• Caldwell
    521
    ↪Caldwell
    Corporate control of research. Corporate control of scientific journals. Corporate control over regulatory bodies (IOW poor science, biased science being approved by bodies that are not objective or independent). Corporate control of media - which then can marginalize ideas, research, criticism and scientific debate that might undermine corporate research.
    Bylaw
    While I don't deny this corporate reality, this is not what a true cycle theorist points to in their criticism of science. Maybe this comes as a surprise. Although, I agree that it does indirectly affect science.

    Here is a response which captures the nature of the root of destruction that end-of-science theorists have been arguing about:
    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.TheMadFool

    That is what we are facing when we are engaged in some sort of discourse against, or together with, the end-of-science theorists. Rule number one -- exactitude. If science were religion, a crippling doubt because we'd forgone causality and opted instead towards probability, is unholy.

    Another source of complaint is the tendency to reduce everything and anything to equation. One that could possibly fit on a surface of a thumbnail. What does it mean? Reductionism and simplification. Keep in mind that cycle theorists believe in social sciences. And rightly so. What's good for the goose is good for the gander is false!
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    That is what we are facing when we are engaged in some sort of discourse against, or together with, the end-of-science theorists. Rule number one -- exactitude. If science were religion, a crippling doubt because we'd forgone causality and opted instead towards probability, is unholy.

    Another source of complaint is the tendency to reduce everything and anything to equation. One that could possibly fit on a surface of a thumbnail. What does it mean? Reductionism and simplification. Keep in mind that cycle theorists believe in social sciences. And rightly so. What's good for the goose is good for the gander is false!
    Caldwell

    :up: I just read a book a coupla weeks ago and below is a quote from it,

    Archaeological digs of settlements dating back to Neolithic times have revealed a disproportionately high density of heel bones of sheep or other animals among the shattered pottery and flints that are usually found in sites that humans once inhabited. These bones are in fact ancestors of my casino dice. When thrown, these bones naturally land on one of four sides. Often there are letters or numbers carved into the bones. Rather than gambling, these early dice are thought to have been used for divination. And this connection between the outcome of a roll of a dice and the will of the gods is one that has persisted for centuries. Knowledge of how the dice would land was believed to be something that transcended human understanding. It's outcome was in the lap of gods. — Marcus du Sautoy (What we cannot know)

    Science has always been about a clockwork, deterministic, universe and, from what I can gather, its main selling point is the precision (to the 10th decimal place I'm told) of its predictions. Science, if it could speak, is telling us, "surely, if my predictions are that precise, I couldn't be wrong."

    We enter the era of quantum physics and science loses that ability - forget about how accurate science can be about what'll happen, it can't even tell us what'll happen. This - indeterminacy - is the spanner in the works of science.

    I suppose, as Marcus du Sautoy (see quote above) writes in his book, Quantum Mechanics opens a door through which a lot of what's been classified as woo-woo (religion, mysticism, to name a few) can make their way into scientific territory and set up house.

    Coming to equations, I don't mind it; in fact, it's fascinating that all the complex phenomena we see around us can be expressed in such succinct mathematical statements. It's not reductionist or simplification, it's more of a synopsis, objects and events summarized to the bare essentials. What we say in so many words in natural language is, in mathematical language, one or two, max, lines of equations.
  • Caldwell
    521
    I'd like to clarify a few points.

    The critique against science, insofar as the decline theorists are concerned, has always been metaphysical. That is, they are arguing about the very essence of science. How else can something be destroyed, but through the demolition of its very essence. Science has qualities essential to it.

    While influences outside it from different schools of thoughts or political thoughts, even economic, have been..well.. influential in shaping the scientific research and development, those are not the object of their criticisms. The scientific decline theorists are, after all, philosophers. And being philosophers, they try to maintain the proper parameter within which to attack science.

    If you want to be taken seriously, play intelligently.

    Another thing I want to stress is that these same theorists show a high degree of respect for disciplines such as the scientific psychology. They are pragmatists and empiricists. They recognize the delineation between the cultural, organic, and behavioral on the one hand, and the atomistic world on the other. And here we can understand why they reject the increasingly mechanistic view of reality. When everything and anything is reduced to bare bones formulations, with the occasional corollary here and there, one can start to wonder whether scientists and the natural world are now the casualty.

    Science has always been about a clockwork, deterministic, universe and, from what I can gather, its main selling point is the precision (to the 10th decimal place I'm told) of its predictions. Science, if it could speak, is telling us, "surely, if my predictions are that precise, I couldn't be wrong."TheMadFool
    True. And let's be careful not to confuse precision or exactitude with mechanistic.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    First off, I don't treat criticism of science as adversarial i.e. pointing out the flaws of science is meant to be constructive rather than the destructive.

    Secondly, as I explained earlier, science gets its street cred from how well it predicts the outcomes of phenomena, the degree of precision playing a major role. There's no arguing against a system of beliefs, here science, that can send a robotic probe to a distant planet like Mars successfully and that too many times in a row. The level of precision required to do that is, to my reckoning, mind-boggling, no?

    A mechanistic view of the world subsumes precision by the way.
  • Caldwell
    521

    No, that post I made is to clarify the point of this thread in general. To emphasize the argument.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    No, that post I made is to clarify the point of this thread in general. To emphasize the argument.Caldwell

    :ok:
  • TheSoundConspirator
    3

    The pantheon of Science isn't just a "school of thought", it is a primitive human instinct. From Proconsul Heseloni to Homo sapiens, we are inherently curious creatures.
    Furthermore, it is in fact this primary instinct that has been the foundation of our survival. Science is the way of expressing that primitive instinct.
    We ate the first apple because of our curiosity. We gave birth to offspring because of curiosity. We built the first fire and survived the winter because of our curiosity. The reasons why curiosity is the backbone of our society is infinitesimal in number. A decay in curiosity will be a decay in the existence of humanity as a whole.
    If Science somehow "decays" as you propose, human beings might as well cease to exist.
  • Caldwell
    521
    If Science somehow "decays" as you propose, human beings might as well cease to exist.TheSoundConspirator

    Hi SoundConspirator, do you have a counter-argument against the decline theorist's argument?
  • Tobias
    163
    The critique against science, insofar as the decline theorists are concerned, has always been metaphysical. That is, they are arguing about the very essence of science. How else can something be destroyed, but through the demolition of its very essence. Science has qualities essential to it.Caldwell

    I wonder about that because I think it would be very hard to say what the essence of science is. There are also different styles of doing science, see for instance Chunglin Kwa, " styles of knowing" . I do not think people will stop wanting to know. What can ' decay' is faith in the current institutions of science and perhaps against a method we call scientific.

    While influences outside it from different schools of thoughts or political thoughts, even economic, have been..well.. influential in shaping the scientific research and development, those are not the object of their criticisms. The scientific decline theorists are, after all, philosophers. And being philosophers, they try to maintain the proper parameter within which to attack science.Caldwell

    But if you artificially disentangle something from which is is embdedded and then attack it, aren't you attacking a straw man? An influential strand in the philosophy of science points out the political and economic nature of science. I think such a critique will hit science harder because it attacks the source of its legitimacy, its supposed purety and objectivity.

    Another thing I want to stress is that these same theorists show a high degree of respect for disciplines such as the scientific psychology. They are pragmatists and empiricists. They recognize the delineation between the cultural, organic, and behavioral on the one hand, and the atomistic world on the other. And here we can understand why they reject the increasingly mechanistic view of reality. When everything and anything is reduced to bare bones formulations, with the occasional corollary here and there, one can start to wonder whether scientists and the natural world are now the casualty.Caldwell

    The way you desscribe it, to me it seems these criticisms come from an environmental perspective. However then it does not make sense to exclude the political.The 'atomistic world' has always been a mechanical world I think though and the formulations are just translations of its supposed mechanical processes. When we want to ' smell the earth' , more is needed, some form of normativity. So I do not understand their argument I guess. They want their cake and eat it too, somehow separating science from other human endeavours, but in the end ground it in some form of intrinsic value...

    True. And let's be careful not to confuse precision or exactitude with mechanistic.Caldwell

    Yes very true.
  • Gobuddygo
    28
    Science is just one culture amongst many but "thanks" to the fruits in the science trees (some of which are picked premature while others hang rotting) this culture has achieved world dominance. It's not because it's inherently better that it has gained its status. It's because of the power of the high- or low-tec weaponary that it has achieved it. And because of propaganda and a carefully developed education program. It's made more sexy than it is in reality, though it can be great fun, especially the physics of quantum fields and general relativity. And their combination. Or the science of a black hole and Hawing (not Unruh!) radiation. A realcstretch for the mind! Good morning brain excercise.
  • Bylaw
    85
    While I don't deny this corporate reality, this is not what a true cycle theorist points to in their criticism of science. Maybe this comes as a surprise. Although, I agree that it does indirectly affect science.Caldwell
    I've read the OP and a few of your other posts and I am not quite sure what your position is. So, I may miss the mark.

    I'll throw out: perhaps our positions are complementary.

    The moment I see the examples of antivaxxers and creationists as the main example of the problem - even if you are saying that they are not, actually, the biggest threat, I feel the urge, now satisfied, to point out playser with much more power - thus corporations - though that's a stand-in word that I would also want aimed at bankers and intelligence communities.

    My concern is not at the meme level or even the cycle level. I see the threat to continued existence of those who might use science, as coming through what I batch labelled 'corporations'.

    I am not sure what your idea is around cycles - perhaps a link?. But it seems to me that the issue is not binary - not that you've said it is but it seems sometimes implicit. Science can continue, even if other forms of information/knowledge gathering and radically different paradigms come in. We often don't have to choose between tools, or even, dare I say it, metaphysics.

    That is what we are facing when we are engaged in some sort of discourse against, or together with, the end-of-science theorists. Rule number one -- exactitude. If science were religion, a crippling doubt because we'd forgone causality and opted instead towards probability, is unholy.Caldwell

    I don't see that really stopping science. I am sure it is very problematic for many scientists. Makes me want to toss in Rupert Sheldrake. Whatever one thinks of his ideas, even if many turned out to be true, there's no reason scientists couldn't go on studying comets, finches and particles, and in many of the old mechanistic causal ways. There might be other research following different approaches ( a little bit a la Feyerabend) alongside.

    At some point, perhaps, somehow all mechanistic type research might somehow be made moot in what turns out to be a much more flexible universe than currently realized. But I don't see that around the corner - not that you've given a timeline.

    Another source of complaint is the tendency to reduce everything and anything to equation. One that could possibly fit on a surface of a thumbnail.Caldwell

    Sure, but then systems and ecological theories have been complexifying things for a long time. I agree that the scientific community still is reductionistic, problematically so, but I see a lot of integration of holistic ideas in science.

    To give some perspective: I do think that science in general, or scientists really, are not fluent in philosophy and have little idea how they assumptions, metaphysical and otherwise, may be affect what they choose to research, how they choose to research it and what they dismiss.

    And all the while the technocrats are gaining more and more power. For whom? And what do the endusers of the technocrats care about and have as goals?
  • Caldwell
    521
    An influential strand in the philosophy of science points out the political and economic nature of science. I think such a critique will hit science harder because it attacks the source of its legitimacy, its supposed purety and objectivity.Tobias
    Hi Tobi,

    You can critique science on political and economic grounds. But that would be different from the arguments of cycle framework.


    The way you desscribe it, to me it seems these criticisms come from an environmental perspective.Tobias

    No, it's metaphysical.
  • Caldwell
    521
    And because of propaganda and a carefully developed education program. It's made more sexy than it is in reality, though it can be great fun, especially the physics of quantum fields and general relativity. And their combination. Or the science of a black hole and Hawing (not Unruh!) radiation. A realcstretch for the mind! Good morning brain excercise.Gobuddygo

    Yes, there is propaganda -- just to inject the uncertainty of quantum fields into the discipline. You are correct to attack the methodology.
  • Caldwell
    521
    My concern is not at the meme level or even the cycle level. I see the threat to continued existence of those who might use science, as coming through what I batch labelled 'corporations'.Bylaw
    Please see my response to @Gobuddygo above. If you could somehow explain to me how corporations influence or change science -- besides the enterprising part or profiteering -- that would be great.

    I am not sure what your idea is around cycles - perhaps a link?.Bylaw
    Please browse Oswald Spengler's writings. I don't have a link but you can look him up. Thanks.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Hi Tobi,

    You can critique science on political and economic grounds. But that would be different from the arguments of cycle framework.
    Caldwell

    I don't know what your version of cycle framework vis-à-vis science is but have you considered this one: We begin with a nonscientific paradigm (religion/others) and slowly but steadily science replaces it. A golden age of science follows - boatloads of useful inventions, life becomes easier - but it isn't all sunshine and rainbows - powerful weapons of mass destruction are also produced. One thing leads to another and these weapons are unleashed, exterminating 99% of the population, all scientists and other experts die in this mass extinction, and we are, voila, back to square one (some say we'll be sent back to the stone age).
  • Caldwell
    521
    One thing leads to another and these weapons are unleashed, exterminating 99% of the population, all scientists and other experts die in this mass extinction, and we are, voila, back to square one (some say we'll be sent back to the stone age).TheMadFool

    And what did you just try to explain? That scientists are mortal like normal people? We've touched on this -- violence kills, absolute violence kills absolutely! What now? A problem, yes! But hardly metaphysical in nature.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    And what did you just try to explain? That scientists are mortal like normal people? We've touched on this -- violence kills, absolute violence kills absolutely! What now? A problem, yes! But hardly metaphysical in nature.Caldwell

    I was simply trying out a different avenue, thinking of other ways of how science could cyclically rise and fall.
  • Caldwell
    521
    I am not sure what your idea is around cycles - perhaps a link?Bylaw

    Bylaw, could you perhaps search for Leon Rosenfeld, in his scathing remark to Niels Bohr's "On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules". It is Leon Rosenfeld we want to examine here first and foremost. Forget about the cycle framework for now, but just please try to read his point.

    This request is also for @Gobuddygo -- please look up Leon Rosenfeld. Thanks.
  • Tobias
    163
    Hi Tobi,

    You can critique science on political and economic grounds. But that would be different from the arguments of cycle framework.
    Caldwell

    No, it's metaphysical.Caldwell

    Yes but I am unsure what theiir metaphysical argument might be. If one points to the essence of a certain something, here science, but conveniently disentangle it from its relations. can the metaphysical argument still be sound, or are they attacking a beast of their own making? My argument here is also one of metaphysics, not economics.

    The environmental perspective I would consider a metaphysical perspective, because it presupposes a certain structure of the world and tends to accept certain commitments, holism for instance and often the idea that these myriad of connections that form an ecosystem are intrinsically valuable. Basically what I and I think other posters as well is what there argument is exactly. If it is 'everything is cyclical and what begins has to have an end', than they are right but only in a trivial sense and we have no way of knowing whether we are in the dawn of science or its dusk. therefore there has to be more. So what would their argument be to say science is in decay on metaphysical grouns?
  • Caldwell
    521
    I was simply trying out a different avenue, thinking of other ways of how science could cyclically rise and fall.TheMadFool

    Okay please read my post above to Bylaw. Thanks.
  • Tobias
    163
    I will also check that. Leon Rosenfeld was a Marxist... which leas me to believe economy would not be that far away ;) But I will read what I can find on him. Thanks Caldwell.
  • Caldwell
    521
    and we have no way of knowing whether we are in the dawn of science or its dusk.Tobias

    Apparently they do.
  • ssu
    4.5k
    China can mass produce as much as it wants but only Europe is truly preparing for a new economy and will likely have significant returns in their investments in the future.Shawn
    Oooh, that would be the day.

    As an European, I would like to be this optimistic.

    The critique against science, insofar as the decline theorists are concerned, has always been metaphysical. That is, they are arguing about the very essence of science. How else can something be destroyed, but through the demolition of its very essence. Science has qualities essential to it.Caldwell
    I think that nearly anything can be literally destroyed without even a thought about it's very essence. Kill all those who know and burn the books. Wars aren't usually fought to destroy cultures and natural disasters don't have any objective or agenda, but they can put things back a lot.


    Or then you can have ideas like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge had of truly starting over...by killing all of the present "intellectuals".
    skulls_khmer_rouge.jpg

    At least historically one can see that a lot of knowledge has been lost in the past only to be reinvented or rediscovered later. Just imagine a world where the library of Alexandria and every book and manuscript there would have made it intact without any fire or any religious fanatic burning the books to the present. At least the History of Antiquity would be quite different.
  • Caldwell
    521
    Just for convenience, and to make a point, please read the below snippet:

    "BOHR’S complementarity principle, first announced by him in his Como
    lecture,’ remains a challenge and a puzzle. In the history of scientific thought
    it is hard to find another central contribution about which the opinions
    continue to differ so sharply more than half a century after its inception. Some
    physicists, such as John Wheeler and Leon Rosenfeld, consider complemen-
    tarity as the most profound intellectual insight of the twentieth century, as a
    pinnacle of physical understanding of nature, no less inevitable than ‘the
    emergence of man himself as a product of organic evolution’.* Others criticized
    Bohr’s complementarity as an obscure ‘double-think’ that impeded clear
    thinking and scientific progress, or as a crutch that initially helped, but was no
    longer needed.’
    Remarkably, there was much more ambivalence about Bohr’s complemen-
    tarity principle in the camp of ‘believers’ themselves than the published sources
    disclose. As Dirac expressed it: ‘I never liked complementarity.. . It does not
    give us any new formula. . . I believe the last word was not said yet about waves
    and particles.’ " -- taken from The Birth of Bohr's Complementarity:...
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Complementarity (Physics)

    The complementarity principle is just that one object may possess pairs of properties such that only one but not both can be observed/measured at a time. Reminds me of a two-timing person; fae can see/meet only one partner but not both given any moment in time.

    I fail to see how this relates to the decline of science. :chin:
  • TenderBar
    18
    The complementarity principle is just that one object may possess pairs of properties such that only one but not both can be observed/measured at a timeTheMadFool

    Both can be measured at the same time. All properties can be measured at the same time.
  • Bylaw
    85
    If you could somehow explain to me how corporations influence or change science -- besides the enterprising part or profiteering -- that would be great.Caldwell
    They have managed to get people to confuse corporate generated research and conclusions with science. Here's an example. If you go to somewhere like sciforums or any other 'place' where people, including scientists, belief (current) scientific practice is the only route to knowledge, you may well (and I have) encountered people saying things like if (some form of Alternative Medicine) worked, it would be part of regular medicine. Which, implicitly, assumes the independence of the FDA, the objectivity and openness of research, the inablity of corporations to create the conclusions they want, how the incredibly high price of meeting FDA protocols requires patentability, the lack of current paradigmantic biases, the power of corporations and organizations like the AMA to attack and suppress entities they consider threatening their markets, pharmas power in relation to media and likely other things I am not thinking of at this moment. Often alternative medicine products cannot be patented (despite corporations trying to patent things like the NEEM tree). For example.

    Now from your perspective, this may seem like a specific case, not really getting at the roots of science's role in general.

    From my perspective, the types of products that have made it through, including nano, GMO and, yes, the current 'vaccine' products and get called scientifically demonstrated to be both healthy for us or ecosystems AND those things that did not make it through the supposedly authoritative bodies' gauntlets, means that criticism and debate are effectively silenced, including professionals concerned about products that may be globally and fundamentally dangerous.

    So, what, yes, is a subset of current scientific research is actually not based on objectively carried out and objectively evaluated (by regulartory bodies or by scientist peers)
    the future of any science is threatened, since humans are. I think there is a practical outcome threat.
  • Newkomer
    27
    The complementarity principle is just that one object may possess pairs of properties such that only one but not both can be observed/measured at a timeTheMadFool

    How you wanna measure velocity at one time?
  • Bylaw
    85
    Bylaw, could you perhaps search for Leon Rosenfeld, in his scathing remark to Niels Bohr's "On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules".Caldwell

    I found a Marxist defense of complementarity by him when I googled his name and Bohr.
  • Newkomer
    27
    I found a Marxist defense of complementarity by him when I googled his name and Bohr.Bylaw

    A Marxistic defense? What has Marxism to do with complementarity? Is the revolution complemented by "das Kapital"?
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