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Juerg Feldmann

Fortiori Design LLC
Posts: 1,530
On this thread we will show live data information from an interesting experiment.
The MOXY team allowed us > E.U.K  > ( will explain later ) to search for a few groups out there, who  produced fro them self a name for critical assessments and a critical view on their own and current assessment ideas and physiological testing.
What all this groups ( and for sure many other teams and centers out there ) have in common:
Integration of the latest technology into the practical application  with their clients and patinets.
Despite the fact , that we had to limit the numbers of teams working on this project, we still hope, that many will follow our steps and jump into the lively discussion.
 Our team come from the UK, Switzerland, Canada,and USA, but I know , that many more teams from many more countries will critically read and watch what we do and hopefully start positive and constructive critics in and towards our philosophy and thinking process.
With this as a start I like to already throw a hard challenge out there :
Please try to think outside the BOX.
We like to avoid that MOXY ( NIRS ) has to be compared  with current classical and traditional believes.
Our idea is NOT to replace your current ideas but rather enhance your  options of physiological assessment tools and hope to have a chance to give so called  " golden standard" ideas a critical look.
Second please remember, that we like to reach out to close the gap between science and practical application.
Perhaps we can challenge ideas like 220 - age, of VO2 max and % calculation for intensities, or even challenge ideas like lactate threshold.
MOXY info should not be compared with this classical ideas but rather have chance to look it as a new additional bio marker information.
As such let's use a more critical information from a very interesting field of exercise physiology.
The following article may in fact be the base philosophy of our approach here.
 Enjoy and stay tuned as we will start here to show up regular with some "brain " gymnastic" for your daily brain matter fitness program.

This is the last big "text " here, as we in the future like to show numbers and assessment datas here.

How does a foundational myth become sacred scientific dogma?

The case of A.V. Hill and the anaerobiosis controversy

Part 2

by Tim Noakes1

Lessons from a scientific training

The concept of refutability and the burden of disproof

Self-taught in science, I also learned some fundamental truths that are not always included in a more conventional scientific training. In his influential text, Viennese philosopher Sir Karl Popper (1969) explains the pivotal importance of research that aims to disprove the currently considered ‘truth’. He begins by posing the fundamental question: What identifies empirical science and therefore distinguishes it from pseudoscience? He concludes that: A statement (a theory, a conjecture) has the status of belonging to the empirical sciences if, and only if, it is falsifiable (Popper 1969). According to this criterion, a statement or theory is falsifiable, that is, able to be refuted, if and only if there exists at least one potential falsifier – at least one basic statement that conflicts with it logically. He continues that the falsifier does not itself have to be known to be true, only that it logically refutes the conjecture.

In Popper’s view, an important aim of science is therefore to generate theories that are able to be refuted (falsified). Successful refutation (falsification) of successive conjectures leads to new and, occasionally, revolutionary theories, each of which is likely to be somewhat closer to the truth than all its predecessors. Victor Katch (1986) was one of the first to bring this to the attention of modern exercise scientists.

Popper also concludes that we will never know whether a specific conjecture is the final truth, for the reason that our scientific methods and our logic are too imprecise, ever to be certain that we have subjected a particular theory to every possible test of falsification. We must always presume that there is still one technique or technology, yet to be conceived, the application of which may yet allow the next experiment to disprove a long-favoured hypothesis. Thus, a theory that has yet to be refuted is the nearest we ever approach the truth. In this analysis, even Einstein’s theory of relativity is simply a conjecture which has, for the most part, escaped refutation (Will 1986). Einstein understood this for he wrote: ‘No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment may at any time prove me wrong’; and ‘No fairer destiny could be allowed to any physical theory than that it should itself point out the way to introducing a more comprehensive theory in which it lives on as a limiting case’ (Einstein, cited in Bartlett 1988:131).

Some would argue that too few scientists approach these lofty goals too infrequently. For the surprising nature of much scientific endeavour is a profound resistance to those new ideas which threaten to refute the favoured dogmas of the intellectual giants, our gods, at whose feet we have studied and on whose shoulders we are fortunate to stand (Waller 2002).

The development of intellectual mindsets (paradigms)

A characteristic of the scientific mind is the development of intellectual mindsets or frameworks within which we interpret all new information (Hawking 1993). Popper (1988, 17) described this subconscious process accordingly:

Thinking people tend to develop some framework into which they try to fit whatever new idea they may come across; as a rule, they even translate any new idea which they meet into a language appropriate to their own framework. One of the most characteristic tasks of philosophy is to attack, if necessary, the framework itself.

The value of these intellectual frameworks is that, when accepted by the entire community, they facilitate communication. The basis for this common understanding does not need endlessly to be reviewed or restated as all the experts in that specialist field accept that the prediction of that particular model have yet to be refuted so that, at that particular moment, it represents the yet-to be-disproved ‘truth’.

Thus frameworks or paradigms represent those scientific frontiers in which an intellectual truce has been declared; the intellectual battles have been fought, the arguments have been exhausted and a common consensus has been achieved, at least for the time being. There is a common acceptance that no further advantage can be gained by arguing the intellectual basis of the paradigm. Rather the accepted framework makes predictions which scientists are then eager to evaluate. Kuhn (1970) refers to this as ‘normal’ science.

As is elegantly described in the analogy of Friedman (1994), the danger of such frameworks is that, like clothes, these ideas can become too comfortable and are not easily discarded:

Accepting a new paradigm is like acquiring a new wardrobe. Initially, the garments fit well, look stylish, and are suitable for almost all occasions. However, with the passage of time, the clothes become too loose or too tight, frayed and tattered, and the wearer begins to feel unsuitably dressed for certain events. At this point, he or she can either alter the outfits or purchase a new wardrobe. But the older clothes are not so easily cast aside. They are more comfortable in some ways, they served long and well, they are like old friends; a certain attachment has set in. Indeed the wearer may decide to keep the old wardrobe and restrict his or her activities accordingly, passing up occasions at which the clothes seem out of place. The activities that are dropped become defined as unimportant and eventually no longer belong to the wearer’s ‘real’ world. Choosing a new wardrobe, on the other hand, is comparable to what Kuhn terms a paradigm revolution: the basic framework that defines activity is altered, and ‘normal’ science is replaced with a new range of possibilities. We may call this a new ‘reality’ (282–3).

The dependence of reality on the specific model we choose to believe

The eminent mathematician Stephen Hawking has written a remarkably successful popular book on astrophysics (1989). His book describes models from which we can attempt to understand how the universe is (currently) believed to work. These models make predictions that can be tested, but there is no guarantee that they exist beyond the minds of their creators. As Hawking explains:

We cannot distinguish what is real about the universe without a theory…[But]…it makes no sense to ask if a theory corresponds to reality, because we do not know what reality is independent of a theory…. How can we know what is real, independent of a theory or model with which to interpret it? (1993: 38, 40.)

This is a perennial problem in philosophy; biological scientists can at least fashion experiments to disprove their models. Exercise scientists spend their academic lives developing models of how the body works. We need to remember that there is no guarantee that these models (Noakes 2000) are either real or the absolute truth. According to these ideas, we might propose that ‘truth’ implies only the absence of a significant refutation and that truth reveals itself through the refutation of the less true. As a consequence, scientific truth is subject to change which often occurs with rude suddenness. Finally, all ‘truth’ is model dependent; that is, the ‘truth’ predicted by one model may be the opposite of a ‘truth’ foretold by a different model.

Novel ideas are not easily accepted by the scientific community

Hawking has described a phenomenon wherein scientists hold on to their scientific commitments even in the face of growing critique:

The theory always came first, put forward from the desire to have an elegant and consistent mathematical model. The theory then makes predictions, which can be tested by observation. If the observations agree with the predictions, that doesn’t prove the theory; but the theory survives to make further predictions, which again are tested against observation. If the observations don’t agree with the predictions, one abandons the theory. Or rather, that is what is supposed to happen. In practice, people are very reluctant to give up a theory in which they have invested a lot of time and effort. They usually start by questioning the accuracy of the observations. If that fails, they try to modify the theory in an ad hoc manner. Eventually the theory becomes a creaking and ugly edifice. Then someone suggests a new theory in which all the awkward observations are explained in an elegant and natural manner (1993: 36).

Hawking also identifies a popular method which is employed to delay the acceptance of a new conjecture. In this technique labelled ‘refutation by denigration’, the scientific credibility of the person who questions the accepted model is brought into doubt and his or her professional standing is subtly undermined. It is the classic technique of shooting the messenger so that the message may be conveniently ignored. This method is unfortunately still very popular in many branches of science.

It would seem that even the intellectually brilliant are not immune from a reluctance to accept novel intellectual models. Both Newton and Einstein, two of the most revolutionary scientists, could not accept predictions of their own theories that were in conflict with a religious dogma. Newton refused to accept the impossibility of defining the absolute position of a large object in space as this conflicted with his belief in an absolute God. Similarly, Einstein would not believe that the position of the very small was also indeterminate (the Heissenberg Uncertainty Principle) because it also conflicted with his religious belief. ‘God’, Einstein wrote, ‘does not play dice’ (Hawking 1993: 91). His prediction of the existence of astronomical black holes led Hawking to suggest that: ‘God not only plays dice but also sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen’ (1993: 103).

Finally, there is the danger of the perpetuation of a ‘foundation myth’. The greatest danger is the attempt to immunize a particular hypothesis from all attempts at refutation once it becomes the established mindset supported by all the influential scientists. As Miller (1983: 10) has exhorted: ‘It is the perpetuation of errors that interferes with our understanding; and it is this, rather than their perpetration, that we must exert ourselves determinedly to avert’. Influential scientists can harm their discipline if they lose the desire to challenge the dogmas they have created.

During much of my scientific career I have considered two intellectual constructs in the exercise sciences that, in my opinion, have to a lesser or greater extent, become ‘ugly and creaking edifices’ (Noakes 1997). Here I review the history of the evolution of the construct that fatigue during high intensity exercise is caused by the development of anaerobiosis in the exercising skeletal muscles. I then present some of the evidence that conflicts with that interpretation and which, according to Popperian theory, should result in the replacement of that ugly edifice with a novel model that is better able to explain all the currently published information."



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