Etremely interesting discussion. And I am glad to see that there are still men in the scientific community who are willing to look at the metaphysics of science.
What can it tell us? What are it’s limitations? Is it time-invariant?
It is interesting that there is somewhat of an agreement on the circular reasoning aspect of it. Science is a procedure based on a set of givens.
And it will not allow anything into it’s domain that doesn’t agree with the givens.
The givens being that there is a “causative conclusion” that can be derived by repeatable demonstrations.
If there is any failure of science (rather I should say shortcoming) it is that causative IS NOT the same as repeatability.
Here’s an example, since Independence day just passed.
I unstring a bunch of firecrackers and put them in a box.
I light a match and throw it in the box.
The match simply burns out.
I light another match and throw it in.
A huge bunch of explosions occur!
Now, there is no doubt the match was causative. There is also no doubt that it DID NOT repeat. I know some of the scientific oriented will give me a thousand reasons why this is not really “science” or whatever, but I maintain my position.
A person prays for a relative, and the relative gets well.
Another person prays for their relative, and the relative passes.
Now, JUST BECAUSE this does not seem to be repeatable, that DOES NOT imply that the first persons prayer was not “causative”.
Now, even if everything that is “Knowable” was somehow recorded, we are told that there are things we can never know. Godel said that. Heisenberg said that.
A. S. Eddington addressed the issues in a brilliant essay called “The Domain of Physical Science”. He admits the limitations of science, and explains that it is not sciences fault. Science MUST because of it’s boundaries and methodologies, EXCLUDE AND NOT ACKNOWLEDGE things that cannot be tested or modeled with its methods. Eddington calls it the difference between the emperical and the mystical.
There is no question that the set of (knowable&unknowable) things is larger than the set of (knowable) things. In my opinion, spectacularly larger. For instance, a little math will tell you that the number of states (velocity, momentum, position, angular momentum) in 18 grams of water is a fantastically huge number, 10^^200 or so. And 18 grams of water is a mole, you could hold it in your mouth!
It’s almost as if science needs to be triadic, instead of binary. Maybe (True False) needs to be replaced with (True False Maybe).
But then it would not be science. It would be something else.
Which, by itself, DOES NOT mean that it would be wrong, or would not work.
A. S. Eddington, The Domain of Physical Science from the collection Science, Religion, and Reality ed. Joseph Needham, The Macmillan Company Press, 1928
Correction: re: the prayer example
in fact because the experiment was not repeatable, it DOES imply it is not causative.
But implication is not proof. The word imply should be PROVE.
I googled a definition of "metaphysics" and got these:
A field of abstract thought and philosophy about topics not on the concrete or physical level of understanding. This includes subjects like existence, the soul, being, the supernatural, astral travel and psychicism.I hate to break this to you harshly, but that metaphysics stuff is not science. And the folks who are peddlin' that metaphysics stuff aren't scientists. Science is defined as a study of reality--of the natural world--that which is measurable or in some way observable.
"Beyond physics." The branch of philosophy that deals with first principles and seeks to explain the nature of reality and the origin and structure of the world. In recent times, metaphysics has come to include the study of phenomena such as reincarnation, astral travel, psychic people, chakras, auras, etc.
Knowledge of the First Principle and of degrees of Reality. Defined as such, it is different from philosophical speculation and it is not a human knowledge. Metaphysical wisdom requires an actual participation in the knowledge by which God knows himself. Integral Metaphysics Body of complete metaphysical doctrines: Neoplatonism (pre-Christian and Christian), Akbarian Sufism, Advaita Vedanta, Madhyamika etc. ...
The science that attempts to explain the nature of things beyond reality.
As a result, scientists left "metaphysics, philosophy, and other squishy subjects behind a couple of hundred years ago. And those poor ol' philosophers are still complaining, "What happen'? What about us? We were here first. Pay some attention to us. PLEASE!"
Here is your solution. If you think science is doing so badly by omitting those squishy subjects, well you have at it! Go where science refuses to go! Knock yourself out!
You can study magic, superstition, wishful thinking, old wives tales, folklore, what the stars foretell and what the neighbors think, omens, public opinion, astromancy, spells, Ouija boards, anecdotes, Da Vinci codes, tarot cards, sorcery, seances, sore bunions, black cats, divine revelation, table tipping, witch doctors, crystals and crystal balls, numerology, divination, faith healing, miracles, palm reading, the unguessable verdict of history, tea leaves, new age mumbo-jumbo, hoodoo, voodoo and all that other weird stuff.
The scientists will stick to science.