Objectivity in science
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09-04-2013, 10:09 AM
RE: Objectivity in science
(09-04-2013 09:36 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(09-04-2013 08:09 AM)nach_in Wrote:  So, I'm doing this seminar on ethics, politics and gender, and the other day the debate drifted to the objectivity in science and, more specifically, the objectivity in the product of scientific inquiry.
Bare in mind that everyone in this seminar come from a social sciences background.
They started from an example from a book that explained how sexism and gender bias can affect the interpretation of data, it talked about how the idea of the sperm penetrating the egg (male superiority) lead to biologist be confused for some time on how the sperm achieved that (now we know is actually the egg who "choose" the sperm, to say it simple).
So far so good.

The problem started when I said that in some sciences, specially the more hard sciences like physics and such, are more impervious to this kind of bias because the object itself and the data it produces doesn't allow for that kind of wrong interpretation. And all hell broke loose and shit started to fall on me Tongue

I acknowledge that physicists and mathematicians are biased in a myriad of aspects, and that those biases can affect the course of investigations, but I insist that even after that initial skew, the knowledge produced is objectively true and is not stained by prejudice. At least in those hard sciences, there are some disciplines that are actually prone to prejudice (every social dicsipline) and some are not so immune (medicine for instance) but there're some that are, if not absolutely, mostly objective.

Am I so wrong? opinions? Consider

I don't think anyone in tune with reality would argue that scientists are exempt from bias, whether it has to do with the objectivity of a finding they discovered, or the accepted laws observed to be true. The fascinating thing about science is the process of which the product is then reviewed, multiple scientists from several different sciences, a variety of backgrounds, and from numerous countries all retest the conclusions any science ultimately concludes. It may not ensure objectivity, but it definitely ensures a firmer grasp on the reality. There is no such thing as objectivity regardless, as nothing is possibly 100% correct.

Indeed, but when something is observed to be true, then it can be said it is an objective truth in the conditions it was tested.
As hard as I try, I can't find any gender bias in the standard model of particles Blink

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09-04-2013, 10:16 AM
RE: Objectivity in science
(09-04-2013 09:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(09-04-2013 08:55 AM)I and I Wrote:  science and even science that is based in mathematics isn't unbiased.

Remember, during the 90's new mathematical computing software was made to compute and figure all of the economic data and predict economic models, these predictions turned out to be totally wrong and didn't figure in any economic recession.

Science, mainly quantum mechanics and other sciences that are mainly based in mathematical formulas apparently forgot the whole economic meltdown thing.

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It is amusing that you think economics is a science.

nobody said it was, I was using that example to show that mathematical formulas alone can't predict human behavior very well, especially on a social scale.

Do you think other living organisms or gases in space are any more predictable than human societies?
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09-04-2013, 10:26 AM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2013 10:31 AM by Heathen.)
RE: Objectivity in science
The example on the previous page actually proves the opposite of what is intended. Science often gets things wrong and scientists freely admit this. The point is, that science continues to attempt to disprove theories and in this case it did exactly that. It is a process that continues infinitely. At any point in time science will have "the best available answer" but it does not stop there. Science also accepts new information, discoveries and theories if they can be proven to be a better explanation than the previous one and science will readily discard things that are proven to be incorrect. Science actively looks for and encourages this process. That's kinda the whole point.

"Which is more likely: that the whole natural order is suspended, or that a jewish minx should tell a lie?"- David Hume
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09-04-2013, 10:37 AM
RE: Objectivity in science
(09-04-2013 10:26 AM)Heathen Wrote:  The example on the previous page actually proves the opposite of what is intended. Science often gets things wrong and scientists freely admit this. The point is, that science continues to attempt to disprove theories and in this case it did exactly that. It is a process that continues infinitely. At any point in time science will have "the best available answer" but it does not stop there. Science also accepts new information, discoveries and theories if they can be proven to be a better explanation than the previous one and science will readily discard things that are proven to be incorrect. Science actively looks for and encourages this process. That's kinda the whole point.

science doesn't have any answer, science is a method (the best method) of human interaction and knowledge of the world around them. Science is a tool for human understanding and this tool, like any form of understanding is biased. Science is not some absolute truth that exists somewhere that humans are "getting closer to".

The logical and best way to deal with this bias is to affirm this bias and actually use science for the good of humanity instead of botox and boner pills. Drinking Beverage
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09-04-2013, 01:37 PM
RE: Objectivity in science
(09-04-2013 10:37 AM)I and I Wrote:  science doesn't have any answer, science is a method (the best method) of human interaction and knowledge of the world around them. Science is a tool for human understanding and this tool, like any form of understanding is biased. Science is not some absolute truth that exists somewhere that humans are "getting closer to".

I tend to agree with you. But science does seek answers and has the ability to adapt. Yes, individual scientists/researchers do have biases but the scientific method does eventually root them out. I'm not sure what you are getting at here. Are you advocating a better method? Science is the best we have come up with. It admittedly has it's faults. If a better method were to be proven as a better way of seeking truth, science would be the first to accept it.

(09-04-2013 10:37 AM)I and I Wrote:  The logical and best way to deal with this bias is to affirm this bias and actually use science for the good of humanity instead of botox and boner pills. Drinking Beverage

Science can be used to make money too. I don't find this surprising at all. Perhaps you are arguing against capitalism? It's certainly not an argument against science.

"Which is more likely: that the whole natural order is suspended, or that a jewish minx should tell a lie?"- David Hume
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10-04-2013, 06:50 AM
Objectivity in science
(09-04-2013 01:37 PM)Heathen Wrote:  
(09-04-2013 10:37 AM)I and I Wrote:  science doesn't have any answer, science is a method (the best method) of human interaction and knowledge of the world around them. Science is a tool for human understanding and this tool, like any form of understanding is biased. Science is not some absolute truth that exists somewhere that humans are "getting closer to".

I tend to agree with you. But science does seek answers and has the ability to adapt. Yes, individual scientists/researchers do have biases but the scientific method does eventually root them out. I'm not sure what you are getting at here. Are you advocating a better method? Science is the best we have come up with. It admittedly has it's faults. If a better method were to be proven as a better way of seeking truth, science would be the first to accept it.

(09-04-2013 10:37 AM)I and I Wrote:  The logical and best way to deal with this bias is to affirm this bias and actually use science for the good of humanity instead of botox and boner pills. :coffee:

Science can be used to make money too. I don't find this surprising at all. Perhaps you are arguing against capitalism? It's certainly not an argument against science.

A better method would be to have the sciences coordinating in conjunction with the the good of the people in a society, this would mean a government ran and directed science division. When I say government I am not referring to a capitalist government.

The better scientific method would be to not attempt to escape bias (that is not possible) but to affirm this bias and take it upon ones self to make science the life changing and betterment of the people and all living things.

Under capitalism, the false notion of unbiased science ironically leads to a disfunctional non coordinated field that perpetuates capitalism. Is it necessary for sciences to spend money and resources on flavor enhancing chemicals for food, or more dangerous pesticides, or boner pills?
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10-04-2013, 08:01 AM (This post was last modified: 10-04-2013 09:32 AM by TheGulegon.)
RE: Objectivity in science
1.a. With his experiences in college unconsciuosly poking his thinking, a male scientist watches a bunch of sperm attempt to enter an egg until one finally makes it through, and thinks, "ahh. that one's the lucky one! He'll beat his chest like a mammal that just hit a 3-point shot in a display to his friends any minute now"
b. With her experiences in high school unconsciously dripping into her logic, a female scientist sees the same thing and says, "ahh. that one's the special one to have been chosen by the egg as the one to allow in"
Tongue
I only pretend to be a scientist from time to time, and I've never claimed to be a psychologist, but you can see where there is room for bias in something like Biology, as where in mathmatics:

2. 3 apples are placed on a table. A chinese man from Peking, a hispanic woman from Texas, and a particularly well trained chimp, ALL come up with 3/1 apples to tables. (christians cant count higher than monotheisticBig Grin)

So yeah, nach_in, some sciences have more potential objectivity than others!

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10-04-2013, 09:48 AM
RE: Objectivity in science
(09-04-2013 10:09 AM)nach_in Wrote:  As hard as I try, I can't find any gender bias in the standard model of particles Blink

But you must admit that any objectivity possess the potential to be rendered subjective. As human beings, we have to recognize that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but rather evidence that we have simply not seen it yet. That is, for instance, why I am an agnostic atheist.

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10-04-2013, 10:01 AM
RE: Objectivity in science
(10-04-2013 09:48 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(09-04-2013 10:09 AM)nach_in Wrote:  As hard as I try, I can't find any gender bias in the standard model of particles Blink

But you must admit that any objectivity possess the potential to be rendered subjective. As human beings, we have to recognize that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but rather evidence that we have simply not seen it yet. That is, for instance, why I am an agnostic atheist.

If I asked you to give me your most subjective answer possible to, "how many apples are on that table?", and there were 3 of them, how would your answer differ from my objective answer to the question, which would be 3? Moreover, how could your answer even be subjective in that instance? 3 is 3, not 4 or 5,....thats it; math is easy in that respect.

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10-04-2013, 12:53 PM
RE: Objectivity in science
(10-04-2013 10:01 AM)TheGulegon Wrote:  
(10-04-2013 09:48 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  But you must admit that any objectivity possess the potential to be rendered subjective. As human beings, we have to recognize that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but rather evidence that we have simply not seen it yet. That is, for instance, why I am an agnostic atheist.

If I asked you to give me your most subjective answer possible to, "how many apples are on that table?", and there were 3 of them, how would your answer differ from my objective answer to the question, which would be 3? Moreover, how could your answer even be subjective in that instance? 3 is 3, not 4 or 5,....thats it; math is easy in that respect.

thanks, I feel less crazy now Tongue

Maybe there is room for some kind of bias, but at least my idea seems to be right, there is a spectrum of objectivity-subjectivity in different sciences.

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