Questions about Zeteticism
« on: April 22, 2022, 05:09:05 PM »
Apologies if this isn’t posted in the right place.  Please move if it belongs somewhere else.

I’ve been reading on the wiki about Zeteticism  and trying to wrap my head around it.  The whole idea seems pretty vague to me, but from what I gather, you shouldn’t start with a hypothesis.

My question is, without a hypothesis, how can you do experiments?  You have to know what you are looking for to design and perform an experiment.

Here’s what I mean.  You know from experience that whenever you let go of a balloon, it floats away.  Except one time it doesn’t and you wonder why.  There could be dozens of reasons why.  If you want to find out why, you have to choose one of those “hypothetical” reasons and test it.  If the first reason doesn’t explain why, you start with a new hypothesis and keep moving through the other reasons until you find one that could explain why.

And more basically, you have to start with the assumption that there is something different this time from all the other times.  That by itself is a “hypothesis”.

Here’s a couple of quote from Rowbotham that makes my point.

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We have an excellent example of a "Zetetic" process in an arithmetical operation, more especially so in what is called the "Golden Rule," or the "Rule of Three." If a hundredweight of any article costs a given sum, what will some other weight, less or more, be worth? The separate figures may be considered as the elements or facts in the inquiry; the placing and working of them as the logical arrangement of the evidence; and the quotient, or answer, as the fair and natural deduction,--the unavoidable or necessitated verdict. Hence, in every arithmetical or"Zetetic" process, the conclusion arrived at is essentially a quotient; which, if the details are correctly worked, must of necessity be true, and beyond the reach or power of contradiction.

The bolded part is the hypothesis.  You are starting with the assumption that something is true and working your calculations based on that.

Here’s another.

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We have another example of the "Zetetic" process in our Courts of Justice. A prisoner is placed at the bar; evidence for and against him is demanded: when advanced it is carefully arranged and patiently considered. It is then presented to the Jury for solemn reconsideration, and whatever verdict is given, it is advanced as the unavoidable conclusion necessitated by the whole of the evidence. In trials, for justice, society would not tolerate any other procedure. Assumption of guilt, and prohibition of all evidence to the contrary, is a practice not to be found among any of the civilised nations of the earth--scarcely indeed, among savages and barbarians; and yet assumption of premises, and selection of evidence to corroborate assumptions, is everywhere and upon all subjects the practice of theoretical philosophers!

But there is an assumption of innocence, and it is up to the prosecution to disprove that assumption.  At least that is how it works in the US.  Innocence is the hypothesis by starting with the assumption that it is true.

I really don’t see any difference, in practice, between the Zetetic method and the scientific method.

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2022, 06:45:02 PM »
But there is an assumption of innocence, and it is up to the prosecution to disprove that assumption.  At least that is how it works in the US.

This is incorrect. In the US there is a presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty. That is not the same thing. Assuming anything heading into a trial is a thing to be avoided.
Dr. Frank is a physicist. He says it's impossible. So it's impossible.
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2022, 08:43:24 PM »
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This is incorrect. In the US there is a presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty. That is not the same thing. Assuming anything heading into a trial is a thing to be avoided
.

Assume and presume are synonyms.  They mean the same thing.

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verb (used with object), pre·sumed, pre·sum·ing.
to take for granted, assume, or suppose:
I presume you're tired after your drive.
Law. to assume as true in the absence of proof to the contrary.
to undertake with unwarrantable boldness.
to undertake (to do something) without right or permission:
to presume to speak for another.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/presume

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Offline Roundy

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2022, 09:41:48 PM »
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This is incorrect. In the US there is a presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty. That is not the same thing. Assuming anything heading into a trial is a thing to be avoided
.

Assume and presume are synonyms.  They mean the same thing.

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verb (used with object), pre·sumed, pre·sum·ing.
to take for granted, assume, or suppose:
I presume you're tired after your drive.
Law. to assume as true in the absence of proof to the contrary.
to undertake with unwarrantable boldness.
to undertake (to do something) without right or permission:
to presume to speak for another.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/presume

No, they don't. They are similar. But assumption implies that one is sure of something without sufficient reason. Presumption does not carry that connotation.

If innocence was assumed there would be no trial.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2022, 09:43:33 PM by Roundy »
Dr. Frank is a physicist. He says it's impossible. So it's impossible.
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2022, 11:15:20 PM »
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No, they don't. They are similar. But assumption implies that one is sure of something without sufficient reason. Presumption does not carry that connotation.

If innocence was assumed there would be no trial.

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Assume and presume both mean "to take something for granted" or "to take something as true." The difference between the words lies in the degree of confidence held by the speaker or writer. If he or she is making an informed guess based on reasonable evidence, presume is the word to use; if a guess is made based on little or no evidence, assume is usually used. (This is not true, however, in the legal catchphrase "presumed innocent until proven guilty." That sense of presume is separately defined as "to suppose to be true without proof" and is based on the fact that legal systems grant the presumption of innocence, thereby placing the burden of proof on the prosecution.)


https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/assume-vs-presume#:~:text='Presume'%20is%20the%20word%20to,to%20use%20is%20'assume'.

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A presumption of innocence means that any defendant in a criminal trial is assumed to be innocent until they have been proven guilty.


https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/presumption_of_innocence

You are being pedantic but it doesn’t really matter. If you presume innocence or assume innocence, either way you are starting with a hypothesis.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2022, 11:50:42 PM »
You are being pedantic but it doesn’t really matter.
If you're willing to be sloppy and imprecise, then the differences between Zeteticism and the scientific method are indeed "minor". It's entirely up to you whether you want to explore them, or whether such differences "don't really matter" to you.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2022, 11:52:53 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2022, 02:58:10 PM »
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If you're willing to be sloppy and imprecise, then the differences between Zeteticism and the scientific method are indeed "minor". It's entirely up to you whether you want to explore them, or whether such differences "don't really matter" to you.

I don’t know what you are getting by sloppy and imprecise.  In the legal context "presumption of innocence" has a precise meaning.  Rowbotham made his argument in the legal context, so that is that definition that should be used.  If anything, Roundy was being sloppy and imprecise by using the colloquial meaning.

The minor differences do matter because they lead to different conclusions.

Here’s a question.  Using the zetetic method, what knowledge has been gained about the flat earth over the last couple of hundred years?  The proof is in the pudding, so they say.  If the zetetic method is superior, it seems like a lot more should have been learned.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2022, 09:26:57 PM »
I don’t know what you are getting by sloppy and imprecise.
Then ask. Don't waste your time following up. "I don't know what you're saying, but here's a response anyway!!" In a way, this is a fantastic illustration of how picking a hypothesis out of thin air leads to wasted effort.

Here’s a question.  Using the zetetic method, what knowledge has been gained about the flat earth over the last couple of hundred years?
Considering that Zeteticism is backwards-compatible with science, and that it's a method of inquiry, this question doesn't even begin to make sense.

If the zetetic method is superior, it seems like a lot more should have been learned.
What do you base this assertion on?
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2022, 06:35:28 AM »
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Considering that Zeteticism is backwards-compatible with science, and that it's a method of inquiry, this question doesn't even begin to make sense.

The scientific method is a method of inquiry too and according to Rowbotham the two methods aren’t compatible at all. According to him if you hypothesize or theorize, your conclusions are invalid. 

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None can doubt that by making special experiments, and collecting manifest and undeniable facts, arranging them in logical order, and observing what is naturally and fairly deducible therefrom, the result must be more consistent and satisfactory than the contrary method of framing a theory or system--assuming the existence and operation of causes of which there is no direct and practical evidence, and which is only claimed to be "admitted for the sake of argument," and for the purpose of giving an apparent and plausible, but not necessarily truthful explanation of phenomena

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Let the practice of theorising be abandoned as one oppressive to the reasoning powers, fatal to the full development of truth, and, in every sense, inimical to the solid progress of sound philosophy.

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The very construction of a theory at all, but especially such as the. Copernican, is a complete violation of that natural and legitimate mode of investigation to which the term "Zetetic" has been applied. 

I don’t know if he was just ignorant of what a hypothesis or theory is, or deliberate misrepresentation, but a hypothesis isn’t just a WAG.  Its using  reasoning to predict a possible outcome of an experiment based on prior knowledge and observation.

That process is apparently legitimate enough that he used it himself

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IF the earth is a globe, and is 25,000 English statute miles in circumference, the surface of all standing water must have a certain degree of convexity--every part must be an arc of a circle.

Then he designed his whole experiment around testing that hypothesis. That’s using the scientific method, whether he realized it or not.  He obviously didn’t understand the process enough to understand that his results couldn’t ,and didn’t, prove the earth was flat. It could only prove that it wasn’t a globe 25,000 English statute miles in circumference.  He didn’t even understand that by his own logic his conclusion was invalid because it began with a hypothesis.

So back to my question, what knowledge has been gained about the flat earth, without using any baseline hypotheses or theorizing?


Quote
What do you base this assertion on?
Superior methods produce superior results.  That’s what makes them superior methods. 

I’m not trying to bash zetecism, I just don’t see the point of it. It’s “Scientific Method Lite”. 

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2022, 07:55:22 AM »
according to Rowbotham the two methods aren’t compatible at all. According to him if you hypothesize or theorize, your conclusions are invalid.
What is it with RE'ers and this unshakeable obsession with Samuel Rowbotham? From what you're saying (which I didn't verify, because it's pretty unimportant) it sounds like Rowbotham was wrong. So what?

Superior methods produce superior results.  That’s what makes them superior methods. 
Once again you demonstrate the flaws of your philosophy. Superior methods produce superior results in a controlled environment. Your experimental setup is a shambles, since you haven't accounted for a plethora of factors unrelated to the method chosen; but still felt confident enough to draw conclusions.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 07:59:26 AM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2022, 03:24:15 AM »
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What is it with RE'ers and this unshakeable obsession with Samuel Rowbotham? From what you're saying (which I didn't verify, because it's pretty unimportant) it sounds like Rowbotham was wrong. So what?

I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’m certainly not obsessed with him.  I was curious about Zeteicism. He’s apparently the “father” of the it, or at least the version of it the flat earth movement seems to embrace.  You want to learn about something, original sources are usually the best place to start.

His whole philosophy is based on  believing that theories and hypothesis are inconsistent with real science.  Those were direct quotes from ENAG. If your brand of flat earth theory doesn’t support that idea, then its not very clear from your wiki.   

Your wiki says

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Zeteticism differs from the usual scientific method in that using zeteticism one bases his conclusions on experimentation and observation rather than on an initial theory that is to be proved or disproved. A zetetic forms the question then immediately sets to work making observations and performing experiments to answer that question, rather than speculating on what the answer might be then testing that out, as is instructed by the scientific method.

The site claims to support Zeteticism, so it’s a pretty glaring inconsistency if you do believe that its ok to base a conclusion on an “ initial theory that is to be proved or disproved” or “speculate on what the right answer might be”,    If your wiki isn’t clear, or worse, contradictory, its hardly fair to fault your readers for not understanding what you believe. The real problem is that that description  is such an oversimplification of the scientific method that its misleading.

Quote
Once again you demonstrate the flaws of your philosophy. Superior methods produce superior results in a controlled environment. Your experimental setup is a shambles, since you haven't accounted for a plethora of factors unrelated to the method chosen; but still felt confident enough to draw conclusions.

What are you talking about?  What experimental set up?  Maybe I wasn’t clear in my response. You asked on what basis I thought zecticism should have contributed more knowledge than it has about the flat earth.  I responded because a superior method, which the wiki claims it to be, should produce superior results.  If zecticism is a superior method of scientific inquiry, then there should be some results that show that.


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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2022, 07:24:31 AM »
He’s apparently the “father” of the it, or at least the version of it the flat earth movement seems to embrace.
Incorrect on both fronts. His contribution was promoting Zeteticism within FE circles, and promoting FE more broadly.

it’s a pretty glaring inconsistency if you do believe that its ok to base a conclusion on an “ initial theory that is to be proved or disproved” or “speculate on what the right answer might be”
No, you just have a poor understanding of Zeteticism, but you decided that it is everyone else who must be wrong. You once again reveal the flaws of your philosophy.

What are you talking about?  What experimental set up?  Maybe I wasn’t clear in my response.
Gosh, you're doing it again. You openly admit you didn't understand what I said, but you still feel compelled to answer. You don't know how to simply ask a question, do you?

If zecticism is a superior method of scientific inquiry, then there should be some results that show that.
This is incorrect (or, to be more precise: it is conditionally correct, but the conditions are not met here) and I already told you why. You chose not to address it.
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2022, 02:26:49 AM »
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No, you just have a poor understanding of Zeteticism, but you decided that it is everyone else who must be wrong. You once again reveal the flaws of your philosophy.

 I don’t understand it the way it is presented on this site that’s for sure. 

Your society accepts the results of Rothbotham’s experiments, so it should follow that it agrees with the way he conducted his experiments.  Except it doesn’t.

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 the zetetic does not make a hypothesis suggesting that the Earth is round or flat and then proceed to testing that hypothesis;
 

Things that don’t make logical sense are hard to understand.

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Superior methods produce superior results in a controlled environment

If its the way science should be done, zetecisim should be able to figure out how to do a controlled experiment.

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Your experimental setup is a shambles, since you haven't accounted for a plethora of factors unrelated to the method chosen; but still felt confident enough to draw conclusions.

Does that word salad come with an entree? Can I get some dressing on the side? 

I haven’t proposed any “experimental set up” , much less drawn any conclusions from one. Just commented on Rowbotham’s  method , asked how it could be put into actual practice and made  observations that he didn’t practice what he preached and that what he preached doesn’t seem to have led to explaining much of anything.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2022, 08:37:11 AM »
Your society accepts the results of Rothbotham’s experiments, so it should follow that it agrees with the way he conducted his experiments.  Except it doesn’t.
This conversation is bound to go in circles. You imagine something about FE or FE'ers, I tell you that you that it's not at all accurate and you should probably learn what you're discussing before discussing it, so you move on to another thing you've imagined or guessed. We can talk about Zeteticism, but you need to stop with the endless strawmans. You'd be well displeased if I did the same with you.

In this case, you have made 3 statements, comprising 3 critical errors:
  • A sweeping statement on how our society accepts the results of Rowbotham's experiments. In reality, some FE'ers accept some of Rowbotham's results. The claim that Rowbotham is some sort of "Flat Earth Messiah" is only ever used by RE'ers, and only by ones who don't know what they're talking about.
  • You then claim that "it should follow that it agrees with the way he conducted his experiments". It absolutely shouldn't, and it absolutely doesn't. Science is an adequate method of inquiry, even if it is flawed. Furthermore, many of the world's great discoveries were made by accident, which is a considerably worse method than science. And yet, to everyone's shock, these discoveries are not discarded, merely verified.
  • Finally, you reach your conclusion - "except it doesn't". I think most of the suspense has waned off by now, but let's say it anything: this, too, is incorrect. Some of Rowbotham's experiments were sound, some weren't.

So, I repeat myself: If you don't understand something, ask. Don't imagine an answer and demand that someone defends it for you.

I haven’t proposed any “experimental set up”
Of course you have. If you had simply read that comment in context, you would have realised that. Your experiment was to take both methods, as they're currently used in the real world, and compare their outputs. You have stated so clearly here:

Here’s a question.  Using the zetetic method, what knowledge has been gained about the flat earth over the last couple of hundred years?  The proof is in the pudding, so they say.  If the zetetic method is superior, it seems like a lot more should have been learned.

When I asked you to clarify, multiple times, you chose to simply repeat yourself. Example:

You asked on what basis I thought zecticism should have contributed more knowledge than it has about the flat earth.  I responded because a superior method, which the wiki claims it to be, should produce superior results.  If zecticism is a superior method of scientific inquiry, then there should be some results that show that.

However, your experimental setup sucks. You are comparing the output of a couple centuries of isolated enthusiasts who deliberately avoid funding with, well, the whole worlds of academia and business. This is an extremely poor performance regardless of which philosophy you prefer. By contrast, if we ordered 2 followers of each methodology to perform the same experiment, the veracity of their results will be affected by many more factors. A couple of quick examples:
  • Their competence. We've seen plenty of RE'ers who claim to be "true disciples of science", but who struggle to distinguish the concepts of velocity and acceleration in their minds.
  • Resources. If you start me off with a budget of £10,000,000, I sure as hell am gonna do better than the science enthusiast starting with £50.
  • Time. This one hopefully doesn't require an explanation.

So, to drive this point home: no, the logic of "if Zeteticism is so good, then why hasn't it done more than it already has?" doesn't even begin to work. You chose an arbitrary (and undefined) threshold for "making enough progress" and unilaterally declared that Zeteticism hasn't met that threshold. You've done so without knowing what Zeteticism is (as demonstrated above), too.

You started this thread as "Questions about Zeteticism", but so far you haven't had many questions. You're just explaining to us what you think Zeteticism is, and how what you've imagined doesn't make sense. I don't see what you hope to achieve here.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2022, 08:40:36 AM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2022, 11:23:09 AM »
Quote
A sweeping statement on how our society accepts the results of Rowbotham's experiments. In reality, some FE'ers accept some of Rowbotham's results. The claim that Rowbotham is some sort of "Flat Earth Messiah" is only ever used by RE'ers, and only by ones who don't know what they're talking about.

I can only go what is on the wiki. And the wiki implies his method is the method TFES uses. It even says that Rowbotham's Bedford Level experiment is TFES "best" experimental evidence of a flat earth.   The wiki should say so if TFES doesn't completely endorse his methods. 

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Their competence. We've seen plenty of RE'ers who claim to be "true disciples of science", but who struggle to distinguish the concepts of velocity and acceleration in their minds.
    • Resources. If you start me off with a budget of £10,000,000, I sure as hell am gonna do better than the science enthusiast starting with £50.
    • Time. This one hopefully doesn't require an explanation.

Those aren’t reasons why zecticism hasn’t produced any real results.  They are evidence that it is a flawed system to begin with.  If it had merit, qualified and knowledgeable people, trained scientists, would practice it and resources would be available.  But those people understand that it’s logically impossible to reach a valid conclusion without starting with a hypothesis.  That’s why Rothbotham had to do it, while pretending not to.

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So, I repeat myself: If you don't understand something, ask. Don't imagine an answer and demand that someone defends it for you.

I did ask. That’s why I started out asking in my first post  how would you design an experiment to figure out why one balloon floats away and another doesn’t, without starting by testing what you think the answer might be?  Nobody seems to want to answer that.  That's the only reason the conversation goes in circles.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 11:44:29 AM by GreatScott »

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Re: Questions about Zeteticism
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2022, 12:43:27 PM »
I can only go what is on the wiki.
No. You can also ask questions, perhaps in a thread titled "Questions about Zeteticism".

And the wiki implies his method is the method TFES uses.
That's your interpretation, and not something that's stated in the Wiki. I once again invite you to further your understanding before jumping to conclusions. This conversation will never progress if you just keep saying "YOU BELIEVE <something nobody believes> AND THAT'S WRONG!!!". You've already lost your entire audience, except for me; and I'm not sticking around for much longer if you're not willing to have an adult conversation.

The wiki should say so if TFES doesn't completely endorse his methods.
A ridiculous proposition. We would have to include such a statement with every person we've ever cited (and so would you, if you held yourself to the same standard). Written communication usually relies on the good faith of the reader. If you're not willing to extend that, then you're the architect of your own failure to understand.

Those aren’t reasons why zecticism hasn’t produced any real results. They are evidence that it is a flawed system to begin with.
Your reasoning is circular. You cannot presuppose that Zeteticism is flawed while presenting a logical argument for whether it is flawed.

If it had merit, qualified and knowledgeable people, trained scientists, would practice it and resources would be available.
History is against you, here. Multiple areas of science which we now consider mainstream were originally unable to progress due to a lack of resources, social stigma, or active suppression by those in power. A lack of success (which, by the way, you have yet to demonstrate - see critique above) is not an indication of unsound methods.

I did ask.
You asked one question, based on a plethora of misunderstandings of the subject you're trying to discuss. I propose that you should develop a basic understanding of the subject to begin with. Note that this will require you to do some work, as opposed to starting with a hypothesis and demanding that someone defends it for you.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 12:51:05 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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