Homepage Forums Scientific Method, Skepticism Open – Minded Thinking Outside the Box.

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  • #565
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    What I like most about these fusion forums is some of the people here who are very open – minded about the unlimited possibilities when thinking outside the box …… even if some of the ideas are somewhat crank – y and crack – pott – E and will not always work. You’ve got to wade through an endless swamp of unworkable ideas, tossing most of them out one by one, before occasionally stumbling upon that rare valuable gem of a discovery. But the rare valuable gem makes the effort well worth it.

    #3414
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    AaronB
    Member

    Publicly thinking outside the box can be difficult at times. It takes a thick skin to put forward a radical idea for scrutiny. Criticism is sometimes hard to take. However, one of the greatest benefits of sharing your ideas, even if they are way off base, is that creativity is contagious. An idea that doesn’t work in one circumstance might work in another, and your idea can inspire the next guy who needed that perspective. I am a big believer of casting bread upon the water, so to speak. You never know what will happen, and how your contribution could initiate some big change. I believe in random acts of kindness and paying it forward. I believe in the power of individual creativity and collective effort. That’s what the Focus Fusion Society is all about. While we rally around a particular technology, we recognize the enormous impact that breakthrough ideas can have. We recognize the need for change in the world, and we are motivated to play a part in it. By nature, those drawn to these forums are outside-the-box thinkers. While not every proposed idea will turn out to be correct, the process of stimulating conversation and examining ideas will ultimately lead to unexpected progress. We are creating a breeding ground for serendipity to occur. We are finding like-minded people from all walks of life, from various career fields, from all over the world. They all want to help in any way they can. The last few months have been amazing, and hopefully the next year will continue to bring amazing progress and surprises. It’s fun to be along for the ride. 🙂

    #3424
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    Very well put, AaronB. These are very exciting times to be living in. And it all makes one live in anticipation of what more things will happen tommorrow. It’s almost like when you were a little boy when Christmas Eve was approaching …… the anticipation and suspense of having to wait in order to tear into all those gifts under the tree just kills you. Just substitute the gifts under the tree for the excitement that future technology can bring.

    Like I said, what I like about the focus fusion forums is the open – mindedness encouraged here. I’ve been in other forums on the internet where people were extremely arrogant and rude with personal insults and derogatory language like stupid, ignorant crackpot, and etc. But in the focus fusion forums, most of the technically knowledgeable people here show others respect …… and explain things to you in a polite, civil manner so as not to be too personally insinuating …… or to hurt your feelings when explaining why they don’t think something has a very good chance of being feasible. Brian H even apologized to mistry4u for sounding like a dumb layman way too ” twilight – zoned ” out. Most interesting of all, you learn a lot of really cool nuclear physics stuff along the way ! ! !

    True science should always and foremost be about open – minded scientific inquiry. Deeply entrenched dogmas and stiffling arrogance should never impose too much dictatorship and censorship in science, for this can undermine the entire scientific process and scientific method. And yes, it also requres humility and humbleness to admit when you’re wrong about something, too.

    #3522
    Breakable
    Breakable
    Keymaster

    This video is a very nice definition of open-mindedness,
    and explains why open-minded people should use EVIDENCE to consider any ideas:

    #3532
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    This video brought – up some very interesting points which I agree with. However, I have noticed there are times when the scientific community themselves have often fallen into some of these same traps and flaws in their reasoning ability. A case in point is the heater making the so – called ” lamp ghost ” move. All too often an arrogant, dogmatic scientific community can dismiss out of hand so – called pseudo – science when there may be other more credible phenomena behind it which they refuse to investigate further.

    Let’s take U.F.O. sightings, for example. Now, I don’t really believe in it in the interpretation context of little green men flying around in a flying saucer. Alien visitations to planet Earth are remotely possible, but unlikely. This is due to the velocity of light constraints and the fact that the nearest intelligent civilization may be an incredible amount of light years away. However, such sightings should not be completely dismissed outright, because science may miss the opportunity to investigate other credible phenomena behind it …. such as the rare phenomena called ball lightning …. a very rare form of electrical activity.

    Another example : crackpot perpetual motion getting a free energy lunch. For some time now, inventors all over the world have been claiming to get more energy out than put into it. But what if there’s something else besides perpetual motion taking place in some of these instances? Some scientists think that there may be the possibility that some exotic, as yet undiscovered nuclear reaction may be converting the mass of the magnets according to E = MC2. Some claim that a slightly heavier isotope of iron may be stimulated to decay into a slightly lighter isotope of iron. However, these people still need more EVIDENCE, I must certainly admit. Until then, we’ll just have to have more faith in Lerner and his group of researchers for pB11 reactions harnessing more practical nuclear energy.

    #3533
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    Speaking of iron, while we’re on the subject, I would also like to mention that I actually do have more faith in Einstein’s famous formula E = MC2 than in the binding energy curve dogma. So long as something has mass, it’s still theoretically convertible to energy. The binding energy curve dogma only applies to conventional nuclear reactions of both fission and fusion. But what if some exotic new kind of nuclear reaction was to render the binding energy curve irrelevant ? For an example, if anti – matter was to come into contact with ordinary matter, how much you want to bet that mass annhiliation might occur anyway, no matter what?

    Always, always, always …. keep an open mind to unlimited possibilities. But yes, it still must always be backed by FACTS and EVIDENCE. What I’m about to say next may sound like a contradiction, but I think that a true scientist must be an open – minded skeptic /cynic. You need a healthy balance of both.

    #3537
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    Let us also keep in mind that sometimes what is or isn’t sufficient evidence is often in the mind of the closed – minded beholder. A closed mind will always consider /or not consider what evidence they want to consider.

    Not only is seeing believing, but the opposite can also be equally true. In other words, believing can be a way of seeing.

    A stubbornly arrogant and closed – minded person will often continue to stubbornly deny /ignore evidence even when it is provided for them and placed directly under their nose. It often takes an open mind to acknowlege evidence and recognize it for what it is even when it’s present. It can be sort of like the old saying about leading a horse to water, but still can’t make him drink. The definition open – minded means just exactly that : you have to be willing to intellectually seek evidence …. rather than throw the off – switch to the brain and deliberately quit thinking …. because of preconcieved dogmas that have already got your mind ” made – up “. Not only is pseudoscience like religion and witchcraft like this, I’ve also seen the same type of critical error in reason within the mainstream science establishment occasionally from time to time.

    I guess the main concept here is whether somebody is willing to place too much faith in something ” pre – evidence ” , as opposed to not wanting to believe something even after ” post – evidence “. Once again, I recommend a healthy balance of both faith and skepticism when it comes to the scientific method of critical thinking.

    #3539
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    I would also like to make another important point:
    While nobody should have to believe anything without evidence……just like the YouTube video states……it can be equally arrogant and closed – minded to go around disbelieving anything and everything just because of a lack of evidence. Because in some cases, a lack of evidence does not necessarily mean it’s false or not true, either.

    In some cases, it may be better to take an ” I’m not sure ” type of neutral position of neither believing nor disbelieving……until more conclusive evidence can be found.

    And NEVER assume anything. You should never make assumptions you may come to regret later on. Ever wonder why ASSUME is spelled the way it is ? First of all, you’ve got the first three letters which spell ” ASS “. This is followed by the letter ” U “. And finally, the last two letters spell ” ME “. This is because to assume things makes an ass out of you and me ! 😆 :cheese: 😛

    As far as religion and the Hebrew god is concerned……and patently absurd claims like Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, or that the world was created in only six days……it’s not so much the lack of evidence for his existence that disproves his existence……so much as all the conflicting scientific facts, evidence, and rational thought processes WE DO HAVE which casts doubt on his existence.

    #3541
    Breakable
    Breakable
    Keymaster

    Rational being should consider lack of evidence as disproof, because there is no way you can prove a negative like “there is no cold fusion”. You can only say “we tried some things, and they did not work”.
    Of course investing some effort into research is always a good idea, but priority is given to most perspective approaches. The problem is that “understood” and “perspective” is mixed up.

    #3542
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    In some cases it may be rational to consider lack of evidence the same as disproof, and in other cases it may not be……just plain closed – mindedness on the part of extremely arrogant conservative individuals……depending on the type of situation. This is why the justice system does not always work and bad guys get away with crimes……nobody can prove their guilt……or innocent people get punished instead……because nobody can prove their innocence.

    #3543
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    And of course, in the case of guilty bad guys like O.J. Simpson and the murders that he committed, you can have just plain denial of overwhelming evidence.

    #3545
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    Rezwan
    Member

    Here’s a quote from one of my favorite books on science that brings up the issue of uncertainty:

    To assert that science is open-minded, or that it should be, not only contradicts the evidence but also clashes directly, and not too subtly, with other common beliefs about science, in particular that scientific knowledge carries a notable degree of certainty. Everything that one learns has not only a positive side – that certain things exist, that a certain phenomenon takes place – but also a negative one – that certain other things therefore cannot exist, that certain other phenomena therefore cannot occur. This, of course, is the source of resistance to novelty. Having explicitly learned certain things, scientists and science have at the same time learned implicitly that other things are not so. We could then be truly open-minded only about things that we do not yet know about at all, or things about which we know so little that we cannot even judge their plausibility. That is an empty sort of open-mindedness, good in lighthearted bull sessions perhaps, but irrelevant to organized knowledge seeking.

    Further:

    Much about the actual everyday practice of science can be understood on the basis that science is a conservative, even hidebound enterprise; little, if anything, can be understood about the actual practice of science by regarding it as inherently open to new things. Indeed, genuine absurdity results if the demand that science be open is taken to logical conclusions.

    From “Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method” by Henry Bauer. Check it out 😛

    #3546
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    Rezwan
    Member

    Ooh! Here’s an even better quote. This book is so much fun:

    Scientists and true believers in science are fond of pointing out that science is always open to new ideas, new methods, new knowledge: how otherwise could one explain the progress of science, which has seen the continual acquisition of new knowledge by deployment of continually new methods and the adoption of continually new theories?

    This is the same fallacy as that which led to the myth of the scientific method. Hindsight gives a misleading perspective. There may not be a simple cause for what has happened in science in the past few centuries. One might equally explain the course of biological evolution through openness to change, just because as we look back we see that there has been so much change. In point of fact, we believe that biological change is anomalous rather than normal. Reproduction proceeds by duplication of existing genes, with considerable safeguards against errors in duplication, so that organisms on the whole breed true; the challenge is much more to explain variation and novelty than faithful heredity and stasis. The particular course that evolution has taken is a by-product of mutation, competition , environmental change, natural selection, genetic drift, and the like, not the result of any direct natural tendency for biological entities to change.

    Similarly, that science has adopted new ideas in no way demonstrates that the adoption of new ideas is somehow fundamentally natural to science.

    And:

    Nowadays, again or still, even the most forward-peering scientists believe that all the main principles have been recognized and that no major surprises await us.

    Carl Sagan, in many respects incisive and critical, wrote in 1978, “this…is written just before – at most …a few years or a few decades before – the answers to many of these vexing and awesome questions on origins and fates are pried loose from the cosmos…there is only one generation privileged to live through that unique transitional moment: that generation is ours.”

    Thus, human beings, including scientists, do not function under continual awareness of humanity’s fundamental ignorance; rather, they live under perpetual illusion of fundamental understanding.

    Epistemic arrogance. Annoying whenever someone else is exhibiting it. Logical when you’re doing it.

    Whoo! The book is mostly about uncertainty in knowledge, human nature (that scientists are human, but the scientific method asks that they not be, that they be truly rational) and the claim that this truly rational process exists and is used, when in fact, the actual process of science is much more human, and there is a constant tension between innovation and conservatism in science.

    Enjoy!

    #3550
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    Tasmodevil44
    Member

    Rezwan;

    I’d like to read that book. Sounds like some very interesting reading. The fact that there’s always a tug of war between innovation and conservatism is the reason why you always need a balance between open – mindedness to possibilities…… and yet at the same time skeptical in wanting to back everything with facts. The path to scientific progress is indeed a bumpy road of uncertainties and human nature where the scientific method is not always truly used the way we always think we are using it. I’ll have to look for that book by Henry Bauer at the local library or on the internet someplace.

    #3557
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    JimmyT
    Participant

    Tasmo,
    Eric says similar things to what Rezwan quoted, in his book. I hope you’ve read it. He claims (believebly) that intelectuals ,such as economicists, have much to gain by claiming that things are so very complex. And can only be understood by the very few. The anointed, as it were. So you see we simple folk should really just turn the entire government and economy over to them.

    Eric’s version has a ring of truth to it. Don’t you think?

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