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Atomguy
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

This comments section functions as a really interesting time capsule, with people getting more passionate as time gets on.
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Booming
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@ Peter
What you are describing is empirical research and the divide you see is more because a social scientist cannot put people in the LHC and see what happens because that would be "wrong". :)

The point is that if we could do science without any regard for the wellbeing of the test subjects then we could produce far more general results. Every research that could harm people (and harm is meant in the most broadest sense) has to be cleared by an ethics board. For example, I mentioned this once. A famous study that any fresh student of sociology will encounter fairly early on is the employment discrimination study. You send a certain number of resumes to employers. One with a "white" name and one with a "black" name. Apart from the names they are identical. Then you measure how many invites employers send. (It is 2 to 1 for the US by the way). That has to be cleared with an ethics board because you are stealing the time of those companies and the companies have to be informed later on.
Everybody knows the really messed up stuff they did until the 60s like Milgram. So the problem is ethical boundaries not that we couldn't produce exact results.

"You can look at almost any psych study and poke holes in anything ranging from its methodology, sample size, conclusions, premises, you name it. This is decidedly not a problem in physics, where there is no question of getting 'real data' about projectile motion or luminosity."
That is what statistics is for. Look up confidence intervals if you want to know more.

I also think you are making an over-generalization. There are parts of human science where the data is weak. ex post facto designs often have that problem.
When you construct a questionnaire you have to follow a million rules. You would not believe it. And apart from that you need as much people as possible. The more people you ask the more easily can something be generalized. Optimally you would ask anybody. One form most people have encountered is a census. But there are many parts who are very accurate like demography and other fields.

In German science is called Wissenschaft, which literally means creating knowledge. So yeah there may also be a differing understanding of the term science.

"And I remind you that Kuhn is still current and accepted as at minimum a contender for the theory of how sciences work in practice. "
Sure, sure. I want to mention though that much of Popper's work preceded Kuhn's . I'm not sure what you mean with Popper being based on Kuhn. It's probably the other way around. I also think that you are applying the paradigm shift concept somewhat incorrectly. Popper by the way disliked the book and dismissed it outright and I would argue that he was and is still far more influential than Kuhn. Also one could argue that psychology for example had several paradigm shifts already. They drill far less holes these days, for example. :D

I find it somewhat amusing that you throw Kuhn at me. I'm impressed. Most people here don't have the faintest idea what they are talking about.

Sorry if that is all very incoherent. I'm on vacation, as much as these times allow...

Again my problem was that this guy wrote something akin to all them megalomaniac social scientists who do things should be forced to watch this episode because the word statistics is mentioned in it. I always laughed about the sentence from Bashir which goes like this:" We created an algorithm which becomes more accurate the more we go into the future." This is such obvious nonsense. very funny *chuckling*
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Mike
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

Nietzsche's "The Gay Science" (which used to be one of my favorite philosophical books and from what I understand was a difficult title to translate) may very well back up your argument there Peter G.
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Peter G.
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 12:33am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@ Booming,

This may indeed be a translation issue, because it is not the case in English parlance that the term "science" is ever used in a rigorous sense to include fields such as law. That lawmaking involves a necessary human element, and therefore observations and conclusions, is not the scientific method any more than literally any field at all is scientific. Your definition just means that we use thinking and observing to advance, but that's not what the term means in proper English. If it did then literally all areas of thought would be science in this loose way of speaking.

There is, however, a colloquial use of the term that just means "body of knowledge" or "technique", so for example we might use a turn of phrase like "I have perfected the science of persuasion", which is actually derivative of an old usage whereby science basically just meant human art. And like the term "art" there is now a technical meaning to both terms that has obsoleted the older and more inclusive usages. We can say, for instance, "the art of cooking" colloquially but are not confused into thinking that a cook is a literal artist. Although (once again colloquially) we do sometimes call high-level masters of a discipline "true artists" in order to underline how good they are, but that measures a degree of skill rather than a type of skill in that usage. But by and large the term "art" now refers either to 'the arts' or else to technical disciplines that have 'terms of art' which is to say technical jargon; although this latter use again should not confuse anyone into thinking that a professional knowledge in their terms of art is 'an artist', any more than a person who thinks scientifically (i.e. logically) is therefore a 'scientist'.

In the technical use of 'science' it can only mean a discipline making use not only of observation and thinking (which comprises all human endeavor) but rather employs hypothesis, experiment, data, conclusion, and new hypotheses. And even more specifically, not just any tests will do. For example I could test whether particular comments will annoy my friends, form a hypothesis, test it, conclude, and retest a new hypothesis, but this is not science. The main difference is that what we call "science" is specifically designed to remove the human element from the equation so that human error, prejudice, false judgement, and bias are eliminated maximally from the equation. Any field which employs a form of thinking such as "what kind of data do you think this produced" or even "what kinds of information are really data" is not what we would call science, although again colloquially there can be 'a science' of the study of that subject (meaning we learn about it). Psychology (especially social psych) and economics are particularly good examples of fields with plentiful study and tests, which whose conclusions are always couched in the assumptions of the test-makers and observers. This is why such a large degree (I would argue the vast majority) of study in these fields amounts basically to "did we even test in a meaningful way" and even if they did, still leaves them with "but what can we draw from this that is conclusive and which we can call solid data?" Making sense out of that quagmire is where the social sciences still have to cut their teeth, because the issue of the validity of the tests is enormous and thus far not solved. You can look at almost any psych study and poke holes in anything ranging from its methodology, sample size, conclusions, premises, you name it. This is decidedly not a problem in physics, where there is no question of getting 'real data' about projectile motion or luminosity. That is because in a way physics is a simpler subject, so that makes sense. Probably in 500 years psychology may be a science in this sense, but right now it is not (not to be confused with neuroscience, which is a different story).

So I think this is an English/German translation issue, maybe, because undoubtedly people do tests and make hypotheses in the social sciences all the time. Much data is drawn, numbers collected, samples measures, and all that. But what out of it came from really good tests and generated what we would call "solid facts" about the world is a big question. Yes, you can obviously take a survey and count the number of yesses and nos in the survey, and report the number. But that's not "data" in the sense that it's meant in physics or chemistry. I mean, it is literal information, so in that sense it's data, but it's not data in the sense of being hard numbers about the universe that no individual can refute. There are types of probabilistic tests, as you say, that show a certain result within a certain margin of error, such as (in medicine) how many people got the flu last season, and which percent were of which demographic, and therefore what can we expect next season. That may be accurate within a margin of error, but as there are no control and experimental cases in that type of study it's still a very muddy 'science' in the sense that you can't create reproducible results.

Does all of this make sense? I think maybe it's why there's so much bickering here on the term "science". Or at least I hope it is.

On a side note:

"2) "science" is viewed as a tool of explaining phenomena (theoretical sciences) or making them more useful (practical sciences). That was - in brief - neo-Popperian paradigm of science (still popular among many philosophers of science)."

I'm not sure whether Jason R or anyone else stated the definition of the term in precisely this way, so not sure why you're trying to refute it in this way. That said, the phrase itself "Popperian paradigm of science" is itself based directly in Kuhn's philosophy of science, which to wit is still a current and regular theory of the sciences. Namely, that a given paradigm reigns so long as it can best house the data, until the point where too many cracks in it force a revolution. I mention this because this type of revolution - one in which a longstanding paradigm is finally overturned - is specifically contingent on the field being one where there is a paradigm in the first place more or less universally accepted as "correct". At least, by enough of the majority that its basic assumptions are those used as axioms in the daily workplace. In fields ranging from economics to psychology to archaeology, there are no such universally accepted paradigms that are accepted as "facts of nature", and so therefore there can be no revolutions in Kuhn's sense - and therefore they are not sciences in the way he understood it. And I remind you that Kuhn is still current and accepted as at minimum a contender for the theory of how sciences work in practice.
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Booming
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@ Jason
" And I can sure as heck guarantee that no lawyer is going to tell you law is a "science""
I could mention constitutional scholars but now I have read a little about it. It seems that opinions are going in this direction about law. Stolen from researchgate:
1) "law" means jurisprudence (commentaries, opinions, glosses etc. on legal texts made by lawyers)
2) "science" is viewed as a tool of explaining phenomena (theoretical sciences) or making them more useful (practical sciences). That was - in brief - neo-Popperian paradigm of science (still popular among many philosophers of science).
The outcome of the debate was that jurisprudence is indeed scientific in two senses:
- when lawyers comment on the law as it is (de lege lata) they make so-called "humanistic interpretation" of it and this interpretation is a kind of scientific explanation (it explains why lawgiver issued a given legal text)
- when lawyers comment on law as it should be (de lege ferenda) they formulate postulates of improving legal system and this is a kind of practical science (or one may say "technology of law").

"what we call the "hard" sciences"
That is more a term used by non scientists.
The divide that is most commonly used is not hard and soft science but probabilistic and deterministic. As an example, if you give a group of patients a pill, then only a certain percentage will be cured. Or if you undermine the confidence of people, they tend to be more intolerant but only a certain percentage. Deterministic sciences are technically also probabilistic because we don't know the future, in other words, we don't know if the laws of physics will be true tomorrow or in a billion years. Maybe the apple doesn't fall then, so to speak.
But so far it does. :)

"economists are unlikely to tell you that what they do is on par with what an astrophysicist or epidemiologist does"
economist and epidemiologist are both probabilistic sciences, so in fact closer to each other while astrophysicists are in a deterministic field. But even they are only making interpretations based on the observable universe. Just look up dark matter. They just invented a force so that it fits their models. They really have no idea if it actually exists. That is true for many concepts especially in physics but also in many other deterministic fields.
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spinalatte
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

Great episode, loved it on many levels.
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Austin
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

0.5 stars from me. Unrelated: Why did T’Pol’s pajamas get redesigned to resemble something a 14 year old boy would draw on a T’Pol anime version? Is there a less practical pajama? And what use do Vulcans have with all that silicone if they only pon farr every 7 years? As far as the episode goes, lame. It was boring, and the DNA “science” made no sense. You can catch a virus that aside from all the other stupid hair growth and bone growth stuff, can also make you speak a new language? In about 10 minutes??? Never have I been more thankful for the Netflix 1.5X speed feature than this episode. And the ending? This is my first watch of Enterprise, I realllly hope they don’t bring that virus back for a sequel nobody wants (a la “Demon” and “Course Oblivion”). This might be my least favorite of Enterprise so far, but it’s not particularly offensive, so I wouldn’t give it a 0.
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Gail
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: First Flight

Great episode. I agree with what Yanks said above. Loved it. Three great ones in a row, after a whole bunch of duds. Nice to see.
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John
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

If you want to be really academic here, medicine (the other field Booming mentioned) isn't a science either, but a practice which seeks to cure people using scientific means.
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Jason R.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

"@Jason
First I called it the law but that seemed wrong. I wasn't sure what the correct usage in English is, judiciary?"

Honestly I'm at a loss to even guess what you are referring to here. I know of no legal field that posits itself as "science". Maybe some field that studies law from an anthropological perspective?

If I may make a supposition, perhaps this is less of an ideological dispute and more of an english translation problem?

"Science" is a methodology whose application to disciplines outside of what we call the "hard" sciences (physics, chemistry, etc...) is, at the best of times, controversial as Peter alluded. Fields like economics may have some methodological similarities with hard sciences but even economists are unlikely to tell you that what they do is on par with what an astrophysicist or epidemiologist does. And I can sure as heck guarantee that no lawyer is going to tell you law is a "science" although if you have cash in hand I know a few who will happily make the argument in court haha :)
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Booming
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

to further explain why I didn't write the law. When I hear that word I immediately think of this movie which coincidentally also is about genetically engineered people, not scientists, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcRt3YUbN0k
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Booming
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@Jason
First I called it the law but that seemed wrong. I wasn't sure what the correct usage in English is, judiciary?

@peter G
medical research and sociological research actually use very similar methods.

"even to the point of world-ending mania - of certain small classes of people thinking they are smarter and know enough to decide for everyone because they are superior."
People believing that the end is near is maybe the most consistent and widespread believe humans have. All the big religions have some form of world end. I really don't see the connection to social science or that episode.

I mean all complex societies everywhere try to have a small group of people at the helm of societal institutions,

" but in that field time and again we see "brainiacs" who don't know wtf they're talking about but couching their statements in jargon that sounds compelling. Presidents fall for it all the time, as these theories come in an out of vogue. None of it has anything to do with science, mind you."
You are saying that economics isn't a science? Man I have to tell my former roommate, she studied economics. I knew that these endless pages of math weren't useful!

"We don't know jack about human behavior yet on a truly scientific level."
We actually know quite a bit. For example if you are a child of a working class family then the chance to get a phd is (I don't know the exact number for Germany or how it is in the US)around twenty times less likely than for somebody from the upper class. For masters degrees it is around 1 to 6.

Or how much money people in a certain part of a city earn and based on that predict the crime rate, domestic violence, drug use, political views. So many things.

I could give a million examples like that.

How any of this is related to a few nutjobs with magic iq in a DS9 episode still mystifies me.
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William B
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

I agree that the courtroom scenes in this episode is definitely structured a comedy. IMO it basically plays like a Ferengi episode -- the bizarre, upside-down rules of the Cardassian system play out similarly to the way that Ferengi society runs, where the society has seized on certain ideals to such a strong extent that lots of common sense gets inverted, and then that leads (hypothetically) to yuks. I mentioned this above, though I think I was too harsh in my rating. What's interesting is that while the Cardassian system is heavily satirized, and we don't have any Cardassians in this episode we are meant to take seriously, I think we are meant to see O'Brien in a dramatic light. I think this owes a lot to Kafka's "The Trial" (and maybe Orson Welles' movie adaptation of it), or "Brazil," the everyman in a crazy, incomprehensible system.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

@ Zanki,

"It's an okay episode I guess, my guess they sort of tried to do like ''chain of command '' maybe that explains why I wasn't surprised of the Orwellian approach to their legal system ...you sort of expect this from the Cardassian's at this point."

If you ask me, this episode is more of a satire than another dark drama like Chain of Command was. I think at the start we're meant to be outraged and horrified, but as it proceeds I can't help but feel that it devolves into comedy at times, making the proceeding look increasingly ridiculous, especially in light of the Conservator and his antics, especially at the end. I think while Chain of Command shows us to an extent the steep price Cardassians pay for their type of society, this one shows us in a way how fragile it is as well. They need this kind of theatre to keep it going, and the Conservator is probably rightly terrified of what will happen when he fails in his duties. I think the system of 'justice' we're shown here shows us cracks in the Cardassian system, which sets up stuff for later in the series.
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Zanki
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

It's an okay episode I guess, my guess they sort of tried to do like ''chain of command '' maybe that explains why I wasn't surprised of the Orwellian approach to their legal system ...you sort of expect this from the Cardassian's at this point.
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Zanki
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

For me, DS9 season 1 was like any show trying to find it's footing early on, like many on this review, Duet is sort of like this diamond in the rough. I knew every landmark episode of TNG and VOY , but I had no clue this episode existed in a season 1 of trek (Star trek is notorious for having lack luster starters).

The holocaust allegory is heavy here, Yulin delivering what I think is the role he will be remembered for , funny because i'm watching Ozark and he's playing the old guy , but I digress. He's invested in the character and it all comes to a crescendo when he spills his emotional guts in front of Kira, trying to remedy the atrocities the Bajorans had to endure.

As mentionned by many this bottle episode punches above it's weight
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

And that's putting aside Booming's repeated equation of the social "sciences" with science (in this case, medical research), as if there's no distinction.

You want to disagree, go ahead, but don't call another poster ignorant prior to your posting radical fringe stuff that social scientists with credibility would never actually say. I thought Dreubarik's post was quite interesting, and in fact I agree that there is a perpetual problem - even to the point of world-ending mania - of certain small classes of people thinking they are smarter and know enough to decide for everyone because they are superior. This is an incredibly important message, and I agree fully that we have seen to many times in the 20th century people purporting to have "conclusive data" to back up a complete nonsense theory. I know more about the history of economics compared to the social sciences, but in that field time and again we see "brainiacs" who don't know wtf they're talking about but couching their statements in jargon that sounds compelling. Presidents fall for it all the time, as these theories come in an out of vogue. None of it has anything to do with science, mind you. Not that all of social science is exactly like this, but...well, I'll just leave out what I think of the accuracy of statements made by that field in general. We don't know jack about human behavior yet on a truly scientific level.
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Andersonh1
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

I read recently that Ronald Moore just flat out did not accept the ending of this episode, that Janeway and Chakotay simply could not go back to the way things were before. So I was watching that final scene, and it's clear to me that they were beginning the process of repairing the relationship, and that Janeway was tacitly admitting she had gone too far. There was an apology there, and in the end while Janeway may have preached about sticking to principles, it was Chakotay who had actually done so. It was nicely played by Beltran and Mulgrew, in my opinion.

I thought it would have been interesting to play out this scenario for a few more episodes, and have Voyager and Equinox travel together for a short time. Shake up the status quo for two or three episodes before having the reveal of the aliens and the showdown. There was some untapped potential there.

I was glad to see Ransom found some redemption in the end. He fought with his conscience, he struggled, and in the end turned around and made the right decision, so he gets to go down with the ship and save lives rather than be fried by the aliens like Burke and the other mutineers.
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Trent
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

Trish said: "I'm not one to believe that message myself. Oh, sure, striving to overcome hardship has a certain value, but paradise would sure be nice. "

That was more a TOS trope, and a common trope found in the science fiction of the era. And so - typical of the zeitgeist of the time - Kirk's always railing against tyranny, fascists, hippies, techno-authoritarians, commies, utopians, with a kind of vague conception of 1960s, ruggedly individualistic western democracy covertly held up as the best of all worlds.

A strong skepticism of technology also runs through TOS. Cribbing from 1940s-50s science fiction, it promotes the idea that too much technology, and too many creature comforts, leads to stagnation, a kind of blind stupor, minds no longer challenged. In this way it flirts with a kind of Darwinian worldview (the old fascist credo, "hard times make better men"), but gets away with it because the Federation ultimately comes across as fairly egalitarian. Struggle is fine when you're base comforts are comfortably met.

TNG tends to be far less tech and/or utopia phobic. Indeed a lot of TNG plots reverse the messages of TOS plots. Men don't go crazy when granted power, androids are friendly, people infected with technology become better people etc. The skepticism of tech was still there (The Game, the Borg), but generally more even handed.
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Jason R.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Our Man Bashir

@Trent cool idea re having Garak, not Bashir, as the protagonist.
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Trent
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Our Man Bashir

I thought this episode's central idea - saving people's lives by holding them in a holosuite - was a great one. That the saved folk intrude upon the private fantasies of the rather reserved Julian Bashir, is even better.

But I don't think the episode's holo-adventure is clever enough or funny enough to exploit these cool ideas. We've had decades of Bond parodies, and this episode never elevates itself above them. A big problem, I think, is because Garak is relegated to a background role. More interesting to have him actively trying to solve the holo-adventure, and contrast his "realistic" approach to solving the game, and spying and espionage in general, to that of Julian's fantastical Jame's Bond character. Have Garak be the hero. Have Julian learn from a real master. If you have a climax in which a bad guy gives a long winded Evil Villain speech, it's got to be a famously long-winded Cardassian giving the monologue! Not Sisko!

Everyone complains about the ridiculous first act of this episode, in which Sisko's brain is essentially too big to store inside DS9's computers. I'm surprised Ronald Moore didn't fix this problem with some technobabble and tweaking.

Instead of an exploding runabout, for example, you can just have the episode's terrorists be hackers who've introduced a virus into DS9's Starfleet computers which identify the transporter logs of high ranking Federation officers, and immediately deletes them. The quick-thinking Miles then dumps Sisko and the gang into Quark's holodeck, which exists safely off the grid.

No need for DS9 to blackout, no need for a transporter log of a human to be incredulously big.
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Jason R.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 9:39am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

Booming did you just call the legal system a "scientific field"? :)
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Booming
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@Dreubarik
You statement is a testament to ignorance. First, many things can be very accurately predicted. second this show and many other shows depict a genius intellect as a form of super power which it isn't. Third, I doubt that you have even the faintest understanding of social scientific method.

And what false promises??? Do you know what science is? Social scientists make predictions based on empirical research. It is all build around falsifiability. These sciences are literally called probabilistic sciences, not deterministic, so no the people in the episode are doing the opposite of how social scientific method actually works.

Plus all the things, like predictions and measures based upon them, are done/provided by numerous scientific fields, first and foremost, economics, medicine and the legal system.

Medical researchers stop working! Dreubarik believes that what you do is witchcraft. How do you think the military works?!

I'm right now watching keeping up with the kardashians and this is still the dumbest thing I have heard today.
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Hotel bastardos
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

Couldn't they just have let Geordie labour under the delusion that he'd finally popped his cherry whilst on Risa?
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Dreubarik
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

I asolutely LOVE this episode. Beyond how well it is used to analyze one of the show's protagonists, it is a wonderful devastating commentary on technocracy, the rule of the sage elites and the false promise of social science (appropiately dissecting the difference between "risk," as portrayed by games of chance, and the "epistemic uncertainty" that characterizes the real world and foils attempts to make predictions about human societies). An incredibly relevant episode from the perspective of political commentary and one that many in academia should be compelled to watch. In the Top 5 DS9 episodes for me. Bravo.
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