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Is giving authority to science almost as bad as giving authority to a religion? Watch

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    In place of people being for their religious beliefs, online I've noticed an increasing trend for the polar opposite, which I consider almost as bad.

    When people think science should give your life purpose usw. usf.

    Such as the other day when someone said that "we have a duty to science to know & understand more." Like wtf? (I'm not explaining my disagreement 'cos I want to see your thoughts.)

    What are your thoughts on giving authority to science?
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    (Original post by XcitingStuart)
    In place of people being for their religious beliefs, online I've noticed an increasing trend for the polar opposite, which I consider almost as bad.

    When people think science should give your life purpose usw. usf.

    Such as the other day when someone said that "we have a duty to science to know & understand more." Like wtf? (I'm not explaining my disagreement 'cos I want to see your thoughts.)

    What are your thoughts on giving authority to science?
    I'm not entirely sure what you're asking but science is the best system we have to understand how the physical world works so giving authority to the scientific method over matters relating to the physical world makes complete sense.
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    scientists are the new secular priesthood. with their obscure jargon and hermetic societies they inspire awe and fear.
    they cling fanatically to their belief systems; any scientist who dares to challenge the status quo is anathema; heresy is not tolerated.
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    Giving blind, unthinking authority to anything, whether it's science, religion or a popular fad, is a bad idea.

    :beard:
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    There is no way to prove that science (however it is done now) is the best possible epistemic methodology that we could ever have for any given discipline. Therefore we cannot and should not dogmatically assume because some conclusion is arrived at via the route of 'science' that it is the optimal conclusion lest we would never be able to improve upon our current methodology - which we already know we are not certain is the best.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I'm not entirely sure what you're asking but science is the best system we have to understand how the physical world works so giving authority to science over matters relating to the physical world makes complete sense.
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...5#post63159715

    That'd hopefully explain my distaste better.
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    :adore:
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    (Original post by G8D)
    I think tentatively affording science authority is 'better' than affording absolute authority to a religion or religious texts. One must remain open to scepticism and understsnd that the scientific process, though not perfect, offers a number of checks and balances that enable many 'good' results to shine through.
    I said "almost" for that reason.
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    Giving blind, unthinking authority to anything, whether it's science, religion or a popular fad, is a bad idea.

    :beard:
    That's the scientific view though :beard:

    That's the point. It;s built into science. The fact we can never proof anything with 100% certainty is a core pillar of science.

    I guess you can say science places authority with empiricism and takes away authority from everything else.
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    Science doesn't claim to answer moral questions, it's honest about what areas of human experience it simply cannot deal with and the areas where it has relevance, it's honest about what it currently knows and how strong current evidence is.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    That's the scientific view though :beard:
    Hmm. Possibly.

    It's the critical/skeptical view maybe, not strictly the scientific view?

    I guess you can say science places authority with empiricism and takes away authority from everything else.
    Yes, but perhaps it's only useful in certain contexts....? What about areas where the scientific method doesn't apply? If you slavishly apply the scientific method to everything maybe you are fooling yourself? :beard:
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    "Knowledge is the greatest good, so we owe it to science to (x)." is a philosophy, not a science.

    Maths is a science. It can tell us that if you walk down the middle of a busy freeway, you are likely to be hit by a vehicle and injured based upon statistical analysis.

    It cannot tell you whether or not that was a good thing. Perhaps you would sue the person who hit you after minimal damage and live in luxury afterwards(Which you might think is a good result), which might result in high costs for insurance companies causing layoffs and people losing homes(Which they might think is a bad result.)

    Science has nothing to say about ethics or the goodness of its research in any way, shape or form.

    Any statement about whether something is 'Good' or not is heavily dependent upon a theology or a philosophy. Science can't say one way or the other.
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    (Original post by ThatOldGuy)
    "Knowledge is the greatest good, so we owe it to science to (x)." is a philosophy, not a science.
    I'd agree with this.

    Maths is a science.
    ...controversial
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    Science is concerned with observable phenomena of the physical world; philosophical queries (i.e. the meaning/purpose of life, ethics, ontology, etc) are not subject to scientific investigations.
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    (Original post by XcitingStuart)
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...5#post63159715

    That'd hopefully explain my distaste better.
    I'm still not entirely sure I understand what you're trying to say. Of course there's no 'fundamental reason' why we should have a duty to understand the world but that is (at least partly) the mechanism by which humans have developed to the point where we are now.
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    I'd agree with this.


    ...controversial
    Too right. I suppose I should have said, "Physics can tell us that a certain amount of pressure will cause your skull to crack. It cannot tell us whether this is a good thing or bad thing; If you are Mother Theresa and it is 1979, it is a hideously bad thing. If you are Adolf Hitler and the year is 1935, it might be a good thing. The science itself tells us nothing of the ethical ramifications of an action - Merely what the immediate and testable reaction will be."

    While I would consider mathematics a scientific discipline, that -was- controversial.

    I concede the point to you, good sir!
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)


    :adore:
    ^ This, basically.

    Religion says "Because god says so."

    Science says "Because of these reasons..." and explains. If the jargon or explanations are above your head, you can learn about them, or ask them to be explained in a more simple manner.
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    Hmm. Possibly.

    It's the critical/skeptical view maybe, not strictly the scientific view?



    Yes, but perhaps it's only useful in certain contexts....? What about areas where the scientific method doesn't apply? If you slavishly apply the scientific method to everything maybe you are fooling yourself? :beard:
    I'd lump the scientific view as a sub part of the critical/sceptical viewpoint. You have to be criticist (is that a thing?) and a skeptic to be scientist but you don't have to be a scientist to be a skeptic etc. If you get what I mean.

    Knowing where your scientific theories and explanations don;t apply is an important part of being a good scientist. Physicists can be uber fascists when it comes to this. You spend most of your time being told that this theory doesn't work in this instance and so on. Or how its a simplification when the reality is much more complicated and we are talking about an idealised situation made simple and we are only predicting over a short range of time. Then you have statistical physics where we only talk about predicting the marco level behaviour of a many bodied system. We haven't a clue what each individual body is doing.

    That's before we even leave physics and enter chemistry, then biology, then the social sciences. We can;t start from the wave equation and build upwards to work out if someone has cancer for example never mind who will win the next election!

    The further we get from idealised simplified systems the harder it is to be rigorously scientific and it gets more squishy. We can predict motion of planets but we can not predict how human societies will develop to anywhere near the same degree of accuracy (Marxism is an example of false sense of scientific understanding leading to untold misery). But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to apply scientific analysis and understanding to these areas. We can do studies to test the hypothesis that say Trump is the result of an increase in authoritarian tendencies in the American population. That's never going to be as rigorousse as physics but we can learn something from it. Physicist like Feynman thought things like social sciences, or even parts of biology like nutrition, shouldn't be called sciences since we just don't have the understanding.

    I'd argue that when horrific things have been done in the name or result of science that was not the fault of science. It was either a subversion of what science means, or the lack of consideration for areas where science is very limited in providing answers, like ethics.


    That's what I'd say anyway. I used to get in arguments with my friend at uni about where things like Force = mass * acceleration come from Also it is humans that do science and their are limitation to humans. Most of the people we hold up as pillars of science, like Newton, were into things like alchemy. We get religious scientists. We all believe in things. I'd say trying to empirically match your ideas to to some notion of objective reality is what makes and ties scientists together.
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    (Original post by ThatOldGuy)
    T
    While I would consider mathematics a scientific discipline, that -was- controversial.
    I don't think maths is a science... science is based on empirical data and repeatable experiments. Maths seems to be more abstract and about logic :beard:
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    Since science is done by humans, who are naturally biased and have different interpretations to things, it is as fallible as any other belief system.
    People who 'worship' science and claim intellectual superiority over the religious are effectively doing the same thing as zealots.

    I kinda think humanity is still in its infancy in terms of how much we know, as some theoretical physicists think that an objective reality may not even exist at all
 
 
 
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