• Caldwell
    521
    I hope to see a debate or discussion regarding the anti-scientific sentiments or movement towards the decay of science. So, I'll suggest some ideas that could help stir the subject into the darker reality than what we're used to. This is written in a rush, and there is certainly much room for improvement.

    So, what do we commonly hear? -- anti-vaxers, superstition, creationism, etc. While you are welcome to touch on these subjects, let's think of what we can ignore regarding the decay of science, as prep work. Then, we can move on to the real 'reality' of scientific survival:

    1. That just like any other phenomenon in the history of histories of human civilizations -- science is cyclical. No one can stop this as a natural occurrence. Length of time is not an indication of success, if you get my drift.

    2. That violence can defeat science. There is a tipping point after which, it's just all decay.

    3. That science is anathema to other, equally powerful, schools of thoughts.

    If anyone is interested, please post your thoughts. Thanks.
  • VincePee
    84
    The decay of science? Science never has been more advanced than in these days!
  • Caldwell
    521
    The decay of science? Science never has been more advanced than in these days!VincePee

    I think this goes without saying. Please see my first point.

    The cyclical-development thinking has already taken into consideration the maximum advancement in science in their formulation of this phenomenon. Cyclical in this regard means that it has a beginning, progressing into the more advanced stages, culminating in the most impressive reach of scientific knowledge, then gradually descending into decay.
  • VincePee
    84


    What do you mean by the darker reality than we are used to?
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    So, what do we commonly hear? -- anti-vaxers, superstition, creationism, etc.Caldwell

    Is it a down cycle in science or rather a willingness to assert social power? If you can’t get your way in reasoned fashion, then making up any old reasons to get your way becomes a better strategy.

    So are we merely witnessing the social media turn in politics? Civilisation has been around long enough that people take it for granted and don’t feel moved to foster the institutions that protect it.

    On the other hand, there are also legitimate political grievances. The rational society came to mean the neoliberal power grab. Inequality and climate change are actual problems.

    So there are various kinds of shit flying around. And maybe science isn’t in decline at all. Maybe it is the ability of politics to keep up with the pace of technological and social change that is the issue,
  • Caldwell
    521
    What do you mean by the darker reality than we are used to?VincePee

    Again, please see my first post -- I shall add that it's loaded when I say "darker" reality. We are used to hearing anti-vaccines, creationism, superstition, even conspiracy theories. These do not threaten science into oblivion.
  • VincePee
    84


    I think I get your point. Are in favor of science and afraid it will succomb to "dark pressure"?
  • Caldwell
    521
    So there are various kinds of shit flying around. And maybe science isn’t in decline at all. Maybe it is the ability of politics to keep up with the pace of technological and social change that is the issue,apokrisis
    Okay, good. Can you please address my first point then? Your point might help with my point #3.
  • Caldwell
    521
    Are in favor of science and afraid it will succomb to "dark pressure"?VincePee

    'Succumb' sounds like science has a good fight to make here. Point #1 says it doesn't. It 'will' happen according to cyclical thinking. I think at this point, VincePee, we should start asking why there is even a thinking that describes science as cyclical, don't you think?

    I can provide a good reading, if it can help.
  • I love Chom-choms
    48
    The cyclical-development thinking has already taken into consideration the maximum advancement in science in their formulation of this phenomenon. Cyclical in this regard means that it has a beginning, progressing into the more advanced stages, culminating in the most impressive reach of scientific knowledge, then gradually descending into decay.Caldwell

    While there may be a limit to the knowledge in the world that someday we might learn everything in the cosmos, which I would say is the most impressive reach of scientific knowledge. I am sure that we are nowhere near close to that ceiling.
    I am not sure who but there was some guy who said that we know less that 1% of everything. So if there was a decay then it is far away.

    On the contrary, by "descending into decay" you could mean that all the knowledge that we have will be lost, like a return to stone age, then I do agree that science is cycilcal. Science is an inevitability born from the ability to reason, When you "how", "why" "what" , science will be born.
    So yes, science will after some point gradually decay but how is that an anti-scientific statement. Its not like by saying that all civilizations die, you become anti-civilizationist.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Can you please address my first point then?Caldwell

    Where is the evidence of science moving into the down phase of a cycle?

    I mean, how could you even be an anti-vaxxer if a whole bunch of different corporations hadn’t pulled a whole bunch of novel vaccines out of the bag in record time?

    Are less papers being published, are scientific instruments getting less precise, are fewer scientists being employed, is less money being spent on STEM education? In what way is the exponential growth of science even showing signs of moderating?

    It would seem more that people are simply overwhelmed by the possibility to apply critical thinking to any issue. If you want to make a sensible and informed decision, then Google gives you the full range of thinking nearly instantly. You only have to wade through a few thousand research papers.

    So science has been an exponentially growing enterprise in terms of accumulating more knowledge. The universe is such a complex place that science has experienced no particular brake in its pursuit of both ever greater detail and more sweeping theoretical perspectives.

    No sign of decay there. There is no cap on progress in sight yet - the kind of intrinsic limit that would turn an exponential trajectory into a rate-limited sigmoid curve.

    But knowledge only counts if it is applied. So that could be the brake that is emerging into sight. Can humans apply everything that is known to their lives? Can technology use knowledge to solve every problem, including all those that technology itself creates?
  • SophistiCat
    1.7k
    Can you please address my first point then?Caldwell

    Your point - that science is cyclical - is just postulated out of nowhere. "[J]ust like any other phenomenon in the history of histories of human civilizations" - that's too broad and vague to even discuss.

    You should go back and think about this some more.
  • Caldwell
    521
    While there may be a limit to the knowledge in the world that someday we might learn everything in the cosmos, which I would say is the most impressive reach of scientific knowledge. I am sure that we are nowhere near close to that ceiling.I love Chom-choms
    Fair point. My first post addressed the idea that length of time is not an indication of success.

    I am not sure who but there was some guy who said that we know less that 1% of everything. So if there was a decay then it is far away.I love Chom-choms
    And indeed, we shall reach the glorious era when our science is the most fruitful. And precisely because of this, the root of self-destruction begins, according to cyclical thought.

    On the contrary, by "descending into decay" you could mean that all the knowledge that we have will be lost, like a return to stone age,I love Chom-choms
    Not at all. That is not the decay we are talking about here. Worship, belief without justification, and blind indoctrination?

    So yes, science will after some point gradually decay but how is that an anti-scientific statement. Its not like by saying that all civilizations die, you become anti-civilizationist.I love Chom-choms
    Good point, but you missed my first point again. I said "or".
  • Caldwell
    521
    Your point - that science is cyclical - is just postulated out of nowhere. "[J]ust like any other phenomenon in the history of histories of human civilizations" - that's too broad and vague to even discuss.SophistiCat

    As a matter of fact, this is not my original idea or postulate. There are philosophers who wrote about this. I think we should examine why they say what they say.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Speaking for myself, if I were an old-school scientist - the kind who are hardcore physicalists - I'd be worried about Quantum Physics and how it seems susceptible to pseudoscientific interpretations as can be found in books like The Tao Of Physics by physicist Fritjof Capra and also in the numerous books authored by people of the same ilk as Deepak Chopra. Quantum physics seems to be asymptotically approaching what scientists have gone on record to decry as woo-woo viz. mysticism

    Quantum Physics, if scientists aren't careful, will be the undoing of science. The decay has set in but can scientists do anything about this gangrenous limb that threatens to consume all of science itself? Time will tell.

    As for the alleged cyclical nature of all phenomena, this: Mysticism/Religion (pre-Thales of Miletus) -> Science (Thales of Miletus) -> Mysticism/Religion (Quantum Physics). That's a long ass cycle.
  • SophistiCat
    1.7k
    Another thing is that the scientific enterprise does not exist independently of "other phenomen[a] in the history of histories of human civilizations". Obviously, if the human civilization enters a decline (as a result of a global catastrophe, for example), its scientific pursuits will decline as well. Conversely, it is hard to conceive of science undergoing a decline in the midst of a burgeoning civilization.
  • Caldwell
    521
    Hey guys, a lot to address. I am impressed at the quick but sharp replies from you. More than I expected.

    Where is the evidence of science moving into the down phase of a cycle?apokrisis

    This is a very important question pertaining to point #1. The alarm sounded a long time ago, in the classical Greek. The decay will be in the form of implosion from within the scientific community. How?
  • Wayfarer
    13.6k
    ‘Science’ is not an ideology nor a belief system. It’s a method of exploration, testing and validation of ideas and also a framework within which discoveries are shared and progressed inter-generationally. The OP situates science as a kind of ideology or belief system, which it isn’t.

    Furthermore as Bertrand Russell noted way back in History of Western Philosophy, scientific method has no inherent moral compass. One could have, and some do have, ambitious scientific research programs to produce superbly efficient killing machines, machines which could kill enormous numbers of people, or even rid the world of people altogether. There’s no scientific reason that such programs ought not to be pursued. There are plenty of reasons not to pursue them, but science doesn’t necessarily provide those reasons.

    You can be a good person, and a good scientist, but you have to be a good person first.

    I’m totally behind vaccination science, climate science, food science, energy science, and many of the other ameliorative technologies that Planet Earth will not survive without. But I’m not at all on board with ‘the scientific worldview’.
  • Caldwell
    521
    Another thing is that the scientific enterprise does not exist independently of "other phenomen[a] in the history of histories of human civilizations".SophistiCat
    And indeed, it doesn't. So where does it start or what will cause the eventual demise? From within the authority of science. That's where. Now, this is where, you philosophy members, should be able to explain the phenomenon of power, authority, and far-reaching.
  • Caldwell
    521
    Furthermore as Bertrand Russell noted way back in History of Western Philosophy, scientific method has no inherent moral compass. One could have, and some do have, ambitious scientific research programs to produce superbly efficient killing machines, machines which could kill enormous numbers of people, or even rid the world of people altogether. There’s no scientific reason that such programs ought not to be pursued. There are plenty of reasons not to pursue them, but science doesn’t necessarily provide them.Wayfarer

    Yes!
  • Hermeticus
    58
    1. That just like any other phenomenon in the history of histories of human civilizations -- science is cyclical. No one can stop this as a natural occurrence. Length of time is not an indication of success, if you get my drift.Caldwell

    I don't see this at all. Imo science has been on the rise for 8000 years now. It has to repeatedly reinvent itself. At times it may have become stagnant, sometimes there were rapid breakthroughs - but that's just in the nature of science.

    2. That violence can defeat science. There is a tipping point after which, it's just all decay.Caldwell
    What do you mean by that? Science is a concept. A framework for building knowledge. You can "defeat" scientists, people who advocate science - but the concept itself is untouchable.


    Not at all. That is not the decay we are talking about here. Worship, belief without justification, and blind indoctrination?Caldwell
    Is that what you understand as decay then? Again, I don't see that at all. Worship, belief without justification and blind indoctrination existed before science and have been declining as the scientific method evolved.
  • Caldwell
    521
    Science’ is not an ideology nor a belief system. It’s a method of exploration, testing and validation of ideas and also a framework within which discoveries are shared and progressed inter-generationally. The OP situates science as a kind of ideology or belief system, which it isn’t.Wayfarer
    Our good science before its maximum achievement. I agree. My first post addresses the time way after your description.
  • Caldwell
    521

    'going to bed. Tomorrow.
  • Wayfarer
    13.6k
    By what measure could there be a ‘maximum achievement’? Would could the ‘maximum achievement’ of science be? (I have an idea what the answer to that question is, but I’ll wait.)
  • Caldwell
    521
    By what measure could there be a ‘maximum achievement’? Would could the ‘maximum achievement’ of science be?Wayfarer
    I can refer you to @I love Chom-choms post as this is a good suggestion.
    While there may be a limit to the knowledge in the world that someday we might learn everything in the cosmos, which I would say is the most impressive reach of scientific knowledge. I am sure that we are nowhere near close to that ceiling.I love Chom-choms

    Although we don't need to get there. Science will declare its best achievements.
  • Caldwell
    521
    May I suggest, for those interested, to peruse Oswald Spengler.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Oswald Spengler.Caldwell

    Spengler seems to draw an analogy between biological organisms and civilizations (cultures), treating the latter as a superorganism and, he reasons, just like biological organisms e.g. a human goes through multiple stages of development ultimately terminating in death, cultures/civilizations too undergo a similar multi-stage evolution.

    Interesting viewpoint to say the least but to my reckoning the analogy breaks down at just the point where he had to add "super" to organism for cultures. How do we know a superorganism will reenact an individual organism's life-cycle?

    Also, couldn't there be some kind of a threshold which if a culture crosses, it attains immortality like, say, cancer cells but without all the downsides?
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    The decay will be in the form of implosion from within the scientific community. How?Caldwell

    You could be right in the sense that science delivers the techno-economy that wrecks the environment and leads to civilisational collapse and generalised extinction event before the century is out.

    That is one way the scientific project will go through a down phase. :lol:
  • Wayfarer
    13.6k
    somehow, I think that’s more the responsibility of the capitalist economic model than science per se.
  • apokrisis
    5.4k
    Yep. It wasn’t as if environmentalists weren’t warning us about the limits of growth in the 1970s. But from an organismic perspective, it is all part of the same cultural package.

    Science earns its keep by providing the technological means to strip-mine nature.
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