On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM, chris peck <chris_peck...@hotmail.com>wrote:

> > You say that this demarcation principle has had no influence in science.
> Within Psychology however, for better or worse, Psychoanalysis is now
> perceived as a faintly absurd artifact of history. No one gets hot under
> the collar about penis envy anymore. Why? Because psychoanalysis doesn't
> make falsifiable predictions. There has been a cognitive and
> neuro-scientific 'revolution' which has striven hard to base psychology on
> more empirically falsifiable foundation

It doesn't take a genius to realize that if a idea isn't getting anywhere,
that is to say if it doesn't produce new interesting ideas, your time would
be better spent doing something else.  Are you trying to tell me with a
straight face that without Popper people in 2013 wouldn't have been able to
figure out that the study of penis envy wasn't a good use of your time?

> In physics there is a debate about whether string theory (or string
> "theory" if you must shake your rattle, John) deserves all the funding it
> receives. What is at the core of the debate?: Does it matter that it fails
> to make falsifiable predictions?

Obviously it matters! Although most physicists have not read Popper and may
not even have heard of him, all of them agree that it matters that string
"theory" has not made any testable predictions, but everybody also agrees
that it is a work in progress; after all, Einstein's theory of gravitation
didn't make testable predictions either when it was only half finished and
he was still struggling with it. The big question is whether string theory
will ever be able to make testable predictions, and Popper is of absolutely
no help whatsoever in answering that question. None zero zilch goose egg.

> Should other theories (quantum loop gravity) which potentially offer more
> scope for falsifiability receive a greater proportion of the available
> resources.

So far quantum loop gravity is no better at making testable predictions
than string theory is. Which theory will history say was more productive?
Perhaps strings will lead to something, perhaps loops will, perhaps both
will, perhaps neither will. I don't know, you don't know, and Popper most
certainly does not know.

> > Go back a hundred years or so and no-one gave a toss about any of that

Bullshit. There was both good science and pseudoscience a hundred years ago
and there is both good science and pseudoscience today. Popper changed

  John K Clark

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