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ATTN: “Scientists”

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posted on May, 23 2012 @ 02:27 PM
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In this thread I use the term “scientism” as meaning “the use of science as the exclusive method of answering questions.”

Scientism has allowed us to make amazing discoveries and innovations, but it has also created an authority complex, as can be easily identified by anyone outside the paradigm of scientism. Yet for those trapped within the paradigm, scientism is synonymous with rationality, logic and in a broad sense, intelligence. Thus using other methods for answering questions, for scientists, is irrational, illogical, stupid, etc.

The problem with scientism is that there are some questions that are simply beyond scientific inquiry. This is not a problem for science; it is a problem for scientism. It is a problem because when faced with a question unbefitting of scientific inquiry, scientists are ill-equipped to deal with them and generally do one of two things:

1) Declare that there is no way to answer the question in a logical/rational/intelligent way
2) Morph into a politician and answer a different question than the one asked

Here on ATS we see plenty of both reactions. These reactions seem to stem from a failure to appreciate the differences in the sorts of questions that can be asked. We learn the basic formats of questions in grade school:

1) Who
2) What
3) When
4) Where
5) Why
6) How

Science is very good at explaining how:

Question: “How does a fish swim?”
Answer: “It propels itself through the water by moving its tail and using its fins for stability and direction, etc, etc”

Science is less suited to explain other questions. Specifically any question of “why” is beyond scientific explanation:

Question: “Why does a fish swim?”

For this question the scientist can:

1) Admit that (s)he doesn’t know why the fish swims, because that is a question of subjective meaning and relies on speculation. Ex: “Because the fish wants to stay alive and needs to swim to get water in its gills, or it's finding food or fleeing from a predator, etc.”
2) Reframe the question into a “how” and answer that question. Ex: “Because its tail moves and propels it through the water.”

In any case scientific inquiry has no capacity for answering questions of “why,” even if scientists try to jam the square peg into the round hole. Now on to the things that inspired this thread to begin with; I see these archetypes constantly on ATS. Here are a few of the big examples of scientism encroaching on material it is ill-equipped to handle:

Why am I here?

1) (Reframe into a how) Because your parents had sex after a whole chain of meaningless events happened due to Newtonian thermodynamics, which started with the Big Bang. Life is meaningless and (bonus) there is no God.
2) (Admit science’s limitation but maintain egotism) There is no way to know that. I don’t know, you don’t know, no one knows. You’re just alive, so do whatever. Stop asking this question.

Why does the universe exist?

1) (Reframe into a how) Because the Big Bang happened over 13 billion years ago and a whole chain of events happened that resulted in our current universe.
2) (Admit science’s limitation but maintain egotism) There is no way to know that. I don’t know, you don’t know, no one knows. It just happened. Stop asking this question.

Why do organisms adapt/evolve?

1) (Reframe into a how) Because the Big Bang happened over 13 billion years ago and a whole chain of events happened that led to random mutations in life, and natural selection weeded out the ill-equipped life forms, leaving the ones who inherited advantageous mutations.
2) (Admit science’s limitation but maintain egotism) There is no way to know that. I don’t know, you don’t know, no one knows. It just happens. Stop asking this question.

Anyway I think I’ve illustrated my point. I am not bashing scientists; I love watching science shows and TED presentations and reaping the fruits of scientific discoveries. I am trying to point out that sometimes you can’t see answers with a microscope, and it’s okay to admit that. It doesn't mean the answers are not there; it just means you need to come at the question from another angle.

Science is just one form of rationality and intelligence. My advice to scientists is to learn to use some of the other forms of rationality and logic, and start using your whole brain, rather than just the left half… I think that would be the logical thing to do, and it would save a whole lot of idle, off-topic discussion on ATS to boot




posted on May, 23 2012 @ 02:38 PM
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Science is a great tool, but not the only one in the toolbox.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 02:50 PM
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"Admit science’s limitation but maintain egotism" < only an anti-science person would say this because they feel threatened or comprehend the intellectual capacity of science, its like saying "man its just bunch of jibberish, they think they know everything".

Science is always a process of learning, it DOES NOT admit that it knows everything.

If someone is advanced in a field of science, they would unlikely say "Don't ask This question", either they cant explain any simpler or the other person has his fingers in the ear and goes "lalalalalala"

"Why" is not logical question, because no one can answer that, Science does not give purpose to nature, it explains the way it is. The tree is just there, no one can explain WHY its there, they can explains whats it doing but science would never say the tree is only there to produce oxygen, unless you bring in the magical genie from happy land.

No one should adhere to science 100% because its always changing, but science is the closest thing we have to understand this world and how it works, so change is acceptable.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by luciddream
"Why" is not logical question, because no one can answer that, Science does not give purpose to nature, it explains the way it is. The tree is just there, no one can explain WHY its there, they can explains whats it doing but science would never say the tree is only there to produce oxygen, unless you bring in the magical genie from happy land.


You just proved the OP´s point...



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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I quite disagree with OP's arguments. "Why" is a very subjective question that can mean very different things. If your child asks why different candies are different color, do you answer "no one can now" or "because of food coloring". If you see documentary, they do the same, they oversimplify (even if scientist is speaking) to make the message more clear to everybody. On documentary they might say universe exists because of big bang, but if they talk colleague they might speculate other possible causes, they understand that big bang is just a theory.

Lets take a look at one of your questions "Why am I here". Answering this totally depends on whet the person asking it wants to know. Scientist might answer "You better talk to some philosophers about that" (if they feel it's a spiritual question) or they may answer "big bang + evolution + ..." (for simple answer according to current best understanding), but they will accept that those are only currently best accepted hypothesis's. I doubt majority would say (or think) "life is meaningless and there is no god" as you mentioned.

You can't deny that science is doing major advancements all the time. Current science process is a balanced system that does have it's costs. The benefit is that you don't have to start from zero as a scientist, but you can trust previous research as very probably accurate. And if there are inaccuracies, they will be corrected at some point. If you are a super genius like Einstein, you can just solve all problems without depending much on other peoples research, but many are not.

And btw, if you are saying scientists can't thing out of the box and challenge existing theories, take a look at some theories from theoretical physicists, they are truly stranger than fiction sometimes (like string theory).



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 03:18 PM
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reply to post by wagnificent
 



Why am I here?


Well first of all your assigning meaning where there very well may be none

All science can give is an explanation of how.



Why do organisms adapt/evolve?

1) (Reframe into a how) Because the Big Bang happened over 13 billion years ago and a whole chain of events happened that led to random mutations in life, and natural selection weeded out the ill-equipped life forms, leaving the ones who inherited advantageous mutations.
2) (Admit science’s limitation but maintain egotism) There is no way to know that. I don’t know, you don’t know, no one knows. It just happens. Stop asking this question


This "example" is ridiculous, read a book. No academic who has studied evoultion would begin their conversation about the subject with the Big Bang, in fact in the realm of evolutionary biology, cosmology is rarely mentioned.

But that's besides the point, you say in your OP


I see these archetypes constantly on ATS. Here are a few of the big examples of scientism encroaching on material it is ill-equipped to handle


Ill-equipped? As oppose to what? What other method of investigation study can lead us to the truth? There is no other form or method, that's what makes science so amazing.


My advice to scientists is to learn to use some of the other forms of rationality and logic


Again, there is no such thing...and if there another method, the scientific method would be the one to discover it, so in essence it would be still science.


edit on 23-5-2012 by Openeye because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 03:21 PM
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As soon as the 4th dimension can be schematically graphed we can then move on to higher learning...

Fire and lightning, radio frequencies, stuff that effects us physically, that we cannot effect protection against easily; without sound research and development...

My uneducated self answers the "why" with the only logical answer to me; it's by design.

Then the can of worms commences a legendary/cyclic hind-quarter whooping.



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 03:22 PM
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reply to post by wagnificent
 


Interesting points there OP, although I have the argue the "Why am I here ?" point, because at present, science is working on answering this question, but instead of the above, they are asking "What is reality ?"

Whether we will ever get a definitive answer remains to be seen, but at least they are asking "What "



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 04:55 PM
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I clearly stated in the beginning of the thread what I meant by "scientism," so if you get the idea that I am anti-science, that is incorrect (though I cannot demonstrate that empirically, so I know some of you won't believe me). Why is a subjective question, and that was exactly why I used it as a point in this thread. "Scientists" indeed DO come onto threads that are about speculation and opinion (why) and try to answer such questions in terms of "how." This is what I am addressing in this thread, and no I am not surprised these same people now show up in the honey trap.

I do not fear or hate science, nor do I scoff at its ability to describe how things work. I already said this in my first post. I am perfectly capable of studying science, and I still may go back and get another bachelors in science. However I found other questions to be more interesting, so I chose to study philosophy first. Bonus fact: as surprising as it may come to some scientists, scientific inquiry emerged from philosophic inquiry, so philosophers and scientists are not as different as some of you may like to believe. It is well within my ability to understand scientific explanations, and it is also well within my ability to identify irrelevant and/or poorly-constructed arguments.

Again for those of you who did not read my whole post or who lack basic reading comprehension, this thread is critiquing those who think that only science can answer questions. To further clarify who I am talking about, I will just call them science trolls. I am well aware that many scientists are not in this category, and that is why I defined my terms at the beginning of the post.

I am merely pointing out that science trolls seem to love to come onto threads, often times in the philosophy and metaphysics forum, and try to trample on other ways of thinking and framing questions. If this thread confuses or angers you, you are probably a science troll. Thank you to all the science trolls who came onto this thread to demonstrate the validity of my argument.

Here is a "why" question that maybe a science troll can answer: "Why are science trolls so vehement about science?"



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 04:59 PM
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The OP made me laugh, and it is quite true. To someone solely trapped in the worldview that is typically called science, but I prefer to say 'typical western scientific thought,' anything that is not answered through its methods is pointless and irrelevant. Beyond this, though, it is important to note that 'science' in the typical western sense is based on empericism. Empericism being knowledge obtained through observation. The 'Scientific Method' is a method for framing observations to reach conclusions. There is another primary school of philosophic thought, though, called Rationalism.

Rationalism stresses that perception can never be fully counted on, and says that the path to true knowledge is through figuring out logical certainties. 1+1=2 is a simple example of a logical certainty. Empericism, 'science,' is based on observation. Rationalism is based on logic. If you do any research into rationalism, or simply explore absolute logic yourself, you will find that PURE LOGIC leads to quite different views of reality than is typically espoused through the 'scientific worldview.' To say Science is the 'method of logic' is inaccurate. The guiding assumption of science is that observation is the way to truth, not logic.
edit on 23-5-2012 by TheJourney because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2012 @ 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by TheJourney
it is important to note that 'science' in the typical western sense is based on empericism. Empericism being knowledge obtained through observation. The 'Scientific Method' is a method for framing observations to reach conclusions.


I agree. Thank you for elaborating this point. I was indeed talking about empiricism.


There is another primary school of philosophic thought, though, called Rationalism.

Rationalism stresses that perception can never be fully counted on, and says that the path to true knowledge is through figuring out logical certainties. 1+1=2 is a simple example of a logical certainty. Empericism, 'science,' is based on observation. Rationalism is based on logic. If you do any research into rationalism, or simply explore absolute logic yourself, you will find that PURE LOGIC leads to quite different views of reality than is typically espoused through the 'scientific worldview.'


Agreed. Spinoza was Jewish and used rationalism to arrive at what is essentially Buddhism based on his geometric method. I really enjoyed reading Spinoza's writings.


To say Science is the 'method of logic' is inaccurate. The guiding assumption of science is that observation is the way to truth, not logic.
edit on 23-5-2012 by TheJourney because: (no reason given)


I agree with this, but I would add that the observations are only intelligible on the basis of a logical framework compiled through previous observations.



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