Re: [agi] Two draft papers: AI and existential risk; heuristics and biases

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2006 - 01:54:55 MDT

By no means did I deny that experimentation has been important in science,
only that it was at the root of "almost all revolutionary science".
Likewise, I was not summarizing the history of science. However, it is 4 in
the morning in DC as well as here in NY so I won't complain too much about
the utter mischaracterization.

>From: "Ben Goertzel" <>
>Subject: Re: [agi] Two draft papers: AI and existential risk; heuristics
>and biases
>Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2006 00:28:24 -0700
>This is a badly incorrect summary of the history of science.
>Experimentation has been incredibly important in science, and it seems
>extremely foolish to deny this. Listing examples is so easy it's
>almost absurd to do so.... Quantum theory, special relativity theory,
>chaos theory, molecular biology ... jeez ... this is a really stupid
>argument!!! Take the experimentation out of science and you don't
>have science anymore. Darwin may have thought of the basics of
>evolutionary theory via observation rather than experiment, but Mendel
>did experiments and of course modern genetics which is much of the
>basis of contemporary evolutionary theory is heavily experimentally
>based.... Goodness...!!!
>ben g
>On 6/7/06, Michael Vassar <> wrote:
>>I think that you are giving experiment too much credit here. In practice
>>much revolutionary science (think X-Rays) happens due to new experimental
>>observation, but the very most revolutionary science often doesn't.
>>Darwin's theory was grounded in pure logic and inspired by a huge general
>>body of pre-existing observational and experimental data. The same is
>>of Newton. Gallileo's belief about equal free-fall velocities and his
>>ballistics theories are basically simply assertions of an unappreciated
>>hypothesis, as is the more recent work of Judith Rich Harris. Even
>>Einstein's general theory of relativity is arguably of this type.
>>Practically all revolutionary computer science, quantum computing, and
>>Dirac's prediction of antimatter provide a few more examples.
>> >Now in practice, I admit that there have been cases where the
>> >observations told us which hypotheses we needed to test; nearly all
>> >revolutionary science, as opposed to routine science, happens this way.

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