JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Reply
Old 15th December 2012, 05:51 AM   #81
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,947
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
To tell me about this Disney-like fixation I may have is a discredit to these forums. It's not the first time.
What is making you so hostile?
Psst Quarky, I believe that Diwar's actual phrase was rather careful to not personalize it to you.

I like you both, and I enjoy both your posts.

No where did that statement or sentiment you are responding to reference you in my interpretation. There was no accusation that you held that belief.

There was an apparently true statement that nature does not care. It would be sad if humans trash the world, nature does not care. It would be sad if a large meteor struck the earth again, nature does not care.

It will be sad a billion years from now when the sun is so hot that it fires all the water away. nature does not care.

Statements about the value of diversity and the value of semi natural recovered landscapes are great, Florida may actually have old growth areas. Nature doesn't care either way.

I line in a landscape dominated, seriously dominated by row agriculture of two species, the amount of standing wood lots and pasture in my county is so that it is probably less than .05%. All the streams have been ditched out of existence and most have been plowed under that were not ditched. there is usually a very small margin (ten to 50 feet for rivers) of the riverine system that used to dominate the landscape.

There is basically no standing natural area in my county, all the trees are secondary growth, all the waterways are trashed and ditched. Nature doesn't care, I care, but nature doesn't.

I have seen otters, sandhill cranes, multiple duck species and all sorts of thing. The one thing you can't find is the insects that used to exist in the semi seasonal streams and ponds.


I care, nature doesn't.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th December 2012, 07:26 AM   #82
Jorghnassen
Illuminator
 
Jorghnassen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The realm of ideas
Posts: 3,935
Oh great, another philosophy vs science thread. Now with environmental morals and ethics.

The best post on the original question was probably the first paragraph in #35 by Dinwar.
The most platonic answer was StankApe's in #19. While I don't believe in some abstract, perfect process of science that imperfect people try to achieve, there are a number of valid criticisms of the scientific process as it is practiced in the field, so to speak. The whole "publish or perish" thing under the business-like short-term high returns mentality is certainly not optimal in producing science, for example.
__________________
"Help control the local pet population: teach your dog abstinence." -Stephen Colbert
"My dad believed laughter is the best medicine. Which is why several of us died of tuberculosis."- Unknown source, heard from Grey Delisle on Rob Paulsen's podcast
Jorghnassen is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th December 2012, 11:58 AM   #83
joesixpack
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Edge of the continent, Pacific county, WA
Posts: 4,534
Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
And yet we study quantum mechanics and use it.
I wasn't suggesting otherwise. I'm not sure what you're saying here.

Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Actually science has a great deal to do with something else entirely. Technology, the dialectic not so much.

What dialectic was involved in Democritus pouring oil on water? None, but he did something physical, the theory of the four elements continued for quite a while and generated great debates as did the nature of god.

It was not a dialectic that changed Rutherford's atom, it was alpha particle scattering.

It is technology and physical events that drive science.

IMNSHO
Maybe "Dialectical" wasn't the best word to use. I was trying to convey a sense of knowledge building upon itself. We will be unable to understand how evolution works until we have some knowledge of a fossil record, for example, or the composition of distant stars without knowledge of nuclear physics. When I say "dialectic", I mean science's "conversation" with nature. Maybe a silly metaphor, but it's workin' for me, I hope it makes some sense.
__________________
Generally sober 'til noon.
joesixpack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th December 2012, 01:58 PM   #84
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,448
Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Psst Quarky, I believe that Diwar's actual phrase was rather careful to not personalize it to you.

I like you both, and I enjoy both your posts.

No where did that statement or sentiment you are responding to reference you in my interpretation. There was no accusation that you held that belief.

There was an apparently true statement that nature does not care. It would be sad if humans trash the world, nature does not care. It would be sad if a large meteor struck the earth again, nature does not care.

It will be sad a billion years from now when the sun is so hot that it fires all the water away. nature does not care.

Statements about the value of diversity and the value of semi natural recovered landscapes are great, Florida may actually have old growth areas. Nature doesn't care either way.

I line in a landscape dominated, seriously dominated by row agriculture of two species, the amount of standing wood lots and pasture in my county is so that it is probably less than .05%. All the streams have been ditched out of existence and most have been plowed under that were not ditched. there is usually a very small margin (ten to 50 feet for rivers) of the riverine system that used to dominate the landscape.

There is basically no standing natural area in my county, all the trees are secondary growth, all the waterways are trashed and ditched. Nature doesn't care, I care, but nature doesn't.

I have seen otters, sandhill cranes, multiple duck species and all sorts of thing. The one thing you can't find is the insects that used to exist in the semi seasonal streams and ponds.


I care, nature doesn't.
Sure, I get all that.
Not to start another argument, but I was also careful to not personalize my assessment> I sure didn't accuse Dinwar of driving his boat over manatees.
I just think it's sad, and stupid, to trash various eco-systems for such un-worthy reasons.
Generally, corporate greed.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th December 2012, 02:08 AM   #85
Mashuna
Ovis ex Machina
 
Mashuna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Welsh Wales
Posts: 6,604
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Sure, I get all that.
Not to start another argument, but I was also careful to not personalize my assessment> I sure didn't accuse Dinwar of driving his boat over manatees.
I think the perceived personalization was just because you used the same term (heartless) in a couple of separate posts.

Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Oops. Dinwar replied before I sent the above.

At any rate, for now, I'll just disagree with Dinwar, because I have to go somewhere.
I find his attitude provocatively heartless. And disingenuous.
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
What seems stupid and heartless, to me, is simply running them [manatees] over with motorboats; Because we can; because we rule; because 'to hell with that'; we're the crown of creation; if rednecks need to water-ski in manatee habitat, tough ****, manatees. Should have learned to swim faster.
Mashuna is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th December 2012, 09:45 PM   #86
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Sure, I get all that.
Not to start another argument, but I was also careful to not personalize my assessment> I sure didn't accuse Dinwar of driving his boat over manatees.
I just think it's sad, and stupid, to trash various eco-systems for such un-worthy reasons.
Generally, corporate greed.
There are two options, quarky.

First, you're coming as close to saying "You advocate destroying ecosystems for corporate greed" as you can without actually saying it--in which case you ARE personalizing the argument (ie, calling me greedy, heartless, etc).

Second, the statements aren't about anything anyone's said here (I'm the closest anyone's come to advocating destroying ecosystems and I was very, very clear that that WAS NOT what I was saying), in which case your statements are irrelevant because no one's saying these things you're arguing against.

You want to talk about corporate greed? I work for an environmental firm. We do remediation, pre-construction work to minimize impacts, etc. I do environmental work for a living. Oddly enough, that puts me in a rather unique position: I understand the actual implementation of environmental remediation methods. Know how environmental remediation workers look at natural attenuation? "We're going to get paid for doing nothing for ten years!" (We're required to monitor MNA systems for a decade.) And you don't want to know how much waste is produced by remediation....The EPA (Region 9, which are the national standards) requires that groundwater sampling be done on plastic, for example--NEW plastic, for each well. Then there's the trucks we drive, the gloves, the sample bottles (I have a pair of pants that were partially dissolved by HCl preservative), and the rest. Ever wonder what it takes to put a modest wind farm up? How about a hydroelectric plant? You want to see modern environmentalism in action, check out the Ivanpah solar power plant--you can find all kinds of news articles about it if you google it. There's a lot of money to be made in the environmental protection racket, and a lot of it doesn't impact the environment one iota.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th December 2012, 09:50 PM   #87
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
Yes, this.

I think the only question/critique I would put to science (as if it could answer) would be this; Is the universe ultimately understandable?

In other words, we (as a species) pursue scientific inquiry with the assumption that the answer will be understandable. Human rationality is bounded. I believe that there is a limit to human understanding. At some point will we ask questions who's answers will be completely unintelligible to human beings?
I don't know how I missed this, but I did.

I expect the answer is something like this: Everything is understandable, just perhaps not to humans at our present mental evolutionary state. We will inevitably hit walls where we go "huh..... I have no idea what comes after this" but ,IF, we live another few million years and our information and maybe even mental capacity changes and evolves we just might be able to crack it all!

I think that's a pretty cool idea myself! (even if it doesn't turn out to be true, it's a nice goal)
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th December 2012, 06:07 AM   #88
crhkrebs
Critical Thinker
 
crhkrebs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Great White Northern Wasteland
Posts: 443
Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Burning fossil fuels, something humans have done for a long time. Not really science at work there.
Exactly. Quarky's problem is that he continues to conflate science and technology.

Pre-scientific societies failed due to limitations of their existing technology. Over farming, pollution, resource depletion, soil erosion, etc. You are in error in insisting that all these environmental problems can be laid at the feet of science.

As to your doubt that science and technology have NOT improved things, care to tell us what era in the past you would rather have lived in?
crhkrebs is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th December 2012, 09:50 AM   #89
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,448
Science and technology are fairly conflatable.
I'm in favor of both.

I don't want to get dragged down into semantics.

Were early nuke bomb tests a science experiment?
Or a technology experiment?
Might they have been carried out with a bit more care?

Can we learn from past blunders?
I think so.

Science is corruptible.
The method is not.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th December 2012, 09:50 AM   #90
Cuddles
Decoy
Moderator
 
Cuddles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: A magical land full of pink fluffy sheeps and bunnies
Posts: 18,390
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
If you limit your definition of "science" to "physics" I'll agree with you. If you include biology and geology, however, this is easily demonstrated to be untrue.
No it isn't. For example, I'd place 600 million years ago firmly in the "too far" column (and for very similar reasons as, say quasars - just getting in a spaceship wouldn't work, we'd have to travel backwards in time to visit one). And most stuff involving cells and DNA was firmly in the "too small" area until recently. I never claimed that we understand everything, but so far all you've done is give example of exactly the sort of thing I said was mostly what's left. Although I should have added "too fast" to the list as well, since that's a big focus in physics, chemistry and biology at the moment, often all three at the same time.

Quote:
There's a lot to be learned from even deceptively simply tasks, things that anyone with an interest in science can easily do--once you get past thinking that all of science is physics.
I never said any such thing. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only quote of mine in someone's signature on this forum says "Everything is physics, that does not mean physics is everything". Considering how annoyed you seem to be with quarky that he put words in your mouth, it would be nice if you didn't do exactly the same to me.

Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
We are only able to formulate questions in ways that preclude meaningless (to us, at least) answers.
I had a longer reply typed out, but ultimately I think it all boils down to this point. We are only able to ask questions that give us meaningful answers. Therefore either there will come a point when we can no longer think of a question to ask, or there won't. I can't think of any way to prove either option. The only evidence we have is that so far we certainly haven't reached such a point, and every time someone has predicted that we're soon going to they've turned out to be hilariously wrong. So while I lean toward the latter, it's very much an issue of philosophical speculation and not really a criticism of science as a whole.
__________________
If I let myself get hung up on only doing things that had any actual chance of success, I'd never do anything!
Cuddles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th December 2012, 10:08 AM   #91
joesixpack
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Edge of the continent, Pacific county, WA
Posts: 4,534
Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
... it's very much an issue of philosophical speculation and not really a criticism of science as a whole.
Which is what I had said. I think we agree on that much.
__________________
Generally sober 'til noon.
joesixpack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2012, 05:36 AM   #92
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,947
Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
I wasn't suggesting otherwise. I'm not sure what you're saying here.



Maybe "Dialectical" wasn't the best word to use. I was trying to convey a sense of knowledge building upon itself. We will be unable to understand how evolution works until we have some knowledge of a fossil record, for example, or the composition of distant stars without knowledge of nuclear physics. When I say "dialectic", I mean science's "conversation" with nature. Maybe a silly metaphor, but it's workin' for me, I hope it makes some sense.
Fair enough, I was just pointing out that the QM world will probably be in the 'unknowable' for quite a while.

I get the conversation, sorry it was the connotations of 'dialectic'.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2012, 05:44 AM   #93
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,947
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Sure, I get all that.
Not to start another argument, but I was also careful to not personalize my assessment> I sure didn't accuse Dinwar of driving his boat over manatees.
I just think it's sad, and stupid, to trash various eco-systems for such un-worthy reasons.
Generally, corporate greed.
Well the irony is that the USA ecosystem is trashed already, and that many people care about other ecosystems, without thinking about their own.

There is no old growth timber for hundreds of miles from me. The only saving grace is that people have stopped spraying herbicides on the roadways, so with luck the biome will diversify again. But the water ways are trashed, it would take a deliberate reconstruction.

Around here there is a big 'farms not houses' piece of fippery when ever someones sets up a new housing division. A butterfly has to pack a lunch either way.

So the irony is that people who care about the south american rainforest don't consider where the song birds live here. They plant 'native' species that were never here and don't consider how to make their own yards a little friendlier. Me I plant all sorts of things, I just don't use herbicides except for glyphosate and insecticides in very small doses.

I plant clover in may yard and have all sorts of weedy pests that butterflies like.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2012, 05:46 AM   #94
Dancing David
Penultimate Amazing
 
Dancing David's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 35,947
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Science and technology are fairly conflatable.
I'm in favor of both.

I don't want to get dragged down into semantics.

Were early nuke bomb tests a science experiment?
Or a technology experiment?
Might they have been carried out with a bit more care?

Can we learn from past blunders?
I think so.

Science is corruptible.
The method is not.
well do you know the big break throughs in the A-bomb were multifaceted? The biggest break throughs were actually in the refining chemistry.

More care, sure. But these are the same generation that burned coal and dumped waste in the oceans.
__________________
I suspect you are a sandwich, metaphorically speaking. -Donn
And a shot rang out. Now Space is doing time... -Ben Burch
You built the toilet - don't complain when people crap in it. _Kid Eager
Never underestimate the power of the Random Number God. More of evolutionary history is His doing than people think. - Dinwar
Dancing David is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2012, 10:08 AM   #95
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
Originally Posted by Cuddles
Considering how annoyed you seem to be with quarky that he put words in your mouth, it would be nice if you didn't do exactly the same to me.
Fair enough. I just can't see how someone with a background in biology, geology, archaeology, or other fields can argue that there's not still a lot of stuff to discover on the easy end of the scale in terms of equipment necessary.

Again, if you want to make a serious scientific contribution all you need is a 1:24,000 topographic map (freely available online), a compass, and some colored pencils. This is hardly high-tech stuff, and is available to anyone reading these posts; yet it would constitute a serious, legitimate contribution to science. Dibblee is famous for doing exactly that. And when it comes to biology, we simply don't know the rules governing ecology, so any effort in that direction is valuable. Doesn't require a huge budget or complex lab, either (in fact, a lab is the exact opposite of what you need).

Quote:
For example, I'd place 600 million years ago firmly in the "too far" column
This is a straw man argument. I never said that major contributions to geology require hundreds of millions of years. You want another example of what I'm talking about? Okay: find a dead animal. record how it decays. That requires a dead animal (not hard to find for anyone who goes outside a lot), a camera, and a bit of dedication. One of the more interesting papers I've read was exactly that--two scientists found a dead camel on their way to a field site and recorded how it degraded (they went to the field site several times over a 20-year period). Taphonomy as a whole is extremely new as far as sciences go, and we're still in the stage of trying to find out what the data ARE, much less interpreting it. Doesn't take 600 million years--again, all it takes is a camera and going outside.

Then there's Galaxy Zoo. You can quibble about the cost of GETTING the pictures, but INTERPRETING the pictures is free. And we've learned a great deal simply by allowing people to cull out the normal stuff (normal to astronomers). The entire concept of citizen science (or croudsourcing, or whatever fancy name it has this week) disproves your statement.

Originally Posted by quarky
Can we learn from past blunders?
I think so.
You've already accepted one of the two premises that my ideas--which you've rejected so voiciferously--stems from. Here's the other: Human beings are part of the ecosystem. Accept those two, and my conclusion (that we should learn the rules of ecology and attempt to construct an ecosystem where human activities are beneficial) naturally follows.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2012, 05:12 PM   #96
Chunol
Thinker
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by mike3 View Post
Hi.

I saw this:

Is this a valid critique of science?

Hi, Mike3

Either Mr. Watts critique is valid or it is not.
If it is not valid, has anyone satisfactorily proven it’s invalidity to you?

If it is valid, and you don’t know why, then it is entirely possible that you and Mr. Watts both have a different understanding of what science is.

It is also possible that even the posters on this site have a varied understanding of what Science is and what it is not.

I think that to investigate your questions on these critiques of science, we should start by finding out what you think Science is and what it does.

What do you think?

Chunol
Chunol is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th December 2012, 11:12 PM   #97
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,448
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Fair enough. I just can't see how someone with a background in biology, geology, archaeology, or other fields can argue that there's not still a lot of stuff to discover on the easy end of the scale in terms of equipment necessary.

Again, if you want to make a serious scientific contribution all you need is a 1:24,000 topographic map (freely available online), a compass, and some colored pencils. This is hardly high-tech stuff, and is available to anyone reading these posts; yet it would constitute a serious, legitimate contribution to science. Dibblee is famous for doing exactly that. And when it comes to biology, we simply don't know the rules governing ecology, so any effort in that direction is valuable. Doesn't require a huge budget or complex lab, either (in fact, a lab is the exact opposite of what you need).

This is a straw man argument. I never said that major contributions to geology require hundreds of millions of years. You want another example of what I'm talking about? Okay: find a dead animal. record how it decays. That requires a dead animal (not hard to find for anyone who goes outside a lot), a camera, and a bit of dedication. One of the more interesting papers I've read was exactly that--two scientists found a dead camel on their way to a field site and recorded how it degraded (they went to the field site several times over a 20-year period). Taphonomy as a whole is extremely new as far as sciences go, and we're still in the stage of trying to find out what the data ARE, much less interpreting it. Doesn't take 600 million years--again, all it takes is a camera and going outside.

Then there's Galaxy Zoo. You can quibble about the cost of GETTING the pictures, but INTERPRETING the pictures is free. And we've learned a great deal simply by allowing people to cull out the normal stuff (normal to astronomers). The entire concept of citizen science (or croudsourcing, or whatever fancy name it has this week) disproves your statement.

You've already accepted one of the two premises that my ideas--which you've rejected so voiciferously--stems from. Here's the other: Human beings are part of the ecosystem. Accept those two, and my conclusion (that we should learn the rules of ecology and attempt to construct an ecosystem where human activities are beneficial) naturally follows.


I can't spell vociferously. Therefore, I know I haven't rejected anything in that regard.
I like to keep an open mind. Being an airhead is one thing.
Being a helium head is another.

As usual, I'm grateful for the 'e' in jref.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2012, 08:43 AM   #98
Chunol
Thinker
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Here's the other: Human beings are part of the ecosystem. Accept those two, and my conclusion (that we should learn the rules of ecology and attempt to construct an ecosystem where human activities are beneficial) naturally follows.
Hi Dinwar,

Hmmmm.....
Would you care to expand upon your concept of "ecosystem"?

How did we get in the position of NOT accepting the fact that "humans are part of the ecosystem" in the first place?

Chunol
Chunol is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2012, 09:15 AM   #99
joesixpack
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Edge of the continent, Pacific county, WA
Posts: 4,534
Originally Posted by Chunol View Post
Hi Dinwar,

Hmmmm.....
Would you care to expand upon your concept of "ecosystem"?

How did we get in the position of NOT accepting the fact that "humans are part of the ecosystem" in the first place?

Chunol
I may be off base here, but the general ideological leaning of those who take a position against "science" (and by "science" they tend to mean "technology that is somehow harmful [nuclear bombs] or that we are suspicious of [pesticides]") is that humans have somehow separated themselves from the "environment" of from the "natural order" when they began to develop scientific thought. I may be oversimplifying that, but that is the general thrust of anti-science arguments.
__________________
Generally sober 'til noon.
joesixpack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2012, 10:50 AM   #100
Cuddles
Decoy
Moderator
 
Cuddles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: A magical land full of pink fluffy sheeps and bunnies
Posts: 18,390
Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
Which is what I had said. I think we agree on that much.
I disagree!

Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
too big, or too far away
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Then there's Galaxy Zoo.

Do let me know if you decide to stop trolling and actually want to have a sensible discussion.
__________________
If I let myself get hung up on only doing things that had any actual chance of success, I'd never do anything!
Cuddles is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th December 2012, 02:02 PM   #101
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post

Do let me know if you decide to stop trolling and actually want to have a sensible discussion.
Did you bother to read the rest of my post, or did you find something you disagreed with and decide "Well, I must disagree with the whole thing"?

I'm TRYING to have a sensible discussion. The fact that you dismiss everything you disagree with without comment--in fact, without even trying to address it in a substantive way--is preventing this. Of the two of us I'm the only one who's offered examples of what I'm talking about.

Do let me know if you decide to stop trolling and actually provide some substance to your arguments.



Originally Posted by Chunol
Would you care to expand upon your concept of "ecosystem"?
The biotic and abiotic factors interacting within a given area. I'm using it to encompass the biosphere (the concept implies that the system is closed to some degree, which simply isn't true for things generally referred to as ecosystems).

Quote:
How did we get in the position of NOT accepting the fact that "humans are part of the ecosystem" in the first place?
Historically? I think it had something to do with viewing humans as above nature--the Chain of Being and all that. Christianity, at least, directly stated that humans are above nature. Some Religious Right types still make those arguments. On the other side of the coin, many environmentalists view humans as beneath nature, and when you pin them down (a hard task for this cult [not that all environmental activists are a cult, but this particular group certainly is!]) they all believe that humans have no place in the world. Everything we do is bad merely because a human does it--and everything anything else does is good, up to and including mass slaughter of humans, because it's Nature! (This is no exaggeration--some environmentalists believe that even highly infectious diseases that only impact humans should be kept around, because those are natural and humans are artificial.)

The simple and self-evident reality is that both groups are wrong. Humans are a part of the world, and we impact the biosphere--therefore, we're part of the ecosystem. It's nonsensical to NOT learn how our actions impact the world, or to refuse to act on that knowledge, once that self-evident fact is accepted.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 09:02 AM   #102
Chunol
Thinker
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by joesixpack View Post
I may be off base here, but the general ideological leaning of those who take a position against "science" (and by "science" they tend to mean "technology that is somehow harmful [nuclear bombs] or that we are suspicious of [pesticides]") is that humans have somehow separated themselves from the "environment" of from the "natural order" when they began to develop scientific thought. I may be oversimplifying that, but that is the general thrust of anti-science arguments.
Thanks for your input Joesixpack,

This seems pretty close to me.
So we have….
1. Humans somehow “separated” themselves from the “environment” (nature?)
2. This was a direct result of the development of “scientific thought”.


A. Humans, I guess we have to limit these to only humans who use “scientific thought”.
B. Humans can’t really separate themselves from nature, but they can take the attitude that they are separate from nature, they can “think” they are separate from nature.
C. “Scientific thought”, is there any other kind?


What do you think?
Can we attempt a sober look into this and see where the chips fall?

Thanks
Chunol
Chunol is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 09:31 AM   #103
Weak Kitten
Graduate Poster
 
Weak Kitten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Lost and lonely...will you be my friend?
Posts: 1,910
I would like to point out that it is only through science that we humans even came to understand the existence of an ecosystem at all. And that it is only through science that we have started coming up with ways to preserve and repair that ecosystem.

With little to no scientific knowledge the Easter Islanders destroyed their entire environment. Less knowledge is not the answer, more knowledge is the only way to move past the ignorance of the past and work towards a better future.
__________________
A quick reminder to all participants that although incomprehensibility is not against the Membership Agreement, incivility is. Please try and remember this, and keep your exchanges polite and respectful. -arthwollipot
Weak Kitten is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 09:34 AM   #104
Chunol
Thinker
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 170
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
The biotic and abiotic factors interacting within a given area. I'm using it to encompass the biosphere (the concept implies that the system is closed to some degree, which simply isn't true for things generally referred to as ecosystems).

Historically? I think it had something to do with viewing humans as above nature--the Chain of Being and all that. Christianity, On the other side of the coin, many environmentalists view humans as beneath nature, , but this particular group certainly is!])

Humans are a part of the world, and we impact the biosphere--therefore, we're part of the ecosystem. It's nonsensical to NOT learn how our actions impact the world, or to refuse to act on that knowledge, once that self-evident fact is accepted.

12-21-12
It sounds like you are saying….

If we accept your premises…

Human beings are part of the ecosystem.
we should learn the rules of ecology,
and attempt to construct an ecosystem where human activities are beneficial.

Where an ecosystem is…
“The biotic and abiotic factors interacting within a given area.”
But for ease of investigation (learning the rules of ecology) it is “implied that an ecosystem is closed, to some degree”.
But this characteristic of “closed” is just not true, because each individual ecosystem is merely a human agreed upon segment of the overall “biosphere”, and not only do the “biotic and abiotic” factors interact with and amongst other “factors” in their individual “ecosystems” they also interact with all other “biotic and abiotic” factors in all other ecosystems, or to be more blunt everything and event interacts with every other thing and event in the “biosphere” (nature?).


So I am not quite sure what your plan is.
Is it, since human activities seem somehow not beneficial (at this point in time to their respective “ecosystems”) that you want to understand how an ecosystem works so we can build our own (bio-dome), where whatever we do (human activities) would be beneficial to our man made ecosystem?

Or is it, since human activities seem to not have a beneficial effect on their present ecosystem, you want to alter the “biosphere” (nature) in such a way so that whatever we do will be beneficial to it?

The idea being that if we keep fiddling with nature we will eventually end up in complete control of it and have it do our bidding?

And to say that Christians and a fringe group of ecologists are responsible for this predicament we find ourselves in, doesn’t seem reasonable.
I don’t think this is the smoking gun we are looking for.

What do you think?

chunol
Chunol is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 10:07 AM   #105
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
The plan is rather vague, because Step 1 is "Learn Ecology". Until we do that, we can't make any more serious plans. You've got to learn the rules of the game before you can plan a strategy for winning it. We can't not play it, though.

Quote:
or to be more blunt everything and event interacts with every other thing and event in the “biosphere” (nature?).
Pretty much, yeah. Some of the interactions are extremely weak, and some only interact indirectly. This is an extremely complex topic.

Quote:
Is it, since human activities seem somehow not beneficial
This is a package-deal. Some human activities are good for the biosphere, some are bad. We've got to determine which are which.

Quote:
The idea being that if we keep fiddling with nature we will eventually end up in complete control of it and have it do our bidding?
Not at all. We don't NEED to control the biosphere. We just need to make it so that those activities which are currently causing negative impacts are either mitigated by the biosphere, or no longer happen.

Quote:
And to say that Christians and a fringe group of ecologists are responsible for this predicament we find ourselves in, doesn’t seem reasonable.
Well, considering I never said that they were responsible for the current biological conditions. I said that they both have argued that humans are outside of the biosphere.

As for who's responsible, good luck finding the guilty party or smoking gun. The trail starts at the end of the Pleistocene, when we lost the Pleistocene megafauna. The research is interesting, but not particularly useful.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 10:29 AM   #106
Kwalish Kid
Muse
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 511
Hmmm... my post about Lynn White Jr.'s essay "The Histroical Roots of Our Current Ecological Crisis" went missing. White does convincingly lay much of the blame of the dominating view of science and technology on Christianity (as practiced).


Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
This is a package-deal. Some human activities are good for the biosphere, some are bad. We've got to determine which are which.

Not at all. We don't NEED to control the biosphere. We just need to make it so that those activities which are currently causing negative impacts are either mitigated by the biosphere, or no longer happen.
One question is the basis for these value judgments. Do we judge good and bad on the needs of individual organisms, species, ecosystems in some way, or on human needs and desires? These positions are not compatible in general.
Kwalish Kid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 11:00 AM   #107
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
Originally Posted by Kwalish Kid
One question is the basis for these value judgments.
I think we can all agree that turning a once-fertile area into an ecological wasteland is a bad thing. Though I agree that these are value judgements, and therefore the end result of an ecosystem that's stable and includes humans may not be what many people think of as a normal ecosystem.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 11:15 AM   #108
Kwalish Kid
Muse
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 511
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
I think we can all agree that turning a once-fertile area into an ecological wasteland is a bad thing. Though I agree that these are value judgements, and therefore the end result of an ecosystem that's stable and includes humans may not be what many people think of as a normal ecosystem.
Most questions of human influence on ecology are not so straightforward.

For example: is a city block an ecological wasteland? In one sense, no, since humans live there and there are a lot of flora and fauna associated with city blocks. On the other hand, expanding a city may require the complete destruction of an existing ecosystem/habitat. What makes this trade-off justifiable?

Similar examples are found in agriculture.
Kwalish Kid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 11:52 AM   #109
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
Originally Posted by Kwalish Kid
Most questions of human influence on ecology are not so straightforward.
Agreed.

If you'd like to read an in-depth discussion of the topic, Peter Ward's book "Future Evolution" is a great book. He approaches the topic from the perspective of a paleontologist who's studied mass extinctions (he's legit--I leaned who he was by citing a few of his papers, then realized he had some popular press books out). The short version is that humans are creating new biomes, which is neither good nor bad but rather a change. Life will adapt to those new biomes, as it has to all others. I don't agree with everything Ward says, but it's a really good place to start looking into this question from a rigorous, scientific perspective.

And to be clear, I'm not just saying that we should change the ecosystem. Some of our own practices will have to change as well. I'm not convinced that monocultures are a great idea, for example, and really wish our resident "Modern farming is TEH EBIL!" crowd would work on practical ways to farm large fields containing multiple crops. That alone would be enormously beneficial.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 03:59 PM   #110
Kwalish Kid
Muse
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 511
Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
And to be clear, I'm not just saying that we should change the ecosystem. Some of our own practices will have to change as well. I'm not convinced that monocultures are a great idea, for example, and really wish our resident "Modern farming is TEH EBIL!" crowd would work on practical ways to farm large fields containing multiple crops. That alone would be enormously beneficial.
Don't these ways already exist? I believe that Vandana Shiva already works with groups pursuing alternative forms of agriculture.
Kwalish Kid is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st December 2012, 04:39 PM   #111
Dinwar
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13,397
Originally Posted by Kwalish Kid View Post
Don't these ways already exist? I believe that Vandana Shiva already works with groups pursuing alternative forms of agriculture.
I've heard rumors of test plots, but nothing concrete. And it's just an example to illustrate what I'm talking about. Odds are that human civilization in 1,000 years will be as different as the environment compared to what exists today.
__________________
GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment.

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Dinwar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:08 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.