On science

On science

A few tips to help make it a bit easier to understand the new theory.

 

 

As you read, I’d like you to keep the following in mind: Science has provided us with vast amounts of knowledge, great treasures for which it deserves all our admiration and gratitude. Nothing written here can alter that fact.

 

The reason for starting off like this is that not all characteristics of science are equally well-suited for the procurement of reliable knowledge. To facilitate furthering our knowledge of the world we live in, some of these characteristics must be laid bare.

 

------------------------

 

Philosopher of Science Thomas Kuhn tells us science isn’t like we’ve thought, it’s mostly like we’ve thought it isn’t.

The first thing about science that isn’t like we’ve thought: You, I, and science have an important thing in common – with a material explanation of the world, we understand nothing about the atom. (And nothing about gravity, relativity, quants, mass, energy, evolution, consciousness, intelligence, telepathy, experiences of extreme Joy …)

The first thing about science that is as we thought: Compared to you and I, science has a big advantage – it has described a lot of the above very accurately and has much more knowledge about these descriptions. It’s chiefly here among the descriptions we find science’s great accomplishments and all the interesting and important things we have to thank it for.

The second thing about science that isn’t like we’ve thought: When science sticks to an explanation, it’s not necessarily because the explanation is logical and scientists understand it, but largely because it’s the best they can come up with and therefore choose to accept it. Science takes what it can get. When we laypeople hear about a theory or an explanation that stems from science, we assume the theory/explanation is proven and understood. But the situation may actually be the very opposite. Science’s practitioners may, for lack of a better theory, be forced to accept the one they have, and are usually surprisingly adept at being satisfied with the situation.

The second thing about science that is like we thought: The more of reality it’s possible to explain with the logic characteristic of a theory, the more solid the theory. This yardstick for reliable knowledge is as ingenious as we’ve believed.

The third thing about science that is like we thought: When a proposed new theory turns up with whole new form of logic that can explain more phenomena than the old, science is obligated to abandon the old and accept the new. This rule is brutal for the pride inherent in a profession that has based its message of truth as well as its livelihood on the old theory. So, in praxis, it’s a difficult rule to obey. But at the same time, herein lies science’s tremendous potential. It’s also where we find science’s greatest accomplishments; i.e. the shift from the planet theory with the Earth in the center to the theory with the Sun in the center.

The third thing about science that isn’t like we thought: Professional science has one great disadvantage compared to us as individuals – it subsists on being recognized as the deliverer of truth about the world and it’s therefore much more difficult for science to change its mind about what the truth is. (Being slow to admit to earlier mistakes is prevalent in all occupations. For example, it’d be very difficult for a hairstylist guild to admit the technique it used for years could be the reason half of their patrons are balding after 10 years of styling. But, right now we’re concentrating on science.)

From this springs optimism. When, in the article, you read the part about the old theory and are faced with one bizarre phenomenon after another, you might think you don’t understand the explanations because there’s something wrong with you.

But that feeling is actually a good indication you’re hale and hardy.

That things are complex and obscure is mainly because something’s wrong with the explanation. Just like in the story about The Emperor’s New Clothes.

 

Science is meant to help us understand the world we live in. When science has had one hundred years to come up with explanations using the material theory’s logic, and the explanations still make us feel dumb, it’s an indication the old material theory is no good.

 

And in the article you’ll meet just that; baffling, incomprehensible things – particles that behave like anything but particles – forces, that no one understands what are, pop up out of nowhere and are kept in balance by counter-forces of the exact same size and strength that have also popped up out of nowhere – steering and regulation where order and plan shouldn’t exist – identical yardsticks that change lengths – calibrated and synchronized clocks that come to show different times – coincidences that do exactly what coincidences are renown for being incapable of doing – lifeless particles that form properties they don’t possess themselves – telepathy that can be experienced even though telepathy is an impossibility – extreme Joy that can be experienced even though it doesn’t exist … Don’t interpret the feeling you usually get when confronted with these kinds of oddities as a sign there’s something wrong with you. Take it as a sign your mental capacity’s in good shape.

The fourth thing about science that isn’t like we thought: Science doesn’t hang on to the material explanation of reality because it has proof the atom is material, but because it has chosen to believe it is. This belief would’ve been substantiated if the postulation about the atom being material had led to a theory able to explain all types of phenomena. But the material theory can explain no type of phenomena. Their belief would also have been substantiated if the theory could be confirmed by experiments. But in all of history, not one experiment confirms the atom is material in the sense of physical thing. The dictionary tells us what superstition is. Superstition is the belief in something that experiences can’t confirm exists. Science’s unshakable belief in the postulate about the atom being material in the sense of thing is by way of definition, superstition.

 

There are several advantages to having the above in mind when you read the article.

- You can safely trust science’s descriptions of strange phenomenon.

- You can safely distrust science’s strange explanations.

- And you can more easily trust in your own abilities and evaluate the old and new theories yourself.