Dec 03 2012

The Higgs and Wishful Thinking

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17 responses so far

17 Responses to “The Higgs and Wishful Thinking”

  1. Ori Vandewalleon 03 Dec 2012 at 9:18 am

    Au contraire, good doctor, you’re ignoring the very real possibility that scientists who discovered things they didn’t expect to find may have subconsciously been wishing to find what they ultimately did find, as opposed to what they said they wanted to find.

    The real flaw in Adams’ argument is that he expected to find scientists finding what they expected to find, and that desire of his altered scientific history so that he did, indeed, find that. It’s only true because he says it is.

  2. locutusbrgon 03 Dec 2012 at 9:24 am

    Based on Adams illogic, then a negative study is what? Maybe the scientist did not have enough faith in his hypothesis for it to come out right?
    Great post, this guy watched the matrix one too many times. I can Adams sitting there and saying there is no spoon.

  3. EOon 03 Dec 2012 at 10:00 am

    What a bizarre, awful, and incredibly negative way to look at the universe. A way to just obliterate not just the history of science in one stroke, but also the history of struggle and triumph that defines the character of humanity.

    If you take this view further, apply it to the history of slavery, or the history of war, are you not in effect saying that people wanted to be slaves, that children longed to be the causalities of war?

    I imagine that law-of-attraction style thinking sounds good when you talk about focusing your intentions on getting a raise, or a date, or even on some level making discoveries about the universe, but wow the ramifications if such thinking were true would be really horrible.

  4. Steven Novellaon 03 Dec 2012 at 10:07 am

    Ori – I disagree. First – that is an unfalsifiable hypothesis, for no matter what the result of any experiment you can just say that is what the scientist intended (even if subconsciously).

    But – you miss the scope of what I am talking about. It’s not just that scientists found unexpected results, but their entire view of reality was challenged by science. Scientists have had to come up with entirely new ways to view reality in order to accommodate empirical evidence.

    In other words – the “intention” hypothesis is just incompatible with the occasional “paradigm shifts” that occur in science. The subconscious is not sufficient to account for this.

  5. steve12on 03 Dec 2012 at 11:53 am

    I knew those clowns at the Tevatron didn’t really care enough….

  6. Bronze Dogon 03 Dec 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I remember a quote that went something like this: “The great breakthroughs in science were generally not accompanied with cries of ‘Eureka!’ but with ‘That’s funny.’”

  7. BillyJoe7on 03 Dec 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Incredible. So scientists are creating reality. This computer I’m using is the ultimate wish fullfillment of all the scientists who have ever lived. Before consciousness arrived on the scene, the potential for computers was presumably precluded by the laws of physics.

    Besides a link with the higgs boson, there is also a link with evolution. There is a fringe group who for thirty years or so have been fruitlessly trying to insert ‘intention’ into the evolutionary process via non-random mutation. Bacteria mutate their genomes towards desired ends!

    And, of course, we have the misunderstanding in quantum physics that consciousness causes collapse of the wave function, which has persisted despite no one in a hundred years of trying ever demonstrating that this interpretation has any basis in fact.

    The problem is consciousness.

    Consciousness is the last remaining mystery and the fringe-dwellers are going to make the most of it while that mystery remains. In the mean time, scientists will continue to do what they have always done: push back the barriers of ignorance.

  8. SARAon 03 Dec 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I wonder why hundreds of obsessed alchemists were never able to make lead into gold. They definitely were committed to that intention. They believed. Still never happened.

    Why didn’t Harold Camping and hundreds/thousands of other false end of world prophets. who believed sincerely, didn’t cause the end of the world.

    Why don’t stalker’s victims love them?

    Why isn’t there magic, like Merlin did?

    Since evidence isn’t necessary to the secret’s hypothesis, so I suppose it will just take some creative thinking to come up with some form of exception to explain the lack of results from some very focused and sincere believers/wishers.

  9. Factoidjunkieon 03 Dec 2012 at 3:44 pm

    The automatic mind (Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 thinking system) is susceptible to a wide range of “snake oil.” Each generation has had to keep pace with modern technology and scientific discovery in order to improve their snake oil. Those who partake in this “intention science” approach are no different than those who used to peddle simplistic positive thinking and prior to that a host of remedies (some of them actually labeled snake oil) that had the appearance of science or simply borrowed scientific jargon.

    I wonder if we started critical thinking skills in pre-school if we could help future generations deal more effectively with the non-useful aspects of the automatic mind.

  10. tmac57on 03 Dec 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Of course,if we are ‘living’ in a simulated universe,then all bets are off I suppose.

  11. practiCal fMRIon 03 Dec 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Fabulous! No chance this Mike Adams is some relation to a fellow by the name of Douglas, is there? If so, perhaps he’s pulling our collective legs. It would explain a lot:

    “He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.”

    ― Life, the Universe and Everything

    “There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
    There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

    ― The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

  12. Guyon 03 Dec 2012 at 10:10 pm

    wow wow wow, it’s not that other scientists wanted to fail it’s just that they weren’t in tune with the force enough to bend reality to their will.

    But seriously, it’s the “God of the Gaps” argument from bizarro world. We have a gap in our knowledge, we explore it and if we find something we’re God?

  13. Jared Olsenon 04 Dec 2012 at 3:54 am

    Bronze Dog, that’s a quote by Isaac Asimov…
    I’m ashamed to belong to the country that brought the world “The Secret”

  14. SteveAon 04 Dec 2012 at 7:44 am

    I heard a theory that sightings of yetis, bigfoots etc were the product of anthropologists and evolutionary scientists really, really, really wanting to find the ‘missing link’.

    They wanted it and…poof. It appeared. Voila.

  15. Ori Vandewalleon 04 Dec 2012 at 8:17 am

    Dr. Novella: My hypothesis is only unfalsifiable because you want it to be. If you wished hard enough, I’m sure you’d find a way to disprove it.

  16. jreon 04 Dec 2012 at 12:36 pm

    As I never tire of pointing out when the subject of Mike Adams comes up, this is the same ninny whose all-natural lifestyle conferred upon him a suite of superpowers, including “Photo-reading books at the speed of one page per second.”
    The thought of asking for a demo does not seem to have occurred to anyone.

  17. dave martynon 06 Dec 2012 at 1:29 am

    I think he needs to run for office,

    Mike Adams, he uses 20% of his brain, maybe more…

    Mike Adams, he instantly grasped the “big picture” of homeopathy…

    Mike Adams, he took up gymnastics at age 34!

    Mike Adams, he remembers his credit card numbers!

    Mike Adams is a superlearning machine.

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