Re: Re[2]: Tell me if you've heard this one.

Anders Sandberg (
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 15:14:43 +0200 (MET DST)

On Tue, 29 Apr 1997, MikeRose wrote:

> Okay, but what about the scientists who find what they are looking for in
> nature? The ones who seem to actually 'create' the phenomenon?
> Proof of LSD causing chromozome damage has been both 'proved' and
> 'disproved' by teams of researchers for and against the theraputic use of
> LSD.

The problem is that in many fields it is extremely easy to influence an
experiment with one's preconceptions, and even easier to interpret the
results in the way that fits them (psychology is a wonderful example).
Especially if you have a firm emotional belief about the subject (imagine
that you are a scientist looking at the dangers of a illegal drug or a
scientist looking at the possible side-effects of a vitamin - guess which
scientist is most likely to find chromosome damage?). This is one reason
scientific methodology has to be so strict and conservative: to weed out
observer biases in the long run and retain the facts that remain true
regardless of who sees them.

> We are PART of nature, we grew out of it, we weren't placed here as
> objective observers by God. We grew out of that which we observe and we
> cannot separate the observer from the observed (except in thought and
> language).

Well, in many cases it is convenient and in some cases it is quite
reasonable. Ideally, you should be keenly aware of how you as an observer
influence things and take them into account (if possible), but it doesn't
mean the observer is always significant for the experiment.

> Also, light can be seen as particles or waves, depending on the observors
> assumptions, techniques, biases etc. etc.

No, your assumptions won't change light: a photoelectric experiment won't
cease to work just because you don't believe in photons, just as a
two-slit experiment won't work when die hard particle-believers are
present. Both reveal objective facts about reality which shows that both
groups obviously are wrong (the truth is of course simple: light isn't
particles or waves, it is something else that can behave like both).

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y