comics for October 4, 2006 – 10/04/2006
I totally agree with Dan, here.
What? That starting with a conclusion and then finding ways justify what you already believe is a sensible way to go about things?
Or for that matter that all answers have already been found and written down?
Dan is an idiot. A complete idiot. He can’t even spell science correctly (exactly how one ends up pronouncing a typo is another matter). I have yet to see him do nor say anything even remotely worthwhile. He’d get better results just bashing his head open on the desk.
Nicole would disagree with him. She would call that apprach biased. There are a lot of cognitive biases, searching for facts supporting a teory, and discarding “anomallies” is one of them.
I see Nicole’s attitude and approach to this subject as highly biased. And by “biased” I mean forming a strong preconceived notion of what it is not even before formulating a scientific theory or searching for evidence to support or disprove such theories.
It’s only human to be biased. But in modern conventional science there tends to be a rigid framework of what is and is not possible. Much of this framework comes from what’s been drilled into students. Even Eintein said that “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” Also, “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
Dismissing possibilities outright, whatever the reason, is inherently biased. If we never dared think outside the realm of what is considered “possible” or “common sense”, then we’d miss many important discoveries and scientific progress would have been tremendously stunted. We’d still think the Earth was the center of the Universe.
I see no bias. Since Nicole’s limited horizon cannot explain Alex’s pit satisfactorily another approach has to be found. Dan starts with Alex’s ‘information coming in’ and seeks the missing link henceforward.
A clear and scientific kind of thinking.
Second panel reminds me of this from The Twelve Virtues of Rationality:
If you first write at the bottom of a sheet of paper, â€œAnd therefore, the sky is green!â€, it does not matter what arguments you write above it afterward; the conclusion is already written, and it is already correct or already wrong.
Dan starts with faith, so he wrote at the bottom of his page: “And therefore, Dreamland isn’t just in my brother’s mind”
The difference there lies in whether you’re willing to abandon your belief if it turns out you’re wrong.
Both directions also depend on your willingness to incorporate new information that shows up but seems to disagree with you expect.
100 people show up on your doorstep and claim the sky is green. Instead of crazy, might they be colorblind? (and, yes, I’m fully aware that “green” is subjective) Of course, they COULD be crazy but it remains possible that they aren’t.
Guys, just keep in mind it’s all fiction…
Once two (or more) persons can observe the same thing (here Dreamland, through their dreams), then science has some ability to talk about it.
I have more of a problem with Nicole being called a “nut job” and “crazy” by Dan and Alex. That doesn’t seem realistic, and neither did Dan’s sudden about-face sympathy for Alex’s story. It makes them both seem a little weak in the characterization department, and with Nicole it comes off as a little sexist.
I’m I the only one who saw “sceince”? English is not my main language, but I think it’s supose to be “science”
“She’s so focused on things she can touch and feel” heh Alex is focused on touching and feeling things too…
Did the author of this even realize the boy doing research on “faith” is applying the scientific method?
Though this is just fiction, it is fiction that has a considerable amount of philosophy within it- which I think is why it is so appealing to the minds, imaginations, and time-spending of so many people all around the world. Though philosophy is not always entertainment, entertainment is always the by-product of someone’s philosophy. Therefore, philosophy, and the stimulation to such conversation, is inherent within good entertainment.
Sorry, accidentally hit submit. To finish, I do find this to be good entertainment for that reason.
Replace “faith” with “hypothesis” and you have the scientific method! That’s a rather roundabout way of saying you agree with the science you’ve been bashing all this time.
Some pages sound a bit preachy to me.
Except, you know, what he’s describing is the ideal of how science works. You observe the world, you gather facts, and then you explain them. You maintain a healthy skepticism towards radically new ideas, but you remember that your current understanding of nature is only provisional, and if new discoveries contradict it, then it may just need changing.
In science, unlike nearly anything else, people *do* routinely admit that things they have believed all their lives are wrong. That’s its beauty. That’s the only reason it works. That’s the whole d— point of it.
Alex: “Well when it comes to Nastajia, I’m concerned with things I can touch and feel too…”
Dan: “Alex, stop right there, you’re going to kill our rating.”
I provisionally second Klank Kiki; let’s bear in mind that this is a story.
I am NOT suggesting that we shouldn’t discuss the concepts the characters are bandying about – I think it is good to do so, and I suspect that was one of the intents of the author – to get us to think about bias, perspective, reality, etc.
What I’m saying is that I don’t think Scott is getting on a soap box and holding up the characters (especially Alex, Dan, and Nicole) as paragons of behavior. He shows them to us as reasonably rounded people, with strengths to develop and flaws to overcome, which gives them room to grow over the course of the story. If everybody was essentially perfect at the start of a story, most stories would be very short, and not nearly as interesting – most romantic comedies would be over after come clear, mature communication, the zombie apocalypse would be averted by simply killing patient zero before it breaks out of the lab, etc. I may not agree with some of Alex, Dan and Nicole’s behavior (particularly personal ridicule), but I don’t think any of them are behaving in a way that is entirely unexpected for college-age people.
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