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(The New Republic)   Those nerdy scientists have become a bunch of bullies, according to people who believe in telepathy and hate getting criticized   (newrepublic.com) divider line 141
    More: Dumbass, Deepak Chopra, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Kellogg School of Management, Chapman University, telepathy, Jerry Coyne, scientific progress, telomerase  
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5088 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Nov 2013 at 4:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-19 08:49:57 PM  
PsiChick:
Harassing people doesn't solve that problem, it just invalidates you as a researcher.

It's important to remember that harassment is rarely the Weeners.  Deepak, as an example, has been pushing this sort of twatwaddle for years.  The opposition to him was quiet, and it made no difference.  The voice of opposition has just slowly grown louder and louder until one day people say 'hey, this is harassment'.  At some point the magic line was crossed and suddenly it's harassment?   And for that matter, what is being called harassment is simply blunt honesty.

Also, it doesn't invalidate the researcher any more than being harassed validates the harassed, or harassing invalidates the one being harassed.

Woo causes real harm, be it physical, emotional, financial, and that harm is not contained to only the one who embraces it.  Therefore, why be anything other than blunt and honest?  Sugarcoating has not brought positive results in dealing with snake oil peddlers for over 100 years of dealings.  Why should it work now?
 
2013-11-19 08:53:19 PM  

hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Harassing people doesn't solve that problem, it just invalidates you as a researcher.

You're focusing your harassment on the wrong side of things. The Age of Autism forum community,  for example, is infamous for death threats and attempts to ruin the personal and professional lives of people who are pro-vaccination and prominent. Reporter Tsine Tsounderos was attacked in print and online by "Chronic Lyme Disease" zealots after she wrote an expose series that exposed the slimy behavior and practices of the "doctors" and psuedoscience disciplines which preyed on them. These are people who will, for shiats and giggles, make dozens of alts and single-purpose facebook accounts simply to give the impression that numbers are on their side. NaturalNews.com is another site which is well known for doing this, publishing smear campaigns on people who criticism their statements and quackery.


And then there's a Nobel Prize winner kicked out of his lab for discovering quasicrystals. I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.
 
2013-11-19 08:58:34 PM  

PsiChick: Harassing people doesn't solve that problem, it just invalidates you as a researcher.


PsiChick is right, scientists and science advocates really should just ignore the woo-peddlers. If science has facts on its side, then there is no need to discredit the claims of the other side. Facts speak for themselves and we all know that everyone listens to the facts when they are presented. I mean, what's the harm in letting the woo-meisters spew nonsense, anyway, right?
 
2013-11-19 08:58:36 PM  

Discordulator: Woo causes real harm, be it physical, emotional, financial, and that harm is not contained to only the one who embraces it.  Therefore, why be anything other than blunt and honest?  Sugarcoating has not brought positive results in dealing with snake oil peddlers for over 100 years of dealings.  Why should it work now?


This.

I've explained to you before that people have strong feelings on this matter for a number of reasons. Some have watched their patients die prematurely because they chose "alternative medicine" over science-based treatment and therapy. Others, like myself, have had friends and loved ones die because of the same.

However, if you want to direct animosity and anger towards people for being blunt and often not very nice to woo-peddlers and their followers, that blame lies at the feet of those groups, and their rabid fandom. A fandom which would make the some of the most aggressive PETA followers seem tame. It's not that one day people on the support of science-based medicine and other disciplines suddenly decided to be an asshole to someone for no reason, it's the fact that they tried being nice, and were treated like absolute shiat, and countered with misinformation, a gish gallop of lies, and "Just asking questions" nonsense in return.

David Gorski, who posts under the name of Orac, is a cancer surgeon and researcher who drew the ire of Age of Autism for posting on his blog dissections of their claims about vaccines. For that, they began a concentrated and crowdsourced harassment of his employer. The charges they levied against him nearly ruined his career.
 
2013-11-19 09:00:52 PM  
Sorry, that last part was to PsiChick,not you Discordulator.
 
2013-11-19 09:02:56 PM  

PsiChick: I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.


Yet your ire is focused almost exclusively on one side and not the other, and oddly it is the side that tends to have evidence on its side that you criticize more. Why is that?
 
2013-11-19 09:20:37 PM  

PsiChick: skinink: Nerds tend to be bully with other nerds. Read any IT thread about a subject. Or just go to Slashdot and read any filtered comment rated below +1. You can see how they speak to one another.

Or I guess just read the random thread on Fark. Same thing.

Scientists are some of the most condescending, manipulative assholes I've ever met when it comes to a theory they don't like.


No, they just tend to have lower thresholds for unprovable bullshiat.
 
2013-11-19 09:33:08 PM  
I don't really care about the OPINIONS of the people in this article.

Want some established FACT on Psi Research?

Then learn something. You can start here  http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm
 
2013-11-19 09:34:49 PM  

mamoru: PsiChick: I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.

Yet your ire is focused almost exclusively on one side and not the other, and oddly it is the side that tends to have evidence on its side that you criticize more. Why is that?


STOP HARASSING!!!!

It's the same shtick as creationists. You honestly, bluntly correct them, and they call it "attacking."
 
2013-11-19 09:54:17 PM  

Proximuscentauri: I don't really care about the OPINIONS of the people in this article.

Want some established FACT on Psi Research?

Then learn something. You can start here  http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm


You mean a website that looks like it was designed in 1995 that links to an article admitting it is nothing more than the placebo effect?

 Many of those articles were explicitly published in a journal co-edited by the proprietor of that website. But really, what's more convincing than a non-peer reviewed journal run by an electrical engineer who infamouslyhas promoted several famous and well known hoaxes as proof the paranormal.

Your blog sucks.
 
2013-11-19 10:12:11 PM  
You only run into trouble with alternative medicine if you choose to follow it exclusively to the exclusion of scientifically proven methods. Any homeopathic doctor worth his herbs will tell you that. The issue isn't people who advocate prayer, it's the people who advocate ONLY prayer and the idiots who follow that religiously. There is something to aromatherapy and noise therapy and herbology because those things have you take a more active role in your recovery, allowing the mind to affect the body's natural healing abilities instead of just sitting there in a hospital bed getting stuck with needles except when you need them. Buddha's not gonna heal a failing kidney. Life is suffering, dipstick, so deal with the hospital and check back in once you're on an iv.

The majority of modern medicine is based on naturally occuring substances synthesized to be as affective as the pharmaceutical lobby will allow them to be. Basically figure that your only option is to rely on the flaws of human intelligence in some form or other and calm the fark down.

/That Coyne guy sounds like a genuine coont tho. Show me on the voodoo doll where the Hare Krishna touched you.
 
2013-11-19 10:21:20 PM  
"militant skeptics."

Saw that and was wondering were "strident" was.
 
2013-11-19 10:22:18 PM  

hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Professionalism is actually something I tend to expect from people with degrees.

The problem with your statement is that not all hypotheses and not all layperson theories are reasonable or should even be treated with respect or consideration. Depak Chopra falls into the later.

The man basically takes a Scientific Thesaurus and throws together pseudo-philosophical thought which he tries to make sound technobabbly.

Depak Chopra is the medical version of the Rockwell Automation Retroencabulator.


But does he always feel like somebody's watching him?
 
2013-11-19 10:34:20 PM  

ciberido: hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Professionalism is actually something I tend to expect from people with degrees.

The problem with your statement is that not all hypotheses and not all layperson theories are reasonable or should even be treated with respect or consideration. Depak Chopra falls into the later.

The man basically takes a Scientific Thesaurus and throws together pseudo-philosophical thought which he tries to make sound technobabbly.

Depak Chopra is the medical version of the Rockwell Automation Retroencabulator.

But does he always feel like somebody's watching him?


Oh woah oh
 
2013-11-19 11:12:08 PM  

hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Ever hear of this guy? I don't have my bookmarks, so it's a shiatty article, but this guy was basically harassed nonstop because of his theory. When they're doing that to their own, yes, there's something wrong.

Galileo Gambit.


I had to search that term, which lead me to the Wikipedia article on  HIV/AIDS denialism.  What the holy fark.  Is there ANY scientific fact or theory that doesn't have a group of nutcases calling themselves "skeptics" about?  Are there "gravity skeptics" out there?  People who "dissent" from Newton's Laws of Motions?  People who doubt freaking rainbows?

Oh.

Wait.  (NSFW)

media.tumblr.com
 
2013-11-19 11:17:52 PM  

pxlboy: skinink: Nerds tend to be bully with other nerds. Read any IT thread about a subject. Or just go to Slashdot and read any filtered comment rated below +1. You can see how they speak to one another.

Or I guess just read the random thread on Fark. Same thing.

Reading the threads on Slashdot, you'd think they were all the undisputed rock stars of their respective fields or specialties as well as fighting off job offers with a stick.

Your post is a reaffirmation of why I stopped reading SD; the inflated egos there are just too much to take.


I read the last line of your Weeners and thought you were talking about The Straight Dope before I went back and read your entire post from the beginning.  I leave it to others to comment on whether or not the folks at The Straight Dope match your description.

/I found that amusing, anyway.
 
2013-11-19 11:32:33 PM  

ciberido: hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Ever hear of this guy? I don't have my bookmarks, so it's a shiatty article, but this guy was basically harassed nonstop because of his theory. When they're doing that to their own, yes, there's something wrong.

Galileo Gambit.

I had to search that term, which lead me to the Wikipedia article on  HIV/AIDS denialism.  What the holy fark.  Is there ANY scientific fact or theory that doesn't have a group of nutcases calling themselves "skeptics" about?  Are there "gravity skeptics" out there?  People who "dissent" from Newton's Laws of Motions?  People who doubt freaking rainbows?

Oh.

Wait.  (NSFW)

[media.tumblr.com image 500x282]


You have some reading to do.
faculty.washington.edu
 
2013-11-19 11:39:39 PM  

ciberido: hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Ever hear of this guy? I don't have my bookmarks, so it's a shiatty article, but this guy was basically harassed nonstop because of his theory. When they're doing that to their own, yes, there's something wrong.

Galileo Gambit.

I had to search that term, which lead me to the Wikipedia article on  HIV/AIDS denialism.  What the holy fark.  Is there ANY scientific fact or theory that doesn't have a group of nutcases calling themselves "skeptics" about?  Are there "gravity skeptics" out there?  People who "dissent" from Newton's Laws of Motions?  People who doubt freaking rainbows?

Oh.

Wait.  (NSFW)

[media.tumblr.com image 500x282]


Dude, there's still the Flat Earth Society out there (cross-pollinating with Timecube); there are Hollow-Earthers and people who want to believe it's turtles all the way down.

People are stupid. Just accept it, and your blood pressure will drop like 20 points.
 
2013-11-19 11:40:53 PM  

Discordulator: PsiChick:
Harassing people doesn't solve that problem, it just invalidates you as a researcher.

It's important to remember that harassment is rarely the Weeners.  Deepak, as an example, has been pushing this sort of twatwaddle for years.  The opposition to him was quiet, and it made no difference.  The voice of opposition has just slowly grown louder and louder until one day people say 'hey, this is harassment'.  At some point the magic line was crossed and suddenly it's harassment?   And for that matter, what is being called harassment is simply blunt honesty.

Also, it doesn't invalidate the researcher any more than being harassed validates the harassed, or harassing invalidates the one being harassed.

Woo causes real harm, be it physical, emotional, financial, and that harm is not contained to only the one who embraces it.  Therefore, why be anything other than blunt and honest?  Sugarcoating has not brought positive results in dealing with snake oil peddlers for over 100 years of dealings.  Why should it work now?


mamoru: PsiChick: Harassing people doesn't solve that problem, it just invalidates you as a researcher.

PsiChick is right, scientists and science advocates really should just ignore the woo-peddlers. If science has facts on its side, then there is no need to discredit the claims of the other side. Facts speak for themselves and we all know that everyone listens to the facts when they are presented. I mean, what's the harm in letting the woo-meisters spew nonsense, anyway, right?


mamoru: PsiChick: I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.

Yet your ire is focused almost exclusively on one side and not the other, and oddly it is the side that tends to have evidence on its side that you criticize more. Why is that?


A) There is harm in people advocating unproven methods of treatment as alternatives to medicine. This is not that.

B) Discrediting? Fine. The harassment FTFA? Not so much.
 
2013-11-20 12:14:46 AM  

PsiChick: The harassment FTFA?


Please point out the harassment in the article. From my perspective, Professor Coyne's response is calm, reasoned, and full of factual statements and logical conclusions based on those facts.

What about that constitutes harassment?
 
2013-11-20 12:29:54 AM  

mamoru: PsiChick: The harassment FTFA?

Please point out the harassment in the article. From my perspective, Professor Coyne's response is calm, reasoned, and full of factual statements and logical conclusions based on those facts.

What about that constitutes harassment?


"he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there." That would be one example.
 
2013-11-20 12:34:22 AM  

PsiChick: B) Discrediting? Fine. The harassment FTFA? Not so much.


While you may have a point in some circumstances, this is not one of those circumstances. But this is par for the course when it comes to you: Whenever an article tangentially related to the science vs mysticism debate shows up on Fark, you just have to inject your typical concern-troll "I'm all for science but I hate when science does this" prattle. It's getting tiresome, my dear. Once again, there are occasions where you might actually be right. Malpractice and fraudulent studies are a very real part of science, unfortunately. So are really big egos with reputations to protect.

But this thread is about Deepak Chopra. I know you're smart enough not to defend his inane prattle, so you should be in agreement when his special brand of scientific-sounding mysticism is pointed out for bamboozling nonsense that it really is.

Right?
 
2013-11-20 12:41:13 AM  

PsiChick: "he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there." That would be one example.


That constitutes harassment? Hold on a second, I need to check some dictionaries...

Oxford tells me this: aggressive pressure or intimidation

Yeah, I'm still not following. Professor Coyne not pointing that out is neither aggressive, nor intimidating. One of the points that Professor Coyne is making is that it doesn't matter what a person's credentials are if the ideas they are promoting are not supported by evidence or reason. Science does not yield to any authority but evidence. And he correctly points out that when folks like Chopra and Sheldrake are called out on their nonsense ideas, they almost always refer to their credentials to support the ideas rather than any evidential support, as there is none.

Ignoring appeals to authority is not harassment. Pointing out BS when someone is attempting to spew it from a position of authority is not harassment. Calling things what they are is not harassment.

This very much seems like a case of "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means".
 
2013-11-20 12:44:40 AM  

mamoru: PsiChick: "he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there." That would be one example.

That constitutes harassment? Hold on a second, I need to check some dictionaries...

Oxford tells me this: aggressive pressure or intimidation

Yeah, I'm still not following. Professor Coyne not pointing that out is neither aggressive, nor intimidating. One of the points that Professor Coyne is making is that it doesn't matter what a person's credentials are if the ideas they are promoting are not supported by evidence or reason. Science does not yield to any authority but evidence. And he correctly points out that when folks like Chopra and Sheldrake are called out on their nonsense ideas, they almost always refer to their credentials to support the ideas rather than any evidential support, as there is none.

Ignoring appeals to authority is not harassment. Pointing out BS when someone is attempting to spew it from a position of authority is not harassment. Calling things what they are is not harassment.

This very much seems like a case of "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means".


Nowadays "Being mean to somebody by not letting him pretend to be what he wants to be" is harassment. See also Rand Paul's recent temper tantrum.
 
2013-11-20 12:55:19 AM  
PsiChick:
A) There is harm in people advocating unproven methods of treatment as alternatives to medicine. This is not that.

B) Discrediting? Fine. The harassment FTFA? Not so much.


A) There is harm in what Deepak Chopra states because people can, and will, use alternative medicine *instead of* rather than *in addition to* proven medicine.  Deepak states that AIDS can be treated with "Ayurveda's primordial sound".  So, this is that.  This is why people have problems with Deepak, and what he states as science without being science, and as truth without evidence.

When he says he is being attacked, yet continually attacks, he is being disingenuous.  When he responds to criticism of Oprah for favoring suzanne somers and jenny mccarthy by stating that science based medicine has many problems and that oprah is just asking questions...  he is edging towards the line, implying without stating that the alternatives are better.

And when people leave science based medicine we start seeing the return of whooping cough, measles, and the fatalities they bring.

The criticism of Deepak is precisely what you say it is not " There is harm in people advocating unproven methods of treatment as alternatives to medicine. This is not that. "No, this is that.  He is being criticized for this.

B) What harassment?  It looks more like he got called out and played victim.
 
2013-11-20 02:50:39 AM  
It's (Chopra) a lot like listening to "Coast to Coast AM" or the old "Art Bell Show". EVERY single guest (kook) has a book for sale. I always wonder if they really believe their own bullshiat.
 
2013-11-20 07:25:55 AM  

Gyrfalcon: Dude, there's still the Flat Earth Society out there (cross-pollinating with Timecube); there are Hollow-Earthers and people who want to believe it's turtles all the way down.

People are stupid. Just accept it, and your blood pressure will drop like 20 points.


I'm pretty sure the Flat Earth society is very elaborate satire, similar to the whatever-baptist church (Landover Baptist church? I can't remember which one it was.)

PsiChick: "he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there." That would be one example.


Even if he left that out,w hy would that matter? Biology is not quantum mechanics. I agree with the other poster, I'm not following how that's *harassment*. Someone holding a distinguished position at one point != Their theory has more creedence-I'm sure there's a lot of people that are/were high up in academia that think all sorts of things that are A) Wrong, B) Completely unrelated to their field, so why on earth should we mention it.

Does Deepak list all his detractor's qualification and 'high positions' they held when he argues with them? Do you expect him to?
 
2013-11-20 09:26:06 AM  

jigger: nekom: jigger: Photons do not have consciousness, nature does not have a mind, the moon is there whether humans see it or not, and intelligence is not inherent in nature, but a product of naturalistic evolution.

I, too, tend to agree with this, but technically he doesn't know these things so he shouldn't say them so definitively or absolutely. He should say, "There is absolutely no credible evidence that..."

It's hard to blame people, though, sometimes.  Who needs psychics when the universe itself is so freaking weird?  I mean, there was a time that people didn't understand what stars, comets, planets, etc were and assumed them to be spirits or whatever else.  One can hardly blame them for believing that, as they had no proper explanation for them.  So this completely freaking BIZARRO stuff starts getting discovered, quantum entanglement, black holes, superfluid helium, etc. and even some relatively smart people are going to see theological implications.

But I was saying that Coyne doesn't know if photons have consciousness or not. They sure don't look like they do and so far nothing even suggests that they possibly could, but to say that you know absolutely that they do not is incorrect. It's also not, dare I say, scientific.


To state that they do with no evidence whatsoever is merely speculation, NOT a theory, NOT EVEN a hypothesis, but simply a wild-@$$ed guess, and definitely NOT scientific.
 
2013-11-20 09:51:12 AM  

PsiChick: hardinparamedic: PsiChick: Professionalism is actually something I tend to expect from people with degrees.

The problem with your statement is that not all hypotheses and not all layperson theories are reasonable or should even be treated with respect or consideration. Depak Chopra falls into the later.

The man basically takes a Scientific Thesaurus and throws together pseudo-philosophical thought which he tries to make sound technobabbly.

Depak Chopra is the medical version of the Rockwell Automation Retroencabulator.

Ever hear of this guy? I don't have my bookmarks, so it's a shiatty article, but this guy was basically harassed nonstop because of his theory. When they're doing that to their own, yes, there's something wrong.


The critical difference here being that Shechtman's discovery was TESTABLE, which allowed it to be PROVABLE. Chopra's "ideas" (and I'm being generous) meet neither of those criteria, and are therefore NOT scientific by definition.
 
2013-11-20 10:01:20 AM  

PsiChick: HighZoolander: Yes, you're certainly right that professionals should act professionally, but sometimes it is really difficult.

I mean, if I walk into an accountant's office and tell him that spreadsheets are composed of sentient viruses that feed on numbers, and therefore he should change his practice to reflect my ideas, sure it'd be great if he wasn't a douchebag about it, but I'm not sure I can reasonably expect a polite response.

These woo practitioners aren't even in the ballpark where their ideas can have relevant evidence - it's closer to theology than science, and there is a long bitter history to deal with whereby people of religion have tried to tell scientists how they should practice science. I'm not saying that scientists shouldn't try to take the high road, but people can be more or less patient when confronted by the same (offensive) arguments year after year.

So maybe they should just, say, turn off the computer? Not everything needs to be responded to, and if you can't respond politely, go pay a freshman to type something up for you.


The reason that they must be responded to is because they and their believers become obstacles to real science.
 
2013-11-20 10:58:03 AM  
Being an underdog doesn't give one credence.

Here is your lesson for today on hypothesis, theory, and logic:

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. To be a "scientific hypothesis" the scientific method requires that it can be tested. Even though the terms hypothesis and theory are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same thing as a scientific theory. A scientific hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon which still must be rigorously tested. In contrast, a scientific theory has undergone extensive testing and is generally accepted to be the explanation behind an observed phenomenon.

My eight grade science teacher, Miss Flynn was was very instrumental in helping me to understand the scientific method.

It was on a Wednesday that I first observed that when Miss Flynn sat upon her desk facing the class, I could see her panties (this being the era of miniskirts). They were pink panties. The following two days I observed that she wore pink panties again. Therefore, I formed a scientific hypothesis that Miss Flynn always wore pink panties. The following Monday however, I observed that she wore blue panties, which disproved my theory. Then, adolescents being what they are, word got around that Miss Flynn was exposing her panties, at which point she stopped sitting upon her desk making further observed impossible, and any hypotheses we had, such as whether or not Miss Flynn always wore panties (we WERE adolescents after all) became unscientific.
 
2013-11-20 11:10:32 AM  
Sorry, I left logic out. Logically, after just one observation, I could have stated that Miss Flynn always wore pink panties, there being no evidence to contradict me.
 
2013-11-20 01:23:26 PM  

revrendjim: kriegsgeist: Felgraf: nekom: Felgraf:
If I recall correctly, what they mean by observed is, literally, *anything hitting it*. That is, after all, how we'd measure it, in theory: By bouncing something off it, or passing it through something with which it would interact (IF it has polarization A, it can't pass through this, but if it has polarization B, it can!). Interacting with *any matter* at all collapses the wave function.

So in essence, to "measure" it, it is necessary to force it to interact with something, and that interaction rather than the "observation" collapses the wave?  That makes sense.  So the answer to "ZOMG how does it KNOW you measured it?" is really "It doesn't." then?

Exactly right! You've got it, I think. =)
And I suspect the reason we just call it 'observation' when teaching it is because it is easier to say "When it is observed" (since they assume other scientists know what they mean) then to say "When anything interacts with this for any reason whatsoever'."

Do electrons inside of an atom interact with the protons in the nucleus?

Of course they do via an exchange of photons. Rarely they dive right into the nucleus and get sucked into a Weak interaction.

As to the other point, we could have saved a lot of aggravation by saying "interaction" instead of "observation." When a particle collides with another particle it is necessarily localized in time and space, and so it's wave function has collapsed.


So if electrons interact with protons inside the same atom via proton exchange, and if all interactions cause wavefunction collapse, then why do electrons exist in atomic orbitals described by wavefunctions?
 
2013-11-20 01:24:36 PM  
^ "same atom via proton photon exchange"
 
2013-11-20 01:41:36 PM  

Satan's Bunny Slippers: Every time you eat a chicken or a banana it transforms into a human. ~ Chopra


Actually, when you get right down to it, the vast majority of the material that we call "chicken" or "banana" when eaten, actually transforms into shiat.

My bottom line on Chopra: For a dude who gave a book the title "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind", that a really obvious dye job you've sportin'.
 
2013-11-20 02:09:22 PM  

mamoru: PsiChick: "he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there." That would be one example.

That constitutes harassment? Hold on a second, I need to check some dictionaries...

Oxford tells me this: aggressive pressure or intimidation

Yeah, I'm still not following. Professor Coyne not pointing that out is neither aggressive, nor intimidating. One of the points that Professor Coyne is making is that it doesn't matter what a person's credentials are if the ideas they are promoting are not supported by evidence or reason. Science does not yield to any authority but evidence. And he correctly points out that when folks like Chopra and Sheldrake are called out on their nonsense ideas, they almost always refer to their credentials to support the ideas rather than any evidential support, as there is none.

Ignoring appeals to authority is not harassment. Pointing out BS when someone is attempting to spew it from a position of authority is not harassment. Calling things what they are is not harassment.

This very much seems like a case of "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means".


Felgraf: PsiChick: "he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there." That would be one example.

Even if he left that out,w hy would that matter? Biology is not quantum mechanics. I agree with the other poster, I'm not following how that's *harassment*. Someone holding a distinguished position at one point != Their theory has more creedence-I'm sure there's a lot of people that are/were high up in academia that think all sorts of things that are A) Wrong, B) Completely unrelated to their field, so why on earth should we mention it.

Does Deepak list all his detractor's qualification and 'high positions' they held when he argues with them? Do you expect him to?


So saying 'this person with these credentials supports my side, but this guy whose credentials I won't list doesn't'  isn't a blatant appeal to authority that borders on lying about your opponent?

Discordulator: A) There is harm in what Deepak Chopra states because people can, and will, use alternative medicine *instead of* rather than *in addition to* proven medicine.  Deepak states that AIDS can be treated with "Ayurveda's primordial sound".  So, this is that.  This is why people have problems with Deepak, and what he states as science without being science, and as truth without evidence.


So confront that statement by saying 'that's wrong and the germ theory is why'. Don't say 'this person with ten credentials supports my side but I won't list the credentials of the other person'.
 
2013-11-20 03:40:41 PM  

kriegsgeist: So if electrons interact with protons inside the same atom via proton exchange, and if all interactions cause wavefunction collapse, then why do electrons exist in atomic orbitals described by wavefunctions?


Because (ready for it?) They might indeed collapse the wavefunction for each other, but the system as a whole has a wavefunction that applies to outside viewers, and it's that wavefunction you're able to observe.

Quantum effects are relative to the interaction participants and you're not a part of that interaction.

Not unlike sound waves - someone might hear a sound, but you can't tell how far away it is until YOU hear it, doesn't matter that someone else did (poor analogy time, go!)
 
2013-11-20 06:51:41 PM  

sobriquet by any other name: kriegsgeist: So if electrons interact with protons inside the same atom via proton exchange, and if all interactions cause wavefunction collapse, then why do electrons exist in atomic orbitals described by wavefunctions?

Because (ready for it?) They might indeed collapse the wavefunction for each other, but the system as a whole has a wavefunction that applies to outside viewers, and it's that wavefunction you're able to observe.

Quantum effects are relative to the interaction participants and you're not a part of that interaction.

Not unlike sound waves - someone might hear a sound, but you can't tell how far away it is until YOU hear it, doesn't matter that someone else did (poor analogy time, go!)


This is kind of my point - we can rationalize it by saying the wavefunction always exists and the interaction is what collapses it, but I think it is important to remember that this stuff was all invented to explain observations - interactions from our perspective with the intent of measuring something. Since science must be based on observable phenomena, and we must be doing the observations, we can't just neatly cut ourselves out of that picture and still call it science.

I'm not saying Chopra is on the right track, or anyone else who links quantum physics to consciousness in this way - what I'm saying is that the Copenhagen and other interpretations of the  meaning of the wavefunction are really outside the realm of science, and in the realm of philosophy. In other words, to use the sound example, whether or not sound exists when there is no one there to hear it is a philosophical question, since "hearing" or "measuring" changes the nature of the system by including an observer.

We can use science to predict that sound waves will be produced when a tree falls in the forest, whether or not anything is there to hear it. And so, the question becomes one of definitions - what is sound? Is it the wave travelling through the air, or is it the detection of that wave by something?

In my experience, all philosophical questions are at root questions of definitions. The definitions we attach to words represent our underlying assumptions, and from those assumptions all valid logic should reach the same conclusions - so barring fallacies, the only difference between two philosophies is in the initial assumptions.

The Copenhagen interpretation makes the assumption that past the Heisenberg Uncertainty limit, particles exist as waves in space and time. It's a perfectly reasonable assumption, but there is no way to know for sure what is happening unless we can measure it. The Uncertainty Principle shows us that we can never measure it (even indirectly), and so it is necessarily in the realm of philosophy.

The only point I'm trying to make here is that as scientists we tend to take the easy way out of this predicament (since it is unsettling when you think about it) and assume that the mathematical description represents a reality independent of our observations. As scientists, we shouldn't need to do that - we should be able to freely admit when we don't (and can't) know something.

I understand the point that you (I assume), reverendjim and Felgraf are making - by choosing the word "observation" or "measurement" over "interaction" we tie the observer to the phenomena, and it would be easier to understand (the Copenhagen interpretation) if we didn't do that. But the unfortunate fact is, the observer is a part of the phenomena, and no amount of faith in a particular philosophy will change that.

The reason I think it's important to remember this is that since these questions are ultimately philosophical, and therefore the answers depend on our initial assumptions, if we leave the door open to investigating other sets of assumptions, we may one day be able to test alternative philosophies and bring them into the realm of science. Which of course is how progress is made in science - by re-examining underlying assumptions.

Before anyone jumps all over me: I'm not a fan of Chopra and I think this consciousness-based idea (I've heard of some other authors saying similar stuff as well) is probably way off-track. The fact that there seems to be hard-coded limits to what we can observe doesn't excuse anyone from philosophizing about the other side of those limits based on a misunderstanding of what we know to be true on this side, especially when they are doing it just to make money.
 
2013-11-20 08:59:06 PM  

PsiChick: So saying 'this person with these credentials supports my side, but this guy whose credentials I won't list doesn't' isn't a blatant appeal to authority that borders on lying about your opponent?


That is not what Professor Coyne is doing. In his exchanges and posts about Chopra et al 's woo, what he is saying can be summarized as "The facts support my side. It is my job to research and teach these things, so I am well acquainted with them. These other folks with such and such credentials also discover and present these facts which support my side. Take a look at their facts. You're side has no facts to support it. You're credentials are only ever used to give you the appearance of authority, because you have no facts to hold up; just a lot of made up mumbo jumbo that you try to make sound scientific."

So, no Professor Coyne is not blatantly appealing to authority. When he points out credentials, it is to aid understanding where the facts came from. That, and as a sign of respect, is his purpose for listing any credentials when presenting his side. When Chopra lists credentials, it is not to help show where facts and discoveries are coming from, but instead to make those spouting such nonsense sound authoritative in the absence of any evidence. It's a rather large difference.

And, it still isn't harassment by any definition. I find your attempts to use that word to portray these exchanges in such a light to be rather dishonest.

Also, I'd still appreciate an answer to this question from before:

PsiChick: I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.
 
Yet your ire is focused almost exclusively on one side and not the other, and oddly it is the side that tends to have evidence on its side that you criticize more. Why is that?
 
2013-11-20 11:05:04 PM  

mamoru: PsiChick: So saying 'this person with these credentials supports my side, but this guy whose credentials I won't list doesn't' isn't a blatant appeal to authority that borders on lying about your opponent?

That is not what Professor Coyne is doing. In his exchanges and posts about Chopra et al 's woo, what he is saying can be summarized as "The facts support my side. It is my job to research and teach these things, so I am well acquainted with them. These other folks with such and such credentials also discover and present these facts which support my side. Take a look at their facts. You're side has no facts to support it. You're credentials are only ever used to give you the appearance of authority, because you have no facts to hold up; just a lot of made up mumbo jumbo that you try to make sound scientific."

So, no Professor Coyne is not blatantly appealing to authority. When he points out credentials, it is to aid understanding where the facts came from. That, and as a sign of respect, is his purpose for listing any credentials when presenting his side. When Chopra lists credentials, it is not to help show where facts and discoveries are coming from, but instead to make those spouting such nonsense sound authoritative in the absence of any evidence. It's a rather large difference.

And, it still isn't harassment by any definition. I find your attempts to use that word to portray these exchanges in such a light to be rather dishonest.

Also, I'd still appreciate an answer to this question from before:

PsiChick: I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.
 
Yet your ire is focused almost exclusively on one side and not the other, and oddly it is the side that tends to have evidence on its side that you criticize more. Why is that?


A) So if his credentials are such a thorn in his side, why not post it?

B) This is an argument between two scientists, and I started off only talking about one side, because that's a side I have direct experience with. I'll wholeheartedly agree most woo folks are in outer space half the time, but I've never seen them actually pull tactics even like this, so I can't speak about it from personal experience.
 
2013-11-21 01:39:42 AM  

PsiChick: mamoru: PsiChick: So saying 'this person with these credentials supports my side, but this guy whose credentials I won't list doesn't' isn't a blatant appeal to authority that borders on lying about your opponent?

That is not what Professor Coyne is doing. In his exchanges and posts about Chopra et al 's woo, what he is saying can be summarized as "The facts support my side. It is my job to research and teach these things, so I am well acquainted with them. These other folks with such and such credentials also discover and present these facts which support my side. Take a look at their facts. You're side has no facts to support it. You're credentials are only ever used to give you the appearance of authority, because you have no facts to hold up; just a lot of made up mumbo jumbo that you try to make sound scientific."

So, no Professor Coyne is not blatantly appealing to authority. When he points out credentials, it is to aid understanding where the facts came from. That, and as a sign of respect, is his purpose for listing any credentials when presenting his side. When Chopra lists credentials, it is not to help show where facts and discoveries are coming from, but instead to make those spouting such nonsense sound authoritative in the absence of any evidence. It's a rather large difference.

And, it still isn't harassment by any definition. I find your attempts to use that word to portray these exchanges in such a light to be rather dishonest.

Also, I'd still appreciate an answer to this question from before:

PsiChick: I'm not saying those people aren't bad. I'm saying neither side gets a pass.
 
Yet your ire is focused almost exclusively on one side and not the other, and oddly it is the side that tends to have evidence on its side that you criticize more. Why is that?

A) So if his credentials are such a thorn in his side, why not post it?

B) This is an argument between two scientists, and I started off only talking about one side, because that's a side I h ...


To be precise, it seems like it's more like an argument between a scientist and a pseudoscientist....
 
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