RE: [asa] Objective vs. Subjective

From: George Cooper <>
Date: Tue Jan 06 2009 - 13:18:31 EST

Hi Mike,

Yes, meaning is subjective, yet scientific data is objective, if it is
properly obtained. The assignment of meaning to the data becomes
subjective, assuming it is not simply a mathematical claim.

It is the objective elements within each scientific claim that form the
concrete foundation that science must employ. These foundations, and the
houses that are subsequently built upon them, are open to scrutiny and allow
testing. This is much different than most subjective claims that come from
religion or philosophy.

Yet even many subjective claims may contain objective elements within them,
the difference being the significance that these objective elements are used
to support their subjective claim. There is a difference in kind, not just
degree, that is worth noting. Apples are different than oranges though many
of their molecular compounds are found in each, right? Scientific claims
are distinctly different than religious claims, and their purpose is often
different, too.


"But are you also saying that pattern recognition programs aren't
measurements? I mean, they aren't measuring devices which take or produce

Pattern recognition does involve measurements. Consider how computers
conduct fingerprint recognition. Don't they actual do some sort of vector
mapping of the distances between the ridges and their angles? DNA
comparisons are, perhaps, a better example of this.

Yet, once all the measurements are taken and used for comparisons, a
subjective opinion will be made. In court, the scientist must give his
professional opinion as to the pattern matching to assure, or otherwise, the
jury that no reasonable doubt remains. Probabilities are important to
pattern recognition, but also to any claim, objectively based or otherwise.

"However, the pattern recognizer in the brain, if it isn't based on
_something_ that is rooted in physics, and therefore isn't backed by
something that can be understood in terms of mathematics (isn't backed
because the mathematics of design detection allegedly doesn't exist), must
therefore by definition be based on something that is instead itself
non-physical and non-natural. Wouldn't that be correct? What other answer
could there be? Its either part of the physical universe, or its part of
something else. Its either based on principles that are part of the
universe, or not.

But if not, does that make that _something_ supernatural in its nature?

Patterns, as in face recognition, involve subtle measurements that compare
relative distances, colors, brightnesses, etc, of spots within a pattern.
It is amazing how we can see faces in so many things. Pareidolia is an
interesting topic. The Face of Mars is one good example where some
probability exists that it was a design-build face by Cydonians (region of
Mars). The probability was quite low to begin with, but subsequent imaging
lowered this probability and shoved the claim all the way to downtown

"People here keep saying again and again that either design doesnt exist, or
is not by definition measureable, and therefore has to do with God. I just
don't understand that claim. To me its over-claiming."

Unfortunately, the subjective nature of the claims do not qualify it as
science. I believe that it is by design that we can not scientifically
determine design, else faith is diminished. The importance of faith can not
be overstated and it makes us unique among all the other species, at least
in the degree that God can be loved and honored by incorporating it.

Also, I suspect the lack of units of measure that can be assigned design is
another hinderance to allow such claims to be considered within science.


From: [] On
Behalf Of Nucacids
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Objective vs. Subjective

Hi Coope,
"Could we not simplify define "objective" as being that which can be
measured by all parties who should obtain the same result given an
appropriate range of accuracy?"
I like. But then what about the meaning of the measurement? Must all
parties agree on that meanng of the measurement? Meaning is subjective.
"Measurement is the foundation to science. If it can't be measured, it
ain't science. [Sorry, multiuniverse theorists and IDers. :-)]"
I agree. Of course, we would have to add that measurement is a necessary
condition of science, but not sufficient. Measurement is crucial to many
activities, but not all activities are science.
----- Original Message -----
From: George Cooper <>
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 5:02 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] Objective vs. Subjective

Nice topic, Nucacids, and a timely one at that. Jon??? :-)

Could we not simplify define "objective" as being that which can be measured
by all parties who should obtain the same result given an appropriate range
of accuracy?

Measurement is the foundation to science. If it can't be measured, it ain't
science. [Sorry, multiuniverse theorists and IDers. :-)]

Where parties can not agree on their respective observations the we are in
the subjective realm since opinions and bias become key factors to the
claims. Love, hate, etc. are subjective elements. Even if most might agree
to relative strengths of these, what units of measure are assigned to them?


From: [] On
Behalf Of Nucacids
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 1:48 PM
Subject: [asa] Objective vs. Subjective

Hi all,
We have all been shaped by a culture that assigns high value to "objective
knowledge" and low value to "subjective knowledge." So it would help if we
made an effort to define both the objective and the subjective.

Let's begin with the dictionary, as the dictionary conveys the manner in
which words are commonly understood and thus best reflects what people are
trying to communicate. The dictionary defines 'objective' as follows:

"not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based
on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.

intent upon or dealing with things external to the mind rather than with
thoughts or feelings, as a person or a book.

being the object of perception or thought; belonging to the object of
thought rather than to the thinking subject

of or pertaining to something that can be known, or to something that is an
object or a part of an object; existing independent of thought or an
observer as part of reality."

We could coalesce these definitions and define objective knowledge to mean
knowledge about things external to our minds that does not depend on
feelings, interpretations, or prejudice. In other words, it is unbiased
knowledge about the world around us.

Now, let us use the dictionary to define 'subjective':

"existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the
object of thought

pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a
subjective evaluation."

So we can define subjective knowledge as that which exists in the mind,
intertwined with someone's biases, and pertains to the one who holds the

Are there any problems with these definitions?
- Mike Gene

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Received on Tue Jan 6 13:19:15 2009

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