A collation on the scientific method

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illion
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by illion » 21 Dec 2008, 08:19

Alastor wrote:Hi, I am a bit confused, I came to this board to find out about Druidry but got to reading this. I have a few opinons about science, I've had a bit of scientific training, but I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but here goes...

My key opinion is that science is misused because it is not understood.

(1) Scientific method can be applied to any inquiry, it might not be fruitful though. I can improve a recipie by being systematic - that's Scientific method. I could research telepathy by experiments - just as good science. But what is often missed is that there may be conditions in which a result is true that tell you nothing about the truth beyond those conditions. My recipie may have been perfected by countless exeriments, but my cake so extensively tested on the British might be repulsive to the Polish. I might find telepathic ability in say a pair of twin amoebas, but that doesn't tell me about wether you and I could communicate - it would only suggest the possibility. Similarly if I do not find proof of telepathy it does not mean it does not exist in some other set of conditions.

(2) Scientific facts have authority, and people being physchologically motivated, will use things to shore up their belief. This seems to be especially true of Quantum Physics. The name itself is great, it's evocative, mystical, authorative. It has great things, to list a few Einstien, Schrodinger's Cat, The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Parallel Universes. Now people quote these things, they think they know about them, they have watched a TV programme, perhaps read a popular book, to become authorative they can Google it, get Wiki quotes, and hey presto graft the ultimate authority of science onto their belief. Now I often fall into this trap. I do not know what Maxwells equations are, I could not solve them, I don't know how to measure the speed of light, but I can quote big science with the best of them. Does quantum physics really support the truth or otherwise of the Hindu belief system? I don't honestly believe so, but it sounds good, I don't know know enough about Hindu cosmology, or physics to be able to judge, but it is an argument advanced by earnest inteligent people who I doubt know much more than I do.

(3) There is one bit of Science that can be applied, it was referred to by someone on this board. Godel's Theorum, he showed that there must exist statements that are true, but not provably so. This is true in any system that is complex enough to express arithmetic. That is a pretty low level of complexity. So Science has shown that we cannot know everything.

(4) In relation to religions science is a god killer. Christianity is the only religion I really know a lot about, so that's the one I'll use as the example. Christians used to have an authority figure- priests - with strange and wonderful knowledge - like the Latin Mass. Now Christians attested the world had a special place, essentially the centre of the universe, that it was 4000 years old etc, these statements have been falsified by science. So for people like me, all that's left is a book. Others try to wriggle with various interpretations, but in the end it's no longer possible to believe as people in the past seem to have that the Bible is literally the word of God, absolute truth.

(5) Because science does not know, does not mean we do. There are many places that science has not established any authority. Conscience for example, is that where god(s) is/are? We come to god(s) on the retreat, no longer the creator(s) - ousted by evolution, no longer the sun or moon - a nuclear furnace and a lump of rock - no longer in the sky, perhaps he/she/they hide in dark matter? or another dimension? Perhaps in some explanation of conscience - who knows? What we do have is a history that shows that whenever arcane knowledge is open to test it has often been falsified.

I don't really want to draw a conclusion, I came to this board hoping to find out about Druidry. I love the mystery in life, I have stood alone in stone circles, seemingly experienced becoming one with the wind, and feel there is a place for another kind of truth. I don't need to invoke some quantum dimension, some parallel universe, I don't need to experiment, I don't need to know, these are the experiences of a normal(ish) person. So if anyone can point out the right place to find out about druidry - a few paragraphs - I'd like to know. I am no more going to wade through an 18 month course I know nothing about than I will spend hours learning about Tensor calculus - a fair invocation of a mysterious god like name from Physics.
Welcome, Alastor :)

Please, remember that this is a HUGE board with many members. The OBOD boards is very tolerant and one person's point of view is taken just as serious as another's. I actually feel the same way as you when it comes to not needing to KNOW, that it is enough to experience the feeling of truth.

The OBOD course is based on guiding you to have your own experiences in druidism, without dogmas, without any strict rules you have to follow. It is YOUR own way, where you are on your own path that is important and that is the starting point.

If you want to learn about druidism, check out the OBOD Homepage as Dryadia wisely said. There are several good books in the bookstore as well ;)

Nice to meet you :tiphat: I hope you will stay.

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Re:

Post by ZinOwl » 24 Jun 2009, 03:29

FallingLeaves wrote:Some questions from my unscientific mind!

Can knowledge ever be complete? If this is true then isn't science always making decisions based on incomplete evidence?

Can science ever be whole without compassion and wisdom?

Is it possible for science to free itself from the observer being the observed or the analyser being the analysed?
(1) Can knowledge ever be complete: Answer: knowledge continues to evolve, never complete, always growing.

(2) Can science ever be whole without compassion and wisdom Answer: Science is based on the natural law.

(3) Is it possible for science to free itself from the observer......

Heisenberg states, in The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, that nothing is certain until it is observed.

The example used is called Schrodinger’s Cat: if you put a cat in a sealed box hooked to a device that may or may not poison the cat at any moment (purely random odds – dead or alive).

Heisenberg further describes that in this situation, with the box closed, the cat is potentially both dead and alive. Only once when someone opens the box and looks inside does reality choose one state or the other (dead or alive). This principle has been proven through the experiment entitled the ‘double-slit test’ (2 pieces of paper, one solid, one with 2 slits of the same size cut in it – then held on end, one behind the other).

If the one piece of paper was a rectangle or square of plywood, with 2 slits, like windows, cut in it, and the other rectangle or square of plywood was placed behind it, and you then sprayed sand from a sand-gun at the slited plywood, the patterns left behind, on the solid plywood, would be similar, almost identical.

The appearance can be related to a pattern of individual particles. Call it Diffraction Pattern A.

However, if instead of a sand gun you used a flashlight beam, what appears through the slits, on the surface of the plywood behind are bands (approximately 6) of light, each different due to the convergence and conflicting light beam passing through the slits. The appearance can be related to patterns of waves. Call it Diffraction Pattern B.

Now, if you substitute an electron gun and shoot a single line of electrons at the double slits. What pattern would this create? Since you are shooting electrons like bullets or particles, then Diffraction Pattern A should occur. In every test of this, what actually you create is Diffraction Pattern B. This indicates that the electrons must be shooting out of the gun – not like bullets or particles – but like light pulses out of a flashlight, travelling in waves, and creating Diffraction Pattern B.

Electrons move like waves, but only when there is no observation of the electrons passing through the slits. If you place a counter, or a clicker device at one of the slits that can sense and count the passing electrons, the pattern created while the detector is on, immediately reverts to Diffraction Pattern A.

Just as Heisenberg predicted, the simple act of measurement changes the pattern. Electrons exist in a constant state of both wave and particle until something measures the electron. The very act of measuring the electron forces it to collapse into one reality or the other.

Another example of this, using today’s audio visual equipment, is to think of video as an analog continuous wave of light or energy (moving pictures). However, once you capture the video using a recording and play-back device you can create single frames of pictures that then only become animated once the speed of the frames is increased (26 frames per second = full motion video).

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Angeliis » 18 Jul 2009, 01:20

It has always amused me that science uses hypothesis and the definition of this is "an educated guess." Then there is always scientific theory, which to me translates as the "best educated guess!" I will defer that much of science is proven however there is a lot ot scientific study that is still up for grabs.

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by cursuswalker » 18 Jul 2009, 23:10

Angeliis wrote:It has always amused me that science uses hypothesis and the definition of this is "an educated guess." Then there is always scientific theory, which to me translates as the "best educated guess!" I will defer that much of science is proven however there is a lot ot scientific study that is still up for grabs.
I don't understand the point being made.

A hypothesis is as you describe it. That hypothesis is then tested as objectively as possible to see if it is true.

Then the results are peer-reviewed, in order to pick any holes in the results that can be picked. The more contrary to current scientific understanding the results the harsher the picking.

And yes, of course of course there is a lot of scientific study "up for grabs". If there were not that would mean we had discovered all there is to discover, which is obviously not true.

So what was it that was amusing?
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Angeliis » 19 Jul 2009, 02:48

cursuswalker wrote:A hypothesis is as you describe it. That hypothesis is then tested as objectively as possible to see if it is true. Then the results are peer-reviewed, in order to pick any holes in the results that can be picked. The more contrary to current scientific understanding the results the harsher the picking. And yes, of course of course there is a lot of scientific study "up for grabs". If there were not that would mean we had discovered all there is to discover, which is obviously not true. So what was it that was amusing?
An important basis of a hypothesis and/or theory is not that it has been proven but only that it has not yet been disproved. That is accepted scientific method. Under these guidelines many ideas, theories, or beliefs if you will, that are considered quite "unscientific" are on equal standing as the theories that are taken very seriously by the scienctific crowd.

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by cursuswalker » 19 Jul 2009, 08:45

Angeliis wrote:
cursuswalker wrote:A hypothesis is as you describe it. That hypothesis is then tested as objectively as possible to see if it is true. Then the results are peer-reviewed, in order to pick any holes in the results that can be picked. The more contrary to current scientific understanding the results the harsher the picking. And yes, of course of course there is a lot of scientific study "up for grabs". If there were not that would mean we had discovered all there is to discover, which is obviously not true. So what was it that was amusing?
An important basis of a hypothesis and/or theory is not that it has been proven but only that it has not yet been disproved. That is accepted scientific method. Under these guidelines many ideas, theories, or beliefs if you will, that are considered quite "unscientific" are on equal standing as the theories that are taken very seriously by the scienctific crowd.
Not really.

It depends on the degree to which they contradict current scientific understanding. So, for example, a theory relating to why two alike species of bird split from a common ancestor, that proposed that it was due to the ability to resist a parasite, would be looked upon quite favourably if it was a phenomenon that had been observed before in other species.

On the other hand, a theory that proposed that water has "memory" that means it can retain the properties of a chemical that USED to be in it, but is no longer present, goes so much against current scientific understanding that the standard of evidence needed would be extrememly rigourous.

If that standard of evidence could be found then the theory would be accepted.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" Carl Sagan (pbuh)
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Angeliis » 19 Jul 2009, 15:35

cursuswalker wrote:"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" Carl Sagan (pbuh)
Absolutely understood- Yet much of what is today's scientific evidence had beginnings in unbiased wonderment leading to hypothesis and further examination towards theory. Sagan's views on global warming & nuclear winter, or Hawking’s thoughts on string theory & black holes were once the stuff of science fiction but have since been approached with a healthy dose of speculation and skepticism. The fact that these theories have gained popularity and the speculation of the scientific world has done much to further the testing of the theory. Therefore, I propose it stands to reason that theory that has not yet been totally disproved but has also not gained popularity still has a strong placeholder in the movement towards discovery. For example, theories on time & space, the impact of genetic memory on nature, telepathic communications betwixt animals, a fourth dimension, etc., are still tinged with the wonderment attributed to almost exclusively to science fiction. Yet did not most if not all scientific discovery share this same humble beginning? Granted it must be recognized that poor scientific work or the addition of charlatan created "evidence" can detract from theory but scientifically poor research should not necessarily incapacitate the possibilities - the wonderment that leads to new knowledge.

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Angeliis » 19 Jul 2009, 15:38

cursuswalker wrote:"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" Carl Sagan (pbuh)
Absolutely understood- Yet much of what is today's scientific evidence had beginnings in unbiased wonderment leading to hypothesis and further examination towards theory. Sagan's views on global warming & nuclear winter, or Hawking’s thoughts on string theory & black holes were once the stuff of science fiction but have since been approached with a healthy dose of speculation and skepticism. The fact that these theories have gained popularity and the speculation of the scientific world has done much to further the testing of the theory. Therefore I propose it stands to reason, the theory that has not yet been totally disproved but has also not gained popularity still has a strong placeholder in the movement towards discovery. For example, theories on time & space, the impact of genetic memory on nature, telepathic communications betwixt animals, a fourth dimension, etc., are still tinged with the wonderment attributed to almost exclusively to science fiction. Yet did not most if not all scientific discovery share this same humble beginning? Granted it must be recognized that poor scientific work or the addition of charlatan created "evidence" can detract from theory but scientifically poor research should not necessarily incapacitate the possibilities - the wonderment that leads to new knowledge.

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by cursuswalker » 19 Jul 2009, 19:42

Angeliis wrote:
cursuswalker wrote:"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" Carl Sagan (pbuh)
Absolutely understood- Yet much of what is today's scientific evidence had beginnings in unbiased wonderment leading to hypothesis and further examination towards theory. Sagan's views on global warming & nuclear winter, or Hawking’s thoughts on string theory & black holes were once the stuff of science fiction but have since been approached with a healthy dose of speculation and skepticism. The fact that these theories have gained popularity and the speculation of the scientific world has done much to further the testing of the theory. Therefore, I propose it stands to reason that theory that has not yet been totally disproved but has also not gained popularity still has a strong placeholder in the movement towards discovery. For example, theories on time & space, the impact of genetic memory on nature, telepathic communications betwixt animals, a fourth dimension, etc., are still tinged with the wonderment attributed to almost exclusively to science fiction. Yet did not most if not all scientific discovery share this same humble beginning? Granted it must be recognized that poor scientific work or the addition of charlatan created "evidence" can detract from theory but scientifically poor research should not necessarily incapacitate the possibilities - the wonderment that leads to new knowledge.
All big theories have to earn their place by starting out as wacked out nonsense. But I suspect most do not get beyond that point when the evidence does not turn up.

As for bad science and lying, that is hopfully where peer-review comes in.
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Sencha » 27 Jul 2009, 00:30

All big theories have to earn their place by starting out as wacked out nonsense. But I suspect most do not get beyond that point when the evidence does not turn up.
They laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at the Marx Brothers.

Scientific 'heresy' does not automatically = 'truth.'

A scientific hypothesis is only as good as its utility. For centuries, the hypothesis that the Earth was flat served humankind quite well. But there came a time when we grew beyond the utility of that hypothesis.
Likewise, Newtonian mechanics worked quite well for a long time...still works quite well in most situations...but Einstein et al are needed to go beyond Newton. That is because the utility of a Newtonian worldview breaks down at the quantum level.
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by MountainGnome » 06 Oct 2009, 00:55

DruidFluid put it best on the first page: science is just a tool.

You can't sing a baby to sleep, or console a dying relative, with science. There is much more to life, and much more valuable information to know, than strictly scientific information. Not all information is ready to be categorized "objectively" and rigorously. But that does not negate the value of that information, whether it be intuitive or from a different model of reality. Therefore I disagree with a statement made in the OP that information that is not scientifically validated is "worthless."


Those who have turned to math and science in place of a religion today may be disturbed to learn that logic and scientific reasoning can be turned against themselves and shown to be just as arbitrary of a reality model as any other ever created. By contradicting itself. Any formal mathematical system with axioms and the lot, powerful enough for recursive functions, can be forced to produce a contradictory theorem that basically states "this theorem is not a theorem," known generally as "Godel's Theorem" after the German mathematician Kurt Godel. The very same logical reasoning that gives rise to calculus, produces a known contradiction and there is no simple or easy solution to the problem, as Godel showed himself: the "problem" is inherent to the recursive system itself. Thus any system capable of a "self-awareness" of sorts can't be objectively pinned down and is mathematically known as "indeterminate."

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Sencha » 10 Oct 2009, 16:05

"All metanarratives are oppressive." -Michel Foucault
Is the above statement a metanarrative?
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Alastor » 21 Oct 2009, 23:21

bsbray wrote:DruidFluid put it best on the first page: science is just a tool.

You can't sing a baby to sleep, or console a dying relative, with science. There is much more to life, and much more valuable information to know, than strictly scientific information. Not all information is ready to be categorized "objectively" and rigorously. But that does not negate the value of that information, whether it be intuitive or from a different model of reality. Therefore I disagree with a statement made in the OP that information that is not scientifically validated is "worthless."


Those who have turned to math and science in place of a religion today may be disturbed to learn that logic and scientific reasoning can be turned against themselves and shown to be just as arbitrary of a reality model as any other ever created. By contradicting itself. Any formal mathematical system with axioms and the lot, powerful enough for recursive functions, can be forced to produce a contradictory theorem that basically states "this theorem is not a theorem," known generally as "Godel's Theorem" after the German mathematician Kurt Godel. The very same logical reasoning that gives rise to calculus, produces a known contradiction and there is no simple or easy solution to the problem, as Godel showed himself: the "problem" is inherent to the recursive system itself. Thus any system capable of a "self-awareness" of sorts can't be objectively pinned down and is mathematically known as "indeterminate."

Turned against itself? Hardly. This is a misrepresentation of the theorum. Historically I think it was Hilbert, who suggested a few problems in maths, one of which was to show it was consistent. Godel showed what is not really that surprising when you think about it, that there are statements which can be made that are neiter provable, or falsifiable, that's all. It did not falsify any existing mathematics, rather showed it had limits.

Religion is not an alternative to maths, it is totally different. I really don't see much point in going a lot further than that. Why would some disgruntled christian, Moslem or Buddist think adding up would be an alternative path?

I suppose that Science has shown old cosmologies were wrong, it's medicine works better, and so people turn to it. That's better than the past. I think most druids today don't believe that kind of religion, it's a personal thing. I hope it doesn't turn people against science, I object a little - just a little - to the post, partly because I feel it misrepresents Godel, partly because it seems to pit mathematical and scientific understanding against other understanding. Maybe I'm nit picking, because overall I agree, they are not exclusive, they can live in harmony.

I think this is the best route - reconciling, not chosing between scientific understanding and the mystery of life. The trouble is two fold, understanding modern science is difficult, and organised religion is discredited. So I think you have to try to understand both as best you can, there are many cocnclusions that are in perfect harmony.

Here are a couple....

Climate change modelling and the intuitive understanding of a relationship with nature.
The medical effects of stress and the right way to live.

I think the real threat to all of us lies not in wether we understand things scientifically of intuitively, what is wrong is our ethics - or lack of them- coupled with technology. The technology to sweep the sea of fish, to clear the jungles, to harness fossil fuels, to be indifferent to the suffering of others as we shop in suppermarkets filling our cars with plunder.

This is so difficult. The way I think about it is that we are perhaps an insignificant accident on a insignificant bit of dust in a huge universe we barely comprehend. No god looks fondly on us, we've grown up and long for fairy tales to be true. We turn to science and find it can't answer, the answer is where it always was, within us. We know what we should do, the mystery of consciousness, the value of love are valuable beyond any insignificance. Yet we fall to our desires at every stage, we lead ourselves into temptation and deliver ourselves unto the evils of our own negligent creation.

A bit of a meandering post.

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Shaun Hayes » 22 Oct 2009, 00:04

The scientific method is a wonderful tool, especially when you look at the history of research prior to the modern era. I personally feel that the mark of progress is also measured by questions such as what we seek, why, and by whom. Since our society is in many ways shaped by the discoveries and applications we make, then in part our future is determined by what we choose to pursue and why, and who pays and benefits most. The results aren't always predictable however such stark examples as the pursuit of the ultimate bomb, compared to the pursuit of a cure for cancer illustrate my point.

So yes to science - but also yes to the wisdom that directs it. After all, science is man-made, and it is our challenge to us it responsibly, which requires philosophy and vision, compassion and dare I say love. How very unscientific !!! :)
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by MountainGnome » 22 Oct 2009, 03:08

Alastor wrote:Turned against itself? Hardly.
A better way to put it, would be to say that it goes against human pre-conceptions/misconceptions about what is "logical," since all recursive systems of logic have this same "flaw" which is unavoidable.
Godel showed what is not really that surprising when you think about it, that there are statements which can be made that are neiter provable, or falsifiable, that's all.
That's a major simplification of the implications of the actual theorem. It can't be proven one way or another because it's indeterminate, it can't even be approached with that mentality that it must either be "right" or "wrong" definitively; it doesn't even make sense on that level. (Since it essentially states "this theorem is not a theorem.") Instead, it's making the mathematical equivalent of an nearly existential statement. Douglas Hofstadter has made convincing arguments in his work that we are just interpreting this whole "logic" thing with clouded judgment, which is the true source of the apparent paradox.
Religion is not an alternative to maths, it is totally different. I really don't see much point in going a lot further than that. Why would some disgruntled christian, Moslem or Buddist think adding up would be an alternative path?
Everything is sacred and has a specific reason for being so, especially mathematics and physics, which often dance around the most recurrent patterns in the universe. "Sacred geometry" is even a very popular subject today. There is no more sense in taking mathematics and science as a dry, boring tool, than there is in taking runes to be a mystical, inspiring and creative system of divination, when it is just letters on pieces of wood. I am really not saying anything outrageous or that hasn't been said countless times throughout all history. The "skeptical" types just take themselves and their convictions too seriously to be very flexible in their thinking.
I suppose that Science has shown old cosmologies were wrong
Only after so much time. Popular "expert" opinion also embraced those cosmologies even in the face of the correct ones for generations in Copernicus' time.
I think this is the best route - reconciling, not chosing between scientific understanding and the mystery of life. The trouble is two fold, understanding modern science is difficult, and organised religion is discredited. So I think you have to try to understand both as best you can, there are many cocnclusions that are in perfect harmony.

Here are a couple....

Climate change modelling and the intuitive understanding of a relationship with nature.
The medical effects of stress and the right way to live.
I agree completely, but here's where I take it a step further -- mystical/intuitive understanding of the universe, through various philosophies, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Gnosticism, Alchemy, Kabbalah, Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, Carl Jung, I integrate those ways of thinking into my ways of thinking, learn to think through the implications of them all, and amazing things follow. Everything is applied to everything. I am reminded of "the fool" card from Tarot because the things I say sound ridiculous to people more often that they don't apparently but I can't seem to be saved from the apparent obviousness of the relations that are demonstrated to me, either. Because all of the systems I mentioned are really in perfect harmony with each other at their core, just like you say. The implications of those things tie in to everything from basic geometry, frequency, phi, pi, and other so-called "transcendental numbers"... The evidence that everything is really just repetitions of 1 primordial thing, akin to a circle or sphere, but in more dimensions, are everywhere.
I think the real threat to all of us lies not in wether we understand things scientifically of intuitively, what is wrong is our ethics - or lack of them- coupled with technology. The technology to sweep the sea of fish, to clear the jungles, to harness fossil fuels, to be indifferent to the suffering of others as we shop in suppermarkets filling our cars with plunder.
I agree with that as well. I don't agree with much of anything businessmen do.
We know what we should do, the mystery of consciousness, the value of love are valuable beyond any insignificance. Yet we fall to our desires at every stage, we lead ourselves into temptation and deliver ourselves unto the evils of our own negligent creation.

A bit of a meandering post.
Well said. :applause:

And there is nothing wrong with meandering... it's what beautiful rivers do. :)

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Dafydd » 22 Oct 2009, 05:09

There seems to be a tendancy to, at times, lump the scientific method with scientific opinion (the opinion of scientists), or current scientific views (the opinon of scientists), or just 'Science'.
The scientific method is a tool as Druidfluid said; a process, a way of testing the universe.
It is a way of defining reality, or at least, defining what is not reality. Yes, it does work in the negative most of the time, saying "as far as we know, this is true".
But isn't that how we all work? I suspect that in a year my view of "what I know" will be greatly different than it is now, being a newbie bard. At least I hope it will.
"Aleister Crowley claimed to use a scientific method to study spiritual experiences, making "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion". By this he meant that religious experiences should not be taken at face value, but critiqued and experimented with in order to arrive at their underlying mystical or neurological meaning.

In this connection there was also the point that I was anxious to prove that spiritual progress did not depend on religious or moral codes, but was like any other science. Magick would yield its secrets to the infidel and the libertine, just as one does not have to be a churchwarden in order to discover a new kind of orchid. There are, of course, certain virtues necessary to the Magician; but they are of the same order as those which make a successful chemist." - Wikipedia
Bringing AC into this may be opening a can of worms but since we had Einstein earlier, I thought of Crowley as he once said something to the effect that science and magick had the same goals, they just start at opposite ends and will someday meet in the middle.

If we put the scientific method to practice in the Mysteries and put as much time, effort and money behind it as we do Science, would we discover a 10 step program to ascension?

Cheers,
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Sencha » 25 Oct 2009, 17:03

In my practice of family therapy, I often integrate Mindfulness skills. Mindfulness is a meditative technique that originated centuries ago with Buddhist monks, but it is also much more. The goal of Mindfulness is to achieve what is known as 'Wise Mind.'
Wise Mind is considered to be a perfect harmony between Emotional Mind and Rational Mind.
Why achieve Wise Mind? Because that's where the humanity is. If you stayed totally in Rational Mind, like Mr. Spock from Star Trek, you'd make all of your decisions purely based on logic. For example, imagine a single mother steals a loaf of bread to feed her hungry children. Rational Mind would say that 'the law is the law.' According to Rational Mind, this mother should go to jail because she broke the law, period. No consideration is given to the fact that she was trying to care for her children when she did so.
Emotional Mind, on the other hand, would be totally driven by the whims of feeling from moment to moment. Suppose someone cuts in front of you at the supermarket. This makes you angry. Your Emotional Mind may want to punch that person in the back of the head. Without your Rational Mind keeping check on your Emotional Mind, there is no reason not to go ahead and punch that person. Rational Mind is what makes us think of the consequences of acting on what Emotional Mind tells us we'd like to do.
Obviously, either extreme of Emotional Mind or Rational Mind can lead us to consequences we might not want to experience. The alternative is Wise Mind...which is compassion tempered by reason, or logic tempered by humanity.
How do you achieve Wise Mind through Mindfulness?
Picture your thoughts and emotions as a stream. This stream is flowing in your mind. The stream will always flow. Sometimes that stream is crystal clear and filled with happy feelings and positive thoughts, but sometimes that stream gets clouded when negative thoughts and feelings get stirred up. These negative thoughts and feelings ‘muddy the water’ of our minds, making it difficult to focus on the positive. When the stream of our minds becomes muddied with negativity, we have a choice to make. We can swim in it, bathing in our negative thoughts and feelings, or we can climb out of the stream and go sit on the riverbank, watching the water flow by.
When we can sit on the riverbank, watching our thoughts and feelings flow past, then we have the freedom to choose which ones we want to ‘swim in,’ and which ones to let float away downstream. When we can achieve this skill, we have reached Wise Mind.
Pure science is 'Rational Mind.' Pure religion is 'Emotional Mind.' To me, Druidry includes the ability to fuse these two into Wise Mind.
Sencha

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willowcrow
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by willowcrow » 26 Oct 2009, 13:54

Really interesting discussion here. I'm glad that others have pointed out some of the flaws of this argument. When I read the part about "pseudoscience" such as psychology and sociology, I must admit, that smarted a bit. As a researcher who studies writing, learning to write, and writing in various contexts employing social research methods, its a bit hard to assume that everything that researchers do in social science fields are "anectodal". If I interview 20% of my subjects using a sampling method and then analyze the interviews in a systematic way (that is replicable and data-supported) is this not "science?" Regardless....that's not what my post is about!

What my post is about is rhetoric and persuasion. How many of you have heard of the "rhetoric of science?" This article makes a number of fundamental flaws. One these flaws is to assume that science is somehow objective. Even *if* science is objective, the language and forms used to convey and describe science to others is not.

The rhetoric of science can be seen through works like Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The idea being that scientists themselves limit their thinking to certain kinds of problems, solutions, and methods within a field of study. It is only through what Kuhn calls "paradigm shifts" that science in that area can be open to new ideas and ways of thinking. More contemporary research, such as that done by Rhetoric and Composition scholar Chuck Bazerman posits that science, and scientific writing itself is designed not to inform but to persuade, and employs a number of rhetorical techniques to do so. Under this view, then, science looks much less objective than some previously thought.

Another angle to the "objectivity" debate is through the use of statistics. My husband is a statistician, and as a social researcher I know quite a bit about how inferential statistics work myself. Anyone who thinks that the world of statistics (or mathematics) for that matter is black and white hasn't done extensive work in either area. When calculating statstics, a hundred different things can be done to the dataset, the details of and assumptions behind the calculations (i.e. two-tailed t-test vs. one-tailed t-test). In western culture, we assume that "numbers don't lie". But numbers, like everything else, are constructed for a particular rhetorical purpose in mind.

Where does this leave us? To me, objectivity should certainly be a goal of any scientist seeking to understand phenomena. But at the same time, I am skeptical of anyone who claims that science automatically gives ultimate "objectivity" without considering the rhetorical implications of one's work. Objectivity to me is like the classical Greek belief in Arete - its an ideal worth working toward. But assuming that because the method is sound, the results are sound doesn't add up.
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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Kernos » 26 Oct 2009, 16:20

willowcrow wrote:What my post is about is rhetoric and persuasion. How many of you have heard of the "rhetoric of science?" This article makes a number of fundamental flaws. One these flaws is to assume that science is somehow objective. Even *if* science is objective, the language and forms used to convey and describe science to others is not.
Science cannot be objective, because only scientists, humans can approach objectivity. Science is a method, a process. And, since scientists are human, they come with all the flaws of all humans.

A great thing about science is that this does not really matter, because over time it is self-correcting.

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Re: A collation on the scientific method

Post by Alastor » 27 Oct 2009, 00:05

deleted post.
Last edited by Alastor on 27 Oct 2009, 08:39, edited 1 time in total.

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