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How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
The Week ^ | September 19, 2014 | Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

Posted on 09/19/2014 10:54:47 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer

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1 posted on 09/19/2014 10:54:47 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: Vince Ferrer
Aristotle's definition of science became famous in its Latin translation as: rerum cognoscere causas, or, "knowledge of the ultimate causes of things." For this, you can often see in manuals Aristotle described as the Father of Science.

More the philosophy of science than science itself. To the latter, I give the nod to Democritus for his amazing abstraction of atomism.

2 posted on 09/19/2014 11:03:33 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Democrats: the Party of slavery to the immensely wealthy for over 200 years.)
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To: Carry_Okie

I always looked at science as an earnest attempt to explain what our Creator made (and how it works).


3 posted on 09/19/2014 11:22:31 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Vince Ferrer
For example, our approach to education is positively obscurantist.

Kids are told they have to go to college, and conservatives are kept from becoming teachers in college. An opposition to the increase of knowledge. It's a ruinous cycle.

4 posted on 09/19/2014 11:27:53 PM PDT by roadcat
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To: Vince Ferrer

The author makes unsupported statements as to what people think science is ... I have no idea how the author comes to his/her conclusions - guessing and generalization I suspect. This not a valid critique on the subject...


5 posted on 09/19/2014 11:29:10 PM PDT by ICCtheWay
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To: Smokin' Joe
I always looked at science as an earnest attempt to explain what our Creator made (and how it works).

One should then be careful about the conflation in your post. There are things in Gen. 1 that are created (of the word bara, literally "shaped") and those that are made (oseh). They are not the same, nor are they judged as such. Everything that was "made" was good. That which was created, well, see Genesis 6:7.

6 posted on 09/19/2014 11:29:25 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Democrats: the Party of slavery to the immensely wealthy for over 200 years.)
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Science is politicized; thus, science is political.


7 posted on 09/19/2014 11:37:58 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: Carry_Okie
But, science doesn't judge what is, rather documents it, and attempts to explain it.

As for that which was destroyed...we call the remains fossils.

8 posted on 09/19/2014 11:39:14 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Vince Ferrer
I have a serious problem with the essayist's focus on the word "controlled". There has never been, nor ever will be a completely controlled experiment. By definition the only point at which we can have a completely controlled experiment is after we have completely understood all of the possible factors that might affect a particular measurement. But in that case there would be no reason to run the experiment.

I also think the use of the word "science" is misleading. It would be better to use the term "scientific method". Using the word "science" feeds into the idea that "science" is some sort of mystery cult led by mystical geniuses who have access to special knowledge. "Scientific method", on the other hand, emphasizes that what good scientists do is follow a specific methodology to develop equations that will help us predict the future behavior of systems within a reasonable set of limits.

What distinguishes the scientific method from other methods is not that the experiments are controlled, but that when an experiment occurs all of the important factors are well understood. This allows scientists to look at ancient geographic formations and come to scientific conclusions about how those geographic formations arose without having to construct "controlled" mountain building or seismic fault simulating experiments.

Too much silliness is launched at the theory of evolution because it supposedly can't be tested, e.g. we can't breed a race of dinosaurs, hurl a meteor into Earth, and see if they all die after a period of time.

Einstein's theories were proven in part by waiting for a particular astronomical event to occur. This event was not created or controlled by any scientist. What the scientists had was a complete understanding of all of the important factors that might affect their observations. The observations they then made lined up more closely to Einstein's predictions than Newton's.

I agree with the essayist that science is not a search for the truth. It can't be. Philosophers haven't proven much, but everyone agrees that they have clearly shown that no certain truths can come from empirical observations no matter how much clever math and logic follows. Anything that starts with empirical observation can only have about it a tentative possibility of being true.

There's a YouTube video where four different physicists discuss their different takes on the quantum mechanical "measurement problem". Although they disagree about how to resolve the problem, they all agree that science has nothing to say about what "is", but only about what changes might occur at some time 't' in the future given a well-specified initial state and a fully fleshed out hypothesis.

I'm also not a big fan of folks who take a dig into Aristotle. He was a big fan of empirical observation which is not a minor point. Many of his observations on other philosophic topics have stood the test of time. He was also a big fan of the Socratic method where all theories were open to continuous questioning. Aristotle would have been the first one to question his own proto-scientific writings given the increasing amount of empirical evidence. It's not Aristotle's fault that generations of intelligentsia treated him like a god rather than as a colleague, i.e. the way Aristotle treated Plato.

9 posted on 09/19/2014 11:40:35 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: Vince Ferrer

What a mouthful of nonsense.


10 posted on 09/19/2014 11:41:11 PM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: Carry_Okie

why climate scientist aren’t scientists ? there is no repeatable aspect to what they say will happen...in other words they cant PROVE scientifically what they claim...they are snake oil salesman like OBAMA


11 posted on 09/19/2014 11:54:30 PM PDT by Understand the stimulus
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To: Smokin' Joe

Me too.


12 posted on 09/20/2014 12:20:22 AM PDT by Politicalkiddo (Power always thinks.. that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws. -John Adams)
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To: roadcat

I had a substitute professor who ranted to my astronomy class that school standards are failing because Conservatives/Christians are getting high positions on school boards.


13 posted on 09/20/2014 12:23:44 AM PDT by Politicalkiddo (Power always thinks.. that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws. -John Adams)
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To: Politicalkiddo

So, where was this school? And, what Professor said it...?


14 posted on 09/20/2014 12:39:04 AM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: Vince Ferrer

A Freeper kept insisting to me that Bill Nye is a scientist. There’s the problem in a nutshell.


15 posted on 09/20/2014 1:02:14 AM PDT by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Evolution!)
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To: Vince Ferrer

When people are stuck in an ideology hell bent on believing languages that, say, are meant to ignore or subhumanize private entreprise vs. Government, no amount of truth or science will be accepted if such result contradict the wishful ideology.

Global warming is a prime example of a concept fundamently driven by rigid ideology which will deny facts and science to the contrary.


16 posted on 09/20/2014 4:04:22 AM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: Understand the stimulus

“why climate scientist aren’t scientists ? there is no repeatable aspect to what they say will happen...in other words they cant PROVE scientifically what they claim”

The scientific method (aka Science) is based on experimentation and valid experiments require a positive and negative control. I dont see how Climate scientists can design or run a properly controlled experiment. Thats why they rely so heavily on models. This calls all their results into question especially since their models fail to accurately reflect the past or predict future conditions.


17 posted on 09/20/2014 5:18:50 AM PDT by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

I only disagree to the extent that in situations where a controlled experiment is not possible, an observational study *can* yield valuable insights.


18 posted on 09/20/2014 5:22:34 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (This is known as "bad luck". - Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

“A Freeper kept insisting to me that Bill Nye is a scientist. There’s the problem in a nutshell.”

IMO a scientist is someone who is trained in the scientific method and uses it to answer questions. If you dont use the scientific method you are not a scientist, even if you have advanced degrees from prestigious universities. If you use the method you are a scientist even if you never attended school. I dont know if BN is a scientist or not.


19 posted on 09/20/2014 5:27:51 AM PDT by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
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To: Vince Ferrer
While it is a fact that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads, all else equal, to higher atmospheric temperatures,...

This is, in fact, false. Historical data over the past 400 000 years indicates that temperature leads carbon dioxide concentration, rather than the other way around.

There is no reasonable explanation how a rise in CO2 today can cause a rise in temperature 100 years ago.

20 posted on 09/20/2014 5:29:18 AM PDT by sima_yi ( Reporting live from the far North)
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