On Oct 30, 2012, at 12:23 PM, Louis Talman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> If you want to "fry" somebody's conclusions, do an experiment that fries them. Simply saying that the conclusions aren't reasonable because you disagree with them, or because you think the experimenter's purposes are shady, doesn't "fry" a slab of bacon.
So this is like saying that God must exist since we can't prove otherwise.
I read one study the other day, whereby the researcher did their little experiments (the trappings of science) and concluded that talent doesn't exist. That's it. We are left with all of these talented people and a bell curve with no particular reason for their existence. When I read a study like that it is as if you were to tell me that you have proved that gravity does not exist and when I ask you "But why do things fall down? How do planets orbit the sun?" you reply "I didn't say things don't fall down, or that planets don't orbit the sun, I said gravity doesn't exist."
Gravity is not just a barely understood cause for the attraction of masses to each other, it is also a model. All of the things that are explained by that model are that model. So when you tell me that gravity does not exist, yet the universe continues on exactly as it did with gravity, then you have told me nothing. Likewise, when you tell me that talent does not exist, yet the universe continues forward just as if it does exist, you have told me nothing.
That isn't simply disagreeing with the conclusions. That is finding the argument absurd.
When I was in college, I had this knack for proving things by contradiction. It drove my professor mad. It seemed as natural to me as proving things in the positive, but I realized then and later that to most people, poof by contradiction is very unnatural. They, like you, just don't think that way and mistake it for cynicism. What I am about to say is related to Wayne's "Dance with the one that brought ya." The contradiction in the gravity/talent argument is that both are intangible notions that only exist because of what we observe. If the achievement of our species was uniform rather than a normal distribution, the notion of talent wouldn't even exist. You can try to prove or disprove that talent is based on genes or on money or on astrology, but the second you try to disprove the notion of talent itself, you have a contradiction.
The researchers get away with this because the majority of people, like you, are so accustomed to proofs only in the positive, that they not only miss the contradiction, they can't even see it when someone points it out to them.