• counterpunch
    1k
    I contend that our relationship to science is mistaken; a consequence of arresting Galileo for the heresy of proving the earth orbits the sun, and supressing science as an understanding of reality even while using science to drive the industrial revolution. In short, we used the tools - but we didn't read the instructions, and that is why we are headed for extinction.

    One way we might correct this mistake is to recognise science politically. So let us imagine a political party that recognises science as truth - let's call it 'The Science Party'. Let us further imagine, there's such discontent with politics as usual that "Sci-Pol" immediately took half the seats in Parliament - and formed a government. The question is this:

    Who sits opposite and why?
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    I do believe that there already has been so much politics underlying science historically and that this has been extremely complex. A large part of it has involved religious belief, especially Christianity. I don't see that you can possibly explore this question without an exploration of this.
  • baker
    1k
    Who sits opposite and why?counterpunch

    You conflate what it means to be the opposition in politics with opposition to truth.
  • NOS4A2
    4.4k


    Who sits opposite and why?

    An opposition might consist of anyone who opposes technocracy, which I wager would include some scientists.
  • Raul
    144

    Politics is about dealing with humans, societies and its issues. We, humans, are mostly irrational, we think with our stomach, our emotions bias us continuously.
    Why do you think sociology has never been able to become a science?
    Scientific disciplines help us to dialogue with nature, our nature and it tell us we are complex and, again, not rational.

    This is (among many other reasons like the survival principle, etc) why science party has and will never work to govern humans. It could maybe one day govern cyborgs.
  • counterpunch
    1k


    I do believe that there already has been so much politics underlying science historically and that this has been extremely complex. A large part of it has involved religious belief, especially Christianity. I don't see that you can possibly explore this question without an exploration of this.Jack Cummins

    For the purposes of this thought experiment, I don't see the need.

    For the purposes of forming a conclusion that religion has supressed science as truth for 400 years, I would certainly need to understand the long history of the relationship!

    Did you know that Sir Issac Newton had to hide his anti-trinitarian beliefs in order to be appointed to the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge? Do you not think there's something rather psychotic about the man who wrote Principa Mathematica - having to pretend to religious opinions he did not have to advance in his career?

    Did you know that Darwin worried himself sick, and delayed 20 years before finally publishing Origin of Species in 1859 - and that his ideas were met with religious objections that continue to this day?

    But all that isn't relevant to the question - who sits opposite Sci-Pol in Parliament?
  • counterpunch
    1k


    You conflate what it means to be the opposition in politics with opposition to truth.baker

    I think politics does that all on its own - no help from me. It's like that old joke. You can tell when a politician is lying. His lips move!
  • ssu
    3.9k
    Who sits opposite and why?counterpunch

    Who sits in the Science Party I would ask.

    The way I see it there would be leftists, centrists, conservatives, greens in that party. Likely that party would break up into factions that oppose each other, even if they all say that science is important.
  • counterpunch
    1k


    An opposition might consist of anyone who opposes technocracy, which I wager would include some scientists.NOS4A2

    technocracy
    NOUN
    the government or control of society or industry by an elite of technical experts.

    Right, because "we've had enough of experts." But Sci-Pol isn't a technocracy per se. Rather, it's a political party built upon the philosophical belief that science now constitutes a highly coherent understanding of reality - we need to recognise as substantially true, and be responsible to in our decision making - to survive and prosper long term.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.4k
    Who sits opposite and why?counterpunch

    Religious fundamentalists primarily, plus all manner of kooks, cranks, and quacks who have their own little proto-religions they follow in defiance of scientific evidence.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    Of course, it is entirely up to you how if you wish to form your hypothetical discussion but I would think that to take it out of historical context is not going to be the most truthful way.I would have thought that the two examples you give about Newton and Darwin point to the complex politics of science. In doing so, I think you are going to create stereotypical extremes of arguments, just recasting science in the territory of all the heated conflicts of the politics of our present time.
  • fishfry
    2.1k
    a consequence of arresting Galileo for the heresy of proving the earth orbits the suncounterpunch

    My understanding is that this is a simplistic description of what happened. The Pope was scientifically literate and buddies with Galileo. Galileo went out of his way to be a pain in the ass, and that's why he got in trouble. It was totally avoidable. I haven't time to dive into the full history, but simplistic myths should not be taken for history.
  • counterpunch
    1k
    Politics is about dealing with humans, societies and its issues. We, humans, are mostly irrational, we think with our stomach, our emotions bias us continuously.

    Why do you think sociology has never been able to become a science?

    Scientific disciplines help us to dialogue with nature, our nature and it tell us we are complex and, again, not rational. This is (among many other reasons like the survival principle, etc) why science party has and will never work to govern humans. It could maybe one day govern cyborgs.
    Raul

    Okay, but thinking with your stomach - tell me this: would you rather get on a rollercoaster designed by an engineer in accord with the established principles of physics, geometry, materials science and so forth, or one designed a priest?

    Because currently, the world is a roller coaster designed by a priest, and it is going to crash! But hey, maybe that's part of the grand design? Maybe God will leap out at the last minuet and save the faithful. Hallelujah! It's a miracle! I wouldn't bet on it myself.

    I think we need to recognise that science is a substantially true understanding of reality, and we need to be responsible to scientific truth, or we are doomed. I don't believe that means - dictatorial government based on science as truth with a capital T - because of Hume's is/ought dilemma. He says:

    "In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought or an ought not…"

    The usual interpretation of this observation is that no list of facts adds up to a value, and therefore science cannot constitute a system of government. Science is facts - not values. But to my mind, Hume describes what human beings do - and cannot help but do; which is, to prioritise a list of facts in terms of their values. Which is why I ask the question - who sits opposite? Democratic government is a compromise - so who would sci-pol be compromising with? Capitalists? Communists? Seventh day Adventists? Who?
  • counterpunch
    1k
    Who sits in the Science Party I would ask.

    The way I see it there would be leftists, centrists, conservatives, greens in that party. Likely that party would break up into factions that oppose each other.
    ssu

    That would be a realistic concern were it not for the philosophically solid constitutional basis of the party... and the blood oath!
  • counterpunch
    1k


    Religious fundamentalists primarily, plus all manner of kooks, cranks, and quacks who have their own little proto-religions they follow in defiance of scientific evidence.Pfhorrest

    I do feel it would be absolutely necessary for sci-pol to respect freedom of conscience, religion, thought, speech and expression. Human rights shouldn't be an obstacle to any well intentioned political party, and while - I'm not a believer, I'm agnostic, I recognise that religion is important to people. It's also important historically. Were it not for religion, hunter gatherer tribes could not have joined together to form civilisations, and we'd still be running around naked in the forest jabbing each other with sharp sticks. So, we owe a lot to religion - but this; science is true.
  • counterpunch
    1k


    Of course, it is entirely up to you how if you wish to form your hypothetical discussion but I would think that to take it out of historical context is not going to be the most truthful way. I would have thought that the two examples you give about Newton and Darwin point to the complex politics of science.Jack Cummins

    I would have thought that those two examples demonstrate first, that I do understand the history, and second, that it is as I've described it - an oppression that divorced science as truth from science as a tool, allowing science to be used for ideological power and profit, without any responsibility to science as an understanding of reality. As I said, we have used the tools but not read the instructions. I could have said science was denied any status with accusations of heresy, and reduced to whoring itself out to government and industry. Is that truthful enough?
  • counterpunch
    1k
    My understanding is that this is a simplistic description of what happened. The Pope was scientifically literate and buddies with Galileo. Galileo went out of his way to be a pain in the ass, and that's why he got in trouble. It was totally avoidable. I haven't time to dive into the full history, but simplistic myths should not be taken for history.fishfry

    There's some truth to that. In "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" Galileo put the geocentric view - the Biblical view of an earth fixed in the heavens, in the mouth of Simplicio - a pun on 'simpleton' in common Italian. But then, Galileo wasn't a pan European governmental organisation claiming divine authority. It was a mistake for Galileo to mock the Church, but that doesn't mean it was not a mistake for the Church to make a heresy of valid knowledge of Creation.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    I just think that you need to avoid the creation of stereotypes and I am not convinced that you are going to really going to do any justice to the questions of truths of science in this way. As someone said earlier to you, the full story of Galileo and Darwin are not straightforward. To try to fit science into the fierce divisions of modern politics is going to create tense and unnecessary divisions.
  • creativesoul
    9.8k
    What does science say about what we ought do?

    :brow:
  • counterpunch
    1k
    I find your posts vague and disconcerting; each a bucket of ice water - splashed on liberally, but which then runs away and evaporates, leaving nothing but a chill behind. All I can say is "Oh, thank you for your opinion" because there's no nouns, no definite objects, no examples, no logic, or anything else to refute. I suppose I can ask:

    What stereotypes?
    What questions of the truths of science?
    In what way, is the full story of Galileo and Darwin - not straightforward?
    In what way would a politics you already characterise as "fiercely divided" be made worse by tense divisions? Tense sounds like an improvement over fierce!
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    That is an important point, the question of ought, because it comes down to values. These are central to any interpretation of what lies behind the surface. However, it may not be possible to just perceive science this in the constructs which arise in the politics alone, but within the wider sociological framework. It would seem that apart from political considerations, it would involve questions involving the sociology of knowledge.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.1k

    I am sorry if I come across as being disconcerting. I just like to think critically, but I am logging out for the night now, so you can continue your discussion with others, with no further interruptions from me.
  • counterpunch
    1k


    What does science say about what we ought do?creativesoul

    Science says that human beings evolved in tribal groups - and then, quite recently in evolutionary terms, tribal groups joined together to form civilisations.

    Science says that chimpanzees have morality of sorts - they share food, groom eachother, and defend the tribe - and they remember who reciprocates, and withhold such favours accordingly. Consequently, we can safely assume that primitive human tribes were much the same. Primitive humans were moral creatures. Moral behaviour was an advantage to the individual within the tribe, and for the tribe in competition with other tribes. Morality is a sense - like the aesthetic sense, or a sense of humour.

    Morality is not an explicit set of moral laws handed down by God. This explicit moral order is a political pretence necessary for human tribes to join together. It is the actual "inversion of values" Nietzsche identified, but misunderstood. It was not the amoral, self serving individual - fooled by the weak, but rather tribal morality made explicit for the purposes of the multitribal social group. This is demonstrated with reference to Hume, mentioned above. Hume says:

    "In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought or an ought not…"

    The usual interpretation of this observation is that no list of facts adds up to a value, and therefore science cannot constitute a system of government. Science is facts - not values. Science is the "is" but not the "ought." But that's a mistake. To my mind, Hume describes what human beings do - and cannot help but do, because ultimately, morality is a sense ingrained in the individual by evolution in a tribal context. We cannot but prioritise a list of facts in terms of our values - anymore than we cannot but automatically determine if a joke is funny, or whether a painting pleases the eye.

    So, the answer to your question - what ought we do, is at the nexus of the facts, the innate moral sense, and sustainability.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.4k
    I'm not saying that anyone ought to be against freedom of thought and speech even when it comes to religion, but rather, that the people who would be opposed to a science party would be the heavily religious, and people involved in movements that aren't called religious but might as well be: basically anyone who's upset by science proving them wrong, and who insists that the world should conform to their beliefs even though they can be shown wrong.
  • Joshs
    1.3k
    So let us imagine a political party that recognises science as truth - let's call it 'The Science Party'. Let us further imagine, there's such discontent with politics as usual that "Sci-Pol" immediately took half the seats in Parliament - and formed a government. The question is this:

    Who sits opposite and why?
    counterpunch

    You wouldn't need an opposition. While there is general consensus among natural scientists concerning the facts of their field, there is no such agreement over the uses of science. One could argue that this is the domain of the social sciences , but then there as many opposing camps here as there are in the political domain. Good luck getting anthropologists, economists, political scientists and psychologists to agree on anything.
  • NOS4A2
    4.4k


    Right, because "we've had enough of experts." But Sci-Pol isn't a technocracy per se. Rather, it's a political party built upon the philosophical belief that science now constitutes a highly coherent understanding of reality - we need to recognise as substantially true, and be responsible to in our decision making - to survive and prosper long term.

    Though I agree with the belief, I do not see how it is applicable to politics. Not to mention, despite the principle, scientists are often wrong. Put a scientist in charge of producing more honey and he creates the Africanized Honey-bee. Put a scientist in charge of explaining homosexuality and he reasons it’s a mental illness. Put him in charge of governing, what then? Perhaps more important principles are required.
  • counterpunch
    1k
    I'm not saying that anyone ought to be against freedom of thought and speech even when it comes to religion, but rather, that the people who would be opposed to a science party would be the heavily religious, and people involved in movements that aren't called religious but might as well be: basically anyone who's upset by science proving them wrong, and who insists that the world should conform to their beliefs even though they can be shown wrong.Pfhorrest



    I got your meaning. It was very aggressive. I thought it necessary to say that, while I believe science is key to a sustainable future - I've no desire to cast religious people as:

    Religious fundamentalists primarily, plus all manner of kooks, cranks, and quacks who have their own little proto-religions they follow in defiance of scientific evidence.Pfhorrest

    At the very least I recognise the enormous role religion has played as the central coordinating mechanism of civilisations over thousands of years. Further, I'm agnostic. I have a lot of respect for religion, but I'm not a believer - and I think the Church made a grave mistake vis a vis Galileo and science - that had vast implications, we need to correct or we will die out.

    I'm happy you're down with valuing science as an understanding of reality, and I thank you for the post. But have a little respect for the party opposite please. Otherwise, it's a zero sum game that no-one will win, because the board will get up-ended!
  • counterpunch
    1k
    You wouldn't need an opposition. While there is general consensus among natural scientists concerning the facts of their field, there is no such agreement over the uses of science. One could argue that this is the domain of the social sciences , but then there as many opposing camps here as there are in the political domain. Good luck getting anthropologists, economists, political scientists and psychologists to agree on anything.Joshs

    There's no such thing as luck, and we could all use some. So, thanks - but I haven't laid out my political platform yet. I think there is a general consensus on the broad brush strokes shape of a scientific understanding of reality, on what scientific methods are, and on the utility of technology. That said, other than securing a prosperous sustainable future by harnessing limitless clean energy from the heat energy of the earth itself - by drilling close to magma pockets in the earth's crust, lining the bore holes with pipes to pump water through, to produce steam to drive turbines, to produce massive base load electricity - to produce hydrogen fuel, capture carbon, desalinate water to irrigate land, and so on - I'm wide open from a policy point of view. Hence the question: who sits opposite?
  • counterpunch
    1k
    Though I agree with the belief, I do not see how it is applicable to politics. Not to mention, despite the principle, scientists are often wrong. Put a scientist in charge of producing more honey and he creates the Africanized Honey-bee. Put a scientist in charge of explaining homosexuality and he reasons it’s a mental illness. Put him in charge of governing, what then? Perhaps more important principles are required.NOS4A2

    Scientists are never right. That's a virtue. It allows them to learn. Arguably however, "a political party that recognises science as truth" is not necessarily a party of scientists. It's a party of people who think science is true - and the best guide to a prosperous and sustainable future.
  • Pfhorrest
    4.4k
    I’m not trying to make an argument against religion here, though in another context I’d be happy to e.g. dispute your claim about its role in coordinating early societies.

    I’m just answering your question about who would be politically opposed to a science party as factually as I can. The people that I see in real life opposing science in the political arena are a subset of religious people (not all religious people), and in addition to that, people with weird fringe beliefs contrary to scientific evidence (“kooks, cranks, and quacks”), who are not necessarily the same people as the religious ones. (Though I do think those kind of phenomena fit into the same category as religious belief, socio-epistemologically speaking).

    So if someone were to form a political party opposing some kind of Science Party, I expect it would be them.
  • Raul
    144

    One recent example, the recent interview between Macron and Al-Sisi. Al-Sisi says human rights are a human construct and for Egyptians that believe in God, God is above any human construct so above human rights, so they follow what their God says in the Quran. Macron responded in France they got the illuminism and at the center is the human individual. Completley opposite views,who is right?
    And this is just one example on why science cannot be a party. Science is an instrument politicians use to govern but at the service of certain ideologies and powers.
    When science will be so powerful that it can create a model of the values of the world and human behaviours and we can create the technology to manipulate and control populations to make them follow the mandate of that science then science will be a super powerful tool but always a tool used by humans, by stomachs.
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