Monday, August 15, 2011

Science is not the only form of knowledge

Higgs boson particle trace

must get taht extra g in there. that proves I know who he was, that proves I'm a science guy so I'm smart. only scinece makes you smart now. the computer god will be angry if I screw up on some unimportant little meaningless detail of science.

One comment before I present this exchange. Someone always has to pedantically insist that scinece isn't knowledge, "it's a method." Anything that you learn and know is knowledge. The method of scinece produces data and data is knowledge. There's no reson to go to the trouble of not saying "scinece is the only form of knowledge" and "scinece is the only method that produces knowledge as a product of its workings." It's obvious what is meant.

Science was once called "natural philosophy." Science evolute out of philosophy the fact that they diverged does not mean that philosophy ceased to be important. Just as scinece requires logic to make sense it also requires philosophy to keep it in line.

If we an prove that philosophy underlines scinece, and undermines it omniscient claims this is more than enough to prove that philosophy is valid and needed.

I have three arguments to prove that philosophy trumps scinece.

caveat: you can't use scientific precision as the limits test of utility becuase that would be circular. We can't say "nothing else is scientific like science, therefore, that proves only scinece is valid." that's like saying the bible says it's the word of God.

Unless you can get outside of scinece and validate form some more basic perspective you can never prove that it's the only form of knowledge.

that idea itself could be no one. but I have others:

(1) The empiricists dilemma.

Descartes worked the basis of modern epistemology based upon the cogito. The conclusion to which is that one cannot get outside of one's own perceptions to check them. Any scientific data provided to prove that life is real or other minds exists, or what have you, will be useless because it is part of the illusion.

that is to say if we assume per perceptions are an illusion no amount of scientific data an help us get out of it because it can't free us form our own perceptions. If our perceptions are illusory then scinece is merely an illusion.

The only way out is philosophy. Now most of you will probably say "I don't worry about it." Of cousre, I don't either. that's the point. We take it for granted that life is real and we do not worry about it, not becasue science proves it, but because philosophical thinking shows us we don't have to worry about it.

Philosophy tells us we can take reality for granted as real becuase doing so works, since it allows us to navigate freely, and it is the success of our navigation in the world that enables to take reality for granted.

that's a philosophical solution not a scientific one! that means all the people squawking about "philosophical arguments are not good" just don't know what they are talking about. Because we have to have philosophical arguments to make scinece work.

(2) Science is a social construct.

Science is not cumulative progress its the turning over a ground due to the paradigm shift. Paradigms are models that we use to test reality. When there are anomalies we defend the model and absorb the anomalies into the paradigm. It' only when the paradigm absorbs more than it can that it breaks and shifts. A new paradigm means the fact of the old paradigm now become new anomalies under the new paradigm. This the work of Kuhn.

here's my page on Kuhn to explain it in greater detail.

(3) The atheist fortress of fact is a philosophical position

The fortress of facts is the atheist ideology that many have been touting these past few days. It is the idea that "we have all these facts that scinece gives us and not one single fact supports God."

This position would be impossible without resorting to metaphysical argument.. In fact the position itself is not scinece it's philosophy.

Belief in God or disbelief is a question beyond the domain of scinece. it's not a scientific questing it's not science's business to tell us yea or nay on God.

For anyone to turn scinece into a weapon for atheism they have to put it into a philosophical framework. In fact the argument itself "philosophical arguments are no good" is a philosophical argument. To say "there is such thing as metaphysics" is an argument evoking metaphysical thinking.

Science is not about answering questions from beyond its domain, which is the physical world and nothing more.

This is indicative of a larger issue. One must go beyond science to do scinece. You can't fit data into an interpretive context without a philosophical view point. Just like any data will be part of the illusion if we make the assumption that reality might be an illusion, the only way to make an inebriation that rules out the possibility is make a philosophical interpretation.

Here's what I mean when I criticize the fortress of facts as "selective." They will only accept as scinece the things that rule out God belief. they will not accept anything that supports it. So that is a philosophical decision. You can't use science beyond science without placing it into a philosophical framework that augments it through philosophical understanding.

Philosophical is the language of belief. If talk about belief, that's the language you must speak.

I made this as a post on CARM here are just a few exchanges.

Originally Posted by David Johnson View Post
If I want to understand anything about the Universe, planet or life there on I can only gain that knowledge by means of science.


existentialism and phenomenology are much important means of understanding life. Science is the epitome of Metaphysics in the Heideggerian sense and thus it's a truncated view of reality.

Originally Posted by Electric Skeptic View Post
Science is not any form of knowledge. It is a methodology. And it has repeatedly proven to be the best methodology for finding out about the universe.


That's it. No "science is the only form of knowledge" - that's a strawman thrown out by theists.

no it hasn't scinece has never proven to be anything more than a way to understand one thing the Physical workings of the universe. There's more to the universe than the surface level of how the physical aspect function.

Science is not equipped to handle any of that, becuase it requires a philosophical framework.

the atheist fortress of fact is a philosophical framework and your argument that make here is a philosophical argument (it's a bad one but is one).


Dark Star said...

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps people are just being "pedantic" when they object to your strawmen? You also never defined what you mean by "Knowledge". But in general terms, knowledge is an extremely fuzzy concept that has really never been nailed down by philosophy. It's a placeholder concept, we don't know what it is but we know it when we see it.

Even justified knowledge can (and has been) proven false. For example: CLEARLY the sun goes around the earth, I can see it moving, I don't feel like I'm moving. I can form this into a series of hypotheses that I test and all are born out by the facts. Therefore, I can form a justified belief that the sun goes around the Earth. What's wrong here is that I don't have ALL the facts. I didn't do a very good job and I missed some obvious difficulties. If you want to see an example of this at work in reality check out my post on it: Where I give a long list of observables that must ALL be satisfied by our theory and the geocentric theory absolutely fails a number of tests. Tests I may not have been aware of initially.

This is the hurdle you must overcome with any epistemic theory and this is the REASON the scientific methodology exists as it does today.

To put it more succinctly, Science is our best methodology for removing sources of error and bias from our conclusions.

So science is not the only route to knowledge - you can just make shit up based on a dice roll and it MIGHT be true - you can form theories from abstract ideas and hope they are true - or you can measure the universe and gather facts and jump to conclusions - or you can take those same facts and subject them to best possible testing that humans have devised. The first three ensure that you suffer from all the types of errors and bias that we KNOW exist.

You can use ANY process you want to come up with hypotheses (including dice rolling, with computers this is a reality) - the question is, how do we decide which ones are actually true.

The "empiricists dilemma" is irrelevant because it cannot be demonstrated. I could postulate that we exist only in the fart of a magical unicorn, I have no BASIS for such claims so they are absurd. You also cannot prove that we weren't created in JUST this very instant. Again, we have no basis for making such a claim other than to wonder "what if". "what if" is fine, come back when you can prove we aren't just swirls in the fart of a magical unicorn. I can postulate an infinite number of absurdities (thanks to recursion). So you now have an infinite number of absurd things that are exactly equal to your "dilemma" in weight. Surely that sheds a different light on it?

Science's only burden is to demonstrate utility - it has done. It has proven itself time and time again to falsify even our a priori assumptions and bring us closer to "Knowledge".

To propose there is some OTHER process for doing the same thing (better)?) is to claim that LEAVING IN errors and bias produces better results, which is absurd.

In short, I reject your strawman of science and I show that the negation of science leads to an absurdity.


Dark Star said...

"Science is a social construct" - so is philosophy. You can use philosophy to come up with hypotheses but if you want them to be accepted as valid descriptions of reality then you'll have to submit them to testing and validation. Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that we must accept as true random SHIT that people make up no matter how strongly it disagrees with physical reality?

"The atheist fortress of fact is a philosophical position" - this isn't even a distinct idea that I can comment on.

"They will only accept as scinece [sic] the things that rule out God belief" - blatantly false and more than a few scientists have believed to invented clever arguments and evidences for God. You are confusing your own Confirmation Bias and other cognative disabilities with our refusal to accept false evidence.

Look at the case of Lourdes. There used to be THOUSANDS of miracles claimed at Lourdes. Then a commission was setup to try to validate them and instantly the 'miracle' claim rate dropped to a mere trickle. Now this was still in the early 1900's. As medical science has advanced the miracle rate at Lourdes dropped further, and further, and now it's pretty much at zero. Are there ANY even claimed since about 1987? Where did all the miracles go? What you had was millions of visitors who were primed to believe in a miracle and you had massive levels of fraud and simple confirmation bias. And even then the 'confirmed' miracles in the earlier part of the century were of the "disease went into remission" variety. Well, whoop-de-do. Some of those diseases had no known cases of remission so they were counted as miracles but work since has shown that natural remissions to occur in those diseases as well. But guess what, they refuse to retract their 'miracle' claims.

Confirmation Bias. So now we have MILLIONS of people failing to get any miracle cure at all and one random person goes into remission and that is a miracle. Has anyone regrown a lost limb after visiting Lourdes? Nope, not a one. It's unable to produce any miracle that doesn't otherwise also have Natural causes. The fact that people still believe in these types of Miracles is the true Miracle.

So, please produce someone who can pray for someone and regrow a limb and do that under strict scientific scrutiny and that would the type of evidence that I would find acceptable.

I will not find pathetic cover-ups for Natural processes as evidence.

P.S. It's the HIGGS (two G's) not Higs and that is a SIMULATED trace, not an actual trace.

See how little sources of error creep in? :)

Metacrock said...

I'll answer the rest of your comments tomorrow. two small points first. I knew Higgs has two g's. It was a typo.

I find the bit about "knowledge" pedantic and ideologically motivated. I am betting you would not find it so important to quibble over if I used the term "information." that's a computer term so Im' guess you think it's well defined right?

Knowledge is power, so you have not knowledge, and thus you deny the category so that others will not possess something you lack.

Metacrock said...

I was right, the pedantic comments about knowledge being wrong speak volumes. Of course knowledge can be wrong so can information. So can computers and science.