Offline edby

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Models vs patterns
« on: January 09, 2019, 12:35:30 PM »
Some Flatearthers like to say that astronomical predictions are merely based on patterns, and that such patterns would exist whether or not the earth were flat. Hence RE = 0, FE = 0. It’s a draw.

But science itself does not measure success in that way. First, science requires an explanatory model. And it rates models in the following way. (1) Prefer a more accurate model to a less accurate one. (2) Given models of roughly equal accuracy, prefer the simpler model to the more complex one. (3) Prefer any model to no model at all.

So, take the pattern we observe of the sun rising, then setting, then a period of near darkness, then sun rising again. This is a well-observed pattern. Then the current scientific model is that this is caused by a relatively stationary sun, with the earth revolving on an axis or rotation. This is more than just noting the pattern, it is explaining it. An earlier model (the Ptolemaic) has a fixed earth with the planets, stars and sun revolving around it. Both models score roughly equally except for planetary motion. The Ptolemaic model does explain these, but it is more complex than the Newtonian system that replaced it, so prefer the current heliocentric one, which is simpler.

Then we have the Flat Earth model, which aims to explain the day-night pattern by a sun rotating around the flat disc of the Earth. How does this score? Well it’s a model of sorts. However, it does not accurately predict the angle that the sun appears each day, the position it rises in the east and so on. So it’s not really a model, and certainly not an accurate one. I have seen models that explain the observations in terms of light bending and so on, but (a) these are based on the RE system anyway and (b) they are far more complex.

In summary, it’s not about which system is ‘true’. Rather, which model best explains the observations. The current scientific model beats the flat earth one based on the scoring system proposed by Science.

Of course there may be other scoring systems. Perhaps someone would like to suggest one that favours flat earth models?

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 12:53:34 PM »
But science itself does not measure success in that way. [...]
It's a fine allegation, and one that arguably favours you, so I'm not surprised you'd embrace it. Unfortunately, we've already established that this is often not the case. Just stating that it happens is worthless.

However, it does not accurately predict the angle that the sun appears each day, the position it rises in the east and so on.
These allegations are also warm and fuzzy, but they're better from the previous ones in that they're merely unsubstantiated, and not outright false.

Of course there may be other scoring systems. Perhaps someone would like to suggest one that favours flat earth models?
I propose that truth is a prerequisite, and that you're bending it so hard here it's about to snap. A "model" which is (more or less) consistent with itself but which is otherwise false is strictly worse than no model at all. This is in direct contradiction to your point (3). Deception is not superior to a lack of knowledge - and this is something that real science acknowledges.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 01:02:35 PM »
But science itself does not measure success in that way. [...]
It's a fine allegation, and one that arguably favours you, so I'm not surprised you'd embrace it.
I am simply stating how established science measures 'success'. I ended my post asking for suggestions of scoring models in different ways. Over to you.

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I propose that truth is a prerequisite
So your scoring system for a model is to prefer a true model to a false one? But how do we establish the truth? By observation presumably?

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These allegations are also warm and fuzzy, but they're better from the previous ones in that they're merely unsubstantiated, and not outright false.
My allegation was that FE models do not accurately predict the angle that the sun appears each day, the position it rises in the east and so on. To test that statement, we need an FE model. Where is that model? If there is no model, then Science applies test (3) (prefer some model to no model). If there is a model, then its accuracy can be tested. Let's do that. I am happy to be proved wrong, Science is about that kind of being happy.

[EDIT]
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A "model" which is (more or less) consistent with itself but which is otherwise false is strictly worse than no model at all.
No the scientific model is not consistent with itself, but rather with the observations it is trying to model.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 01:04:10 PM by edby »

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 01:14:39 PM »
I am simply stating how established science measures 'success'.
And I pointed out that your statement is false, and I explained why. "Simply stating" a falsehood is not helpful.

So your scoring system for a model is to prefer a true model to a false one?
No, this happens prior to scoring. There's no need to mark something that doesn't meet the submission criteria.

No the scientific model is not consistent with itself, but rather with the observations it is trying to model.
Another unsubstantiated allegation.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 01:17:11 PM »
I am simply stating how established science measures 'success'.
And I pointed out that your statement is false, and I explained why. "Simply stating" a falsehood is not helpful.

So your scoring system for a model is to prefer a true model to a false one?
No, this happens prior to scoring. There's no need to mark something that doesn't meet the submission criteria.

No the scientific model is not consistent with itself, but rather with the observations it is trying to model.
Another unsubstantiated allegation.

Well as you are challenging one of the main views on scientific method, an area where I have published work, I suggest putting your challenge to one or more of my co-workers.

I can also provide plenty of citations to support my claims.

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 01:18:51 PM »
Well as you are challenging one of the main views on scientific method
Absolutely not. You are the one making the claim of superiority with unqualified and unjustified statements. We won't be having a "Prove me wrong" discussion here. Start backing up your claims.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 01:22:05 PM »
Well as you are challenging one of the main views on scientific method
Absolutely not. You are the one making the claim of superiority with unqualified and unjustified statements. We won't be having a "Prove me wrong" discussion here. Start backing up your claims.
Read what I wrote. I am not asserting that the mainstream view on modelling is correct, merely stating what it is. You see the difference?

Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 01:26:50 PM »

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 01:29:53 PM »
Read what I wrote. I am not asserting that the mainstream view on modelling is correct, merely stating what it is. You see the difference?
You are stating what you'd like it to be. Unfortunately, your allegation does not match the reality of the situation.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 01:32:50 PM »
Read what I wrote. I am not asserting that the mainstream view on modelling is correct, merely stating what it is. You see the difference?
You are stating what you'd like it to be. Unfortunately, your allegation does not match the reality of the situation.
Take a look at that paper, and if that's not satisfactory, I can cite many more.

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 01:35:16 PM »
Take a look at that paper, and if that's not satisfactory, I can cite many more.
You continue to mistake stating something for proving it or establishing it as true. It's okay, we can wait.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 01:36:19 PM »
No the scientific model is not consistent with itself, but rather with the observations it is trying to model.
Another unsubstantiated allegation.
I suggest you look at the statistical (and scientific) principle of 'expected vs actual'. 'Expected' is the result given by the model, 'actual' is the observation. The observation, if unbiased, is independent of whatever model we use. For example, the observation that the sun rises every day is an observation that is model-independent.

Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2019, 01:38:15 PM »
Take a look at that paper, and if that's not satisfactory, I can cite many more.
You continue to mistake stating something for proving it or establishing it as true. It's okay, we can wait.
I did not write that paper.

[EDIT]Here's another, not a paper but a clear statement of scientific method.

https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/phylogenetics_08

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The parsimony principle is basic to all science and tells us to choose the simplest scientific explanation that fits the evidence.

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2019, 01:39:09 PM »
Read the FAQ before asking your question - chances are we've already addressed it.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2019, 01:41:53 PM »
Quote
The view that simplicity is a virtue in scientific theories and that, other things being equal, simpler theories should be preferred to more complex ones has been widely advocated in the history of science and philosophy, and it remains widely held by modern scientists and philosophers of science.
https://www.iep.utm.edu/simplici/
I am not claiming the method is correct, rather that it is a principle widely used in modern science.  The IEP corroborates my claim.

Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2019, 01:42:43 PM »
I did not write that paper.
And?
And I am stating something that is supported by that paper. See also the two other cites I provided. Citation requested, citation provided.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2019, 01:48:11 PM »
Citation requested
I didn't request a citation. I asked you to resolve the multiple contradictions in your statements.

I am not claiming the method is correct, rather that it is a principle widely used in modern science.  The IEP corroborates my claim.
And what does it matter if we already know that your claim is false? The popularity of your claim won't magically eliminate issues from it.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2019, 01:49:10 PM »
Also worth citing:
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This view [i.e. on the preference for simplicity] has a long and illustrious history. Though it is now most commonly associated with the 14th century philosopher, William of Ockham (also spelt “Occam”), whose name is attached to the famous methodological maxim known as “Ockham’s razor”, which is often interpreted as enjoining us to prefer the simplest theory consistent with the available evidence, it can be traced at least as far back as Aristotle. In his Posterior Analytics, Aristotle argued that nothing in nature was done in vain and nothing was superfluous, so our theories of nature should be as simple as possible. Several centuries later, at the beginning of the modern scientific revolution, Galileo espoused a similar view, holding that, “[n]ature does not multiply things unnecessarily; that she makes use of the easiest and simplest means for producing her effects” (Galilei, 1962, p396). Similarly, at beginning of the third book of the Principia, Isaac Newton included the following principle among his “rules for the study of natural philosophy”:
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No more causes of natural things should be admitted than are both true and sufficient to explain their phenomena.
 As the philosophers say: Nature does nothing in vain, and more causes are in vain when fewer will suffice. For Nature is simple and does not indulge in the luxury of superfluous causes. (Newton, 1999, p794 [emphasis in original]).

In the 20th century, Albert Einstein asserted that “our experience hitherto justifies us in believing that nature is the realisation of the simplest conceivable mathematical ideas” (Einstein, 1954, p274).
Again, I am not claiming that the principle is the right one. Rather, that it has considerable support in mainstream science.

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2019, 01:51:00 PM »
Again, I am not claiming that the principle is the right one. Rather, that it has considerable support in mainstream science.
Ah! You're finally budging! We moved down from "this is how it works" to "this has considerable support". Perhaps soon you'll start addressing the actual issue.
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Offline edby

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Re: Models vs patterns
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2019, 01:51:36 PM »
And what does it matter if we already know that your claim is false? The popularity of your claim won't magically eliminate issues from it.
Again, and as stated above, my claim is not whether the scientific method is correct, but rather, 'this is the mainstream scientific view, widely held etc'. You are deeply confused.

I stated right there in the OP that alternative methods of scoring models could be discussed or proposed.