forum 9: week of 12 March: Fisher and the design of experiments

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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Nicole,

May you comment on Fisher's statements page 7, heading 4. The Logic of the Laboratory: "Inductive inference is the only process known to us by which essentially new knowledge comes into the world." And page 8, "Experimental observations are only experience carefully planned in advance, and designed to form a secure basis of new knowledge; that is, they are systematically related to the body of knowledge already acquired, and the results are deliberately observed, and put on record accurately."

06:14, 15 March 2012

In reply to the concern over the need to know in advance all possibilities in order to learn something from an experiment: I think the problem might lie in the fact that in the paper there is no distinction between 'learning' and 'contributing to scientific knowledge'. We may well learn that under certain experimental conditions a possibility that we hadn't foreseen does in fact obtain, and use this result as a basis for further investigation. But for the purposes of gleaning some legitimate scientific knowledge, those results are irrelevant because they don't substantiate either of the hypotheses in the experiment.

16:29, 15 March 2012

Thomas, In the 2011 NOVA film series, The fabric of the Cosmos, physicist Dr. Leonard Susskind argues from the perspective that there are 10 to the 500 different String Theories. He claims this is exactly what cosmologists are looking for. This fits with the ideas of a multiverse, a huge number of universes; each different. In Dr. Susskind’s 2006 book titled The Cosmic Landscape, Dr. Susskind, page 381, provides a distinction between the words he used in his book as landscape and megaverse. In the film Dr. Susskind used multiverse in place of megaverse. On the megaverse [multiverse] he wrote, “The megaverse [multiverse], by contrast is quite real. The pocket universes that fill it are actual existing places, not hypothetical possibilities.

I think any testing devised challenges Dr. Fisher’s concept to forecast all possible results.
06:59, 22 March 2012

The specific film, in the 2011 Nova film series with reference to Dr. Leonard Susskind is titled Universe or Multiverse? dvd Koerner Library QB 981 F135 2011.

20:27, 23 March 2012