Tuesday week 9
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Tuesday, week 9. What do you believe and why? Can you prove it? How, or why not? Does it matter whether you can provide evidence for what you believe? Does what you believe matter? Is everything relative? Is science just another belief system?

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Tuesday week 9

Tuesday, week 9

  • What do you believe and why?

  • Can you prove it? How, or why not?

  • Does it matter whether you can provide evidence for what you believe?

  • Does what you believe matter?

  • Is everything relative?

  • Is science just another belief system?

  • What are the roles of conjecture, evidence, and theory in understanding?


What do you believe and why

What do you believe and why?

Kinds of belief: faith-based, evidence-based, values (morals, aesthetics), other?

How can you know? (epistemology)

What is true? (ontology – truth – objectivity?)


Can you prove it how or why not

Can you prove it? How, or why not?

Verifiability

Testability

Falsifiability

Faith, intuition, gut feeling, common sense, perosnal experience, critical analysis, …


Does it matter whether you can provide evidence for what you believe

Does it matter whether you can provide evidence for what you believe?

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush called Ambassador Joseph Wilson a "True American Hero." In 2003, senior officials in President George W. Bush’s White House tried to intimidate critics and punish Wilson for what he knew—and finally made public—about the administration’s lies before the invasion of Iraq. …

In July 2003, Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as an undercover CIA operative, allegedly in retaliation for Wilson blowing the whistle on Bush administration dissembling about Iraqi efforts to procure weapons of mass destruction. …

http://www.amazon.com


Does the truth matter

Does the truth matter?


Does what you believe matter

Does what you believe matter?

Pragmatism – it gets the job done

Simple relativism – all beliefs are equally valid

Liberalism – not to be confused with relativism

Nihilism – beliefs don’t matter (does anything?)

Logical positivism, reductionism, conventional or objectivist science

Social constructionist science

Truth matters, all else being equal

Truth matters for its own sake


Is everything relative

Is everything relative?

Epistemological relativism

Cultural relativism

Postmodern relativism

Socially-constructed theories and “strong-objectivity”

Theory-laden facts


Do beliefs matter

Do beliefs matter?

Global warming – Is it real? So what? Is it our fault? Can we do anything about it?

Global temperature Temp rises as CO2 rises

increasing rapidly, recentlysince industrial revolution


Global warming

Global warming

Temperature variations over the last 1,000 years suggest a recent sharp rise in temperature caused by human activities. The chart is relatively flat from the period AD 1000 to 1900, indicating that temperatures were relatively stable for this period of time. The flat part forms the stick's "shaft". But after 1900, temperatures appear to shoot up, forming the hockey stick's "blade".

Nature 1998, Geophysical Research Letters 1999, by Michael Mann, Ray Bradley, Malcolm Hughes

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3569604.stm

CO2 and Global Temperature Change, by Whole Systems Foundation

http://www.whole-systems.org/co2.html


Do beliefs matter1

Do beliefs matter?

Ozone hole – Is it real? So what? Is it our fault? Can we do anything about it?

http://www.eduspace.esa.int/eduspace/project/default.asp?document=257&language=en


Ozone hole history

Ozone hole - history

1928 - chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Invented by Thomas Midgley, Jr.,

Widespread use as refrigerants - millions of tons of CFCs produced and evaporated.

1974 – Chemists Rowland Molina of UC Irvine theorized that UV light in the stratosphere would dissociate CFCs, and that the free chlorine atoms would dissociate ozone.

1978 - CFCs in aerosol sprays were banned in the U.S.

mid-1980s - severe annual depletion of ozone began to appear above Antarctica

1987 fifty-seven industrial nations signed the Montreal Protocol -- the first global environmental agreement --to phase-out of CFCs.

1996 - All production of CFCs in developed countries halted on Jan 1.

2003 – Rate of growth of ozone hole slows

2005 – Ozone hole starts to shrink.

http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution/hozone.asp


2003 earth s ozone depletion is finally slowing

2003:Earth's ozone depletion is finally slowing

17:05 30 July 2003, NewScientist.com news service, Gaia Vince

Almost 30 years after it was first reported that pollutants were destroying the Earth's protective ozone layer, there is clear evidence that the global CFC ban has had an impact.

For the first time, it has been shown that the rate of ozone depletion in the upper stratosphere - 35 to 45 kilometres up - is slowing down. "This is the beginning of a recovery of the ozone layer," says Michael Newchurch, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who led the new research.

Between 1997 and 2000, the average rate of ozone depletion slowed by the equivalent of seven per cent per decade. But the authors say that it will take at least 40 years before the depletion stops and recovery begins. "Ozone is still depleting but just not as fast. We are still decades away from total ozone recovery," Newchurch says.


2005 ozone hole healing

2005: Ozone hole healing

Scientific American, November 2005


Is science just another belief system

Is science just another belief system?

ScienceFaith

testablenot subject to test

falsifiableimmune to falsification

designed to changeideally immutable

in response to discoveries

evolutionIntelligent Design

questions for inquiry“God of the Gaps”

What is faith? A confident belief or trust in a person, belief, loyalty, or religion. (MS)


The perimeter of ignorance neil degrasse tyson natural history nov 2005

The Perimeter of IgnoranceNeil deGrasse Tyson, Natural History, Nov. 2005

… in centuries past, … most scientists, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout.

But … they invoke divinity only when they read the boundaries of their understanding. …

Newton’s laws of motion … accounted for phenomena that had eluded philosophers for millennia … Newton [insists on] data, “inferr’d from the phaenomena,” But in the absence of data, … Newton invokes God …

A century later, … Laplace demonstrates that the solar system is stable over periods of time longer than Newton could predict… when … Napoleon asked him what role God played in the construction and regulation of the heavens, … Laplace replied “Sire, I have ho need of that hypothesis.”

Today secular philosophers call … divine invocation “God of the gaps” …

… in … a stunning … philosophical inversion, … ecclesiastics … began to declare that it was the laws of physics themselves that served as proof of the wisdom and power of God.


The perimeter of ignorance neil degrasse tyson natural history nov 20051

The Perimeter of IgnoranceNeil deGrasse Tyson, Natural History, Nov. 2005

… eighteenth century “clockwork universe” – an ordered, rational, predictable mechanism fashioned and run by God and his laws of physics

… [Big Bang as Genesis] …

In contemporary America, the notion that a higher intelligence is the single answer to all enigmas has been enjoying a resurgence. This present-day version of God of the gaps [has a new] name: “intelligent design.” The term suggests that some entity, endowed with a mental capacity far greaterthan the human mind can muster, created or enabled all the things in the physical world that we cannot explain through scientific methods.

But why confine ourselves to things to wondrous or intricate for us to understand … why not tally all those things whose design is so clunky, goofy, impractical, or unworkable that they reflect the absence of intelligence? …

… Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance.

Science is a philosophy of discovery. …


Vatican official refutes intelligent design

Vatican Official Refutes Intelligent Design

Fri. Nov. 18. 2005, By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican’s chief astronomer said Friday that "intelligent design" isn't science and doesn't belong in science classrooms, the latest high-ranking Roman Catholic official to enter the evolution debate in the United States.

The Rev. George Coyne, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, said placing intelligent design theory alongside that of evolution in school programs was "wrong" and was akin to mixing apples with oranges.

"Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be," the ANSA news agency quoted Coyne as saying on the sidelines of a conference in Florence. "If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."


What are the roles of conjecture evidence and theory in understanding

What are the roles of conjecture, evidence, and theory in understanding?

Conjecture – hypothesis – guess

Evidence – facts – data

anecdotal vs. statistical

Theory – law – model – map


What is truth true or false according to lynch

What is truth? (True or false? according to Lynch)

Truth is whatever you care about most. (CC)

Truth cannot be defined or analyzed. (MS)

Truth is a tool to get you what you want.

Truth is objective.

Truth depends on physical, mind-independent relationships and properties.

Truth is causal realism, in part.

Truth is deeply normative.

Truth is good, a worthy goal of inquiry, worth caring about for its own sake.


Do you care about the truth

Do you care about the truth?

Do you care about caring about the truth?

Integrity and happiness (Lynch):

self-knowledge, self-respect

authenticity

intellectual integrity

good life, richly lived

pursuit of truth

What do you choose do with knowledge/power?


Looking ahead

Looking ahead


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