I enjoy reading every comment posted on my blogs. Even those I strongly disagree with.
Hey, especially those, in this sense: When what we value is attacked, our reaction tells us a lot about ourselves.
Before I read the comment that Jayme posted yesterday, I knew that I loved science and the scientific method. But experiencing what I felt when I read his unfair attacks on science made me realize this more deeply.
So, thank you, Jayme. I respect the passion with which you ripped into science and scientists. Now I'll exercise my right to respond with some of the same energy.
Some key quotes from Jayme's rather lengthy comment on the post "Science bashers, read this before you comment" (which I hope he did!) are indented in italics. My responses are un-indented plain type.
No, not "by definition." By practice, by evidence, by observation. Since the Enlightenment science has made great advances in understanding the natural world -- especially in the past hundred years or so.
Mainstream science is humankind's most valid and complete repository of facts about the outer world of shared reality (as contrasted with the inner world of private reality that is an individual's conscious experience alone).
Given all the effort that has gone into gathering, analyzing, testing, and debating these facts, it is unlikely that any single person is going to come up with a fresh finding that will immediately make scientists jump up, clap, and yell "Bravo! What an amazing discovery!"
Everyone has the ability to change the truths of mainstream science. But this doesn't come just by saying "Believe me." That's how religion operates, by belief. Science demands evidence.
If you've got it, almost certainly science eventually will say "You're right." Until that proof is provided and run through the skeptical grinder of the scientific method to test its solidity, you'll be met with a "Show me."
Wow. Jayme, you make science sound like a Hitler youth camp. Come on.
As noted above, scientists are open to new ideas. But they'll remain in the category of Mere Idea until evidence is provided that indicates an idea reflects how the natural world really is, or functions.
Scientists love debate, controversy, arguments, and such.
However, the scientific method demands that this game of Show Me proceed under certain rules. Seemingly what you consider a cry of heresy is science calmly saying, "Interesting notion, but what's the evidence in support of it?"
There's a lot not to agree with here. Prefabricated theoretical architecture? I assume you mean such things as electromagnetism, gravity, relativity theory, quantum mechanics, cellular biology, neuroscience, and all the other facts science knows about the world.
Your computer uses this science, so your ability to post a comment on my blog testifies to the non-theoretical nature of the scientific method.
I disagree that breakthroughs in science occur on the sorts of "fringes" you cited. Einstein didn't leave pre-existing science and mathematics behind when he came up with his theories of relativity. Rather, he took what was known and extended it into new territory.
All of the subjects you mentioned are legitimate areas of scientific inquiry. So far, most have come up empty on the evidence front. It isn't that science considers these areas taboo. Rather, they just are nonproductive fields for a scientist to focus on.
Believe me, the first person to come up with a genuine perpetual motion machine won't have any trouble being accepted by mainstream science. A Nobel Prize almost certainly awaits him or her.
Priests? Oh, you must be referring to scientists.
This is such a specious non-argument, which I encounter disturbingly frequently. "Science is just another religion." No, it isn't. Religion is religion. Science is science.
Jayme, I don't understand what you mean by "abstract facts and obscure causal relations." Again, science leads to discoveries that actually change the way humans can do things.
Like, fly in an airplane. Observe what is happening inside a brain. Communicate over the Internet. Talk on a cell phone. All this isn't abstract or obscure at all. You've got things backward.
Religion is the field that specializes in abstractness and obscurity, not science. As to scientists explaining why you're wrong, may I suggest: listen to them. You probably will find that indeed you are wrong.
False. My Taoist sensibilities lead me to explain the situation this way, Jayme. You're confusing two separate, but interrelated, things.
(1) There is what's happening in the world, cosmos, universe, whatever you want to call life's playing field. (2) There is how we make our way through, around, and within what's happening.
Broadly speaking, (1) is the domain of science, while (2) is the domain of philosophy, spirituality, religion, mysticism, and such -- including the arts.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, in science or the scientific method prevents anyone from embracing any darn way-making they choose. What turns you on, meaning-wise, go for it.
Nobody can take that away from you. And certainly science has no desire to.
What seems to bother you is that the scientific method demands evidence before a new understanding of "what's happening" is accepted. This is as it should be, because the playing field of life belongs to everybody.
It's shared territory, while your private form of way-making or meaning-making is yours alone.
You are way off base when you claim that scientific theories are accepted only because popular scientists have gotten agreement from their peers that such and such is true. Your statement "and it seems to fit the facts" is much more accurate.
Yes, to be accepted, a truth has to fit the facts. If this bothers you, I can understand why you dislike science.