Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Poking Holes in Silly Ideas

"Science is not out to prove anything! The purpose of science is to tentatively support or reject ideas with existing evidence." - Unknown

I'm not much of a fan of Evo-Psych, most especially when people talk about it and don't understand that it is not a science. If anything, it's a "soft" science, which still isn't saying much at all. ("Economics" is "soft science" and look at the catastrophes it's created.)

Perhaps the biggest problem with it is that you cannot falsify it. You have to be able to test your hypotheses in way that will reveal if it isn’t true. If you can't do that, then you can never tell if it's true or false. If it can't do that, then it's just a story. This is the difference between a hypothesis (true?) and the null hypothesis (not true?)

Some people think Science (with a capital S) is a modern god, taking the place of the traditional one. If "Science" says it, it must be true! And how dare you criticize it! You must be attacked as an unbeliever! Blasphemer! Witches! Burn them!

Just about all they can do is engage in ad hominem attacks. The cognitive dissonance they suffer just about unhinges them.

Here's how Science is supposed to work, in a simplified form:

Observe, collect data.

Develop hypothesis.

Test (results have to be confirmed by others).

Revise or reject hypothesis.

Develop theory (a model to explain things).

Announce results.

There is a huge difference between a hypothesis and a theory. A theory is a guess; a theory is backed up by testing and is supposed to be confirmed by others' tests. Theories are models of how things work, and they are always tentative, which means they can always be refined.

Models are always in our heads; they are not reality itself. "The map is not the territory."

These things are why I have said there are no such "things" as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Omega, "hypergamy," "shit tests," etc. These are not "things" out there; they are models in our heads we use to explain behavior, and not only that, what goes on inside them that explains their behavior, i.e., genes (to the uninitiated, genes turn themselves on and off), "instinct," whatever. Models can always be refined, and should be. When you take them as absolute truth, instead of ideas in our heads that we impose on reality, then you are making a very bad mistake. (Some people actually think the ideas in their heads are reality "out there.")

I personally have a hypothesis that since non-Africans have up to five percent Neanderthal DNA, we picked up a great many good things from them, and in fact would not be what we are today without it.

It's just a hypothesis, and I could be completely wrong. If I am I will give it up.

The problem, as always, is that some people seek absolute security and cannot tolerate ambiguity. I can, fortunately, and am always willing to refine my ideas...or reject them if they're wrong.

"Well, then, duh, if it's not the best explanation, then what's yours?" - the lament of every moron when threatened with a new idea.


Anonymous said...

Hunger: no such thing. Greed, lust, PMS, jealousy, no such thing.

I'll keep that in mind. Especially when my girlfriend shit-tests me because she's PMSimg.

In other news, shit-tests may not be as precisely quantifiable as special relativity, but we're not using them to design GPS satellites. We're using them to get along with women.

Can you give me an equation for lust? No.

So, then, are you seriously going to pretend it doesn't exist? No such thing as lust?

Give it up. To the extent you're not obviously full of shit, even to yourself, you're quibbling about terminology. Get over it.

Bob Wallace said...

What a dumbass. You can't tell the difference between a feeling and models to use to explain reality.

If you want to make a fool of yourself, go for it. I enjoy watching it when people have zero understanding of an article.