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Thread: clear vision

  1. #1 clear vision 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    How does a person distinguish between true and untrue knowledge? How do people acknowledge that they know one thing but that they do not know another thing (though they may have theories)? Do you believe there is a skill to seeing the world objectively? Is this what science is supposed to be? Is the desire to deceive purely for the sake of profit? Why is deception so effective?

    Why do people spend their lives contemplating how to fit all the new health trends into their lives? Why do people pack into gyms to do what can just as easily be done in the cool outdoor air, for free? Why do people internalize sugar coated and cherry picked media reports about isolated research studies which are not meant to address such isolated questions?

    Can clear vision be trained? Can people be taught, or learn how to see the world as it is, and not how it is presented?

    This is not some rant. These are real questions and I have my own answers.

    I apologize if this feels like too many questions, and that they're a bit scattered, but that's my mood at the moment.


    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  3. #2  
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    How does a person distinguish between true and untrue knowledge? How do people acknowledge that they know one thing but that they do not know another thing (though they may have theories)? Do you believe there is a skill to seeing the world objectively?
    Not so sure about the world, science in particular. But I've trained a lot of adults in legal stuff. I always treated it as an exercise in getting people to know enough that they should know what they didn't know. (Didn't always work of course, it's a bit difficult when some of your trainees have been known to say things like "The computer produced the answer. It must be right.")

    Nowadays I'd be inclined to use the idea of the acquisition of knowledge as a jigsaw. You get all the pieces sorted, if you're lucky it has fairly standard edges so you can distinguish the framework from the body of the picture. The most important thing about the jigsaw approach is the readiness you absolutely must have to change your view of individual pieces. Yes, it did look as though it fitted like that in the boat section, but now you're halfway through the road or garden, it looks as though it should be put, sideways, into the car or a path.

    You can do the same with scientific knowledge. There's data which looks to fit neatly with analysis or theory in a particular way. When you add in more data or you look at what you've got through a different statistical or classification method, it fits better somewhere else. And that piece that seemed very uncomfortably sited on the all important framework? Finishes up as a minor detail in the background of the picture itself.

    It's the willingness to change in the face of additional information or analysis married to the decisiveness to place, or at least sort, pieces where they seem to belong for the time being.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    How does a person distinguish between true and untrue knowledge? How do people acknowledge that they know one thing but that they do not know another thing (though they may have theories)? Do you believe there is a skill to seeing the world objectively?
    Not so sure about the world, science in particular. But I've trained a lot of adults in legal stuff. I always treated it as an exercise in getting people to know enough that they should know what they didn't know. (Didn't always work of course, it's a bit difficult when some of your trainees have been known to say things like "The computer produced the answer. It must be right.")

    Nowadays I'd be inclined to use the idea of the acquisition of knowledge as a jigsaw. You get all the pieces sorted, if you're lucky it has fairly standard edges so you can distinguish the framework from the body of the picture. The most important thing about the jigsaw approach is the readiness you absolutely must have to change your view of individual pieces. Yes, it did look as though it fitted like that in the boat section, but now you're halfway through the road or garden, it looks as though it should be put, sideways, into the car or a path.

    You can do the same with scientific knowledge. There's data which looks to fit neatly with analysis or theory in a particular way. When you add in more data or you look at what you've got through a different statistical or classification method, it fits better somewhere else. And that piece that seemed very uncomfortably sited on the all important framework? Finishes up as a minor detail in the background of the picture itself.

    It's the willingness to change in the face of additional information or analysis married to the decisiveness to place, or at least sort, pieces where they seem to belong for the time being.
    I like your discussion, but I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing.

    I'm thinking more along the lines of, when I see someone with a harsh expression on their face do I interpret it, or merely observe it? Do I see it for what it is or do I try to turn it into something?

    In science I see both events. If I study the health effects of the cocoa bean I may learn something interesting. If I read a study of the effects of the cocoa bean in a magazine that says it will cure cancer and make you think better and then I start eating one chocolate bar a day to get my fill, this is over complicating.

    One scenario we are merely looking at it for what it is. The other scenario we are trying to apply that small isolated piece of knowledge to the complex lives of individuals. Now more than ever people have access to unprecedented loads of information, and it seems a huge chunk of that is misinformation, and only adds to confusion. So, how might someone alleviate this confusion?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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    it seems a huge chunk of that is misinformation, and only adds to confusion. So, how might someone alleviate this confusion?
    Check your sources. If the information comes from a government agency or a well-regarded scientific paper you're usually pretty safe going with it. If it comes from snake oil salesmen or cranks or Aunt Enid's recollections of 50+ years ago, you're well-justified in thinking you need something better to back it up.

    So if you're looking for vaccine information, preferring either the CDC recommendations or material from someone selling supplements or homeopathic preparations should be pretty straightforward.

    A lot of issues are not quite so clearcut as this, but it's the best model to work from. "Citation needed" are words to live by.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    ........ If the information comes from a government agency .......you're usually pretty safe going with it.
    If it comes from snake oil
    If my entire life's experience along these lines be my guide, the red highlight is actually the snake oil!

    jocular
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    If my entire life's experience along these lines be my guide, the red highlight is actually the snake oil!
    So you think the CDC makes vaccination decisions and epidemic reports for fun.
    That the Army specifies the nutritional and contamination standards for its food suppliers just to be a nuisance.
    That the FDA and state and local authorities specify food safety requirements because they've got nothing better to do.
    Air and other transport safety directives just get in the way.
    That the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues shipping advice because they used to like seeing their name in the newspapers and they needed to create a whole National Weather Service bureaucracy shame on them! because storm and hurricane warnings are jolly japes?
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    it seems a huge chunk of that is misinformation, and only adds to confusion. So, how might someone alleviate this confusion?
    Check your sources. If the information comes from a government agency or a well-regarded scientific paper you're usually pretty safe going with it. If it comes from snake oil salesmen or cranks or Aunt Enid's recollections of 50+ years ago, you're well-justified in thinking you need something better to back it up.

    So if you're looking for vaccine information, preferring either the CDC recommendations or material from someone selling supplements or homeopathic preparations should be pretty straightforward.

    A lot of issues are not quite so clearcut as this, but it's the best model to work from. "Citation needed" are words to live by.
    So training people to look at citations will keep them clear on what's going on? I can certainly agree with this for most scientific claims. I think the trouble comes with what I imagine to be a huge chunk of the population running into information but not being trained to do this. Hmmm... I suppose that's their problem.

    We can't have citations for everything though. As in the "non-scientific" example of seeing somebody's face. We certainly can't get a citation on that. Can we?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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    As in the "non-scientific" example of seeing somebody's face. We certainly can't get a citation on that. Can we?
    When it comes to perceptions we can always crosscheck. Is that Amy over there? Does this feel hot to you?
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  10. #9  
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    A lack of sensitive instrument detection does not mean that something is "non-scientific" or outside of scientific examination.
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    Not sure if such a thing as untrue knowledge exists unless there's a very good chance your information is correct but can't be proven. Knowledge for me at least, is the truth about something.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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