Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | List of forums | Search | FAQ


Posted by Bob (check the email add. if you can't tell which) on November 26, 1999, at 9:30:25

In reply to Re: To anybody, posted by saint james on November 23, 1999, at 23:55:18

I knew I was asking for it staying away so long....

Scott -- best reply yet. Forget Occam's Razor, more like we need McCullough's Chainsaw to get through this forest.

Now I have to try to remember all the points Adam made that I wanted to agree with or redirect ... should have wrote them down... lessee...

"Physics envy" -- well, as a biologist, maybe such a standard is appropriate, since there's a lot of biology that can conform to such a hard empiricist stance. Until we finally connected what happens on a neurological/-chemical basis with actual memories or behaviors or meanings, it remains a BIG problem for psychologists. Sure, those research and clinical psychologists who must remain closely tied to the biological underpinings of behavior and thought can use physics envy as a test for their outcomes, but people in more social, applied fields like me (as an educational psychologist ... no, I don't go into schools and help troubled kids--more like I *cause* trouble for them by asking all sorts of brain-twisting questions to figure out how they learn) physics envy is a counterproductive distraction. Particularly in the area of motivation, what people perceive and believe is far more important than what "is". Sure, I could follow a rather common protocol of examining the correlation between belief and behavior, but this does little to explain why people aren't more objectivist in pursuing courses of action.

Getting back to "fact", hypothesis, and theory, we're in more agreement than it seems from my reading of your post on that. Yes, hypotheses are often made within the constraints of a theory, particularly to provide more support for that theory. And hypotheses, since when constructed appropriately limit their concern to highly controlled situations (one outcome and one cause, unless you're using some multivariate procedure to examine multiple causes), can be rather forcefully demonstrated to be false or a better alternative than anything else to date (the closest thing to "truth" in the falsification paradigm). Theories are far more adaptive mental organisms, being built upon supported hypotheses and capable of generating new ones. One negative case ruins a hypothesis -- but theories tend to adapt to include the negative case as a positive case instead, rather than collapsing. It takes a more systemic failure to knock a theory out for good.

Adam, maybe you could fill me (and the rest of us) in on something else here.

That was a great description of the traditional view of evolution*. The thing about it, tho, is that it suggests a rather gradual change in species over the course of millions of years. I guess there's evidence that sometimes evolution makes great leaps over the course of rather short periods (in the geoligical sense of terms ... thousands or years, perhaps only hundreds, but certainly not millions). How does that notion of "punctuated equilibrium" fit in theoretically?

*One thing I would add is a point about what makes a "good" mutation. It's a very common lay-conception that nature somehow produces the mutations an organism needs to survive, meaning that "survival of the fittest" is somehow a purposeful process and ascribing to Nature some sort of will or intelligence. Traditionally, tho, this is horse hockey. Mutations are produced randomly and (over time and across an entire species) rather prolifically. Think of the high end of a bell curve--very few of those mutations will have a much better fit with the environment than what is ordinary. If it wasn't for time and numbers, if life remained a rather constrained phenomenon, then we wouldn't see much speciation. In a traditional sense, there is no such thing as a good mutation, only random ones that on quite rare occasions wind up conveying an ecological advantage.

Then again, I guess there is evidence against a purely randomized process of mutation as well.





Post a new follow-up

Your message only Include above post

Notify the administrators

They will then review this post with the posting guidelines in mind.

To contact them about something other than this post, please use this form instead.


Start a new thread

Google www
Search options and examples
[amazon] for

This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | FAQ
Psycho-Babble Medication | Framed

poster:Bob (check the email add. if you can't tell which) thread:14368