quantum physics). This situation is different from any other revolution in science I can think of--Copernican, Newtonian, Darwinian, Einsteinian--in that it's not some contingent principle that's being overturned, it's something much deeper.

If anyone who's made it this far doesn't understand just how utterly, completely, mind-blowingly, dauntingly different the claims of quantum physics are from the claims of any of these others (respectively and in short, "The Earth goes around the Sun," "An object at rest tends to stay at rest, etc.," "Human beings, like all biota, are descended and differentiated from antecedent forms by the mechanism of natural selection," "Light is the speed limit of the universe"), then I thank you for your time.

I don't take myself to be smarter than most of you and certainly not smarter than the average quantum physicist. But I have a degree (and some graduate study but no post-graduate degree in) philosophy (analytic philosophy, not the wishy-washy, beret-wearing, coffeehouse kind), so pardon me but I'm not inclined, generally, to take advice to "just trust what the scientists are saying" lightly, at least for these types of results.

The assertions of quantum physics don't just sound weird. That's the understatement of the year. To be told that a thing can both be something and not be something, at the same time, well, that's a lot (a LOT) weirder than being told the Earth goes around the Sun and not vice versa.

Now if it's like Omphaloskeptic says and I'm seeing the claim of a contradiction where there isn't one, then that's something I'd like to know because I like to know when I'm wrong. (I've read and reread your posts, Omphaloskeptic; thank you.) The Hamster King has made some enlightening comments as well (though none I haven't heard before, no offense; it's just that Phil Sci was a few years ago), and perhaps point the way to where I should focus my energy; maybe at base I'm struggling with certain assumptions of the scientific method, and is expressed as a misunderstanding of the results of quantum physics.


Last edited by whc.03grady; 01-03-2012 at 06:03 PM.