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Featured Popper's "Systematic Observations": Addendum.

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by John D. Brey, Jan 18, 2021.

  1. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    In the thread, which became the essay, Popper's "Systematic Observations," a new perspective on the genesis and growth of modern science was proposed. The nature of the perspective on the genesis of modern science lent itself to Berkeley-like evidence for the existence and presence of God. . . So I started a thread with the intention of putting forth that evidence. It went THUD.

    So I'm back to the drawing board, moving slower, and more methodically, to establish the foundation, again, more clearly perhaps, hopefully, in the discussion of the genesis of the modern scientific-method, which, I believe, is the source for uncovering scientific evidence for the existence and presence of God.

    . . . the greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement [was] the inexpugnable belief that every detailed occurrence can be correlated with its antecedents in a perfectly definite manner, exemplifying general principles. Without this belief the incredible labours of scientists would be without hope. It is this instinctive conviction, vividly poised before the imagination, which is the motive power of research---that there is a secret, a secret which can be unveiled.

    Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, p. 13.​



    John
     
  2. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Isn't the scientific paradigm pretty simple?
    1. The universe is knowable
    2. We know it by observation (empiricism)
    3. Through observation we discover general laws
    4. The existence of general laws lets us make predictions
    5. Science is non-reductionistic (eg you gather data on the same level as the problem at hand; for a biology question, gather biological data etc)
     
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  3. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    This quote was already becoming a bit obsolete by the time Whitehead wrote it, in 1925. Quantum mechanics has blown apart the notion of exact determinism. In fact I rather think Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle was formulated that same year - or the following year.
     
  4. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    1. The universe is unknown to all but a small segment of one small group of bi-ped mammals.
    2. According to Popper we don't know anything from observation.
    3. According to Popper scientific theorization/prediction has nothing to do with the existence of general laws.

    This was all covered in the first Popper thread. Quotations from Popper on said topic were supplied.



    John
     
  5. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Why are we considering Popper as authoritative on this subject?
     
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  6. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    As I'm interpreting Whitehead, he's not talking about determinism. He's discussing how and why the scientific revolution took place, and why it took place in Christian Europe:

    When we compare this tone of thought in Europe with the attitude of other civilizations when left to themselves, there seems but one source for its origin. It must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher. Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search into nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality.

    Ibid.​

    Karl Popper stated that modern science requires dogmatically held religio-mythological beliefs as the foundational for its very existence. Religious thought, or dogmatically held religious/mythological concepts, are the very ideas it applies itself to in order either to refute the belief, or confirm it with "evidence" until such a time as that evidence proves incompatible with a broader understanding.

    Coupled with Whitehead's point about the scientific revolution occurring in Christian Europe, Popper's claim is that the most important thought-products (those associated with the scientific revolution) ever to appear in human history appeared when scientists put Christian dogmatism (faith in the mythological doctrines of Christianity) to the test by requiring evidence in support of the beliefs.



    John
     
    #6 John D. Brey, Jan 18, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  7. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    1. Because his ideas are part and parcel of the topic of the thread.
    2. Because I'm the author of the OP and I consider Popper authoritative on this subject.
    3. Because most persons who have more than an armchair or outhouse understanding of modern science consider Popper authoritative.
    4. Because planets revolve around the light-giver not vice versa.



    John
     
    #7 John D. Brey, Jan 18, 2021
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  8. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    I am aware of those who argue vehemently against Popper and his "postmodernism". I would say he is part of a debate, not the author of a foregone conclusion.
     
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  9. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Ok. Let's debate. <s>



    John
     
  10. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Not sure what point you want to debate, but so that I am clearer on where you're coming from, is your premise that of Karl Popper's student Paul Feyerabend? Specifically:

    "Starting from the argument that a historical universal scientific method does not exist, Feyerabend argues that science does not deserve its privileged status in western society. Since scientific points of view do not arise from using a universal method which guarantees high quality conclusions, he thought that there is no justification for valuing scientific claims over claims by other ideologies like religions. Feyerabend also argued that scientific accomplishments such as the moon landings are no compelling reason to give science a special status. In his opinion, it is not fair to use scientific assumptions about which problems are worth solving in order to judge the merit of other ideologies. Additionally, success by scientists has traditionally involved non-scientific elements, such as inspiration from mythical or religious sources".
     
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  11. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    In the first Popper thread I pointed out what I consider a grave error in Popper's language and understanding concerning the genesis of the scientific method. I implied in that argumentation that that Freudian-slip of Popper's wrist, or tongue (his errant description of the genesis of modern science), was required (though not contrived) to cover up a cover-up of biblical proportions.

    What I pointed out in the first thread was that although Popper is clear that the scientific enterprises is at its base and foundation sort of a put up or shut up critique of religious dogmatism, nevertheless Popper errantly (in my opinion) claims that whereas the religious thinkers spout mythological, or religiously held dogmatism, the scientific thinker attempts to "systematically" deconstruct the fallacy of the dogmatic belief (by proving it false or true through repeated experimental evidence). He implies religious thought exists prior to the "systematic" thought of the science-minded deconstructer.

    Closer to what I'm arguing, Whitehead implies that the Christian faith of the Europeans was founded in an "instinctive conviction" that the world is utterly rational. But whereas Whitehead implies the Europeans held something like an instinctive hypothesis concerning rationality existing at the deepest depths of the world, I believe the evidence shows that the early Christian scientist were moved by something far more outrageous, and motivating: the undeniable realization that they perceived, through their thought processes, a more rational order than existed in the observed world. Their excitement, and otherworldly motivation, was to prove that they were, in their deepest thoughts, and in their religious convictions, more rational, more correctly ordered, than the world of their biological perceptions.



    John
     
    #11 John D. Brey, Jan 18, 2021
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  12. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    I disagree fundamentally with Feyerabend. And in an important way: I believe science is an outgrowth of religion and not really a different kind of thought altogether.

    Popper realized that there is no science without religious thinking. But he thought science was an advance on religious thought, notwithstanding the truth, as he stated it, that science grew out of putting scientific thought to the test.

    What this thread is partwise about is an attempt to show that what Popper considered science's great advancement beyond religious thought, i.e., "systematic observation," was already the life-blood of religious thought. It's in fact "systematic observation" that leads to religious dogma which is then subjected to the critical deconstruction of the scientific-method.

    In the same sense that living organisms require parasites and viruses in order to grow stronger, religious thought requires scientific critical analysis, deconstruction, not to destroy what is true, but to peel away any false layer hiding the deepest and most valuable truth.



    John
     
  13. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Not according to Popper.

    Emphatically no. As in your previous thread you failed to cite Popper to support this.
     
  14. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Stated another way, the Christian scientists realized that their mind had powers of rational understanding that were not only stronger than the rational order their eyes revealed in the world outside their mind, but, that being the case, they realized, then, that their natural accoutrements for perception were flawed, broken, in comparison with their mind, such that this profound realization can be show to be the bedrock of Christian dogmatism: the myth/doctrine of the original sin.

    Since the human biological means of perception is weaker, and flawed, in relationship to the power of the mind, the mind finds itself in a broken vessel, a corrupted shell, and, voila, we have the story of the fall of man whereby his fleshly body is wrapped around his now naked mind. But in a manner that veils him from Eden, from spiritual truth; not fully, but in a manner that requires him to fight against the temptations of the flesh with all his might in order to spy the fleeting glimpses of truth and reality that exist in Eden, behind the veil of his fleshly desires.

    For these reasons, and others, Christianity demonizes fleshly desires. Not from some childish mythological Victorian moralism, but from the most profound understanding/observation any human being has ever registered in space and time: that the human mind isn't as broken as the human body. The human mind retains powers from heaven, Eden, while the human body wraps, and veils, the truth, with carnal pleasures designed precisely to encourage the everlasting slavery of the mind to the shackles of the fleshly body.

    One widespread tradition has it that we human beings are responsible agents, captains of our fate, because what we really are are souls, immaterial and immortal clumps of Godstuff that inhabits and controls our material bodies rather like spectral puppeteers. It is our souls that are the source of all meaning, and the locus of all our suffering, our joy, our glory and shame.

    Daniel Dennett, Freedom Evolves, p. 1.

    The vast saga of biological evolution on Earth is one tiny chapter in an ageless tale of the struggle of the creative force of life against the disintegrative acid of entropy, of emergent order against encroaching chaos, and ultimately of the heroic power of mind against the brute intransigence of lifeless matter.

    James N. Gardner, Biocosm, p. 213.​



    John
     
    #14 John D. Brey, Jan 18, 2021
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  15. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    My thesis is that what we call “science” is differentiated from the older myths not by being something distinct from myth, but by being accompanied by a second-order tradition---that of critically discussing the myth. . . In critical discussions which now arose there also arose, for the first time, something like systematic observation. . . Thus it is the myth or the theory which leads to, and guides, our systematic observations----observations undertaken with the intention of probing into the truth of the theory or myth. From this point of view the growth of the theories of science should not be considered as the result of the collection, or accumulation, of observations; on the contrary, the observations and their accumulation should be considered as the result of the growth of the scientific theories.

    Conjectures and Refutations,
    p. 127. (emphasis mine).​


    John
     
  16. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Again, nothing here where Popper can be quoted that science has anything to do with or originated from religion. His discussion of myths was a parallel of how ancients use 'observations.'
     
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  17. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    I realize that such myths may be developed, and become testable; that historically speaking all----or very nearly all----scientific theories originate from myths . . ..

    Conjectures and Refutations, p. 38.

    It [the Copernican revolution] does not start with [natural] observations, but with a religious or mythological idea.

    Ibid.

    What the great scientist does is boldly to guess, daringly to conjecture, what these inner realities are like. This is akin to myth making.

    Popper Selections, p. 122.​



    John
     
  18. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Again, nothing here where Popper can be quoted that science has anything to do with or originated from religion. His discussion of myths was a parallel of how ancients use 'observations.'
     
  19. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    In the original Popper thread, it was noted that for early man, the sun and moon looked the same size (solar eclipses seemed to prove they were) while they both appeared to revolve around the earth. Nothing in man's natural means of perception had reason to question what the lying eyes made true. And yet because the human mind has powers of reason that transcend the observational perspicuity of the biological means of perception, those who realized this profound inconsistency set about to prove it, therein leading, in this particular case, to the Copernican revolution.

    Among the things that Gödel indisputably established was that no formal system of sound mathematical rules of proof can ever suffice, even in principle, to establish all the true propositions of ordinary arithmetic. This is certainly remarkable enough. But a powerful case can also be made that his results showed something more than this, and established that human understanding and insight cannot be reduced to any set of computational rules. For what he appears to have shown is that no such system of rules can ever be sufficient to prove even those propositions of arithmetic whose truth is accessible, in principle, to human intuition and insight – whence human intuition and insight cannot be reduced to any set of rules.

    Roger Penrose, Shadows of the Mind, p. 64-65.​

    The realization that "human intuition and insight" transcends its means, i.e., its biological body, is so outrageous, that men like Godel, Penrose, and Daniel Dennett, died in the wool materialists one and all, know something difficult if not impossible to corral within a strictly materialistic view of the world, and the power of natural selection, exists as clearly as day.

    Daniel Dennett's, "Freedom Evolves," is a mostly tautological attempt to bring the startling (to say the least) truth that the human mind transcends its biological means, into some form of materialistic framework. His tautology, which he dresses up in nuances able to assuage the curiosity of those unable to see the naked tautology beneath, implies that since the human mind is undeniably free from its biological means, as has mostly been proven to date in numerous ways, this "freedom" of the mind, from mindless contingency, must, if materialism is true, have evolved. Viola, the name of his book: "Freedom Evolves."



    John
     
    #19 John D. Brey, Jan 21, 2021
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  20. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Nevertheless, the topic at hand isn't singularly focused on the mind versus body problem. The theory being proffered is an attempt to zero in on how the true genesis of the modern scientific-method, and its remarkable products, is related to the human intuition and insights of those persons who brought modern science into the mainstream by using the superiority of the mind's intuitions, to wonder out loud about why, and how, a mind allegedly derived from the evolution of the body, could possibly possess transcendent, emergent, properties of logic, reason, and even truth, which, it, the mind, can show, through critical analysis, experimentation, and the so-called scientific-method, to render its body, the mind's body, broken, and in need of some form of salvation; a salvation residing in the intuitive, rational, power, of the mind.



    John
     
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