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The Epistemology Corner: How Do We Know What We Know?


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#81 mike the wiz

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 06:52 AM

Mattias, the problem is you seem to see the creationist side as the irrelevant party and everything the mainstream scientific side says, as arthoritative, as an Ipse Dixit, position, that you take.

 

OF COURSE you can quote a thousand evolutionary experiments to me, but drowning me in science-papers is not going to change the validity of my arguments. You also must be aware of how rare science-papers are for creationists. To get an evolution-scientists opinion and thoughts, you have many papers of reference, but to know a creationist scientists position on this, would mean I would probably have to contact CMI.

 

If we take all frames-of-reference, from "known scientific facts" such as ethnic groups, and we DITCH all of the frames-of-reference that had uniform assumptions, would we still have a figure of 200,000 odd years?

 

Only the known-references, "count" because they are known. It is like comparing a real life rabbit with bugs bunny, when you say, "chimp-human split". There is no proven split, so why would ever entertain a falsehood? I will only entertain proven facts and proven dates. 100% proven.

 

If you only include those proven 100% dates, run your calculations and tell me the extrapolation, it will not be 200 odd thousand years, Mattias. I am not shutting you out, but we must at this stage agree to disagree, it makes best sense. I simply don't accept their science, they assume evolution is true.



#82 mike the wiz

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 07:03 AM

Mattias, this is the kind of article, that, "excites" me, because actual scientific facts excite me, and when I read this, I am absolutely delighted because to me it is basically as good as proof that evolution as a theory is a ridiculous idea in comparison to those elegant facts of design:

 

http://creation.com/electric-eel

 

Poor Darwin would turn in his grave if he read this article.;)



#83 Mattias

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 07:18 AM

Mattias, the problem is you seem to see the creationist side as the irrelevant party and everything the mainstream scientific side says, as arthoritative, as an Ipse Dixit, position, that you take.

 

OF COURSE you can quote a thousand evolutionary experiments to me, but drowning me in science-papers is not going to change the validity of my arguments. You also must be aware of how rare science-papers are for creationists. To get an evolution-scientists opinion and thoughts, you have many papers of reference, but to know a creationist scientists position on this, would mean I would probably have to contact CMI.

 

If we take all frames-of-reference, from "known scientific facts" such as ethnic groups, and we DITCH all of the frames-of-reference that had uniform assumptions, would we still have a figure of 200,000 odd years?

 

Only the known-references, "count" because they are known. It is like comparing a real life rabbit with bugs bunny, when you say, "chimp-human split". There is no proven split, so why would ever entertain a falsehood? I will only entertain proven facts and proven dates. 100% proven.

 

If you only include those proven 100% dates, run your calculations and tell me the extrapolation, it will not be 200 odd thousand years, Mattias. I am not shutting you out, but we must at this stage agree to disagree, it makes best sense. I simply don't accept their science, they assume evolution is true.

 

The cool thing is, we do have that kind of data, Mike! And this should be appealing to your sense of national pride as well. We can go back to good old Richard III - the usurper and probable regicide. I do hope that everybody did check out some background information about him, and also listened to the Rex Factor podcast, because that is really interesting history. Amazing stuff.

 

 

Regarding your Creation.com article - yes it´s really an energizing paper! But not in the slightest in conflict with the data we are looking at here. I don't exclude divine creation by any means from the equation, and neither does any of my arguments. What I argue against is the mode of action and the time line presented by biblical creationists. The case of the old earth creationists and the theistic evolutionists isn't all that bad, all things considered.



#84 mike the wiz

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 07:42 AM

 

 

 Mattias: The case of the old earth creationists and the theistic evolutionists isn't all that bad, all things considered.

 

I agree, it isn't bad, it is awfully bad, it is stinking-thinking, because when you read an article like the one I gave you a link to, you see that such facts are only relevant to intelligent design. There literally are no evolutionary-reasons when we investigate the true facts of the anatomy, only very clear and precise specified complexity.

 

Perhaps I could come back to this thread in future, we shall see if there is anything else to discuss.

 

 

 

Mattias:The cool thing is, we do have that kind of data, Mike! And this should be appealing to your sense of national pride as well.

 

Not at all, human-behaviour and the history of mankind almost makes me want to vomit, it is a rich display of ego, pride and wickedness, on every front. And a lot of that was in the name of Christianity. What a disgusting insult to Christ. only now, when people are held responsible by other people, because of great numbers, are some of those more savage sins repressed somewhat.



#85 svigil777

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 05:11 PM

.
I've never seen a programming language where that if-clause will work, unless the '&&' is a special type of "And" I haven't seen.

The left-most boolean doesn't require parenthesis?--as in,

if ((time>=7.5) && time <8.5) then...

In the C Language you would use a single "&" because that would perform a bitwise "AND" operation. What is desired is a logical operation between the two conditionals. Regarding the use of operators, the answer to your question depends upon 

operator preference. That I presented originally was a guess. After checking, it looks like it would have operated correctly because the conditionals are executed prior to the logical "and". But in safety critical code, I'd have probably put parenthesis around the operators to keep the reviewers off my back.They can get rather pedantic.

.



#86 piasan

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 06:51 PM

In the C Language you would use a single "&" because that would perform a bitwise "AND" operation. What is desired is a logical operation between the two conditionals. Regarding the use of operators, the answer to your question depends upon 
operator preference. That I presented originally was a guess. After checking, it looks like it would have operated correctly because the conditionals are executed prior to the logical "and". But in safety critical code, I'd have probably put parenthesis around the operators to keep the reviewers off my back.They can get rather pedantic.

I'm not sure I blame them.  The farther we get from the machine code, the more opportunity for weird things to happen.  Examples:

 

At the University of Utah in the '69-71 time frame the school computer (yes, the ONLY computer) was a Univac 1108.  It had a "fastrand" drum that held about 100 megabytes and took about an hour to spin up to speed and about 2 hours to stop. 

 

***

Edit:  The drum was about a yard (or meter) wide, 2 yards high, about 10 yards long and weighed a couple tons.

**** end edit

 

Classes at the time were being told that with 200 megabytes we could emulate human intelligence.  Students ran programs as "batch" jobs.  We'd turn in the programs and come back in a couple hours to get the results.  But I digress.....

 

The compiler had three levels of error messages.... (1) Fatal Error - a problem in the code was detected that was unrecoverable.  Your job was terminated.  (2)  Error - a problem in the code was detected compiling will continue, but the program will not run.  (3) Diagnostic - there is a problem in the code but compilation can be completed and the program will run.

 

I don't know how it is now, but back then, if your program ran and produced correct results, that was an "A."  A friend of mine wrote a SNOBOL program that had 3 fatal errors, executed and produced the right output.  It was an elective class in his final semester and  he wasn't too concerned about his grade, so he turned it in.  He got a "C."  So he went and pointed out to the instructor that it had run properly.  (He understood, but just wanted to see what the teacher would say.)  The response was: "Yeah, but I just couldn't see giving an "A" to a program with 3 fatal errors."

 

In another case, I wrote a FORTRAN IV bowling league secretary program.  It had a single diagnostic statement: "Control can never reach the following statement."  I checked my code and that was fine as it was a conditional jump that had been written around so it was no longer in use anyway.  The program had a glitch when it ran.... it added the score of bowler 2 on team 2 in game 2 to the team score twice.  Everything else ran perfectly.  The solution .... tear the card up and get rid of the diagnostic message.  To this day, I have no idea what went wrong.

 

Having had that kind of experience with programs, I'd be real hesitant about any safety related code that had even the slightest possibility of an unexpected glitch.

 

========

They're still using C?  I never liked that language.... there was way too much "bookkeeping."  I did like the modular aspect of it though.  It's probably changed a lot since I last wrote any programs (around 1985 for C.)

 

Maybe we should open a topic "Computer war stories"



#87 Schera Do

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 07:52 PM

In the C Language you would use a single "&" because that would perform a bitwise "AND" operation. What is desired is a logical operation between the two conditionals. Regarding the use of operators, the answer to your question depends upon 
operator preference. That I presented originally was a guess. After checking, it looks like it would have operated correctly because the conditionals are executed prior to the logical "and". But in safety critical code, I'd have probably put parenthesis around the operators to keep the reviewers off my back.They can get rather pedantic.
.

.
I do confess to picking a nit and flying the geezer programmer's flag.
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#88 Mattias

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 01:01 AM

 

Perhaps I could come back to this thread in future, we shall see if there is anything else to discuss.

 

 

Yes, your presence is still sorely needed - it is time we let bad old Richard III atone for some of his (likely) crimes by helping us to facilitate our scientific endeavours.

 

This won't take long, but it is an important point regarding how we can actually do a lot to understand the actual facts and data underlying the claims and opinioins put forward by different factions. Could you please go back to the links I provided with the different sets of mitochnodrial DNA sequences, and check how many base pairs is the human mtDNA molecule?



#89 mike the wiz

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 04:31 AM

Mattias, I am more interested in examining the broader scope of epistemology, or was your intention in starting this thread, your GENUINE motive, to simply argue for long-ages on behalf of your beloved theory of evolution?

 

So far my sound sayings have no responses to them. I gave an example of my own version of the Gettier problem and I discussed the probability and induction involved. I would like now to perhaps give a post that explains why we can know certain things, and why those facts are more important than fables.smile.png

 

I have no interest in the pedantic particulars of scientific evolutionary theoretics, and weak and tenuous and vacuous experiments conducted by people with no intellect.wink.pngMutation-rates are only estimates, why are you so obsessed with this issue? Ahh, I know - because you LOVE the boring particulars of scientific investigation. But ultimately those specifics are a house-of-cards able to be blown over by the slightest of breezes.

 

;)(Did you enjoy my rhetoric, in this post);)



#90 Mattias

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 09:48 AM

No, I did not enjoy your rhetoric. I am interested in the broader scope and the particulars of the case that you brought up. But the latter part is primarily because it is a good exercise in how we can think for ourselves. Could you please check the mtDNA molecules, please. If you have time to formulate a purely rhetoric response you have time to look up the facts.



#91 Mattias

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 02:19 PM

Mike, you haven’t gotten back to me with a figure for the length of the human mtDNA molecule, so I have to lay it out for you, I guess. Not that I mind doing that per se, but this is a much more valuable exercise if you take active part in it.

 

We have three undisputed facts here:

1) The human mitochondrial DNA molecule is around 16 570 bases long.

2) Richard III of England lived ca 550 years ago (born 1452)

3) The mtDNA molecules of Richard himself and those of two of his maternal relatives with strictly matrilineal descent have been sequenced.

 

From this follows that each mtDNA genome from the two modern descendants will have accumulated mutations for about 550 years, compared with the template sequence obtained from Richard.

 

The whole line of argumentation for a ”biblical” age for mitochondrial Eve in the CMI paper (http://creation.com/...ng-date-for-eve) was based on a few estimates of mutation rates of about 2.5 substitutions/base pair/millon years for the whole mtDNA molecule (http://www.nature.co...ng0497-363.html).

 

Now; this value is very high, even compared to other estimates of substitution rates on short time scales. But also:

If this value would be representative of longer time frames as well, we could expect the following number of differences between Richards mtDNA and that of each of the other matrilineal lines:

 

16570 x 550 x 2.5 / 1000 000 = ca 23 base pair changes per mtDNA molecule.

 

Here is the paper where they sequenced the whole mtDNA sequences of Richard and his present relatives: http://www.nature.co...ncomms6631.html

 

Now: The Million Dollar Question: How many changes did they find?



#92 svigil777

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 08:30 AM

This responds to pisan in message #86.
 

I'm not sure I blame them.  The farther we get from the machine code, the more opportunity for weird things to happen.

 

There’s a huge fear that one will be responsible for a crash. So, we use an objective standard, DO-178, to guide development. But, it’s not perfect and it’s not as objective as I’d like. But it’s really hard to write something that is objective that covers all possible software designs.

 

I worked at Boeing during the ’89-’94 timeframe. There was a big investigation to find out why our thrust reverser had deployed in flight. It should never do that. The best we could do was to compare the aircraft trajectory to that in simulated flight. The trajectories were similar so the thrust reverser controls were redesigned.

 

It would be amazing if we could come up with a DO-178 for arguments on this web site. Knowing why you know something is true is everything. If you have objective criteria, it won’t just be everybody and anybody’s opinion.

 

Classes at the time were being told that with 200 megabytes we could emulate human intelligence. 

 

Attempts to do that are what have helped us to understand how deep our intelligence really is. John Searle at UC Berkeley does a good job of presenting such efforts.

 

The solution .... tear the card up and get rid of the diagnostic message.  To this day, I have no idea what went wrong.

 

‘truly the stuff of which nightmares are made. My laptop just dumped forty-five minutes of work. This is the second time I’m writing this response (grrrr….)

 

Having had that kind of experience with programs, I'd be real hesitant about any safety related code that had even the slightest possibility of an unexpected glitch.

 

Understood… and this results in a lot of “religion”. That is, efforts made that “might” increase safety but we’re not sure. This in turn results in increased complexity which also decreases safety. In retrospect, I would leave out the parenthesis and defend my code in review. I might get squished. But, clarity of the code also has value. With sufficient verification evidence, I might get it through. It depends on the individuals involved in the review process and the particular standards applied.

 

They're still using C?  I never liked that language.... there was way too much "bookkeeping."

 

We create “experiments” that we hope will catch errant behavior. Some code can not be actually tested because it is designed to catch error conditions that cannot easily be simulated. In those cases, we verify by performing “analysis”. We have program tools and high paid contractors like me to do the book keeping. It’s not fun.

 

Maybe we should open a topic "Computer war stories"

 

Keep the discussion in here if you can tie it to epistemology. But yeah, I’d keep an eye on it. Communicating on neutral/non-confrontational ground can facilitate trust. Without trust, it’s hard to get anywhere. (Right Wiz Kid?  :^)



#93 piasan

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 07:13 PM

I do confess to picking a nit and flying the geezer programmer's flag.

My first university major was general engineering at the University of San Francisco. They acquired their first computer (IBM360) in the summer of 1967 and offered their first programming class (Fortran II) that fall. It was pretty clear engineers were going to need computer skills so I took the class. With the first program, it was obvious I had found my engineering niche and I switched to computer science.... which, at that time was electronics engineering with a computer emphasis.  Does that qualify me as a geezer programmer?
 

 My laptop just dumped forty-five minutes of work. This is the second time I’m writing this response (grrrr….)

Yeah.... I still remember a test question I got one time.... "How often should you back up your work."  My answer:  "As soon as you've done more than you want to lose since your last backup."

 

Sometimes you can recover a lot of what you were writing under "More Reply Options" at the bottom right of where we compose messages.  Follow the prompts and a lot of the time you can bring back the last autosave .... which isn't usually more than a few minutes old.



#94 Mattias

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 12:01 AM

Mike, please allow me to finish my point here. This is a subject that you brouht up, and there is no reason for you to leave it prematurely, other than possibly that you don't like where the evidence is taking us. This is not scientific minutia, but a few easily comprehensible facts and relationships.



#95 mike the wiz

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 04:56 AM

Mattias, I comprehend what you are saying. Did I not patiently go through what you were saying in a lengthy, previous post? But at some stage, as I said to Dataforge, a debate must end, and this one has gone on long enough. You have clinged to mtDNA long after I conceded defeat. What else do you want me to say?

 

I know you are implying that King Charles or whoever he was, studies suggest a lower mutation rate, and that this line of evidence is a 100% factual frame-of-reference.

 

Because you gave an example of a factual frame of reference, I admitt logically you are now in a stronger position to make your case, because now a factually proven frame-of-reference indicates a longer age. We also have a factual frame-of-reference that indicates a higher rate, (ethnic group studies)

 

Is this fair for me to state?

 

1. Charley boy = lower rate

2. Ethnic groups = higher rate.

 

(Or was it King George you were wittering on about, I can't remember the names of these dullards ;)of history, I never can. Lol)



#96 Mattias

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 03:50 PM

Hello Mike, it was Richard, actually, and you should not speak so flippantly about these historical kings. Whatever we may think of them otherwise, dulllards they most definitely were not. Great personalities almost without exception. Richard died at Bosworth in a valiant charge against his opponent, the future King Henry VII, a few years after usurping the throne of England in a ruthless but brilliantly orchestrated coup. He was around 33 at the time when he died. I note that at more or less exactly the same age, you are spending much of your time in front of a keyboard bantering with strangers on web forums.

 

Whatever; I want to sum up the take-home messages that we can learn from the facts of this case. You never followed up the actual data from Richard’s forensic investigation, so I have to do it for you:

 

Rather than the 23 substitutions per mt DNA molecule that we could have expected under the substitution rates favoured by CMI, the scientists found that the mtDNA of one of the relatives was identical (!) with Richard’s, and the other had a single (!) substitution. If you read the paper about the mtDNA (highly recommended), you saw that the two mtDNA lineages in Richard’s relatives split apart already with the two sisters Barbara and Everhilda Constable in the 1530:s, which means that we have about 1030 years of total evolution between the modern DNA and Richard’s template DNA. One substitution per 16500 bases per 1030 years gives a rate of 5,88 x 10-8 substitutions per base per year, which is about 42 times lower than CMI’s chosen favourite rate.

 

But, we are not done yet, Mike. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I get the impression that you try to close the case with some kind of compromise, where we both have a factual nugget pointing in different directions, so each of us can in some way find reasonable support for our own respective scenario. Thus, we can both be happy in our own view of reality. If I am correct in the way I interpret your stance on the matter, then it is clear that you are still failing to grasp the consequences of the facts as we now know them. If both data sets are most likely factually correct, then they are aspects of the same reality, and we should strive to find an explanatory model that is concordant with both factual phenomena.

The most parsimonious explanation for the observed data is the obvious one that I proposed previously, namely that these two rates are the result of two different processes, acting over different time scales. The short-term, modern rates represent the instantaneous frequency of mutations in the mtDNA molecule, whereas the long-term rates represent what we have left in the gene pool after some filtering process has acted on the genetic variation over several generations and removed 90-95% of all mtDNA variants.

 

Now, can you:

1) confirm that you agree with my description of the case, and agree with my inference to the most parsimonious explanatory model (= high mutation rates, followed by a filtering process over time)?

2) confirm that you have learned another important lesson from this case (thus far – there will be more):

If we can reasonably assume that a system has moved from state A to state B (the two different substitution rates, in this case), based on observational evidence, then this is a primary fact that hierarchically supersedes the need for providing an explanatory model for the observed phenomenon. Finding an explanation for how/why the system has moved from state A to state B is of course what science is all about, but it is secondary to the fact that the state change from A to B has in fact occurred. Even if we, at present, cannot account for how/why it happened, this does not mean that we should not reasonably assume that it happened.

Can you confirm that you understand this basic epistemological principle, Mike, because I will be referring to it often in the future, and I don’t want to have to explain it again. 



#97 mike the wiz

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 05:07 AM

 

 

Great personalities almost without exception. Richard died at Bosworth in a valiant charge against his opponent, the future King Henry VII, a few years after usurping the throne of England in a ruthless but brilliantly orchestrated coup. He was around 33 at the time when he died. I note that at more or less exactly the same age, you are spending much of your time in front of a keyboard bantering with strangers on web forums.

 

Spoken like a true atheist. Here I am not wiling or wanting to go and chop off heads with a sword, in order to salvage my pride, and that makes me a nobody who only types on internet boards. Forgive me for not wanting to die in a bloody and pointless battle. Forgive me for not having the stupidity to want and go and face someone with a sword, and murder them for no good reason.

 

Ggosh that makes me so small and insignificant.

 

In that case Mattias, I am very content to be a nobody, at least I am not deluding myself into believing I mean more than I mean, like this nobody-king who was dust at the age of 33.

 

Meanwhile there is a King of Kings, Who, when 33, did not become dust, and He sir, is my King.



#98 Mattias

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 09:27 AM

I did not say that I endorsed any of their behaviour. But you were the one who arrogantly and dismissively referred to your fellow human beings as dullards. Your words - not mine. I just tried to put your arrogant words in their proper perspective. 

 

Don't get side-tracked by this, though. Follow through on the main points, please.



#99 mike the wiz

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 10:22 AM

Mattias, I called them "dullards" because the word amuses me. "dull" sounds like "boring and grey" so I just used that word because it tickles me. You should know by know that a lot of the time I will use words if they are tongue-twisters that amuse me. "Dullard" is a most splendiferously flushbunking word.  smile.png

 

But why do you make things so personal these days? I prefer to talk to an anachronistic Mattias, the earlier model was less agitated, but I was wrong to say,  "spoken like a true atheist", I admit that was just a silly and extraneous thing to say. I take it back.

 

Got to go, work to do.



#100 Mattias

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 10:44 PM

Mike, where do you get the idea that I take/make anything on this forum personal? 

 

Anyhow, you asked me if I can not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk, and I am now walking the walk. Do walk with me and reply to my points, please.






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