• T Clark
    5.4k
    This is just a repeated assertion of your position without any accompanying argument fro that position.Janus

    Do you agree that the scientific method is made up of the rules by which science is practiced? Do you agree that the provisions of the scientific method have no truth value? Are not true or false? Do you agree that the scientific method is metaphysics?

    Are you claiming that the assertions in the quoted example are neither true nor false?Janus

    Yes. They are presented without justification or proof in Einstein's paper. He calls them a "conjecture."
  • Janus
    10.3k
    Do you agree that the scientific method is made up of the rules by which science is practiced? Do you agree that the provisions of the scientific method have no truth value? Are not true or false? Do you agree that the scientific method is metaphysics?T Clark

    Sure, rules are not true or false, but insofar as they are presented as propositions they are, as far as I can tell. Also I understand rules as being methodologies, not metaphysics.

    Yes. They are presented without justification or proof in Einstein's paper. He calls them a "conjecture."T Clark

    Justification and and proof are two things, truth is another. Conjectures are truth-apt it seems to me.
  • Benj96
    457
    This thread is a fishing expedition. I'm seeking out those who disagree with this proposition: Science is a good thing, to see what their arguments are.Banno

    Over all agree I would prefer to (and luckily do) live in a scientific based modern age than the barbarism of past societies. But I would like to make note that science, and technology as a whole, is a double edged sword.

    I’ll reduce it simply to humanities ability to exploit energy or the natural power of the environment. At its most basic, civilisation correlated with a continuous increase in our capacity to harness energy and process it in all its forms: kinetic, nuclear, thermal and electro-magnetic etc.

    Until the industrial revolution our capacity to harness energy was very much restricted to physical labour. The mechanisation of human life with machines (most notably steam engines) was the first huge step in tapping into the power of nature.

    So it stands that “with great power comes great responsibility”. We are finally seeing the two sides of this with man-made adversity/issues such as climate change, pollution and all the impacts of population explosion and globalisation (most recently the ripeness of human density for pandemics) something that didn’t afflict isolated tribes to such a degree.

    Science generates developments and new techs and they always come with a string of benefits and a string of side effects or negative complications.

    However is we take human survival as the ultimate indicator of our control of the environment then it is clear - science has brought forth safety security and the capacity to self actualise despite the things we messed up along the way.

    Our first tools were sticks and stones, then fire, then ploughs and domestic animal labour, followed by engines and now computers and a massive capability to innovate and adapt rapidly. Science is remarkable but it has to be taken with a healthy respect and not seen as the ultimatum. It is only a tool to seek answers but it is not “the” answer. It never will be.
  • baker
    1.6k
    Baker would have us not vaccinate because of a relatively small risk.Banno
    See, this is the hysteria I'm talking about. Making stuff up like that, black-and-white thinking.
    Either you're hysterically with us, or you're hysterically against us!!!!


    Fuck you for this.
    Millennia of philosophy down the drain.
  • baker
    1.6k
    The risks from being vaccinated are demonstrably far smaller than the risks associated with getting the disease.

    I put anti-vax on the same footing as young-earth creationism and climate change denial. In that sense, I'm not the least 'anti-science'.
    Wayfarer

    Sure. But 5 in 200,000 is a very small personal risk. I've had my shot, and I think you have made a poor choice. I wonder how you took into account the risk, should everyone follow your example.Banno

    While I don't wish that upon either of you, I'd still like to see how you'd do, what you'd say if you were the ones ending up with the negative side-effects of the vaccine, and with all the associated costs. Such as having suffered a stroke and ending up homeless because you couldn't pay the medical bills.

    What the two of you are doing here is scientism -- an unwarranted optimism in the power of scientific solutions, and a public reviling and misrepresenting of anyone who doesn't fall in line with that optimism.


    Mind you, I will get vaccinated, as the national plan here foresees. But share in your unwarranted optimism about science I will not.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    ...a double edged sword.Benj96

    Oh, indeed.

    But a look around the posts here shows an antipathy that you might agree is pathological.

    Plagues, historically, have been proportionally far worse than the present situation, often killing far greater percentages than Covid-19. That we have a vaccine that works is an extraordinary vindication of the understanding that science provides. That we have several... we should be singing the praises of science from the rooftops. Millions of lives have been saved by applying science here.

    But that's not what happened. Instead we have an abject failure to recognise the benefits, a wilful emphasis on every negative.

    Comment?
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    Hi, been back in the studio, now blinking at the light of day.

    Some of the wonders of science you cite in the OP are also causes of the evils: fossil fuel burning cars and planes and power plants that enable those conveniences.

    While the scientific community has its share of loons, crooks and shills, the overwhelming consensus to use science for good and to avert evil is disproportionate to the prevalence of similar views in the lay community, and diametrically opposed to the views of corporations that own and profit from the harmful technologies that apply scientific knowledge and the elites that legislate those usages.

    In part by setting itself standards, in (greater) part by an egalitarian attitude toward facts, science incorporates ethics, and that is manifest in the peculiarly ethical character of the scientific community. They do not, in the whole, pick and choose: they know how a combustion engine works, and that it's operation is damaging to the planet. Exxon Mobil picks and chooses.

    For me, the measure of science as a good is less in how quickly you can get to the shop and more in how urgently the community asks you to walk instead.

    To those that vie that science has a dark side, it certainly does. Nazi scientists attempting to build an atomic bomb to better impose the will of the fuhrer on the world are a tough sell, but then many probably had little choice. Context is important. Science under a totalitarian state has a different ethical character to that preferred and approached by academic institutions in the free world. Similarly, most of the scientists developing vaccines would probably prefer them to be freely available, but they got the best and most useful jobs they could and accept unfair compromises. Again, the ethical character of corporate science is not that of independent academia (though the former impinges on the latter ever more greatly as right-wing governments cut funding to the knowledge-imparting, more ethical academic institutions they resent).

    Whether science leads to, or even aims for, good is context-dependent. However science itself has a preferred context: freedom from state interference; freedom from capitalism; international in scope and practice; apolitical; responsive. In short, a context that mirrors scientific standards. The scientific community would have had no problem with burning fossil fuels, until it discovered the harm. That we construct conspiracy theories, fund anti-science, spend millions on propaganda, elect corporate stooges that promise never to do anything to protect the environment "at the expense of the... consumer", and carry on doing the harm ourselves does not speak ill of science, but of the context in which science is performed and exploited. If science in your country has a dark side, you have to question why your country that yields that sort of science. Because, you know, Einstein _was_ important for building the A bomb, but Nazism was too and actually wanted it.

    The way to build a better scientific community is to keep it well funded so that the world, rather than the corporate world, owns the knowledge coming out of it, and keep it free from political interference, which means using your vote ethically and not to elect anti-scientific, energy-company--blowing shit-for-brains.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    881
    This thread is a fishing expedition. I'm seeking out those who disagree with this proposition: Science is a good thing, to see what their arguments are.Banno

    Here's a bit of an argument from left field, and one I don't know I entirely stand behind, but devil's advocate et al...

    a. Growth and flourishing is good.

    b. We need some adversity to be able to grow to our full potential (Disputable to what extend maybe, but generally a case could be made I think, based on scientific findings even)

    c. Sciences makes life generally easier by making the world predictable and making all kinds of technologies possible that make life easier.

    (a + b + c) Science stunts our growth and flourishing, therefor science is bad.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    Just thought I might add my own crazy thoughts to the lively ongoing discussion. It's not like it's going to make things even weirder.

    One word for all hardcore science fans out there - contradiction. If it ever happens that we find one (a contradiction), all bets are off.

    Suppose a contradiction is observed in reality (wave-particle duality? Schrodinger's cat?). That would immediately close off all avenues to a theory of everything (TOE) because a TOE must entail the contradiction but if it does, it's necessarily false.

    1.TOE -> Contradiction
    2. ~Contradiction [Contradictions are false]
    Ergo,
    3. ~TOE [the proposed TOE is false]

    A coupla ways to handle the situation,

    a) The contradiction is not a true contradiction i.e. for instance, the wave-particle duality isn't one or Schrodinger's cat isn't both dead and alive, etc.

    One reason why ancient philosophers failed to find the TRUTH seems to be the difficulty posed by so-called opposites. They couldn't understand, lacked the tools to make sense of reality e.g. that hot and cold were actually heat energy at varying levels. The apparent contradiction heat-cold prevented philosophers back then from constructing what would've been a TOE (the TRUTH) albeit just the first and therefore necessarily flawed. This fact, if it's one, is reflected in Lao Tzu's teachings which, whatever else it might be, discourages, frowns upon, has a dim view of generalization, the core essence of what a TOE should be.

    b) Adopt alternative logics like paraconsistent logic and dialetheism of which I know too little about to comment sensibly.

    Cheers!
  • Banno
    12.7k
    You are way off the topic here. Still. Despite my request.

    Indeed, the post above is a mad rant.

    Here's some more considered thoughts:

    Divisive COVID ‘lab leak’ debate prompts dire warnings from researchers

    Please take the ranting to the thread on Covid-19.
  • Cuthbert
    254
    "Don't you believe the science?" is sometimes a call to shut up when authority speaks.

    It is sometimes a call for ignorance to shut up when good authority speaks.

    Nevertheless, I answer in this way:

    "Yes, I believe the science. The science tells me to ask questions and to value evidence over authority. It tells me that hypotheses are subject to constant revision. It tells me that even widely accepted theories can be overthrown. It tells me that there are seldom knock-down answers to complicated questions. That's what I believe and that is why simply counting scientists in favour of a particular view tells us something but does not necessarily tell us everything. Every one of those scientists will also tell us that the mere fact of a lot of people believing something does not in itself make it true. Or false."
  • Banno
    12.7k
    Throw her in the lake; If she floats, she's a witch; if she drowns, then not.

    Others here have supposed that science is bad precisely because it throws us unsolvable problems. Unfortunately some choose the virus as their example; and hence insist on an unnatural origin to fit their imaginings. That's whey I pointed out the extraordinary fact that effective vaccine was developed so very quickly.

    Global warming and environmental degradation would suit their purposes much better.

    So my answer to your argument - thanks for presenting it - is the one I presented earlier. It may be that science causes us great difficulty; but then, the only way we have to approach the problems arrising is more science.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    not to elect anti-scientific, energy-company--blowing shit-for-brains.Kenosha Kid

    Ah, so you've met Scott Morrison, then.

    I'm assuming that those who think science is mostly a good thing took a look at the title of this thread and thought "well, duh' and moved on to other topics. So we are left with those who see need to point out the evils of our new High Priests. It would be a simple thing to equate this rejection of science with lack of scientific literacy; posting a picture of a child surrounded by rubbish, for example, as if that were about science devoid of the many other issues that face us.

    Here's a microcosm of the problem. The Murray-Darling river basin flows through about a million square kilometres of Australia, making it one of the largest basins in the world. But of course it doesn't rain much here, so the rivers themselves are relatively small. An authority was created to try to work out an equitable way to share the water that does fall, and has failed miserably. They took scientific analysis of the historical flow and used it as the prediction for future flow, ignoring the science that pointed out that climate change would mean less water in the basin.

    So they shared out more water than they had.

    Then they went back and claimed that the science had misled them, so questioning the viability of the science itself.

    That is, science was misused for private purposes then blamed when things fell through, giving a pretext for less reliance on the science

    The danger is that it is when science is most needed that it is rejected.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    That is, science was misused for private purposes then blamed when things fell through, giving a pretext for less reliance on the science

    The danger is that it is when science is most needed that it is rejected.
    Banno

    Precisely my point. You can do unethical science quite easily, as totalitarian states and corporations attest. Just take the bits you want and ignore or lie about the rest. That's not a measure of science, but of totalitarian states and corporations.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    ...and so the point is not to blame science for what are social problems.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    Right! Do you think so?
  • Banno
    12.7k


    Just contra @baker; and chastising @fishfry for perhaps being too selective in the examples he considers.

    On consideration, the posters here have been overwhelmingly in praise of science, but concerned about consequent social and environmental issues.

    That's sensible.
  • fishfry
    2.4k
    On consideration, the posters here have been overwhelmingly in praise of science, but concerned about consequent social and environmental issues.Banno

    I wonder why you won't engage with the substantive point I've made against the praise of science. Here's a piece that I just ran across an hour ago by Thomas Frank, publisher of The Baffler, and a writer of impeccable leftist credentials for years.

    His article is If the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis is true, expect a political earthquake. In this article, he makes many of the same points I've made. He links a NYT article from last year: Coronavirus Is What You Get When You Ignore Science
    Scientists are all we have left. Pray for them
    .

    This is, in retrospect, the worst kind of scientism, the antithesis of science. It turns out that the scientists were involved in subverting a US government law outlawing GOF research, funding that research, saying that if a pandemic happened it would be worth it anyway.

    Now you can only have one of two responses: (1) This is not science. In which case I'd note that you are committing the No True Scotsman fallacy, and that sadly this IS what science has come to; or (2) Agree that some science should be condemned and not praised. Which frankly, I'm sure you actually agree with.

    Instead, from the beginning, you've tried to claim my remarks were off topic. This I cannot understand.

    Of course I agree that my recent remarks on China were off topic, but that was because someone addressed me with an off topic remark that I could not allow to stand without rebuttal.

    But the basic fact remains. Science has gone off the rails lately. You either concede the point, or try to make the claim that what Fauci does has not been science, and that "Follow the science" has not been science. Simply continuing to claim that my response is off-topic does not sit well with me.
  • Moliere
    1.8k
    I mean, science is good for me.

    But even in the most recent example of its goods, the production of a vaccine, the goods have been distributed unevenly. Looking at the world here, not locally.

    Many of the goods of science are like that.




    I suspect one would reply to this by saying that this isn't against science as such but rather the current application of science, or to relegate this contention to a specifically political problem.

    But I don't think science can be separated from politics. It is a thoroughly political(-economic) entity. It gets by on funding both from the government and the private sector -- so even in a more non-theoretic sense, science really is a political-economic entity!
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    On consideration, the posters here have been overwhelmingly in praise of science, but concerned about consequent social and environmental issues.Banno

    Well good :) The data we're concerned about is, of course, scientific data. If science is telling you you're destroying the planet and you ignore it, you can't blame science for the planet being spoiled.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    If science is telling you you're destroying the planet and you ignore it, you can't blame science for the planet being spoiled.Kenosha Kid

    ...but many do.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    Ha ha, yeah I meant to end that with "and expect to be taken seriously".
  • Janus
    10.3k
    Ha ha look, a circle-jerk seems to be emerging!
  • Benj96
    457


    Why must we all get worked up about negatives?

    I think it’s human nature to be perfectly frank. When confronted with a fearful or life-threatening situation (be it war, pandemics, a natural disaster, etc) the degree of distrust amongst us as a collective goes up.
    You need only look at the volatility of the market to see it. Uncertainty leads to volatility.
    It’s bound to.

    When in the “fight or flight mode” every decision, every choice or path we could take has to be analysed in depth and the pros and cons weighed. It’s self preservation and that is an inherently “selfish” process - it doesn’t lend itself to thinking about what other people think or trusting other peoples motives especially if they are also “fighting for survival”.

    So the sad truth is that no matter how golden the fruit is that you offer to someone, a small percentage will still point to the only blemish and say it’s poison. Sometimes (Probably more often then not, that small group lose out. And sometimes they are the last men standing.)

    Besides nations don’t require that all people be vaccinated only around 70% or so. So there’s no reason to force the small few who don’t want it to conform/ mandatorily vaccinate.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    When confronted with a fearful or life-threatening situation (be it war, pandemics, a natural disaster, etc) the degree of distrust amongst us as a collective goes up.Benj96

    In all honesty, I think that a cultural artefact mostly confined to 'merican myth. Watching the various disasters unfold elsewhere one sees communities working for the common wealth.
  • creativesoul
    9.9k
    The way to build a better scientific community is to keep it well funded so that the world, rather than the corporate world, owns the knowledge coming out of it, and keep it free from political interference...Kenosha Kid

    Indeed.

    Science is a method of approach for acquiring knowledge about stuff. Science is neither good or bad. How science is used is another matter altogether. It can be used for horrible ends, but need not be. I, for one, agree with Banno in that in the big picture, science has been instrumental in marvelous things, and a marked improvement in the overall quality of human lives.
  • baker
    1.6k
    Plagues, historically, have been proportionally far worse than the present situation, often killing far greater percentages than Covid-19. That we have a vaccine that works is an extraordinary vindication of the understanding that science provides. That we have several... we should be singing the praises of science from the rooftops. Millions of lives have been saved by applying science here.

    But that's not what happened. Instead we have an abject failure to recognise the benefits, a wilful emphasis on every negative.

    Comment?
    Banno

    To begin with, this is exactly what you asked for in this thread: Reasons against science.

    What did you expect???
  • Banno
    12.7k
    To begin with,baker

    After 22 pages...?
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