Soft Sciences Vs. Hard Sciences

General philosophy message board for Discussion and debate on other philosophical issues not directly related to veganism. Metaphysics, religion, theist vs. atheist debates, politics, general science discussion, etc.
teo123
Senior Member
Posts: 386
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:46 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Re: Soft Sciences Vs. Hard Sciences

Post by teo123 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:48 pm

In all seriousness though, @brimstoneSalad, this discussion is so unlikely to be productive that I don't think I will respond here anymore. I hope I've made you think and that you will change your mind some time in the future. But me continuing to try to explain how linguistics works, to somebody who insists that it doesn't work, is likely a waste of my time and your time.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:41 pm

teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
The ontological argument for the existence of God is wrong because it commits the equivocation fallacy (something being conceivable in the sense of being easy to imagine, with something being conceivable in the sense of existing in some possible world), not because it doesn't rely on any empirical data, right?
Yes, but that's only one argument for a god which can be rejected. There are other arguments for a god, and my point is that you often don't know what you don't know. What if there WAS empirical evidence for a god that you simply didn't understand or weren't aware of because you lacked the proper education in theology?

It's a mistake to dismiss an entire field because there's one bad argument there.
Now if you ask for arguments for years and you only get bad ones that are easily dismissed, and theologians say they don't know of any other arguments and confirm to you that there's no scientific evidence (telling you not to put god to the test) and confirm it's based on faith, then you can more reasonably dismiss the field.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
So, when somebody makes claims that seem not to be falsifiable, it's not the right thing to do to be skeptical of those claims?
Skeptical is fine, but outright rejection without being aware is less substantiated.

Now, you CAN look at the field the claim is coming from and use induction to reason that because the hundreds of other arguments you've found in the field and that experts have supported as their best arguments are bad, that this argument probably is bad too. It's not a "probably" you can put a p-value too, but it can inform your practical relationship to the issue.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
What about, for example, Christian Science? They claim their beliefs are based on proofs, rather than opinion and dogmas. Is it therefore somehow more reasonable to believe them than it is to believe theology?
Well it is theology. And here we can look at experts in theology: if indeed there were evidence for this, wouldn't it have caught on more? And yet the arguments theologians present as their best remain bad ones, and without good evidence.

Consensus in theology is basically to support bad arguments or lean entirely on faith and personal feelings.
We can accept the consensus that those are their best arguments, and then reject those arguments as bad due to the logical fallacies they contain.

If they did have actual evidence and wanted to break from theology into an empirical science, they could publish in a peer reviewed medical journal.

teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:Rejecting wave/particle duality would be like flat-Earthism, though.
How exactly? There is nothing like the "Ships appear to sink when going over the horizon."-proof of the Earth being round to prove wave-particle-duality, right? I mean, yeah, there are everyday "proofs" of quantum entanglement such as the one with three polarizing filters, and there are everyday proofs of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle such as one that the light appears to disperse when going through a small enough slit, but none of that screams that the quantum mechanics is true nearly as much as the sinking-ship illusion screams that the Earth is round.
There is: double-slit. And you mentioned it. The fact you don't find it to be as convincing a proof of wave-particle duality as ships going over the horizon is of the round Earth suggests you don't understand the experiments very well.
You just need to spend more time with this subject.

This is what I'm saying: you can't develop credible confidence in something based on your limited understanding, you should lean on experts.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
At best, you can put quantum mechanics denial in the same category as denying that Armenian is distantly related to other Indo-European languages: it can be proved, but you need to have some specialized knowledge to understand the proof.
No, not even remotely. Again, Linguistics is a soft science, and skepticism of it is more reasonable.
That doesn't mean that soft sciences are wrong or should be dismissed, but categorically denying them is not on the same order of magnitude as denying hard sciences.
It IS unreasonable to simply deny what professional linguists say about languages, and as I said many times by now I accept whatever the professional consensus is by default, but this isn't the same as denying physics.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:You can look at professional work to give you a better understanding.
Don't you think you are asking a little too much of me?
You're the one who made the original claim that you understand hard sciences based on your involvement in a soft science. So no, unless you want to take back that claim I do not think it's asking too much of you.
You simply can not assume you understand scientific methodology in physics based on understanding a softer cousin of that methodology.

You made a bold and inaccurate claim and you got called out on it.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote: That's a mathematics issue. You'll have to take more advanced math classes. Are you not in calculus?
[...]I got a C in it.
OK, well, I can't tutor you in mathematics. This explains a lot of why you don't understand physics. You need to have math down SOLID first.

You need to try harder in math if you want to understand harder sciences. If you don't, just don't claim to understand them and tentatively accept what experts say instead. You don't HAVE TO personally understand them to have confidence in expert consensus.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
If I cannot evaluate the claims the physics makes, chances are, nobody really can. They are effectively unfalsifiable partly because it takes a very deep understanding of mathematics to actually test them.
:lol: WOW. The arrogance on this one. "If I in all my massive intellect can't understand it, basically nobody can!"
No, it's not that complicated, you're just being lazy. Or maybe you have a bad Math teacher who didn't explain this stuff properly.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote: Well, linguistics is more intuitive because we have a lot of wetware for it, and we've also spent our lives passively learning it.
I don't think we've spent our lives passively learning about sound laws. What makes you think some parts of our brain evolved specifically for language learning?
Maybe not passively learning sound laws for historical change (unless we've heard some old English or something, which isn't that unlikely), but language generally yes.

As to evolution: really basic neuroscience. There are specific areas of the brain that evolved to deal with language.

It's hard to say the extent of what people pick up subconsciously, but language is one of the big ones. That said you don't just know Japanese or something because you watched a bunch of Anime, but you might *recognize* it by the sounds and be able to distinguish it from other languages. You can get a feel for the way it sounds which is far superior to guessing.

You can test this if you want. Find an anime fan who only knows a couple words of Japanese and none of another language (Like Spanish or something), and expose the person to sound clips of each that exclude the few words he or she knows. You'll likely find that the person can tell which language is which with a rate of success that far exceeds random guessing.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Even in medieval times, English phonology was changing rather fast despite a relatively high literacy rate (medieval writers often complained about English spelling not matching pronunciation).
What do you consider a high literacy rate?
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Do you have any doubt in your head that those who used Latin were interested in preserving the language?
I don't think most people are interested in preserving their languages, more they're lazy and want things to be easy to say. Look at how generally poor enunciation is for anybody who isn't a newscaster.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Similarly, the sound changes described by the Havlik's law affected all Slavic languages and all their dialects, presumably because the phonology of the ancient Slavic languages begged for something like that to happen
Phonology isn't begging anything; it's not a sentient being. It's humans making the changes.
Of course I know what you're saying, but in any of these cases it's matters of how language cognition works, and human laziness and conscious or unconscious preference driving everything. Humans are changing language collectively.

It may work more like a Ouija board, where everybody is pushing the pointer to spell out words together, and yet nobody thinks he or she is doing it.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Regardless, that is irrelevant here. Sound changes happen no matter what. Denying that makes you linguistically illiterate, much like denying the law of supply and demand makes you economically illiterate.
That's as stupid as saying "Rocks fall no matter what" because gravity. No, whatever drives changes can be counteracted by other forces that can act against it. A rock can be stopped from falling by support, whether physical barriers, magnetic levitation, whatever. Sound changes can clearly be stopped by enforcing pronunciation across generations, particularly using audio recordings. Without audio recordings obviously it's nearly impossible to tell when subtle changes have happened thus very difficult to correct for them. There's no reason to believe humans today could not impede, stop, or even reverse sound changes if we really wanted to. Belief to the contrary seems to suggest you think whatever is driving this has god-like powers and is an unstoppable force, which makes you worse than illiterate: it makes you a dogmatist.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
And why do you consider "Before FDA, all you had was snake oil." or "Before the government, the genocides were incredibly common." to be valid arguments, when THOSE arguments scream "There are other factors.".
There are other factors there too, but those are the most reasonable default assumptions.

You don't seem to be getting this through your head:

I TENTATIVELY ACCEPT THE CLAIMS OF LINGUISTICS.
I TENTATIVELY ACCEPT THE CLAIMS OF LINGUISTICS.
I TENTATIVELY ACCEPT THE CLAIMS OF LINGUISTICS.

I do not deny these things, because there's no good alternative theory and the experts are more likely right than any guess I could make.
That doesn't stop it from being a soft science.
And if you want to say political science is soft too? Yeah, obviously it is. But we should still accept these things for lack of something more credible.

You have something stuck in your head that we must either fully accept something as a hard science, or deny it completely and lean on whatever other wacky notion we prefer. The world is not black and white like that.

Sometimes it's most reasonable to accept something that has limited evidence despite those limitations because there's no better option.

teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Just like socialists keep insisting socialism hasn't been tested, when it clearly has been and it failed every time.
It depends on the system. A lot of forms and policies haven't been tested. I think I'll ask @NonZeroSum to respond to that if he can, though, since he's more into politics than I am.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Neuroscientists who talk about linguistics are not to be trusted,
If they are truly speaking without any knowledge of linguistics, they may be, but that's quite different from this:
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Just like Brian Josephson, a Nobel-prize winning theoretical physicists, makes claims about neuroscience, that is about how quantum mechanics makes psychic powers possible.
Neuroscience actually deals a lot with cognition of language. I don't know what Josephson was claiming, but it's very likely that he misunderstands quantum mechanics if he claimed anything like that. Nothing in QM makes anything like psychic powers possible. This is true for machines too, not just neuroscience... so the neuroscience part is kind of irrelevant.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
And social sciences are even less related to natural sciences than various natural sciences are related to each other.
No and no. Neuroscience deals deeply in language and cognition and is actually much closer to linguistics than physics is to neuroscience.
This is again your unfortunate level of ignorance of these sciences. But again, if this Josephson claimed something about psychic powers it's more likely that he's wrong about the physics and it has nothing to do with his ignorance of neuroscience.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Much like if somebody uses quantum mechanics to explain something about neuroscience, he is most likely wrong
No, not really. He's just wrong about the quantum mechanics... so he failed way before he got to neuroscience.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
so too is somebody who uses neuroscience to explain something about linguistics probably wrong.
If the methodology was sound, no, probably not.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
You want to tell me Chinese language makes people think more with the right hemisphere of their brains, and English makes people think more with the left hemispheres of their brains? Shut the hell up!
You could possibly make an experiment to test this, but it would be very hard to control for variables in culture and upbringing.
Getting people to have exactly the same experiences in everything else but language would be pretty much inconceivable, since you'd need to control people's lives from childhood (Truman show level stuff).
And that makes such suggestions soft science: the failure to control for variables and get good data.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
The real question is how it can even be tested. Phonosemantic hypotheses appear to make two implications:
1) You can guess the meanings of the words in unrelated languages by examining the sounds alone, at a rate significantly greater than chance.
This is practically unfalsifiable because it's very hard to quantify how close a guessed meaning is to the real meaning of that word.
Right! And that's all you need to show it's a soft science kind of claim until they show how this can be quantified.
We have good reason to reject these particular claims as non-rigorous.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
What about it actually? And, by the way, I tried and failed to see that. If I cross my eyes so that the plus sign in the blue square is on the top of the one in the yellow square, I just see a square randomly turning blue and yellow.
Not everybody sees every illusion, the brain has multiple ways of resolving stuff. One is oscillating between colors, the other is mixing them.

Here's a more recent one that's more reliable:
https://www.sciencealert.com/strange-op ... -blindness

But as I've said, neuroscience is also softer then chemistry, which is softer than physics. Science exists in a hierarchy of hardness and softness.

If you want to make the case that linguistics is a harder science than neuroscience, you can try to do that. Close ties can be arguable. But if you want to make the case that linguistics is as hard as physics you're just turning yourself into a joke.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Perhaps some would. But theologians studying Buddhism would agree with you. There is no consensus among theologians that a god exists.
Plenty of Buddhists use the word "god", but weak consensus is one thing that suggests it's not a science, although you could repeat the same about something "supernatural" or transcendent.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
What's the ad-hoc explanation there? It's the self-correcting nature of science.
Self correction requires experimental verification, otherwise we're just talking about ad hoc changes to hypotheses that can't be verified or can only rarely be verified.
I know you can find examples of verification, which is why linguistics is a soft science rather than not a science at all.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
I thought those surveys almost always give the results that are indistinguishable from guessing
No, surveys can be pretty well done and are generally predictive. Fivethirtyeight does a good job at explaining statistics as applies to these issues: https://fivethirtyeight.com/
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
Of course it should. If you accept something that you misunderstood as true, your model of reality will be worse because of that, and not better.
You did not know you misunderstood it; you thought you understood it.

You have no access to the fact of whether you have a real understanding or a misunderstanding: that's my point.
Thinking you understand something is not a great reason to be more confident in it.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
It seems like you are being willfully ignorant about it.
What these laws are isn't really relevant. The question is the degree to which they're merely descriptive or really predictive, and if the latter how they're experimentally verified. That's it. The details don't matter to the broad strokes of how hard the science is.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:Explaining is not always predicting, is it?
Well, yes. But if all you value are predictions, you can often predict what a word would sound like in some Slavic language by taking a Lithuanian word and applying the sound laws to it.
You aren't understanding, if the sound laws were developed descriptively based on those differences then they're made to purpose, an algorithm that of course works in reverse. That doesn't make it predictive.

It's like if we looked at English and Pig-Latin, and derived the sound law that works between them.
Given English can you apply the law to "predict" what the Pig-Latin word will be? You can work it out, but it's not prediction because the law was formed in full knowledge of both.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:24 pm
How is linguistics pretty far on it? I don't see how you can say something like that. When has economics ever predicted anything? And when has sociology ever predicted anything? It's a field incredibly polluted by political agendas such as feminism. And social psychology is incredibly polluted by "experiments" and "observations" that are nothing but p-hacking.
Can you at least acknowledge that it's softer than physics and chemistry?
That would be a start. If you can't even admit that, I don't know what to tell you.

Also, I said clinical psychology is harder than linguistics. You could make an argument that sociology and social psychology are likely on par, or may even be softer than linguistics since there may be more currently impossible to control for variables.
We've already discussed Economics.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:44 pm

teo123 wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:48 pm
But me continuing to try to explain how linguistics works, to somebody who insists that it doesn't work, is likely a waste of my time and your time.
I've already warned you about this straw-manning. You do it time and again.
I've been VERY CLEAR, multiple times, that I err on the side of accepting what linguists say. I've said multiple times that there are *some* cases where confirmation is possible and thus it's a soft science rather than not a science at all.

I am not in any way "insisting linguistics doesn't work", rather its working is just less rigorous than a hard science like physics.

You're not explaining anything, you're straw manning and propping up some unreasonable dogma that an obvious soft science is as hard as physics.

If you're unable or unwilling to have an honest discussion without blatantly misrepresenting my position then yes you should just quit now.

teo123
Senior Member
Posts: 386
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:46 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by teo123 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:Well it is theology
Christian Scientists claim the difference between Christian Science and theology is about the same as the difference between astrology and astronomy. How do you contradict that?
brimstoneSalad wrote:There is: double-slit.
Double-slit experiment can't be done with electrons, or, for that sake, anything but photons. Feynmann used that as a thought-experiment.
brimstoneSalad wrote:You made a bold and inaccurate claim and you got called out on it.
How is the claim that physics and linguistics are about as reliable a bold claim? It's a reasonable null-hypothesis, which is to be believed until there is sufficient evidence to believe otherwise.
And, yes, linguists can't fully understand physics without studying it, but the same goes the other way around. Still, we can assume they understand it better than laymen do (since both physicists and linguists are familiar with scientific methodology).
brimstoneSalad wrote:You'll likely find that the person can tell which language is which with a rate of success that far exceeds random guessing.
Better than chance? Probably. But it's been documented that people not very familiar with Greek or Spanish often mistake one language for another, because of their similar phonology. There is nothing magical about it, people are not subconsciously picking up historical linguistics.
Similarly, foreigners often mistake Croatian for Polish (probably because of the /ie/ diphthong, rare across languages but common to Croatian and Polish), yet they rarely mistake Croatian for Serbian (since Serbian lacks diphthongs), even though Serbian and Croatian are almost completely mutually intelligible, but Croatian and Polish are not.
brimstoneSalad wrote:I don't think most people are interested in preserving their languages, more they're lazy and want things to be easy to say.
People are just repeating what they believe they heard.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Sound changes can clearly be stopped by enforcing pronunciation across generations, particularly using audio recordings.
OK, interesting point. But I wouldn't be so sure that's true. Think of it this way: you can easily tell that a sound change has occured if the spelling of a word doesn't match its pronunciation. Yet, even when people notice that, they usually don't change their pronunciation back to the way words are spelled.
brimstoneSalad wrote:those are the most reasonable default assumptions.
How did you determine that? Did you somehow determine what the consensus of political scientists (or whoever is qualified to speak on those issues, if there is anyone) is?
brimstoneSalad wrote:Nothing in QM makes anything like psychic powers possible. 
So too is there nothing in neuroscience that makes phonosemantics possible, and I'd guess there is nothing in neuroscience having to say something about morphology or syntax.
brimstoneSalad wrote:This is again your unfortunate level of ignorance of these sciences.
Since I've published a few peer-reviewed papers in linguistics, me having an unfortunate level of ignorance about linguistics is something that would, at best, require an explanation.
brimstoneSalad wrote:And that's all you need to show it's a soft science kind of claim until they show how this can be quantified.
Plus, it's not the mainstream linguistics, and it clearly contradicts the basic tenets of mainstream linguistics (sound laws).
brimstoneSalad wrote:Fivethirtyeight does a good job at explaining statistics as applies to these issues
I've skimmed over that web-page, there is nothing about that there.
brimstoneSalad wrote:You did not know you misunderstood it; you thought you understood it.
If you think you understand something, you are way more likely to understand it than if you don't think you understand it. Somebody who says he understands the chain rule in calculus is way more likely to actually understand it than I am.
My point is: you are way more likely to misunderstand physics than to misunderstand linguistics.
brimstoneSalad wrote:an algorithm that of course works in reverse.
No, it doesn't work in reverse, and the web-page I linked you to explains why (a lot fewer sound laws apply to Lithuanian than to Slavic languages).
brimstoneSalad wrote:You can work it out, but it's not prediction because the law was formed in full knowledge of both.
So what? The law is presented in a way that can be evaluated, it is falsifiable. How we got to there is quite a bit irrelevant, isn't it?
It's irrelevant how Havlik came up with the Havlik's law. Havlik might have been a monkey randomly typing on a keyboard. But Havlik's law happened to be falsifiable. If it weren't, it couldn't have been shown that the Havlik's law doesn't strictly apply to the Chakavian dialect of Croatian, but that it applies to all other Slavic languages and dialects.
And why the guy who suggested that Tai-Kadai languages were distantly related to Sino-Tibetan languages didn't follow the right method, it's quite a bit irrelevant since his claim was falsifiable, and it was shown to be false when the relevant languages were studied enough.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Can you at least acknowledge that it's softer than physics and chemistry?
What is chemistry actually? I've studied it for six years in middle school and high school and I have no bright idea what it actually is.
Like I've said, I agree that basic physics is more certain than basic linguistics is. But I fail to see how could, for example, quantum mechanics be more certain than basic linguistics is, as you seem to imply.
I also fail to see how you can make any predictions based on what we were taught in our chemistry classes. Like, "Why it is that fresh water does not conduct electricity, yet salty water does?". The answer is: "The salt turns into ions when diluted with water, and they therefore conduct electricity.". Then you ask: "Why it is then that if I dilute sugar with water, it doesn't conduct electricity?". The response you get is: "Well, sugar contains no metal to be ionized. Salt contains sodium.". Then you ask: "So, how come the lemon acid conducts electricity? It contains no metal.". The response you get is: "Well, the hydrogen atom there behaves like a metal.". Sounds like a how-to of pseudoscience, doesn't it?
brimstoneSalad wrote:I am not in any way "insisting linguistics doesn't work"
OK, then we have something to talk about. So, you say sound laws are ad-hoc hypotheses, right? Ad-hoc hypotheses are, by definition, not to be trusted, since they are adding complexity that isn't needed. So, why should, according to you, sound laws be trusted?
Also, to whom is this hierarchy of sciences, if it exists, useful to know? I suppose Feynmann, when he said that philosophy of science is less useful to scientists than ornithology is to birds, referred to claims such as the hierarchy of sciences.
Perhaps the "softness" of linguistics has something to do with the fact that it took 40 years for the mistake of linking the Tai-Kadai and Sino-Tibetan languages together to be recognized, while it took only months for the mistake of N-rays in physics to be recognized. Perhaps it's due to other factors ("discovery" that the Sino-Tibetan and Tai-Kadai languages were distantly related was not extraordinary and was not paid much attention to). But even if it has to do with "softness" of linguistics, yelling "Pudding-soft science, if it is science at all!" is not going to solve anything. Attempting to make linguistics look like a "hard science" by using computational approaches would, in this case, make things even worse (a computer would also "discover" those supposed sound laws).

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:27 am

teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Well it is theology
Christian Scientists claim the difference between Christian Science and theology is about the same as the difference between astrology and astronomy. How do you contradict that?
Well, then learn more about it and report back if you want.
It should be relatively easy to identify it as pseudoscience. However, if it were not pseudoscience it would be already recognized by scientists because there is no grand conspiracy against religion.
The only way it wouldn't is if it were something pretty new or very small to avoid consideration by scientists.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:There is: double-slit.
Double-slit experiment can't be done with electrons, or, for that sake, anything but photons. Feynmann used that as a thought-experiment.
Damn it teo, stop talking out of your ass.
Yes it can be done with electrons you arrogant Dunning-Kruger afflicted rube. Stop assuming you know *anything* at all about quantum physics.

If you make one more blatantly false claim about quantum physics that's clearly and unambiguously answered in the introduction to a wikipedia article on the topic so help me:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment

Before you speak more bullshit on QM, find the relevant wikipedia article and make sure what you're going to say isn't obviously contradicted there, OK?

It's OK to mess up now and then if you're usually or even sometimes right, but your track record for mistakes is almost like it's intentional.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
How is the claim that physics and linguistics are about as reliable a bold claim?
Because the reliability of theories in linguistics aren't typically even quantifiable. It's a fundamental difference. I've explained this. Multiple. Times.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
It's a reasonable null-hypothesis, which is to be believed until there is sufficient evidence to believe otherwise.
No it isn't. The null hypothesis is only to accept the quantified degree of reliability of things with clear p-values, and for other things to suppose they are more likely true than your own guesses but make no precise claims about their comparative reliability with fundamentally different categories of knowledge other than it being ambiguously less reliable for lack of hard data on its reliability.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
And, yes, linguists can't fully understand physics without studying it, but the same goes the other way around. Still, we can assume they understand it better than laymen do (since both physicists and linguists are familiar with scientific methodology).
You have demonstrated quite clearly here that isn't the case.

You feel emboldened by your study of linguistics to presume to understand better something about hard sciences, and in the process have gone down the Dunning-Kruger rabbit hole *yet again*.
That you believe now you can speak on something like quantum physics suggests that your linguistic education has made you *less* capable of grappling with and understanding hard science, not more so. It has done so by filling your head with misconceptions about how hard science works, and left you with a false sense of competence that is sabotaging any potential you might have had to understand these things if you started from nothing.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
There is nothing magical about it, people are not subconsciously picking up historical linguistics.
Quite explicitly not my point. I think I made my point.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
People are just repeating what they believe they heard.
Sometimes, sure, but unless you think people are unaware of accents or youth dialect that's a poor argument.
Believe what you want.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Sound changes can clearly be stopped by enforcing pronunciation across generations, particularly using audio recordings.
OK, interesting point. But I wouldn't be so sure that's true. Think of it this way: you can easily tell that a sound change has occured if the spelling of a word doesn't match its pronunciation. Yet, even when people notice that, they usually don't change their pronunciation back to the way words are spelled.
Usually, but not always. There are people who give a shit, and if that culture of self correction was stronger it could override drift from other factors.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:those are the most reasonable default assumptions.
How did you determine that? Did you somehow determine what the consensus of political scientists (or whoever is qualified to speak on those issues, if there is anyone) is?
I don't know what you're asking anymore.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Nothing in QM makes anything like psychic powers possible. 
So too is there nothing in neuroscience that makes phonosemantics possible, and I'd guess there is nothing in neuroscience having to say something about morphology or syntax.
You're completely misunderstanding.

Psychic powers of that type are explicitly *ruled out* by quantum mechanics. This actually not possible.
But the gap in our understanding of neuroscience may be large enough for phonosemantics to be true: thus, in so far as we know it *could* be possible. Of course linguistics provides evidence against this, so that's the assumption we should go by.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:Fivethirtyeight does a good job at explaining statistics as applies to these issues
I've skimmed over that web-page, there is nothing about that there.
Don't know what you're talking about.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:You did not know you misunderstood it; you thought you understood it.
If you think you understand something, you are way more likely to understand it than if you don't think you understand it.
Barely more likely.
But if you think you understand something you're also going to be more assertive and harder to correct.
You fall into the Dunning-Kruger effect. Thus the result is in practice worse than thinking you don't understand it.

Your belief that you understand something is giving you a false confidence.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
My point is: you are way more likely to misunderstand physics than to misunderstand linguistics.
To the contrary, people are probably more likely to admit to not understanding physics so not arrive at a false sense of understanding.

The worst outcome is misunderstanding but thinking you understand, in the middle is knowing you don't understand, and the best (only slightly better than knowing you don't understand) is actually understanding.

Linguistics is tied up in speech and communication, and there's ego investment there: people feel expected to understand their own languages.
There's not the same level of shame in not understanding quantum mechanics as not knowing anything about your own native tongue.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:an algorithm that of course works in reverse.
No, it doesn't work in reverse, and the web-page I linked you to explains why (a lot fewer sound laws apply to Lithuanian than to Slavic languages).
You're talking about two sounds becoming one here, where information/variety is lost through the change.
Isn't this about something being predictive? If you can't predict which of two sounds something used to be, it's kind of not. Not sure why you'd give that kind of example.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
brimstoneSalad wrote:You can work it out, but it's not prediction because the law was formed in full knowledge of both.
So what? The law is presented in a way that can be evaluated, it is falsifiable. How we got to there is quite a bit irrelevant, isn't it?
No, this gets at how you fundamentally misunderstand science. Again, this is description based on an extant sample you have access to.
If you don't understand how that's different from prediction by now, then the fundamental concepts of hard science may be as inaccessible to you as quantum mechanics.

This is all just evidence that understanding a soft science does not equip you to better understand hard science. To the contrary, you understand them worse because of misconceptions you're carrying over from those soft sciences. You understand physics worse than a layman because you've given (with conviction) the precise wrong answer where a layman is less wrong in admitting ignorance.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
Like I've said, I agree that basic physics is more certain than basic linguistics is.
Well, at least there's that.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
But I fail to see how could, for example, quantum mechanics be more certain than basic linguistics is, as you seem to imply.
I know you fail to see that. It's because you have no grasp of science, or worse a misconception that I can't rectify for you. I do not fail to see it, but if these pages have shown anything I can not force you to see it if you're committed not to.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
I also fail to see how you can make any predictions based on what we were taught in our chemistry classes.
Yeah, I know you fail to see it.. :roll:
I can't teach you Chemistry. You need to talk to your Chemistry teacher whose job this is.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
OK, then we have something to talk about. So, you say sound laws are ad-hoc hypotheses, right? Ad-hoc hypotheses are, by definition, not to be trusted, since they are adding complexity that isn't needed. So, why should, according to you, sound laws be trusted?
They're just descriptive, so we can trust those descriptions without having confidence in the predictions.
However, even weak correlation based predictions can be assumed to be more "probable" than our guesses, particularly when advanced by professionals. It's a "probability" without a p value since there aren't enough samples and no way to experimentally verify them, but we can go with the null hypothesis that other languages in the future will evolve in much the same ways we've seen already without having any real confidence in that.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
Also, to whom is this hierarchy of sciences, if it exists, useful to know? I suppose Feynmann, when he said that philosophy of science is less useful to scientists than ornithology is to birds, referred to claims such as the hierarchy of sciences.
It might not be so useful to scientists, except to remind them not to presume to have a better chance of understanding other sciences based on their knowledge of one field. It could keep some degree of unwarranted arrogance in check.

It's more useful to philosophers, and in epistemological discussions.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:53 am
But even if it has to do with "softness" of linguistics, yelling "Pudding-soft science, if it is science at all!" is not going to solve anything.
My response was to your arrogant claim of knowing something about other (hard) sciences because you've studied linguistics.

teo123
Senior Member
Posts: 386
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:46 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by teo123 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am

Believe what you want about this, @brimstoneSalad, you don't hold any of the very dangerous beliefs such as Socialism, Fascism, anti-vaccination, or the belief that eating meat is a good thing. The worst thing that can happen because of your beliefs is probably that somebody educated in social sciences starts doubting whether it's a good thing to give up meat because he sees that the moderators of the forum called "philosophical vegan" don't appear to be very philosophical in the end. It would be a very good thing if some public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky went vegan or vegetarian and started spreading the word, but I don't see that happening, in part (but not exclusively) because of the cult people like you are building within the vegan movement.

I can only hope you will change your mind sooner or later, because this "hierarchy of sciences" appears to be the mentality behind many, if not most, pseudosciences. You know, "I don't care what astronomers and geologists have to say about the shape of the Earth, I have a geometrical proof that the Earth can't be round (the horizon rising as you climb), so I don't have to listen to what softer sciences have to say about it.". Or, "I don't need to listen to neuroscientists, I have a proof that psychic powers are possible from quantum mechanics, and it's a lot harder science than neuroscience is.". Or, "I don't have to listen to what linguists say, I have a proof from neuroscience that phonosemantics is real, and neuroscience is somehow harder than linguistics.". Or, worse yet, "History is a soft science, but perhaps I can make it better by applying the methods I believe are applied in natural sciences to studying history." (look up Anatoly Fomenko, who tried to do that and failed miserably). Or, about as absurd, "Historical linguistics isn't a strict science, but I believe I can make it better by applying computational approaches to it... which make wildly unfounded assumptions about how languages work." (glottochronology). I am not saying computational and statistical approaches are always inferior (if done properly, they are superior to traditional approaches), I am saying that using them just to make something look like a "hard science" is likely to make things worse.

And I have no reason to think most scientists actually believe in that "hierarchy of sciences" thing. I recently talked about my linguistic theories with somebody who happens to be a PhD physicist. Specifically, about the last paper I tried to publish in the Pozega Ethnological Journal. I explained to her how I brought into question the common assumption that the combinatorial method of studying toponyms is less reliable than the comparative method, by calculating the p-values of a few well-known patterns between the distantly related Indo-European languages (the sound laws), using the data from Wiktionary, and then calculating the p-values of a few patterns I found within the Croatian toponyms, and finding the latter to be by orders of magnitude lower. You know what she commented? She said "I didn't know there was such a serious study of those things! Continue pursuing your theory, it sounds like there is something to it. However, make sure you don't use a style that presupposes too much knowledge of mathematics in your linguistics papers, because I am not sure how good linguists are at mathematics.". That's almost exactly the opposite of saying "What you are doing is a soft science, if it is science at all.".

And can you at least acknowledge I am more qualified than somebody who has studied natural sciences is, to talk about whether social sciences really argue that we need a government?

By the way, the "mistake" I've made about the double-slit experiment is easily explicable, here is what Richard Feynman wrote about it:
http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/III_01.html wrote:We should say right away that you should not try to set up this experiment (as you could have done with the two we have already described). This experiment has never been done in just this way. The trouble is that the apparatus would have to be made on an impossibly small scale to show the effects we are interested in. We are doing a “thought experiment,” which we have chosen because it is easy to think about.
Interpret as you wish!

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:08 am

teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
The worst thing that can happen because of your beliefs is probably that somebody educated in social sciences starts doubting whether it's a good thing to give up meat because he sees that the moderators of the forum called "philosophical vegan" don't appear to be very philosophical in the end.
A false conclusion like that driving away somebody with a fringe belief is basically the same as us rejecting Flat-Earth and then a believer in Flat-Earth declaring we "aren't philosophical!"
I'm not going to pretend like all sciences are exactly the same to placate rare delusions.

Most people I've known in the social sciences seem to understand that these are softer sciences, and the conclusions or theories/predictions less certain and less rigorously testable than fields of harder science like physics.
That does not make them unimportant. That does not mean I don't respect them. That's just the reality.
@Jebus, I understand you studied psychology, would you say that's generally accurate, or do you think most of those studying psychology are under the impression that it's a hard science on par with physics?
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
because of the cult people like you are building within the vegan movement.
:lol: A cult of recognizing something that's pretty much consensus anyway. Like how we had a cult of believing the Earth was a ball?
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
I can only hope you will change your mind sooner or later, because this "hierarchy of sciences" appears to be the mentality behind many, if not most, pseudosciences. You know, "I don't care what astronomers and geologists have to say about the shape of the Earth, I have a geometrical proof that the Earth can't be round (the horizon rising as you climb), so I don't have to listen to what softer sciences have to say about it."
IF you had a geometrical proof, then that would be true. Math beats empirical science, if it actually shows something impossible. You could publish that in a peer reviewed paper and overturn the conventional model of the Earth. However, you'd have to be using an accurate model and not a straw-man, and again you'd need a proof, not some crude drawings and a bunch of assumptions without any number crunching.
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
Or, "I don't need to listen to neuroscientists, I have a proof that psychic powers are possible from quantum mechanics, and it's a lot harder science than neuroscience is.".
If that were true that would be fine, but again that's not what QM says.
The problem here is not ignoring neuroscience, it's ignoring quantum mechanics.
Quantum mechanics says it's not possible (not without an exchange particle to send the signal at light speed or slower), so no matter what neuroscience says on the matter if it contradicts quantum mechanics then neuroscience is wrong. Period.
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
Or, "I don't have to listen to what linguists say, I have a proof from neuroscience that phonosemantics is real, and neuroscience is somehow harder than linguistics.".
If it is the consensus among neuroscientists that phonosemantics is real, then I would believe that over linguists' claims it isn't based on the relative hardness of the two sciences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_sym ... uroscience
That doesn't sound like consensus, but it also sounds like a much more modest claim than the one you were disputing which makes me think you're misrepresenting neuroscientists here.
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
I am not saying computational and statistical approaches are always inferior (if done properly, they are superior to traditional approaches), I am saying that using them just to make something look like a "hard science" is likely to make things worse.
There's a huge difference between something being an established field of hard science, and using "hard sciencey" seeming tools to do something soft and claiming it makes it hard.
Attempts to harden sciences aren't always successful.
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
And I have no reason to think most scientists actually believe in that "hierarchy of sciences" thing.
Believe what you want. Or maybe actually ask a few?
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
You know what she commented? She said "I didn't know there was such a serious study of those things! Continue pursuing your theory, it sounds like there is something to it. However, make sure you don't use a style that presupposes too much knowledge of mathematics in your linguistics papers, because I am not sure how good linguists are at mathematics.". That's almost exactly the opposite of saying "What you are doing is a soft science, if it is science at all.".
:lol: No, let me translate that for you.

"I didn't know there was such a serious study of those things!" = "My perception was that all linguistics was soft science without rigorous methodology"

"However, make sure you don't use a style that presupposes too much knowledge of mathematics in your linguistics papers, because I am not sure how good linguists are at mathematics." = "That is still my perception of linguists in general, present company excluded"

It was a personal compliment to you, but it reveals very clearly her past and persisting perceptions of linguistics as a field -- soft science.
I told you MULTIPLE times that sciences are not homogeneous. There are softer and harder areas of every science, AND there are always a few people even in very soft sciences who are making an effort to be more rigorous.

Of course she thinks there's something to your work: you're actually trying to be rigorous. That's a huge difference from her perception of the norms in the field.
teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
I am more qualified than somebody who has studied natural sciences is, to talk about whether social sciences really argue that we need a government?
No you aren't. Not remotely.

You are more qualified than somebody who has only studied natural sciences to talk about whether linguistics specifically argues that we need a government.
That's it.

Only somebody who has studied political science specifically would be more qualified than any random person who has studied hard sciences.

People who study a hard science ARE more qualified to understand other hard sciences than those who study soft sciences.
The inverse does not apply. People who study a soft science are NOT more qualified to understand other soft sciences than those who study hard sciences.

Qualifications of a hard vs. soft science student to understand an unrelated soft science are *at best* equal.
Obviously you don't understand why that is... which is really why you can't understand any of my points in this thread.

The methodology in soft science is also used in hard sciences, but there is *additional* more rigorous methodology in hard sciences that is seldom or never applied in soft sciences. Hard science has ALL of the tools you do in a soft science, plus additional tools you aren't familiar with.

As such, somebody studied in a hard science is qualified to understand soft science, but somebody studied in soft science is not qualified to understand hard science.

teo123 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:48 am
By the way, the "mistake" I've made about the double-slit experiment is easily explicable, here is what Richard Feynman wrote about it:
Whatever he said, the fact you felt qualified to interpret it and come to those conclusions on your own is telling.
Also, you have some very confused notions about the speed at which hard sciences move if you think even a claim about something never having been done from even a year ago can still just be assumed.

User avatar
Jebus
Master of the Forum
Posts: 1944
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:08 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Jebus » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:16 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:08 am
do you think most of those studying psychology are under the impression that it's a hard science on par with physics?
Hell no. I think most people who have studied psychology are familiar with the Rosenhan experiment and similar studies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

teo123
Senior Member
Posts: 386
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:46 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by teo123 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:23 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:There's a huge difference between something being an established field of hard science, and using "hard sciencey" seeming tools to do something soft and claiming it makes it hard.
Don't you think that's exactly what's going on in economics? That much of economics is even worse than glottochronology, that it just uses advanced mathematics in order make itself harder to understand by laymen, while not even being theoretically falsifiable (Keynesian policies failing again and again didn't take it out of "mainstream" economics)?
But how can you be sure of that? How can you be sure that glottochronology is pseudoscience? If you come from natural sciences, that idea will seem rather natural to you, wouldn't it? You need to understand linguistics along with mathematics to understand that.
brimstoneSalad wrote: Or maybe actually ask a few?
Why don't you do that? Because you know they would be either laughing at you or be insulted? Particularly at your claim about how people from hard sciences are somehow justified to speak on the issues of soft sciences without seriously studying them.
brimstoneSalad wrote:"I didn't know there was such a serious study of those things!" = "My perception was that all linguistics was soft science without rigorous methodology"
Er, no, that means "I had no idea what linguistics was actually about.".
brimstoneSalad wrote:"However, make sure you don't use a style that presupposes too much knowledge of mathematics in your linguistics papers, because I am not sure how good linguists are at mathematics." = "That is still my perception of linguists in general, present company excluded"
You realize there is a difference between "not having studied a lot of mathematics" and "not trying to be rigorous"?
There are other ways of establishing rigour, like, in this case, not proposing etymologies that contradict the laws of grammar (primarily sound laws). Sometimes, yes, that rigour is unjustified and counter-productive, and you perhaps need to understand some mathematics along with linguistics to understand exactly why, but that's not to say one who doesn't understand math can't make scientific claims.
brimstoneSalad wrote:As such, somebody studied in a hard science is qualified to understand soft science, but somebody studied in soft science is not qualified to understand hard science.
See, to everyone outside of that cult here, this is an insane assertion. And you will have a very hard time finding a scientist to agree with it.

teo123
Senior Member
Posts: 386
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:46 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by teo123 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:36 pm

Jebus wrote: Hell no. I think most people who have studied psychology are familiar with the Rosenhan experiment and similar studies.
Rosenhan experiment doesn't really tell us about how reliable experiments in psychology are, they tell us about how accurate diagnostic methods are. Big difference here, isn't it?

Also,
brimstoneSalad wrote:Of course she thinks there's something to your work: you're actually trying to be rigorous.
So, do you also think there is something to my work now? And do you agree now that your comments about how I'm doing a "pudding soft science, if it is science at all" were unjustified, insulting and counter-productive?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests