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The Place and Value of Science

 
 
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 02:57 am
What of science? If it might be presumed that man is a beast, and thus interested in survival first and foremost, it should be of utmost concern that we should find the best means by which we can secure our survival. Society, it seems, builds from this urge to saftey and security. Certainly as society and technology have progressed, the survival rate of our species and the normative quality as well as quantity of life have generally been on the uprise. No longer do we suffer from the bondage of total uncertainty and inconsitency, though we have certainly not conquered these aspects of life; nor do I condone any such efforts to this effect, lest we abandon the value of spontaneity in life.

We have most certainly improved the average lifespan and cut back the rate of infant mortality. We have most certainly cured a myriad of diseases and made nearly innocuous countless more. We have indeed covered the globe with our lines of communications and our systems of mass transit. We have even travelled to space and gazed upon other worlds, and we have looked at them with the hope that we might make them liveable in view of many possible cosmic and man-made dangers that pose a threat to our species so long as we inhabit only the earth.

The ultimate place of science and of society in general, is that of utility. Its first and foremost intent should be to ensure life and improve its quality in those ways that are within its domain of influence.

That being said, it is the hope of many that science might reveal the relational framework of reality in its entirety, and thereby enable us to master to the greatest degree possible, the physical universe(which to many is the only aspect of the universe). It is indeed a hope that goes well beyond the pragmatic basis of this field of study, and it may be a false hope. It may well be that the day will never come that we will know all there is to know of the physical universe, but should that discourage us from this course of action? It does hold true that past attempts at such a unification have yielded some very useful results, as have current ones(such as string theory). In that sense they are pragmatically justified, though it was not necessarily their intent to be such.

Theory is in a sense pragmatic, for it allows for application. The broader the theory the greater the range of applications. Take the basics of newtonian mechanics; with a touch of theory, we put a man into orbit. The equations were certainly not the most complex or esoteric, but their application was very powerful. Look at Einstein, who's theories allowed for applications both great and terrible. Theory is the essence of utility. Without the theory, the possibility of application does not arise. But to what extent does theory go too far? Why is it that so often the nature of a scientific theory is forgotten and it adopts the sense of a law for the general public? Certainly insofar as a theory is useful in application and no superior substitute is available, it should be taken as valueable. There is however, always the factor of vested interest. There are those who would have it assumed that the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics are law simply because their lives have been directed towards the development of these theories, and it is certainly understandable that they do so, though it is not right.

Mathematics is the safest venue for those of inclination to the hard sciences and logic, for propositions in mathematics are provable, as they range over a closed system. The sciences hold domain over open systems, and thus conjectures are constantly shifting with new data, but the conjectures can only range over a closed system i.e. the set of previously gathered empirical data. It is then the case that empirical data, insofar as it does not contradict the prevailing system, only adds to it. But what of when we try to fit data into the prevailing system, taking it as true? We begin to interject a bias into it, where should wedraw the line? Certainly if there are multiple theories which might fit the total set of data, we should pick the simplest most effective one(not unlike Ockham's razor) in order to best enable application. When we have theories which build upon theories by taking into account new data, are we indeed building a house of cards? Is there an underlying problem of methodology here? Should we not attempts to periodically re-evaluate the data from the base up? Is this feasibile?

If we are to have any hope of eliminateing bias in the sciences, it seems that there needs to be a system of checks and balances in the scientific community such that it can prevent the old from blocking the new with predjudice, but how might such a system be orchestrated? Is it possible to create such a system?

Is science overstepping its bounds in today's society? Are we creeping ever closer to the enlightenment ideology that came to a crashing halt with the advent of nuclear proliferation? What of science?
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 06:03 am
@Zetetic11235,
People post threads like this every month or two, and despite me asking I still have never gotten any specific examples of how science is encroaching on other domains of life. And citing someone like Richard Dawkins or even Carl Sagan doesn't cut it, because they are not representative. I'll pose you the same challenge -- go to the scientific literature and pull some articles that exemplify your point. There's a group of journals called PLoS (public library of science) that you can reach at PLoS.org. Pull some articles for us to demonstrate whether the bias is actually in science, as opposed to in non-scientists who talk about science.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 06:42 am
@Aedes,
Random thoughts on this...

Science, like every other human endeavor, brings us good and ill. Even when done poorly, we can learn by it. For the mystical, religious or ideological it can show us intricacies that inspire - for the materialist, it brings the empowerment of knowledge.

As far as a "standard" for objectivity goes. Sure! Just not sure how such a thing could ever be implemented. What's more, the twists on the scientific theory that *individuals* place on it often bring about break-through's we all can be grateful for (if I could, I'm not sure I'd want to obliterate that dynamic).

But like all things, results of experimentation and discovery need to be placed into their proper context.
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 07:29 am
@Khethil,
I view this from an altogether different perspective from Zetetic11235, and come to almost the opposite conclusion, in that I think science is used as a tool and ignored as a rule for the conduct of our affairs.

We found our identities and purposes in fond metaphysics and employ valid epistemology to serve ends thus described - and it's the wrong way around.

We should recognize valid conceptions of reality and the human being and let the metaphysics fall where they may.

iconoclast.
0 Replies
 
paulhanke
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 09:02 am
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
If we are to have any hope of eliminateing bias in the sciences, it seems that there needs to be a system of checks and balances in the scientific community such that it can prevent the old from blocking the new with predjudice, but how might such a system be orchestrated? Is it possible to create such a system?


... hmmmmm - I think there already exists such a bias-checking system for science: it's called science! Wink ... science always has been and always will be influenced by biases - in a very real sense they're what keep science moving along ... metaphysical biases are what feed the basic research programs of pure science; metaphysical biases are what feed the option-generating programs of applied science and additionally provide the intellectual framework for option selection; peer review and entrenched scientific theories keep science on track despite the never-ending fog of questionable metaphysical biases - but metaphysical biases with staying power can emerge from the fog and untrack even the most entrenched of scientific theories (Kuhn's so-called "paradigm shift").

As for the general public forgetting the nature of the scientific method and (mis)taking science as law, a wise science fiction writer once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistiguishable from magic." ... and so it may be that the magic of technology is what lures the general public into a false sense that science is fully baked - that the scientific theories of today can't possibly be eclipsed by the scientific theories of tomorrow.
cupofcoffees
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 09:15 am
@paulhanke,
Aedes wrote:
And citing someone like Richard Dawkins or even Carl Sagan doesn't cut it, because they are not representative.


[gets excited] Then you must be arguing with the wrong crowd.

I will pull out my good, more popular friends John Zerzan and poor dear scrutinized Ted Kaczynski, or maybe you know him as the "Unabomber". Lol, what do you know. I looked him up in Tru crime and their harshest defense is "His mother had to face the cruel reality that her firstborn bombed, killed and maimed innocent people for nearly eighteen years - in a mindless crusade against progress." Progress! Ha! That is how they describe it, and he is the psycho?

Zerzan and Kaczynski are they themselves some of the brighter kin known to society, geniuses in fact (I'm not lacking in the IQ department myself). Don't be fooled, they have their "degrees", and...in science for a shocker! So why is it people in their "right" state of minds would propose such an insane "revert" in a "progressive" wave of the future? Let me introduce to you what it means to be anarcho-primitivist.

Quote:
According to an article by Alston Chase for the June 2000 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, students in Murray's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored study, dubbed MKULTRA, were told they would be debating personal philosophy with a fellow student.[4] Instead, they were subjected to the stress test, which was an extremely stressful and prolonged psychological attack by an anonymous attorney. During the test, students were strapped into a chair and connected to electrodes that monitored their physiological reactions, while facing bright lights and a one-way mirror. The "debate" was filmed, and students' expressions of impotent rage were played back to them at various times later in the study. According to Chase, Kaczynski's records from that period suggest that he was emotionally stable at the start of the study. Kaczynski's lawyers attributed some of his emotional instability and dislike of mind control to his participation in this study.
Stories like this...THIS, kill me inside. It's so inhumane it's inconceivable! And yet it goes unnoticed, it's allowable, and it will only proliferate. He was no criminal, but a martyr; he was tortured to put it mildly, and treated like a lab rat (not that animal testing is ok, either).

There are still opposers? Well, without further adieu, I will officially critique the op.

Quote:
What of science? If it might be presumed that man is a beast, and thus interested in survival first and foremost, it should be of utmost concern that we should find the best means by which we can secure our survival. Society, it seems, builds from this urge to saftey and security. Certainly as society and technology have progressed, the survival rate of our species and the normative quality as well as quantity of life have generally been on the uprise. No longer do we suffer from the bondage of total uncertainty and inconsitency, though we have certainly not conquered these aspects of life; nor do I condone any such efforts to this effect, lest we abandon the value of spontaneity in life.
Interesting how your choice of word is "bondage" in your last sentence, when the irony is that we suffer from the bondage of certainty and consistency.

Quote:
We have most certainly improved the average lifespan and cut back the rate of infant mortality. We have most certainly cured a myriad of diseases and made nearly innocuous countless more. We have indeed covered the globe with our lines of communications and our systems of mass transit. We have even travelled to space and gazed upon other worlds, and we have looked at them with the hope that we might make them liveable in view of many possible cosmic and man-made dangers that pose a threat to our species so long as we inhabit only the earth.
We have even polluted the oxygen and H20 we once needed to stay healthy in survival, but today we live on gasoline and redbull, am I right?

We have so many advancements in medicine, in fact, that the earth is overpopulated. We are so pampered, thought for, labored for, and given the legal right to take a piss that we forget we started in a machine; a force against nature for the sake of "progress"; an unidentifiable concept conviently laid out when we ask ourselves "why"; the new religion, if you will.

Quote:
The ultimate place of science and of society in general, is that of utility. Its first and foremost intent should be to ensure life and improve its quality in those ways that are within its domain of influence.
Looks like it fails to meet your qualifications.

Quote:
That being said, it is the hope of many that science might reveal the relational framework of reality in its entirety, and thereby enable us to master to the greatest degree possible, the physical universe(which to many is the only aspect of the universe). It is indeed a hope that goes well beyond the pragmatic basis of this field of study, and it may be a false hope. It may well be that the day will never come that we will know all there is to know of the physical universe, but should that discourage us from this course of action? It does hold true that past attempts at such a unification have yielded some very useful results, as have current ones(such as string theory). In that sense they are pragmatically justified, though it was not necessarily their intent to be such.
An easy way to lose sight of the universe is in the belief that our perspective, the human mind, from its preconditioned, determined state is in a position of power in comparison to its origin.

How brave a statement to say we, a mere species among the brethren of others, has the authority to conduct the universe. This isn't a question of power, because clearly we have the power, but we don't have the wisdom, and in our questions we find no answers but a line of greater questions. In an attempt to radicate nature, we may theorize, invent, and use our brains to severe lengths, but we remain animalistic, evolved forms of a world that we are determined by.

Quote:
Theory is in a sense pragmatic, for it allows for application. The broader the theory the greater the range of applications. Take the basics of newtonian mechanics; with a touch of theory, we put a man into orbit. The equations were certainly not the most complex or esoteric, but their application was very powerful. Look at Einstein, who's theories allowed for applications both great and terrible. Theory is the essence of utility. Without the theory, the possibility of application does not arise. But to what extent does theory go too far? Why is it that so often the nature of a scientific theory is forgotten and it adopts the sense of a law for the general public? Certainly insofar as a theory is useful in application and no superior substitute is available, it should be taken as valueable. There is however, always the factor of vested interest. There are those who would have it assumed that the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics are law simply because their lives have been directed towards the development of these theories, and it is certainly understandable that they do so, though it is not right.
When did it go too far? When man's imagination outgrew his reality.

Quote:
Mathematics is the safest venue for those of inclination to the hard sciences and logic, for propositions in mathematics are provable, as they range over a closed system. The sciences hold domain over open systems, and thus conjectures are constantly shifting with new data, but the conjectures can only range over a closed system i.e. the set of previously gathered empirical data. It is then the case that empirical data, insofar as it does not contradict the prevailing system, only adds to it. But what of when we try to fit data into the prevailing system, taking it as true? We begin to interject a bias into it, where should wedraw the line? Certainly if there are multiple theories which might fit the total set of data, we should pick the simplest most effective one(not unlike Ockham's razor) in order to best enable application. When we have theories which build upon theories by taking into account new data, are we indeed building a house of cards? Is there an underlying problem of methodology here? Should we not attempts to periodically re-evaluate the data from the base up? Is this feasibile?
When we "try to fit data into the prevailing system, taking it as true" we commit as much of a logical fallacy as we do in language, only it's unrecognized as such.

Quote:
If we are to have any hope of eliminateing bias in the sciences, it seems that there needs to be a system of checks and balances in the scientific community such that it can prevent the old from blocking the new with predjudice, but how might such a system be orchestrated? Is it possible to create such a system?
I believe the system of which you speak is the lost art of tribalistic living; extreme, I know, but remember that science is a child, but a child of philosophy. It's a branch of thought mistaken for thought itself, and the mode of life. Philosophy and thought is a result of neurology, and the brain a spec to its predecessor.

Quote:
Is science overstepping its bounds in today's society? Are we creeping ever closer to the enlightenment ideology that came to a crashing halt with the advent of nuclear proliferation? What of science?
What of sprinkles on your sundae?
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 10:06 am
@cupofcoffees,
cupofcoffees,

It's difficult for people of genius level IQ to operate in a society made for relative morons - but the clue is in unaBOMBer, if you look closely enough! Kaczynski was a genius, but he was also philosophically niave and a nutter.

In his manifesto, he says:
Quote:
"science marches on blindly, without regard to the real welfare of the human race or to any other standard, obedient only to the psychological needs of the scientists and of the government officials and corporation executives who provide the funds for research."
(all quotes from wikipedia)

This is essentially what I'm saying - but from a different perspective. Because Kaczynski places the highest value on niave concepts like freedom - he
Quote:
"attribute[s] the social and psychological problems of modern society to the fact that society requires people to live under conditions radically different from those under which the human race evolved and to behave in ways that conflict with the patterns of behavior that the human race developed while living under the earlier conditions."


This is what I mean about having the metaphysics and epistemology and the wrong way around. As smart as he is/was - Kaczynski makes the same mistake as society in general makes. In fact the human being is an evolutionary creature, socially defined rather then an innate individual character or free spirit, and adaptable to changing circumstances.

But in the end, his anarcho-primtivism is just a self-justifying rant:

Quote:
Two years later, in 1971, he moved into a remote cabin he built himself in Lincoln, Montana, where he lived a simple life on very little money, with no electricity and no running water, feeding himself as a hunter-gatherer.


He chose this because he couldn't live in society - and so condemned society and lauded his choice as the right one, as people will tend to do, however smart or dumb they are, they always think they're right.

iconoclast.
cupofcoffees
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 10:38 am
@iconoclast,
The actual real-life no strings attached ~Unabom Manifesto~
It may be helpful to read, if you haven't already.

I can live in society, and throughout my childhood I've had no choice, but I will just as soon run to the forest and hide my life away if it gets to such a point.

No joke...
paulhanke
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 10:59 am
@cupofcoffees,
cupofcoffees wrote:
Stories like this...THIS, kill me inside. It's so inhumane it's inconceivable! And yet it goes unnoticed, it's allowable, and it will only proliferate. He was no criminal, but a martyr; he was tortured to put it mildly, and treated like a lab rat (not that animal testing is ok, either).


... to lay the blame of man's inhumanity toward man at the foot of science is to claim that man's inhumanity toward man did not exist prior to the scientific method - are you making such a claim? ...
0 Replies
 
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 11:05 am
@cupofcoffees,
cupofcoffees,

When I said 'self-justifiying rant' I didn't mean you - I meant Kaczynski. The problem with his philosophy is that he doesn't seem to appreciate it's difficult for everyone - (even the 'over-socialized') - to negotiate a truce with the demands society makes. And what's more, it always has been, throughout the history of civilization, and I suspect, as it was for individuals in hunter-gatherer tribal life. That's just the nature of society - the difficulty of reconciling the 'I' with the 'we' - a question Kaczynski failed to ask, much less answer satisfactorily. Rather he projects his own hang-ups onto society as a whole.
But if i've learned anything it's don't run away. Stand your ground, for no matter how far or fast you run, you always take yourself with you.

regards,

iconoclast.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 12:19 pm
@cupofcoffees,
First, I feel that I should address Aedes' comment. The initial post does not really exemplify my stance on the matter, but was constructed to facilitate a conversation between Cupofcoffees and myself first and foremost to develop what I percieve to be a debate that shall be fairly unique on this forum. Of course it is intended that others intrduce their spins on it and make their own arguments, but my main intent was to bring to light the anarcho-primitivist view that cupofcoffees has and attempt to deconstruct it.
P.S.
I would quote Feynman or Dirac or Einstein before hacks like Dawkins and Pop cosmologists like Sagan.
(For the sake of arguement, if it was my intent to make the point that science encroaches upon other aspects of life I would point at cars, computers and phones I suppose. Aside from increased longevity and light bulbs of course.)

cupofcoffees wrote:
[gets excited] Then you must be arguing with the wrong crowd.

I will pull out my good, more popular friends John Zerzan and poor dear scrutinized Ted Kaczynski, or maybe you know him as the "Unabomber". Lol, what do you know. I looked him up in Tru crime and their harshest defense is "His mother had to face the cruel reality that her firstborn bombed, killed and maimed innocent people for nearly eighteen years - in a mindless crusade against progress." Progress! Ha! That is how they describe it, and he is the psycho?


Read my post pertaining to progress in the creative writing section http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/creative-writing/1905-false-purpose-myth-sisyphus.html
cupofcoffees wrote:

Zerzan and Kaczynski are they themselves some of the brighter kin known to society, geniuses in fact (I'm not lacking in the IQ department myself). Don't be fooled, they have their "degrees", and...in science for a shocker! So why is it people in their "right" state of minds would propose such an insane "revert" in a "progressive" wave of the future? Let me introduce to you what it means to be anarcho-primitivist.


Ok.

cupofcoffees wrote:

Stories like this...THIS, kill me inside. It's so inhumane it's inconceivable! And yet it goes unnoticed, it's allowable, and it will only proliferate. He was no criminal, but a martyr; he was tortured to put it mildly, and treated like a lab rat (not that animal testing is ok, either).


I agree, though not that he was a martry necessarily. He had a dogmatic set of beliefs which he killed for. I view him as no greater than any fanatic. That he constructed his set of dogmatisms methodically makes no difference.
cupofcoffees wrote:


There are still opposers? Well, without further adieu, I will officially critique the op.

Interesting how your choice of word is "bondage" in your last sentence, when the irony is that we suffer from the bondage of certainty and consistency.

Here we come upon the nature of freedom as I view it. To me, freedom is a coin of two sides, or rather a balance which can only be optimized to preference but can never exceed a certain level, and thus never be absolute. On one side we have the freedom to; the freedom to act, to think to create. On the other side we have the freedom from action taken against us, from speech which attacks us from worry which afflicts us from the burden of choice which gives us our early graves and spurs on the uncertainty which the comfrot seeking species that we are draws aback from. You have made the false assumption based upon an inserted ideal which I do not hold, that I do not include this in my worldview and that it is at all ironic. It is not, it is a shift in balance.

cupofcoffees wrote:

We have even polluted the oxygen and H20 we once needed to stay healthy in survival, but today we live on gasoline and redbull, am I right?


And yet this is not due to science but to ignorance of it and aversion to it. There are many working and succeding in their work on alternative fuels and alternative, heathier energy supplements. There are many processes by which we can purify our waters and air all due to science, which is indeed a tool which can serve us and is all that might ensure our survival. I could not disagree more to the view that the pros are outweighed by the cons. A lot of good the disposal of science shall do when we are stricken by the next ice age or bombarded by a comet that we could have seen coming and whose resultant devistation could have been averted.

cupofcoffees wrote:

We have so many advancements in medicine, in fact, that the earth is overpopulated. We are so pampered, thought for, labored for, and given the legal right to take a piss that we forget we started in a machine; a force against nature for the sake of "progress"; an unidentifiable concept conviently laid out when we ask ourselves "why"; the new religion, if you will.


Progess is identifiable by induction. Progress to ensure our survival indefinitely is one facet of progress. Progress to maximize preferable outcomes which may well be defined in large part due to society is one facet of this goal. Progress as an absolute does not exist, for neither does an absolute goal for man to follow. In fact, when we deconstruct everything, we have no grounds for justification of anything at all.

cupofcoffees wrote:
Looks like it fails to meet your qualifications.

It looks to me like you wish it did such that the world would fit your preference which is a selfish one(not that there are really any non-selfish preferences, but yours seems especially so).

cupofcoffees wrote:

An easy way to lose sight of the universe is in the belief that our perspective, the human mind, from its preconditioned, determined state is in a position of power in comparison to its origin..


And yet you argue from a perspective based upon an equally unfounded belief, that we do not? How, then, do you make such appeal to this very stance which you oppose in your ouwn argument against it? To state that the mind is preconditioned, determined, shows a strong faith in science. You argue from determinism that science is limited? An odd stance for one who so dogmatically cherishes freedom above all else. Furthermore, it is not held that we are in a position of power in comparison to our origin, but rather that we might manipulate our environment to further ensure maximal prefered outcomes and more basically, our survival as a species.


cupofcoffees wrote:

How brave a statement to say we, a mere species among the brethren of others, has the authority to conduct the universe. This isn't a question of power, because clearly we have the power, but we don't have the wisdom, and in our questions we find no answers but a line of greater questions. In an attempt to radicate nature, we may theorize, invent, and use our brains to severe lengths, but we remain animalistic, evolved forms of a world that we are determined by.


Of course we do, so what? We are animals. How arrogant to assume elsewise. Our tools are towards animalistic means, and why shouldn't they be? They are made by apes. Again you refer to an arguement from determinism to make your point, this arguement presupposes what it attacks, that there is a definite accessible framework to the universe that we could potentially tap into. Further it contradicts your strong belief in freedom, unless you are some manner of compatibilist, a view which I must admit, escapes me. You subscribe to a worldview which attacks the mechanistic outlook of rational positivism yet you defer to arguements which arise from it to discredit it. Arguement by contradiction? Is this your attempt to turn upon itself the lens which it created, which presupposes its truth? I do not subscribe to the view that we might ever master our universe, only to the view that sicence and society are of great utility, that is, if you have the goals in mind which coincide whith those of science and society.
cupofcoffees wrote:

When did it go too far? When man's imagination outgrew his reality.

Yet look how easily it can be argued that man's imagination is his reality. Or rather that his normative reality is a subset of his imagination, for that which is not the case is a subset of that which is possibly the case and so is that which is the case. What difference would there be if all things and all senses were taken to be in the mind? The relational framework would still be intact, you would still be arrested if you shot someone and got caught, you would still experience everything in the same way that you do now, and your overall outlook should not change unless you were falsely disillusioned by this new(in the sense that is has not been previously considered) possibility. Man can imagine all that might possibly be the case, as his source of imagination is reality and comes form basic sensual building blocks. There is a place for debate whether or not man can imagine that which might not possibly be the case. So can man's imagination outgrow his reality? It is certainly true that what is the case is a subset of what is possibly the case, but is it ncessarily so that what is not the case cannot ever be the case? It seems quite presumptive to deny the possibility of anything which man might imagine to be the case. Man might imagine a contradictive sate of affairs, this is true, but the contradiciton cannot be imagined as both parts conjunctly, but rather arises due to a lack of reconciliation between two contradticting ideals. But can a reality in its totality be imagined to be the case when these contraditctions are brounght face to face? If so, then are these states of affairs really in contradicition or do the only appear to be so?

cupofcoffees wrote:

When we "try to fit data into the prevailing system, taking it as true" we commit as much of a logical fallacy as we do in language, only it's unrecognized as such.


Which is exactly what I was implying.

cupofcoffees wrote:

I believe the system of which you speak is the lost art of tribalistic living; extreme, I know, but remember that science is a child, but a child of philosophy. It's a branch of thought mistaken for thought itself, and the mode of life. Philosophy and thought is a result of neurology, and the brain a spec to its predecessor..


If science is a result of philosphy, how can it be such that philosophy is the child of neurology? Who mistakes science or philosophy for thought rather than a mode of thought? I certainly have never met anyone who holds this to be true. Again, you believe that X is better than Y, but we still have Z to deal with and we always will so long as man's imagination remains as unfettered as it is. There is no limit to the possible systems of living to choose from. We have chosen science and society because by general consensus they have served their purpose sufficiently.

cupofcoffees wrote:
What of sprinkles on your sundae?
I don't like sundaes.:disappointed:
cupofcoffees
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 01:59 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Hm, I'm not liking your approach.

You're going to have to come up with something better than telling me I'm selfish and contradictory (which you should really reconsider on elaborating)

I'm only going to reply to what I feel is relevant, and not zippity doo da ontological terminology of freedom etc.

Quote:
And yet this is not due to science but to ignorance of it and aversion to it. There are many working and succeding in their work on alternative fuels and alternative, heathier energy supplements. There are many processes by which we can purify our waters and air all due to science, which is indeed a tool which can serve us and is all that might ensure our survival. I could not disagree more to the view that the pros are outweighed by the cons. A lot of good the disposal of science shall do when we are stricken by the next ice age or bombarded by a comet that we could have seen coming and whose resultant devistation could have been averted.
And there is a pill for the pill for the pill for the...
psychological manifestations of a bi-polar schizophrenic clausterphobic ...average american citizen.
But we're improving! The next pill is on the market for consumers to test, and new psychological disorders are being diagnosed to use it on.

The problem is that this isn't an argument. It can't be. It's so painstakingly obvious and unarguable it's comedic.

If science is a result of philosphy, how can it be such that philosophy is the child of neurology?
I meant it in the modern use of the term as a reference to the complexities of the brain, though of course it has always existed.

We have chosen science and society because by general consensus they have served their purpose sufficiently.
Sufficient in distancing man from nature using subjectively fallible quantitative reasoning to objectify and subordinate.

I don't mean to be short, but I grow weary of defense for my position, so I'll offer you something pre-written.

The evolutionary principle. It's not a well known term; the evolutionary principle was coined by Claude Levi-Strauss, who proposes that we've swung from tribal living to modern so rapidly that we're maladaptive to our own behavior. We don't incorporate our past into our future; we've leaped, so to speak, into an unknown realm. It's the "man knows best" mentality. We're diving aimlessly into a psychotic urge for knowledge and control where we don't possess it. I've stated this elsewhere that I believe gods are, and have always been, for the purpose of filling the gap of our misunderstanding of the universe. We like to use it as a means to elevate ourselves from nature, to deny it, and destroy it. This can be tagged to government, domestication, patriarchies, science- any amount of control over what is not our being, or becoming of. It's a false means, therefore flawed, and it falls through the cracks to the very base of existence. So, here we are experiencing the failures of forefathers and our own race, culture, and beliefs. We are like masses of morons hitting concrete that have been convinced to jump off of a 5 story building in hopes that we'll somehow spread wings and fly. There's an unexpected loophole in every idea once applied.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 04:14 pm
@cupofcoffees,
cupofcoffees wrote:

I'm only going to reply to what I feel is relevant, and not zippity doo da ontological terminology of freedom etc.

And there is a pill for the pill for the pill for the...
psychological manifestations of a bi-polar schizophrenic clausterphobic ...average american citizen.
But we're improving! The next pill is on the market for consumers to test, and new psychological disorders are being diagnosed to use it on..


The problem is that this isn't an argument. It can't be. It's so painstakingly obvious and unarguable it's comedic.[/quote]

Well, ignoring the fact that psychology is a psuedoscience, and one that I myself have many qualms about, I will attempt to take this very limited and dogmatic perversion of my statement seriously. Not. You have chosen what I might consider the least important aspect of the arguement I presented and totally skewed it by cherry picking an irrelevent example which itself is riddled with your own bias.

You speak of overpopulation in your first post, yet in industrialized nations reproduction rates drop quickly to the point of bare sustainablity and in fact many countries in Europe are well below sustainablity levels. The places where there is massive population growth are the ones with limited access to birth control, low life expectancy ect, namely thrid world countries. It is a simple fact that as survival is ensured, reproduction goes down and hits a point of basic sustainability and does not exceed it by much. Your example of longevity and technological advancment causing population to rise is simply false.

cupofcoffees wrote:
If science is a result of philosphy, how can it be such that philosophy is the child of neurology?
I meant it in the modern use of the term as a reference to the complexities of the brain, though of course it has always existed...


Well, you refer to knowledge that could only have been gained by extrapolations upon emirical observations(not to mention the fact that the word neurology does not exist outside of medical applications, so you missused it unless you refer to some specific dictionary I am not aware of), and what of the more serious problem of your appeal to determinism? Am I missing somthing? Can you elaborate upon this? How can one even address determinism without simultaneously addressing the logical and scientific roots of the ideology?

cupofcoffees wrote:
We have chosen science and society because by general consensus they have served their purpose sufficiently.

Sufficient in distancing man from nature using subjectively fallible quantitative reasoning to objectify and subordinate..[/quote]

Elaborate. Show me a fallicy in our quantitative reasoning. If you mean it is false at its base in some sense, elaborate on this. What is it that is not natural about science? It is of course derived from nature. It deals with nature, or rather an aspect of nature. It deals with the realtional framework of nature in a very non trivial sense. When you say that we objectify what do you mean, we objectify nature? Subordinate other life forms? We manipulate our environment and each other to the advantage of pre-existing sytems not born of us no matter the cost?


cupofcoffees wrote:
I don't mean to be short, but I grow weary of defense for my position, so I'll offer you something pre-written..


What? You haven't even made an ernest attept at it.

cupofcoffees wrote:

The evolutionary principle. It's not a well known term; the evolutionary principle was coined by Claude Levi-Strauss, who proposes that we've swung from tribal living to modern so rapidly that we're maladaptive to our own behavior. We don't incorporate our past into our future; we've leaped, so to speak, into an unknown realm. It's the "man knows best" mentality. We're diving aimlessly into a psychotic urge for knowledge and control where we don't possess it. I've stated this elsewhere that I believe gods are, and have always been, for the purpose of filling the gap of our misunderstanding of the universe. We like to use it as a means to elevate ourselves from nature, to deny it, and destroy it. This can be tagged to government, domestication, patriarchies, science- any amount of control over what is not our being, or becoming of. It's a false means, therefore flawed, and it falls through the cracks to the very base of existence. So, here we are experiencing the failures of forefathers and our own race, culture, and beliefs. We are like masses of morons hitting concrete that have been convinced to jump off of a 5 story building in hopes that we'll somehow spread wings and fly. There's an unexpected loophole in every idea once applied.


This is very open ended and dogmatic. It has a slight ring of truth but it fails to provide a definite support for itself. What is false about our means of existence, where is the point when we were lead astray and how will you prove it? Can it be shown that there is a better way by more rigorous means than a couple paragraphs of ranting based upon questionable and certainly very subjective, theories? Where is your proof?

I simply flat out disagree that science flings us into the unknown. This is some irresponsible set of scientists perhaps, but our systems are quite explanitory and controlled. They do have a limited domain of influence, and they at best aim to describe how as opposed to why. So what? They have very pragmatic applications.

My biggest qualm about this view is that I have yet to see a method by which it can be implemented and what the actual results would be. Would it be a total reversion to primitive man? What is the intended outcome and what is there to prevent a reforming of the old intertwined system?
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 07:44 pm
@cupofcoffees,
cupofcoffees wrote:
[gets excited] Then you must be arguing with the wrong crowd.
I mention them only because of the dyspepsia they seem to cause in people who are wary of science and its influence on society. Dawkins certainly has an acerbic manner of addressing non-scientific ways of thought, irrespective of the content of his speech. But again, he is a polemecist (in his public capacity), not a scientist, and one cannot cite him (as some do) as a reason why science is inserting itself where it should not be.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 09:13 pm
@Aedes,
What is your take on all this, Aedes? I am curious to hear what your thoughts are in respect to the anarcho-primitivist ideology(as elusive as it is).
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 09:59 pm
@Zetetic11235,
I think it's an extremist viewpoint, and unfortunately any merits of that view are drowned beneath their tactics.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 10:15 pm
@Aedes,
I agree, but I am investigating it a bit more. I have taken up reading a bit of the literature such as Against His-story, Against Leviathan! by Fredy Perlman, and I will continue to read into it to see if I can shake loose any ideas which seem to be of merit(and I do think that there are some interesting ideas and quite possibly valuable ones). I find the anarchistic ideology interesting, however I find the primitivist ideology very disagreeable, and it is hard for me to take such an unmethodical anti-ideology ideology seriously.
cupofcoffees
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Sep, 2008 11:46 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Quote:
Well, ignoring the fact that psychology is a psuedoscience, and one that I myself have many qualms about, I will attempt to take this very limited and dogmatic perversion of my statement seriously. Not. You have chosen what I might consider the least important aspect of the arguement I presented and totally skewed it by cherry picking an irrelevent example which itself is riddled with your own bias.
It's not the example; it's the logic applied to it. The recurring pattern seen in "pseudoscience" can be applied to any "science". There is no cherry-picking or bias here.

Quote:
You speak of overpopulation in your first post, yet in industrialized nations reproduction rates drop quickly to the point of bare sustainablity and in fact many countries in Europe are well below sustainablity levels. The places where there is massive population growth are the ones with limited access to birth control, low life expectancy ect, namely thrid world countries. It is a simple fact that as survival is ensured, reproduction goes down and hits a point of basic sustainability and does not exceed it by much. Your example of longevity and technological advancment causing population to rise is simply false.
Don't be reluctant to show some facts. Yes, more comedy and irony is that it's the west that feeds the 3rd world out of "charity" acts. Where Ethiopia once took care of itself, and let natural disaster do its dirty business, we've stepped in and "helped" so that they can die by the millions in the next drought.

Feeding Africa

"The begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us, yet again.

It is nearly 25 years since Ethiopia's (and Bob Geldof's) famous Feed The World campaign, and in that time Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million to 78 million today. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million.

Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world.

So why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country?"

As for population increase of only the 3rd world, have you forgotten China?


"Until the modern era, world population grew slowly. During the next eight milleniums, population grew at .05% per year, reaching 300 million in 1 A.D. During the following 16 centuries, the annual growth rate fluctuated, partly because of the Black Death, which ravaged 14th century Europe. Today, there are six times as many people alive as at the start of the industrial revolution, 13 times more than when Columbus set sail and 20 times more than during the Roman Empire."

Don't make uneducated claims.

Quote:
Well, you refer to knowledge that could only have been gained by extrapolations upon emirical observations(not to mention the fact that the word neurology does not exist outside of medical applications, so you missused it unless you refer to some specific dictionary I am not aware of), and what of the more serious problem of your appeal to determinism? Am I missing somthing? Can you elaborate upon this? How can one even address determinism without simultaneously addressing the logical and scientific roots of the ideology?
The use for neurology is not limited to medical fields of the brain. I didn't expect you to take one word out of context, and continually badger me about the definition, but then again, what else do you have to go by?

I refer to many words that can only "be gained by extrapolations upon empirical observations" as I can't travel back in time and erase my knowledge of such, but if you insist I speak olde english when in rome...


As for what I said about science being deemed the only root of thought, here is a prime example. Determinism doesn't need science plastered atop of it to exist; it's a philosophy itself.

Quote:
Elaborate. Show me a fallicy in our quantitative reasoning. If you mean it is false at its base in some sense, elaborate on this. What is it that is not natural about science? It is of course derived from nature. It deals with nature, or rather an aspect of nature. It deals with the realtional framework of nature in a very non trivial sense. When you say that we objectify what do you mean, we objectify nature? Subordinate other life forms? We manipulate our environment and each other to the advantage of pre-existing sytems not born of us no matter the cost?
Why yes, that is what I meant. Good call.

Consequences don't effect our motives when we can't foresee them.

Quote:
What? You haven't even made an ernest attept at it.
You're right, I haven't. I believe it's futile to. My stance on the environment and society is one I didn't come to overnight. It took a lot of opposition and thinking outside-the-box, or should I say, openness to the idea that patriotism is a 1-way street. I grew up many things, and I question them all.

Quote:
This is very open ended and dogmatic. It has a slight ring of truth but it fails to provide a definite support for itself. What is false about our means of existence, where is the point when we were lead astray and how will you prove it? Can it be shown that there is a better way by more rigorous means than a couple paragraphs of ranting based upon questionable and certainly very subjective, theories? Where is your proof?

I simply flat out disagree that science flings us into the unknown. This is some irresponsible set of scientists perhaps, but our systems are quite explanitory and controlled. They do have a limited domain of influence, and they at best aim to describe how as opposed to why. So what? They have very pragmatic applications.

My biggest qualm about this view is that I have yet to see a method by which it can be implemented and what the actual results would be. Would it be a total reversion to primitive man? What is the intended outcome and what is there to prevent a reforming of the old intertwined system?
We are lead astray through impersonal, menial tasks. It's entirely too easy to separate man from world, as he is, but only in so far as his transcendental thoughts. When we perceive something, it's innately subjective and reliant on self perception. When this is combined with reality, it's subject to countless errors of one-sidedness, and if we can't "see the forest for the trees", cutting them down isn't going to improve our sight. We can observe and study the properties of reality and invent to control it in the name of progress, but this is still the basic act of taking objective existence into a subjective mindset and attempting to mold it for our personal gain with no anticipation of repercussions from the objectively unseen.

The real problem I see in describing anarcho-primitivism is that it's a concept that is amidst its enemy; it is the very machine revolting against itself proposed by those are wrapped up in it. I mean, here I am sitting in front of a pc. But within the system, I must follow it until I can leave it, and I remain a dependent under law. (By next month I am officially a legal adult..woo)

Reform is questionable for me as well, as this is an anarchist conjecture, but I would venture to say if it ever remotely became attainable, it would more than likely be of a violent disastrous overthrow. Anarchists believe there is no one right way for anyone to live, but primitivism is the default of modernity.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:25 am
@cupofcoffees,
Psychology is not a pseudoscience, by the way. While it's changed greatly since Freud, even he was a true scientist. He made systematic observations of huge numbers of people to try and draw inferences about thought processes during health and disease. That's exactly the same thing we do in other areas of medicine. And now that psychology has so many experimental methods available to it, its scientific merit and reproducibility has just grown and grown.

Philosophers often disparage psychologists, probably because psychology takes all the metaphysical fun out of understanding the human mind. But these are truly separate domains, even when they address the same question, and it's neither accurate nor productive to regard psychology as a pseudoscience.

And in fact some philosophers are now bridging the gap between the two domains using experimental philosophy and cognitive science methods. I personally know one of the rising leaders in this field (Google Josh Knobe at UNC-Chapel Hill). You can find some of his papers on his home page. This is the marriage between philosophy and psychology that I think can strengthen both fields.
iconoclast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 11:01 am
@Aedes,
Aedes - and all,

Thanks for the reference - I'll be getting Knobe's book - 'experimental philosophy' - it looks very interesting. I agree that psychology is not a pseudo-science, and think that Zetetic11235 comments display one of a family of common misconceptions centered around the distinction between the natural sciences and social sciences.
Not that this distinction is as absolute as once it was - breaking down as it is under a constant bombardment from technological developments such as computer modelling and MRI - but employing the same old reliable scientific methods that yeild determinable knowledge in the natural sciences - to yeild methodologically rigorous knowledge in the social sciences.

But this misconception is mild compared to cupofcoffees - and Kacynski's anarcho-primitvism, which makes the mistake I've so often encountered; the idea that science is responsible for atom bombs and such like, and therefore bad, when atom bombs and such like are the product of science employed as a tool by religiously founded nation states in capitalist economic competition.
Thus, the desire to return to a state of nature is a misattributed reaction to the failure of society to evolve by centralizing valid knowledge to the conduct of human affairs - a state in which, instead, science has been subjected to the mythos/ideology of the social group.

In an old post, discussing the prospect of computers operating at 10 to the power 21 (a billion trillion) floating operations per second, I first dicussed the benefits they could provide if applied by a global government constituionally bound to a scientific conception of reality, but went onto say:

Quote:
Otherwise the huge advantage computational power affords us will be spent erecting and maintaining codewalls, and further, the physical technology will be stunted, access will be differential, the benefits unevenly spread and the consequent social effect will be invalid....The ability of such machines to nullify individual liberty and personal privacy is a fearful prospect for they are important rights in a context of inequality, that it would not surprise me greatly if man came to resent the intrusive nature of the technology, if as the world turns sour these technologies are applied by states looking inward with the microscopic magnification these computers will allow.


This is the problem - and such misconceptions about the nature of science are both symptomatic of, and insturmental to this bizzare state of affairs.

iconoclast.
 

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