Alternative to reductionism
The holistic premise is that there is a possible qualitative difference between an entire system and its parts: that modularisation may fail. As applied to science, holists may generally assert that this difference can warrant the kind of rigorous scrutiny typical of scientific inquiry. The distinction of approach then lies not so much in the subjects chosen for study, but in the methods and assumptions used to study them.
Though considered by some[who?] as alternative, holistic methods are not generally at odds with the classical scientific method. Where holistic scientists come from a standard science background, holistic work in science tends to be, to varying degrees, a marriage of the two approaches. For example gestalt psychology grew out of early experimental psychology.[improper synthesis?] When the terms are used constructively in the science context, holism and reductionism refer to how empirical evidence is interpreted, and not only to the methods used to produce such evidence.
Holistic science is controversial. One opposing view is that holistic science is pseudoscience because it does not rigorously follow the scientific method despite the use of a scientific-sounding language. Bunge (1983) and Lilienfeld et al. (2003) state that proponents of pseudoscientific claims, especially in organic medicine, alternative medicine, naturopathy and mental health, often resort to the “mantra of holism” to explain negative findings or to immunise their claims against testing. Stenger (1999) states that "holistic healing is associated with the rejection of classical, Newtonian physics. Yet, holistic healing retains many ideas from eighteenth and nineteenth century physics. Its proponents are blissfully unaware that these ideas, especially superluminal holism, have been rejected by modern physics as well".
Science journalist John Horgan has expressed this view in the book The End of Science 1996. He wrote that a certain pervasive model within holistic science, self-organized criticality, for example, "is not really a theory at all. Like punctuated equilibrium, self-organized criticality is merely a description, one of many, of the random fluctuations, the noise, permeating nature." By the theorists' own admissions, he said, such a model "can generate neither specific predictions about nature nor meaningful insights. What good is it, then?"
One of the reasons that holistic science attracts supporters is that it seems to offer a progressive, 'socio-ecological' view of the world, but Alan Marshall's book The Unity of Nature offers evidence to the contrary; suggesting holism in science is not 'ecological' or 'socially-responsive' at all, but regressive and repressive.
fundamental particles must give large objects that are made out of those particles their properties.
You can clap hands with two hands, not with one hand. There's nothing inherently 'clappy' in a hand.
That's what you did not understand in the clock example: the structure, the blue-print of how the clock is designed, is what determined the shape of each cog in it, so the determinism here works from large to small. And ultimately, the structure is what makes the clock work, not element A or element B but the whole design and interactions between those elements.
Any serious look at relations between elements in a system will lead you to understand that properties emerge from the system, not from their components.
The brain is first and foremost an hormonal system.
the clock works because of the parts that make it. It gets all its properties because of those parts. Regardless of how that clock came to be a clock.
You could displace in the structure one single piece, leave it there but out of its axis for instance, and the clock will fail to work
No, it works because oc the parts AND the design.
You could change each one of those parts except perhaps the spring, and replace them with other parts made of a different metal or alloy, and the clock would still work.
You could displace in the structure one single piece, leave it there but out of its axis for instance, and the clock will fail to work.
The most accurate clock wasn't invented until they had a contest in England to invent the most accurate clock to measure longitude.