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Scalare
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2017, 12:08:04 am »

According to scientology you have a lot of body thetans, which were created when evil Xenu did a mass extinction or something. Are these the creatures operating the prions, giving you pain?
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Zanthius
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2017, 07:58:23 pm »

A friend of mine thinks pain might be generated in this way:



If this is the case, then the subjective experience of pain is just negative associations the neural system has learned during its evolutionary history. People are often scared of spiders, even though they might never have had the experience of been bitten by a dangerous spider. This is because we are born with certain neural circuits developed by the experiences of our ancestors. Hundreds of millions years ago, some of your ancestors might have had huge problems with dangerous spiders. So the neural system developed a circuit then, which made your ancestors fear spiders. This neural circuit seems to have survived until today.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 08:10:37 pm by Zanthius » Logged
Julie.chan
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2017, 09:07:45 pm »

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People are often scared of spiders, even though they might never have had the experience of been bitten by a dangerous spider. This is because we are born with certain neural circuits developed by the experiences of our ancestors. Hundreds of millions years ago, some of your ancestors might have had huge problems with dangerous spiders. So the neural system developed a circuit then, which made your ancestors fear spiders. This neural circuit seems to have survived until today.

You're using overly complicated phrasing to explain what natural selection is, and in the process you're adding extra random baggage. What are you trying to accomplish with this?

Science doesn't work by coming up with an idea and then trying to find explanations for that idea. Science works by making observations and then applying the scientific method to discover why you observed what you observed. You haven't made any observations here. You're just making stuff up.
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Zanthius
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2017, 09:46:17 pm »

Science doesn't work by coming up with an idea and then trying to find explanations for that idea. Science works by making observations and then applying the scientific method to discover why you observed what you observed. Y

Well, Science can certainly work by collecting data from observations and using a Bayesian machine learning algorithm to find patterns. But Science can also work by coming up with new ideas, and testing them against observations afterwards. For example, I imagined that using a Caesium salt would be able to facilitate a reversed Finkelstein reaction. Afterwards, I tested it on a few compounds, and discovered that it worked.

The Higgs boson and gravitational waves were proposed long before they were observed, and Hawking radiation hasn't even been observed yet. Still, the majority of astrophysicists believe in Hawking radiation. Do you think that Stephen Hawking isn't a real scientist?
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Julie.chan
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2017, 04:28:35 am »

I just came up with the idea that the sun is actually powered at the center by a nuclear fusion reactor. It fits! The sun does indeed produce energy by nuclear fusion, and it's big enough to hold such a reactor! Solid theory right there.

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The Higgs boson and gravitational waves were proposed long before they were observed, and Hawking radiation hasn't even been observed yet. Still, the majority of astrophysicists believe in Hawking radiation. Do you think that Stephen Hawking isn't a real scientist?
I don't know about the first example you gave, but Hawking radiation is a prediction based quantum mechanics, not just some idea someone came up with out of thin air. Quantum mechanics was established for unrelated reasons beforehand, and it too didn't just come out of thin air; it explains observations that were made.

Also, I didn't say you have to observe what you are claiming. I said that any good hypothesis should be fulfilling some kind of purpose, to explain something that you observed. If what we know about the universe doesn't change because of your hypoethesis, or if it doesn't connect to anything you have observed, it's a worthless hypothesis. The same as the "theory" that Elvis Presley is alive; if no one has observed that Elvis Presley is alive, then there's no basis for a hypothesis for why he could be alive.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 04:30:10 am by Julie.chan » Logged

Zanthius
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2017, 08:16:48 am »

I just came up with the idea that the sun is actually powered at the center by a nuclear fusion reactor. It fits! The sun does indeed produce energy by nuclear fusion, and it's big enough to hold such a reactor! Solid theory right there.

Hans Bethe came up with this idea in the 1930s. You are almost 100 years too late.
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Death 999
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2017, 02:12:17 pm »

I'm pretty sure he meant a tokamak or something, not just a self-gravitating ball of hydrogen.

You're avoiding the point. Remember the bit in the sequences about the arrogance of Einstein? How you need to have scads of evidence for something before it even rises far enough from the cloud of possible explanations to be worth mentioning?

This theory doesn't achieve that.

And don't forget that the evidence needs to support that theory MORE than competing theories, which is why your initial set of explanations didn't work. Indeed, that initial set of explanations has another problem - the theory means that pain arose before evolution, and so the explanation doesn't explain it. Why would evolution find it useful to represent pain as unstable molecules? Then pain would spontaneously go away on a hard-to-modify timescale; for any pain requiring a different timescale, an entire new mechanism would be required.
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Zanthius
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2017, 05:00:16 pm »

How you need to have scads of evidence for something before it even rises far enough from the cloud of possible explanations to be worth mentioning?

I kinda disagree with this. The objective shouldn't necessarily be to convince anybody about anything, but rather to see what criticism people have, which is actually a way of absorbing more data. When I presented the "unstable molecules" theory of pain to a friend of mine, I learned a lot from a fruitful conversation as he explained his evolutionary neurological associative theory of pain to me.  Also, if you believe in something stupid, it might be a good idea to tell other people about it, since they might give you negative feedback you can use to correct yourself. If other people aren't able to give you negative feedback, you might have more reason to investigate your hunch further.

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But from a Bayesian perspective, you need an amount of evidence roughly equivalent to the complexity of the hypothesis just to locate the hypothesis in theory-space.  It's not a question of justifying anything to anyone.  If there's a hundred million alternatives, you need at least 27 bits of evidence just to focus your attention uniquely on the correct answer.

This might work for a machine learning algorithm, which is able to follow clear rules, and has a good overview of how many alternatives there are and how many bits of evidence it has.  If you are working in a chemistry laboratory, you don't necessarily have any idea about how many alternatives there are or about many bits of evidence you have for your hunch, and it isn't necessarily so difficult to do an experiment to test it.

Even for a machine learning algorithm it might be difficult to know how many alternatives there are. So a more efficient way to implement this in a machine learning algorithm, might be to have a threshold for how much time the algorithm should use to find more bits of evidence before it abandons to investigate the idea further. This threshold could increase the more bits of evidence it has.  
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Julie.chan
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2017, 11:49:05 pm »

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The objective shouldn't necessarily be to convince anybody about anything, but rather to see what criticism people have, which is actually a way of absorbing more data.

This is the approach that the ancient Greek philosophers took, and as you may or may not remember, the ancient Greeks may have came up with ideas that turned out to be true, but they also came up with tons of ideas that didn't. Also, as the naming suggests, they were engaging in philosophy, not science.

The only thing this is any good for is for subjective questions, like what is ethical and unethical or what the meaning of life is.

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Also, if you believe in something stupid, it might be a good idea to tell other people about it, since they might give you negative feedback you can use to correct yourself. If other people aren't able to give you negative feedback, you might have more reason to investigate your hunch further.

It doesn't work like that. Firstly, most people aren't going to criticize your ideas because that would be rude, or just because they're uninterested. Secondly, those who have the same idea or really like the idea will defend it very strongly. Thirdly, confirmation bias; try as you might, you will hear the stuff that confirms what you already believe more loudly than what contradicts it. This is how conspiracy theories grow.
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2017, 12:33:28 am »

The only thing this is any good for is for subjective questions, like what is ethical and unethical or what the meaning of life is.

You think those things are subjective, while the experience of pain isn't?
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Re: A new theory of pain
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2017, 05:50:55 am »

A molecular theory of pain isn't subjective, at least.
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