• Banno
    14.5k
    I'll just go along with Nature and WHO on this one; sensational articles don't help one way or the other.
  • frank
    8.7k
    Seems as you missed the point. Bad policy is leading to global warming. Science is how we know this to be the caseBanno

    The use of hydrocarbon energy is leading to global warming, which wouldn't have happened without engineering, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.

    As I said, science is a tool. It's neither bad not good.
  • Banno
    14.5k
    As I said, science is a tool. It's neither bad not good.frank

    Nuh. Knowing stuff is good. Science is about knowing stuff.
  • frank
    8.7k
    Nuh. Knowing stuff is good. Science is about knowing stuff.Banno

    In the OP, you gave science credit for:


    Light and heat at the flick of a switch; clean water at the turn of a tap; instant communication with folk across the world; traveling at incredible speed just to got o the local shop; injections that prevent disease.Banno

    If science caused that stuff, science is causing global warming.

    The missing piece is that all of that and science as well are the result of capitalism (among other material causes).
  • counterpunch
    1.6k
    As I said, science is a tool. It's neither bad not good.frank

    And I said you're wrong. Wanna know why you're wrong?
  • fishfry
    2.6k
    I'll just go along with Nature and WHO on this one; sensational articles don't help one way or the other.Banno

    This was an interesting convo. I hadn't read the rest of the thread and just grabbed on to your challenge to say something bad about science. Now I happen to be a big fan of science, so I used the opportunity to rail against the fake, politicized science of the past year. And when you said that you saw nothing to respond to or talk about, I noted that you are right, I wasn't talking about science, but rather fake, politicized science.

    But then on further conversation, it turns out that you actually think the fake, politicized science of the past year is actually science. In which case my earlier remarks were perfectly on point; and it turns out that you think science is worshipping some political hack and deplatforming actual scientists who dissent. I'm afraid you are sadly in tune with the ethos of the day.

    Thanks for the chat.
  • Banno
    14.5k
    The missing piece is that all of that and science as well are the result of capitalism (among other material causes).frank

    ...Ah, so we can blame the economists!
  • Banno
    14.5k
    it turns out that you actually think the fake, politicized science of the past year is actually science.fishfry

    I did? Odd, 'cause that ain't what I wrote.
  • frank
    8.7k
    ...Ah, so we can blame the economists!Banno

    Banking. Before we had money and banking, life tended to be relatively stagnant.

    Virtual money puts human life into overdrive
  • frank
    8.7k
    Wanna know why you're wrong?counterpunch

    Always
  • counterpunch
    1.6k
    Alwaysfrank

    Science is not just a tool. It's also an understanding of reality; quite at odds with an ideological understanding of reality. For example, scientifically - the world is a single planetary environment, and humankind is a single species.

    In ideology, the world is made up of nation states - existing as sovereign entities, like the world were a jigsaw puzzle made of nation state shaped pieces. In ideology, people are divided into religious and ethnic groups.

    Science used as a tool by nation states - justifies, among other things, creating nuclear weapons.

    There's no good reason to create nuclear weapons if you accept we're all the same species living on the same planet. There's no good scientific reason to continue using fossil fuels. There's no good scientific reason to fish the oceans to extinction, cut down the forests, or dump plastic in the oceans. All this is science used as a tool - without regard to science as an understanding of reality. .

    Using science as a tool of ideology is why we have applied the wrong technologies, and so are headed for extinction. A scientific understanding of reality should be the basis for the application of technology - not partisan political and economic interest.
  • fishfry
    2.6k
    I did? Odd, 'cause that ain't what I wrote.Banno

    Ok.
  • Hanover
    7k
    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

    I'd imagine you could fish out some instances where certain scientific discoveries have led to a worse state of human affairs, but it would be an extreme minority view to suggest that science is an overall bad thing, and there'd be a real irony in them posting that opinion here, considering such can only be accomplished with a computer, an internet, and all the underlying technology.

    No objections even here:
    https://dallincrump.medium.com/what-the-amish-are-teaching-me-about-how-to-use-technology-aa8bd1816260#:~:text=The%20Amish%20don't%20believe,shed%20somewhere%20on%20their%20property).
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I think that you are right to see science as a tool rather than as end in itself. It involves investigations based on values rather than being embraced as a reality in its own right. It seems to me that while we may turn to science to seek solutions to problems, especially the climate crisis, it was the pursuit of science, as a way of triumphing over nature and ecology, which may have contributed to the problems which humanity are facing.

    Science is extremely important, but perhaps it has been placed on a pedestool. The wording of this thread is interesting and I wonder whether it was done intentionally, with the idea of 'praise' being given to science. The idea of praise was often given to God, in the hands of religious believers. Could it be that God has been dethroned, but with science replacing the idea of the transcendent?

    But, the question is whether science will be more helpful in sorting out the mess we are in, especially climate change. Science can formulate and provide evidence, but that is interrelated to the political agendas which are override the use of this knowledge.
  • TheMadFool
    12.6k
    Banno's winning. I more or less concur, science is a self-cleaning (c)oven of witches scientists.

    To clarify, science does create problems, huge ones - nuclear power (radioactive fallout), the internal combustion engine (global warming), plastics (pollution), so and so forth - but it's science itself that discovers these are a major headahce with long-lasting negative effects on the health of humans and in a wider context, the global ecosystem. Reminds me of a movie someone told me she'd seen - about a murder mystery in which the detective is himself the murderer. This particular TV trope goes by the name Hired To Hunt Yourself

    Aramis: The King has ordered me to seek out the secret general of the Jesuits and to kill him.
    Porthos: You should let the secret general worry about that.
    Aramis: Problem is that, ah... I am he.

    — The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I am a bit surprised that you think that what is important is whether Banno is winning to be the essential issue. Surely, science and all other methods of investigation, and of knowledge, as serving humanity, are far more important than proclaiming Banno as the ultimate expert. Personally, I think that we need to go beyond egos, and praise, and look to what works in the development and use of ideas and knowledge.
  • TheMadFool
    12.6k
    I am a bit surprised that you think that what is important is whether Banno is winning to be the most important criteria. Surely, science and all other methods of investigation, and of knowledge are of seeing knowledge as serving humanity are far more important than proclaiming Banno as the ultimate expert.Jack Cummins

    Guilty as charged! He is winning though!
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I don't wish to derail the thread, and I have absolutely no bad feelings towards Banno, but I do wonder what you mean by winning? Is it about arguments being more creditable? I would be surprised really if anyone, including the most evangelical religious believers, were completely opposed to science.

    However, I must admit that I was a bit surprsised to discover recently that one of my closest friends still believes that Adam and Eve were literal people. So if I ever have a party, I wish that Banno, you and others could be present, for some lively discussion.
  • frank
    8.7k
    The thing is, science is never autonomous. A scientist has to make a living.

    So it's no accident that something helpful like vaccines came out if it. Most biologists are either working for big pharma, or teaching biology.

    Science may have been a hobby for the nobility in times past, but those times are pretty much past.

    The LHC may be an exception. Why did they build that? Science for science's sake?
  • frank
    8.7k
    He is winning though!TheMadFool

    It's not whether you win or lose. It's how you play the game.
  • T Clark
    6.6k
    so it does seem that science might have something to do with population increase.Banno

    I was wrong about population increase being caused by civilization, but that was not the comment I was responding to. You wrote:

    the advent of science has had an extraordinarily, overwhelmingly positive impact on how we live.Banno

    I responded:

    Historically, advances in human well-being are primarily due to improvements in nutrition.T Clark

    As I noted, that doesn't necessarily contradict what you wrote, but it gives a different perspective.
  • T Clark
    6.6k
    Did you miss 2020? "Science" is a political word used to silence legitimate dissent and the actual scientific method.fishfry

    The response to the pandemic is the first time I've seen government use science in public to develop policy to address an urgent problem on a short-term basis. Since it was in public, and since it had a serious impact on our way of life, it was subject to political decision making. That's the way things are supposed to work. Politics is often confusing, misleading, and subject to special interests, especially these days. That certainly was the case this time.

    As ugly as it got, I have been impressed with how well science-based policy making worked in the US.
  • DingoJones
    2.5k
    Science is a good thingBanno

    Science is not good. Science and technology advance much faster than does our process of evolution. (Biologically and sociologically) Inevitably science will advance faster than we can adapt to it. An example would be the way science has effected the way we communicate...science/tech has greatly changed the way we do it. Socially and biologically we aren’t adapted to it. That’s why it (social media especially) has such a detrimental on our mental health and well being.
    Because science will always evolve faster than our societies, our biology and our understanding of science it will inevitably cause conflict and destruction when it interacts with human biology/society, science is NOT good. There will be a grace period where we enjoy it’s benefits, especially the siren call of medical technology, but the science will advance beyond our societies and biology quickly and with exponentially increasing speed until it destroys us.
    It will always evolve past our ability to understand and utilize it. Some examples of what I mean:
    -We invent nuclear weapons before we figured out how to get along.
    -we make it easier to soapbox and spread (mis) information before we have adapted socially enough to do it responsibly.
    -we invent ways to cross vast distances quickly but lack the evolution of culture/foreign policy to do that without destroying the cultures and the places we land.

    You can even see where science cusses internal problems within science. The cross vast distances point illustrates this...we had the science to get across the ocean but not the science to stop the spread of disease that wiped out 90% of the native population.
    So not only is science bad as it interacts with other things it also results in disaster entirely within its own paradigm.

    Science is bad because we can never use it properly (it advances faster than our ability to use it properly does) and will inevitably lead to the destruction of all humans. It only seems like science is good because we are enjoying the benefits that will inevitable turn to poison and kill us.
    I’ll end with an analogy:
    Science to humans is like chocolate to the dog. It’s so tasty and delicious until the dog dies from it. The sweet taste of chocolate disguising it’s poisonous nature.
  • Manuel
    1.5k
    But I also think it might be important to point out that it's not always trivial separating science from the scientist. It's not as if science is "out there" and we simply re-describe how the mind-independant world works.

    People are crucially involved and we can only hope to capture those things which we have the cognitive capacity to map out or describe. In this respect, and trivially too, we can only do science in as far as it's the type of phenomenon human beings can recognize.
  • T Clark
    6.6k
    So it's no accident that something helpful like vaccines came out if it.frank

    I've often seen vaccines used as an example of the problems with capitalist science. In general, vaccine development is not as profitable for pharmaceutical companies as a new improved erectile dysfunction medication. [irony]Which, of course, is as it should be.[/irony] For that reason, it doesn't get much attention unless the government gets involved. The Covid 19 vaccine appears to be a special case.
  • frank
    8.7k
    The Covid 19 vaccine appears to be a special case.T Clark

    True. The science to do it was in place. It took funding to make it happen. And it means that going forward, vaccines will take months to make instead of years. That this seems kind of trivial to us is a testament to the size of the technological explosion that took pace in the 20th C.

    Btw, measles is back because people aren't vaccinating their kids. If covid-19 is a lion, measles is King Kong.

    Again, the fact that most people don't know that, and many doctors have never seen measles, shows us where we are.
  • T Clark
    6.6k
    That this seems kind of trivial to us is a testament to the size of the technological explosion that took pace in the 20th C.frank

    I agree.
  • Echarmion
    2.2k
    Because science will always evolve faster than our societies, our biology and our understanding of science it will inevitably cause conflict and destruction when it interacts with human biology/society, science is NOT good. There will be a grace period where we enjoy it’s benefits, especially the siren call of medical technology, but the science will advance beyond our societies and biology quickly and with exponentially increasing speed until it destroys us.DingoJones

    Assuming this analysis of science is correct, does it follow that science is bad?

    For one, the notion of humanity without science is incongruous. While our technological society is historically contingent, the basic ability to understand the world in a methodical way clearly isn't. You could have a human society that intentionally does not advance technology, but this runs into a second problem:

    Humanity is doomed regardless. There is no practical way to avoid the destruction of humanity that we know of today, and there certainly isn't one if technology stops before interplanetary colonisation. So, at best, we're delaying it's demise.

    And then the question is, what's the price we're willing to pay for that delay? You're calling it a grace period, but it means real, tangible benefits for a lot of real people? How do we even begin to weigh these against future risks?
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    The problem of knowledge is an ancient one. In the mythology of the "tree of knowledge" for example, the one tree produces fruit that is both good and bad. The story reflects changes that came about through productive or technological advances in agriculture, instruments, and tool making, including the making of weapons. These changes were in some ways good but in others bad. In any case, these advances have progressed, sometimes slowly and sometimes rapidly, but fast or slow they have been unstoppable.

    One definition of wisdom is knowledge of knowledge. This can mean, as it does in Plato's Charmides, knowledge of what you know and don't know (the irony is intentional), but it can also mean the knowledge of how best to use and control our knowledge. Good or bad, the only way forward is through knowledge.
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