Marblehead

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@ OldDog

 

No problem. The discussion wouldn't have gone well anyway. There is a huge gap between scientific proof and personal experience, and I don't see any easy way to bridge it.

 

I have done some more thinking on this problem as a result of this discussion. I practise daily meditation myself, and on the basis of my personal experience I consider it very likely that it helps me in becoming more relaxed and easy going. But scientifically speaking I have no proof whatever. I haven't done any decent scientific experiment. Further I had some positive sentiments about meditation before I started, so the results - if there really are any - might even be caused by the placebo-effect or self hypnosis. 

 

Now one's interpretation of this state of affairs completely depends on one's general view of life. From a purely practical point of view there is no relevant difference between something that only seems to work and something that actually does work as long as the result is the same. So if I were a purely practical guy I would say that all I care about is the result and that meditation thus works for me. And then no amount of scientific proof could possibly change my opinion. On the other hand if I were more of a scientist or philosopher I might very well take the position that I don't know whether meditation works, but that I keep doing it because it seems to work and that the seeming results that I found are reason enough to continue doing it. What exactly it is that causes meditation to seemingly work would then be something for scientific research to find out. 

 

This must all look like hair-splitting nonsense, and in practical life it would indeed be just that, but in science and philosophy we have to go to such extremes to rise above naive explanations and search for the real causes of things.

 

Edited by wandelaar
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22 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

But scientifically speaking I have no proof whatever.

 

Here again is the prickly notion of proof. As you might surmise, I am fairly skeptical ... to the point of being cynical ... of "scientific" proof. Now understand, my formal education was very scientific ... chemistry, physics, mathematics ... but that was many years ago ... and for practical reasons left that behind. So, I am not unfamiliar with the rigors of the scientific methods.

 

My issues with science are several. For one, in the west we have placed science (western notion of science) on a pedestal. It is sacrosanct in the western mind. We tend to think that anything that does not follow the scientic method is not worthy of respect or further investigation. The problem is that there are subjects and questions that western style science may not be able to address ... or at least not be able to adapt to. This is the basis of my skepticism/cynicism regarding science. A similar problem exists with western ideas of religion. Not only will ideas of religion that do not conform to western notions be deemed unworthy of respect ... they can be grounds for accusations of blasphemy and heresy. The Inquisition comes to mind.

 

This brings me to my second main issue with science ... and it relates more directly to "proof" ... but is none the less cynical. Science tends to study only what it finds worthy of the effort ... and worthiness all to often equates to value. Value ... potential for gain ... is often the motivating factor for applying science. This can happen in two ways. One is to demonstrate the usefulness of an idea, product or process. The other is to use science to discredit a competing idea, product or process. Now, I will grant you that to varying degrees, these represent a misuse of science. But to the extent that we (in the west) hold scientific methods sacrosanct, we are unwilling to accept alternative methods of inquiry as valid. 

 

So what does proof actually mean? If judged from the perspective of western science ... or at least the common application of science ... if scientific methods are used ... or misused ... then that would constitute proof. However, lack of proof regarding a subject does not negate the subject. 

 

Now there is an argument to be made for pure science.  But that might only exist in an ideal world ... a world free from being value driven. That's not the world we live in.

 

I sense this is getting dangerously close to another rant. But at least at this point I have offered a rational for a skeptical view of science. 

 

Hope this helps further our understanding of viewpoints.

 

Kind regards.

 

 

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I don't see how the scientific method could be discredited because there are people who consider it sacrosanct, or because western religion has lead to the inquisition. I don't consider the scientific method sacrosanct, and I am aware that it has it's limitations. However I currently don't know of a better method, but I am prepared to study any likely candidate you may propose.

 

Science may or may not have applications, but applications are not what it's all about. Science is about finding out about the structure of the world and how it works. Demanding applications will likely distort the scientific process. Applications are OK for applied science (as the name indicates), but they should be irrelevant for pure science. I can't help it when people don't understand the difference.

 

So you are right: there are reasons to be sceptical about science as it actually exists, but it is not the scientific method that's to blame. The same or similar reasons will no doubt exist to be sceptical about any proposed alternative methods of investigation when they are implemented by people or societies as they actually are.

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1 hour ago, OldDog said:

 

Here again is the prickly notion of proof. As you might surmise, I am fairly skeptical ... to the point of being cynical ... of "scientific" proof. Now understand, my formal education was very scientific ... chemistry, physics, mathematics ... but that was many years ago ... and for practical reasons left that behind. So, I am not unfamiliar with the rigors of the scientific methods.

 

My issues with science are several. For one, in the west we have placed science (western notion of science) on a pedestal. It is sacrosanct in the western mind. We tend to think that anything that does not follow the scientic method is not worthy of respect or further investigation. The problem is that there are subjects and questions that western style science may not be able to address ... or at least not be able to adapt to. This is the basis of my skepticism/cynicism regarding science. A similar problem exists with western ideas of religion. Not only will ideas of religion that do not conform to western notions be deemed unworthy of respect ... they can be grounds for accusations of blasphemy and heresy. The Inquisition comes to mind.

 

This brings me to my second main issue with science ... and it relates more directly to "proof" ... but is none the less cynical. Science tends to study only what it finds worthy of the effort ... and worthiness all to often equates to value. Value ... potential for gain ... is often the motivating factor for applying science. This can happen in two ways. One is to demonstrate the usefulness of an idea, product or process. The other is to use science to discredit a competing idea, product or process. Now, I will grant you that to varying degrees, these represent a misuse of science. But to the extent that we (in the west) hold scientific methods sacrosanct, we are unwilling to accept alternative methods of inquiry as valid. 

 

So what does proof actually mean? If judged from the perspective of western science ... or at least the common application of science ... if scientific methods are used ... or misused ... then that would constitute proof. However, lack of proof regarding a subject does not negate the subject. 

 

Now there is an argument to be made for pure science.  But that might only exist in an ideal world ... a world free from being value driven. That's not the world we live in.

 

I sense this is getting dangerously close to another rant. But at least at this point I have offered a rational for a skeptical view of science. 

 

Hope this helps further our understanding of viewpoints.

 

Kind regards.

 

 

Scientific investigation is done for the simple reason that it is the best means by which to learn that which is actually objectively true. Its not some sort of club. Even the most religious person attempts to persuade with proofs, because it proves things.  People of faith also are promoting something that they think has value , however the thing being valued is generally a subjective state. 

Lack of proof , is a great reason to dismiss all sorts of arguments , like the one about the Judge confirmation. All that has been presented are accusations , and rightfully they should be dismissed as readily as the brand of " She is a witch !" , an idea that floated around for many centuries. ( I am told they tried to muster proof , by throwing the suspect in a river to see if they floated. )

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1 hour ago, Stosh said:

Lack of proof,

Yeah, that's a concept I had problems with a number of years ago.  I did finally make peace with it though.  (And that's why I mention often that I am sharing my opinions and understandings.  Not enough proof to suggest it is a fact.)

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Marblehead said:

Yeah, that's a concept I had problems with a number of years ago.  I did finally make peace with it though.  (And that's why I mention often that I am  opinions and understandings.  Not enough proof to suggest it is a fact.)

 

 

 

Lately this proof requirement has been tossed aside in the pursuit of finding people to condemn. Its burning up the political process. Theres a desire for justice, and thats fine, but there must be a requirement to prove ,to have the right to confront an accuser. 

Its like somewhere along the way, the public forgot that these issues were ironed out hundreds of years ago. 

And this includes very smart people who have seemingly forgotten the findings of the enlightenment. 

Why that is,, I dont know. Maybe its the collapse of the integrity of the press in the face of its democritization, and the citizenry needs to relearn on their own behalf without the crutch of the press , about rights justice privacy, free speech , etc.

Edited by Stosh
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58 minutes ago, Stosh said:

Why that is,, I dont know

 

It seems to be characterized by a lack of civility, accountability and return to tribal instincts. 

 

1 hour ago, Stosh said:

citizenry needs to relearn

 

Agree with that ... relearn fundamental principles of free society. I think we coulf also learn a lot from social psychology ... why we behave the way we do.

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