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Bad at estimating? Blame evolution - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Good thing someone came along and invented the scientific method!

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 18:58:52 UTC | #605938

Aflacduck's Avatar Comment 2 by Aflacduck

I said the butter, and I don't know quite how to feel about that.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 19:42:15 UTC | #605957

locutus7's Avatar Comment 3 by locutus7

Good article.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 19:44:00 UTC | #605959

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 4 by Stafford Gordon

Comment 1: Neodarwinian.

Very good!

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 20:06:33 UTC | #605965

jbyrd's Avatar Comment 5 by jbyrd

Comment 2 by Aflacduck :

I said the butter, and I don't know quite how to feel about that.

I said, "WTF is a box of butter"...Then I said probably the butter.

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 20:36:41 UTC | #605974

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 6 by Alan4discussion

Many human judgements are subjective and comparative. An interesting one is a comparison of temperature:-

You need three bowls for this experiment:-

  • one bowl of hot water just cool enough to put a hand in without scalding it.

  • one bowl of warm water (hot + cold mixed about equally)

  • and one bowl of cold tap water.

  • Place one hand in the hot water, and one hand in the cold water and leave them there for a minute.

    Then place both hands simultaneously in the bowl of warm water.

    The one from the hot water will feel cold, and the one from the cold water will feel hot.

    IT IS A COMPARATIVE SUBJECTIVE JUDGEMENT.

    Tue, 22 Mar 2011 20:51:18 UTC | #605978

    anonymous.shyster's Avatar Comment 7 by anonymous.shyster

    I thought to my self, WTF are saltines? How am I supposed to know which is heavier if they didn't specify any physical dimensions? Unless, of course, saltines and butter only come in one size, and everybody knows that a box of saltines weighs exactly one pound! Can't you buy a snack size box of saltines? Or a mega-extra-large helping of butter in the country this guy is from?

    Tue, 22 Mar 2011 21:39:21 UTC | #605987

    bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 8 by bendigeidfran

    Ah, Crackers. I've beaten the world record for scoffing them many times. Is there money in it? I can do most of the eating records.

    Tue, 22 Mar 2011 22:28:29 UTC | #606001

    Alan Dente's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan Dente

    What are Saltines? And boxes of butter? Since when can butter be effectively produced, transported and sold in just a box?

    This article poses more questions than it answers.

    @8: how many crackers did you eat?

    Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:16:43 UTC | #606018

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 10 by Alan4discussion

    @8: how many crackers did you eat?

    I don't know, but I've seen him chew up a few evangelical ones!

    Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:28:11 UTC | #606023

    Pom's Avatar Comment 11 by Pom

    @Alan Dente (And Steve Zara, if he is reading this thread)

    What are Saltines? And boxes of butter?

    Ah, now that's a philosophical question, best answed in terms of eliminative materialism. It really depends on what you mean by Saltines. Maybe they have a more developed 'mind' than a box of butter, which weighs more if it is heavier and less if it is lighter.

    Does a box of butter have existence outside the box in which it is encapsulated? Most importantly, why? What is the meaning a box of butter? What is it's purpose? You know, such deep questions have been pondered for millennia by some of the brightest minds in creation. You really need to study philosophy before you start askng questions such as 'What are Saltines' or 'What are boxes of butter'.

    Ah, philosophy.

    IMHO, philosophy has done more to muddy the waters of rationality than all the religions combined. Hocus-pocus from start to finish. Modern witch-doctory.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 00:04:20 UTC | #606035

    The Alchemist's Avatar Comment 12 by The Alchemist

    Comment 6 by Alan4discussion

    Oh yes. I remember that experiment from my grade 4 science book.

    Many human judgements are subjective and comparative. An interesting one is a comparison of temperature:-

    And I half disagree with this one. I think every human judgment is subjective.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 00:10:58 UTC | #606036

    Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

    IMHO, philosophy has done more to muddy the waters of rationality than all the religions combined. Hocus-pocus from start to finish. Modern witch-doctory.

    I take the view of Jonathan Miller, who in an excellent series on Atheism a few years ago, said he was surprised to learn that philosophers, in general, had dismissed the idea of theism some time before Darwin came up with the idea of Natural Selection.

    I have never encountered philoso-phobia before coming to this site. Now I see it's widespread. When did that happen? Someone should warn Dan Dennett.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 00:20:27 UTC | #606038

    Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 14 by Neodarwinian

    @ Steve Zara

    Philoso-phobia would be an irrational fear of philosophy. I think disdain would come closer to the mark. I do think philosophy is more rigorous than sociology though.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 01:01:19 UTC | #606053

    aquilacane's Avatar Comment 15 by aquilacane

    The next time you are in the kitchen, try this experiment: pick up a box of butter (four sticks) in one hand and a box of saltines (four packets) in the other. Which is heavier?

    Here's a scribble

    Not Butter

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 01:11:38 UTC | #606057

    John_Geeshu's Avatar Comment 16 by John_Geeshu

    Ignorant non-American heathen bastards. First you mock our god; now you mock our food staples!

    Saltines are palatable, plain, small square crackers with coarse grains of salt on their tops that are excellent for dipping in chili and such. Any home worth its salt has some in the pantry. They come wrapped in stacks, 37 crackers high, four stacks per box, precisely.

    Butter is commonly packaged in four whole rectangular sticks wrapped in waxy paper, exactly 1/4 pound per stick.

    Technically, if you said the saltines are heavier you were correct, since the food-weight is the same, but the packaging weighs more.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:03:44 UTC | #606068

    Agrajag's Avatar Comment 17 by Agrajag

    Comment 11 by Jollyroger

    @Alan Dente (And Steve Zara, if he is reading this thread)

    What are Saltines? And boxes of butter?
    

    Ah, now that's a philosophical question, best answed in terms of eliminative materialism.

    First you eat the saltines and butter; the eliminative materialism comes later. ;-)
    Steve

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:19:49 UTC | #606071

    Pom's Avatar Comment 18 by Pom

    @Steve Zara

    I have never encountered philoso-phobia before coming to this site. Now I see it's widespread. When did that happen? Someone should warn Dan Dennett.

    Philoso-phobia - well, that's a fine name. Almost as good as 'eliminative materialism'.

    Do the terms tooth-fairy-phobia, unicorn-phobia, theism-phobia, Saltine-phobia, box-of-butter-phobia and other linguistic oddities also figure in your lexicon? I ask again - what HAVE you been smoking?

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:21:40 UTC | #606072

    Thanny's Avatar Comment 19 by Thanny

    This is a case of some rather abysmal thinking that could have been avoided with the application of a little bit of middle school physics.

    The box of butter feels heavier because it feels heavier - it's not a cognitive illusion. The much larger box of saltines has a larger area of contact than the smaller, denser box of butter. Given the same mass, the pressure at said area of contact will be higher for the butter, just as it would be for two objects of the same physical size with differing masses.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:23:58 UTC | #606074

    Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 20 by Steve Zara

    Philoso-phobia - well, that's a fine name. Almost as good as 'eliminative materialism'.

    I'm afraid I can't tell if you are being ironic. If you aren't, I would suggest you look up the work of Paul and Patricia Churchland. They write and work on the philosophy of neuroscience. I think you will find them quite sane and free of apparent intoxication as they discuss their work.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:28:49 UTC | #606076

    sara g's Avatar Comment 21 by sara g

    John G, actually, saltines are a medicine given to pregnant women to prevent dry heaves.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 02:42:40 UTC | #606077

    Pom's Avatar Comment 22 by Pom

    @Steve Zara

    I'm afraid I can't tell if you are being ironic. If you aren't, I would suggest you look up the work of Paul and Patricia Churchland. They write and work on the philosophy of neuroscience. I think you will find them quite sane and free of apparent intoxication as they discuss their work.

    Like Daniel Dennett, to whom you previously referred, they are cognitive philosophers. So are you saying that THEY coined the terms philoso-phobia, unicorn-phobia, box-of-butter-phobia etc?

    Steve - have you been at the Saltines again?

    As Agrajag in Comment 17 says:

    First you eat the saltines and butter; the eliminative materialism comes later.

    Seems you haven't completed the second half of his advice.

    But more seriously, can you stop this incessant name-dropping as though ts adds validity to your weird views? And can you treat centuries of scientific research with a little less comtempt? After all, this is a forum for rational discussion and logical argument, n'est ce pas?

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 03:35:26 UTC | #606082

    Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 23 by Steve Zara

    Like Daniel Dennett, to whom you previously referred, they are cognitive philosophers.

    Yes, and the Churchlands are eliminative materialists. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/materialism-eliminative/

    But more seriously, can you stop this incessant name-dropping as though ts adds validity to your weird views? And can you treat centuries of scientific research with a little less comtempt? After all, this is a forum for rational discussion and logical argument, n'est ce pas?

    What ARE you talking about? Can you point to anywhere where I am rubbishing centuries of scientific research?

    I'm serious - are you trying to be funny, or trolling? Sorry for my humour failure if the former.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 03:59:59 UTC | #606085

    bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 24 by bendigeidfran

    Comment 9 by Alan Dente

    Just the quickest time, but quite a lot as I did it a few times consecutively to make sure before similarly bored and easily impressed people timed me 'officially'. I'm an athlete you see.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 07:03:26 UTC | #606107

    UncleVanya's Avatar Comment 25 by UncleVanya

    Comment 19 by Thanny:

    The box of butter feels heavier because it feels heavier - it's not a cognitive illusion. The much larger box of saltines has a larger area of contact than the smaller, denser box of butter. Given the same mass, the pressure at said area of contact will be higher for the butter, just as it would be for two objects of the same physical size with differing masses.

    That might have some influence, but I remember as a teenager seeing an exhibit at the Science Museum in London, where two cylinders of identical masses were suspended on wires in a sealed box. One was large and had relatively low density, the other was much smaller and denser. Two identical levers were on the outside of the box. Pulling one lever lifted the large cylinder, pulling the other lever lifted the small cylinder. The result of this was the same - everyone who tried it was absolutely convinced that the smaller cylinder was heavier.

    In this situation the "feel" of each control, and the surface area contacted by your hand, was the same and so this effect was eliminated. I haven't been to the Science Museum in years, and I've no idea whether it's still there...

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 07:54:06 UTC | #606111

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 12 by The Alchemist

    Comment 6 by Alan4discussion

    Many human judgements are subjective and comparative.
    

    An interesting one is a comparison of temperature:-

    Oh yes. I remember that experiment from my grade 4 science book.

    And I half disagree with this one. I think every human judgement is subjective.

    They certainly can be subjective and biased, when the discipline of scientific observation, measurement & method is not followed.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 09:38:12 UTC | #606133

    sunbeamforjeebus's Avatar Comment 27 by sunbeamforjeebus

    We used to have saltines in the U.K. in the sixties but they were superceded by Ritz crackers and then crisps with the twist of salt (Smiths) but I have never heard of a stick of butter! You colonials!

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 09:47:03 UTC | #606135

    Southpaw's Avatar Comment 28 by Southpaw

    American recipes are deeply awkward when it comes to butter. If it isn't a stick it's a cup. A cup. Of butter. Why can't I just weigh it like anything else? Damn their ridiculously good brownies! ;)

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 09:55:29 UTC | #606138

    Absinthius's Avatar Comment 29 by Absinthius

    My grandpa used to tell me a joke related to that when I was little. I think it took me a few times to figure out why he kept laughing when I answered him.

    He asked "Which weighs heavier, a kilogram of lead or a kilogram of feathers?" Indeed intuitively I always answered that lead weighs heavier than feathers.

    Then I turned 6 and figured it out.. finally!

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 10:13:38 UTC | #606140

    Nick Healey's Avatar Comment 30 by Nick Healey

    Comment 23 by Steve Zara

    He's definitely trolling! Don't rise to it. Jollyroger...play nice. Steve is one of the most eloquent, sincere and logical posters on this forum.

    Steve,

    Do you really think there is a philosophobia on this site? I think there definitely is in the wider world, but only in the same resepect that there is a general fear and distrust of science, intelligence and intellectuals amonongst most people. I don't know why people are afraid of science etc. but it is definitely getting worse. Perhaps it's because disciplines such as science and philosophy are impenetrable to most outsiders; they have their own cliquey language (bless Christopher Hitchens for bringing 'solipsism' into the mainstream or at least, forcing me to look it up and getting me interested in philosophy!); they are often counter-intuitive; they take people out of their comfort zone and force them to confront harsh realities like the possibility of no life after death, the possibility that free will might be an illusion (this one even terrifies philosophers), the vastness of the universe, take your pick. These are all frightening concepts to some people.

    I don't believe that there is a philosophobia on this site, I think as Neodarwinian points out there may be some disdain for certain philosophers. As I pointed out on another thread, with the exception of the cognitive/neuroscience research-driven philosophers like Dennett et al, there are a lot of philosophers who are similar to theologians in that they have arrogantly (and ignorantly) stopped trying to answer the difficult questions because they have been taught they are unanswerable. Dennett himself has spoken on several occasions of the disdain that other philosophers have for his work on consciousness. A scientist on the other hand, unlike a philosopher, does not give up, or believe that certain questions are unanswerable . There is a joke; why do they nail shut a cancer victim's coffin? - To keep the oncologist out! Not very funny, but it highlights the striving of scientists versus the smug, dismissive and frankly arrogant attitude of many philosophers when asked a question they can't answer. Their reply is not usually, "we don't know yet" it is more likely to be, "That was deemed an unanswerable question centuries ago, so I'm just going to ignore it." There seems to be an prevailing, infuriating attitude amongst many philosophers that "well, we've always done it this way...." which is not conducive to their evolution. That is my bugbear with many philosophers.

    Kind regards,

    Nick

    PS are saltines the equivalent of Ritz crackers?

    Wed, 23 Mar 2011 10:16:22 UTC | #606141