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Featured Indigenous Science

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Quintessence, Nov 19, 2022.

  1. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane My own religion

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    Yeah, we agree.
     
  2. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    I'd be OK with calling it science. It has a hypothesis and a systematic approach for testing the hypothesis.
    But it would still be "science" not "indigenous science".
     
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  3. Ella S.

    Ella S. Stoic Utilitarian

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    Empiricism is more than simple observation. It holds that observation is the root of knowledge.

    The Egyptians also supported many mystical explanations which did not derive from observation but instead came from internal mystical states or cultural folklore. Not only were these explanations not empirical but they were often unfalsifiable, too.

    This was a constant issue in proto-science. We adopted the concept of the four humors, for instance, not through observation and falsification but through unfalsifiable mysticism based on the Hermeticism derived from ancient Egyptian magic.
     
    #63 Ella S., Nov 21, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
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  4. Ella S.

    Ella S. Stoic Utilitarian

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    To me, this reads as if you're saying that science is biased against cultural biases.
     
  5. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane My own religion

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    Well, that is one version. Here is another:
    "...
    Most empiricists present complementary lines of thought. First, they develop accounts of how experience alone -- sense experience, reflective experience, or a combination of the two -- provides the information that rationalists cite, insofar as we have it in the first place. Second, while empiricists attack the rationalists’ accounts of how reason is a primary source of concepts or knowledge, they show that reflective understanding can and usually does supply some of the missing links (famously, Locke believed that our idea of substance, in general, is a composite idea, incorporating elements derived from both sensation and reflection, e.g. Essay, 2.23.2).
    ..."
    Rationalism vs. Empiricism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    So since I hold that view, a combination of the two, we are now debating 2 versions.
     
    #65 mikkel_the_dane, Nov 21, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
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  6. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    And until comparatively recently, we accepted that gravity was a force of attraction between two objects. Now we know that the old, classical model of physics whereby discrete objects affect each other deterministically through contact, is also cultural folklore of a sort, and ontologically unsound.

    Although at the four dimensional macroscopic level familiar to our human perceptions, objects do generally behave as Newton’s laws of motion predict they will, those same laws, we know, do not tell us facts about reality. They offer approximations of reality, which work at all but the most extreme scales, but any attempt to describe the unseen forces which animate the world, requires a language predicated on metaphor and symbolism; either that, or science may content itself with abstract mathematical models, confirmed by observation, but offering no description at all of what is really happening at the deepest level.

    The “something deeply hidden” in nature, which Einstein said first provoked his interest in science, remains stubbornly hidden to this day, though we may approach obliquely, and describe and envisage it symbolically. This is so because while objects and entities are observable, theories and concepts are not. Since the laws of science, and of nature, are theory laden, the theoretical as opposed to empirical elements of those laws are essentially metaphors, which continue to serve until such time as they do not, and need to be replaced.
     
  7. Ella S.

    Ella S. Stoic Utilitarian

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    There is quite a difference between forming a wrong conclusion based on the logical analysis of the evidence and forming a conclusion based on folklore, cognitive bias, and superstition.

    Theory-ladenness is not a problem for science because the scientific method is a self-correcting mechanism. All theories are challenged and tested.

    If anyone from any background wishes to put forward an alternative theory or thinks they see a flaw in our current theories, then putting those to the test is a part of science, too. Science does not demand that you subscribe to any theoretical perspective.

    That's the issue with criticizing science as "biased." It's literally our most effective method for reducing and correcting bias. That's the whole point of science.
     
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  8. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    What is the qualitative difference between basing a conclusion on logical analysis, and basing it on folklore, when both offer only an approximation of reality? Unless you believe that scientific theories describe reality as it is: But how can this be so? If it were, we would have to conclude that Newtonian theory was true until the beginning of the 20th Century, after which it suddenly became false; and that the Ptolomaic model of astronomy was true until around the 16th century, when it began to be challenged by the Copernican model. The point being that both Ptolomeic astronomy and Newtonian physics were confirmed by observation; the empirical elements of the theories were valid in the light of the evidence then available. The theoretical elements, however, were no more nor less true - in the sense of accurately describing reality - than any mythology the Egyptians or Babylonians might have used to explain the underlying forces that animate the motions of the stars.

    Theories are discarded when they no longer serve, sure. But how is this pragmatic approach to understanding the universe, in any way exclusive to the post-enlightenment modern scientist? This process has been ongoing since at least the 6th century BC, when Pythagoras proposed that the earth was a globe. A realisation, incidentally, that sailors had already come to through the simplest observation; go to sea, and the contours of the globe become immediately apparent.

    Yes, all theories will be tested until, inevitably, they are found to be inadequate to some purpose, at which point they will modified or discarded. Theories are insights, after all; they are not knowledge of how things are. There is no reason to suspect that the process by which they evolve, adapt, and eventually die, is now completed. History suggests that even theories as successful as Relativity and Quantum Theory will eventually reveal their limitations. In the words of quantum physicist David Bohm, "all theories are insights, which are neither true nor false but, rather, clear in some domains, and unclear when extended beyond those domains."

    But I see you are a true believer. Science is the rock on which you have built your church. But even the rock beneath our feet - I'm paraphrasing physicist Carlo Rovelli here - is just a temporary convergence of phenomena, an unfolding event in the river of time. Eventually the ground on which we stand will be swept away by those currents that carry the universe along, the very currents that are equally elusive to science, philosophy, and religion. If we are to understand the world and our place in it - and who knows whether that ambition is realistic or not? - it's a cert we won't do it by relying exclusively on science - however we choose to define science.

    Incidentally, wouldn't the whole point of science also include developing new technologies? That seems to be as a true a measure of utility as it is possible to imagine. In which case I ask, was the ploughshare any less revolutionary a technology than the iPhone?

    I'm not motivated by any desire to dismiss scientific achievement, understanding or enquiry, btw. What I take issue with, the discussion of which appears to be the theme of this thread, is the dismissal of the wisdom, insight and achievements of ancient cultures; are we supposed to assume that we moderns, and our understanding of the world, are innately superior, wiser, or clearer sighted than those people who first put the oxen to the plough, the cattle to the milk pail, and the wool to the loom? Do we really dismiss as superstitious fools with nothing of any value to teach us, the people who knew, by looking at the stars, when to plant maize, when wheat or beans, and how to navigate the seas? The ancestors who gave us language, and literature, and yes mythology and legend, are worthy of our respect, I think. So too are those few surviving cultures which still have a tenuous link with the wisdom of the ancients.
     
    #68 RestlessSoul, Nov 23, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022
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  9. Ella S.

    Ella S. Stoic Utilitarian

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    What a bizarre false dichotomy. If we reject folklore, we must therefore believe in scientific realism? That's simply not how it works.

    By all accounts, test and analyze folklore for any truth it might contain. It rarely stands up to scrutiny and different folkloric traditions outright contradict one another, often in unfalsifiable ways. It is not a reliable method for forming conclusions.

    Natural philosophy has existed to some degree for much longer than science but you cannot equate natural philosophy with modern science. Even if many of the same tools or methods were used at one point or another, they were neither standardized nor formalized, and natural philosophers just as frequently relied on "other ways of knowing" that have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to lead us in the wrong directions.

    Science isn't about belief. It's about questioning beliefs and scrutinizing them.

    Folklore simply doesn't hold up to that scrutiny. I'm not a "true believer" for not believing something.

    Science and engineering are different fields, although they might affect one another.

    If that wisdom and insight cannot stand up to scrutiny, then, yes, I advocate for dismissing those perspectives.

    I don't think we should dismiss them out of hand. We should test them. That's what we do in science. Until there's good evidence for them, though, we should not believe them. That would be illogical.
     
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  10. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    ' laws are theory laden" makes no sense
     
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  11. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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  12. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Terrif. A wi,I article that doesn't address the topic.

    Prease exprain how a law could be
    theory laden. Use one of Boyles gas
    laws.

    If you cannot, then you are just saying things.

    Note that one exception invalidates any law.
     
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  13. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'll try to keep this short, since I suspect you may be less interested in understanding my original point, than you are in scoring points in some game of your own, which I have little interest in playing. But perhaps I do you a disservice, so just on the off chance you are enquiring in good faith, here goes;

    Data obtained by observation is meaningless until it is interpreted. Consider the distinction between theory and observation, and the part each of these processes plays in formulating a law which is then used to make predictions. The theoretical element of any law consists in the interpretation of empirically confirmed data, and that interpretation will necessarily be guided by previous learning, unconscious assumptions, and the prevailing axioms endemic to the culture of the interpreter. Thus, we may say the law is theory laden; by theory we are referring to the unobservable element of the law..

    The theoretical elements of Newton's Laws of Motion are manifest in the principle of inertia, and in the concept of forces acting on objects. Whilst accurate predictions about the behaviour of objects can be made using Newton's Laws of motion and gravitation, inertia, momentum, gravity etc, are not directly observable. An example with regard to gases might be the Kinetic Theory of Gases, whereby observable macroscopic behaviour of gases is explained using a model of interacting particles of ideal gas, which is unobservable and entirely theoretical.

    It's a common misconception bordering on myth, btw, that one exception invalidates a law; if this were so, Newton's Laws would have gone in the bin once it became clear that they do not apply at extremes of speed or scale. But they have not, since they still yield results in our familiar macroscopic reality. Gravity is no longer conceived of as a force of attraction between objects, but rather as the effect of the curvature of spacetime on the motion of objects. But Newton's Law of Gravitation is still used to assign meaningful values to the influence of gravity on massive objects.
     
    #73 RestlessSoul, Nov 24, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2022
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  14. Dan From Smithville

    Dan From Smithville Out of a hat and into the blue.
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    On further thought, I would too.

    I agree. Simply science from a different perspective.
     
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  15. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    I suggested Boyles for a reason.
     
  16. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane My own religion

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    Can you please expand that?
     
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