Announcement

Collapse

Natural Science 301 Guidelines

This is an open forum area for all members for discussions on all issues of science and origins. This area will and does get volatile at times, but we ask that it be kept to a dull roar, and moderators will intervene to keep the peace if necessary. This means obvious trolling and flaming that becomes a problem will be dealt with, and you might find yourself in the doghouse.

As usual, Tweb rules apply. If you haven't read them now would be a good time.

Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

The Jorge against scientism

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Some readers may appreciate this introduction to the complex and subtle case against scientism (the author's definition).

    To begin with, part of the central tenet of empiricism-positivism (also called Popperianism and logic positivism) is that statements can be classified into three categories: 1) empirical, 2) analytical, and 3) nonsense or emotive. An emotive statement is merely emotion-provoking ("Wow!" "Grrr!") Consider the sentence, "Leprechauns are not real." Let's assume "leprechaun" is understood to be a particular kind of being. The statement could be true or false and hence is to be classified as empirical (this point will be disputed later). Analytical statements are in essence definitions. For example, someone may point to a deer on his front lawn and say, "deer!" His listeners are supposed to associate the word "deer" with that tan-colored animal presently cavorting on the lawn.

    The second part of the tenet is that only empirical statements can be true or false. Analytical statements are meaningful only to the extent that they help people or lead them to understand what every part of any particular empirical statements mean.

    Note that that tenet is a strong version of the author's version of scientism. In this post I will attempt to show that empiricism is self-contradictory. But even if I succeed in convincing a reader that it is, that does not disprove scientism. This post is just introductory.

    Now consider the central tenet of empiricism (the tenet above) itself. Is it empirical? No--what experiments or observations have been made that would support or disprove it? None as far as I know. So, is it analytical? But even if the answer is yes, that would not show the tenet is true. Is it nonsense, then? Not emotive, clearly, but it could be nonsense. Possibly!

    Knowledge is possible that is not in the form of empirical statements, but to establish that point would take many pages of close and subtle reasoning, so may I be allowed to end the post here?
    Last edited by Truthseeker; 12-12-2014, 07:01 PM.
    The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

    [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
      Some readers may appreciate this introduction to the complex and subtle case against scientism (the author's definition).

      To begin with, part of the central tenet of empiricism-positivism (also called Popperianism and logic positivism) is that statements can be classified into three categories: 1) empirical, 2) analytical, and 3) nonsense or emotive. An emotive statement is merely emotion-provoking ("Wow!" "Grrr!") Consider the sentence, "Leprechauns are not real." Let's assume "leprechaun" is understood to be a particular kind of being. The statement could be true or false and hence is to be classified as empirical (this point will be disputed later). Analytical statements are in essence definitions. For example, someone may point to a deer on his front lawn and say, "deer!" His listeners are supposed to associate the word "deer" with that tan-colored animal presently cavorting on the lawn.

      The second part of the tenet is that only empirical statements can be true or false. Analytical statements are meaningful only to the extent that they help people or lead them to understand what every part of any particular empirical statements mean.

      Note that that tenet is a strong version of the author's version of scientism. In this post I will attempt to show that empiricism is self-contradictory. But even if I succeed in convincing a reader that it is, that does not disprove scientism. This post is just introductory.

      Now consider the central tenet of empiricism (the tenet above) itself. Is it empirical? No--what experiments or observations have been made that would support or disprove it? None as far as I know. So, is it analytical? But even if the answer is yes, that would not show the tenet is true. Is it nonsense, then? Not emotive, clearly, but it could be nonsense. Possibly!

      Knowledge is possible that is not in the form of empirical statements, but to establish that point would take many pages of close and subtle reasoning, so may I be allowed to end the post here?
      A good summary. I question the use of the word 'knowledge'. Perhaps it's just my hangup, but I consider knowledge to be that which is known to be true within reasonable limits and available to all. I certainly don't consider myself a proponent of scientism however. I think we can make statements which are not 'knowledge' as I've loosely defined it but still meaningful.

      Thus 'That poem touches my heart', 'I believe in God', 'I believe in reincarnation' are all meaningful statements in one sense or another.

      If I say 'God exists', I think that statement is meaningful but it cannot be classified as either true or false. Therefore I would not classify that as 'knowledge', not even if I was the one saying it.

      Comment


      • #18
        I'd like to amend this sentence
        Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
        Knowledge is possible that is not in the form of empirical statements, . . .
        "Knowledge other than empirical knowledge (in the sense discussed above) is possible . . ."

        Also let me add more examples of non-empirical knowledge: "I require sleep every day. I have to drink a certain amount of water daily. I need clean and nutritious food. I am typing this post." And so on.
        The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

        [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Jorge View Post
          Then you have the hutzpah of questioning why I often tossed "you're drunk or on drugs" to people like yourself. Just read the above (when you're sober) and you'll know why. The same to Tassman et al.

          Jorge
          Which is code for 'How dare you disagree with me!'
          "The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy."
          GK Chesterton; Orthodoxy

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Jorge View Post
            Then you have the hutzpah of questioning why I often tossed "you're drunk or on drugs" to people like yourself. Just read the above (when you're sober) and you'll know why. The same to Tassman et al.

            Jorge
            Yep, as I was saying...

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
              I'd like to amend this sentence
              "Knowledge other than empirical knowledge (in the sense discussed above) is possible . . ."

              Also let me add more examples of non-empirical knowledge: "I require sleep every day. I have to drink a certain amount of water daily. I need clean and nutritious food. I am typing this post." And so on.
              ??? In what sense are these examples non-empirical?

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by phank View Post
                ??? In what sense are these examples non-empirical?
                To some extent your question does have merit. But now, can a new-born child be considered to be one who can think scientifically? Also, what can I do to convince you that I do possess such knowledge about my life? Or that you know what I know about my life? What experiments or observations can you make to confirm the knowledge about my life that I possess?
                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                  To some extent your question does have merit. But now, can a new-born child be considered to be one who can think scientifically? Also, what can I do to convince you that I do possess such knowledge about my life? Or that you know what I know about my life? What experiments or observations can you make to confirm the knowledge about my life that I possess?
                  Forgive me, but I'm still a little unclear about how you're using 'knowledge'. In most of your examples, your 'knowledge' could at least in principle be empirically verified. Before it can be verified, is it right to call it knowledge? Isn't it really a belief which may or may not be warranted.

                  For example 'I am typing this post' isn't really in dispute, but if it was, you could send us a picture of you typing this post and so on.

                  But 'I am a descendent of alien beings' may FEEL like knowledge but it's a belief. Or are you saying knowledge can be true or false?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                    To some extent your question does have merit. But now, can a new-born child be considered to be one who can think scientifically?
                    By empirical observation, most adults can't think scientifically either.

                    Also, what can I do to convince you that I do possess such knowledge about my life? Or that you know what I know about my life? What experiments or observations can you make to confirm the knowledge about my life that I possess?
                    You either came to your stated conclusions by trial and error (which is empirical), or by learning from the experiences of others (which is empirical), or you made them up but found that they work for you (which is empirical).

                    I'm not understanding your question here. We receive an education, which is almost entirely derivative - we study what others have learned. There is no way each of us individually can replicate for ourselves the experiences of all who have recorded theirs. If someone tells me it's raining outside, but I personally haven't gone out to check, then is my knowledge of the rain empirical? I would say yes it is, even if it's indirect. I might assign levels of confidence to such indirect knowledge, based on such factors as the plausibility of the account, the reputation of the person giving the account, etc. But even these weighting factors have been derived empirically.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                      Forgive me, but I'm still a little unclear about how you're using 'knowledge'. In most of your examples, your 'knowledge' could at least in principle be empirically verified. Before it can be verified, is it right to call it knowledge? Isn't it really a belief which may or may not be warranted.

                      For example 'I am typing this post' isn't really in dispute, but if it was, you could send us a picture of you typing this post and so on.

                      But 'I am a descendent of alien beings' may FEEL like knowledge but it's a belief. Or are you saying knowledge can be true or false?
                      Again, we assign all knowledge some sort of error bars, whose magnitude we decide for ourselves. I would say that NO knowledge can be complete, but that some knowledge can be so seriously incorrect as to be ludicrous. It's not just that we can't feasibly verify everything, it's that we cannot exhaustively verify anything.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by phank View Post
                        Again, we assign all knowledge some sort of error bars, whose magnitude we decide for ourselves. I would say that NO knowledge can be complete, but that some knowledge can be so seriously incorrect as to be ludicrous. It's not just that we can't feasibly verify everything, it's that we cannot exhaustively verify anything.
                        Yes I totally agree with that, but are there statements which are both true (to a reasonable level of certainty) and completely out of reach of empirical investigation? If there were, how would we know when we had one?

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                          Yes I totally agree with that, but are there statements which are both true (to a reasonable level of certainty) and completely out of reach of empirical investigation? If there were, how would we know when we had one?
                          Your syntax bothers me here. How would we determine a "reasonable level of certainty" in the first place?

                          You might be asking one of two questions here:
                          1) Is it possible to make a true statement which cannot be empircally verified?
                          2) Is it possible to have a reasonable level of certainty in such a statement?

                          My answers would be yes, no. The universe is a vast and vastly complicated place, which seems to be primarily composed of stuff whose nature we cannot even speculate about. All sorts of statements about the universe might be true which cannot be verified in practice. The best we can do is to say that such statements do not conflict with models resting on verified observatons, and some of those statements must be true if the models are accurate.

                          And certainly we can make statements about the universe which cannot be verified in principle, given any possible theory or instrumentation. This very forum is populated with folks who make such statements routinely. The most we can say about such statements is that, at best, we can't prove them wrong. The bar doesn't get much lower than that.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                            Forgive me, but I'm still a little unclear about how you're using 'knowledge'. In most of your examples, your 'knowledge' could at least in principle be empirically verified. Before it can be verified, is it right to call it knowledge? Isn't it really a belief which may or may not be warranted.
                            Some truth claims (including hypotheses or theories)
                            of the form
                            1) if A then B or
                            2) if an increase (decrease) of A then an increase (decrease) of B
                            can be a priori (logically derived before experience and not falsifiable by it).
                            I thought the examples that I gave were good ones, but you were right to point out their empirical aspect. However, I understand that logical positivism (or whatever you prefer to call it) postulates that A and B are general, abstract terms. The examples are not abstract in that they are statements that concern only my life, though to be sure some of them are readily generalizable to most human beings' lives.

                            A better example of an apriori claim would be, "You can't have your cake [finished eating it] and eat it too!"
                            Last edited by Truthseeker; 12-14-2014, 05:59 PM.
                            The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                            [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Well, I'm confused.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by phank View Post
                                By empirical observation, most adults can't think scientifically either.
                                There's some truth to that, but I doubt anyone has tried to measure the amount of scientific thinking in the general population.



                                You either came to your stated conclusions by trial and error (which is empirical), or by learning from the experiences of others (which is empirical), or you made them up but found that they work for you (which is empirical).

                                I'm not understanding your question here. We receive an education, which is almost entirely derivative - we study what others have learned. There is no way each of us individually can replicate for ourselves the experiences of all who have recorded theirs. If someone tells me it's raining outside, but I personally haven't gone out to check, then is my knowledge of the rain empirical? I would say yes it is, even if it's indirect. I might assign levels of confidence to such indirect knowledge, based on such factors as the plausibility of the account, the reputation of the person giving the account, etc. But even these weighting factors have been derived empirically.
                                Possibly until my last post here, the one to pancreasman, you and pancreasman have yet to agree that some knowledge can be apriori, contra logical positivism. I have not yet presented fully Hans-Hermann Hoppe's argument. Indeed, I'm afraid I have made a bad start in this thread.
                                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                                [T]he truth Iím after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance -ó Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                                Comment

                                Related Threads

                                Collapse

                                Topics Statistics Last Post
                                Started by shunyadragon, 05-16-2023, 08:20 PM
                                9 responses
                                37 views
                                0 likes
                                Last Post tabibito  
                                Started by shunyadragon, 05-09-2023, 11:57 AM
                                4 responses
                                39 views
                                0 likes
                                Last Post shunyadragon  
                                Started by rogue06, 05-05-2023, 11:40 AM
                                0 responses
                                17 views
                                0 likes
                                Last Post rogue06
                                by rogue06
                                 
                                Started by Sparko, 05-04-2023, 09:33 AM
                                14 responses
                                58 views
                                0 likes
                                Last Post Sparko
                                by Sparko
                                 
                                Started by shunyadragon, 05-04-2023, 07:16 AM
                                1 response
                                15 views
                                0 likes
                                Last Post rogue06
                                by rogue06
                                 
                                Working...
                                X